And the sixty four thousand dollar question is did Alderman Patrick Arnold really raise sixty four thousand dollars for his mayoral campaign?  After several reviews of the campaign’s filing a number of things  stood out.  The campaign’s number one donor seems to be it’s lead political consultant Huck Montgomery whose listed as having made more than thirteen thousand dollars in contributions.  City employee unions contributed a total of six thousand five hundred dollars, with other trade unions chipping another thirty five hundred fifty dollars.  Attorney Jim Craig, the father of Economic Development Director nominee William Craig, and his law firm combined to contribute two thousand dollars.  Several donors made multiple contributions and the Arnold campaign’s landlord donated seventy two hundred dollars for rent paid.  Between the consultant and the landlord and other transactions that seem to donate back expenses incurred, well more than a third of the donations listed appear to be non cash transactions.  I put a call into Alderman Arnold last night to inquire about these items and others and hope to gain clarity today.  We’ve posted the report with this news read at Girard at Large dot com.  Meanwhile, the Arnold campaign has trotted out a couple more expected endorsements from Democrats.  Ward 6 Alderman Garth Corriveau and State Senator Donna Soucy‘s support was announced in a press release yesterday.  We’ve uploaded it.

So, if the Common Core won’t advance the goal of getting kids reading at grade level by the end of third grade, what will?  That’s the question we posed to former Manchester Superintendent Tom Brennan who said Common Core won’t accomplish that goal and his answer was enlightening.  Changing the administrative rules in the state that require teachers to take time from reading activities would help a lot he said.  Now, he says teachers take so much time with thing unrelated to teaching, like making sure kids are prepared for standardized tests, that they don’t have the time the need to focus on helping little Johnny and Suzy read.  In our interview with Brennan yesterday, he had some interesting reactions to materials we shared from the state of Utah that has switched its elementary English Language Arts program to one recommended by the Common Core.  He agreed it didn’t seem to be about developing literacy.  It’s an interview you want to make sure you hear and we’ve linked to it from this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire is calling out the state’s senior U S Senator Jeanne Shaheen on the question of whether or not she and her staff will take the Obamacare exemption granted to senators, congressmen and their staffs.  While the group has called on all three of the state’s Democratic legislators to tell the public whether or not they’ll live by the rules imposed on the rest of us, Shaheen is being questioned again in light of legislation submitted by Lousiana Senator David Vitter and Wyoming Senator Michael Enzy that would invalidate the deal and require senators, congressmen and their staffs to get their health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges and pay the premiums for it.  If they don’t, the deal worked out with the White House would completely exempt the congress and its staff from Obamacare, its costs and coverage losses.  How nice.

The Manchester Police Athletic League welcomed forty Timberland Company employees yesterday for their annual “Serv-a-Palooza” day of service event.  These enthusiastic volunteers brought energy and devotion to the community, along with brooms, tools, paint and a supe-sized dumpster.  Throughout the day, the volunteers rolled up their sleeves and provided some much needed T L C to a well-used, and subsequently well-worn, building.  The Officer Michael Briggs Community Center, which houses the M P A L program, is a converted church building with a great deal of historical significance to the neighborhood.  The building hosts the boxing and judo programs, as well as many other community events and programs.  Its frequent use takes a toll on the facility and the department expressed gratitude that Timberland chose its community building for their volunteer efforts.

The New Boston Food Pantry is making an urgent plea for help.  They are asking for donations as soon as possible as food stock is running low.  If you or your business can help, two drop off locations are designated in town, one at the New Boston Central School and the other at the Whipple Free Library.  Items most in need include spaghetti sauce, canned meats and meals (Tuna, Ravioli, Stew, Chili), chicken noodle/rice soup, vegetable soup, canned chowders, boxed cereals, boxed instant oatmeal, school snacks (pretzels, popcorn, crackers, granola bars), juice and ramen noodles.  Any help is greatly appreciated.

That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is straight ahead