The Public Safety and Community Improvement Program committees of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen met last night.  As is often the case, there was some interesting stuff.  The Public Safety Committee tabled a request by Ward 2 Alderman Ron Ludwig to change the city’s Odd/Even winter parking scheme.  Currently, the side of the street on which vehicles may be parked is determined by whether or not the date will be an even or odd number at Midnight.  Ludwig says it’s a confusing system and he’s trying to make things more simple for residents.  Public Works Director Kevin Sheppard said it provides the opportunity to push back snow banks without calling a snow emergency and do night time street sweeping in the spring without prohibiting parking on the streets during cleaning hours.  Ward 5 Alderman Ed Osborne opened a discussion about parking enforcement in the city.  Currently, the city’s parking control officers only enforce regulations in the downtown Central Business District.  The police department is responsible for enforcing parking regulations throughout the rest of the city.  Osborne says that means they don’t get enforced and that leads to problems.  He said cars sometimes are left for days in two hour parking zones in his ward, which presents all kinds of problems.  He proposed changing the city’s ordinances to expand the reach of the parking control officers and increasing their numbers to handle the new territory on the East Side.  Ward 3 Alderman Patrick Long questioned why the expansion should be just on the East Side noting there are several parking regulated areas on the West Side that also aren’t enforced.  Osborne met questions about cost with the statement that the additional manpower and equipment needed to expand enforcement would likely be offset by increased revenues from parking tickets.  The matter was tabled to get input from City Finance Officer Bill Sanders.

The Community Improvement Program Committee gave the go ahead to Fire Chief James Burkush to apply for a nine hundred thousand dollar grant to replace an aging ladder truck.  Burkush said there were no strings attached to the grant quote at this time end quote and also said the city would be responsible for a ten percent match.  Parks Planner Jessica Chamberlain requested permission to apply for state grants to finish the Rockingham Recreational Trail.  The project would pave unfinished sections of the trail which links Mammoth Road to Page Street behind the East Side Plaza.  The application for the twenty five thousand dollar grant seems to be going to the same outfit that city planners recommended the city apply to for twenty five K to make bike paths along the river accessible from Second Street.  The Committee also got an update on the three hundred fifty thousand dollar Elm Street sidewalk restoration project, it’s moving along just fine, and referred a one hundred five thousand dollar request from the Noah’s Ark Child Care Center to fix flooring in their facility to the budget process.  Weird.  Wonder where they got the idea that the city gave money to businesses in need of financial assistance.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Common Core may be coming in for some scrutiny from the Hooksett School Board.  At its meeting last week, Vice Chairman David Pearl began asking questions of administrative staff.  After confirming that the state had only adopted standards for math and English, Pearl wanted to know why the district was working to make Common Core changes to other academic areas, like Science and Social Studies.  I think the best way to summarize the responses from multiple administrators is to let you watch the video clip of the exchange.  It’s only five minutes and very ably demonstrates that if anybody knows what’s going on with this Common Core stuff, they sure as heck don’t know how to explain it.  We have, of course, linked to the clip for your convenience.

A movement against the continued implementation of the so called Common Core state standards also seems to have arisen at the Nashua School board last week as well.  Several school board members have questioned administrators about their decisions to implement the standards without board approval and parents came forward to raise questions and concerns about what’s happening in their schools.

Meanwhile, a number of Common Core meetings have been scheduled in the region.  Opponents will speak at a public meeting tomorrow night at six thirty at a meeting of the Souhegan Tea Party in the Milford Public Library.  The matter will come before school boards in Manchester, Londonderry and Amherst next week and a major town hall on the topic will be held in Epping on the twenty fourth.  Goffstown State Rep. John Hikel announced last week he will file a Petition for Redress under Article 31 of the State Constitution on the issue, too.  The State Department of Education, apparently desperate to stem the growing tide of opposition will host it’s own meeting featuring Mark Tucker, the man who has written multiple articles on how and why to eliminate local control, at the end of the month.  And to think, until a couple of months ago, nobody but us was talking about this.  Funny how that happens…

That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is on the way!