02-05-2014 News

Last night’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen had a little something for everyone.  If you’d thought that the drama over the Manchester Dog Park Association was over, think again.  Ward 10 Alderman Bill Barry revived the issue with a letter to the board on behalf of some constituents who apparently believe, despite official pronouncements to the contrary, that the M D P A has not complied with the contract.  The board referred the matter to the Committee on Administration and Information Systems, despite a request by former Ward 10 Alderman and dog park founder Phil Greazzo during the public comment session that the board simply vote as to whether or not it wanted to continue to have a free dog park built and maintained by others in the city.  He called the request for another investigation a fishing expedition and said if the board didn’t want the dog park, he would gladly disassemble it tomorrow.

The board voted to send a letter to the Manchester legislative delegation urging it to amend any legislation expanding gambling in the state to include what’s become known as the Verizon Amendment.  Management of the city’s civic center is concerned that without legislative protection limiting the size of any potential entertainment venue at a casino, it won’t be able to compete.  Mayor Ted Gatsas pointed to Mohegan Sun and how they fill their ten thousand seat concert hall as a reason why protection was needed.  He said the casino sells about four thousand tickets for its concerts and gives away the remaining six thousand and that they had eighty six concerts last year.  No venue, he said, can compete with that.  Alderman at-Large Dan O’Neil echoed the mayor’s call to action saying the board needed to act to protect the interests of the taxpayers.  Alderman at Large Joe Kelly Levasseur warned that more than just the Verizon would suffer losses if a casino were built.  He said a casino would siphon off twenty percent of the city’s restaurant business.  The board voted to send the letter, of course, which begs this question:  If the Verizon and other Manchester businesses need protection from the Casino, how exactly is this going to help the state’s economy?  Something to think about.

Bag and Tag was the big discussion, though.  Levasseur raised the issue under new business arguing people would leave the city and not want to move here if the system were put in place and moved to eliminate it from consideration.  Ward 1’s Joyce Craig opposed the move saying, as she did in an exclusive interview with us yesterday, that the discussion was good because it could lead to options and opportunities that would otherwise not be known and was important to educate the public about the issues the city was facing.  Her call to vet the question via the committee process was supported by Ward 7’s Bill Shea who said the board should thoroughly investigate any of the options before it before rejecting it.  Several Aldermen said their vote to allow the issue to continue through committee wasn’t an endorsement of the proposal.  In the end, only Ward 12’s Keith Hirschmann and Ward 9’s Barbara Shaw would vote with Levasseur, though I think, given her comments, Shaw meant to vote the other way.  Of surprise was the nasty way both Levasseur and Hirschmann reacted to statements made by Craig.  It was really uncalled for.  We’ve linked to the live blog of the meeting so you can see how it went down in real time!

News from our own backyard continues after this.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives announced it would suspend its business for the day given the pending storm.  The session will be held tomorrow and bill hearings will be rescheduled as needed, so be sure to check the House Calendar.  Meanwhile, Senate President Chuck Morse announced the Senate will adhere to its regular schedule, so expect business as usual in the upper chamber.

Yesterday, State Senator Sam Cataldo, Republican of Farmington, argued for his  bill providing transparency for Obamacare health plans.  Senate Bill three forty would require the state Department of Insurance to hold public hearings before approving insurance plans offered to consumers through the Obamacare insurance exchange.   Said Cataldo:  “Families across New Hampshire liked their health care plan.  They liked their doctor.  But they couldn’t keep them.”  He said before approving the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Obamacare exchange plan that dropped coverage for ten of the state’s twenty six hospitals and terminated coverage on thousands of families, the Department of Insurance should have held hearings on the plan to get public feedback and warn of the potential coverage cancellations.

Looks like the Zoning Board of Adjustment in Weare thwarted a move to impose the zoning ordinance’s noise provisions on outdoor shooting.  We interviewed Robin Stevens of Classic Armorer on Monday about the ongoing neighbor feud that lead to the petition.  Bill Wynne of Goffstown Today dot com sent us word last night after the meeting that town gun owners remained free to use their properties in accordance with the law.  EDITOR’S NOTE:  Here’s the complete story from our community partners at www.goffstowntoday.com

Goffstown High School released a list of its state recognized scholar athletes.  We’ve published the list along with a photo of the good looking crew with this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.  Congrats on a job well done!

That’s news form our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ starts right now!