04-09-2014 News

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas is recovering comfortably after open heart surgery yesterday.  Gatsas had bypass surgery.  The Mayor’s Office issued a statement on behalf of the family from Gatsas’ brother Michael who said the surgery was a success and the doctors expect

Gatsas:  Had bypass surgery.

Gatsas: Had bypass surgery.

a full recovery.  The family thanked the doctors and staff at Catholic Medical Center for their good work and the citizens of Manchester and friends and supporters of the mayor from around the state who took time to share their thoughts and prayers, saying the family had been overwhelmed by the outpouring.  The family requested privacy so His Honor can rest and recover and said he will, in the coming weeks, be tending to his health.  The statement concluded saying quote “anyone who knows my brother understands that he will begin to reengage with city leaders.”  End quote.  We wish him Godspeed in his recovery.

The Bedford School District gave up the ghost yesterday, finally releasing a copy of the survey that upset parents.  We posted it yesterday,

Parents deceived?

Parents deceived?

though we await answers to questions we posed after receiving an explanation of the course of events from Assistant Superintendent Chip McGee.  McGee maintains that a letter sent home to parents of students at the Ross A. Lurgio Middle School notified them of the pending survey and provided them with an opportunity to opt out if they so chose.  In response to an inquiry by town resident and education advocate Ann Marie Banfield, McGee said the district complied with federal law by enabling parents to review the material in advance.  However, the only method by which they were allowed to review the survey was by physically visiting the school during normal school hours.  As we heard from parent testimony, the school would not release copies of the survey, claiming that the contract with the company providing the survey forbade its dissemination.  Whatever the case, the questions asked in that survey are even worse than the ones children reported to their parents and their parents reported to their elected officials.  Here’s an example:  Are you “male, female, transgender male to female, transgender female to male, transgender do not identify exclusively male or female, not sure.”  Here’s another:  “Would you say you are only straight/heterosexual, mostly straight/heterosexual, bisexual, mostly lesbian/gay, only lesbian/gay?”  Hey, great questions for twelve and thirteen year olds, don’t you think?

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Barry:  Bye bye local control?

Barry: Bye bye local control?

Controversy continues to swirl over comments allegedly made by NH Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry.  At a recent meeting with the state’s superintendents, Barry is alleged to have said she believes local control should be eliminated.  While Barry has yet to reply to our inquiry for comment and we are awaiting the release of documents in response to a Right to Know Request, Doris Hohensee of N H Families for Education released emails obtained on a Right to Know Request she made of the New Hampshire School Board’s Association showing that its Executive Director, Theodore Comstock, who was present at the meeting, believed she spoke in favor of eliminating local control.  In fact,he sent an email on March twenty eighth to Department of Education Chief of Staff Heather Gage stating he found Barry’s comments about eliminating local control “offensive” asking Gage, a former employee of the School Boards Association, whether or not Barry really believed what she said.  Gage, of course, disputed his recollection of the statement, as have two superintendents we’ve spoken to, including Manchester’s Debra Livingston, saying that Barry has worked tirelessly to nurture and advance the cause of local control.  Comstock held to his position, though, stating Barry said what she said and there were many in the room with whom he confirmed her comments.  Comstock said the association was considering an appropriate response.  We’ve posted the emails for your review with this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.

Police in Bow are warning of an IRS scam.  Yeah, we all know we’re being scammed by the IRS, but apparently several residents in Bow have been contacted by bogus IRS agents accusing the called of filing fraudulent tax returns and demanding payment.  The cops say anyone receiving similar phone calls, emails or texts  should contact their local police department, the IRS directly or the NH Attorney’s General’s office.  They urged residents to not give any information, reply to the caller’s requests, open any email messages or attachments.  The IRS has stated that these scams typically try to trick people into revealing personal information, bank account information and credit card information in order to commit identity theft and or take their money.

Porter:  Taxpayers on the hook

Porter: Taxpayers on the hook

There was a public hearing on the proposed budget of Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas last night.  It was a sparsely attended affair with roughly a dozen residents speaking.  Democratic activist Carol Backus, wife of former Democratic City Committee Chair Bob Backus, asked the board to look carefully at the data on whether or not the tax cap is working.  Backus was part of the group backed by the city’s employee unions that opposed the cap when it was on the ballot.  Michael Porter and Jimmy Lehoux asked the aldermen to look at the proposed redistricting with Porter complaining about the taxpayer cost of Fisher Cat Stadium and unrealized revenue from the Elliot at Rivers Edge development.  Resident Tammy Simmons said it’s not the job of the city to employ people, so if jobs are cut in the name of efficiency and savings, it’s a tough decision the board will have to make.

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