Well, a busy week of public hearings is on tap for the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen on everything from budget matters, to proposed fee hikes, to proposed zoning ordinances on chickens is coming our way. There’s also a procedural matter or two they’ll need to take up a special meetings. The hearing likely to draw any kind of interest is the one on chickens. The board decided to amend the city’s zoning ordinance to allow chickens on lots no smaller than one half an acre, so long as there were a bunch of requirements met, among them, the construction and maintenance of a coop that could qualify as a fallout shelter in the event of a nuclear attack. Those failing to meet the zoning requirements would be allowed to petition the Zoning Board of Adjustment, whose fees were hiked, subject to a public hearing of course, during the budget process. So, if this all passes, and it probably will depending on the public turnout tomorrow night, virtually everybody who wants chickens in the city will have to drop at least three hundred bucks for a hearing before the Z B A because virtually nobody has a half acre of land or more in the city. That hearing is scheduled for tomorrow in the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall immediately following the five forty five hearing on the proposed permit fee hikes the aldermen included in their budget.
The aldermen’s Special Committee on Solid Waste Activities, hm, wonder what the trash is up to, will meet tonight to review various trash collection and disposal matters that have been sitting on the table since February. A report from Environmental Programs Director Mark Gomez, whom we’ve interviewed about trash issues, on information sought by the committee was delivered on May twenty seventh. It will be taken up tonight in the Aldermanic Chambers immediately following the likely to be uneventful meeting of the Committee on Accounts, Enrollment or Revenue Administration.
Tomorrow night in Hooksett, things could get interesting at the meeting of the school board as board member John Lyscars has requested an item regarding the Common Core national standards be placed on the agenda. Recently, Hooksett teacher Maryann Boucher released a letter she’d sent to New Hampshire Board of Education Member Bill Duncan criticizing the standards as developmentally inappropriate and challenging him to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment and publish his scores. She warned that the bad experiences of other states are coming our way and urged Duncan to look beyond our borders to see what was really happening with these standards around the country.
Tomorrow, Lyscars will ask the board to conduct anonymous surveys of both parents and staff to see what support exists for either the standards or the testing. Girard at Large, by the way, has learned that Duncan has replied to Boucher. We understand that he’s asked her out to a lunch meeting, which is, of course, for those following it, where so many of those those rosy quotes Duncan used in the debate a few weeks back came from. Be careful, Maryann! Don’t let him pick up the tab…Oh My HEAD!
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Well, the filing period for elective offices closed on Friday and the big news came when G O P U S Senate Candidate Karen Testerman showed up at the Secretary of State’s Office and announced her support for former Senator Bob Smith instead of filing her own candidacy. In a statement, Testerman said conservatives must be united if they are to capture the nomination and that her candidacy would work against that goal. She urged her supporters to put that goal ahead of ego or personality and support Smith, who was clearly buoyed by the move.
In accepting the endorsement, Smith said the country can’t win by electing just any Republican to the senate. It wins when it elects a Republican whose heart and soul is dedicated to the conservative principles of the Founding Fathers and he pledged to continue the fight for them as he has throughout his political career. Scott Brown’s campaign was apparently too busy dodging debate invitations from various political committees and business groups as well as interview requests from various media outlets, including this one, to issue a statement.
Meanwhile, Smith issued a statement yesterday on the deteriorating situation in Iraq that’s bound to surprise many. He said calls for American’s intervention to prevent the fall of the current government are quote “the wrong policy,” end quote. Said Smith quote “There is nothing we can do which will resolve a religious war in a country which does not share our culture and which has no democratic tradition. In fact, any intervention in their conflicts will be seen as an expansion of their wars, justifying retaliation and perpetual war.” End quote. Smith said our policies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria have been quote “characterized by a complete lack of understanding of the religious and tribal natures of these countries and the region” end quote. We’ve published the statement in its entirety with this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.
Finally this morning, it looks like the Villa Augustina in Goffstown will not reopen in the fall. In announcing it will cease operations effective June thirtieth, the school said declining enrollments have made the school too expensive to operate and they didn’t want to start another school year uncertain if they could complete it. It’s governing board will begin the process of determining what happens to the facility. The Religious of Jesus and Mary has the first option to “repurchase” the facility. They’re asking for prayers as they contemplate this decision and as the board continues to do its best to care for “Saint Claudine Villa Academy.” The Villa has recently survived near death experiences where parents rallied to raise the funds necessary to rescue the school before, but they’ve been unable to keep pace as enrollments have declined. Looks like, absent another miracle, a one hundred year old institution is about to close its doors for the final time.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is straight ahead.