06-18-2014 News There was an interesting meeting of the Hooksett School Board last night. The board finally hosted Manchester Superintendent Debra Livingston, who brought along Assistant Superintendent David Ryan, a Hooksett resident well known to members of the board. They outlined the various initiatives underway in Queen City schools and addressed a number of questions and concerns. Board
Member James Sullivan was particularly concerned about the type and format of data they receive, asking for the performance of Hooksett’s students to be broken out of the general statistics so the board could gage the performance of their kids in comparison to the whole student body. That came on the heels of a question from Board Member Mike Berry about the drop out rate, which Ryan told the board had been cut in half over the past year due to aggressive outreach by principals and counselors to at risk kids. All in all, it was a cordial affair, but whether it changes anything between the two communities remains to be seen. After Livingston left, Hooksett Superintendent Charles P. Littlefield, who exhibited some really interesting body language I’ll have to describe later in the show, announced that the Pinkerton Academy Board of Trustees had relinquished its demand for a guaranteed minimum number of students in agreeing to negotiate the remaining details of yet another one year Enrollment Agreement that will allow those currently in the seventh grade to attend the school by right, not exception.
After yet another presentation and request by parent Kim Reagan to be reimbursed the difference between what the district paid Manchester for base tuition and paid Bow High School for her student, the board shot down a motion by John Lyscars to reimburse her and the other parents who petitioned for the refund. Reagan told them after the vote she’s sorry they wasted her time and theirs and that she’d pursue action against the district with the state. On a four to three vote, they also shot down Lyscars’ bit do anonymously survey parents and staff about the Common Core. Board members Todd Lizotte and David Pearl supported the surveys. More on that later.
Manchester’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen convened last night for a series of public hearings associated largely with budget items they’ve already adopted. As predicted, the public hearing on proposed zoning ordinance changes that would allow people with half an acre of land or more to chickens as pets generated the most questions and feedback from members of the board and the public. Ward Five Alderman Ed Osborne reiterated his opposition to the changes saying it discriminated against folks in the inner city, recalling his days living in a triple decker on Central Street, or was it Laurel Street, saying the building owner had a few chickens back in the day and it didn’t bother anybody. Ward Twelve Alderman Keith Hirschmann asked questions that got Planning Director Leon LaFreniere to outline the permit and approval process, a process that would invoke the Zoning Board of Adjustment if applicants were denied the opportunity to have chickens by the Planning Department. The moment of the night, however, came when former Ward Eight Alderman Andy Verville, who spent twenty years on the Zoning Board of Adjustment absolutely hammered the proposal. He shared the problems he encountered as the ward was transforming from a rural, agricultural area to a more residential one. His points were clear, this will harm abutters’ property values, the use goes with the property, especially with a variance, and that such animals are not compatible with residential uses, based on his experience. It was actually a lot of fun to watch. Anyway, now that the public hearing is out of the way, expect it to come back to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for a final vote. By then, who knows, maybe they’ll have answers to some of the questions raised, such as can a chicken be killed if it’s sick under the ordinance or can the chicken’s owner kill a fox or coyote that’s attacking the chicken? News from our own backyard continues after this. Residents in Derry will have the opportunity to quiz the finalists for the position of town manager. The Town Council will hold a public forum tomorrow night from six to nine in the third floor meeting room of the Derry Municipal Center where residents can meet and question the finalists.
Merrimack’s chapter of Rotary International is again leading the way in organizing the 4th of July Family Fun Day in Merrimack. The day includes activities, food, music, games, crafts, demonstrations from the fire and police departments, and more. Activities start early, with a pancake breakfast in the morning, followed by the Merrimack Parks and Recreation Department’s 4th of July parade. Visit www.merrimack4th.com to learn more about the day’s events. To pull it all off, the Rotary needs more volunteer help, however, and is hoping you can lend a hand, even if just for a few hours. For volunteer groups representing local sports teams, clubs, scouts, civic organizations, or churches, there can be some fundraising opportunities for the organizations if they help out, too. Contact Bob Best, if you are interested. His email is Robert L Best @ comcast dot net, his phone is 620-6103.
The Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce announced the two thousand fourteen winner of its Kyle B. Ross Memorial Scholarship. Her name is Shannon Corcoran and she’s from Londonderry High. Each year, the Chamber’s scholarship review committee review dozens of applications. Consideration is given to the overall academic achievement, community service and involvement level and the strength of leadership. The award was officially announced at Londonderry High’s Academic Awards Ceremony last Thursday. Presenting the award was Stacey Bruzzese, Executive Director of the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce and Doug Cullen, Chairman of the Business Education Collaborative Committee. The award was a surprise to Corcoran, who was present at the event and received other academic achievements that night. Corcoran ranked sixth in her class, with a 4 point 4 6 G P A, and earned induction into the Math Honors Society, Latin National Honors Society, French Honors Society and National Honor Society. She spends much free time participating in community service projects and events and is also an avid dancer and dance instructor. She’s off Clemson University in the Fall, where she will study Mathematical Sciences and Engineering. Congrats to her!