The New Hampshire Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities N H, distributed a record eleven million pounds of food last year, a twenty nine percent increase over prior year. That’s the equivalent of nine million one hundred sixty six thousand six hundred sixty six meals. Food Bank officials say one in nine New Hampshireites don’t know when or where their next meal will come from and the need continues to grow. Food Bank Executive Director Mel Gosselin credited the agency’s partners, donors, volunteers and others for the surge in donations and distribution. The Food Bank is unique in New Hampshire as it is the only organization that helps supply food and other resources to more than four hundred food pantries, soup kitchens, children’s and senior’s programs and other hunger relief partner agencies throughout the state. Last January, the Food Bank achieved AIB International Certification, one of only ten food banks in the country to attain this designation and in October they marked their thirty year anniversary.
The Merrimack Police Department is now accepting applications for its Citizen’s Police Academy. The academy begins on January twenty first and concludes on April first with a graduation ceremony. Classes are held on Wednesday evenings from six to nine, with one Saturday morning class at the Police station. The topics discussed will be: Criminal law, Motor Vehicle law, Domestic Violence, Narcotics Investigations, Emergency Communications, Firearms demonstrations, Non-Lethal weapons, self-defense and a Mock Trial in District court. Any person interested in attending the Citizen’s Academy may pickup an application at the Merrimack Police Station or download it from merrimack p d dot org. Attendees must be at least 18 years of age and the Chief of Police reserves the right to deny applicants for reasons he deems appropriate. Applications will be accepted until Monday the twelfth.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The Manchester School District will kick off an effort to recruit one thousand mentors as it looks to augment its so called Extended Learning Opportunity program, which allows students to gain academic credit for real world activities. The district is partnering with the National Center for Competency-Based Learning and Southern New Hampshire University to expand the program in the hopes of interesting anyone in the community, doctors, lawyers, electricians, software developers, news reporters, painters, musicians, to take part in what will be officially known as the One Thousand Mentors Initiative. On hand for today’s media event at Newforma on Elm Street will be be Mayor Ted Gatsas, Superintendent Debra Livingston, the Dean of SNHU’s School of Education Ray McNulty and some of the first mentors who are excited to volunteer their time and expertise for education in Manchester. No doubt, we’ll be talking about this with Mayor Gatsas during his interview tomorrow.
The war of words continues in the Timberlane Regional School District as Budget Committee Member Arthur Green and his School Board member wife Donna Green made their budget presentation to the Atkinson Board of Selectmen last week. Interestingly, the Atkinson board is chaired by Plaistow Police Lieutenant Bill Baldwin, who, as we know, conducted the rather spurious investigation into the false allegations that Donna Green had acted hostilely toward members of the district’s staff. The Greens were in the audience at the invitation of Atkinson resident Leon Artus, Chair of Atkinson Taxpayers for Fair Evaluations, who brought Arthur Green’s tax analysis to the attention of the selectmen. After being introduced by Artus, members of the Board of Selectmen, including Baldwin, a former chairman of the Timberlane School Board, did something unusual, they asked questions about Green’s budget analysis and actually seemed to care about the data and the assumptions it included. We’ve linked to the presentation, which enraged appointed Atkinson Budget Committee Member Jack Sapia, who angrily stormed into the meeting room, only to be gaveled down by Baldwin, who adjourned the meeting.
Since that meeting on December twenty eighth, a new Facebook page entitled Support Timberlane, has been launched. The page claims to be a collection of parents, teachers, students and staff fighting to make Timberlane #1 in NH, however only Timberlane School Board Member Peter Bealo from Plaistow, who still must be looking for the authority he said he had before he didn’t to limit debate on the district’s policy committee, has admitted to being an administrator of the site, though he said he usually posted as himself, not the administrator. Several posts on the site attack both Greens in an attempt to discredit them and their positions. Why is this important? Well, because some believe that newly hired Public Relations Specialist Gretchen Grosky, wife of Timberlane Budget Committee Chairman Jason Grosky, is behind the site. If this is true, then that raises serious legal questions about the use of taxpayer funds for political purposes, a violation of state law.
But not to worry, it’s Timberlane. Laws don’t apply to them.
In response to the site’s launch, Donna Green writes, quote: “Most people who rail against the suggestion to lower the operating budget to something affordable for local families have not themselves challenged Arthur Green’s numbers or delved into the expenditures yet they insist cuts would harm the children. Before Dr. Metzler’s budgets, our district ran on $61 million for three years in a row. Now, with fewer students, we need almost $68 million and we have to close a school. Does this sound reasonable? If management implemented cuts with earnestness, education would not be affected but the number of staff certainly would be. So what is this really about? Education or jobs at Timberlane?”
With both sides mobilizing their adherents, it would seem that this year’s deliberative session on the budget is going to be one for the ages. Might have to attend that one.
Finally this morning, our condolences go out to the family and friends of Bill Trombly, Sr. Trombly was a pioneer not just in plumbing, but also in business. The founder of Bill Trombly Plumbing and Heating, he obtained Master Plumber’s License Number One here in NH. He was involved in the community and with many charitable and professional organizations. He was an all around good guy and just seventy one.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.