After missing for years, an historic document first presented to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 1 8 8 5 by Stilson Hutchins of Laconia has been found. Speaker Shawn Jasper unveiled the document before Wednesday’s House session.
On July 4, 1 8 7 6, the Centennial of American Independence, a document signed by President Ulysses S. Grant was created by order of a special Act of Congress to honor the historic milestone. It was titled, “The Administration of the 4th, 1876.” It was then signed by the Cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, and members of the United States Congress. Only New Hampshire native and Vice President Henry Wilson’s name is missing. He had recently passed while in office.
On August 26, 1 8 8 5, Representative Hutchins, who would one day publish what is now the Union Leader, presented a framed copy of this document to the New Hampshire House. Said Hutchins at the time of the presentation, “I have thought it would be a peculiarly appropriate addition to the historical treasures of the legislative chamber, where it has been placed by the sergeant-at-arms, and where I trust it will remain.”
The document’s disappearance remained a mystery for many years until it was discovered in a crate after shelving was removed from the New Hampshire Archives building in Concord. “As the original donor, Stilson Hutchins, had requested in 1885, I am having this unique part of New Hampshire history returned to its rightful place in the New Hampshire House for our citizens to enjoy,” said Speaker Jasper.
News, the real stuff not the fluff, from our own backyard continues after this.
Another School District is working overtime to deprive parents of their right to refuse the Smarter Balanced Assessment. We’ve brought you stories from Keene, Hampton, Londonderry and Bedford on this matter. Now comes one from the Hillsboro Deering Cooperative School District that will just blow your mind.
Wrote the parents to Principal James O’Rourke of Hillsboro-Deering High, quote:
Please find the attached refusal form for the Smarter Balance test.
We believe that our local schools, teachers, principals and most of all our students are worth more than this poorly contrived test. Nor do we believe that it will be a valid assessment of his previous 12 years of school. We will be exercising our rights as the parents of XXXXXXX refuse his participation at this time.
Wrote back Robert A Hassett, Superintendent of Schools, quote:
…according to RSA 193-C, I am not authorized to exempt XXXXXX or any other student without an approved specific reason and parental choice is not an approved specific reason.
He, of course, attached a copy of the RSA and just one of the Technical Advisories issued by Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry.
Undaunted, the parent’s shot back, writing quote:
We did not correspond to request permission to “Opt-Out” of the upcoming Smarter Balance test, but to inform the school that as XXX’s parents, we are refusing to allow him to participate in the Smarter Balance Assessment. Please see page 2 of the third attachment which states in the addendum-
Although RSA 193-C-6 requires all public school students to participate in the statewide assessment…there are no laws in the State of New Hampshire or rules at the New Hampshire Department of Education that would penalize a student for not participating in the statewide assessment. Additionally, the same is true if a parent determined that they would not allow their child to participate…
They went on to cite at least one Supreme Court case on the matter regarding the fundamental rights of parents, restating they will not allow their child to take the test. We have inquired of Superintendent Hassett to learn his intentions in light of the parents’ response and hope to have more information by Monday’s show.
Things got ugly, and I do mean ugly, at the Derry Town Council meeting on Tuesday night as the budget brawl continues in town. Many of those who demanded the council not cut the town’s sky high tax rate, which has nearly doubled in a decade, should have been thrown out of the meeting for disorderly conduct, frankly. This isn’t a matter of disagreeing with councilors like what happened in Alton, this was disruptive behavior, pure and simple, as council critics, including former town councilors who you’d think would know better, openly heckled, badgered, booed, shouted down and raised rumors about members of the board conspiring to privatize the town’s ambulance service, which is run by the Fire Department.
Our sources tell us that the primary source of the disquieting behavior, that had Council Chair Thomas Cardon justifiably, though apologetically wielding the gavel like Thor’s Hammer, are the same union employees and their backers that have pilloried the council since it issued a directive to Town Administrator Galen Sterns to provide a budget that reduced the municipal tax rate by two dollars per thousand, a directive that still has yet to be followed, by the way. Cardon announced at the meeting that the council would vote on the budget presented by Stearns, which includes siphoning off one point seven million dollars from town reserves to avoid cuts in spending while funding raises on expired contracts, on May nineteenth.
We’ll keep an eye on it.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.