UNHCE offers “Making Money Work for You”

Did you know that University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension offers a variety of family and consumer resources…including money management programs…that are available locally in Sullivan County?

For example, in Newport, the Cooperative Extension will be offering a three-part series—“Take Control of Your Money”—starting May 11. (See our prior post.)

And starting June 2 in Claremont, a five-week series—“Making Money Work for You”—is scheduled for Thursday evenings through June 30. Topics covered will include how to: gain control over spending, reduce expenses, manage credit, reduce debt, and understand the importance of saving for your future. Location: Claremont Savings Bank, 145 Broad Street. For more info and to register: Call the UNH Cooperative Extension, 603-863-9200; pre-registration required by May 27; and if special accommodations are required to attend, contact the Cooperative Extension at least 15 days before the first class.

Gail Kennedy is the UNHCE educator in Family and Consumer Resources for Sullivan County.

Capital Comments: The Election Results and the Legislative Process

By State Senator Bob Odell

Legislators have often worked to impose mandates on local schools to teach civics.  It is natural that politically active people would want to make sure that public schools engage and motivate students to become good citizens.

And while school work is important, the power of an idea to pay respect to the staff and graduates of a high school who are serving or have served in our military seemed to this writer a very powerful addition to our attempts at civic engagement for students.

With the support of Stevens High School principal Paul Couture, substitute teacher Carol Thebarge’s idea for a Veterans Day ceremony for the students and staff to honor alumni who have served in the military was a new approach for involving students in our annual Veterans Day holiday.

An American flag, which had been saluted by our fighting men and women, and sent to Carol by Stevens High School graduate Army Sergeant David Carrier now serving in Afghanistan, was raised during an emotional ceremony.

I was at the ceremony to read a letter of support and congratulations to Stevens High School from Governor John Lynch.  Standing during the ceremony at the top of the stairs at the entryway to the school, I could see the attentiveness and respect the students showed during the program.

The highlights of the program were the reading of names of staff and alumni who have served and the raising the flag that so recently had flown in Afghanistan by Stevens High School teacher and nearly 40 year veteran of the Coast Guard, Tom Liveston.

I saw no texting, no cell phones in use and general student appreciation as all of us learned a new way to show our respect and to honor our men and women who have served or are serving our nation in the military.  Congratulations and thanks to Carol Thebarge for implementing a wonderful idea that is as good as any civics mandate from Concord.

While the majority in the new Senate has decided that Peter Bragdon (Milford) will be the Senate President and the House majority will determine the next Speaker of the House this week, there are hundreds of decisions on standing committee appointments, committee chairmanships, assignments of office space and parking spaces to be made.

There are dozens of statutory committees, commissions and councils that have members appointed by the House Speaker or the Senate President.  I canceled a meeting last week of the legislative subcommittee of the State Parks System Advisory Council. There are two Senators on the subcommittee and one was defeated in the election.  There are three House members; one was defeated, one did not seek re-election.  Only two of the five legislators are left on the committee.  Subcommittee work will have to await new appointments.

The Commission to Study Business Taxes has been meeting weekly to insure that we meet our statutory obligation to submit an interim report by December 1. The final report is not due for two years.  Business taxes are a complicated subject on the best of days and the input of veteran legislators with professional tax experience is important.

There are four House members on the commission; two were defeated.  One is a CPA and the other is a lawyer and CPA.  Three members are from the Senate.  One was defeated. And she is an experienced attorney with a practice involving general business and real estate matters.

The ripple effect of the decisions of voters on Election Day is forcing change throughout the legislative process. The new House Speaker and Senate President will need to move quickly to fill dozens of vacancies on study commissions and other committees.

The new leadership teams in the House and Senate will have full court presses put on them by members seeking appointments to favored committees.  A letter has been circulated to all newly elected House members asking them to submit their three choices for committee assignment.  The process in the Senate is no less deliberate, just a bit more subtle.

Our local Chambers of Commerce provides many services to our small business community. We all know it is those small businesses that are at the core of our successful regional economy.

Twice a year, for example, the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce hosts a “salute” breakfast to recognize businesses being established, moving into the area or changing location.  It is an opportunity to have chamber members see what is going on and to encourage and possibly help the new or expanding businesses.

The new businesses in the area recognized last week at the Fall Salute Breakfast included People’s United Bank, a mortgage lender; Watts Bakery, a new Main Street store; City Auto Sales, a trailer and used cars dealer; Pinnacle, a bait and tackle shop that will also sell hunting and fishing licenses; and, Northwood Power Equipment, a new location for a major regional dealer of tractors, backhoes and other power equipment.

The Community Alliance has a new volunteer driver program which will match volunteer drivers with people who need rides to go shopping, to get to medical appointments and other daily tasks that require transportation.

Two businesses were recognized as they expand and move to new locations.  Lake Sunapee Plumbing and Heating has relocated to their newly renovated building on Sunapee Street.  NAPA Auto Parts has also moved to their new location on Sunapee Street.

NH Senate Okays District Court Funding Compromise

Senate vote today that will allow for four district courts slated for closure to remain open if their local communities contribute financially. Also attached is a photo of Senator Bob Odell as he spoke on the Senate floor today about the bill.

The NH Senate voted today to allow for four district courts slated for closure to remain open if their local communities contribute financially. Senator Bob Odell spoke on the Senate floor today about the bill.

The NH Senate voted today to allow for the continued operation of district courts in Claremont, Colebrook, Milford and Keene that were slated for closure in 2011. House Bill 1516 would require these four communities to pick up the costs for leasing the courtroom space if they want to maintain their local district court. But it also calls on the state court system to cover security for these four district courts within its existing budget, according to  the NH Senate Office release.

“We’ve heard from the communities about the importance of these courts and seen a willingness by them to financially participate in order to keep their courts open,” said Senator Odell (R-Lempster). “The city of Claremont was among those willing to come forward and participate in funding their district court so access to the court could be maintained in that community. This is a good compromise.”

“In Cheshire County and the city of Keene, leaders came together and made a commitment to keep their district court,” said Senator Molly Kelly (D-Keene).

“I brought together a task force, which has been moving forward to find a home for the district court in a new court complex in Keene,” said Kelly. “Passage of this bill allows that process to continue and for us to maintain the district court in Keene over the long term.”

House Bill 1516 was amended by the Senate to provide for local financial support and will have to return to the House to garner approval there.

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Capital Comments: NH Revenues Up in Nov. Yet Caution Advised

By State Senator Bob Odell

There were no major legislative activities in Concord last week as the focus is shifting to the quiet period around the holidays.  That is the way it should be.  Legislators should take breaks from time to time so that we do not lose our perspective on what is important to our communities and citizens.

The committee studying the closure of courts in Claremont, Colebrook and Milford did meet.  This time the committee heard from the Commissioner of Administrative Services and her court facilities manager.  The Judicial Branch of state government, the courts, does not operate the dozens of court facilities across the state.  Part of the Judicial Branch budget is allocated for operations and maintenance of court facilities, but the management of those responsibilities is assigned to the Department of Administrative Services. Continue reading

Capital Comments: Comm. Reports on District Court Closings in December

By Senator Bob Odell

The committee studying the closing of three district court facilities including the Claremont District Court met for its next to last meeting on Thursday, Nov. 19.

While the public meetings held in recent weeks in each community facing a court closing drew 25 to 50 residents and local officials, the committee meeting in Concord drew an audience one Senator (John Gallus, Berlin), one House member (John Cloutier, Claremont), one staff member, one newspaper reporter and two court officials.  It was proof again of the importance of holding our meetings in the impacted municipalities. Continue reading

H1N1 hits young children hardest. Preparing for flu pandemic.

The “novel H1N1” flu has caused a spike in pediatric deaths across the country, said Melody Actouka, the community disaster educator for the NH West Chapter of the American Red Cross. According to the latest national reports provided the regional Red Cross chapter last Friday, the flu has already caused 540 pediatric deaths nationwide vs. 80 child deaths during a typical flu season.

More young children ages birth to 12 and 13, compared to other age groups, are experiencing H1N1 and their illness tends to be more severe. This is resulting in more hospitalizations and deaths especially for children with other health conditions and compromised immune systems, explained Actouka today in a phone interview from her office in Keene.

Regional chapters of the American Red Cross are actively monitoring seasonal and H1N1 flu reports and working with state and county agencies to provide public education. The NH West Chapter works in Sullivan, Cheshire and part of Hillsborough counties.

A three-hour seminar designed to provide schools, businesses and community organizations with information on how to best maintain business and keep staff healthy this flu season is coming up. It will be held on Wednesday, December 2 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Claremont Savings Bank in Claremont. Continue reading

Capital Comments: Bettering the Lives of Claremont Seniors

By NH State Senator Bob Odell

One of the true pleasures of being a State Senator is to participate in celebrations of accomplishments by volunteer organizations.  That was certainly true when the Congress of Claremont Senior Citizens (CCSC) celebrated forty years of service and the Earl M. Bourdon Centre was recognized for providing housing and a seniors’ community center for thirty years.

It must have been quite a day back in 1979 when 81 units of housing for seniors was opened.  To have senior housing that was safe, attractive and affordable was a fairly new concept thirty years ago.  Since then, many not-for-profit entities have created similar housing units across the country.  I have been to ribbon cutting ceremonies for new facilities in Alstead and Newport built and owned by Southwestern Community Services in the last couple of years.

America seems to make progress gradually in establishing its social service infrastructure.  Today, we take social security, Medicare and even affordable housing for the elderly for granted.  The battle continues in Washington over what our national health insurance policies will be.  But, there is a long history of gradual change in how we serve the needs of ourselves and our fellow citizens.

Two days before the CCSC and Bourdon Centre celebrations, I went on a tour of the Tenement Museum in New York City.  I was there to visit with my daughter, Dawn, who was in the city for a professional conference and suggested we go to the Tenement Museum. Continue reading