Letters to the Editor

Proud of Hampshire Hills’ role as venue in region

To the Editor:

We are proud that one of our businesses is as an event center replete with more food and activity choices than any other event center in New England. We are listed year over year as the No. 1 largest event center in New Hampshire in the NH Business Review Book of Lists. We rarely have negative comments, but if we do, it is probably from someone more angry with a politician than the venue they chose. We are careful to never endorse any candidate. The facts: Most of our members know that for Hampshire Hills to remain a leader in the athletic club industry, we need to maximize revenue opportunities. In order to maintain the several pools indoors and out, a 77-acre campus with every amenity imaginable, including the only quarter-mile indoor bicycle track, fifth of a mile running track, and real indoor golf driving range combo in the U.S. or Canada – we must use our great spaces to our advantage. That means that every once in a while, a space will be taken offline for use by our event center. We are proud to have hosted (without a hitch), the largest political dinner in the entire history of the state of New Hampshire. We have rented space to companies large and small, as well as having donated space to schools and organizations, including the National Guard and other branches of the armed services. We have rented space to Republicans, Democrats and independent political groups, including five presidents, as well as dozens of would-be presidents. The travails of those types of events are complicated by the security requirements mandated by the United States Secret Service – with sometimes dozens of agents swarming about. I could give you 10 pages of details that need to be taken care of for such events to be successful, yet suffice to say that some of my proudest moments are watching our team handle it all while displaying upbeat and professional skill. I also witness acts of kindness coming out of these events that often are not seen by others, and I know why we were named the "outreach capital of the U.S." by our industry – it’s in our DNA. We work well partnering with local fire, police and town departments to make it all go smoothly, and we feel fortunate to live in such a community-centric part of New Hampshire.

Rick Holder Owner Hampshire Hills Sports & Fitness Club

Thanks to police department for recent school program

To the Editor:

Upon reading the Jan. 28 article "Stopping rape not just girl talk," I want to take the time to thank the Milford Police Department for being proactive in helping prepare our daughters with the knowledge and tools to protect themselves as they move on to the next stage in their lives. I agree that more education and awareness should also be provided to our sons, which I know that the Police Department and many others certainly agree with. The second phase of the program (whether led by the schools, Police Department and/or other organizations) could be focused on our sons in the community. However, I hope that the author of this article is not implying that negativity should be placed upon the Police Department for helping our daughters and bringing attention to a serious issue. The program geared toward our sons is important, but as our daughters move on to college, not all boys they encounter will have this education. Therefore, it is important for our daughters to be well informed of the dangers they may face. Sgt. Olivia Siekman and all of our law enforcement officers should be commended for their thoughtfulness, guidance, consideration and support.

Jason Plourde Milford

Don’t trust selectmen with decisions on Brox land To the Editor: As they did in the past two years, the Milford selectmen once again are asking citizens to give them the rights to the southern half of the Brox property. The selectmen are well aware of the results of the Natural Resources Inventory (NRI), but are intent on destroying this ecological gem anyway. On Dec. 1, Dr. Kevin Ryan presented the results of the NRI. Only one of the selectmen bothered to show up, and that was Chairman Mark Fougere, who has made it his personal mission to attack the Brox property and slice it up any way he can before more people realize the environmental importance that it has. The Brox property has much more value to the town of Milford as it now is than the extraction of the sand and gravel would presumably yield. Fictitious high dollar amounts have been given to the public by the selectmen, but even in a best case scenario, it would amount to less than $100 to each taxpayer spread out over 20 years. More realistically, it would be less than $30 per taxpayer over 20 years. Now for the third time the selectmen still do not have a complete plan showing clearly what would be involved and how long it would take to remove this sand. At recent Budget Advisory Committee meetings, Selectman Fougere answered as he has in the past that he doesn’t know the answers, but that if given authorization, then they and the hired contractor will come up with a plan of their own. The fact is that if the proposed Article 23 passes, the selectmen will have free rein to do whatever they want with this land with no oversight from the voters. It is not surprising that the chair of the Milford BOS can’t give clear answers for a sand and gravel operation because it is not the purpose of a local government to be overseeing a sand mining business as they propose to do. They have done a poor job in the past at maintaining our roads and bridges. It is clear that they cannot and should not be trying to run a sand and gravel business on the side. Even with all of the unknowns in this warrant article, the selectmen are still asking us to just trust them for 20 years with our land and open space. Their condescending and secretive behavior in the past shows that they don’t deserve the voters’ trust. They certainly don’t have mine.

Tom Gardner Milford

School clothing drive a success

To the Editor:

The Milford Middle School MMS PTO and the Student Advisory Council would like to thank the parents and community of Milford for making this year’s 14th annual Winter Clothing Drive a success. We collected over 500 items of winter clothing both new and gently used. A special thank you to Taylor Austin’s grandmother Joyce Austin, who hand-knit 45 hats! Another thank you goes to True Blue Cleaners, which volunteered to launder some of the clothing that needed to be freshened up before turning it over to Share. These classrooms were the grade winners with the most clothing brought in: Mrs. Danhof (Gr. 6), Mrs. Dobson (Gr. 7) and Ms. Blake (Gr. 8). All clothing was turned over to the Milford Share program.

MMS PTO, Jeanne Rocca, Beth Fields MMS Student Advisory Council, Nicole Barry