Letters to the Editor – February 25, 2016

Support Jeanne Ludt for supervisor of the checklist

To the Editor: Please join me in supporting Jeanne Ludt in her run for re-election as supervisor of the checklist. Jeanne’s selfless dedication to the town of Amherst is admirable, to say the least. Jeanne served on the Souhegan School Board for 12 years and, although she was ready to move on, agreed to step in to help the board when we needed it most – at the wish of Fran Harrow. I served with Jeanne for seven of those 12 years and experienced firsthand what a valuable member of the board she was. Jeanne’s research capabilities, ability to dig deep and ask tough questions, and her attention to detail made her an asset on the board. These qualities also made her an asset on the Souhegan Advisory Finance Committee, where she served for two years. That same quest to learn and attention to detail have made Jeanne invaluable in her first six-year term as supervisor of the checklist. Jeanne has been a supervisor for four state primaries, two presidential primaries, two presidential elections, eight town and school deliberatives, and eight town/school elections. This is not a glamorous job, and it is not one where partisanship comes into play. It is just about hard work to ensure that the election process goes smoothly for all of us. It requires a lot training to be kept up to date on election processes and laws, a large time commitment – especially around election periods – and a lot of detailed administrative tasks are necessary so that our voices are heard at the polls. By volunteering my time at the polls over the last seven years I, again, was able to see how well Jeanne can handle situations where there are time pressures and sensitive issues. With the important presidential election coming up this fall, we need Jeanne and her knowledge and experience to make sure it goes smoothly. I admire Jeanne for all of her service she has given to this town, and have confidence in her abilities to get any task done that is put in from of her – and done well. Again, please join me in supporting Jeanne Ludt as supervisor of the checklist. Mary Lou Mullens Amherst

Purvis announces candidacy for Souhegan School Board

To the Editor: Not since the Reconstruction Era has education in the United States experienced a transformative moment. By focusing on the knowledge, skills and work habits important to success in the 21st century, the national movement in education is supporting schools in developing innovative instruction, rigorous curriculum, authentic assessments and relevant program of studies. This is also rewarding confirmation regarding the continued successes of Souhegan High School, as education on the state and national levels are aligning with the approach of Souhegan High School’s fundamental philosophy, inquiry-based learning, collaborative environments and integrated instruction. Being recognized at the state and national level for their work on developing next-generation assessments, Souhegan High School is determined to appreciate and understand each student’s needs and interests, preparing each student for success in today’s world. I am proud and excited to stand in support of this effort. As with most residents, we moved here primarily because the schools in Amherst were great and are great. This greatness cannot be assumed or taken for granted, nor should we allow special interests the ability to dismantle our schools. This election comes at a pivotal moment that requires all those who value our already great schools to take the courageous stand and simply support our schools. Therefore, I am pleased to declare that I am a candidate for the Souhegan School Board, and ask you to join with me supporting our children, schools and property values with votes for the school budgets. Equally as important, please join with me to re-elect both Steven Coughlan and Peter Maresco, and vote for me. Dwayne Purvis Amherst

Peter Lyon is choice for Amherst Board of Selectmen

To the Editor: I rarely write letters to a newspaper, but when I learned that Peter Lyon was running for the Amherst Board of Selectmen, I felt compelled to share my personal views on this man with the voters who will select someone to guide the town for the next three years. I have known Peter for nearly 40 years and worked closely with him for over 30 years. I don’t believe that I could envision a more worthy candidate for such an important role in Amherst municipal government. I first knew Peter as a college intern with the Amherst Police Department while I was a patrolman. I watched him grow, develop and rise up the ranks of the department, eventually selecting him as my second in command while I was the Amherst police chief. When I chose to retire from the department, Peter was my unquestionable choice to recommend to the town to replace me. I then had the privilege of watching him manage the Police Department with great skill during my tenure as town administrator. Peter would bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in municipal government to the board. His exemplary record with the Police Department proves him to be a man of integrity with high ethical standards. I personally know the high standards Peter embodies. He would be a tireless, hard worker who would be dedicated to making the best decisions for the town’s interests. He would not hesitate to make difficult decisions after thoroughly researching a topic and listening to other viewpoints. His easygoing personality, team-building skills and consensus-fostering management style would be a great addition to the Board of Selectmen. Peter is a fiscal conservative who I have frequently joked might be the only man more frugal than I am. This trait would assure Peter would be a strong advocate for the taxpayers of Amherst. In closing, I would find it hard to imagine there is another person who has worked closer and longer with Peter than I. I can unequivocally tell you that he would be an outstanding selectman. I would ask that you research his record, get to know what he stands for and support him with your vote on March 8. Gary MacGuire Merrimack

Support Amherst’s Joshua’s Park

To the Editor: The Amherst Land Trust is spearheading an effort to build a new park in Amherst. If you haven’t heard, what’s remarkable about Joshua’s Park is its demonstration of people’s can-do community spirit. Over 300 people, with their time and money, have joined to build a community garden and playground. Everyone knows that Amherst needs a new playground – we no longer have one for preschoolers. We could also use more space for people to come together in town – space with handicapped-accessible pathways, benches and sunny, fertile garden plots. The space on Courthouse Road is perfect, a piece of farmland on the south side of Amherst Village. Everyone I speak with likes the park idea. I’m a trustee, so I’m obviously in favor. But more than that, I’m a proud Amherst native, and I know this will be another jewel for our fine town. How could you not like a park built by volunteers, with volunteer money, to be given to the town for free? It’s a grass-roots effort for kids and adults alike. If you can, please join me – and so many others – in making the park happen. We are still $75,000 shy of our $400,000 goal, so tell your friends. Talk to your family and friends. Make a difference by donating. Don’t miss "staking your claim" to part of this legacy. Send tax-deductible checks to the Amherst Land Trust, Joshua’s Park Fund, Box 753, Amherst. Or go to JoshuasPark.org. Jim Hendrix Trustee, Amherst Land Trust

Thanks for help with shoe drive

To the Editor: It’s that time of year again! (Better late than never!) We finally made our delivery for the Nike Re-Use A Shoe Drive! A very big thank you to our sponsor, John Nolan, of Amherst’s Able Moving & Storage Co. We are very grateful for his support. Our family has hosted this drive every fall for the last 10 years. This will be our final year. Thank you to our community for making every year a success. Nike takes the used athletic shoes and recycles the soles into playing surfaces for underprivileged communities. It’s been a great 10- year run, and we’ve enjoyed this project as a family, but it’s time to move on. If anyone is interested in taking over the drive, please contact jmdrn@comcast.net and we will fill you in on the specifics. Once again, thank you to everyone in the community who helped others by donating to this worthy cause. Drew D’Auteuil Submitted by Jennifer D’Auteuil Amherst

Board appreciates volunteer’s efforts

To the Editor: I am writing on behalf of the Milford Planning Board to recognize the extraordinary volunteer efforts of Judy Plant, who recently announced that she would be resigning from the Milford Planning Board. Judy has a long history of dedicated service to the town of Milford. In 2004, Judy was one of nine volunteers on the Government Study Committee that looked at whether Milford should change its form of government. She started as an alternate on the Milford Planning Board in July 2005 and was appointed a full member in April 2008. Judy worked on several Planning Board subcommittees to revise Milford’s zoning ordinances and on the Development Regulations Update Subcommittee in 2009. Judy served as a Planning Board representative on the Capital Improvements Plan Committee from 2010 to 2015. It is the work of committed volunteers like Judy that help to make our town the special place that it is. We thank Judy for everything she has done and wish her the best of luck in the future. Christopher Beer Chairman Milford Planning Board

Milford: Vote no on Brox Article 23

To the Editor: A small minority of business owners in Milford are the ones who sit on the important boards for this town. Some are selectmen. Others are on the Planning and Economic Development boards. They all have the same goal, and that is to make more money for their own businesses. What better way to increase their personal income than bringing development? They recognize that Milford voters don’t want the town to grow, and yet they interpret this to mean that the voters are just being "shortsighted." Many people, including myself, live in Milford because we like the smalltown atmosphere and the feel of belonging to an intimate town. Many of us commute long distances for work because it is much better to live in a quiet rural setting than in a noisy, congested big city. Milford’s selectmen think that all residents should support growing the town to help business and forget about our "selfish" reasons for wanting to keep the town small. On the Planning Board, we have businesspeople who have personal interests for being members, and they vote accordingly. Our taxes keep going up and our infrastructure suffers because of people running the town who don’t necessarily have Milford’s best interest in mind. They are running the town into the ground to support their own businesses and those of their friends. The main reason for destroying the Brox town land is to benefit a few people who would make a lot of money and at the same time grow the town to be more like Nashua or Manchester. They want Milford to be a hub for business, a kind of "Grand Central Station" for this part of the state. They will benefit greatly, but the rest of us will still have higher taxes and more traffic, noise, congestion and stress. We will lose the small-town character that we all enjoy. In Amherst, it is a completely different story, where boards are trying to increase conservation land and slow down development, and some astute person in that town wrote a letter last week hoping to see Milford grow so that Amherst won’t have to. Milford loses if the Brox town land, an ecological gem, is destroyed. Save Milford’s smalltown atmosphere by voting no on Brox Excavation Warrant Article 23. Tom Gardner Milford

Support candidate for Amherst ZBA

To the Editor: I would appreciate your vote for the Amherst Zoning Board of Adjustment. I believe that I am the most qualified candidate based on my experience as a 20-year member of the ZBA, being a retired New Hampshire attorney, former New Hampshire judge and current member of New Hampshire House, holding the position as chair of the Judiciary Committee. I believe my qualifications are important considering the Zoning Board of Adjustment is a quasi-judicial function established by state law. The board hears and decides requests for variances, special exceptions and equitable wavers. Further, the ZBA functions as an appellate board in that it hears and decides appeals from decisions made by town officers and boards. As a 20-year member of the board, I have a record of following the state law and town ordinances and in doing so treating citizens fairly and respectfully. May I have your vote next Tuesday? Robert H. Rowe Amherst

Guide not honest about excavation

To the Editor: In the Milford Voters Guide, the selectmen’s majority report to Brox Article 23 states this: "One of the many benefits to the community that were advocated when the Brox property was purchased was the potential to sell sand and gravel material from the site to help offset the $1.9 million dollar purchase cost." This is a misrepresentation of facts. The truth is that excavation of sand and gravel for sale was not advocated when the Brox property was purchased for $1.4 million. In 2000, the town’s "Brox Property Purchase" never mentioned excavating or mining sand and gravel, but rather, simply stated: "There also exists an estimated $1,000,000 worth of gravel and construction materials on the property which the Town will own and be able to utilize for Town projects and for sale." This actually is a reference to the $1 million or more of already excavated sand and gravel left behind by Brox Industries. The proof is the 1999 information sheet written by a committee composed of Jack Ruonala, Mel Reever, Bob Courage and Bill Parker, which stated these facts: "State gravel resources appraiser estimate on quantity of exposed material – 275,000 CY (with an) estimated value of exposed sand and gravel – $1,000,000 plus." The operative word being "exposed," ready for DPW to truck away. In 2015, Town Administrator Mark Bender told me that there is no accounting of quantity and value of materials removed from Brox, meaning there is no record of the million dollars of inventory we have been benefiting from for 15 years! Back in 2000, there was no mention of ever having a mining operation to excavate sand and gravel at Brox by leveling the forested hills. That would be difficult and expensive to do. It’s a greedy idea that came later on and is now being pushed by the selectmen for their own agenda. The selectmen are not truthful about Brox excavation Warrant Article 23. That’s just one of many good reasons to vote NO. Suzanne Fournier Coordinator Brox Environmental Citizens Milford

Elect new trio for open discussion

To the Editor: The entrenched old guard on the Souhegan School Board refuses to acknowledge the New Hampshire Department of Education’s own data that shows the high school’s cost per pupil is higher than adjoining towns and the school’s performance lower. What are they afraid of? If there are areas where the school can be improved and services delivered more cost effectively, why don’t they want to discuss those openly and seek input from the town’s residents? Instead, they circle the wagons, cast doubt on the state’s data and start calling those who dare challenge them names. Why would one of the board members in a recent Cabinet letter call a group of citizens who are working to gather objective data on the school "a cabal"? They are asking us to pack the board with three new members they’ve chosen who will only further their aims and close out the rest of the community. What are they afraid of? I’m not part of this or any other citizens group, and I have no ax to grind with our high school, but the current board’s reaction seems odd in a year when the nation’s electorate is asking for more open discussion and less old-guard protectiveness. Unfortunately, the only way we’re going to get that is by electing the three outsiders who will bring good data and fresh outlook to Souhegan. If not now, when? I urge you to vote for Mike Akillian, Maggie Mc- Cabe and Bob Brewster. Steve Hufft Amherst