Letters to the Editor – April 14, 2016

No good deed goes unpunished in Amherst

To the Editor:

I wish to thank the Amherst Land Trust for taking the initiative to raise over $400,000, which was necessary to build Joshua’s Park, so that the taxpayers didn’t have to bear the cost.

Members of the land trust and other residents are to be thanked for donating countless hours of professional services to the project, thus avoiding many thousands of dollars in additional costs.

Lastly, I thank the 400-plus people and organizations in our community who have donated to the park, most notably Joshua’s mom, who made, by far, the single biggest donation. With the loss of the Cemetery Fields playground, this park is an asset to the village and town as a whole.

That having been said, I am deeply disappointed by the select few who are challenging the ethics of the permitting process, as well as the openness and integrity of the people on the Amherst Land Trust. I’ve lived in Amherst for more than 20 years, and I know these folks as decent, caring citizens. If you know the people involved in the ALT, and take the time to read the approval process shown on the Joshua’s Park website, there’s no doubt that the process was done ethically and legally.

The Amherst Land Trust has saved numerous parcels (hundreds of acres) from development in town over the years, mostly to the benefit of the general public, but even more so to the abutters.

I find the fact that these folks are objecting to a community park, which will most likely increase the value of their own property, abhorrent!

Cyndi Carr Amherst

In memoriam: Carol Holden

To the Editor:

When I first got involved in New Hampshire politics I felt a bit "star struck," I guess is the term, when I met elected officials. I was nervous the first time I met with Commissioner Carol Holden. A television show called "The Commish" came to mind while I was having coffee at a Dunkin’ Donuts, in Merrimack, with an actual commissioner. Somehow our conversation led to a discussion of passing the time while waiting in line at the grocery store.

When Commissioner Holden told me that she also enjoys reading the tabloid headlines, I felt more at ease and began to realize that perhaps, just maybe, elected officials are also just regular people. This past Friday, April 1, 2016, Commissioner Holden died peacefully at her home after a brief illness. The news left many of us shocked and saddened, especially for her husband, Don. I just saw Carol, what seems like, days ago. She was wearing one of her signature hats and looked just fine. Tuesday, April 5, the Honorable Lenette Peterson and I took our place in line at the funeral home and chatted with the folks around us who also knew Carol. As we rounded the corner to enter the viewing room, I saw the hat before I noticed her family in the receiving line. I am happy to report that Carol Holden went to her eternal rest sporting a pink straw hat with a good Republican elephant pin at the top. She looked like she was sleeping. She told me once that she always wore a hat so people would recognize her.

Several current state representatives knew Carol through a program named after Vesta Roy. Vesta Roy was the New Hampshire state Senate president when Gov. Hugh Gallen died in office in 1982. Vesta succeeded him, making her the FIRST female governor of New Hampshire. Her portrait is at the base of the stairs that leads to the Senate Gallery. The first female speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives was Donna Sytek. Speaker Sytek was one of the founders of a political educational program called "Vesta Roy Excellence in Public Service." Carol Holden was on the Vesta Roy board of directors and a mentor to several of us serving in the House today. We call ourselves "Vesties." Sometimes we wear a specific gold star to identify ourselves.

It was Carol who taught me to how to politic a room. She taught me the proper wording when asking for an endorsement. She stressed what is essential when running for office. And when things were not to her liking … she let me know. In addition to the Vesta Roy Series, Carol had a long history with the Federation of Republican Women. The national federation is based in Washington, D.C. Each state has its own chapter. Carol is a past president. We have five federated groups in our state. I think she supported them all. When I was a club president, Carol was my parliamentarian. It was her job to make sure that I ran the meetings the way Donna Sytek taught me to in Vesta Roy. Carol gave me a booklet of notes on Robert’s Rules for Parliamentary Procedure, to refer to as needed. Honestly though, if Carol was

at one of our meetings, it was a lot easier to just look her way for a nod of approval than it was to look at my notes. A few weeks ago I was informed that as the current state president of NHFRW, I had to fill the positions required by nationals. Wasn’t it just days ago that I received an email from Carol accepting the position of … you guessed it … parliamentarian? Carol’s obituary had a long list of Republican boards and activities that she ran or served. She was one of three commissioners for Hillsborough County. Merrimack was one of the towns in her district. She always marched in our 4th of July parade. She worked the Republican booth at county fairs and was always seen at various Republican events, like the federation’s annual Lilac Luncheon. Did you know that she was related to President George Bush? Yeah, both of them… No. 41 and No. 43. Carol was from the Walker branch of the family.

We had coffee with Doro Bush this past December. For those who don’t know, Jeb is not George W’s only sibling. There is also Neil, Marvin and Doro. When I introduced Carol to Doro, Doro called her "Cousin" for the rest of the visit. Carol held many offices.

She was a New Hampshire state rep from 1984-97. She chaired and co-chaired committees and served as assistant majority leader. Female legislators are members of the Order of the Women Legislators, commonly called "The OWLS." Sometime last fall I was browsing in the Capitol Visitors Center when Debbie Rivers pointed to a stack of books on the floor, in the corner, that were being given away. She handed me one. I took it home and added it to a stack of books sitting on the floor, in the corner, of my room. It was a book about the OWLS. I didn’t know what to do with it.

At Christmastime, the Merrimack Town Republican Committee had a fundraiser. Carol was there, because Carol went to most Republican meetings. When she saw the book on the table with giveaways and political literature, she asked me about it. When I told her that she could have it, I saw her face light up like I’ve never seen before. The book covered the years that she served in the House, and her name was in it. I will always remember how happy and pleased she looked that evening. I can’t believe she is gone. Her friend, local photographer Glynis Citarelli, posted the following on Facebook:

"Madam Commissioner, you truly wore many hats. A tireless public servant … Godspeed my dear friend." To that I’d like to add, "May her memory be eternal."

Jeanine Notter State representative, serving Merrimack State president of the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women