To the editor:
I am writing in response to your “April Fool’s Day” edition of The Conway Daily Sun. On page 12 you chose to run an article which, in my view, violates the ethical and moral standards by which responsible journalists should abide. Although I suppose I may be in the minority, or have set some to wondering “what’s the big deal?” hopefully you will not only print this letter but perhaps reconsider the impact of articles of this sort so as not to venture down this road again.
What I am specifically talking about is the “spoof” article on the North Conway Fire station being rebuilt to accommodate a new ladder truck to be named “Big Dick” A few sentences later, the article reported that North Conway Chief Pat Preece said that Fire Chief Steve Solomon “has a bigger one than me,” but that “my new one will be longer.” The report up to this point, when read by your readers could have been understood to be referring strictly to the fire engines in question, though there were more than subtle suggestions to male anatomy comparisons.
But the final paragraph is what prompted me to write my first ever “letter to the editor” in the many years I have been reading your widely circulated newspaper. The article says that a question was posed as to whether or not a new fire station was necessary because the new truck’s ladder contracts to a compact size “when not erect,” and that Preece said his (ladder truck) “is a lot bigger than it looks.” I have never heard of a ladder on a fire truck being “erect” or not “erect,” but even supposing that I am a neophyte in the world of fire engine terms, I feel that in the interest of good taste, another term could have been used for the ladder being extended. I don’t believe for one moment that the talented writers at the Sun meant anything but sexual references to a male’s anatomy in this entire article.
I could probably go on a bit about responsible journalism, about how impressionable younger (and older!) readers could be affected, about how the image of our wonderful valley and North Country could be tarnished by such articles, about how you merely are bowing to the further depraving of our society away from any standard of righteousness (never mind legitimizing rude comments and/or behavior in print), etc., but for the sake of brevity, I won’t. Suffice it to say that I am certain that I am not the only person who is “out there shaking their head over this, a bit shocked that you would stoop so low to amuse some who may appreciate this raw humor.
Kevin W. Straughan, pastor
Agape Community Church
Last Updated on Friday, 18 April 2014 06:12
To the editor:
The water cooler at Kennett High School was a buzz recently over the published names of teachers and administrators salaries.
"Why do they have to put our names on it," I heard quite a few times. "I don't want my neighbors to know how much I make," said one. Another expressed her dismay that her peers would be comparing their salaries. (Almost never a good idea.) One told me she hoped her kids won't read the list, fears of "My mom makes more than your Dad."
There was no explanation for publishing the list. I wonder if The Conway Daily Sun can elucidate some reason for doing this.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 April 2014 05:09
To the editor:
The Inferno Pentathlon is hard for most to comprehend. It's a physical and mental challenge that pushes its competitors well beyond their comfort zone and frequently into the pain zone. The participants cover the spectrum from well-seasoned adventure racers to first-time competitors, but all racing for either a cause, to challenge themselves to surpass their own or other's expectations, to just have fun, or all of the above.
The event is a gem for the Mount Washington Valley for many reasons, including fundraising for the Friends of Tuckerman Ravine who are critical in preserving and protecting the Tuckerman Ravine area. The Inferno builds special community and the camaraderie is more than evident during and after the race. It also adds to the rich history of the Mount Washington Valley every year, and this year was no different.
Among the many fantastic stories of the last couple years of the Inferno has been the under-publicized addition of the adaptive division to one of the largest adventure races in the country. It is cited in the race results and announced during the awards banquet, but few understand what the adaptive division is, despite its adding perhaps the most impressive physical and mental conquests, the deepest and most amazing community building, and not to mention some of the most intriguing and inspiring history the race has seen.
In 2012, a small group of athletes with physical and/or intellectual disabilities, along with their families and volunteers from AbilityPLUS-Mount Washington Valley, decided to do something crazy ... enter teams in the Inferno Race. It was an amazing experience for all involved who enthusiastically committed to doing it again the following year. In 2013, Friends of Tuckerman Ravine partnered with AbilityPLUS and added an adaptive division to the race. The response has been more than positive, and the adaptive division grew to include four teams in 2014.
An Inferno Adaptive Team may be any team configuration with at least one member who has a disability. Accommodations are allowed for the disabled competitor such as the use of a guide or the use of specialized equipment. In its third year, the adaptive division reflected the diversity of the other categories, with some teams competing with the goal of finishing the race while others wanting to place high in the overall team division. Ultimately, as with with the other participants, the adaptive division results included teams who either fell short, met, or even exceeded their expectations. Regardless, all were glad they participated and plan to return in 2015, with hopefully even more adaptive division teams competing.
I would like to thank Friends of Tuckerman Ravine for putting on another great race this year and, more importantly, creating a culture supportive of adaptive athletes.
PHOTO: Jamie Gemmiti picture of Cliff Cabral, adaptive athlete and snowboarder from the adaptive division champions, "Beauty and the Beasts."
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 April 2014 05:09
To the editor:
For someone who professes to like me personally Bill sure has a funny way of showing it. My first instinct was just to ignore his recent diatribe written against me but the more I thought about it the more I felt it was my responsibility to set the record straight in an attempt to protect my reputation and character in the eyes of those that don't know me personally.
Bill, like the playground bully we have all known, attacks those he disagrees with on a personal level because he is so insecure and unhappy with his own life that he attempts tear people down to make himself feel better about his situation. He uses words in place of fists, but the intent is the same. I refuse to get upset over what he writes about me. Instead I pity him as I think all his readers should. Imagine living such an unhappy life as he.
In the fifth paragraph Bill states, "Chris professed amazement that Conway's school tax rate actually dropped a few years ago, as though unaware of the impact of fluctuating enrollment from sending towns." My amazement was not in that the tax rate fluctuates from year to year, but rather in the fact that the tax rate has decreased three of the last eight years and that we are currently paying less school taxes ($9.02 per thousand for 2013) than we did in 2008 ($9.14 per thousand). I would imagine most people who have been listening to the budget committee these last few years found these facts to be in conflict with what the budget committee members have been telling them and therefore, like me, were surprised too.
He goes on to discuss the current tuition agreements between the sending towns and Conway stating the "current agreement imparts a belated measure of fairness to Conway ..." Never have I complained about this agreement and I am quite familiar with it; in fact I was an outspoken proponent of it. At the Jackson school meeting I advocated for the passage of this agreement knowing that it was probably the only way we would be able to get the new high school built. Though the tuition agreement does mean that Jackson pays more today than we did under the old agreement I was in support of this if it meant my children would be able to attend a new school that would provide a topnotch 21st century education. Jackson students could have gone to Fryeburg for significantly less money but the consensus of Jackson voters at the time felt it was worth paying more to Conway if it meant keeping them in a Valley-wide school.
Bill, like Mr. King, brought up my prior comment about the sending towns "in part subsidizing the education of Conway students." When I first made this comment it was not intended as a derogatory remark as they have apparently taken it to be. My intent was to inform Conway residents that the sending towns have and continue to spend a great deal of money on Conway's schools, including payments on the new school bond. In essence I was trying to say that we are in this together. Conway needs our tax dollars to help keep their costs down and the sending towns need Conway to continue to provide a quality education to our high school students.
In the next to last paragraph Bill delivers perhaps the most insulting part of his rant when he challenges my character. "If Chris does not know or understand any of the information above he is uniformed ... and not very astute in the subjects of government and economics that he is supposed to be teaching. If he does know ... then he is deliberately misleading the public ... that would make him a hypocrite. I leave him to choose which pair of conclusions he prefers." Well Bill I prefer neither as neither is accurate. By stating this all you have done is reveal your own ignorance when it comes to understanding the budget. An excusable offense to a layperson but for someone that has just finished a three year stint on the budget committee it is surprising.
Jackson pays roughly three times as much per student than Conway does to send a child to Kennett. All towns receive a subsidy from the state of New Hampshire and the federal government but Conway also receives a subsidy from the sending towns like Jackson. Now Bill, can you honestly sit there knowing this and suggest that Conway's taxes would be lower if the sending towns like Jackson weren't contributing to the cost of building and running the new high school?
I hold no resentment towards Bill. I wish the best for him and his family. It is my hope that he can eventually find peace and happiness in his life that seems so lacking now. Freud might suggest to him that instead of spending so much time and energy trying to tear others down to his level that perhaps he should spend more energy reflecting on his early life and childhood in hopes of resolving the issues from his past that continue to plague him in his adult life.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 05:48
To the editor:
I recently had an experience where a young person in our community was in dire need of sneakers. His shoes were too small, and his toes were sticking through. My sister, husband and I were able to get him two pairs of gently used shoes from our own closet. This made me think on a larger level, there are many kids in our community that do not have the things that they need, and many working parents who can't get to thrift stores during the day. I have decided to take on this challenge. I put this idea out on Face Book and got a huge response from people that want to help with this venture. My goal is to have drop off places where people in the community can drop off donations of gently used clothing and school supplies, shoes, handbags etc. My target is youth ages 12-18 this is a group that is often overlooked. I have a huge amount of people that have offered up their hands and homes to sorting and organizing clothing by size. Back to school is always an anxious time, helping these kids get a couple of nice outfits and supplies that they otherwise would not have, may seem small, but it can make a big difference to these children.
We did our first clothing and school supply giveaway this past August, it was amazingly successful! My goal is to start raising funds and taking donations by late May, any help is greatly appreciated! We were able to outfit 100 children with a backpacks loaded with all of the school supplies they would need for the school year, and even more kids with clothing, shoes, and accessories, and a huge amount of school supplies, it was such a fun event, for everyone!
Our goal next year is to be able to outfit 200 kids with backpacks loaded with all of the school supplies they will need. Gently used clothing appropriate for kids between the ages of 12-18 are greatly appreciated! In addition to clothing, shoes and school supplies, we would like to raise enough money to help kids throughout the year as needs come up. We would like to have a cushion fund to assist these students. Also, we would like to provide scholarships for various things that students may not be able to afford. We gave a scholarship to a student for drivers ed this year, and would like to expand it to include sports, and other activities like dancing etc. All of the money we raise will be put into a fund to support these kids. I am very excited about all of the possibilities that this fund will open for them!
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 05:47
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