TELE-TALK: Should New Hampshire ban the hand-held use of cellphones and other electronic devices while driving?
The N.H. Senate this week approved a bill to ban the hand-held use of cellphones or other electronic devices while driving. The House had passed a previous version of the bill, but the Senate added a provision requiring safety agencies to conduct a public education campaign to alert drivers of the new law before it goes into effect. Because of the revision, the bill will have to go back to the House. Supporters of the bill say too many drivers are surfing the Internet, reading texts and playing video games while driving, making the roads more dangerous. Opponents say the bill represents another government intrusion on people's lives. Hands-free use of electronic devices would still be allowed under the proposed bill.
This week's Tele-Talk: Should New Hampshire ban the hand-held use of cellphones and other electronic devices while driving?
Last Updated on Friday, 18 April 2014 00:09
There were 12 responses to this week’s Tele-Talk question: “What suggestions do you have for better managing activity on the Saco River?”
I am a resident of Conway and we are blessed to have the Swift River to enjoy in our backyard. The Mount Washington Valley is a beautiful place and our lakes, rivers, and streams are some of the best. We need to care for and maintain these special places. The Saco River intersects with the Swift River in Conway and there is a lot of activity at Davis Park. This can be a challenge for year round residents to get through the bridge, up East Side Road, and into town. As spring and summer come upon us, it is increasingly more difficult to manage the influx of visitors, and heavy canoe, kayak, and float travel on the Saco river. This influx of traffic on the Saco does cause a multitude of challenges. As you spend time on the river and the banks, you will come across a large amount of debris. There are empty beer cans and bottles, soda cans and bottles, trash, and clothing cast aside all season long. This lack of regard for our rivers and the community that surround it should be addressed. I would certainly support a police presence on the Saco. I would also support a heavier police presence at Davis Park. This would send a clear message to all waterway travelers that there are expectations and consequences. Lastly, there exists the issue of drinking on the river and underage alcohol use and abuse. Alcohol and operating watercraft, as well as swimming, is a recipe for disaster. Instituting this police presence will help prevent some of this activity. A homeowner on the river, Conway.
The Saco River is not only a valuable natural resource but obviously a very valuable economic asset to both Conway and Fryeburg (and other towns). It’s not a matter of if we should spend money managing this resource but how best to do it. In my opinion the Saco has to be managed regionally and the towns of Fryeburg and Conway absolutely have to be on the “same page” regarding this effort. Mike Corthell, Fryeburg Maine.
To manage activity: We could deputize some of the canoeists, tubers and kayakers by giving them a discount on fees charged by canoe rentals and transporters to input areas. The town could reimburse the vendors for the discounts, and make it up by charging parking fees at all parks, and pull off areas near the river. Sort of a double whammy. Maybe supply them with walkie-talkies so they could call the police if they spot any illegal activities. To clean up the river; we could ask the town for $20,000 to hand out trash bags to 400 people going down the river and for each bag they fill, they would get $50. If $50 isn’t enough to get a full bag, maybe we could raise it to $100. That increase shouldn’t be a problem, because the tax caps are now gone, and it should pass easily. After-all, it doesn’t appear that the taxpayers mind a substantial increase, even when it comes to the special interest of a special few. It’s all about Conway going down the river, and they don’t plan on taking a bus to get there! Bon voyage.
The difficulties we are experiencing associated with the recreational use of the Saco river can be classified into two specific areas: density and regulation. As the popularity of our area continues to increase along with the availability of canoe, kayak and float rentals, more and more people are using the river for recreation. In an effort to accommodate private liveries, and the first round of conflicts that arose from the parking and trespass problems associated with their activities, the town dramatically improved the point of entry at First Bridge. Although a great example of public and private cooperation, this allowed even more water sports density. As a result of the improvement, and the associated increase in density of use, we now have downstream conflicts. When you address density conflicts with improvements, without regard to any regulation, the problem always tends to expand. To immediately effect an improvement in the areas of trash and behavior, we should staff the main points of entry and egress with either a police officer or recreation department staffer. The key features of enforcement should be enforceable town ordinances that limits the amount of alcohol per legal age occupant of the conveyance being launched, and a “pack it in, pack it out” policy at the point of exit. This would substantially cut down on the bad behavior that usually goes hand in hand with drunkenness, and limit trash problems on the river and the costs associated with trash pick up on town properties. It would also send a clear message that the town of Conway is serious about preserving the beauty and recreational nature of the Saco.
What suggestions I have for better managing the Saco River? I wouldn’t say putting a police officer out in the woods to do what he wanted while he got a good paycheck, as he would be getting. I think that what they need to do is just clean up the area at general, maybe hang out at Rite-Aid and catch the zombies as they’re coming out before they hand out to everybody else, maybe stop a few drunk drivers in the middle of the night, all kinds of other stuff, because these people during the day out on a river demand privacy and it doesn’t matter who owns land on either side. The people deserve to be able to float down a river without being harassed by the police. This is Jim in Wolfeboro.
What suggestions do you have for better managing activity on the Saco River? Absolutely no booze.
I am just totally disgusted. Today is Saturday, April 12, and I was just down at the First Bridge to go for a walk, And in the parking area there are six large bags of trash. The town of Conway should be made to be picking up that garbage instead of having myself pick it up and my husband pick it up. It is ridiculous. Have some garbage bins there. And if they say they don’t have the money to do it, then find some volunteers to do it. I would do such a thing to help out the town. But please put garbage tins in different areas so it doesn’t go in the river, especially plastic bags.
Let’s hire Secretary of State Johnboy Kerry and a few of his Vietnam era cohorts to patrol the Saco with swiftboats like they did on the Mekong Rivah back in the 60s. This should encourage good behavior.
The following Tele-Talk responses were posted on The Conway Daily Sun’s Facebook page:
I’m thinking something like EZ-Pass. The canoe traffic will be monitored by camera and GPS just like the highway system is and the authorities will then be able to tell who is abusing the system and send a letter with a fine to their home like the NHDOT does today on our roads. It is going to be tough if you get too many points off your canoe license, that’s for sure.
Whatever it is they do, I feel the canoe rental places that are making profit from these tourists causing issues with leaving their trash, drinking and always using the emergency because of their lack of respect for our rivers — it should be on them NOT the locals (taxpayers).
They’re not as bad as they were five years ago. With that said, you can’t change the mass culture. Just saying.
Have better monitoring. The Saco River in the summer is like party central full of obnoxious tourists! Make them pay.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 02:00
A Conway committee is looking at ways to better manage activity on the Saco River. One suggestion raised at a recent meeting is to have roving police patrols at key points, such as First Bridge and Davis Park. One of the problems that committee members feel need to be addressed is people trashing public and private property and the river itself. Committee member Ed Bergeron said he took a float trip in Colorado, and "every single inch" of the river was posted no trespassing. "We don't want that to happen on the Saco River," he said. "Landowners are unhappy." Recreation director John Eastman said a police presence would also help reduce underage drinking at popular spots for swimmers and canoeists.
This week's Tele-Talk: What suggestions do you have for better managing activity on the Saco River?
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 22:58
Tele-Talk Responses: What are the big issues for you on the Conway town and school ballots this year?
There were 21 responses to this week’s Tele-Talk question, “What are the big issues for you on the Conway town and school ballots this year?”
The tax cap has got to be a help for the region. Teachers complain about their salaries and they only work 180 days a year once you figure in the days off, vacation time during that 180 days. Conway will be the largest property owner in town soon if we don’t pay attention to what we tell them. The property tax is way too high. Wake up Conway before you go belly up. Also the state has to stop wasteful spending. They’re wasting men and equipment and the taxpayers money as usual. Wake up Conway. I’m in Center Conway.
The biggest issues for me are the proposed tax caps. I don’t believe in automatic spending controls because they don’t work. For example, let’s say five children with severe autism moved to town and each one cost $200,000 per year in services. We are required by law to provide these services, so where do we get the money if we have a tax cap? The second issue is property taxes. I don’t believe that the property tax is a fair way to provide for local services. I am part of the 1 percent of the population that is very wealthy. My property tax during the past 14 years has gone down from $700 to $600 per year, the reason being is that I live in a mobile home. Finally I would ask you to read the description of a true patriot, named Lucius Quintus Cincinatus, a great Roman military leader of the fifth century B.C. He served Rome with great valor many times and did not receive a huge pension, socialized medicine or a reduction of his local property taxes. Today we have guys like General Petraeus who receive huge amounts of benefits. He will cost taxpayers around $22 million if he lives to a normal Caucasian male age of 85, and we will be paying his huge pension, his socialized health care benefits and other benefits. Maybe he could at least support his local schools.
Quality of life and the right as children of God, regardless of nationality or location of birth to live peacefully without financial or physical threat in the same geographical location in America. The hypocrisy and threatening nature of Mr. Huckleberry is in itself amusing. He’s a clown who just can’t shut up and is in constant need of attention. But the influence he has over weaker, potentially psychotic minds is nothing short of dangerous and reflects poorly on the school board and police department that negotiates with him and his associates who leach off government money. Yes, I understand it’s politics, but it’s the same politics that brought down the Romans.
I have but one question and it’s really been bugging me for quite a few years now and I’ve lived in the Valley my whole life: Has Mark Hounsell ever worked in his life? And he has the right to stand up and tell everybody how to do this and how to spend that? He hasn’t even been in the real world. It just amazes me a man like that has all these ideas about how everybody else should spend their money, especially the town’s money and just throw it all away.
This is J.J. from Conway. Money, money, money, money, money. Taxes are going up, up, up, up, up. What else is new? How much taxes will I be paying for property taxes and everything else here, especially senior citizens? You know we’re paycheck to paycheck here. We’re running out of money.
I have two issues: The first one, Greeley Road. I knew Mr. Abrams, he was a very fine man, but I don’t think we should put in a new road for Mrs. Abrams. I don’t even know how she could bring something like that up at a meeting and she should pay her fair share. She makes close to $40,000 a year as a teacher and I simply cannot afford to pay for her plowing. The second thing is to pay the new superintendent of schools $150,000 to $160,000 is ludicrous. The highest in the entire state. Income is lower up here. That Mark Hounsell is an intelligent guy, whatever made him come up with something like this, with all these big spending programs — he befuddles me. But I do hope the voters vote all of this stuff down, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
I find the most troubling thing about the question coming up now is the $150,000 to $160,000 salary that Mr. Hounsell proposed. I think Ted Sares had the right idea — he’s a very intelligent person and has actually made a living doing union and that type of negotiating — that no matter what you pay someone, you could pay them a $1 million a year and you might get garbage, you wouldn’t get anything. Just look at the golden parachutes they have for CEOs. I hope Mr. Hounsell will change his mind and reverse this decision. It’s really a real bad thing. Also, I think it’s an insult to Mr. Carl Nelson who I think did a very good job.
Taxes. What else is there. For years we’ve been talking for the town and school to economize. Have they done it? The school, no. Then we have a school board member saying we should pay the next superintendent $150,000 to $160,000. The highest in the state, considerably more than the current one. Either this man is a multi-millionaire or he is on the dole and pays no taxes. If private high schools can do more with less money there is something inherently wrong with the public school system. Union contracts, once accepted, can only go up. Inadequate teachers can’t get fired because of seniority. If you try it’s very costly and takes years. All the school have to do, as the largest employer in town, hire more people. That equates to two votes per employee and then they can easily outvote the rest of us. And let’s not forget the parents who believe the more money the school gets the better their children’s education. Why are European and Asian schools producing better students than the U.S. Their students outscore us. In a global economy we lose. As to the town the officials are more attentive to costs. They too are bound with restrictive contracts. Rather than paying what Conway can afford, we pay what 30 other towns pay. This is beneficial for a town manager means less negotiating with unions. A town is responsible for many things, but not for entertaining or supporting private businesses, whether for profit or non-profit. The for profits should do a better job of it — like the airport could charge its customers more. The non-profits should join the United Way, that raises money for all of them without involving taxpayers. And then there is Mrs. Abrams — makes $42,800 as a teacher plus all the benefits. Then she also gets Social Security payments for herself and for her children. And now she also wants the town to do her plowing. Great! And you wonder why taxes go up.
As a taxpayer in Conway, I am so sick of these teachers bleeding their hearts for more money on the backs of these taxpayers in this town. We have paid and paid and paid. It’s about time everyone in Conway and North Conway show up Tuesday and say no to these bleeding hearts. Enough is enough.
The public be damned. They don’t show up at town meetings and school meetings. A small minority shows up. And yet they have the majority of people. They don’t show up at the ballot booth. They deserve what they get, period.
For me the big issue at the town voting will be to keep the taxes down. I hope the tax cap goes through. I’m definitely voting no on the capital reserve funds. I need a new roof on my house and I don’t have any capital reserve fund. I think this is just money that we don’t need to set aside for later. I think we need to hold down the budget for both the school and the town.
My concern is that people we elect for various positions. I only want to elect people who have the taxpayer in mind. I don’t want people who will have their own personal agenda or to use their elected positions for personal achievement. And I also want the person to be honest and truthful. And also the other point I’d like to make is the fact that the people that we elect should be local people. I am tired of electing transients who have been here one year, two years and take over the town’s business. I would prefer to have people who have lived here all their lives. Like I said, again, I’m concerned that the people we elect must be for the taxpayer, to watch the taxpayers pennies and not be loyal to a political party.
I have an issue with a person or persons in the political arena pushing for monies for the airport, when they have a personal interest because they have their own planes. They should abstain. Also I have an issue with adding $40,000 to the superintendent’s salary. This spending and more spending is a terrific tax burden. We have more aids in the school system than we have teachers. It is time to clean house. Conway taxpayer.
Anything to do with increasing any of the tax amounts we have around this town. That’s my big concern. Any of those issues that will be an increase in money will be voted down by me. I have to respond to the lady who said she will be leaving Kennett because it was a financial decision. Well, maybe she should have looked into how much money they were offering her before she took the job. I’m in business here and my business has gone down 40 percent. Job rates are going back up. But the thing is unless you have a guaranteed income, like one of these soft positions in the school system, you’re out there working every day to make money to pay these taxes. When you can’t get the phone calls coming in because there’s nobody spending money then your income goes down. It’s nice to have a guaranteed income, guaranteed benefit plan, a guaranteed salary. I don’t see what this lady has to complain about. She’s darn lucky she has that much money coming in for 180 days a year.
For me the big issue is making sure that teachers that make $70,000-plus a year for 180 days get a big fat raise while I struggle to make ends meet. And I get to see Nelson work less for more money. But why not, like a lot of others that work at the SAU. Yeah, I can’t wait to vote for their big fat raises.
Vote down everything that’s extra money. It’s just additional taxes and we certainly are taxed well enough in this town they can afford to do what is right and not just keep extra funding, extra funding and extra funding. They have to learn how to run their departments more efficiently and better and vote for any candidate who says we are taxed too much. Please. We’re getting killed.
I hope the two Tax Cap articles pass. It’s time to send a message to those who gorge from the public buffet without contributing. Those like the free loading Mark Hounsell who has no trouble spending our money under the cover of idealistic rants for education and unrealistic increases for the new Superintendent. I think passage of the tax cap articles might expose this guy for the hypocrite he is. All one has to do is look at the minutes of the school deliberative meeting last year and you can see how this chameleon was so concerned about affordability. Elmer Gantry is here and his name is Mark Hounsell. East Conway
For me, it is all about the taxes! I personally feel that the voters should vote for the tax cap. Sadly, the selectman, the town, the school board, et. al., simply won’t take appropriate measures to keep the taxes in check. I don’t understand why they can’t see that spending must be more diligently controlled. I hope the voters are not swayed by the tales of woe like the one Kristen Miller recently spinned in the paper about how she is leaving for more money, and that she is getting double the pay somewhere else. For every occasional Kristen Miller who would rather leave the community, the kids, the job, and all that this magnificent valley has to offer over money, there are dozens of others who, of greater character, stay here for all the right reasons, and make money a secondary issue. Maybe Kristen can’t afford to stay here because her taxes are too high! In my life experience, when you are forced into doing without something, you usually realize that you are fine without it after all? Conway voters, please vote in favor of the tax cap. Let’s try it and see what happens.
The following Tele-Talk responses were posted on The Conway Daily Sun’s Facebook page:
My biggest issue with the school is the kids who park at Shaw’s and fly through the parking lot! They should be grateful Shaw’s allows them to utilize their lot, but instead they come in like a wrecking ball and pay no attention to customers and workers walking. They should either pay to park or learn respect for others or lose their privileges!
Hands down the biggest issue is the April Fool’s Day articles in your paper. Firefighters, police, rec department employees — how about the teachers over at the Frost School and other non-profit salaries? If we somehow knew how much money the rest of Conway earns published for all to see, perhaps then we could look at the whole picture. At least come to the front on why you single out the teachers?
The tax cap needs to go away. I’m so sick of hearing about it.
The big issues are the big increases they want on items. In the March 26 paper it was stated the town is looking for a possible 8 percent increase in the amount to be raised by taxes and the school is looking at a 9 percent increase. If that’s an overall increase and some items don’t increase then other items are increasing at a whopping amount. Also in the March 25 paper, an article on the water precinct, Bernier stated in a telephone interview with The Conway Daily Sun that “the precinct for 16 years has not raised its water or sewer tax rate.” Well, I have “four” sheets of rate increases from the Conway Village Fire District, for the years 2012, 2010, 2009, 2007. Since I moved here in 1998 my water bill went from $32.50 to $189 per quarter. It’s the special interest people that get to these meetings and vote in items that the general public does not want. I went to the town deliberative meeting but couldn’t find a parking spot because of the school game that filled the parking lot just prior to the meeting. My vote would have tied the 38 to 39 vote on the tax cap. I hope all the taxpayers make a special effort to get out and vote. Then you can say, “I didn’t vote for that!”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 02:00
It's voting time for Conway citizens. The town wraps up its town meeting season with ballot voting on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Conway Community Building in Center Conway. Proposed tax caps have generated a good deal of discussion; a teachers' contract is up for ratification; budgets will be decided; and officers will be elected, with contested races for selectmen, school board and the planning board.
This week's Tele-Talk: What are the big issues for you on the Conway town and school ballots this year?
Last Updated on Thursday, 03 April 2014 23:55
- Tele-Talk Responses: Do you support increasing the gas tax in New Hampshire by 4.2 cents per gallon to pay for road and bridge improvements?
- TELE-TALK: Do you support increasing the gas tax in New Hampshire by 4.2 cents per gallon to pay for road and bridge improvements?
- Tele-Talk Responses: Should Scott Brown enter the U.S. Senate race?
- Tele-Talk: Should Scott Brown enter the U.S. Senate race?
- Tele-Talk: Should Conway consider a form of government that requires less public participation and puts more decisions in the hands of elected officials?
- Tele-Talk Responses: What are you most looking forward to about spring?