Best News All Day 3-20-13


I start today with a little news from Vermont. The Valley News reports that The Alchemist brewery in Waterbury had made the finest beer in America, according to Beer Advocate. Its Heady Topper IPA got a score of 100, making it one of the finest brews of all time. It can be seen above, being enjoyed by some young, hip folks on a warm summer day (remember those?). The photo is by Vermont photographer Emily McManamy, who also has a great blog you should check out.

— In education, there are those that feel small class sizes are key, while others say it’s having a good teaching, while others say good outcomes depend on a great school leader. But what just about everyone agrees upon is that providing children with quality education at an early age produces higher student outcomes in later years and is well worth the investment. Consider that as you read this article in the Nashua Telegraph about Hudson’s lagging elementary school standardized test scores. Statistically, Hudson shouldn’t be performing so poorly. They do not have a large minority population or a large population of poor. What is it that sets Hudson apart, besides the fact it did not offer public kindergarten until three years ago?

— Everything you wanted to know about Portsmouth’s parking problems but were afraid to ask.

— NH House drops the proposed gas tax by a few cents, but Senate Republicans say the increase is dead on arrival.

— Nice piece in the Conway Daily Sun about the defeat of turning back on the trail, even if it’s for the best.

—  Convoluted winter parking rules and inner-city residents who don’t always mind the winter parking ban make for hundreds of cars towed each winter in Manchester. Police Chief David suggests hiking the towing fees to cover police costs (and perhaps increase the deterrent factor?). Commenters on the Union Leader website are howling, but I counter these complaint of rate increases with: how about not getting towed in the first place?

— Manchester Fire Departmant suggests going out to bid for ambulance service, perhaps suggesting support for dumping AMR. Too bad Rockingham Ambulance went out of business.

Dan Bergeron will replace departing Manchester Ward 6 Board of School Committee member Donna Soucy. Bergeron is a board member of the Machester Transit Authority and has two children in Manchester Schools. His addition comes just in time, as the school board will soon vote to hire a new superintendent.

Opening this piece, however, is a bit about an expensive and completely ineffective attempt to computerize and consolidate the city’s records, from the City Clerk’s office to the Planning Department. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a company or a government agency go down the path of converting to a terribly designed and ridiculously expensive computer platform or piece of software. I don’t know if this is the responsibility of a group like the Better Business Bureau or if this is a private business venture, but whoever comes up with a platform/system/software rating system small-medium businesses and governments alike can access to determine whether the super-expensive new system they are buying is not a piece of crap will be lauded as both a hero and a genius.

Best News All Day 5-5-13


Another slush storm on the way? Who cares?! The beautiful weather and budding fauna of spring are just weeks away. Think positive.

— NH Chief Justice Linda Dalianis speaks with the Nashua Telegraph about budgets and court closings. She mentioned 32 full-time court positions are being cut, replaced with 66 part-time positions. She also was not optimistic about the courts’ budget outlook or the underfunded e-Court Project. She said, “The vagaries of the budget process being what they are, I don’t know how his will all turn out in the end.”

— Portsmouth City Council go a lot of work done last night, including a meh response to an outdoor ice rink at Strawbery Banke and an agreement to develop the Worth parking lot, aka the Whale Wall lot. This is where a parking garage had been proposed, but the neighbors pressured the council to nix the idea. Just to be clear, said Councilor Tony Coviello, this is not an attempt to bring back the Worth Lot garage idea through a back door, though some councilors totally thought it was.

— The NH Dental Society doesn’t want the state to expand laws authorizing dental technicians to do more complicated procedures. They make their case in the Concord Monitor today. I’ve done some research on this issue recently and I think it’s an interesting debate.

— For your political fix, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, head of the DNC, will be headlining the Dem’s 100 Club Dinner on April 6.

— Also in national politics, everyone is SO EXCITED!!! about Jeb Bush and his book and his hints. The question everyone around here should be asking is when is he coming to New Hampshire? And will he consider headlining a fundraiser for the NHGOP?

— Journalist James Foley, who is from New Hampshire, was kidnapped in Syria on Thanksgiving Day last year. He is still missing. His family has set up a website about Foley and their campaign to find him. Please check it out.

In Portsmouth it’s Parking


One of the most important skills someone could possess is how to properly read an agenda. Sometimes buried deep in the procedural lies a nasty little nugget that at around 10 p.m., launches an hour-long discussion on some hot-button issue most people didn’t even realize was going to be discussed that evening.

Portsmouth Herald reporter Charles McMahon caught the little nugget in this week’s Portsmouth City Council agenda. Here’s a good breakdown of the details.

As reported, the city is reviewing its options for more parking since a garage in the Worth Lot was shot down. It now has it’s eye on Parrot Avenue, which is very close to the tony South End neighborhood. Lest we forget what happened when another large public building was proposed and built down the street? I wish the City Councilor’s luck.