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Nashua Telegraph Newspaper Archives May 6 1990, Page 2

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Nashua Telegraph (Newspaper) - May 6, 1990, Nashua, New Hampshire A-2the sunday Telegraph May 6, 1990nashua/region Days openings could soon be filled _ a it Quot _. On no it �0 rant by Nurt them to continue at this Deanna Crawford of rape an by Pendleton Beach Telegraph staff brighter state Revenue figures for april mean staff vacancies May soon be filled at the state Agency working with abused and neglected children. The joint House Senate fisca1 committee will vote monday on whether to allow the state division for children and youth services to replace 15 social workers who have quit in the last several months. A people Are feeling pretty positive about it. These positions Are priorities for Many members of the committee a said state rep. Caroline Gross a Concord House majority Leader and a fiscal committee member. Gross said she is optimistic because of the Good news about april revenues. Through april the state had collected $455.6 million for this fiscal year or $4.6 million less than it had at this time last year. The april figure is a significant improvement Over the March figure which showed state revenues were $10.3 million Short when compared to a year ago. The state has had a hiring freeze since october because of the Revenue shortfalls. The hiring freeze has hit the Nashua office of the division for children and youth services especially hard where five of 20 positions Are empty. The office has Only 13 of 17 social workers and two of three assistant supervisors. Of the other 12 District offices the Concord office has four social worker vacancies and the Claremont and Laconia offices have three vacancies each said division director Effie Malley. She said staff shortages Are starting to affect How Well the division can protect children. Quot for the Short term our staff can make a tremendous Effort. They can put a press on when they know its Only on a limited basis. But we can to expect them to continue at this rate a Malley said. In the past advocates for children have said the division even when fully staffed does not have enough social workers to do its Job properly. But two local professionals who work with abused and neglected children said staff shortages in Nashua have not worsened the response of the social workers. A they have responded whenever we have needed them. I know How Strung out and Short they Are. I done to know How they Are doing what they Are doing a said Jim Geddes guidance Counselor for ledge Street elementary school. Deanna Crawford of rape and assault support services an Agency helping victims of sex crimes concurred. Quot i Haven to seen any difference a she said. Gov. Judd Gregg recommended to the fiscal committee last month that it Grant the division a waiver from the hiring freeze. However at a april 2 meeting the fiscal committee put off granting the waiver. Gross said the committee was waiting for the legislature to conclude its session and for the april Revenue figures to come in. If the committee Grants the waiver Malley estimated it will take the division at least two months to hire the new workers. Suit threatens Way schools Are funded Mary Belanger plays with a Kitten during pet therapy at the Courville at Nashua. Staff photo by Kathy Seward Mackay pets revive old memories i Bimbane society takes animals Tor visits by Hattie Bernstein Telegraph staff Mary Belanger 86, clutched the Black and White Kitten to her breast and gently stroked its Backa Nice Little Kitty Nice Little Kitty a she cooed. She repeated the motion rubbing her Palm Down the length of the animal and catching its Tail with an affectionate tug a my father had a barn and a horse and couple of cats a Belanger declared to whomever was listening. A some of them got As big As a dog a Belanger was one of about 15 residents at the Courville at Nashua nursing Home who last week attended a session of pet therapy for an hour the group sat in a Circle some in wheelchairs some with walkers propped up by their folding chairs to visit with two part Labrador puppies and two Kittens for an hour the pets enthralled the mostly female group a there was one Man among them the program is run by the humane society of Southern Hillsborough county twice a month Michele Clemons society director packs several animals in their carrying cases and drives them to the nursing Home. She makes similar visits to Greenbriar Terrace health care Center the Nashua senior Center and Hunt Community. At the Courville last week residents at the therapy session got immediate results a Good laugh some sit without holding and petting the animals. But others who were squeamish about touching seemed to enjoy watching the show the therapy works by drawing the elderly out of themselves and providing a stimulus for their memories said Pam Young activities director at the nursing Home. She said the animals frequently spark memory and conversation in elderly people. A it reminds me of Home. It was Nice to play with them a said Melanie Lane 90. She was sitting watching the two puppies tugging each other in the Middle of the floor. A we had a cat we called squeaky a said resident Ruth Jeannotte 81, who sat quietly preferring to enjoy the animals from a distance. Rose cat Agio 79, was startled when one of the puppies nosed his Way under her dress. To nursing Homes when the dog began to scratch her legs she had to shoo him away. That made some of the others laugh. A they re pets Nice to have. But when you have children you have enough a said Rose Jette 75, who raised to children. Mary Belanger would not let go of the Kitten nestled against her neck. A my Kitty a watching those dogs. He does no to want to go there a she said. Barbara Trinick 78, who was sitting next to her admired the cats a a she a got the prettiest face a Trinick said. In the Center of the room the two Black puppies yelped and ran in circles. The elderly residents sat quietly like a Well behaved movie audience. A pets and children tend to evoke the same reactions in the elderly a said Young. A this brings them Back to a time in their lives they remember a Clemons said she wants to make More frequent visits with the animals. If she can find some volunteers she said she will try to make weekly Calls at the nursing Homes. A a it a a visit a new face a new stimulus for the Day and some just love talking about it a she said. By Dorothea Tsipopoulos Telegraph staff on the heels of a school District meeting season that saw the tug of War Between educators and taxpayers intensify the Claremont school Board has begun preparing a lawsuit against the state that if successful could drastically alter the Way education is funded in new Hampshire. Claremont school Board members contend that because the state relies primarily on local property taxes rather than state Money to fund Public education students in a Well off school District receive a better education than those in poor school districts. They say this violates the states Constitution. And at least 19 other communities throughout the state agree. They showed their support of the pending lawsuit during their school District meetings by contributing an estimated $30,000. Three other towns turned Down a request for Money from Claremont and the remaining school boards did not present it to voters. In addition 63 school districts voted to support a Resolution proposed by the Plainfield school Board that says the state should look into additional ways to fund education. This Resolution was opposed by 13 districts and the remaining 86 did not consider it. A education is a fundamental right and should not be dependent on the tax base of the Community from which a child comes a said Claremont school Board member Thomas Connair. A in Claremont we be Felt the Pinch Over the last few years. Our taxpayers Are being Claremont High school is now on probation for accreditation because of poor facilities Connair said. He said necessary improvements have not been made because of Lack of Money. New Hampshire is last in the nation for the amount of Aid it gives communities for education. Just 7 percent of education costs Are paid by the state says Paul Krohne of the state school Board association. Even if the state tripled the amount of Aid new Hampshire would still be last Krohne said. This Means that towns depend on local property taxes to fund education and the amount of Money spent per student varies sharply from Community to Community depending on its wealth. The amount of Money spent on Merrimack searching for eldest residents Cane if the Cane is recovered however the town will lace another dilemma who is eligible to receive it by Christopher Williams Telegraph staff when Brainard s Caswell died 19 years ago he relinquished a carved Ebony and 14-Karat Gold knobbed walking stick that had been handed Down through the generations to the towns eldest resident. After his funeral Caswell a heirs Are believed to have returned the honorary Keepsake to town officials thai was the last time Merrimack a Boston Post Cane was seen. In 1909, the Boston posts publisher pc Edwin a Grozier is said to have bought 431 such canes at auction to be distributed to new England towns As a promotion to boost circulation of his newspaper. The idea was to pass along the Cane to Ach succeeding town elder Iii order to a present an interest a Galaxy of the vigor and longevity of new England manhood according to an article ii that years pos. As it later appeared in Yankee Magazine. Those awarded the Cane were then featured in the now defunct Boston newspaper. Merrimack historical society member Rosemary Gagne is now spearheading an Effort to resurrect the elusive artefact partly out of historical interest and partly for personal reasons her Grandfather was a recipient of new Bostons Cane. Gagne recruited Merrimack a town manager Daniel Ayer to Aid in the search so far the search has revealed that previous holders of the Cane included Alison Platt in 1938, and John Spaulding Date unknown says Gagne Gagne says Merrimack Scane was probably misplaced in 1951 when the old town Hall was refurbished that year. The old Hall at the intersection of Turkey Hill Road and route 3, also served As the Grange. In the confusion of the renovation Gagne says its Likely a town employee took the Cane Home for Safe keeping then lost track of it. Education ranges from $7,461 per Pupil in Waterville Valley to $2,453 in Milan according to figures reported by the state department of education. Discrepancies also exist in the Nashua area. Amherst spends about $4,726 per student while Nashua spends $3,659 per student. Arpiar Saunders the lawyer who will represent the Claremont school Board said he plans to file the suit in Superior court by the end of the summer. He said he thinks it will take three to four years to Settle and will ultimately be decided by the state supreme court. He estimates that settling the suit will Cost Between $200,000 and $300,000. If the suit is successful the court will instruct state legislators to come up with a different method of financing education to make it More equitable. The Issue of education funding extends far beyond new Hampshire. School boards in three other states a Montana Kentucky and Texas a recently succeeded in similar suits Saunders said. Ten states have rulings pending. But new Hampshire Scase May be a bit More Complex than those in other states because of the ambiguity of the state Constitution Saunders said. A new Hampshire a a Constitution was written before Public education became Universal a Saunders said. A its language is More vague than those written at a later Date about the responsibility of the state which makes the argument a Little Saunders said the Case also will hinge upon his proving that the amount of Money a District puts into its education affects the Quality of its school system. A the state will probably Point to the sats Scholastic aptitude tests and show that some poorer communities have Good results. But Well say that some of the poorer districts teach to exams. We want to teach our students not Only How to perform Well on sats but How to gather information assess it and make a rational decision a he said. This will be the second time that state funding for education has been challenged in the state Krohne said. About to years ago a similar lawsuit was filed but dropped several years later when the legislature agreed to adopt a new state finance formula Krohne said. At that time the legislature adopted the Augenblick formula which distributed foundation Aid education Page a3 and so did the town until now no one in town has attempted to locate the missing Cane. If the Cane is recovered however the town will face another dilemma. Who is eligible to receive it Gagne says the answer to that question May lie hidden with the Cane. The criteria established by the Board of selectmen May prevent All but Merrimack natives from Ever having their names engraved on one of the numerous Gold bands adorning the Cane. And what if the Cane is passed to a reluctant recipient according to some upon receiving the Cane one is prone to failing health says Gagne. A the superstition is you re healthy when you get it and dead when you take hold of for that reason she says a there Are some who have refused to take gauge says she Hopes the Cane will be recovered and a new designate found in time to Lead Merrius acky a fourth of july Parade. To la Raph til photo in this 1987 photograph Cora Bishop of Lyndeborough holds her towns Boston Post Cane

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