Pittsfield NH News

May 31, 2017


 

Pittsfield Citizen of the Year

 

It is time to pick Pittsfield’s 2017 Citizen of the Year. We need to know who you feel should be honored this year. Please send the name of your nominee and why you feel they should be honored to:

 

Citizen of the Year
P O Box 173
Pittsfield N H 03263

 

The deadline to receive nominations will be June 19. A panel of former Citizens of the Year will choose this year’s honoree from the nominations submitted. Thank you for your nominations.



 

Pittsfield Old Home Community Fair

 

On July 22nd Pittsfield will celebrate Old Home Day “Pittsfield Goes to the Circus!” The community fair will be in Dustin Park from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The Old Home Day Committee is looking for crafters and community organizations to join the fair.  Community organizations can participate for free, and the vendor fee is $10.00.  If you would like to set up a table or booth please contact Leslie Vogt at 435-7993 or lesliegvogt@gmail.com.

 


 

Letter To The Editor

 

The Pittsfield Beautification Committee will once again be participating in the Town Wide Yard Sale on Saturday June 3rd and Sunday June 4th  (8 am to 2 pm).    We will be set up at Nancy & John Barto’s house at 515 Dowboro Rd. Pittsfield, just 3.5 miles from the center of Town.  Donated items are welcome (no clothes or heavy furniture).

 

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to the Beautification Committee, please send a check payable to The Pittsfield Beautification Committee, c/o Tine Fife 1394 Upper City Rd, Pittsfield NH 03263. Collection boxes can also be found at Town Hall, Bell Brothers, Jack’s Pizza, Town Pizza and Danis Market. 

 

See you at the Yard Sale!!
Carol Lambert
Secretary
Pittsfield Beautification Committee

 


 

2017 Yard Sale

 

The 20th Annual Multi-Town Yard Sale is June 2nd, 3rd and 4th!!
How do I get a map?  This is our most frequently asked question and you’re not alone.

 

Beginning June 1st at 11pm, the map will be available online at www.PittsfieldChamber.org.  The map will be posted in the form of a link to a Google Map. Additionally, there will be a printable address list by town.

 

While we understand that several people miss the old paper map of Pittsfield locations, it just isn’t feasible for this larger event.  Some communities have their own maps available however, so keep your eyes peeled!

 

If your organization is interested in printing and selling maps for the 2017 Yard Sale please get in touch with us.

 

Drive safely, and have a great time at the Annual Multi Town Yard Sale!

 


 

PYW Summer Programming Updates

 

The Pittsfield Youth Workshop has finalized the 2017 summer schedule! A few of the fun and exciting trips we are planning include: Mel’s Funway Park, Six Flags N.E., Squam Lake, Water Country, Kayaking, Franklin Park Zoo, Frisbee Golf, An Escape Room & a Production of Mary Poppins in Prescott Park, a mountain bike trip and eight weeks of outdoor rock climbing. We are hoping the Pittsfield Fire Department will be coming in to do CPR with the youth. We will have a few community service projects were youth can help teach technology to the senior citizens at the Community Center!

 

PYW’s drop-in center will be open every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2-6 PM, unless otherwise noted, during the summer. On some afternoons PYW will be holding special activities. Check out the summer calendar on our website www.PittsfieldYouthWorkshop.org!

 

On Monday, June 12th, PYW will be holding an Open House from 4:00 to 6:00 PM for new youth and parents to check out the Drop-In Center, and for everyone to sign up for summer trips and/or activities (current PYW members will have the first  opportunity to sign up for the summer trips). Although this will not be the only time to sign up, we are suggesting that everyone who is interested in the summer programs stop by. Some trips fill up fast! PYW trips and activities are open to youth in grades six and up (that means youth who just finished 5th grade), from Pittsfield and the surrounding towns. There are a lot of great opportunities this summer and we can’t wait to get started.

 

Yearly membership dues are $25 per child (maximum of $50 per family - no matter how many children participate) and runs each year from July to June. If you would like information on scholarships or need financial assistance, please stop by PYW and speak with Zach or Paula.

 


 

Rotary Foundation Named World’s Outstanding Foundation For 2016

 

The Association of Fundraising Professionals recognized The Rotary Foundation with its annual Award for Outstanding Foundation at its 2017 conference in San Francisco.

 

The award honors organizations that show philanthropic commitment and leadership through financial support, innovation, encouragement of others, and involvement in public affairs. Some of the boldest names in American giving — Kellogg, Komen, and MacArthur, among others —are past honorees.

 

The announcement came on 15 November, known to industry professionals since the 1980s as National Philanthropy Day. The award was presented 2 May at the AFP’s annual conference. Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair-elect Paul Netzel accepted the award on Rotary’s behalf, and Eric Schmelling, Rotary’s chief philanthropy officer, also attended the conference. The event drew more than 3,400 senior-level fundraising professionals from 33 countries.

 

“In our Centennial year, we are deeply honored to receive this recognition from the Association of Fundraising Professionals,” said Netzel.

 

AFP’s committee of judges cited Rotary’s comprehensive campaign to eradicate polio as a major driver of the selection.

 

“With the generous support of our members and partners, we’ve taken on some of the toughest humanitarian challenges in the world, none more so than the devastating disease of polio,” said Netzel. “We will defeat polio, and it will be a landmark achievement for global public health.”

 

The committee also mentioned that Rotary applies a methodical, purposeful approach to support a wide variety of causes, from providing clean water to educating the next generation of peace professionals.

 

“This award helps to spread our belief that service to humankind truly changes our world, and for that reason, it is the greatest work of life,” said Netzel.

 


 

Statement By VA Secretary Shulkin Supports Senate Accountability Bill
Submitted Via Merrill Vaughan

 

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin is issuing the following statement in support of the Senate Accountability Bill: 

 

“I’m pleased to see the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee moving forward tomorrow on our much-needed accountability bill, and hope the senators pass it promptly without delay.

 

Another example from this month underscores the need for accountability at VA: An employee who was convicted no fewer than three times for driving under the influence of alcohol, and who just served a 60-day jail sentence, is now returning to work at a VA facility.

 

No other hospital system or business would have to put up with this, and the Senate bill is a solid first step on accountability. More to come.”

 


 

Pittsfield School Board
May 18, 2017
Submitted By Ralph Odell

 

The focus of the meeting oriented around end of the school year activities. The graduation schedule was outlined by Derek Hamilton and opportunities for School Board involvement were finalized. The annual Exhibition Night will be on Thursday, June 8. The program begins at PES at 5:00 P.M. Students have projects they present demonstrating the skills that they have developed. I found the 2016 program to be excellent and I encourage parents, friends, and taxpayers to stop by. Derek also presented end of the year expenditures for Board discussion.

 

Danielle Harvey presented a potential candidate for an elementary school vacancy, appears to have an excellent background. She also summarized participation in the recent parent-teacher conferences. Fewer parents attended than the fall, a common characteristic.

 

An open house was held for upcoming Kindergarten families and Kathy LeMay described at home activities for the families and support activities by the school. She further described the summer program including Friday field trips. She finished her presentation with a demonstration of a software program (Lexia) used by first and second grades. I was impressed by the skills the students were developing and the features of the program.

 

The traditional school may be ending but it was obvious that with summer programs and the professional development opportunities for the teachers, the needs and progress of the School District will not be ending.

 


 

Care and Benefits for Veterans Strengthened by $186.5 Billion VA Budget
Submitted Via Merrill Vaughan

 

In his fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget, President Trump is proposing $186.5 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The budget request will ensure the nation’s Veterans receive high-quality health care and timely access to benefits and services. The budget also supports the continued transformation of VA to rebuild the full trust of Veterans as a premier provider of choice for their services and benefits.

 

“The 2018 budget request reflects the strong commitment of the president to provide the services and benefits that our nation’s Veterans have earned,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin.  “VA has made significant progress in improving its service to Veterans and their family members. We are fully committed to continuing the transformation across the department, so we can deliver the standards of performance our Veterans expect and deserve.” 

 

This year’s budget request includes 82 legislative proposals that will help enable the department to better serve Veterans.

 

Highlights From the President’s 2018 Budget Request for VA

 

The FY 2018 budget includes $82.1 billion in discretionary funding, largely for health care, and $104.3 billion in mandatory funding for benefit programs, such as disability compensation and pensions, and for continuation of the Veterans Choice Program (Choice Program). The discretionary budget request is $4.3 billion (5.5 percent) above the 2017 enacted level, including nearly $3.3 billion in medical care collections from health insurers and Veteran copayments.  The budget also requests $74 billion, including collections, for the 2019 advance appropriations for medical care, an increase of $1.7 billion and 2.4 percent above the 2018 medical care budget request.  The request includes $107.7 billion in 2019 mandatory advance appropriations for Compensation and Pensions; Readjustment Benefits; and Veterans Insurance and Indemnities benefits programs in the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA).

 

Health Care
With a total medical care budget of $75.2 billion, including collections and new mandatory funding for the Choice Program, VA is positioned to continue expanding health-care services to over 7 million patients. Health care is being provided to more than 858,000 Veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn/Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Major categories funded within the health care budget are:

 

$13.2 billion for community care;

 

$8.8 billion for long-term care;

 

$8.4 billion for mental health care;

 

$1.7 billion for programs for homeless and at-risk Veterans;

 

$751 million for Hepatitis-C treatment;

 

$604 million for Caregivers’ benefits; and

 

$316 million for treatment of traumatic brain injuries.

 

Expanding Access
The president’s budget ensures that care and other benefits are available to Veterans when and where they need them. Among the programs that will expand access under the proposed budget are:

 

$13.2 billion for community care, compared with $11.2 billion in 2017, a 13 percent increase;

 

$505 million for gender-specific health-care services for women, an increase of 7 percent over the 2017 level;

 

$862 million for the activation of new and enhanced health-care facilities;

 

$855 million for major and minor construction projects, including a new outpatient clinic at Livermore, California, and expansion of cemeteries at Calverton, New York; Sacramento, California; Bushnell, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Bridgeville, Pennsylvania; and Elwood, Illinois.

 

Disability Compensation Claims Backlog and Appeals Reform
VBA has continued aggressive efforts aimed at bringing down the disability compensation claims backlog, completing a record-breaking 1.3 million claims in 2016 and reducing the claims backlog by 88 percent, cumulatively, from a peak of 611,000 claims in March 2013 to 71,690 on Sept. 30, 2016. In 2016, Veterans waited, on average, 203 fewer days for a decision than four years ago. In 2018, VBA is projected to complete 1.4 million claims, and the number of claims pending longer than 125 days is anticipated to remain at about 70 thousand claims. This pending claims status may change as the volume of claims receipts increases or decreases, and as claims processing becomes more efficient. VBA’s success in reducing the rating claims backlog has also resulted in a growing appeals inventory.

 

From 2010 through 2016, VBA completed more than 1 million disability compensation rating claims annually. Approximately 11 percent to 12 percent of VBA decisions are appealed, with nearly half of those being formally appealed to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (the Board). While the appeal rate has remained steady over the past two decades, the appeals volume has increased proportionately to the increase in claims decisions. The average processing time for resolving appeals in 2016 was three years. For those appeals that reached the board, average processing time was six years, with thousands of Veterans waiting much longer.

 

VA has worked with Congress, Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and other stakeholders to develop a legislative proposal to reform the appeals process. The appeals process under current law is ineffective and confusing, and Veterans wait much too long for a decision on appeal. The new process will: 1) establish options for Veterans, 2) provide early resolution and improved notifications as to best options, 3) eliminate the perpetual churn of appeals inherent to the existing process, 4) provide Veterans feedback loops to VBA, and 5) improve transparency of the process by clearly defining the roles of VBA and the board throughout the appeals process. 

 

Appeals reform is one of VA’s top legislative priorities, and the department will continue to work with Congress and the VSOs to ensure Veterans receive the best possible service. 

 

Improving the Veteran Experience
National Call Centers (NCCs):  In 2018, VA expects the NCCs to sustain the average speed of answering in 30 seconds or less, while maintaining exceptional customer satisfaction.

 

National Work Queue (NWQ):  In 2017, disability compensation claims are moving through the process faster than before implementation of the NWQ process — on average, claims are ready for decision 14 days faster. In 2018, NWQ will be expanded to other key VBA priorities such as the nonrating and appeals workload distribution.

 

Veterans Claim Intake Program (VCIP)/Centralized Mail: By the end of 2018, VCIP will relocate the entire file banks of remaining Regional Offices and convert the documents electronically, an integral element of VBA’s comprehensive transformation and modernization strategy.

 

In 2018, Centralized Mail will build upon sustained progress in disability compensation and expand to additional stakeholders, to include the Board of Veteran Appeals, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, Fiduciary Service, Support Services Division, Debt Management Center (DMC) and Loan Guaranty.

 

Veterans Homelessness
The budget requests $1.7 billion for programs to prevent or reduce Veteran homelessness, including:

 

$320 million for Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) to promote housing stability;

 

$543 million for the HUD-VASH program, wherein VA provides case management services for at-risk Veterans and their families and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides permanent housing through its Housing Choice Voucher program; and

 

$257 million in grant and per diem payments that support transitional housing provided by community-based organizations.

 

Veterans Choice Program—Community Care

VA is requesting a total of $13.2 billion in 2018 for Veterans Community Care. This consists of a request for $9.7 billion in discretionary funding for the Medical Community Care account, plus an additional $2.9 billion in new mandatory budget authority for the Choice Program. When combined with $626 million in estimated start-of-year unobligated balances from the original Choice Program appropriation, the total Community Care funding level is $13.2 billion in 2018. The budget also requests $3.5 billion in mandatory budget authority in 2019 for the Choice Program. This additional funding will allow VA to continue increasing Veterans’ access to health-care services by allowing them to choose VA direct care or community care.

 

Other Key Services for Veterans
$306 million to administer VA’s system of 136 national cemeteries, including funding for the activation of three new cemeteries that will open in 2018 and 2019. Funds are also included to raise, realign, and clean headstones to ensure VA national cemeteries are maintained as shrines.

 

$4.1 billion for information technology (IT), including investments to strengthen cybersecurity, modernize Veterans’ electronic health records, improve Veterans’ access to benefits, and enhance the IT infrastructure; and

 

$135 million for state cemetery grants and state extended-care grants.

 

Enhanced Oversight of VA’s Programs
The 2018 budget requests $159.6 million for the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to enhance oversight and assist the OIG in fulfilling its statutory mission of making recommendations that will help VA improve the care and services it provides.

 


 

Pittsfield Loudon flags.jpg

Loudon Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and Legionnaires linked up and worked together on May 20 to make sure flags were flying appropriately over veterans’ graves in Loudon’s cemeteries in time for Memorial Day.

 

Drake Field Summer Recreation Program

 

Summer vacation is coming soon. If you are looking for fun and education activities for your child be sure to check out the Drake Field Summer Recreation Program.

 

The program is free to Pittsfield children in grades 1-8. High school students are welcome to join in and help for community service credit. We are located at Drake’s Field and open Monday- Thursday beginning June 26th and ending August 3rd. The only cost is for admission is to some field trips, many are free. Breakfast and lunches will be provided free of charge. Good behavior is mandatory.

 

This year’s field trips include the NH Humane Society, NH Farm Museum, Polar Caves, Ellacoya State Park, Wallis Sands State Park, Shaker Village, WMUR TV Station, Derry Field Park, Opeechee Park, York Wild Animal Kingdom, Telephone Museum and Fire Museum in Warner, Fort Jefferson (formerly Six Gun City), the Town Pool, and Candia Springs (formerly Liquid Water Planet).

 

In addition to field trips we also offer many arts and crafts, games and sporting events. The library will also be part of our program this year with weekly visits. Their first visit will include a juggler to entertain and teach the children the art of juggling.

 

Signup sheets will be sent home with school children soon. For more information please contact Mrs. Sawyer at 267-6733.

 


 

Letter To The Editor

 

In the May 10, 2017, Suncook Valley Sun, selectman Carl Anderson wrote,

 

“An appeal of the assessed value for 60 Main St. was heard for Northway Bank by their representative Mark Lutter of Northeast Property Tax Consultants. Mr. Lutter argued for an assessment reduction below that recommended by the town’s assessors, Avitar. The Board decided to continue to follow the advice of the firm that we pay for expert opinion, and take our chances with Northway’s appeal to the State Bureau.”

 

Years ago, a member of the zoning board of adjustment said the same thing about following town attorney advice. Fellow board member Bob Lincoln disagreed. He said that the board should consider the attorney advice but that the board should make its own decision based on all the evidence. Bob said that if the board just followed the attorney advice, then an administrator could fax the applications directly to the attorney for decisions and the board would have no reason to exist.

 

Bob wisely understood that citizens look to town boards to correct injustice done by employees, contractors, and others not accountable through the democratic electoral process. Citizens do NOT want their local representatives to be a rubber stamp. When a selectman writes in the newspaper that the board will “continue to follow the advice of the firm that we pay for expert advice, and take our chances with [the citizen’s] appeal to the State Bureau,” that selectman sends a loud message to both aggrieved taxpayers and the town’s contract appraiser that the selectmen will provide no meaningful review of individual taxpayer complaints.

 

I have been to the state bureaus, and justice is not to be found there because the state bureaus defer to the local officials.

 

Jim Pritchard

 


 

Free Patriotic Concert

 

With rousing American melodies, a salute to our Armed Forces and many other national favorites, everyone will certainly enjoy “Let There Be Peace,” a free patriotic concert this Friday, June 2, 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 24 Main Street, Pittsfield.

 

It will feature the church’s Chancel Choir and JuBellation Handbell Choir and other musicians. You will even have a chance to join in on a few special songs. Light refreshments will be served.

 

Join us for this delightful event – an evening of great American music. Parking and wheelchair accessible entrance located at rear of church on Chestnut Street. Call the church office for more information: 435-7471. God Bless America!

 


 

Letter To The Editor
Select Board meeting 5/23/17

 

Public input regarding 81 Main and the proposed gifting  to the Historical Society.  Given the problems preventing us from conveying clear title, there’s limited opportunity to sell and recoup uncollected taxes.  We have two choices- sell for a very low price to a private contractor who will take on the expensive task of taking an action to quiet title through the courts and its return to the tax rolls, or; donate the parcel to the Historical Society for demolition of the existing building and construct a new one. They have outgrown their location on Elm St. The hearing was well attended and a ‘straw poll’ indicated strong support for donating the property- with conditions- a time limit on demolition/cleanup; new building design that’s ‘appropriate,’ and a deeded return to the town if the Historical Society no longer wanted it.  It’s up to the BOS as to the future of this town-owned property, so we’ll weigh all aspects- including public sentiment.  Anyone who wishes to have input please contact the BOS.

 

Numerous actions on timber cutting intents, current use, tax abatement, committee resignations and appointments, and other housekeeping paperwork was addressed.

 

The property tax warrant of $4,211,170 was approved and tax bills will be going out soon.  I still find the cost of running this town staggering.

 

Donations to the police and Emergency Management were accepted, with appreciation.

 

A bid notice for the LED lighting that was approved at Town Meeting was tabled.  We’re trying to make sure that as the street lights are replaced, we have them where we need them.  The PD and Highway Dept. have given their input, as have several citizens concerned with dangerous dark areas.  Once we have established a final number and locations, bidding can begin.

 

Carl Anderson

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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