Bob Odell
State Senator
District 8

July 22, 2012


Senator Odell is Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee; Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee; Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee; Vice Chairman of the State Parks Advisory Council; and member of the Capital Budget Committee.

Senate District 8 towns: Acworth, Alstead, Charlestown, Claremont, Gilsum, Goshen, Langdon, Lempster, Marlow, New London, Newbury, Newport, Roxbury, Stoddard, Sullivan, Sunapee, Sutton, Unity, Walpole, Washington and Westmoreland.

 

I think we all understand that the world today is an interconnected place. And by comparing data and information about activity in one part of the world with other locations may help us understand our local circumstances better.

That was highlighted by Kak Weathers, the unpaid director of the Science Advisory Committee of the Lake Sunapee Protective Association. At the 115th annual meeting of the LSPA on Saturday, Dr. Weathers walked members and guests through some of the work of LSPA as part of the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network.

GLEON provides a vehicle for education, research and collaboration about the health of lakes around the world and what may be learned about their similarities and differences. There are 350 members of GLEON with 40 countries represented. LSPA is the only citizen group to be a member as most others are academic, scientific or government entities.

Locally, research starts with Kak and other staff members at LSPA and the data collection buoy that is anchored in Lake Sunapee. As a non-scientific person, I can only report that that the buoy’s sensors measure basics such as wind and temperatures, levels of various chemicals and radiation and other data.

One example compared some levels of chemicals that would encourage the development of algae blooms. While the ratings were low for Lake Sunapee, a graph showed a dramatically higher rating for a lake in China. A slide focused on the wake of a boat going through the Chinese lake. It was a mustard green, a frightening color

Kak Weathers attended the first GLEON international conference several years ago. The annual meeting was held last year at Mt. Sunapee State Park with more than 100 scientists from around the world attending.

For healthy lakes, much can be controlled locally. The process however, in this interconnected world, of collecting and sharing data is increasingly fundamental to understanding where we stand vs. the rest of the world to guide us at home. The work of LSPA on Lake Sunapee is unique and often a model for scientists active in GLEON around the world.

Dr. Weather’s presentation reminded me of how important it is to utilize scientific data from research and community groups throughout the state. As Kak spoke, I was thinking back to how little scientific information the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has as we discuss legislative initiatives for protecting the quality of water and the general health of our lakes. I think we could use a presentation from Kak Weathers from time to time.

*

Unemployment numbers for June were released last week. New Hampshire unemployment rate moved up 0.1 percent from the May figure to 5.0 percent, but far below the 8.2 percent national rate, and it may only be a blip on the long term employment picture for the state. But even a 0.1 percent increase in unemployment means that 1,090 workers were unemployed in June who had been working in May.

More positively, and looking over the past year, the state unemployment rate from June, 2011 to June of this year, fell from 5.5 percent to 5.1 percent. That means the number of unemployed in June 2011 was 40,440 and 37,850 last month.

Changes in the unemployment figures were not the same across the economy over the year. Leisure and hospitality added 5,900 jobs; construction, 200; transportation and utilities, 300; financial and other services, 1,100. On the downside, manufacturing gave up 200 jobs; professional and business services, 1,500; education and health, 1,600; and, government at all levels, 300.

*

The more you learn about our friends and neighbors who are volunteer firefighters and other first responders the more you appreciate their contributions to our communities. That struck me as I attended the annual dinner meeting of the forest fire wardens association for Grafton and Sullivan Counties last week at the fire station in Goshen.

There are hours and hours of training and skills development I think we assume our volunteers go through in preparation for the next alarm. But there are also the organizational activities that hold our network of community fire departments together to be able to support one another at major fires.

There is, for example, the Cold River Area Fire Chief’s association, to bring the 15 towns up and down the river together for training and coordination emergency plans. As one firefighter pointed out, it is important to know the people you may be working with fighting the next fire. But that takes the time of volunteers to do that which we understand and appreciate.

*

With the addition of new towns to the 8th Senatorial District, I am visiting some annual community events for the first time. Last weekend that included the Hillsboro Balloon Festival & Fair. There were two hot air balloon lift-offs each day of the three day festival as well as rides, musical entertainment, sky divers, food and vendors. And the Sunday parade drew a large and appreciative audience.

Very importantly, the festival raises money, $30,000 last year I was told, for the Lions Club, Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce and the Hillsboro Fire Department. Each organization uses the money raised to make contributions to worthy projects over the year. The Balloon Festival is enjoyable to attend and a good fund-raiser for the community, too.

 

 

Bob Odell, State Senator
New Hampshire State House
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301-4951

Telephone:  603-271-6733
Email:  rpojr@aol.com


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