Daily news stories tell us of the uncertainty of our national economy. Special concern centers on the high unemployment that seems nearly immune to all the federal stimulus efforts.
I watch the daily revenue that comes to the state from a series of different taxes and fees. While the daily income figures are not a predictor of future economic activity, the revenue through last week for the month of August is very positive.
The meals and rooms tax, for example, has already produced more money than called for in the monthly revenue budget plan. With seven daily deposits to go, this suggests a turnaround in the state's hospitality business, likely reflecting the tourism-friendly weather we have had this summer.
August produces less revenue for the state than several other months. But, when the real estate transfer tax, business profits and enterprise taxes and interest and dividend taxes are all on track to exceed the predictions for the month, it suggests that economic activity in the state is improving.
It is always important to note that any one month can be an aberration. That happened when revenue last April was off by more than $40 million and triggered a series of decisions, including the June 9 special legislative session that was called to let the legislature adjust the current fiscal year budget.
Let's hope that the early August numbers continue to exceed expectations and give us added confidence in our state's economic recovery.
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My grandsons from Portland, OR visited for a couple of weeks in August. The four year old, Alex, has had a passion to visit Boston. No one knows how this interest came about, but the idea of a day trip to Boston seemed to make sense.
As we drove down I-89, I gave Alex the option as to whether to take my car to Boston or catch the Concord Coach in Concord. The choice was the bus. The one day round trip fare was $24 for grandfather, and Alex rode for free.
We left Concord at 9 a.m. and were at
South Station in Boston about 10:15. After a little snack and walk around
the tall buildings, we took a cab to the Prudential Center to take a DUCK
boat tour. It was great fun and very informative. Because the driver
explained about the graveyards as we went by them, Alex wanted to see one.
Following a very quick graveyard tour, we walked back to South Station,
got on the 2:15 bus and were back in Concord by 3:30.
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The 61st edition of the Cornish Fair was a good fit for a family outing with four grandchildren aged seven, four, three and one. It was tough to get through the midway to see the cows, sheep and other farm animals as the rides are always a major attraction for youngsters.
Emma Gendron from Acworth gave us a tour and explanation of her cows. It is wonderful to see youngsters who rarely see farm animals get to pat them, learn their names and background, and watch the attention they receive from fellow youngsters who tend them.
My favorite animals are the sheep. As a youngster growing up in Milford, I was a member of the 4-H program. My project was to purchase a couple of lambs each spring and raise them through the summer including showing them at fairs like the Cheshire County Fair. In the fall, they would be sold at auction to grocery chains which supported 4-H activities.
I tried to personalize my 4-H experience and sheep-showing by telling the grandchildren about the year I had the New England 4-H champion in the cheviot breed. I showed the lamb, named Ted, at the Eastern States Exposition. At the auction that followed, the auctioneer, Ted Langdell, who was also from Milford told the bidders that he wanted an especially good price for my champion lamb. He pointed out that I lived across the street from his mother-in-law and he didn't need any complaints from her. I got a good price but while decades later I can remember most of the story, the final price per pound for my lamb has long been forgotten.
Close to 200 Sullivan County youngsters entered their livestock, baked goods, clothing and other evidence of their projects to be judged in competition with each other at the Cornish Fair. This is a highlight for 4-H members every year. It is a wonderful legacy being carried forward by parents and 4-H volunteers, with the help of youth development and agriculture educators with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension program. There is a Cooperative Extension office and program in each of New Hampshire's 10 counties.
Congratulations to the leadership and all the volunteers who provide a wonderful experience for the thousands of fairgoers each year. And to the 4-H educators and volunteers, our thanks for carrying on the 4-H tradition that has such a positive impact on the participating youngsters.
As two grandsons, William, who is seven, and Alex return to Portland, OR, their memories of a couple of weeks with their grandfather was highlighted by their day at the Cornish Fair. I hope they will be back to take in the fair next year.
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