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Opinion

SUNDAY NEWS NEW HAMPSHIRE

March 27, 2011 • Page B2

NH plays host Wounded Warriors here

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ounded warriors are in New Hampshire this weekend, and several New Hampshire businesses and their employees deserve a thank you from the rest of us for showing the Granite State to be good hosts. The effort is funded in part by the national Wounded Warriors Project, and some of the veterans remain in treatment at Walter Reed Army Hospital. Their injuries are as various as their original hometowns. All of them sacrificed to serve their country, our country, and the Wounded Warriors Project is a way of thanking them for their service and helping them with rehabilitation. Adaptive ski instructors will work with the vets at Loon Mountain, Bretton Woods and Waterville Valley this weekend. Some of the vets were skiers before their injuries and are eager to try it again. In addition to the ski areas, the New Hampshire

weekend featured an opening dinner last Wednesday evening put on, free of charge, by NextStep Orthotics and Prosthetics and Fratello’s Restaurant here in Manchester. Again this year, the hard-working wait staff at the restaurant volunteered on what would be a night off to serve the veterans and other guests. Major Gen. William Reddel III, the Adjutant General of the New Hampshire National Guard, told the dinner gathering a sobering fact. Just one percent of the U.S. population is engaged in all the military efforts now ongoing to defend all of us. That includes the Guard’s Fires Brigade, now in Kuwait and the subject of today’s Sunday News special section. That small number shouldering such a heavy burden should give us pause as to what engagements our leaders get the U.S. into, and it underlines all the more the reason to thank each veteran you see for his or her service.

NH Guard in Kuwait Awe-inspiring Granite Staters

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hat word would you use to describe the option of leaving a safe, small town in New Hampshire to serve your country in a war zone? “Risk?” “Danger?” If so, you’re in the overwhelming majority. As noted in the editorial above, 99 percent of the U.S. population is staying at home while the other 1 percent has taken up arms to defend the nation in this time of international upheaval and instability. Master Sgt. Jeffrey McCabe, 52, of Wilton, is one of them. As New Hampshire Sunday News reporter Shawne Wickham so movingly reported in her series of dispatches from Kuwait this month, Mst. Sgt. McCabe was a National Guard recruiter. Recruiters are considered so valuable stateside that they are exempt from overseas deployments. McCabe volunteered to join New Hampshire’s 197th Fires Brigade on its mission to Kuwait. “I grew up in the little town of Lee, New Hampshire; I live in the little town of Wilton; and here I’ve been given the opportunity to be involved in world events,” he said. “That’s awe-inspiring.”

What’s truly awe-inspiring is that this nation continues to produce men and women who view risking their lives for their country as an “opportunity.” Lt. Col. Richard Oberman, 40, of Boscawen is the chief medical officer for the 197th Fires Brigade. On their last deployment, in 2004-2005, Oberman was kept home as his boss went over. “I didn’t want to be left out again,” he said. He’s missed his son’s first birthday and first steps. But he’s glad he went. “For me it’s a chance to take care of people, take care of our soldiers...” More than 700 Granite Staters like this are serving in Kuwait right now. They are sacrificing so much to take care of us and our nation’s interests. In case you missed Wickham’s beautifully told stories of their service and sacrifice, a special section available in today’s paper includes more stories and photographs. Give them a read. And if you get the chance, say a “thank you” to them, and to any other men and women in uniform you happen to encounter. They deserve to know how much we appreciate them.

Disturbed, yes And also guilty

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hristopher Gribble, Hampshire’s old-fashioned who helped kill a Yankee common sense that Mont Vernon mother this defense fails here, even and maim her in an age when daughter in one of the broader culNew Hampshire’s ture has accepted most brutal the premise that murders, is plainly emotional andisturbed both guish at a young emotionally and age can excuse mentally. Thankawful behaviors fully, his jury was later in life. sharp enough to It also speaks see the difference well of our state’s between that and homicide proscriminal insanity. ecutors that they GRIBBLE Gribble admitcontinue to rack ted to participating up big victories in in the murder of important cases. Kimberly Cates The public should and the attempted be thankful that murder her daughwe have such ter on Oct. 4, 2009. a skilled team He said, though, working so hard that he was insane on our behalf. at the time. Given Judge Gilthat a killer who lian Abramson had shown signs deserves credit as of a more severe well for showing mental illness than LaBARRE no mercy. With Gribble — Sheila the death penalty LaBarre — had failed with unavailable in this case, life that same defense in 2008, it plus 76 years is a commendwas a highly risky move. able sentence. May Gribble It speaks well for New regret every minute of it.

College daze, here again FOR MANY FAMILIES, this is March madness — the moment of high anxiety concerning higher education as many colleges announce their admittance decisions. It is the culmination of a protracted mating dance between selective institutions and anxious students. Part agony, part situation comedy, it has provoked Andrew Ferguson to write a laugh-until-your-ribs-squeak book — “Crazy U: One Dad’s Crash Course in Getting His Kid into College.” He begins in Greenwich, Conn. — a hedge fund habitat — watching Katherine Cohen, an “independent college admissions counselor,” market her $40,000 “platinum package” of strategies for bewitching Ivy League admissions officers. “Everyone in the room,” writes Ferguson, “was on full alert, with that feral look of parental ambition. They swiveled their tail-gunning eyes toward Kat when she was introduced.” Kat introduced them to terror: “There are 36,000 high schools in this country. That means there are at least 36,000 valedictorians. They can’t all go to Brown. You could take the ‘deny pile’ of applications and make two more classes that were every bit as solid as the class that gets in.” Your son’s gazillion extracurricular activities? Kat sniffs: “He’s a serial joiner … just running up the score.” He was “invited” to participate in a “leadership” program in Wash-

George F. Will ington? Kat’s lip curls: “The invitation came in the mail, I guess. It said he was ‘selected.’ Do you know why he was selected? Your ZIP code. They knew you could pay.” Ferguson becomes one of the Kitchen People — parents who at parties cluster in kitchens where “in the reflected shimmer from the brushedsteel doors of the Sub-Zero, the subtle dance would begin.” Squirming against the Viking oven, a mother is bursting — or wanting to burst — with pride over her child’s SAT scores. “Her eyes plead, Ask me what they were, just please please ask … “‘Oh?’ I’d say. “‘Her father was like, Oh, My, God.’ And from the eyes, silently: Ask. “‘Mmm,’ I’d say. “‘Of course, she’s always been a smart kid.’ “‘Mmm.’ “‘Of course, she tests well in general. But scores like these …” Her pride bladder was terribly distended now, swelling in all directions, this painful unsatisfied need driving her nearly to the slate flooring. “‘I mean when the email with the scores arrived, I just had to peek! And then when

I did, I’m thinking, My God — this is my kid?’ “At last she’d catch a sympathetic eye, and another parent would say, ‘They must have been really — ‘ “‘Twenty-four hundred! I’m like, Wow!’ “And then she’d sip the Zin with a humble smile.” Ferguson goes on campus tours conducted by backwardwalking students armed with Harry Potter references — the dining hall looks like Hogwarts, there are Quidditch matches, a sociology seminar explores “Voldemort and Differentiation in Imperialist Identities.” Kat says that in his son’s application essays he must “talk about his innermost thoughts,” Ferguson shudders at this “compulsive self-exposure”: “He’s a seventeen-yearold boy! I wanted to tell her: Seventeen-year-old boys do not have innermost thoughts — and if they did, neither you nor I would want to know what they are.” This complicates writing the essays, which some people say should be liberally flecked with the word “diversity.” Ferguson’s son worries that his happy life is a handicap: “‘Couldn’t you guys get a divorce?’ “‘No,’ I said. “‘It would give me something to write about. You can get back together once I’m done with the essays.’ “‘Not going to happen.’ “‘I wish I’d grown up in the inner city.’

“‘No, you don’t.’ “‘I wish I’d become a drug addict.’ “‘There’s still time.’” Ferguson’s whimsy is, however, finite. He becomes serious — and seriously informative — concerning the spiraling costs of college: It is, he says, nice to know there is $143 billion for student aid — but worrisome that $143 billion is needed. His history of the SAT confirms the assessment that it is “impossible to find a measure of academic achievement that is unrelated to family income.” It has been well-observed that America’s least diverse classes are SAT prep classes. Still, the college admission process occasions too much angst. America is thickly planted with 1,400 four-year institutions. Motivated, selective students can get a fine education at any of them — unmotivated, undiscerning students at none. Most students love the schools they attend. And the admissions quest can have splendid moments. Last year, Wake Forest, a wonderful university with a stimulating application form, asked applicants what they would title their autobiographies. One, obviously a golfer, answered: “Mulligan.” Wouldn’t we all? .

George Will is a commentator for ABC News and a columnist for Newsweek in Washington, D.C.

Letters Money crunch isn’t fault of unions, state workers To the Editor: Those diligent Republican lawmakers are working their fingers to the bones for the taxpayers’ sake to break those evil unions. It seems to me that way back, before unions, if you weren’t related to or a family friend of the owner of a business, you would get no benefits and would be paid what you were told. People should keep in mind that because of unions, workers now get benefits that would not be available to them, whether union members or not. Don’t you think it’s funny that every time there is a money crunch it’s the union’s fault? While asking for give-backs and concessions, why aren’t the nonunion managers and higher-ups being asked to take cuts? Taxpayers are not being “forced to watch public employees continue to have their

the school year. salaries rocket past the workers of the private sector,” as House KURT LAUER Speaker William O’Brien said. Goffstown What they are seeing are jobs within the union trying to keep pace with inflation. JEFF ALLEN Alton To the Editor: After reading the column of March 23 written by Charles Arlinghaus, I felt compelled to write. I am sure he didn’t mean to leave out the To the Editor: While it is fact that he took the median good for the public to be able to salary from the almost 11,000 see the salary comparisons of employees, which include UNH employees in neighboring towns professors, judges, attorneys and and the salary range within so on. His column can be very each job, it would be great if misleading to the public. the public could see the total My experience is with the compensation package for each DOT. Those are the employees position, providing taxpayers a that you see on a daily basis truer picture of the cost to them plowing and maintaining your for each position. roads and bridges. Currently, Also, I wonder what the varithere are postings with the pay ous compensation packages for scale of $23,483 to $29,348 for teachers would be if extrapolated a highway maintainer 1 and 2. to a full calendar year, not just This pay scale certainly doesn’t

DOT doesn’t pay workers the big bucks

Total compensation is more useful info

New Hampshire Sunday News William Loeb, President and Publisher, 1948-1981 Nackey S. Loeb, President and Publisher, 1981-1999 Blair Clark & B.J. McQuaid, Co-Founders, 1946 Joseph W. McQuaid, President and Publisher Dirk F. Ruemenapp

Joyce M. Levesque

Ralph C. Ascoli Jr.

Brendan J. McQuaid

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V.P. of New Media

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David Bradley

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Bill Regan

Sunday Editor

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“Live Free or Die” — Gen. John Stark The New Hampshire Sunday News is published at 100 William Loeb Drive, Manchester, N.H. , by the Union Leader Corporation, PO Box 9555, Manchester, NH 03108-9555 Telephone (603) 668-4321. Metro-Suburbia Inc., Publisher’s Advertising Reps. Established 1863.

reflect the $46,238.00 he is implying. SHERRI MOEN Goshen

2012 cannot come fast enough for NH To the Editor: The recent late-night amendment attached to the state budget bill is another attack on the shrinking middle class. Stripping collective-bargaining rights from 70,000 New Hampshire workers who are Republicans, Democrats and independents, in the middle of the night, is akin to cowardice and backdoor deals. These workers did not collapse or cause the recession. Wall Street did that. House Speaker William O’Brien and his directionless minions are doing damage to our great state that will take years to repair. They campaigned on creating jobs and change, but all they are doing is killing jobs, taking away people’s rights and giving tax breaks to their big business buddies who bought and paid for them, which in turn creates budget shortfalls, will raise taxes and will cut $300 million from the disabled. Those are people who can least afford it. Next year cannot come fast enough. KEVIN FOLEY Barrington

197th FIB Union Leader Editorial (March 27, 2011)  

An editorial about the 197th Fires Brigade, NH National Guard, and its mission in the Middle East.

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