Let the Games Begin...

Roland Therberge was the first to register for selectman Wednesday.

For Selectman – Three Years – Vote for Two

Incumbents:  Elizabeth A. Roth and Arthur E. Barnes, III

For Budget Committee – Three Years – Vote for Three

Incumbents:  Susan Covey, Ann Marie David,

Roland Theberge

For Library Trustee – Three Years – Vote for One

Incumbent:  Joan Fardella (replaced Rosemarie Hartnett)

For Trustee of the Trust Funds – Three Years – Vote for One

Incumbent:  Robert Carpinone

For Planning Board  – Three Years – Vote for Two

Incumbent:  Phyllis O’Grady

Gene Bryant

For Zoning Board of Adjustment – Three Years – Vote for Two

New Position

Incumbents:  James Broadhurst and Ross Miller

Filing Period – Wednesday, January 21 through Friday, January 30, 2009. 

Anyone interested in running for office will need to file at the Town Clerk’s Office, 33 Geremonty Drive. Office hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Must be a registered voter in Salem NH.

Incumbents, Beth Roth and Arthur Barnes filed for re-election at 8:30 Wednesday morning, as the clerk’s office opened.

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Slots for Rockingham Park; With a State Budget Crisis, Gaming Revenue is Possible

by Andrea Dannewitz

Rockingham Park racetrack, in all its glory, with live thoroughbred and harness racing, video slot machines, Bingo, Texas Hold’em, Blackjack and Roulette — all thanks to a $450 million renovation to “The Rock”, courtesy of Millennium Gaming.  That will be business as usual at Salem’s historic racetrack if the state moves to approve the expansion of limited gaming in New Hampshire.

The citizens of Salem have spoken out in the past, saying that the limited expansion of gaming at Rockingham Park is welcome here.  The 102-year-old racetrack is a much-loved historical venue in town that holds many memories in the minds of longtime Salemites.  Five years ago, thoroughbred racing ended here, and with it the dwindling profits at the racetrack.  The building is in dire need of renovations, but without profits the renovations cannot happen.

Though the state legislators have said “no” to video slot machines in the past, a projected $300 to $400 million deficit in the state budget may have some of our legislators changing their minds about video slots in New Hampshire, or at least at Rockingham Park.  The state could see an additional $200 million in revenue annually from video slot machines at Rockingham Park.

A recent study showed that 70 to 80 percent of New Hampshire residents would prefer limited gaming expansion as an additional source of revenue to the state, rather than an income or sales tax.  The statewide group ‘Fix It Now New Hampshire Coalition’ says allowing video slot machines at Rockingham Park could be part of the solution to the budget shortfalls the state is currently facing.  The study conducted by The Innovation Group projected the following, based on 3,000 video slot machines specifically installed only at Rockingham Park:

  • 70 percent of customers will come from out of state, with most of the remaining 30 percent coming from New Hampshire
  • The majority of the customers will come from within 25 miles of Rockingham Park
  • After the first year of operation, annual growth was projected to be between 3 and 5 percent
  • Each slot machine would bring in $367 per day, placing Rockingham Park as the sixth most successful slot operation on the east coast
  • The revenue projection ($200 million annually) is based on a 50 percent tax on slot profits

If this passes, the local economy could have something to look forward to — the $450 million renovation, once complete, would create hundreds of new jobs right here in Salem.  Even better, the projected number of unique visits annually is eyed at 4 million.  The tourism in Salem would increase dramatically, creating opportunity for business growth in Salem’s commercial/retail district (Route 28).  That in turn creates even more jobs.  In an economy such as what we are experiencing today, the opportunity for more state revenue and more employment nearly welcomes itself.

Ed Callahan, General Manager for Rockingham Park, spoke at a press conference last month, saying, “Rockingham is uniquely positioned to compete with anyone.  Our location over the years has been a true advantage in drawing attention and visits to the state of New Hampshire.  This will bring the state a non-weather dependent source of tourism and revenue.  Allowing the limited expansion of gaming by enabling video terminals at Rockingham could provide the state with a reliable and sustainable source of revenue, and this could be a critical part of the solution to the budget shortfalls that New Hampshire is seeing in the coming year and years to come.”

Over the past decade, expansion of limited gaming has not been a popular topic among representatives of New Hampshire state government, though it has had a lot of support from New Hampshire citizens in general.  There is still some opposition from some of New Hampshire’s state representatives, senators, and citizens, but considering the extremely tough economic times, some are simply concluding that passing limited expansion of gaming to include video slot terminals will only help the state’s budget issues and is more acceptable than higher taxes.

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Library Story Hour

by Robyn Hatch

Kathy definitely has the kids’ attention (Larry Liu, Joe Sheedy, Erin Devine)

The Kelley Library has many story hour days, and it would be well worth your time to check it out.  Kathy and Corrie (both library ladies) put much time and effort in developing programs for children, from very young to school age.  From bright pictures to Corrie’s sneezes and Kathy’s laughter, the stories come alive.  Sometimes songs are sung or tiny dances and movements are learned before the story.  Many pictures, felt boards, and writings are used to make the stories more realistic and exciting.  After the books have been read, crafts and games are always done so each child will have something to take home.  These programs are free to residents of Salem, but it is asked that you sign up so they know how many crafts to prepare.  Check out the library — it will be well worth it!  You can reach the Kelley Library at 898-7064.

Laura Paris, proud of her accomplishment

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Geography Bee at Barron Elementary

by Robyn Hatch

Steven, in victory

In a very professional manner, Barron Elementary School held their Geography Bee for the 12th consecutive year.  This event is sponsored by National Geographic and is held in most of the grammar schools in Salem.

This was an event for 4th and 5th graders, and in Barron it wasn’t mandatory to participate.  Many tried out, and for this day there were 10 finalists.  Some of the topics included information on the United States, zones and maps, states, cities, world geography, and odd questions for the champion round.  There were approximately 70 questions asked, and it was amazing how hard the topics were for these younger grades.  Serious looks and dead silence filled the room as, one by one, students got eliminated.  The final two students were Michael Scuderi and Steven Beninati.  There was definite competition between these two gentlemen and it showed in the looks they gave each other.  Steven Beninati came up with the final answer and he showed victory by much arm-raising and excitement.  Everyone who entered this competition is a winner, regardless if they came out on the top.  These questions were very hard and it took much concentration and thinking skills to pull off these answers.

Now Steven Beninati will take another test (written) to see if he qualifies for further testing.  The top 100 high scorers in New Hampshire will go on to competition at Keene State.  These winners will compete in Washington, DC, with a final prize of $25,000.  What a way to make geography an exciting and worthwhile subject!

Congratulations to Steven Beninati, Michael Scuderi, and all the other competitors.  You are all winners!

Michael Scuderi, one final answer

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