Location, location, locationOver the decades, he has been one of the loudest and most persistent voices for cutting state government spending, so you'd think that incoming Executive Councilor David Wheeler might have a more sympathetic view of the budget cuts that are made. But you'd be wrong - at least when it comes to his hometown.The Milford Republican recently sent out a warning to the locals that the town's Department of Motor Vehicles substation may be on the chopping block.
According to Wheeler, closing the Milford substation is part of a plan that also includes closing the substation in Merrimack and replacing them with one at the Exit 6 visitor's center on the Everett Turnpike in Nashua.While Wheeler said he was concerned about his constituents ("For people who live in Milford, Wilton, Lyndeborough and further west, they can choose to go to Nashua or Keene, and it's a long haul," Wheeler told The Telegraph), it's apparent that this is also personal.That's because most motorists in Milford and environs can register their vehicle with the local town clerk. The problem is that only vehicles over 26,000 pounds have to be registered at a DMV substation.And Wheeler owns a 32,000-pound dump truck. Thus he is "pretty wound up" about the closure, he told The Telegraph.People shouldn't have to drive "30 miles round trip to have their vehicles registered," he said.When you think about it, there are probably plenty of New Hampshirites who would love to have only a 30-mile drive to register their truck.
Honorable dischargeThat was a nice job by attorney David Nixon, attorney for Banking Commissioner Peter Hildreth at his client's removal hearing.In case you missed it, in his opening statement Nixon told the gathered members of the Executive Council who will be deciding Hildreth's fate that they shouldn't remove Hildreth and let him "retire with honor" in nine months, when he would be eligible for a state pension.Whether the argument sways the councilors remains to be seen, but it's likely not to elicit much sympathy from the victims of the Financial Resources Mortgage Inc. Ponzi scheme - the reason for the removal hearing in the first place. After all, considering they lost tens of millions of dollars among them, it's probably more than likely that they may find it difficult themselves to "retire with honor."
Pharmacy aidThat was quite the interesting spin the powers-that-be put on the recent decision allowingretired state employees to order a 90-day supply of medication from New Hampshire pharmacies.Before the change - which was OKd by the Legislative Fiscal Committee last month - the retirees were required to obtain a 90-day supply of their meds through a mail-order pharmacy. Starting Jan. 1, they can go to their local pharmacy to fill the scrip.Administrative Services Commissioner Linda Hodgdon said the change was made because - at least according to AP - some retirees didn't like having their meds mailed to their homes or felt more comfortable discussing their meds with a local pharmacist.Actually, considering the thousands of state retirees out there, you could argue pretty convincingly that the change is a shot in the arm for the New Hampshire economy, since there will likely be more than a few local pharmacies who'll be benefiting from the switch.And, considering state policies toward local pharmacies over the last years, it's the least that could be done to help them out.
F&J TOTE BOARDJudd Gregg: The outgoing Republican senator is a top candidate to become the next head of the Business Roundtable trade association - a job with a $5 million-a-year salary.Rich DiPentima: The Democratic state rep from Portsmouth says he's going to sponsor a bill to require that "free portable drinking water" be made available to the public at large public gatherings "lasting a certain period of time."Dan Eaton: The soon-to-be-former House majority floor leader gets a reprieve after the Legislative Ethics Committee dismisses a complaint against him relating to a liquor enforcement action at a Keene bar that led to the attempted removal of Liquor Commissioner Mark Bodi.Natural Rights Caucus: A newly formed self-described "group of principled New Hampshire legislators," organizes to promote laws according to Article 1, Part 2 of the New Hampshire Constitution. ("All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights - among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this state on account of race, creed, color, sex or national origin.")Paul Hodes: An ad for the outgoing congressman's failed Senate campaign is listed by Hotline as running the eighth- worst political ad in 2010. The ad featured a hot dog eating contest in Weirs Beach, ostensibly to show "how they spend money in Washington."Gene Chandler: The state rep from Bartlett who lost in his bid to be speaker next session is thrown a bone by the man who beat him, Bill O'Brien, and is named speaker pro tem.
It's been making the rounds...• What can you say when Senate Democrats have more titles to go around than they have members?• Thinking the Hildreth hearings will end in a week? Guess again.• Now it's official. If Ovide Lamontagne's photo op of himself with a deer carcass couldn't win over Sarah Palin, then how on earth will New Hampshire ever get the reality TV star to pay attention to the Granite State?• She may be taking some heat from the hard core over appointing Bud Fitch to run her New Hampshire operations, but Kelly Ayotte could have done a heckuva lot worse - especially when you look at some of the names that were floated around by her "friends."• With more than 40 percent of incoming House members without any legislative experience at all, we should all be ready to fasten our seat belts. It's gonna be a bumpy ride.
This article appears in the December 3 2010 issue of New Hampshire Business Review