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"Let them march all they want, as long as they pay their taxes."  --Alexander Haig

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Author Topic: John Connell  (Read 3992 times)

WithoutAPaddle

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #45 on: January 25, 2016, 10:48 AM NHFT »


I was in the car, not a lot of choices on a Sunday morning...

I don't know the current, northern New Hampshire radio situation, but when I used to make my weekly evening trek through it in the 1970s, there were only two choices: WABC-New York (Dan Ingram and George "reverb" Michael) and WBZ-Boston (Guy Mainella, Jerry Williams, Larry Glick on weekdays, Ken Beatrice, Avi Nelson and Lovell Dyett on the weekends).  Boston had talk radio before there was even any such thing as talk radio.  The so-called "Fairness Doctrine" was trumped by Jerry Williams's own unfairness doctrine.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2016, 05:41 PM NHFT by WithoutAPaddle »
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WithoutAPaddle

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #46 on: January 25, 2016, 10:57 AM NHFT »

...In college I argued with my prof and railed against the crap by Galbraith we were forced to read.

"If we were not in Vietnam, all that part of the world would be enjoying the obscurity it so richly deserves."

- John Kenneth Galbraith

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KBCraig

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #47 on: January 25, 2016, 09:05 PM NHFT »

Thanks to Tony for the wonderful tribute, and many photos of the building over the years.

http://disobedient.me/2016/01/26/pastor-john-connell-and-peaceful-assembly-church/
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KBCraig

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #48 on: January 28, 2016, 07:44 PM NHFT »

http://www.vnews.com/news/20753949-95/picking-up-the-pieces

Members of Burned Grafton Church Work to Keep, Fix Building

By Rob Wolfe
Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, January 28, 2016
(Published in print: Thursday, January 28, 2016)

Grafton — An ongoing battle over taxes threatens to complicate plans to restore a historic church that burned earlier this month.

A Jan. 12 fire at the Peaceful Assembly Church severely damaged the 217-year-old structure on Route 4 and killed its founder , John Connell.

On Wednesday, Dave Kopacz, chairman of the church’s Board of Directors, said volunteers were coming from as far as Massachusetts to repair the damage. That work will include restorations to the second-floor sanctuary and the opening of a first-floor community center that could include a soup kitchen and meeting space, he said.

“We’ve taken a look at the building,” Kopacz said in a telephone interview, “and although it looks pretty bad, the building was built very sturdily and we’re looking forward to returning it to the way it was in its heyday.”

Looming over those plans is a Feb. 8 deadline to pay $6,000 in taxes needed to avoid confiscation by the town for non-payment of a nearly $14,000 account.

The outstanding bill is rooted in a long-running dispute over whether the church, as a religious institution, should be considered exempt from property taxes.

Town leaders repeatedly have denied the Peaceful Assembly Church’s applications for exemption, and church officials in August 2014 appealed the latest rejection in Superior Court.

Church members, many of whom are participants in the libertarian Free State Project, have painted the issue as a First Amendment right, referring to the protection of religious freedom afforded by the Constitution.

But in court filings, town officials have argued that the church’s lack of affiliation with any particular denomination, along with the informal qualifications of its late founder, disqualify it from exemption.

Beyond denying the tax requests, town officials have taken a laissez-faire attitude to the use of the church.

“I’m not sure if it’s a church or not,” Selectman Merle Kenyon said, “but other than that, anyone who wants to hang out there can do whatever they want.”

If the taxes aren’t paid by Feb. 8, the town could confiscate the property, Selectboard Chairman Sean Frost said, though he added that the decision whether to repair the church or sell it likely would come at Town Meeting, not from the Selectboard.

Given that the church, built in 1798, is “such a historical icon,” he said, “... we wouldn’t decide to rebuild it or decide to auction. That’s not a decision the Selectboard would make.”

Before the fire, Kopacz said in the Wednesday interview, he had a check in hand for the full $14,000; now, in part because of the anticipated cost of repairs, he is cutting a new one for $6,000.

Either way, he said, the payment of taxes does not mean he accepts the town’s decision not to grant an exemption.

“We aren’t acquiescing that the church owes the taxes,” he said, explaining that he was making the payment “essentially under duress to save the church.”

Wednesday afternoon, volunteers already were starting to clean up the mess left by the fire. Tom Ploszaj, a Grafton resident who was friends with Connell and who once served as a director, was outside shoveling away the remains.

Inside, the ground floor was covered in ice and scorched items. As Ploszaj showed a reporter through the building, he pointed out Connell’s bedroom, which adjoined the main meeting space and food pantry.

“I still miss him,” Ploszaj said of his friend. “I’m still getting over it.”

Upstairs, in the sanctuary, the pews were lit by a gaping hole in the west wall. A smoke-stained Bible sat on the lectern, the pages open to Genesis 5.

Ploszaj, who lived in Connecticut before retiring to the Granite State, said he had been disappointed to hear town officials focusing more on outstanding tax payments than on making plans with church directors for the building’s future.

“I’d always heard that New Hampshire was this place where people came together in a crisis,” he said. “I guess that wasn’t true.”

But Kenyon, who is the former Grafton police chief, countered that town officials were letting the church decide on its own arrangements.

“They say they’re going to keep it and try to rebuild it,” Kenyon said of the church directors, “and it’s their property. As long as they keep up with the taxes, that’s all we can ask for.”

He paused, and added, “We don’t have many historic buildings in town, and it’s right on the common, so it’s sort of sad to see it in the shape it’s in now.”

Ploszaj said assessors had estimated that basic structural repairs could cost as much as $30,000; a full restoration to working order likely will be in the six-figure range, he said.

Depending on the outcome of the court case, church leaders may get their tax exemption after all. A trial was scheduled for September, but has since been delayed.

The next hearing is set for 9 a.m. on Feb. 3 in Grafton Superior Court, where the two sides are scheduled to discuss their readiness for a trial.
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Russell Kanning

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #49 on: January 29, 2016, 09:26 AM NHFT »

“They say they’re going to keep it and try to rebuild it,” Kenyon said of the church directors, “and it’s their property. As long as they keep up with the taxes, that’s all we can ask for.”

spoken as a true former public worker
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KBCraig

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #50 on: January 29, 2016, 11:32 AM NHFT »

Here's what gets me about the taxes...that building hasn't been taxed since 1798. The town has never collected a penny from it. Tax exemption didn't change anyone else's taxes, nor the town budget, in any way.

They just saw it as an opportunity to pick up a few thousand bucks for "free", and have spent more on attorney fees than they will collect.

That's not stupidity. It's spite.
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MaineShark

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #51 on: January 29, 2016, 12:09 PM NHFT »

They just saw it as an opportunity to pick up a few thousand bucks for "free", and have spent more on attorney fees than they will collect.

That's not stupidity. It's spite.

It wasn't even about the "free money."  As you noted, they spent more than they could have hoped to collect.  It was solely about the spite, from the very beginning.  It was not about getting more money for the town government; it was about taking money from the PAC, to punish the PAC.
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Tom Sawyer

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #52 on: January 29, 2016, 12:43 PM NHFT »

Hey purple paint and peace signs can't be tolerated in Peyton Place Grafton.
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Jay

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #53 on: January 29, 2016, 04:39 PM NHFT »

If I've learned anything about NH politics, is that each town has their own little corrupt club of sociopaths getting a government salary that utterly control everything in it. The only way things have ever made any headway is at the State legislature level. Throw the money and effort that way, if anything.
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Russell Kanning

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #54 on: January 29, 2016, 05:54 PM NHFT »

my theory is that we can see the evil easier in each little town .... the corruption just gets worse on every level above this
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blackie

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #55 on: January 30, 2016, 04:23 AM NHFT »

If I've learned anything about NH politics, is that each town has their own little corrupt club of sociopaths getting a government salary that utterly control everything in it. The only way things have ever made any headway is at the State legislature level. Throw the money and effort that way, if anything.
You are making friends with the wrong people. Also, the best use of money with corrupt people is bribes.

Having "friends" in the right places makes all the difference.

Blackmail also works well.
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Russell Kanning

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #56 on: January 30, 2016, 09:23 AM NHFT »

I couldn't disagree more
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Jay

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #57 on: January 30, 2016, 11:55 AM NHFT »

If I've learned anything about NH politics, is that each town has their own little corrupt club of sociopaths getting a government salary that utterly control everything in it. The only way things have ever made any headway is at the State legislature level. Throw the money and effort that way, if anything.
You are making friends with the wrong people. Also, the best use of money with corrupt people is bribes.

Having "friends" in the right places makes all the difference.

Blackmail also works well.

If you want to operate withing the current system and do your thing, perhaps.

If you're threatening their way of life with the ideas you are trying to spread, then that's not going to get you far.
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Tom Sawyer

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #58 on: January 30, 2016, 07:25 PM NHFT »

A guy that tried to bring a little beauty and serenity into this world. Dang.  :'(
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Russell Kanning

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #59 on: January 30, 2016, 08:49 PM NHFT »

yea it is shocking that some people didn't like the colors he was using on the church building ...... compared to what ... slowly falling apart?
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