NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

March 15, 2013

Greyhound racing bill defeated in NH House

Seabrook Town Notebook
Angeljean Chiaramida

---- — A bill that might have cost scores of jobs at Seabrook Greyhound Park went down in defeat in the House of Representatives Wednesday afternoon, but not before Seabrook’s freshman state representative and selectman, Aboul Khan, had his first chance to speak on the floor of the Statehouse.

New Hampshire House Bill 564 would have prevented the Seabrook Park from simulcasting dog races originating in any jurisdiction that doesn’t make available to the public the injury records of racing greyhounds.

Seabrook Park President Karen Keeland told Seabrook Board of Selectman in early February that she’d probably have to shut down the venue if the bill passed, which could result in the loss of more than 100 full- and part-time jobs.

Given the possible job loss and the more than $250,000 the track contributes to town coffers every year, the Board of Selectmen and all of Seabrook’s House representatives worked hard to ensure the bill would not get out of the House alive.

All of them testified against the bill at its hearing before the Ways and Means Committee, which rejected it with a vote of “inexpedient to legislate.”

On the House floor, however, the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, R-Manchester, spoke in favor of the bill, trying to reverse its fate.

But those fighting for its defeat went to Khan, suggesting he take to the House podium and speak against the bill.

“I was nervous because I have not spoken in a House session before,” Khan said. “But I prepared and got up and spoke against the bill to save those jobs.”

Khan must have made his point, for the majority of his fellow House members agreed with him, and the bill died. But after he got back to his seat, Khan got a pleasant surprise.

“The speaker sent me a nice card saying I did a good job,” Khan said.

The gesture takes on a special meaning when realizing N.H.’s Speaker of the House Terie Norelli is a Portsmouth Democrat and Khan is a Republican.

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public meeting concerning NextEra Energy Seabook nuclear power plant beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, at Hampton’s Best Western Inn.

The NRC will host an open house to discuss the performance of the plant during calendar year 2012. The agency’s staff will be available in an informational setting to answer questions and discuss concerns related to the power plant.

The meeting will discuss the NRC’s annual assessment letter regarding Seabrook’s performance during 2012.

The letter is accessible at the NRC website at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html.

For more information on the meeting, contact: Glenn T. Dentel, Chief, Projects Branch 3 at (610) 337-5233 or at Glenn.Dentel@NRC.Gov.

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Seabrook Middle School has a number of events taking place that are newsworthy.

On March 21, the math department will host its first ever Pi Night, in honor of the number Pi (3.14), the ratio between a circle’s circumference and its diameter, a constant that is vital to the development of mathematics. The night offers math fun for kids and parents, including a pie bake-off, interactive computer stations and math games in honor of this special number.

The Seabrook Middle School Catapult Club continues construction on three siege engines.

Students split up into three team, and each team designs and builds its machines. According to SMS Assistant Principal Bryan Belanger, Seabrook’s Home Depot staff has been a great resource for ideas and materials.

And the Read to Succeed program for fifth- and sixth-graders encourages recreational reading and support literacy development. Students who read six hours or more receive one free admission ticket to Six Flags New England. Students who read 30 hours or more get a free admission ticket and can participate in a Pizza Party set up by the Seabrook Adventure Zone; transportation will be provided by the Seabrook PTO. Seabrook Adventure zone works hard to provide new, high quality books to students in need.

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Angeljean Chiaramida covers Seabrook for The Daily News. She can be reached at 978-462-6666, ext. 3271 or at achiaramida@newburyportnews.com.