I GREW UP with my brothers and cousins at Hampton Beach during childhood summers. My grandparents would rent a beach house each season and then bought one years later off Ocean Boulevard in a quieter spot far from the cool kids at the beach’s lively Casino.

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Basking in the sun, riding the waves, hunting for shells and starfish, and occasionally eating lunch on my dad’s old Army blanket, we would claim our little seaside territory each day and be joined by hundreds of other family beachgoers.

I observed many cars parked nearby with license plates from Quebec carrying the slogan “La Belle Province.”

Did you know that Canadians are by far the largest group of international visitors to New Hampshire and a key component of our multi-billion-dollar tourism industry? These days, however, the welcome mat to “Bienvenue New Hampshire” is stuck in limbo.

The U.S.-Canada border shutdown is set to last until at least June 21. This has made life difficult for many Franco-American families. It has also blocked tourists and hurt those manufacturers who are trade-dependent.

I understand the COVID-cautious mood, but I think it’s time to reopen our border considering NH’s strong record in getting at least half of the population fully vaccinated and lifting the pandemic state of emergency

And speaking of taking sides, here’s another one heating up in the Gate City involving Mayor Jim Donchess, the Nashua Police Commission and those pesky ballot questions.

Nashua Police have the only governor-appointed board of commissioners in the entire state. It’s been that way for decades (130 years to be exact).

The mayor is proposing a referendum question be placed on the November ballot asking voters if police commissioner appointments should be made by the mayor and president of the Board of Aldermen. Donchess believes it’s time for more local control, and he’d also like to increase the board of police commissioners from three to five members.

Nashua’s Chief of Police Michael Carignan is strongly opposed and has said that having a commission appointed by the governor keeps any local political influence out of the local police department.

Ballot questions can be tricky, and although they’re designed to let the people speak, the way they’re written can be confusing and sometimes, even deceptive.

In 2017, the city placed a question on the ballot asking voters if they would support a $15.5 million bond for a performing arts center. It passed 5,163 -5,012.

Now it is a $25 million project, and some taxpayers feel duped and afraid they will be caught with a boondoggle. I hope not. I look forward to the center gracing the downtown.

Here are my 2 cents on the police commission: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, Mr. Mayor.”

Joan Stylianos is a Nashua native. Her column appears every other Thursday. Contact her at jtania512@gmail.com.

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