Tag Archives: Steve Miller

Alton Central (ACS) School Board Voting, July 22, 2013, To Give Superintendent, William Lander, An ‘Off-Contract’, ad hoc ‘Bonus’.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related post:
>> Intriguing ACS School Board Meeting, July 22 …  — July 23, 2013.

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Alton Central School Board meeting

Click to access YouTube video of July 22, 2013 Alton Central School Board meeting.


I talked about this in my prior post.

This was the proposal to give the Superintendent, William Lander, a means to accrue sick pay (up to 30 days) though this was not in the 3 year contract that he, amazingly, managed to finagle through this dysfunctional board.

I want you to watch exactly what happens. It starts at the 1:32 mark (1 hour 32 minutes into the video).

The issue here, as Steve Miller, repeatedly points out is very basic and simple.

The Superintendent, William Lander, extracted an unprecedented 3 year contract from this Board. This sick pay benefit was NOT in that contract. Lander still has 2 years left of his contract.

So what Steve Miller is saying makes so much sense. Lander did not negotiate this as part of his contract. Now he is coming back, through the back door, with AN ADDITION to the contract.

Now as I have said before Lander owns this Board!

That even comes up. The Board won’t ask Lander to leave the room while they discuss his benefits!

This board is dysfunctional.

Also watch and notice that at least 2 members have GREAT DIFFICULTY trying to figure out how this addendum to the contract can be incorporated once the remainder of this existing contract has run out in 2 years.

This is the problem of having amateurs controlling multi million dollar public funds.

Two of the members, from what is in the public record, appear to have issues managing their own finances. But, they monkey around with public funds.

Watch how the voting proceeds. Watch WHO seconded Terri’s, immediate, without discussion, motion to APPROVE this bonus to Lander.

This board has to be held accountable at some point.

Steve Miller cannot fight all these battles on OUR behalf on his own.

Alton Central School (ACS), N.H.: Intriguing School Board Meeting, July 22, 2013. More People Really Should Attend.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> ‘Slipping through the cracks’ … — July 22, 2013.
>> Slip waiting to happen at ACS — July 17, 2013.
>> Administration again compromises credibility — July 9, 2013.
>> School bus fiasco … — July 8, 2013.
>> Credibility of ACS Administration questioned — June 24, 2013.

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The BIG headline is that they are back to talking about costing out an addition, and Steve Miller of all people got that ball rolling. So the ‘contingency’ plan to move the back modulars closer to the permanent buildings, which was backed by the administration was put on hold. There was a brief discussion about the costs for 4 to 6 room additions. But, one key point, as far as I was concerned, was never really discussed. I thought that if there was any addition, even if it was just one room, the entire school has to be brought up to code and that that was where all the real costs were. That did not get discussed. I was going to get p and ask about it. But, between Deanna and I we had asked upwards of 8 questions — more from Deanna, than from me, for a change. So, I decided to leave it for another day. So deja vu all over again.

Other than the two of us there were only 3 other parents present — and one of them is employed by the school. I wish more people would attend. A lot of ‘crazy’ stuff happens.

Let me give you some headlines.

1/ The Superintendent, who managed to wrangle a 3 year contract from this Board last year, tried to get another compensation hike by requesting (through his friend & associate the ‘business manager’) a recommendation that he be allowed to accrue up to 30 days of sick pay — which he could, when he leaves, cash in. Steve Miller, rightly, pointed out that this was not in the negotiated contract and that it should not now be added to it since it was a chance to the T&Cs. But, the Board Chairs, Sandy Wyatt and Terri, voted for it — though Sandy Wyatt did look a bit sheepish. Steve Miller voted against and after an agonizing wait, Carlos Martinez, joined with Steve. Krista was not present. So it was 2-2 and the motion, thankfully, was not passed. But, this proved my point. If Krista had been there the Superintendent would have got his wish. Scary.

2/ All of those that work for ACS are entitled to a $2,000 year ‘bonus’ if they opt not to get health coverage through the school (because, for example, they get coverage through their spouse). Steve Miller, again, questioned the NEED for this. The administration claims it is an incentive. They voted on Steve’s motion to drop the $2,000. Carlos did NOT vote with Steve. So Steve, as was always the case last year, lost. This time 1-3. To me there is an easy fix. Everybody should pay a token amount, say, $25 a month for their health insurance. That would do away with the need to pay a bonus.

3/ Steve Miller, again to his credit, question the principal, Sydney Legget about her claim that only 1 kid was affected by the school bus snafu. She now admitted that she heard of two other cases the next morning. Yea. I couldn’t get a clear view of the skyline from where I was seated to see if there were any pigs flying!

4/ Though I knew the answer, just to make sure it goes on the record, I got up and asked whether they could confirm that there was an independent, 3rd party investigation in progress about a serious bullying allegation at ACS. The Superintendent confirmed that there was indeed an investigation. I asked whether we would be given any details of it. NO. Remember, we are paying for this. But, it is closed-door. Trust me, nothing is going to happen. There is another meeting today, Tuesday, July 23. But, the Board will just brush it under the carpet. But, at least we now have it on record that an investigation did take place.

5/ Deanna and I both brought up bullying. You can watch it on TV.

Kids ‘Slipping Through The Cracks’ At Alton Central School (ACS), N.H. — The Cracks Should Be Fixed ASAP!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Slip waiting to happen at ACS — July 17, 2013.
>> Administration again compromises credibility — July 9, 2013.
>> School bus fiasco … — July 8, 2013.
>> Credibility of ACS Administration questioned — June 24, 2013.

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Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.


I have still not been able to rationalize why there is so much raw emotion from parents when it comes to the Alton Central School (ACS) building (which we are now finding out is in better shape than the Board cum Administration ever admitted) but very few people seem to want to stand up and be counted when it comes to other issues, such as bullying, that adversely impact the kids.

So check out the above remarks, originally appearing on Facebook, by an ACS mother that we know. [Yes, of course, I have all the names.]

Not good.

Kids should not be falling through the cracks.

But, the current administration, as I have pointed out, appears not be accountable to any power of Earth.

Well, all I can do is to highlight these issues. If others do not care, bully for them. We are already homeschooling one …

A Serious Slip Waiting To Happen At Alton Central School (ACS), NH.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Administration again compromises credibility — July 9, 2013.
>> School bus fiasco … — July 8, 2013.
>> Credibility of ACS Administration questioned — June 24, 2013.

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I happened to notice this when I took part in the ‘Winni Walk’ on June 17, 2013. Over the last year or so I very rarely go to the back of the school and this was the first time in over a year that I had walked by the classrooms there.

I saw the non-slip covering and was very impressed. But, being who I am, I had to check that it was securely fastened. So I gently nudged it with my shoe.

Secure my foot!

It just slid off and I had to scramble to put it back on.

I was appalled.

This is an accident waiting to happen. A kid hopping on to it, as kids are wont to do, will go flying.

I was amazed that nobody at the school had noticed it.

I went back (with Deanna’s camera) and did some checking. As you can faintly see in the 3rd picture above the non-stick was glued on with haphazardly applied dabs of glue. No continuous coating. The glue is all dried up.

Right now this is a major danger to kids.

Plus, that whole retaining wall is a joke. You could not have designed a better obstacle to trip young kids. What were they thinking?

Who designed this? Who came up with the specs? Who built in? Doesn’t anybody in the school walk around the facility, once a week, checking on safety issues?

All this fuss about air quality and other non-existent issues when we have things like this right under our feet.

Well, the school better fix this soon.

I am hoping that School Board member Steve Miller, the only person on the Board that can be relied upon to consistently speakup on behalf of the kids, and in reality “Alton’s TRUE Champion for the kids“, will see this post and contact William Lander, the Superintendent.

Deanna plans to bring it up at the next School Board meeting on July 22. Well, I have a few things I want to bring up at that meeting too:

1/ Why did the Principal, Sydney Leggett convey misinformation about the July 8, 2013 school bus incident?

2/ What is the status of the Independent, 3-rd Party Bullying Investigation and are we ever going to be told, even the bare outlines of what it was all about — and, furthermore, HOW MUCH IT COST and who authorized, in terms of the vote, that payment?

3/ Why a School Board member, who would have been party to authorizing the investigation, is now claiming he was then barred from providing pertinent input to the investigation. Aaaah! Who is wagging the tail here? Yes, I have started to realize that the Administration of late [i.e., since March] appears to have autocratic, plenipotentiary powers. Not sure how that came to be. Well, actually I have a good idea.

Alton Central School (ACS), NH: School Administration AGAIN Compromises Their Credibility!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> School bus fiasco … — July 8, 2013.
>> Credibility of ACS Administration questioned — June 24, 2013.

++++ Do a SEARCH on ‘Alton Central’ from
Sidebar search trench for other related posts >>>>>


School Board member Mr. Steve Miller, yet again proving that he is the only one on the board that on a consistent basis stands up for the kids, brought up the issue of the School Bus shenanigans on July 8, 2013, at last night’s ACS School Board Meeting. [How come WE were the only public attending?]

Thank YOU, Mr. Miller. Your efforts on behalf of the kids, as was also the case with bullying, is much appreciated.

Mr. Bill Lander, the Superintendent, said that he hadn’t had a chance to get to the bottom of it — since I had only e-mailed him a couple of hours prior to the meeting, after I had done my post (for the record).

But, Mrs. Sydney Leggett, the Principal, was happy to jump in and provide an update. She said that ONLY 1 kid was affected. Well it is on the ‘tape’, i.e., the video recording IF they ever get around to posting it (unedited).

Check the tape. Listen to what Mrs. Sydney Leggett, the Principal, says.

Why Bill Landers and the Principal forget that they are ‘on tape’ is a continuing mystery to me — unless, of course, they don’t give a damn, because they are not accountable to anyone.

So, Mrs. Leggett says ‘one child’. Well, we are aware of ONE CHILD, because Deanna got a call from the child himself asking her what he should do!

I, was told by Mrs. Pam Forbes (and I am now beyond trying to protect too many people as I was yesterday) that a ‘number of kids were involved‘. [That certainly sounded like there was MORE than 1.]

And here is another mother and she is pretty adamant. Images below. And yes, of course, I have the original unredacted versions. These discussions take place on Facebook. 

Well you don’t have to have done Singapore Math to work out that we now have at least 2. So that is more than 1.

Credibility ….

School Board …

Mr. Lander ….

July8BusLeg1

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July8BusLeg2

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‘Common Core’ Presentation By Alton Central Principal Sydney Leggett At June 10, 2013 School Board Meeting.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>>
Flaw in ‘Common Core’ math books — June 15, 2013.
>>
Alton Central might not have 100% Board support for ‘Common Core’
>>June 11, 2013.

>>
NHPR on ‘Common Core’ — June 9, 2013.
>>
I request School Board do joint Common Core presentation
>>May 14, 2013.

>>
Facts about the biometric bracelet — May 12, 2013.
>>
May 11, ‘Common Core Curriculum’ meeting in Alton — May 11, 2013.
>> Lets find out about ‘Common Core Curriculum’ — May 8, 2013.


CommonCorepresentation


This was the ‘Common Core’ presentation that I had requested.

Definitely worth watching. Listen to what she has to say with an open mind.

Alton Central School (ACS), at least for 2013 – 2014, is committed to ‘Common Core‘.

Alton Central Administration Might Not Have 100% Support From Their School Board On Their Commitment For ‘Common Core Standards’.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>>
NHPR on ‘Common Core’ — June 9, 2013.
>>
I request School Board do joint Common Core presentation
>>May 14, 2013.

>>
Facts about the biometric bracelet — May 12, 2013.
>>
May 11, ‘Common Core Curriculum’ meeting in Alton — May 11, 2013.
>> Lets find out about ‘Common Core Curriculum’ — May 8, 2013.



I find it funny (given my admittedly very twisted sense of humor) that most folks in Alton, including the parents, think that the building renovation is the ‘be all and end all‘ of the issues facing the welfare of the Alton kids. Somehow bullying or the ‘Common Core Standards‘ don’t seem to figure in the priorities.

Last night, at the School Board meeting, given that I had requested it at the previous meeting, the Principal did get up and do a brief but poignant presentation on ‘Common Core Standards’.

I was intrigued, but not surprised, when one female school board member (and Carlos Martinez was NOT at the meeting), openly talked about ACS OPTING OUT of CC. Wow.

So, I, when I was finally given permission to ask questions, got up and asked a few questions MAINLY to get as much of the opinions and statements on the official record for possible future use.

As I suspected a prior Board did approve the school’s current ‘program’ with CC. I knew that that had to have happened.

I also questioned whether this board was 100% behind CC and got the response I expected — that yes, some have reservations.

School Board member, Mr. Steve Miller, yet again to his credit, per my statement that I wanted this on the record, went onto say that he is supportive of CC and does not feel that ACS is in the ‘position’ to ‘go in alone’. Check the record.

Interesting stuff.

Yes, I would LOVE to have included Mrs. Leggett’s presentation, but it is not as yet available online (at least to me). Deanna e-mailed her requesting a copy. Yes, of course, I will post it or a link to it as soon as we hear something back.

Enjoy.

Alton Central “Bullying Issue” Much Has Been Happening Behind The Scenes.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> ACS Board dragging heels re. bullying issue … — May 21, 2013.
>> ACS 8th Grader Claims That Bullying Is Alive And Well At ACS
>>Apr. 5, 2013.


Just in case there was anybody out there that thought that I dropped the ball on this important issue far be it from the case. That is not my style. I don’t drop too many balls and I do get a lot done.

Over the last two weeks there has been much happening. There have been a lot of e-mails, numerous phone calls, visits to the SAU office, letters, documents, at least one ‘right to know‘ and even some face-to-face meetings.

But, since many in Alton don’t seem to care about this issue I will not bore you with what has been happening. But, it is very strange to me. From what a few of us can see bullying (in its many forms) would appear to be the biggest threat facing our kids today. Compared to the damages that can be done via bullying concerns about dust in the air kind of pale in comparison. But, still have all of this raw emotion when it come to the school renovation, but deafening apathy when it comes to taking steps to stamp out bullying. Yes, to be fair one other mother e-mailed Deanna with the bullying being experienced by her two kids. From her e-mail we even learned a whole slew of new vocabulary. IF you folks only knew.

Well yesterday there was a very useful and I think productive round-table (as it happened) with Mr. Lander, the Superintendent. After what had been quite a weekend, with at least one very interesting meeting, I called up on Tuesday and requested that meeting. Five of us met with Mr. Lander; Deanna & I, the parents of the young lady who is trying to get this issue addressed and Mr. Steve Miller, the School Board member — who attended as my guest, and as a concerned Alton resident (as opposed to a Board Member). Let me just say that I was ‘happy’ with the meeting as were the other parents.

That is enough.

P.S., That was my first real interaction with Mr. Lander and I was suitably impressed. Steve Miller was right. He had always maintained that I should give him a chance. Thanks Steve.

Have a great weekend.

Alton Central School Board Still Dragging Its Heel On Major Bullying Issue Brought To Its Attention On March 1, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related post:
>> ACS 8th Grader Claims That Bullying Is Alive And Well At ACS
>>Apr. 5, 2013.


The crux of the issue here is very simple as I pointed out in my original post 45 days ago.

This young lady is not trying to name names, cause trouble for anyone, or asking for any special treatment for herself or her friends. What she is trying to do, selflessly, is something for the betterment of the whole school when it comes to the very damaging and dangerous issue of bullying.

What she is requesting, partly in her official capacity as Student Council President but also as a deeply caring 8th Grader who will soon be departing ACS, is that the school provide an open forum where kids can talk about bullying in public and together agree on the steps that they can all take to put an end to it. It is basically asking that the  ACS kids be empowered to put an end to bullying on a peer-to-peer basis. It seems laudatory.

If nothing else this bona fide request needs to be discussed in public so that concerned citizens of Alton too can have a say in what is a very crucial issue. We home school Devanee because of the incessant bullying she suffered at ACS. So we sure have skin in this game, which is the reason that I will champion this until we see an equitable resolution.

As I pointed out in my April 5, 2013 post the U.S. Government, www.stop bullying.gov website advocates exactly this type of proactive student involvement. Here is what they say, which is exactly what this young lady is asking for at ACS.

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Click to access ‘stopbullying.gov’.

As I also pointed out, with images and links, other schools around the country promote such forums.

But, the ACS administration and School Board, with the ever conscientious and diligent Steve Miller the exception, does not want to even discuss it. There is something wrong here.

The mother of the young lady, an indefatigable PTSA member, in sheer frustration at how ACS was treating her daughter’s request, wrote to the Board on May 6. On the envelope she clearly stated that she wanted this matter to be discussed in PUBLIC at the next School Board meeting. That was the May 13, 2013 meeting that took place last Monday. We were at that meeting. The Board mentioned that there was a letter that had to be discussed. I knew what it was. It was also mentioned that the parent had indicated that the letter should be discussed in Public. A number of Board members claimed that they were not comfortable with that. So a vote was taken as to whether the letter should be discussed in public. Only Steve Miller voted for the public discussion — and he did so stating that he wanted to honor the parent’s request. The other 4 members voted against. 4-1 against a simple request for transparency by a parent (plus one heck of a taxpayer). Take note. So much by the people, for the people. As Steve Miller pointed, as ever correctly, this issue was being pushed out and pushed out so that it would not come up while the school was still in session — and this young lady still at ACS.

It is very obvious that this has been the administration’s and Board’s (bar Mr. Miller) strategy all along. Drag it into July and then claim that it was no longer relevant because the young lady had left!

This is wrong.

I have, right here in front of me, as scanned PDFs, all three letters: the original to the Board by the 14-year old young lady, the Board’s totally non sequitur response and the mother’s letter to the Board in May. Yes, I also have explicit permission, from the mother, to publish all the letters. I have spoken with the mother quite a few times over the last few days.

She is, understandably, furious.

I have been told that a reporter from the ‘Laconia Daily Sun‘ spoke with the Principal about this issue today. So at least the media has been made aware of it.

The two letters to the Board contain some very disturbing phrases to do with harassment and substance abuse. I have also heard of some telling incidents that have taken place at ACS of late. That some of this is not public knowledge is disconcerting since I am sure other parents would like to know.

So, this, for now, is just a heads up. Tomorrow is another day. I just wanted Alton to know that we are not giving up on this issue. Stay tuned.

P.S., Bullying is not restricted to kids bullying other kids. Bear that in mind.

Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

Alton Schools’ Hitherto Subterfuge Newspaper, ‘The Braysider’, Again Brays Shamelessly To Appropriate More Alton Taxpayer Dollars!

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 ..by Anura Guruge


Related Posts:
>> ‘The Baysider’ Tim Croses’ undisclosed conflict of interest with ACS
>>May 3, 2013.

>> ‘The Baysider’ stays silent on key Board Of Health & Alton Central
>>  School (ACS) Board 
‘special’ meeting — May 2, 2013.
>> Code of ethics for professional journalists — May 3, 2013.
>> “Always do right” … — May 4, 2013.

++++ Check Category ‘Alton’ in sidebar dropdown for other posts >>>>


Click to ENLARGE. That is what I thought of that shameless braying now that we ALL know the undisclosed conflicts of interest.

Click to ENLARGE. That is what I thought of that shameless braying now that we ALL know the undisclosed conflicts of interest.

I was not amused by this so called ‘advertorial‘ from the minute I read it in the May 2, 2013 propaganda piece, especially because I was still fuming that they chose, for what is now very obvious were political, self-serving means, not to cover what was a pivotal Alton Board of Health vs. Alton Central School Board special meeting on April 29. Then thanks to School Board member, the ever vigilant Mr. Steve Miller, the TAX PAYERS FRIEND, who left a comment on this blog, we discover, and get confirmation from the Superintendent, that ‘The Braysider’ reporter works for ACS — though that has never been disclosed. Let me, as a professional journalist myself, and one with considerably more international recognition, prestige and credibility than those that work for this local rag, get one thing clear. I, nor anybody else in Alton, has any issue about the damn reporter working for the school. That was never the issue. That is fine. The issue was the lack of DISCLOSURE. Full disclosure is a part and parcel of responsible public reporting.

Even on this blog, when I talk about financial matters, I always make a point to disclose, very clearly, whether I have a stake in any of the ‘products’ I am writing about. That is because I cut my journalistic teeth on major, worldwide publications such as: ‘Data Communications‘, ‘Network World‘, ‘LAN Times‘ and ‘Business Communications Review‘.

And before anybody else starts trying to clamber up their high-horse trying to say that I am trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, I have an e-mail, sent to me last Friday, from the so called editor saying: I do realize there probably should have been a statement on that, as we had when Tim’s neighbors were involved in a case. That is my mistake, I will freely admit that‘.

Well lets see if he has the kahunas if not the integrity to admit to this in public. Friday’s e-mail exchange was in no way privileged. So I will have no compunction in publicizing it all.

What got me about this ‘advertorial‘, disguised as an ‘editorial’, was that the writer is not an Alton tax payer. As far as I know he pays no property tax anywhere in NH, or for that matter anywhere in the known Universe. But, he thinks it is ‘OK’ to talk about MORE spending without disclosing his nefarious conflicts of interests.

speeding

At this point let me AGAIN remind you that this was the aging, mid-30s guy who PUBLICLY BOASTED, in print, that he was speeding at 90 mph. I, as a parent, flagged this. I was shocked. But, none of YOU did anything. I guess you don’t care. Shame on YOU. He could have easily killed one of MY kids! 90 mph is criminal speeding.

This is a man that spends much of his time with teenagers, many just getting behind the wheel of car. And he boasts that it is ‘OK’ to drive at 90 mph! Yes, I know that he is like the pope. He does not feel that he has to answer to anyone on Earth. This is now becoming very clear. You can see the pattern. Do 90 mph and boast about it in print. Omit his conflicts of interest and think that Alton tax payers deserve to be duped because they are not as smart as him. We have had Presidents like that and lots of popes. So, I ask YOU. Are YOU going to have YOUR VOICE heard?

There is more. The reporter who felt that it was perfectly permissible not to disclose his germane, blatant conflict of interest is an assistant baseball coach at Brewster. Well, in my book that is not cricket. Sports is all about learning values. And those values are not that of breaking the law, i.e., criminal speeding at 90 mph, or violation of professional ethics, i.e., non-disclosure of crucial conflicts of interests.

Yes, I am riled. Yes, we feel violated! Why, because we had treated these two as friends. So there is an element of personal betrayal here. But, that is fine. C’est la vie. It is the duping of my fellow Alton citizens, specially the tax payers that irks me.

OK. I feel much better now. Time to celebrate. I just completed the process to publish my 1st print book in 18 months. Yes, I published a bunch of Kindle ebooks, but since I am very old-fashioned I don’t really think of those as bona fide books, though everybody tells me that they are the future. I like printed books.