Atkinson Town Hall

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Welcome Message and Mission Statement

Welcome to the NEW Atkinson Reporter! Under new management, with new resolve.

The purpose of this Blog is to pick up where the Atkinson Reporter has left off. "The King is dead, Long live the King!" This Blog is a forum for the discussion of predominantly Atkinson; Officials, People, Ideas, and Events. You may give opinion, fact, or evaluation, but ad hominem personal attacks will not be tolerated, or published. The conversation begun on the Atkinson Reporter MUST be continued!

This Blog will not fall to outside hacks from anyone, especially insecure public officials afraid of their constituents criticism.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Police seize marijuana in Atkinson

ATKINSON — Police say they seized more than 7 pounds of marijuana, along with seeds, plant stems and other cultivation tools from an Atkinson home Monday morning.

Robert Zdrada, 65, and Valerie Zdrada, 60, were arrested shortly before 9 a.m. following a search of their home at 32 Crown Hill Road.

"Mostly what we seized were stems of plants, various seeds, portions of plants that had been harvested along with their yield from the harvest which was about seven and a half pounds of marijuana," said Atkinson Police Chief Albert Brackett. Police also confiscated special lighting units used to grow the plants indoors.

"We believe we recovered everything that had been harvested," Brackett said. "The evidence that we found indicated that it had been harvested just prior to our execution of the search warrant."

The department opened an investigation into the operation with the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office following a confidential tip about a month ago, Brackett said.

"We have investigations from time to time in regards to drugs," Brackett said. "Most of what we've had over the last year is heroin though."

The couple operates a photography company out of their home that often takes senior portraits and sports photos for surrounding high schools and have taken photos for The Eagle-Tribune. In a 2008 article, the Tribune described "Bob" Zdrada as an "avid booster" involved in Timberlane Regional High School wrestling, football and lacrosse, and stated he played a "huge role" in the sports programs.

Robert Zdrada was also reported to have been battling cancer of the tongue and neck at that time.

Attempts to reach the Zdradas at home were unsuccessful

Friday, September 11, 2015

Parents: We want to stay with Timberlane

 Sandown residents tell minority committee they oppose leaving distrct

By Kiera Blessing 
SANDOWN — During a tense and often-heated meeting of the Sandown withdrawal minority committee Wednesday night, dozens of parents and town residents said they strongly oppose withdrawing from the Timberlane Regional School District and felt lied to about the nature of the study being conducted.

Nearly 40 people filled the small meeting room at the Sandown Fire Department where the Sandown Feasibility of Withdrawal from Timberlane Regional School District Minority Committee met. Most of the attendees who spoke said they were against withdrawal; no one advocated for withdrawal at the meeting.

Many of those present said they felt they had been deceived about the nature of the study, and had believed, when voting at Town Meeting in March, that the study would only gather data. Both committees — the "majority" committee, working in conjunction with Timberlane, and the minority committee — plan to submit their findings to the state's Board of Education, which has some parents worried that they could be forced out of Timberlane.  

State law says that if the Board of Education approves a withdrawal plan in either the majority or minority report, the plan will then go to a vote of the four towns in the district. Parents at the meeting expressed concerns that Atkinson, Plaistow and Danville would vote in favor of Sandown's withdrawal, effectively forcing the small town out of the district.  

Cathy Gorman, the vice chair of the minority committee, said the district would first have to "prove" that it is financially feasible and otherwise suitable for Sandown to withdrawal before the Board of Education would approve a withdrawal plan.  

"Timberlane and the majority committee cannot just boot you out of the district," Gorman said.   

The residents were not so easily assured.  

"There is nothing you can show me or tell me that is going to change my mind. I don't want to withdraw, period, end of story," said Jon Goodman, a Sandown parent. "Don't say we can't get kicked out. You ... told us at deliberative session this was a study and nothing more."  

Some residents at the meeting initially advocated for the minority committee to be disbanded completely; the committee countered that dissolving the minority committee would leave all power with the majority committee and their ruling as to the feasibility and suitability of the withdrawal.

"I want to ensure that regardless of what the majority committee does, that we are prepared to protect Sandown. That is my goal for the minority report," Gorman said. "I will have a report ready to ensure that Sandown is well-represented when a report goes to the Board of Education."

Gorman and the rest of the committee assured parents and community members at the meeting that a consideration of the suitability of the withdrawal is how parents and students feel about it. Even if withdrawal is financially feasible, they said, the Board of Education will consider the suitability of the plan — in other words, if it will be beneficial to parents, students, and the community.

"The kids are important, where they want to go. The community as a whole is important, the impact to the community. We're looking at all of that," Gorman said.

Buco added that she established the minority committee because she felt Sandown did not have enough representation on the majority committee, and said the majority committee refused her request to add members from Sandown. The law does not address formation of a minority committee, but rather says only that the town that voted for the study can submit a minority report if the committee finds the withdrawal is not feasible or suitable.  

Rob Collins, chairman of the Sandown Feasibility of Withdrawal Committee, said Thursday that if the minority committee is not disbanded, it "would force our hand to submit a report with a withdrawal plan."  

Collins said this is because the committees have vastly different opinions of what the buyout would be. While the majority committee estimates it would cost Sandown at least $6.4 million to withdrawal, the minority committee said that does not take into account Sandown's partial ownership of the other Timberlane school buildings. The minority committee estimates that Timberlane may even owe the town money.  

"To not have great detail in that amount of money from our end and to allow them to write a report and withdrawal plan that said zero dollars would be a disservice to the towns of Atkinson, Plaistow and Danville," Collins said. "We would find ourselves in a position where we're having to defend not only the interest of the students, but the financial interest of the town as defined by state law."  

Still, Collins said that does not mean the majority committee will necessarily find the withdrawal feasible or suitable; he said he would simply write a plan so that the Board of Education would see there is a dispute between the committees about the buyout. He said that he is not sure what the committee will eventually conclude.

The state law says a withdrawal plan is only to be submitted if the committee finds the withdrawal is feasible and suitable.   

The minority committee and concerned Sandown residents discussed Wednesday the possibility of holding a special vote before the report must be submitted on Nov. 15 to determine what the majority of the town is in favor of, whether it be to withdrawal or to stay in Timberlane. The results of that vote would heavily influence the suitability portion of the minority report.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Atkinson Selectman Displays his lack of Education

This is Phil's new sign. To paraphrase Samuel Clemens, It is much wiser to remain silent and be thought dumb, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Selectmen Double down on Corruption

Once again the Selectmen choose corruption over integrity.

A short background:

Late last year the Conflict of Interest Committee(COI) received three complaints. The first alleging that all three selectmen had conflicts in appointing Sapia to the school board, both from the close association with him and their joint service on the BOS, and their conflicts with the other candidates, necessitated recusal. The second, alleged that Consentino, once again violated the ordinance by voting on pay raises for PD personnel which could affect his wife. The third, was for illegally going into a non- public meeting to discuss the Sapia Appointment.

The COI ruled the three selectmen in violation in the two regarding their behavior and Consentino in violation again, in the complaint against him. Also given Consentino's serial violations both of the ordinance and Court Orders regarding his violations of the ordinance, they recommended removal from office.

Here is where honesty, and integrity was given the shaft, by our Corruptocrats on the BOS, INCLUDING the new member, Groski, who as an attorney SHOULD have been schooled in ethics.

Once the COI sent their recommendation to the BOS, the BOS repeatedly put the chairman of COI off from announcing their findings at the towns Monday night business meeting, until AFTER THE ELECTION!, Claiming they did not want to affect the vote. Then they placed him on the agenda for the Mar. 23rd meeting, then bumped him off, and printed in bright red letter on the agenda THERE WILL BE NO PUBLIC COMMENT ALLOWED AT THIS MEETING.

The BOS ALSO decided to appoint a selectman liason to the COI, something not allowed in the ordinance, as the BOS has absolutely ZERO authority over the COI. They tried to get Sumner to represent them in this matter but even Sumner had the integrity to recuse himself due to his conflicts in representation.

At this weeks meeting, once again forbidding public comment, the selectmen VOTED UPON THEIR OWN PUNISHMENT!! They also decided, referring to an apparent prior meeting(where and when did this meeting take place, and where are the minutes?) not to punish Consentino. They further decided to hire outside legal consultants to represent them.

The LEGAL AND PROPER thing for them to do would have been to send this to Rockingham Superior Court, to determine their, and Consentino's punishment to avoid any further conflicts, but they couldn't take THAT option as Rockingham Superior Court has already issued Court Orders AGAINST Consentino for violating the ordinance, and subsequently found him in Contempt of Court for violating those Orders.

Oh, what a tangled web they weave, when first they set out to deceive.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Selectmen once again prize corruption over legality.

This weeks meeting of the Atkinson Circus was illuminating.

A Quick recap. The Conflict of Interest Committee(COI) last year faced two complaints regarding selectmen. The First, dealt with the latest in Phil Consentino's 15 year history of COI violations, which was two fold, voting to appoint Sapia to School Board, and voting to increase pay for Police dept employees, including his WIFE. Then he lied, as usual claiming that his wife left the dept, prior to his  vote. She did not leave until a couple of weeks prior to this lie.

The Second involved ALL the selectmen at that time, about voting while in conflict. In both cases the COI found that the selectmen had violated the ordinance. In Consentino's case as it  is his approximately 756,342 nd violation(slight exaggeration, Phil, no need to  get your beach ball attorney to sue) they recommended removal from office.

Now HERE is where it gets interesting.The selectmen succeeded in hiding this until after the election, They put the COI Chair on the agenda for Mar. 23, 2015 to  discuss the investigation and reveal the recommendation. HOWEVER the selectmen evidently had a meeting(Illegal as it  was neither posted, nor minutes kept) where they discussed this(they referred to it during the meeting) punishment of Consentino may have been discussed.

Flash forward to  this week. They bump the COI from the agenda, and announce in bright red letters that NO PUBLIC COMMENT WILL BE ALLOWED AT THIS MEETING!


Evidently they are trying to hide the fact that rather than do  THE RIGHT THING, and pass this issue to Rockingham Superior Court to decide, whether or  not to remove the disgraced former serial  sexual harasser from office(as it would be a further conflict for  the selectmen to  decide his fate), The selectmen have decided to  hire an outside attorney as Town Counsel informed them it  would be a conflict for him to represent them in this  case, to defend Phil  ONCE AGAIN. How many hundreds of thousands, if not  millions of dollars have been wasted defending this corrupt man from his  own violations?

Once again the selectmen choose to ignore the best interests of  the town, its taxpayers, and the people in favor of circling the wagons around Phil.

You know, Guys, if  the selectman had fired him in the early 1980's when he was caught dipping his  hand into the cookie jar, you could have saved this town, and its insurers close to a million dollars in settlements and legal fees.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Selectmen Corruption continue


Last night's selectmans meeting  provided yet another example of this board's willingness to violate town ordinance,

They were going to violate State law by going into non public to discuss Consentino's proposed punishment recommended by the Conflict of  interest committee, but having been apprised of the illegality of that, and apparently  fearing more lawsuits stemming for their repeated violations they held off on that one.

They, however, decided that they would appoint a "liaison" to the Conflict of Interest committee, something they have no  authority to do.

Selectmen, ESPECIALLY YOU, Phil, listen up. there are for boards in town over which you have absolutely no authority. Budget committee. Conflict of interest committee, ZBA, and Library Trustees. And for  good reason. The Conflict of interest committee must remain free from governing body influence. Now, yes, we all know and have seen Phil try to intimidate this  committee by abusing his authority as police chief to investigate its members, but that, too, was illegal, not  that this has ever stopped Phil.

How can the COI committee investigate complaints about the selectmen, with one of their members on that committee?

The COI committee is a quasi judicial body. The selectman's action is akin to the public defender choosing the judge in a criminal case. IT CAN'T HAPPEN!

Phil, you have been violating law, and ordinance for thirty years and largely getting away with it. Take your lumps and stop trying to corrupt everyone around you. As a former, now fired and disgraced, law enforcement officer no, one should  have to tell you the consequences for your violations of law.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Atkinson committee wants Consentino removed

By James Niedzinski
ATKINSON — While incumbent Selectman Philip Consentino secured another three-year term on the board, one town committee has made a recommendation to remove him from office.
The Conflict of Interest Committee found that on two occasions Consentino did not disclose conflicts of interest.
He declined to comment on the decisions Wednesday.
Some Conflict of Interest Committee members had to recuse themselves when taking a vote on the complaints.
Committee Chairman Raymond Fournier was in the selectman's race against Consentino. Another committee member, Peter Torosian, had to recuse himself because he was a candidate for the Timberlane Regional School Board.
Resident Leon Artus filed both complaints. He, too, was in the race for selectman against Consentino.
Artus could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
Artus filed his first complaint on Dec. 10, according to the Conflict of Interest Committee decision.
He claimed Consentino had conflicts of interest with three of the four people who were seeking appointment to a Timberlane Regional School Board seat.
When former School Board member Michael Mascola resigned in September, it was up to selectmen — including Consentino — to appoint someone to finish his term.
Selectmen appointed Jack Sapia. He was elected to the board Tuesday.
The Conflict of Interest Committee held a public hearing Feb. 24 and voted 3-0 that Consentino violated the conflict of interest ordinance.
Torosian and Fournier did not vote, Fournier said.
Consentino didn't have to state the nature of his conflict, according to the decision, but he should have made others aware that he had a conflict.
The committee also found that all three selectmen violated the Right to Know law because they did not interview candidates for the School Board seat in public.
In his second complaint, Artus claimed Consentino, who served for decades as the town's police chief, voted that non-union police employees should get the same pay as union members.
At the time, according to the committee decision, Consentino's wife, Joanne, worked for the Police Department. She left the department Jan. 26.
Last week, the committee voted, 4-0, that Consentino did violate the conflict of interest ordinance by not disclosing his wife worked for the Police Department.
Fournier said he recused himself from that vote, too, because of the selectman's race.
"The committee recommends removal of Philip Consentino, by the other selectmen, or Mr. Consentino should be allowed to resign," the committee wrote in its decision Saturday.
Selectmen Chairman William Baldwin did not return a call for comment Wednesday.
The committee plans to present its findings to selectmen on March 23, Fournier said. Consentino will be there because he was re-elected Tuesday.
It will be a bigger board. The election of Jason Grosky and William Friel brings the membership to five.
Selectmen have 45 days from the date of the committee's findings to act on the committee's decision of March 7.