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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!

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Timberlane students embrace Great American Smokeout

From the Eagle-Tribune;

Timberlane students embrace Great American Smokeout Timberlane students help classmates stop smoking
By Margo Sullivan

PLAISTOW, N.H. — Don't try to say you don't know about tomorrow's Great American Smokeout if you're a student at Timberlane Regional High School.

You can't turn a corner inside the school without seeing a neon-colored poster, according to 17-year-old Ashley Gillan, a senior in the Peer Outreach group. The posters announce that 75 percent of your classmates don't smoke, and if you do, here's help.

This is the Great American Smokeout "in your face," she said yesterday.

Ashley and about two dozen other students plan to adopt a smoker for the day. They will sit outside the cafeteria from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and offer students who want to quit a one-day contract to sign pledging not to smoke.

Ashley also will carry a supply of "quit bags" to help ease the nicotine craving. For the Great American Smokeout, the Timberlane students stuffed dozens of plastic bags with lollipops, Tootsie Rolls, Jolly Ranchers and gum with the hope the candy would help their classmates quit smoking.

And for people who respond to more dramatic appeals, a set of pig lungs — one healthy lung and one with a tumor — will be on display to show the damage smoking can do to the human body.

"You can even touch the tumor," teacher Tim Lena said.

Rich Cran, a tobacco specialist with the state's Department of Health and Human Services, said he buys the lungs from a mail-order company that provides supplies for smoking cessation groups. The pigs are already dead when the tumors are simulated, and the lungs are subjected to smoke to represent 18 years of a cigarette habit.

"No pig was harmed for this Smokeout," Ashley said.

About two dozen students have spent the past two weeks preparing for the Smokeout — observed nationwide since 1977 — and said smoking is still a problem.

Although fewer high school students light up today compared with the number of teenage smokers six years ago, some cling to the notion that smoking is cool, Cran said. He believes prevention programs such as the Smokeout do work.

"They show more kids are not smoking than are smoking," he said. Asked how many students smoke out of 10, teens will answer six or seven. The reality is two or three, he said.

The latest data shows New Hampshire is winning the battle against teen smoking, said Michael Dumond, chief for the Bureau of Prevention Services at the state Health Department. Between 2001 and 2007, for example, the percentage of seventh-graders who smoke dropped from 8.4 percent to 3.5 percent, he said.

Most of the other age groups, between the seventh and 12th grades, showed similar successes. Seven years ago, 25 percent of all high school students smoked. In 2007, that figure fell to 16.8 percent. Asked why, Dumond cites several reasons, including education, police enforcement and price increases due to cigarette taxes.

"We're going in a good direction, generally speaking," he said, "but we still feel it could be brought down further."

Overall, 19 percent of New Hampshire youths smoke compared with 20 percent nationwide. But although New Hampshire is doing slightly better than the national average, other states outshine the Granite State.

Maine, for example, has brought its percentage of youth smoking down to 14 percent.

Cigarettes are still popular with high school students, Ashley said.

After school, teens are lighting up and smoking cigarettes on streets near the high school, according to Megan Truche, 16, of Sandown. Megan, a junior at Timberlane, said she runs into people smoking outside all the time and most are teens.

"I can't go anywhere without someone blowing smoke in my face," she said.


Anonymous said...

Article submission:

From the Eagle Tribune

Forced changes in elderly fund no improvement

To the editor:

This letter is in response to your editorial of Nov. 17. I would like to set the record straight for the second time with your paper. I previously came to your office and explained the process of how the Elderly Affairs Department and the Police Departments Donation/Equipment fund worked. I will again advise you of the process that has been in place since 1994.

You mention in your editorial the word "transparency" of the funds we received and how those funds were spent. Let's set that record straight. Whenever the Police Department wanted to use funds from our Donation/Equipment fund, the selectman were required to hold a public hearing during their regularly scheduled meeting. During this posted public hearing, I advised the selectmen exactly why we wanted to take funds out of this account. The selectmen then opened the public hearing to the public to see if they had any questions on how or why these funds were being requested. At the conclusion of that public hearing, the selectmen took a vote to authorize the withdrawal of these funds.

Once a receipt was obtained for the items requested, that receipt was turned into the town's bookkeeper and she then produced a check. That check was sent to the Board of Selectmen for another approval prior to the funds being expended. That is open and full transparency. At least once a month, a resident would come to the bookkeeper's office to look over all of the receipts that were paid out of the Police Departments Donation/equipment fund.

That again is full and open transparency.

Now let me tell you how the new approved system is working. All funds received into the new Atkinson Police Charitable Fund are no longer open to scrutiny by the public, because, under direction of the attorney general's office, we were required to open a nonprofit charitable trust that is not open to public scrutiny under the right to know law. We are not required to advise anyone how these donations are going to be spent, or provide any receipts for these expenditures. This account no longer has full transparency as it did prior to the separation.

You also stated that I was the only person who decided how these donations were to be spent. That was not true. Any senior that needed assistance only had to ask the Police Department and we then provided them with the assistance they requested. Now that these funds are under the control of the charitable fund, we will adhere to the state laws governing a nonprofit charitable fund. Under the guidance of the attorney general's office, we set up a board of directors. They are Philip Consentino, president; William Anderson, vice president; Robert Neill; treasurer, Roger Culliford, secretary; and Richard Magoon, recording secretary. All of the directors are members of the Atkinson Police Department's Elderly Affairs Division. Most seniors would rather go without than to go to the Town Hall and fill out a 15-page life history form just to get a one-time assistance with an oil delivery. That is why so many seniors know that they can always come to the Police Department and get the help that they need. So nothing really has changed except we are no longer transparent.

There will no longer be any public hearings advising the residents of how these donations will be spent. You will no longer be allowed to look over all of the receipts and slips indicating what these funds were used for. Remember, this new charitable trust was set up by the N.H. attorney general's Charitable Trust Division. We did not request to take the transparency away from the public; this was done against our wishes.

As far as separating the Police Department from the Elderly Affairs Department, this is a lose-lose situation for the town. We now have to turn over the full responsibility of the two old police cruisers and the new wheelchair van to the Elderly Affairs Department.

Who is going to maintain these vehicles? Who is going to pay for all of the repairs? All of these expenses were paid through the Police Department's Donation/Equipment Fund. This can no longer be accomplished, because these vehicles are no longer under the control of the Police Department. Who takes the calls from seniors looking for rides to the doctors? Who houses all of the medical supplies? Who helps seniors when they have a problem with Medicare or a contractor that did not complete a job? That's right, the Police Department. The Elderly Affairs program cannot provide the services to our seniors that we do without the interaction of the Police Department.

Can you tell me is this new separation and new charitable fund going to help the residents of Atkinson or is it now going to reduce or completely dissolve the Elderly Affairs program? Please get your facts straight prior to printing your editorials.


Police chief

Director of elderly affairs

President of the Atkinson Police

Charitable Fund

Atkinson, N.H.

Anonymous said...


According to a School Budget Committee member, Atkinson has a school budget committee opening. Please get someone in place who is actually willing to scutenize, question, and if necessary change budget submissions. Good luck. I wish Plaistow had better...

Also: why not link to the timberlane parents' forum?? Atkinson is still part of TRSD isn't it?