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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, December 30, 2009

Tower company sues Atkinson over cell phone antennas

From the Eagle Tribune;

Tower company sues Atkinson over cell phone antennas
By Jarret Bencks

ATKINSON — A company seeking to install three cell phone antennas on a tower is suing the town for stalling the proposal and then denying the project all together.

The lawsuit, filed by SBA Towers II in U.S. District Court, alleges selectmen created rules as they went along during their review of the plans, attempted to impose an illegal fee during the permitting process, and are preventing phone service from being provided to local customers.

It is the second time the tower installation company has taken a town board to court in its attempt to install three wireless phone antennas on the 160-foot tower near High Hill Road. The tower would provide service to T-Mobile customers.

In 2007, the town's Zoning Board of Adjustment rejected the proposed antennas. That decision was appealed to U.S District Court in Concord on the grounds it violated the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was designed to lighten regulations for telecommunications providers.

Judge James Muirhead overturned the board's decision in September 2008, but required SBA Towers to seek approval for the project from selectmen.

For more than a year after that decision, a back-and-forth ensued between the town and SBA. Numerous public hearings were canceled and then rescheduled. Selectmen raised new questions about the tower, and demanded additional requirements for the project, according to court documents.

At one point, the town building inspector told SBA officials that selectmen demanded a $2,500 fee for the engineering analysis, the lawsuit alleges. It is illegal to impose fees of that kind in connection with a building permit application.

Selectmen voted unanimously to deny the application Nov. 23, citing the impact the project would have on abutting properties.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court, filed Dec. 23 by SBA attorney Steven Grill, accuses selectmen of taking too long to review the project and making up rules as they went along.

"The selectmen challenged or ignored the evidence submitted by SBA and invented a variety of ad hoc submission requirements and procedures, imposing one obstacle after another to what should have been an easy and straightforward application," the lawsuit states.

The suit also claims selectmen's actions are prohibiting wireless service to be provided in Atkinson and accuses the board of violating the state's constitution.

"The Selectmen violated the constitution and laws of New Hampshire by acting in an arbitrary and unreasonable manner throughout the course of this matter."

SBA Towers asks the court to overturn the selectmen's decision and seeks unspecified monetary damages. The lawsuit requests a trial by jury.

Selectman Bill Friel said his board had not been informed of the lawsuit as of yesterday. Friel said he wouldn't comment on the matter until he had a chance to read the lawsuit. Town attorney Sumner Kalman also said he had not yet seen the suit.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Budgetary Education

MAcciard said...


A Budgetary Education

As we approach town meeting I would like to educate my fellow townspeople on the budgetary process, and where their tax dollars go.

First, RSA Chapter 32, is the State Law controlling the budget. Budget committees are SOLELY responsible for preparing the budget. Governing bodies(selectmen and school boards) ONLY have authority over the budget AFTER it is passed by the voters and enters the spending phase.

RSA 32:5 states that it is the duty of all governing bodies and dept. heads to provide the budget committee with any and all information the committee feels it needs to prepare the budget.

It is the job of the budget committee to research, and verify all numbers furnished by the dept heads, and decide if those amounts are appropriate. For example; The Town of Salem, 4 years ago, decided to hire their 61st police officer. The budget committee decided that he either wasn't needed or couldn't be afforded, and refused to fund the position. The budget committee does not attempt to "run" a dept. they merely decide if they are going to fund the dept head's wishlist.

There is a marked difference between how the town budget committee works, and how the school board budget committee works. The town budcom follows State law. The SB budcom does not.

The school board allows the superintendent to prepare their budget drafts and they pass them. SB budcom members have even been heard to say, in the past, that it was their job to "sell" the school boards budget to the people! It is not! It is their job to tell the school board how much they get to spend. Further the RSA's also provide a formula for figuring out the default budget. The Superintendent does not follow that formula either. He includes cost items that he and the SB feels are important, but are not enumerated in RSA 40:13.

In short we as taxpayers should pay ultimate attention to these two budget committees as they are solely responsible for how much our tax burden is.

It appears that our school budget(which makes up about 80% of our tax burden) will be up about 3% this year. I find this amazing as enrollment is down, infrastructure costs are down, as well as fuel costs, and the teachers raises will be in a contract warrant article this year, so why the increase? How about this; The school district budget this year will be about $64,000,000. There are 4400 kids in the district. This means you are paying $14,545.46/ kid! Yes I know that the "official" figure is $9,600.00 or so, and that follows the state formula, but what they don't tell you is that formula omits some costs that you are paying for. The $9,600 is supposed to represent the educational costs. If that is so, how do YOU feel about paying a 51% premium for the quality of education your children receive.

I prefer to be blunt, transparent, and honest rather than obfuscating the true figures.

Let the discussion commence.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Water company wells OK'd in Atkinson

From the Eagle Tribune;

Water company wells OK'd in Atkinson
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — The state approved two sites for the Hampstead Area Water Co. wells after more than a year of testing, public hearings and analysis.

Each site has two wells and will be allowed to draw a combined maximum of 300,000 gallons of water per day.

One site is about 400 feet west of Fieldstone Lane while the other is about 1,000 feet east of the Old Village Road pump house.

Stephen Roy, a state hydrogeologist, said one of the four wells is a backup source and would be only used if another failed.

The state has been considering the water company's request for more wells since it submitted an initial application in 2007.

That application was denied but the company hired a new consultant and submitted an application with new data in 2008, Roy said.

The company had requested approval for 348,800 gallons per day.

Ever since the water company's initial request, Atkinson residents have been concerned their wells would run dry.

But Roy said testing at the well sites determined that would not be the case.

"We do not expect indelible impact to anyone's well," he said.

Roy said each comment at the hearings and written comments submitted by residents had to be addressed before approving the request.

Selectman Bill Bennett, who has been closely monitoring the matter since before he was elected in March, said he's happy with the approval.

"They've mandated some protections and it's more than we probably would have gotten if we didn't make any noise," Bennett said.

As part of the approval, the water company will have to monitor how much is drawn from each well and report that information to the state.

Each year, the state would review the data and determine if the permit needs to be modified, Roy said.

A water conservation plan for the company was also mandated by the state Department of Environmental Services.

Company President Harold Morse said the wells would improve water service in Atkinson and allow for more customers to hook up to the system if they wanted.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to ALL!

Although Mr. Acciard did not ask for this to be an article submission, the Atkinson Reporter thought it appropriate.

MAcciard said...

I would like to wish ALL the residents of Atkinson a Very Merry Christmas!

We have spent the last year or two bickering, and debating issues of import to us on this blog, and I believe that this blog has served a valuable purpose as a bulletin board where people could speak their mind about town issues, who may be reticent to do so in the public forum, either due to fear of reprisal(something that should never temper free speech) or due to inconvenience. Although this board has occasionally wandered from town issues into partisan bickering, overall I feel it has filled a niche.

This is a time when most people are reflective not only of the year that is winding down, but the path that they are following. It is a magical time when the sheer excitement on children's faces far outweighs a troubling economy, or the balance on our credit cards. Tonight kids all over town will be logging onto NORAD's Santa monitor site to see where Santa is before they go to bed. They will fall asleep dreaming of food, and presents in the morning.

At the same time there are children from broken homes, children whose parents are not as fortunate as some of us may be, children whose Christmas wish is for a coat, or gloves, or a blanket. As heart wrenching as this may be, please take a moment out of your day tomorrow to say a silent prayer for these children. If you wish to donate to these children, please feel free to contact me @ 781-424-8863, I will bring your donations to the YWCA- Lawrence children's services.

Thank you, and Merry Christmas to all.

Yes Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus.

This was posted in the Eagle Tribune, but has appeared in print every year this century.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

Editor's note: The following editorial, among the most famous ever written, appeared in The New York Sun in 1897 and remains appropriate for this holiday season 112 years later.

Is there a Santa Claus?

We take pleasure in answering at once and thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor! I am 8 years old.

Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.

Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun it's so." Please tell me the truth: Is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O'Hanlon.

115 West Ninety-Fifth Street

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.

There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal life with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Atkinson officials order couple to vacate home


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Article from the ET

Atkinson officials order couple to vacate home
Atkinson officials say there's no occupancy permit

By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Police delivered a letter from the selectmen to Daniel and Margaret Osborn on Monday night, ordering them to vacate their 8 Valcat Lane home.

All three selectmen signed the letter, which directs the Osborns to leave their house within five days because they do not have a certificate of occupancy.

But Margaret Osborn said yesterday they only received the letter because they are being harassed by town officials. She said they are in full compliance with all building and fire codes.

"We don't even know why we don't have an occupancy permit," Osborn said.

Town Administrator Philip Smith and the three selectmen have been told by their attorney, Sumner Kalman, not to comment on the letter. Kalman did not return a phone call for comment yesterday afternoon.

Osborn wouldn't say whether she is living at the home, nor if they are, whether they plan to leave as instructed.

"I can't let people know our whereabouts," she said.

The letter is the latest in a complicated controversy between the Osborns and town officials.

In October, the selectmen sent the Osborns a cease-and-desist order because they were building a driveway without a permit. Also, the state has been investigating alleged shoreland protection violations at the property. No information related to that investigation was available yesterday.

The letter delivered from the town Monday does not indicate whether the Osborns would be subject to any penalty if they do not obey the directive.

But according to the town's zoning ordinance, any violation of building codes is punishable by a fine of $100 for each day after written notice is given to the offender.

The letter from the town cites an affidavit signed by Daniel Osborn that states he has been living at 8 Valcat Lane for a month.

The document is part of Osborn's file at Plaistow District Court. Daniel Osborn was arrested on a misdemeanor criminal threatening charge for allegedly swinging an umbrella at Leon Artus' car on Oct. 13, according to court documents. Artus also was arrested on the same date on a misdemeanor reckless conduct charge involving a motor vehicle.

Two weeks before the arrests were made, Artus complained to the selectmen that the Osborns had destroyed Valcat Lane when they built a driveway to their home.

Margaret Osborn claims her home has been vandalized and she has been harassed by residents.

Osborn listed Valcat Lane as his current address on a pretrial release questionnaire. According to the document, he said he had lived there for a month. The questionnaire is not dated.

The questionnaire also lists Osborn's employer, his previous criminal history and previous address. The telephone number listed on the document is out of service.

As part of Daniel Osborn's bail conditions, he's not allowed to be within 100 yards of Artus.

But Margaret Osborn said yesterday she denies any information on the document apparently signed by her husband.

She said they have used 8 Valcat Lane as their address since they moved from their previous home in Atkinson two years ago.

She denied that her husband filled out the document, even though it carries the signature of the defendant. The signature is not legible, but Daniel Osborn is the defendant in the case.

"We're being singled out and harassed, and will now have to deal with our legal counsel on what we should do," she said.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Deadline looms for owner of illegal addition

From the Eagle Tribune;

Deadline looms for owner of illegal addition
By Jarret Bencks

BRENTWOOD — An Atkinson man who has refused to remove an addition built onto his home has until Dec. 31 to respond to a lawsuit filed against him by the town.

The town has asked Rockingham County Superior Court to grant a permanent injunction, ordering John Mason of 4 Rocky Point Lane to remove a 10-foot-by-25-foot addition he built on his waterfront property without a building permit from the town.

Atkinson has been trying to get Mason to remove the addition for years, according town officials.

On Sept. 5, 2007, Mason applied for a permit to "rebuild existing structure," which was rejected because it did not meet wetland zoning regulations.

It also needed approval from the state Department of Environmental Services and a variance from the town zoning board, the court documents said. The addition already had been built at that point.

Mason has been contacted by the town and the DES on numerous occasions since September 2007 but no progress has been made, court documents said.

On Oct. 22, the town resorted to filing the lawsuit in Superior Court. Town Attorney Sumner Kalman filed a petition for an injunction that asks Mason be required to remove the addition and pay the town fines and penalties.

The petition does not specify the total damages the town is seeking.

Mason's property was last appraised in 2006 at $373,100.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

N.H. sees increase in shoreland violations

From the Eagle Tribune;

N.H. sees increase in shoreland violations
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Maggie Osborn has had state inspectors at her Valcat Lane home three times since she started construction last year.

The Department of Environmental Services has come to make sure she didn't violate shoreland protection laws by cutting down too many trees and letting silt wash into Big Island Pond during construction.

"We've been targeted for everything," she said.

Osborn said she doesn't know who filed the complaints and so far she hasn't heard she's broken any laws.

But Osborn is in the minority.

Linda Magoon, supervisor of the Wetlands Bureau at DES, said the majority of the 300 to 400 complaints they receive each year result in a violation.

That number has remained consistent for at least the last five years, despite strengthened shoreland protection laws that went into effect in July 2008.

"It may have resulted in an increase in violations," Magoon said.

She said her office is driven by the number of complaints they receive from residents and municipal governments.

"We rely on the public to submit complaint forms if they see a violation," Magoon said.

With 859 shoreland permits issued in the last year and a half, and more than 2,000 wetland permits issued annually, Magoon said, it's impossible to get to every site.

Starting in July 2008, any construction and excavation work done within 250 feet of the shore needs a permit.

If DES receives a complaint, the department sends a letter to the responsible party. One of eight DES inspectors will follow up with a visit to the site of the alleged violation.

Severe violations that have long-term environmental effects, including those that would affect the water quality of a lake, are visited within days. Lesser violations can take a bit longer to clear up.

A complaint that someone moved a dock or resurfaced a retaining wall two years ago might not get a visit for a few weeks, Magoon said.

In October, a Salem man agreed to pay a $25,000 fine for structures built on his Arlington Pond property that violated shoreland protection laws.

Michael Pantaleo of 20 Glen Road was cited after an inspection of the property in October 2006, when DES officials found a retaining wall, dock, large stone patio, fire pit, stairway and other structures all within the zone protected by the act and built without authorization, according to court documents.

Penalties for violations vary. In serious cases, the state Attorney General's Office will take the homeowner to court. There, they might receive a fine of $10,000 per day per violation.

But it's more common that DES would work with the homeowner to correct the problem and send them notice of an administrative fine, Magoon said.

That's what happened to Atkinson homeowner John Mason, who built a deck on his home that violated state wetland protection laws. The town has been battling Mason in court, and DES sent him an administrative order in September demanding he tear the deck down.

Mason filed a letter last week indicating he would appear in court in response to the town's lawsuit against him.

DES is allowed under state law to administer a $2,000 fine for wetlands violations and $5,000 for shoreland violations.

Magoon said DES allows homeowners to negotiate fines with them based on the severity of the violation, how cooperative they are and the economic benefit the homeowner gains from the violation.

"The penalty and what our enforcement is depends on a variety of factors," Magoon said.

But it can take a while to get to the point of any fine or penalty.

Shoreland cases often involve a lot of background research and can take time to resolve. Calls to the town to review building plans, site visits, and interviews with witnesses and neighbors can take months to determine whether the violator should be punished.

Two inspectors are dedicated to shoreland protection violations and six dedicated to wetlands permitting violations. But all inspectors are trained to spot all types of violations.

The second shoreland protection inspector is a new position this year and Magoon said it was a desperately needed addition to her team.

The caseload for all investigators is between 800 and 1,000 violations, according to Magoon.

"Obviously, he wasn't getting to everything," Magoon said.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Timberlane officials quiet on controversial issues Administration quiet on past, present controversies

From the Eagle Tribune;

Timberlane officials quiet on controversial issues Administration quiet on past, present controversies
By Eric Parry

PLAISTOW — Timberlane Regional School District officials had little to say last week when news of an online book critical of many members of the high school's senior class became public.

The online book, allegedly written by senior class President Joshua Tubbs, circulated at the high school and offers often scathing opinions of the 350 members of the senior class.

After news of the book became public, Superintendent Richard La Salle released a four-sentence statement saying the district was investigating claims of potential student harassment. He declined to comment on any punishment the author of the book could face.

Principal Don Woodworth declined to comment further and School Board Chairwoman Elizabeth Kosta referred all questions to school administration. The response by school officials is consistent with other controversial events that have rattled the district in recent years.

Over the last two years, the district's administration has been mum on several issues, from the firing of two popular ski coaches to a former teacher who is awaiting trial on child pornography charges.

Woodworth sent a letter home to parents Friday afternoon that stated the school district was investigating the latest incident. The letter also invites parents to contact school administrators to share their thoughts or information on the incident.

Calls to La Salle seeking comment on the district's release of information to the public were not returned yesterday. But the superintendent did supply a 12-page document that outlines the district's policy on releasing student information and records.

In most cases, records and information are only supplied to students and their legal guardians. If a student or parent gives permission, the district will distribute information to the public, according to the policy. But the policy doesn't address what information the district can release in regard to a staff member.

This summer, parents with children on Timberlane Regional High School's ski team became angry when La Salle refused to allow them to be put on the School Board's agenda to discuss the firing of Peter and Marybeth Torosian.

The couple coached the team for 12 years and were named Coaches of the Year by The Eagle-Tribune three times, but their one-year contract was not renewed this summer by Athletic Director Angelo Fantasia.

La Salle and Fantasia declined to comment on why the contracts were not renewed.

In recent years, the school district also has been faced with two teachers arrested on criminal charges.

In August, a former Timberlane Regional Middle School teacher, Scott Buatti, was indicted on charges of possessing child pornography. Buatti is scheduled to go to trial in February.

Federal investigators told Timberlane administrators in March 2008 that Buatti was under investigation for alleged possession of child pornography, but he continued to teach and coach until April 2009.

In April, La Salle refused to comment on the March 2008 meeting with federal investigators. He insisted the district's first priority is the safety of students and said he acted appropriately in keeping Buatti on staff while he was under criminal investigation.

Kevin Goddu, a former teacher at the high school, received a 12-month suspended jail sentence in July 2008 for having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student. Goddu reached a plea agreement after he went to trial on felony charges, resulting in a hung jury.

When Goddu was arrested on April 6, 2007, former Superintendent Douglas McDonald refused to comment on the arrest since Goddu had resigned from the district a day earlier.

Goddu had been on paid administrative leave since March 22 for allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Monday, December 7, 2009

If Only Atkinson Were New Castle.

From the Plaistow Town Crier; Thank you Mr. Herrick

If Only Atkinson Were New Castle.

Posted by Dennis Herrick on December 05, 2009 at 08:44:18:


New Castle was at risk under ex-Chief James Murphy

Before theft charges, Murphy was said to have hoarded pay details, and had officers carrying guns without proper training

Police Chief James Murphy of the New Castle Police Department.

Rich Beauchesne photo By Elizabeth Dinan

December 05, 2009 2:00 AMNEW CASTLE — Four months before former Police Chief James Murphy was arrested on a felony charge alleging he stole charity money, a pair of consultants published a "confidential report" saying Murphy's subordinate officers were carrying weapons they weren't trained to use, that Murphycollected private detail pay while on salary and that he spent too much time training for a regional SWAT team the town didn't use.

Murphy resigned on Oct. 1 following his arrest on the felony alleging he stole $8,675 from the Coast Guard/New Castle Police Food Drive between November 2002 and December 2004. The state attorney general's office is prosecuting and alleges Murphy confessed and said he took the money for his wife, who is not charged with a crime. He was indicted by a Rockingham County grand jury and a trial has not yet been scheduled.

The report was prepared by Central Intelligence of Kennebunk, Maine, which was hired to "conduct an abbreviated management and operations assessment" of the Police Department and make recommendations. The company was hired by the town's contract attorney, Daniel Schwarz, and published on May 26.

Central Intelligence President Michael Pardue is a private investigator who formerly served as police chief and town administrator in Ogunquit, Maine, as well as interim police chief in Kensington. He was assisted by Thomas Howard, who serves as city marshal — a position comparable to police chief — in Newburyport, Mass.

The report notes that, while Murphy was New Castle's police chief, his officers were transporting Colt AR-15 tactical rifles in their cruisers but were not instructed on how to use them by a trained firearms instructor.

"This is greatly concerning and places the officers and the town at great risk, both from the perspective of safety and liability exposure," the consultants found. It was recommended that the chief "immediately remove" the rifles from the cruisers and "secure them in a manner where they are not accessible to untrained personnel."

Further, a new officer was found by the consultants to have been working in uniform and carrying an unloaded pistol because he "had not yet been trained and certified on the use of said weapon."

It was recommended that training be provided and documented.

The consultants also learned that Murphy took all paid detail opportunities at the Wentworth by the Sea hotel and if he couldn't personally work the event, he allowed the detail to go "unfilled," rather than assign it to another officer. The consultants found many in the town were concerned about the former chief also working road details while collecting his $60,000-a-year salary.

The behavior was viewed by some as "double dipping," or collecting pay for two jobs while performing one, according to the report.

Some interviewed by the consultants reported "the chief's participation in the Seacoast Emergency Response Team" training "involved far too much of his time." Further, the consultants were told, "the town derives no benefit."

Recommendations included having the chief provide the Board of Selectmen with a detailed training schedule and itemized accountings for all related costs, including for backfilling in his absence during the training.

The consultants found the former chief's "poor and/or ineffective leadership" included written policies that were 11 years old and appeared to have been taken from Raymond (where Murphy previously worked), with the names of the towns changed. It included a policy for responding to bank alarms in New Castle, where there are no banks, and allowed for up to eight cruiser accidents a year, when the town has only two cruisers patrolling one square mile.

"The list of policies that reflect 'items' not found in New Castle could go on for some time," according to the consultants.

The investigators also found the Police Department had no organizational structure and no mission, while "each officer appeared to simply be doing whatever they wanted with a complete lack of administrative direction." Further, they reported, there were no job descr1ptions, disproportional workloads and "responsibilities not being addressed."

A lack of trust within and outside the department was noted, as was a recommendation that the former police chief engage with the public on a daily basis by walking around the community, interacting with citizens, visiting schools and spending time with his employees.

The town's consultants also found inadequacies with police headquarters, including an evidence area where a pistol and ammunition magazine were found stored in an area "easily reachable from outside the 'gate.'"

The infrastructure inadequacies have since been rectified by construction of a new public safety building.

While touring the police station, the consultants noted the absence of found property and reported "one would expect to see items such as cell phones, cameras, video cameras, jewelry, wallets, purses, bicycles, clothing, etc."

When asked about it, Murphy said little property was ever found, and if it was, was returned to the owner, but there was "no formal process" for dealing with found items, according to the report. Other employees reported found items were taken to the public works building and placed in a bucket. Public works reported that items of value were taken to Town Hall.

The consultants stressed they were not calling into question the honesty of personnel handling found property, but noted "the lackadaisical approach" could open the town up to others doing so.

The report also noted that when the town was looking to hire a new officer, Murphy failed to advertise for candidates who already graduated from a police academy, leading to the town paying for 14-week academy training. Hiring academy graduates in the future would save New Castle "significant funds," the consultants found.

In conclusion, the investigators reported, "it appears that Chief James Murphy is not currently exhibiting the fundamental skills, knowledge, abilities, judgment and management capabilities needed to effectively direct and manage the affairs of the New Castle Police Department."

If Murphy was to continue as chief, according to the report, he should be "provided with external management oversight."

No one from the town's Board of Selectmen was available for comment Friday, according to the board's secretary. Don White Jr. has since been named the town's new police chief.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Timberlane community buzzing over scathing, online book Timberlane Class of '10 trashed; officials mum

From the Eagle Tribune;

Timberlane community buzzing over scathing, online book Timberlane Class of '10 trashed; officials mum
By Eric Parry

PLAISTOW — An online book, written under the name of the senior class president at Timberlane Regional High School, has the school community buzzing — and administrators mum.

"SEN10RS The Good, the Bad and the Really Really Bad," which was posted as being written by Joshua Peter Tubbs, was available through an online search yesterday. The online book categorizes the 350-plus members of the Class of 2010, and offers often scathing opinions of them.

Timberlane seniors interviewed yesterday expressed outrage and disgust with the book, particularly what the author had to say about classmates with special needs.

"There were some things said about people that can't really defend themselves that hurt us more," senior Cira Esposito said.

Tubbs could not be reached for comment; repeated calls were made to his home phone number, which rang busy all day long.

Students said school administrators called a senior assembly Thursday morning to address the matter. Although they did not name Tubbs specifically, administrators mentioned the book and said the matter was being investigated, according to the students. "They wanted to calm the situation down," senior Cara Hatfield said.

Hatfield said she was in the school's chapter of the National Honor Society with Tubbs. In addition to being elected class president, Tubbs also was chosen as Mr. Timberlane this fall. Students said yesterday he had been stripped of his title and the parking spot that came with it.

Superintendent Richard La Salle would not comment on the situation yesterday. He released a written statement saying the administration would investigate claims of potential student harassment.

La Salle refused to comment on any consequences the student might face.

Principal Don Woodworth also declined to comment.

"We're looking out for the safety of the students at the school and conducting a thorough investigation," Woodworth said.

In the book's introduction, the author describes himself as "a straight-A student" who has "never ever gotten a single detention or similar punishment."

"I am rather cocky in my intelligence, and I am definitely an intellectual elitist so if the stupider children would like to leave, that would be fine by me," the author wrote.

The first 10 or more pages of the book are devoted to Joshua Tubbs' background, goals — including teaching elementary school — and writing samples. He then lists the 28 categories he assigns to his classmates, ranging from "fake girls" and "druggie" to "gangstah" and "special education."

What follows are more than 70 pages of individual assessments, in alphabetical order, of 349 students. When he gets to Joshua Tubbs, he writes, "No explanation needed, I am just the best thing since canned bread."

The author concludes with the hope the project enlightened people. "I hope that these people realize their faults and build on their strengths, or make some if there is an absence," he wrote.

Some students said they were surprised how they were described in the book, saying they had never spoken with Tubbs.

Caleigh Ouellette said she only had a class with Tubbs for a few days before dropping it for another class. Still, Tubbs described her as frequently acting "stupid" in his book.

"Most of the things he said were opinions and were really stupid," Hatfield said.

Students said Tubbs was not in school yesterday and left at midday on Thursday. Administrators would not confirm whether Tubbs was present in school yesterday.

The book was written after a teacher mentioned last month that November was National Novel Writing Month. To qualify as a novel, the teacher said, a book would have to be at least 50,000 words long, according to students.

In the introduction to the book, the author mentioned the easiest way to write 50,000 words would be to write about his senior class.

"That seems like a good way to get a LOT of words with little work done," he wrote.

While the book may have the school community boiling, it has not risen to the level of a criminal matter.

Plaistow Deputy police Chief Kathleen Jones said she was familiar with the incident, but it had not been referred to them and was not a criminal matter.

Other school administrators either did not return phone calls or referred questions to Woodworth and La Salle. Six members of the Timberlane Regional School Board did not return phone calls for comment.

School Board Chairwoman Elizabeth Kosta referred all questions to school administrators.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Consentino will be paid $100 a year to lead elderly affairs

From the Eagle Tribune;

Consentino will be paid $100 a year to lead elderly affairs
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Philip Consentino soon will receive his first paycheck as the town's director of elderly affairs.

The police chief has volunteered for the position for 16 years, but the selectmen decided Monday night to pay him $100 a year for doing the job.

As the director, Consentino brings elderly residents to medical appointments and social events. He also sends birthday cards, holds an annual flu clinic, and is planning a Christmas party next Tuesday, where he will hand out hundreds of dollars worth of gas cards, restaurant gift certificates and other gifts.

Selectman Bill Bennett said it was time to designate the job as that of being a town employee since Consentino was putting himself at risk driving town vehicles with elderly residents to medical appointments from Boston to Manchester.

"The issue is a liability for the town and for Phil," Bennett said.

At Town Meeting in March, residents will vote on a warrant article to make the position official with the $100 salary.

"They never officially created the position," Consentino said.

The position will remain appointed and Consentino will have to be reappointed if voters approve the article at Town Meeting.

That's the final step in clarifying Consentino's roles as elderly affairs director and police chief.

Last year, the state attorney general's office received complaints about the way Consentino operated elderly affairs as a division of the Police Department. The two departments were separated last year, but Consentino still heads both departments.

Over the last seven months, selectmen have been asking Consentino to sign a document outlining his responsibilities as volunteer director of the department. But Consentino said he had refused to sign, saying he was being singled out and the only volunteer being asked to do so.

Before Monday's meeting, Consentino said he would be forced to resign from the Elderly Affairs Department if the selectmen continued to pressure him to sign the document.

Bennett said he's not concerned about the article being approved by voters.

Voters will face another warrant article asking them to approve the purchase of a fourth vehicle for the Elderly Affairs Department.

Consentino said there are five drivers and sometimes it can be difficult to arrange rides for seniors when they are getting five to seven requests per day. Last year, the department provided 1,644 rides.

"They've been using their own cars at times," Consentino said of the other four drivers.

The warrant article calls for buying a 2010 Subaru Forester from Singer Subaru in Plaistow. It would cost taxpayers $12,000.

An anonymous donor has given $7,000 toward the new car, lowering the price tag for taxpayers from the $19,500 the dealer is charging, Consentino said.

"I think the people should be happy to vote for that," Bennett said.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Where is the information?

A quick read of the town website show absolutely NOTHING!

For over TWO YEARS the budget committee has not posted minutes of their meetings. TWO YEARS! We remember selectman Sapia railing about former Budcom chief Acciard not posting minutes, but he was the first person to get the committee's minutes on the town website, and updated them each week.

Our illustrious board of selectmen, with their new $76,000 Town Administrator has not posted minutes since APRIL!

By the way, this is not something that is difficult to do, they attach the already approved minutes to an email to Don Roberts, and he posts them. VIOLA!

But that is probably ok, since there is little other information on the town website either. No demographical info about the Town. No historical info about the town. No videos of meetings. No recent minutes of meetings. NO INFORMATION!

But that i in keeping with our town officials traditions, of restricting access to public information as much as possible. If not, outright restrictions on access, then setting a price on the information too steep for most to meet.

Our current board of selectmen has been better than the last in supplying public info to the public, but, then again, they could hardly be worse than the Sapia/Consentino/Childs board. THAT board set the unlowerable standard for refusal to answer anything.

Timberlane changes focus of adult education classes

From the Eagle Tribune;

Timberlane changes focus of adult education classes
By Eric Parry

PLAISTOW — Aromatherapy classes don't have the same draw as they used to.

Instead, people are looking to take adult education classes that can help prepare them for a new career.

Next month, Timberlane Regional High School will offer a free job search seminar series for residents to learn resume writing, interviewing skills and how to search for a job.

Enrollment in the adult education program has dropped 30 percent from last year, which Assistant Principal Robert Dawson said can be attributed to the economy.

"I'm just seeing fewer people right now who are looking to spend money," Dawson said.

The hardest hit programs have been aromatherapy, Reiki and oil painting. Last year, those classes had about 20 students each, but this year, Dawson said, some classes have been canceled because of a severe drop in enrollment. An average class costs between $20 and $30.

But what has remained consistent is the demand for computer classes and other skill-oriented programs that people can put on their resume when looking for a job.

Next semester, Dawson said, the school plans to offer its first Microsoft Office class.

"It's the number one thing people ask for when they call," he said.

A similar class at a community college costs more than $1,000, but Dawson said he knows the school can offer it for a fraction of the price.

A job search seminar series, which will be held on Dec. 7, 9, 14 and 16, from 6:30 to 8:30 each evening, is exactly the type of class people are looking for, Dawson said.

The class will be led by Susan Henry, who has more than 30 years' experience in the corporate world and a master's degree in career counseling.

Residents of Atkinson, Danville, Plaistow and Sandown can register for one of the 20 spots for free until Dec. 4. After that date, residents from other communities will be accepted until Dec. 10 for an optional $10 donation.

If all goes well, Dawson said, this is the type of class residents can expect regularly.

"I want to be oversold, so I can do it again," he said.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Day to all!

This was George Washington's Thanksgiving Day Address;

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rockingham Co. sheriff resigns to avoid criminal prosecution!

From the Eagle Tribune;

Rockingham Co. sheriff resigns
Jo-Anne MacKenzie

Rockingham County Sheriff Dan Linehan and Maj. Mark Peirce have agreed to resign their posts in order to avoid criminal prosecution, according to Attorney General Michael Delaney.

Linehan and Peirce were investigated by the Attorney General's Office. The investigation revealed that an annulled arrest record of David Lovejoy, Linehan's opponent in the last year's election, was released to two reporters.

Delaney said Peirce or someone in his office provided that information to reporters and it was Linehan's intent that the information be revealed. Reports were subsequently published about a 1989 case involving Lovejoy that was annulled.

It is a misdemeanor to disclose an annulled arrest or conviction record.

In a prepared statement, Delaney said he reached "a negotiated disposition with Linehan and Peirce regarding their unlawful conduct." If the two resigned immediately, Delaney agreed not to bring criminal charges against them.

Both men relinquished their New Hampshire police certification and Linehan agreed not to seek employment as a law enforcement officer in the state again.

"This type of criminal behavior will not be condoned, especially by those members of society who are sworn to uphold the law.’While I am confident that misdemeanor convictions would have been obtained, today's agreement ensures that Mr. Linehan and Mr. Peirce will immediately be removed from the highest levels of Rockingham County law enforcement and they will never again serve as members of New Hampshire's law enforcement community," Delaney said. "I believe that this agreement is an appropriate disposition of this case."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Towns, Schools face crippling State Retirement contributions

From the Eagle Tribune;

Towns, schools to face pension increases
By Doug Ireland

Town and school officials in Southern New Hampshire can only hope the economy continues to improve since in a year and a half, they could face what one local leader calls "crippling" budget hikes.

That's because the latest rate increases proposed by the state Retirement System call for employer pension contributions of up to 31 percent for police officers and 30.3 percent for teachers starting July 1, 2011.

For firefighters, the increase would be 25.1 percent and 21 percent for other municipal employees. Meanwhile, the rate for state employees only rises 11.4 percent.

"That's quite a crippling blow, quite frankly," said Derry Town Administrator Gary Stenhouse, noting taxpayers in his town will have to dig down for an additional $540,000 if the rate increases for police, firefighters and other workers are approved by system trustees in September.

And the more than $500,000 won't even cover the pension contributions required for Derry's teachers since town government and the school district operate independently from each other, Stenhouse said.

"The money still comes from the same poor people's pockets," he said of taxpayers. "It just tells me there is something dramatically and drastically wrong with the state pension system."

When the current rates were approved, the town was forced up to come up with an additional $200,000, Stenhouse said. Now, the projected increase is close to triple that amount.

Stenhouse blames the rate hikes on what he calls the Retirement System's "overly optimistic" projections.

The system's increases, he said, have taken a toll on communities and school districts over the years, forcing taxpayers to pony up more money with no one being held accountable.

He compares the situation to the dilemma some towns face when they do not budget enough money for winter road maintenance and then run out of money for snowplowing and salting long before the last snowflake has melted.

At that point, a lot of finger-pointing takes place and the weather is blamed for causing too many snowstorms. However, proper planning would have avoided such problems, he said.

"It didn't snow any less in Derry than anywhere else," Stenhouse added.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Former Atkinson Police Capt. Succumbs to Cancer

From the Eagle Tribune;

Windham police captain dies from cancer
By Terry Date

WINDHAM — A police captain who valiantly battled cancer for years died Wednesday.

Patrick D. "Rick" Yatsevich, 46, of East Hampstead was mourned yesterday by fellow officers and others.

"He fought a long and hard battle against cancer," Sgt. Carl Wagner said. "We feel terrible for the family."

Yatsevich leaves his wife, Kerri, and their three children, Kimberly, Jared and Jordan.

Sgt. Glenn Record said Yatsevich was a family man, who was religious and very professional.

"He was a family first guy," Record said.

He said his favorite memory of Yatsevich was the fine benediction he gave at the retirement of police Chief Bruce Moeckel in 2005.

Yatsevich left work in May 2008 on disability. Town employees donated six months of earned time to bring Yatsevich's income to its former level.

He was named Windham's Employee of the Year in February 2008.

Yatsevich started his law enforcement career in Claremont in 1981 as a dispatcher, and later became a patrol officer and captain with that department.

He also worked a year in Atkinson as a police prosecutor and captain in 1998-1999.

Atkinson police Chief Phil Consentino said yesterday he was saddened to hear of Yatsevich's death.

"He was a good man," Consentino said.

Yatsevich joined the Windham police force in 1999.

In 2000, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor that was surgically removed.

In June 2006, a cancerous tumor was found on his spine. The multiple myeloma cancer put him out of work for a year. His cancer went into near complete remission and he returned to work in June 2007.

Bruce Breton, vice chairman of the Windham Board of Selectmen, said he became close to Yatsevich during the time he was out of work. Breton had suffered a heart attack around the same time.

The two would talk. Often the topic was police service; the subjects ranged from traffic flow to Tasers.

Breton said Yatsevich carried himself as a professional.

"When you walked into his office, you could tell he was a career police officer," Breton said.

In early 2008, blood tests revealed that his cancer had returned. He underwent chemotherapy.

Yatsevich died at Merrimack Valley Hospice House in Haverhill.

Relatives and friends may call today from 2 to 6 p.m. at Brookside Chapel and Funeral Home, 116 Main St., Plaistow.

His funeral will be at 1 p.m. tomorrow at St. Matthew's Church, Main Street, Sandown. Burial will follow in Lakeview Cemetery in Hampstead. Friends and family will gather after the service at Sandown Town Hall.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Atkinson selectmen to decide tower case

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson selectmen to decide tower case
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Selectmen are to decide on Monday night whether to allow the owner of the Hog Hill tower to add three antennas to the 160-foot structure.

Selectmen and the tower's owner, SBA Tower II, have met several times in recent months to discuss adding the three flush-mounted antennas.

Nearby residents who have attended three recent public hearings have received notification of this meeting but won't be allowed to speak.

"It's not a public hearing but it has the flavor of a public hearing," Selectman Bill Bennett said.

Since the last public hearing in September, selectmen have been reviewing documents on the tower from years past.

The tower's owners have been presenting similar proposals since 2006.

The latest is almost identical to the one denied a special exception by the Zoning Board of Adjustment in March 2007.

SBA Tower II challenged the decision by filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in September 2007, but a federal judge ruled a year later that it was up to selectmen to decide the case. The zoning board issued its decision when the 50-year-old tower was owned by Mariner Tower.

The three antennas are expected to improve T-Mobile's cell phone service in Atkinson, primarily near Route 121.

But there is still more information selectmen would like to see.

SBA Tower II has applied for a building permit to establish anchors for the guy lines needed to support the additional weight of the three antennas.

But so far, SBA Tower II has refused to pay for the town to hire an engineer to make sure the anchors would be able to handle the weight, Bennett said.

"They don't see why they should have to pony up $2,500," Bennett said.

Monday's meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Atkinson Police Chief Receives Federal Homeland Security Grant for Improved Communications and Denies It!

Anonymous said...

Article Submission:

Atkinson Police Chief Receives Federal Homeland Security Grant for Improved Communications and Denies It!

In 2004, several area Police Departments including Atkinson, Plaistow and Kingston, collaborated on a solution to the police radio communication problem plaguing the area. Plaistow Police Chief Savage headed this effort, a study was done and a Federal Homeland Security Law Enforcement Terrorism Protection Program ( LETPP) grant application was filed with the State of NH Department of Safety. Over $81k was received in 2006 and in accordance with Federal law, reports filed detailing the location of the equipment in Atkinson, Plaistow and Kingston.

Police Chief Consentino has repeatedly and publically denied receiving any grant money. In fact, this equipment was purchased and recorded as being installed in Atkinson! Up until recently, requests for the grant documentation under RSA 91A, were denied by the State of NH, Department of Safety. According to the grant documentation, Atkinson received a receiver, canopy microwave and two IPmux.

According to a recent statement by Atkinson Selectman Bill Bennett, Plaistow Police Chief Savage and Atkinson Police Lt. Bill Baldwin thought the the equipment could be placed on the APD antenna but it wasn;t high enough so it was thrown into a closet in Plaistow. The equipment was never installed but the funds were disbursed to 2-Way Communications for the installation and to the town of Plaistow for the equipment purchase.

Bennett claims that a repeater purchased under this grant was instead installed on Timberlane HS to improve police radio communication in the school. Bennett is also looking to find out what happened to the rest of the equipment Atkinson received since the Atkinson Communication Committee is looking for similar or identical equipment to solve the problem now. Bennett claims that Lt. Baldwin has the information but cannot be reached at his post in the Middle East and has no access to email.

Is anyone else wondering why they pushed so hard for a $700k tower to support $9k worth of equipment?

Where did the repeater at the HS come from?

How much more of this solution was not installed and not used as reported?

The Federal grant indicates that a study was done yet no one knew the APD antenna was not high enough, not sturdy enough?

Why does the application claim that the Atkinson equipment would be installed on the Atkinson Fire Department, while Bennett claims the plan was to install it at the APD?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Atkinson cuts trees at dangerous intersection

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson cuts trees at dangerous intersection
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON, N.H. — One of the town's most dangerous intersections was made safer this week, as highway workers trimmed about 10 trees at Linebrook Road and East Road after receiving permission from the property owner.

Police Chief Phil Consentino said the intersection frequently has been the site of accidents because trees blocked the view of Linebrook Road from East Road. Drivers turning onto East Road also had problems seeing other cars.

"You're shooting dice because you can't see if anyone's coming," Consentino said.

Road agent Ted Stewart credited homeowner Bill Fulmore for allowing the town to clear two large maple trees and a couple of spruce trees. The intersection has been a problem for at least 20 years, he said.

The town had made earlier attempts to remedy the situation, but the previous homeowner wouldn't give the town permission to clear the trees, Consentino said.

Stewart said the Planning Board and Highway Safety Committee recently sent a letter to Fulmore and he complied with the town's request.

The intersection, near the Timberlane Regional High School and Middle School, has a lot of bus traffic before and after school.

"It makes everyday life more comfortable on the way to school," Stewart said.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Non- Veteran Hypocrits Get Free Vets Breakfast...

This was gypped from the Plaistow Town Crier, Thank you Mr. Herrick;

This comes from the Atkinson Reporter II Blogspot. Anonymous is criticising Police Chief Consentino and Former Selectman Sapia for appearing at the towns yearly Veterans Breakfast.

Anonymous said...

Kinda of Hypocritical of them after their efforts to STOP the Vietnam Honor Roll Panels!

Phil said in an open meeting "that woman will never get her way with these" Talking about Carol Grants project to get those panels in place.

All it took was TWO town meetings, TWO elections ordering them to do it, FOURTEEN selectmens meetings to discuss it, and ONE Court Case!

And Jack wanted them to go on top of the Town hall leach field! Jack, you seriously wanted to "honor" vets by putting their memorial on top of a "shit field"?

Now they come to the vets breakfast to schmooze with the vets?

You can't make this stuff up!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Trucking firm owner gives up appeal in Atkinson

From the Eagle Tribune;

Trucking firm owner gives up appeal in Atkinson
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — The owner of a trucking company whose plans were rejected by the town's zoning board has dropped his appeal in Superior Court.

Paul Murphy, owner of PJ Murphy Transportation Inc., said he can't afford to appeal the town's decision to deny him permission to build a 24-hour trucking facility in the town's commercial/industrial zone.

"I've already spent a ton of money on legal costs," Murphy said yesterday.

In May, Murphy said he had spent more than $100,000 on plans and legal costs to build the proposed facility on Industrial Way. Plans included seven trucks and 14 trailers transporting petroleum and swimming pool water in the summer.

Murphy, who owns transportation facilities in Dracut and Methuen, said he's still looking to expand, possibly in the Lawrence area.

The town's zoning board denied Murphy's plans for a 24-hour trucking facility at its meeting April 15.

The project initially was approved by the zoning board in March. That decision was appealed by a group of residents from Atkinson and Salem.

Murphy said he still feels cheated by the town, but couldn't continue spending money in court.

"I just didn't see that working out," he said.

Residents were concerned about the facility generating noise in the middle of the night and environmental issues.

In addition to appealing the board's initial decision, the residents also appealed in Rockingham County Superior Court. That lawsuit was stayed after the town denied Murphy's plans in April.

Members of the zoning board wrestled with the project for months.

Atkinson's zoning regulations specifically identify what is allowed in the commercial and industrial zone, and the trucking facility didn't fit the requirements despite the fact that similar businesses are located in the same area, according to some board members.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Atkinson asks court to force removal of addition

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson asks court to force removal of addition
By Jarret Bencks

BRENTWOOD — The town of Atkinson has requested help from the court to require a local resident to remove work he had done to his house without permission from the town or state.

The town has asked the court to grant a permanent injunction ordering John Mason Jr., of 4 Rocky Point Lane, to remove a 10-foot by 25-foot addition he built on his waterfront property without a building permit from the town.

Mason has been contacted by the town and the state Department of Environmental Services on numerous occasions since September 2007 regarding the addition but no progress has been made, according to court documents.

On Sept. 5, 2007, Mason applied for a permit to "rebuild existing structure," that was rejected because it did not meet wetland zoning regulations — it needed DES approval and a variance from the town zoning board, according to court documents. The addition already had been built at that point, according to the injunction.

A year later, DES officials conducted an inspection of Mason's property and found the construction of the closed porch brought the structure closer to public water, violating state law. On Dec. 2, 2008, DES sent a letter to Mason requesting a wall for the enclosed porch be removed within 20 days. That letter was returned to the DES as undeliverable, according to spokesman Jim Martin.

Atkinson selectmen sent Mason a letter on Dec. 31, 2008, requesting he either take down the addition or appear at a hearing on Jan. 14 to request a variance.

Mason applied for two variances, but didn't attend the hearing, at which both requests were denied.

The town received a letter from Mason on Jan. 22 that stated he intended to resolve all outstanding issues with the state in the next 45 days and would then address the town issues. But that did not happen.

DES sent out a second letter of deficiency on Feb. 5 asking Mason to correct the additions to his property by April 6.

On April 28, Mason applied for a variance with the town's zoning board. On July 8, the zoning board denied the variance. Mason did not appeal that decision.

The town inspection office, in a letter July 23, demanded Mason demolish the addition.

"It is now necessary for you to get a demolition permit and remove the 10-by-25-foot addition that you constructed without a building permit," the letter read.

The DES sent a letter to Mason on Sept. 22 warning him the state would be sending an administrative order demanding he remove the enclosed porch. That order is being drafted and will be sent in the next couple of weeks, Martin said.

On Oct. 22, Atkinson Town Attorney Sumner Kalman filed a petition for an injunction in Rockingham Superior Court. It asks the court to require Mason to remove the work he has done and to pay the town fines and penalties.

The injunction request does not specify how much money the town is seeking, but it states that Mason's failure to comply with the town ordinance "adversely affects the health, safety and welfare of other Atkinson residents," and further states that "civil penalties have and continue to accumulate."

Fred Childs, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said the town has given Mason numerous extensions to apply for permits and he has continued to do nothing.

"It's been a long time; he's had extension after extension," he said. "We've asked him to correct it and he hasn't."

In a brief statement yesterday, Mason said he only received the court papers yesterday and intends to resolve the issue.

"It's in the attorneys' hands and they are going to try to work it out," he said.

Mason's property was last appraised in 2006 at a value of $373,100.

Fiscal Responsibility For These Difficult Times


Fiscal Responsibility For These Difficult Times

Atkinson is now entering the budget season when department heads will either come in with budgets that (1) show their solidarity with our hard-pressed
taxpayers; or else (2)they will selfishly ’thumb their nose’ at our townspeople.

So many Atkinson households are struggling to make ends meet. The number of our townspeople
who have lost their jobs due to lay-offs, down-sizing or business failures is unbelievable. Many homes have gone on the market because financially-pressed owners can not meet their mortgage obligations.

These are very tough and difficult financial times for so many. Our town officials and department
heads have got to respect that when they submit their budgets for 2010.

Some department heads consistently act responsibly and come in with low budgets or at least, hold the line while other department heads regularly selfishly act like pigs at a trough, demanding more and more every year. Each year’s budget is an increase over the previous year’s.

Please REFUSE to accept ANY AND ALL budget increases from dept. heads. Please hold the line
for the struggling tax payers you
are supposed to represent. Announce and then enforce a ZER0
TOLERANCE LEVEL for those giving taxpayers the bird.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Atkinson clinic runs out of flu vaccine after an hour

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson clinic runs out of flu vaccine after an hour
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Fred Kinsella thought he would finally get his flu shot yesterday at the Atkinson Community Center. But the Derry resident arrived just minutes after a sign was posted on the front door saying they were already out of vaccinations, about an hour into the four-hour clinic.

"We're going to have to search for another clinic," Kinsella said.

And he has been searching. Kinsella said he had tried at least four other places before heading to Atkinson yesterday. He said he usually gets his vaccination at work, the Social Security Administration, but this year it ran out of seasonal flu vaccine before he could get his.

"They had so many people, they ran out two weeks before all the appointments would have been filled," Kinsella said.

Atkinson's seasonal flu clinic, sponsored by the Police Department, is one of the largest in the area, according to Cathy Garrett of the Rockingham VNA and Hospice. Last year, about 400 vaccinations were given at the Atkinson clinic, but this year they had just 270.

"The H1N1 has made people aware of the vaccines you should get," Garrett said.

Vaccine wasn't always hard to find.

Two years ago, Garrett said, they had to throw away 1,000 doses because nobody wanted them.

Several people waiting for their shots yesterday said it was the first place they were able to find the vaccine.

Atkinson resident Ivan Grotenhuis said he tried to get a seasonal flu vaccination from his doctor about a week ago, but was turned away when they ran out.

"Doctors haven't really had any either," said Grotenhuis' wife, Gwen, while waiting with hundreds of other people to get their vaccinations.

Atkinson resident Kelly Doherty said she arrived at the clinic right at 10 a.m. because she feared it would run out. Doherty said she works at an early education center, so getting a flu vaccination is important.

But she's even more concerned about her 2-year-old daughter. She hasn't been able to find a place to get an H1N1 vaccination for her, including the family pediatrician.

"That's my highest priority, more so than for me," Doherty said.

According to state health officials 40,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine are on their way next week, but are destined for the highest risk patients — pregnant women, children with health problems and health care workers.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Heard around the Town Hall: Selectmen Lift Cease and Desist Order

Yes Selectmen met Thursday to sign a new decree apparently drafted by Town Counsel. The new decree lifts the cease and desist order, while retaining authority over all the previously agreed to provisions signed by both the Osborns and the Town.

The Order apparently advises the Osborns that while the town will not intervene in their construction problems, they may continue at their own risk. The letter takes note of the ongoing civil litigation between the Osborns and Mrs. Davis and notes that the Town will await the outcome.

Apparently the Town wants to retain all of it's authority while exercising none of it. They notify the Osborns that all of the provisions that they agreed to are still in force and that they may suffer penalties for violating those provisions, while patently ignoring the violations already committed, preferring to wait until the resident has spent her own time and money to achieve what the Town should have the moral integrity to do on it's own.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Atkinson board seeks legal advice on road issue

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson board seeks legal advice on road issue
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Selectmen plan to meet with their attorney to discuss whether a Big Island Pond homeowner should be allowed to construct a driveway.

Maggie and Daniel Osborn asked the selectmen Monday night to withdraw the cease and desist order they received from the town earlier this month.

In recent weeks the Osborns' home on Valcat Lane has been at the center of controversy.

Selectmen sent the couple a cease and desist order on Oct. 9 because they violated an agreement with the town. They had said they wouldn't do any work without the town's permission.

But Maggie Osborn said previously that all work done at their house had been done with the town's permission. She could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Osborn said last week that her home has been vandalized and her family harassed by other residents.

Selectman Bill Bennett said the three-member board plans to meet with their attorney, Sumner Kalman, to discuss whether Valcat Lane is public or private, and whether to allow the Osborns to continue building their driveway.

"We have to decide what our options are," Bennett said.

Earlier this month, residents complained to the selectmen that the Osborns had destroyed Valcat Lane when constructing the driveway. Some residents have argued Valcat Lane is a public road, but the selectmen have yet to come to a decision.

The Valcat Lane home also is the site of several alleged shoreland protection violations.

Jim Martin, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Services, confirmed there were recent complaints against the Osborns, but they have not yet been investigated.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Heard around the Town...Selectmen plan to lift Cease & Desist Order!!


Selectmen are going to lift the cease and desist order!

We are hearing that the selectmen plan to lift the cease and desist order against the Osborns. The reasons apparently have to do with our Town Counsel again.

So far the story is that because they have not completed the work on their house within the year prescribed by the "waiver of liability agreement" signed by the town and the Osborn's, the town is taking the position that their violation of that provision of the agreement negates the entire agreement.

How ignorant is this reasoning? The Town had the Osborn's agree to certain conditions in order to obtain their building permit. They have violated every one of those conditions and now the town's position is going to be that they can't do anything because the Osborn's violations had the effect of negating the agreement?

So why do we have building and zoning codes if the town is going to selectively enforce them? Why should anyone go through the permitting process if the town is impotent to enforce those codes?

In this situation there is a house built on the lake that has violated building codes, is being lived in without an occupancy certificate, has been built BIGGER than was permitted, has a driveway that is laid across someone else's property, and has involved unpermitted excavation, AND the town STILL does not have accurate plans that the house has been built from, nor does it have engineered plans for this new driveway construction!

But the Town isn't going to enforce ANY of these regulations! And they wonder why we think this town's government is corrupt?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fireworks at Monday Nights Meeting!

Monday Night's selectmen meeting had some drama for those who attended or watched. For those who are in the know, The Osborns were on the agenda for the purpose of getting the Town's cease and desist order lifted, and get their occupancy permit approved.

Maggie and Daniel Osborn attended the meeting with their Attorney. And the segment began with the Lawyer doing most of the talking. The Attorney was evidently unaware of the pending legal action between the Osborns and Mrs. Davis, as he maintained numerous times that there was "no civil action" in this matter. "No dispute" in this matter.

Even the lawyer got caught flat footed when selectman Friel asked if he was claiming that the Osborns had the right to dig up Valcat because they owned an easement across Valcat. Mr. Friel was relentless in his cross examination of the lawyer regarding their right to cut through Valcat, to the point that the lawyer could not offer any permission that was obtained to cut through Valcat.

The essence of the early part of the presentation was that the Osborns feel that their "driveway permit" allows them to construct the entire driveway from Chase Island rd. up the hill across Mrs. Davis land and cutting into Valcat ln. to access their driveway. Neglecting the representation by Mrs. Osborn of herself as "owner/applicant" of the underlying land.

The next claim was that Valcat ln. ended at the Osborn's property. but all the tax maps show Valcat continuing beyond the Osborn property, onto the Vaillancourt property and doglegging down to the lake.

Next at bat was the Road Agent who explained right from the driveway prmit that it only is concerned with the "curb cut" and work within the Chase Island rd. ROW. He explained that the driveway/fire rd. would have had to be approved PRIOR TO CONSTRUCTION by both the Fire Chief and Road Agent based upon detailed plans submitted before construction.

Carol Davis was the next to speak, and pointed out that the ROW that the Osborns and their contractors have been using Valcat as a ROW to access the property for a year, why the need for a new Access across her property. She also stated that she has never been notified by either the Osborns or the Town as an abutter about any of these plans, laying a driveway/fire rd. across her property!

A Mr. Dobrov spoke about Mrs. Osborn's attempts to charge him $6,000.00 for "his share" of her new driveway. She then claimed that she tried to get her neighbors to share in the cost as it would be a "life safety" issue to have that access. (we remember this line being used extensively by Mr. Sapia during his tenure as selectman)

The Fire Chief was next up, and explained how Mrs. Osborn initially agreed to sprinkle her house. The building permit was issued even though the town was still awaiting plans, a couple of months later she spoke to him about options to sprinkling. She apparently spoke to Murphy about putting in a cistern and fire access road in lieu of sprinkling the house. Chief is still awaiting detailed plans, for both the house and fire road system. The house is apparently over built, and the "fire road" has a 13% grade which exceeds what a fire truck can handle. Chief Murphy has denied all permits until he has detailed plans, and a grade that is achievable.

The segment ended with Mrs. Osborn claiming in essence that even though she chose not to sprinkle, and to do everything they have done up there, they did it as a life safety decision for her family, and it should be approved. She claimed that she had the Fire Chief's permission to build the fire road instead of sprinkling. Chief Murphy then read from a letter that he sent in February 2009 denying her request for a fire road in lieu of sprinkling because he hasn't received detailed plans. She claims that he told her she had options in Oct. 2008, he states that was based upon her promise to install a cistern and fire road, and submit detailed plans to that event. Chief Murphy states that he STILL hasn't received detailed plans of the road, fire suppression system, cistern, or anything else.

Resident designs new system to fight milfoil Man devises new system to combat milfoil

From the Eagle Tribbune;

Resident designs new system to fight milfoil Man devises new system to combat milfoil
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Scuba divers are starting to put a serious dent in the number of invasive plants in Big Island Pond. But Bob Patterson, who managed the eight divers this summer, has a new plan to attack the almost 100 acres that have been infested with milfoil.

Patterson wants to arm local volunteers and people across the state with snorkeling gear to pull the weeds from the bottom of the state's lakes and ponds.

Milfoil doesn't grow any deeper than 20 feet in Big Island Pond and with the small supplied-air system Patterson built, anyone could spend all day skin diving to collect the nuisance plants.

Certifications for scuba diving and equipment can cost between $2,000 and $3,000, but a supplied-air system is much cheaper and can run all day on a gallon of gas.

"Now, I can have a diver in the water for $150 instead of thousands of dollars," Patterson said.

Volunteers can become certified skin divers in a weekend. They would only have to take a $100 course to learn to use the air system and complete a state-certified, weed-pulling class to learn how to identify milfoil and pull it, Patterson said.

The new system consists of a generator and a pump that pushes air through a tank and into a hose that connects to the diver's respirator.

The hose on the system Patterson built is about 50 feet long and is connected to a hose that sucks up the milfoil into a net on top of a harvester.

The new program is much easier on the diver, too.

A scuba tank weighs close to 40 pounds and can fatigue a diver within a few hours. But with the new system, the diver only needs a respirator and can dive all day without a problem.

Last weekend was the first time Patterson tried out the new system and he said he was able to stay underwater for 18 hours, something he never would have been able to do carrying a scuba tank.

"It's going to greatly increase the number of divers," he said.

The program has caught the attention of the New Hampshire Lakes Association.

Jared Teutsch, president of the association, said skin diving is the future of milfoil treatment, but first the state Department of Environmental Services needs to approve the treatment.

DES controls the treatment options in the state and has yet to allow skin diving. Chemical treatment and scuba diving are the only approved options to manage milfoil, Teutsch said.

Teutsch said his association would work with Patterson and the DES over the winter to allow the treatment.

Amy Smagula, exotic species coordinator at the DES, was not available yesterday for comment.

The lakes association has received funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to fund alternative methods of weed control and would like to establish a grant program so lakes across the state can start their own skin diving programs.

"I don't know that we'll be able to put it together for next summer, but that would be ideal," Teutsch said.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Man who sued Atkinson officials arrested Thursday

From the Eagle Tribune;

Man who sued Atkinson officials arrested Thursday
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON, N.H. — An Atkinson man who sued town officials for First Amendment violations and recently told the selectmen another resident was destroying public roads was arrested Thursday afternoon on a charge of reckless conduct.

But police yesterday would offer few details about the arrest or any events leading up to it.

Leon Artus of Maple Avenue, no age given, has been charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct for a motor vehicle-related incident, Detective Sgt. Phil Farrar said.

Farrar declined to elaborate on what led to the reckless conduct charge.

Police Chief Philip Consentino said a resident had filed a complaint against Artus, but he declined to name the resident.

Artus did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.

He and two other residents filed a lawsuit in federal court in February against several town officials, including Consentino, alleging First Amendment violations.

The lawsuit alleged Consentino prevented them from placing warrant articles on the 2009 Town Meeting ballot.

Earlier this week, a judge dismissed the lawsuit.

At a selectmen's meeting two weeks ago, Artus told the board a Big Island Pond homeowner had damaged Valcat Lane when she built a driveway.

Artus claimed the road Maggie and Daniel Osborn had damaged was a public road and residents in the area couldn't access their properties as a result of their actions.

Maggie Osborn said earlier this week that her family has been harassed by other residents and her home was recently vandalized.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Atkinson residents' lawsuit dismissed


Atkinson residents' lawsuit dismissed

By Eric Parry

CONCORD — A federal court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by three Atkinson residents against town officials alleging First Amendment violations.

Residents Leon Artus, Gary Brownfield and Steven Lewis filed the lawsuit in February, alleging several town officials prevented them from placing warrant articles on the 2009 Town Meeting ballot.

Artus and Brownfield alleged that after collecting signatures for a petitioned article to make the police chief a full-time position, Chief Philip Consentino called several people and threatened them into taking their names off the petition. Consentino is a part-time chief and would not qualify for the full-time position as described in the petitioned article.

The lawsuit alleged Consentino also intimidated residents regarding another article that would have changed oversight of the town's elderly affairs services, a program headed by Consentino.

Judge Paul Barbadoro wrote in his decision Wednesday that Consentino didn't break any laws, even if he did call people asking them why they signed the petition.

"The complaint does not allege Consentino told any elderly citizens he would stop providing them with certain benefits if they signed the petition," Barbadoro wrote.

Brownfield also alleged his rights were violated when Town Moderator Frank Polito did not allow him to take photographs during the 2009 deliberative session.

Brownfield's claims against Polito are not valid because state law allows him to run an orderly deliberative session, Barbadoro wrote.

The town of Atkinson, two current selectmen and two former selectmen also were named in the lawsuit for not reprimanding Consentino.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Atkinson couple fights town, neighbors Accused of violating zoning, shoreland rules

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson couple fights town, neighbors Accused of violating zoning, shoreland rules
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — A couple ordered to stop construction at their Valcat Lane home for violating an agreement with the town has asked the zoning board to delay action on a request to save their bunkhouse.

Margaret and Daniel Osborn, whose Big Island Pond home has been at the center of controversy, requested late yesterday afternoon that the Zoning Board of Adjustment waits until its November meeting to hear their case. No reason was given.

The board had been scheduled to review the matter last night but it was postponed until next month. The couple, who said their home has been vandalized and they were harassed by other residents, was ordered to stop work because they broke an agreement with the selectmen.

The state Department of Environmental Services also has been asked to investigate possible shoreland protection violations on the property.

Selectman Bill Friel said the Osborns told his board they wouldn't do any work without permission from the town.

"They just didn't do it," Friel said.

Last year, the zoning board ruled that the bunkhouse was in violation and needed to be torn down.

Two weeks ago, resident Leon Artus told the selectmen at their meeting that the quality of life on Valcat Lane had been destroyed by the Osborns and residents couldn't access their own property.

Yesterday, Maggie Osborn said in an interview that her family had been harassed by other town residents and the home was recently vandalized.

She did not indicate they would ask to delay the case.

After receiving a cease-and-desist order late last week, Osborn denied they constructed anything without the town's permission. Osborn said she was even given a driveway permit by Road Agent Ted Stewart.

"I feel totally let down by the selectmen's office," said Osborn, a former member of the zoning board.

The state Department of Environmental Services has confirmed it received complaints of alleged shoreland protection violations on the Osborns' property.

DES spokesman Jim Martin said the complaints were recent and he wasn't aware of the specific violations but his department would investigate them.

Tim Dziechowski, chairman of the town's Conservation Commission, has said the alleged violations include removal of too many trees, lack of erosion control during construction, and having docks without a valid permit.

Dziechowski said every time it rains, dirt will wash into Big Island Pond and wetlands that abut the property because there is no fencing or hay bales to prevent erosion.

Former Timberlane teacher indicted on more pornography charges

From the Eagle Tribune;

Former Timberlane teacher indicted on more pornography charges Child pornography allegedly found on his home computer
By Jarret Bencks

BRENTWOOD — A middle-school gym teacher has been indicted on 10 new charges stemming from 10 computer files containing child pornography allegedly found on his home computer.

Scott Buatti, 43, of Newton was indicted on 10 counts of attempted possession of child pornography last week, according to court documents released this week.

Prosecutors allege Buatti possessed eight video files and two photo files of child pornography on his personal computer in January and February 2008. He was a Timberlane Regional Middle School gym teacher at the time the files were allegedly found.

Buatti was previously indicted on 10 counts of possession of child pornography pertaining to the same files. The new charges could serve as an insurance plan for the prosecution if the original charges don't stick.

Buatti's lawyer, Mark Sisti, attempted to have the original charges thrown out last week, arguing that the indictments do not allege the photographs and movies were of children.

Sisti wrote that the indictments did not describe the lewd acts the children are engaged in, and that authorities did not allow the defense to cross-examine the children in the photos.

Superior Court Judge Tina Nadeau ruled there was enough evidence for a jury to decide.

The new charges do not require prosecutors to prove that the photos are of children, only that Buatti was attempting to possess pornographic images of children. Possession of child pornography and attempted possession of child pornography are both class B felonies.

The new indictments say the eight video files and two photo files included lewd photos of child female genitalia and children performing oral sex.

Buatti was first approached by federal agents on Feb. 25, 2008, as part of a two-year probe by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Buatti was allegedly among 5,000 domestic subscribers to child pornography sites that ICE agents tracked down throughout the country.

He was first pinpointed as a subscriber through his e-mail account and computer IP address, which is registered under his name and home address of 4 Wilders Road in Newton, according to a report from ICE.

Buatti had been a gym teacher at Timberlane Regional Middle School for 19 years, and also coached a girls AAU basketball team. He was put on administrative leave shortly after he was first indicted.

It is not clear whether Buatti is still on the district's payroll. Superintendent Richard LaSalle couldn't be reached yesterday afternoon. A call to middle-school Principal Michael Hogan was referred to LaSalle. Buatti is no longer listed as a teacher on the school Web site's roster of teachers.

His trial is scheduled to begin in February.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Atkinson's new administrator plans to stick around

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson's new administrator plans to stick around
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — After a few years of constant turnover, Atkinson may have found its long-term solution for town administrator.

Philip Smith Jr., who was hired for the job last month, said he has no plans to leave town anytime soon.

"Everything you can want in a job is here," Smith said.

After 25 years as a police officer, Smith, 45, said he's still learning the ropes after less than a month in the post.

Prior to being hired in Atkinson, Smith was the police chief in Alton, another small New Hampshire community in the Lakes Region.

Every day's schedule is different, Smith said, and, at the end of the day, he's guaranteed to fall asleep faster than he ever expected.

As a police chief, Smith managed about 15 officers. Atkinson employs 140 people, but only 13 of them have full-time jobs.

"It's a small town. Why is there so much to do?" Smith said.

Part of the reason Smith has a full schedule every day is because the town was without an administrator for eight months before he was hired.

Prior to hiring Smith, Atkinson went through two administrators in a year. The last long-term administrator was Russ McAllister, who worked for the town from 2004 to 2008.

While the town conducted yet another search for an administrator, administrative assistant Barbara Snicer took over many of the administrator's responsibilities. To reward her, the selectmen unanimously agreed to give her a $5,000 bonus last week.

"I can't imagine how she did it all herself," Smith said.

Snicer represents all the people Smith has met in town so far, he said, hardworking and always willing to help him learn his way around town.

"Everyone tries to make this town better," he said.

His desk is right next to the door to the selectmen's office, where any resident can pop their head in to say hello or voice a concern.

That's been one of the best things about the job so far, Smith said, who believes one of his strengths is working with people.

No matter what the problem, Smith said, he will listen and find an answer as best he can.

"They're going to get a pretty good response," he said.

He also said he's not afraid former administrators were forced out of town. One key to working in a small town is working with a competent Board of Selectmen, Smith said.

"I get along very well with all of them," he said of the three-man board.

After two years of driving more than an hour to work — longer during snowstorms, Smith said he's happy his new job is only four miles from his Salem home.

The extra time allows him to spend more time with his family and to attend his children's sporting events and activities.

"It's time to take care of team one," he said.

Atkinson event targeted cancer

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson event targeted cancer

ATKINSON — On Oct. 3, Vanessa Underwood of Underwood's Sports and Fitness held the third annual Livestrong event at the Community Center.

This day is the Lance Armstrong Foundation's global initiative to make cancer a national priority. The day was a big success, according to Underwood.

It was a day to advocate, educate and celebrate. Everyone from age 9 to 90 warmed up with a zumba dance. Fundraising raffles were available and everyone enjoyed the luncheon.

There also was an optional Boot Camp circuit to "boot cancer."

Guests were able to write heartfelt messages or honor family and friends touched by cancer on fabric squares which will become the 2010 Livestrong quilt.

Many people volunteered to share their personal stories of how cancer has in some way touched their lives on camera. These stories will be part of a future video. This was a time for sharing one's journey, offering hope, advice, support and wisdom to all those affected by cancer.

Reiki therapy and blood pressure screenings were available.

The event ended with a circle of blessings.