Atkinson Town Hall

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Welcome Message and Mission Statement

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

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

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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Where is the Town Website?

The site is still up, but someone has removed all the information. Not that it was of any use, There have been no selectmens meeting minutes put up in 5 months, nor any budget committee meeting minutes for over a year.

But now ALL information has been removed. This blog has no desire to sound the warning bells for the Tinfoil hat crowd, but it is certainly suspicious.

Friday, February 27, 2009

For the First time in Years, a Contested Town Clerks Race.

From the Eagle Tribune;

Cavalear, Mangini square off in Atkinson clerk's race
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Incumbent Town Clerk Rose Cavalear was appointed to her job on March 1, 2008, when the former clerk resigned. She is being challenged by Patricia Mangini for a three-year term.

Name: Rose Cavalear

Age: 53

Occupation: Town clerk

Incumbent: Yes

Elective experience: None

What is the single most important issue facing the Atkinson town clerk's office? The most important issue is keeping myself and staff up to date with the ever changing and complex regulatory and statutory changes.

Name: Patricia Mangini

Age: 49

Occupation: Customer service/office manager

Incumbent: No

Elective experience: Supervisor of the checklist

What is the single most important issue facing the Atkinson town clerk's office? I am committed to making the residents' needs my top priority. I will increase efficiency, reduce costs, and bring added revenue to Atkinson to offset taxes.

Candidates Night reveals few surprises.

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson candidates make bids for votes
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Almost every candidate for seven races on March 10 told a packed room of residents they would scrutinize town budgets, looking for places to save money.

The two candidates for selectman, Bill Bennett and write-in Valerie Tobin, agreed a fresh set of eyes looking at town budgets could provide savings.

"We have to look at every possible way to save money in town," Bennett told more than 50 residents at a candidates forum at Atkinson Town Hall last night.

Leon Artus' name will appear on the ballot as a selectman candidate, but he told the crowd he was dropping out of the race because he has a lawsuit pending against the town. He did not answer any questions from residents.

Neither Bennett nor Tobin specified which budgets could be trimmed, but both said town government could be more efficient and less expensive for taxpayers.

One area that needs improving, they said, is the town's Web site. Both said a better Web site would make residents feel more comfortable with town government.

Tax cards, department budgets and town purchases should all be available on the Web site, the two candidates said.

"I want people to e-mail me if they have a concern," Tobin said.

She said one of her goals as selectman would be a better emergency management plan to deal with disasters like the ice storm in December.

"It was our own little Katrina here and it was very serious," Tobin said.

But the two candidates challenging incumbent Road Agent Ted Stewart said they knew exactly where to make budget cuts.

Rick Picone and Neil Hamel said they would trim expenses for road salt and for contracted services. Picone said using a mixture of sand and salt, rather than straight salt, could save $30,000.

"I think I can do this and not reduce the safety we've come to expect on our roads," Picone said.

Hamel has an excavation business, but he said he wouldn't rent any of his equipment to the town because outsourcing the work would be cheaper for taxpayers.

Stewart defended the $400,000 highway budget, saying the town only spent $170,000 on winter maintenance last year, the same amount spent in 1990.

"We're doing a lot more work for the same amount of money we did 17 years ago," Stewart said.

Other contested races include Sharon Boyle challenging incumbent tax collector Debra DeSimone and Patti Mangini challenging incumbent Town Clerk Rose Cavalear.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Atkinson Reporter invites all candidates for public office to submit articles

The Atkinson Reporter invites all candidates for public office to submit position articles, in order to define what you see as the problems, and the solutions to those problems, and any feelings, ideas, or concerns about the positions you are running for.

Monday, February 23, 2009

New challenger emerges in Atkinson selectmen's race

From the Eagle Tribune;

New challenger emerges in Atkinson selectmen's race Tobin announces write-in campaign
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — The race is back on for selectman.

Valerie Tobin has decided to run a write-in campaign to challenge Bill Bennett for the one vacant seat on the Board of Selectmen.

The only other candidate for the seat, Leon Artus, initially signed up to run, but then asked selectmen to remove his name from the ballot. But Town Clerk Rose Cavalear said legally, Artus' name must appear on the ballot.

Artus has since refused to say if he is still actively seeking the seat, which carries a three-year term. A frequent critic of town government, he is one of several residents suing the town over alleged violations of civil rights.

After the news that Artus was dropping out of the race, Tobin said she was contacted by many residents asking her to consider a run because they wanted options.

"Even though a write-in candidacy is more difficult, they felt I had the right message," Tobin said.

Part of that message is that she wants to keep a close eye on town spending. Tobin said she wants to evaluate all town departments in light of the tough economy to explore areas where spending can be cut. She didn't single out any departments that might be overspending, but said everyone needs to "run a tight ship with no waste.

"Our budgets are a very important issue," Tobin said.SClBThe town's information technology also needs to be updated, she said.

Tobin said she would like to see the town's Web site updated with tax and assessment records, and also make sure the town's important documents are safe.

"We've got to be brought into the 21st century," she said.

This will be Tobin's third attempt to win a seat on the board. Last year, she lost by 37 votes to Selectman Bill Friel, and she lost to Fred Childs by more than 300 votes in 2007.SClBBennett said he had yet to hear from Tobin that she was officially in the running, but said he would take her candidacy seriously.

Tobin plans to formally announce her candidacy at candidates night on Thursday and make herself available to residents to ask questions. She will also be spreading the news over the next couple of weeks through signs and mailers.

Candidates night will be held at the Town Hall at 7 p.m.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Atkinson sees three-way race for road agent Stewart's challengers pledge to reduce costs

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson sees three-way race for road agent Stewart's challengers pledge to reduce costs
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Road Agent Ted Stewart has been in charge of the roads for 17 years, but this year he has two competitors for the job who say they can save the town money.

Neil Hamel and Rick Picone are both vying for the two-year seat as road agent that earns Stewart about $33,000 and health benefits for a 30-hour-a-week job.

Both challengers said they would cut down on the amount of salt the town uses and stop spending so much money on rented equipment.

Hamel, 43, said he could cut the salt budget in half by using a mixture that included half sand.

Last year, the town spent about $70,000 on salt and $3,000 on sand.

Hamel, who owns an excavation and landscaping business, said he fears the current practice of using straight salt on town roads will cause environmental problems, as well as costing lots of money.

Picone, 51, said if the town used a two-thirds mixture of sand and salt, the town could save $30,000.

But Stewart said he's happy with the amount of salt the town uses.

A straight salt diet is the most effective way to clear the roads quickly and have them usable within three hours of a storm.

"If people compare salt use to surrounding towns, we use approximately 50 percent less," Stewart said.

The only reason the town spends so much more on salt is because the price went up 30 percent this year, Stewart said.

He said he has tried to minimize the amount of salt used and the town has purchased equipment to make the application more efficient in recent years.

The two challengers said they'd also like to cut the $100,000 the town spends on rented equipment.

Stewart rents three trucks to the town, but Hamel said he would end that practice and only use outside contractors.

"It's almost like if you're going to be road agent, then be road agent and not an equipment rental business," Hamel said.

The town only has one truck for plowing, so all of the other equipment is rented from local companies. Stewart only supplies three of the 13 trucks used for plowing.

The rate the town charges is set by the Board of Selectmen and approximately 25 percent less than surrounding communities, Stewart said. SClB"We spend as much on winter maintenance in 2008 as we did in 1991," Stewart said.

He also rents his trucks to the town for minor repair work done by the Highway Department, but all major road work goes out to bid.

Still, Picone, who has lived in town for 31 years and has 30 years of experience working in highway departments, said he has other ways to save the town money. He said he wouldn't take the health benefits provided by the town.

The competition for the job doesn't surprise Stewart. The job provides guaranteed work in a time when that can be tough to find, he said.

"A lot of private contractors can't say that now compared to being unemployed," Stewart said.

Voters will elect the road agent for a two-year term at Town Meeting next month.

By unpopular demand.

Here is your request. Now explain how the current plaintiffs are somehow responsible for their attorney's other clients.

Anonymous said...

Dear Atkinson Reporter moderator, please consider the following article for submission:

Richard Brothers, New Hampshire’s State Employment Commissioner has been enjoying some extra income free of charge. It seems Mr. Brothers is accused of ten counts of fraud on travel vouchers he submitted to the state. That’s our tax dollars reimbursing this guy on travel he never made!

Incidentally, just before he was charged with fraud, Mr. Brothers was busy defending one Raye Ellen Douville (previously known as Raymond Douville – before he had a sex change!) Douville works for the State Employment Commission and has plead guilty to bilking a dozen trucking companies out of $100,000.00. Gov. Lynch has asked that Ms./Mr. Douville be suspended, but Mr. Brothers is refusing to do this, saying she’s been a good employee and honest about the investigation. I don’t know about the rest of you, but how you do you feel knowing there is someone working for the state – and in the Employment Commission no less – after pleading guilty to insurance fraud?! Is that a good use of our tax dollars?

Now what does this have to do with Atkinson? Well, Ed Naile, of CNHT would typically be all over a story like this. As a matter of fact, this would be a dream come true for him. Crooked employment commissioner, who, days earlier, was standing up for a guilty insurance fraud, cross-dressing employee? There should be no end to the cheap shots and innuendos by Mr. Naile. But, he has been unusually quiet about this. This is a CNHT dream example of abuse of our tax dollars and there has been nothing but silence….

Could it be that it’s because the lawyer defending the defender of the transgendered is none other than Atty. Charles Douglas? You know, Atty. Douglas, don’t you? He is the person defending the rights of Gary Brownfield, Leon Artus, and Steve Lewis. You can’t make this stuff up! But this is the three ring circus that is coming to our town! Thanks guys…we’re all glad you’re so concerned about ethics here in Atkinson!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Residents sue Atkinson chief, town officials

From the Union Leader;Residents sue Atkinson chief, town officials

Union Leader Correspondent
8 hours, 4 minutes ago

BRENTWOOD – A lawsuit filed this week accuses Atkinson police Chief Philip V. Consentino of bullying residents to defend his "turf" and running the town like a "stereotypical southern sheriff of the 1920s."

The part-time chief, who's been the target of several lawsuits over the years, is facing a new legal challenge brought by three residents who claim Consentino has led a campaign of harassment and that selectmen have allowed it to go on far too long.

Residents Leon B. Artus, Gary Brownfield and Steven Lewis filed the 19-page civil lawsuit against Consentino; the town; current selectmen Paul Sullivan, Fred Childs and William Friel; and former selectmen Francis Polito, now town moderator, and Jack Sapia, current head of the conflict of interest committee.

►Atkinson police chief: Bully or a target? (36)
►Atkinson chief has had his fill of town politics

While many of the allegations were fired at Consentino, the suit also accuses him, the current and former selectmen, and the town's moderator of engaging in an "organized conspiracy" to "intimidate, humiliate and oppress" residents who oppose decisions made by the chief and local government.

The suit was filed in Rockingham County Superior Court by Concord attorney Charles G. Douglas III and seeks unspecified monetary damages.

It comes just a month after Artus and Brownfield -- both members of local taxpayer organizations -- sought signatures for citizen-petitioned warrant articles that would have changed the chief's position from part time to full time. The petition also called for boosting job qualification requirements that Consentino wouldn't have been able to meet, effectively forcing him out of the job.

Another petition sought to improve the management of the town's elderly affairs department, which Consentino also oversees.

The lawsuit claims that within an hour of the petitions being turned in to the town clerk's office for placement on the town warrant, Consentino received copies and began calling those who signed them, many of whom were elderly and rely on the elderly affairs office.

"Not surprisingly, within 24 hours many of the citizens who received intimidating and angry phone calls from Chief Consentino began calling Mr. Artus, Mr. Brownfield and others who worked to have the petitions signed, as well as the town offices, to request that their signatures be removed from the warrant article petitions," the suit says.
Feb. 3, 2009 consentino 60px


Consentino, who's been on the job for more than 30 years, is accused of abusing his office and violating citizens' rights to petition their government.

Consentino declined to comment on the lawsuit yesterday, saying he hasn't "seen anything." He referred all comments to attorney Gary Lane, who is representing the town in the case. Lane was unavailable for comment.

The suit says the town has a "nearly three decades old record of allowing Chief Consentino to engage in abuses of power and coercion of citizens who dare to stand up to him, without any meaningful consequence to him."

The suit goes on to cite eight examples dating back to 1981 in which Consentino allegedly abused his power, some of which resulted in lawsuits and settlements.

Lewis, one of the plaintiffs, was asked to sign the petitions but refused even though he supported them because he feared Consentino would retaliate against him as he claims the chief did in 2000 when he pushed for a similar warrant article seeking a full-time appointed chief, the suit said.

The selectmen's "refusal to remove or even meaningfully restrain Chief Consentino has clearly emboldened him over the years to the point that he now continues to personally confront simple townsfolk who sign a petition for a warrant article to intimidate them into removing themselves from the political process," the suit said.

The latest suit also accuses Polito, the town moderator, of publicly humiliating Brownfield and violating his rights by ordering him to stop taking photographs during last month's deliberative session.

During the session, which is a public meeting, Brownfield claimed he was taking photographs of the meeting and officials as the "professional photographer" for the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers newspaper.

At one point during the meeting, the suit said Polito publicly demanded that he stop taking pictures while Polito was at the podium.

Brownfield protested, saying he was allowed to take pictures just like other photographers who were there. The suit said Polito "shouted him down" and accused him of being disruptive.

The incident was captured on the town's cable access channel and video now appears on YouTube, the popular video-sharing Web site (click for link).

During a break, the suit claims, Sapia, a former selectman, demanded that any photographs of him be deleted and that the memory card from Brownfield's digital camera be turned over.

Sapia said yesterday that he couldn't discuss the case, and Polito declined to comment. Sullivan, Childs and Friel could not be reached for comment.

Mr Consentino, After 30 years of part time work as a policeman, isn't it time that you enjoy yourself and let someone else drive the train? The video of the Atkinson Moderator is a hoot. He obviously likes power but not the Constitution. Atkinson residents are going to be paying some money for these two jokers.
- Steve, Franconia

Timberlane principal changes mind about student groupings, Parents and Students WIN!

From the Eagle Tribune;

Timberlane principal changes mind about student groupings
By Margo Sullivan

PLAISTOW — The brightest students in the incoming freshman class at Timberlane Regional High School will have the opportunity to study physical science and biology in accelerated classes after all.

Last night, Principal Donald Woodworth told the School Board he has reversed course on a plan to mix students of differing abilities in the freshman physical science classes and drop the accelerated class.

The issue about grouping students sparked a controversy last month when Peter Bealo, a Plaistow resident, drew other parents' attention to a goal in the school district's proposed strategic plan. The goal suggested the district intended to end "tracking" — the practice of grouping students by ability in the same classes.

Many parents objected to the change and said the mixed classes would not challenge the gifted students.

Woodworth said the changes were, in part, responses to a criticism by the visiting committee of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The committee, which toured the school last May found more classes at Timberlane were "tracked," or separated according to students' academic ability, than seemed necessary and suggested Timberlane was failing to provide equal opportunity for all students.

Woodworth said he took the criticism to heart.

"While I believe we need to continue the conversation about ability grouping, there needs to be more agreement about significant structural changes before they are implemented," he said.

Woodworth thanked parents for voicing their opinions.

"I listened closely," Woodworth said, adding he concluded he had made a mistake to change the course selection without "having this discussed before we brought it forward."

Residents of two towns oppose Atkinson trucking facility

From the Eagle Tribune;

Residents of two towns oppose Atkinson trucking facility Residents have lined up lawyer, sound expert if they lose decision
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — A proposed 24-hour trucking facility on Industrial Way has drawn anger from residents from two communities who believe it will bring noise and pollution to their neighborhood.

The Planning Board has yet to take action, but heard from abutters and the owners of P.J. Murphy Transportation Inc. for almost three hours Wednesday night about a proposed trucking facility at 16 Industrial Way.

The board split, 3-3, Wednesday and is scheduled to discuss it again on March 4. Wednesday's meeting was the third time the project was discussed.

Before the next meeting, Chairman Sue Killam said the board needs to review more information about how much sound would come from the proposed facility. The town had requested a sound study, funded by the applicant, but did not have all the requested information available Wednesday, she said.

Board Vice Chairman Paul DiMaggio, who voted against the plan, said the facility would absolutely cause problems for neighbors because it will be busiest during early morning hours.

"Noise to neighbors is the most crucial thing," DiMaggio said. He said the trucking facility doesn't fit in that part of the community, which is zoned for commercial and industrial use. The town's zoning regulations specifically identify what is allowed in the zone and the trucking facility doesn't meet the requirements, DiMaggio said.

Killam declined to comment on that, but said the board had resolved that issue at previous meetings and it was no longer a reason to deny the project.Jim Lundt of Deer Run Road in Atkinson said his home is within 1,500 feet of the proposed facility. He said he would be woken up in the middle of the night with trucks pulling in and out of the facility around 3 a.m.

The plan was changed Wednesday night to include an 8-foot berm that would surround the property to muffle sound. But neighbors say they have little confidence that would do anything to help them.

"An 8-foot berm doesn't come between the sound of the noise and our bedroom windows," said Christine O'Hara Tremblay, of Christine Lane in Salem.

Tremblay said her greatest concern was that trucks could spill fuel and it would leak into the ground. The property is partly surrounded by wetlands and all of the homes in the area get their water through wells, she said.

The plans only call for the ground to be gravel and not pavement, but DiMaggio said he expects that issue to be corrected at the next meeting.

Killam said there shouldn't be any concern about fuel spills because the trucks won't be filled with fuel. Keith Wolters of Christine Lane in Salem said if the Planning Board approves the facility, he and a group of about 15 residents plan to challenge that decision. They have already hired their own sound expert to review the plan and have hired a lawyer to explore their legal options.

"We just don't want our home values impacted," Wolters said. "We don't want our lifestyles impacted."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Timberlane parents' protest proposed class grouping changes

From the Eagle Tribune;

Timberlane parents' postcards protest proposed class grouping changes
By Margo Sullivan

PLAISTOW — Parents of Timberlane Regional High students have started a postcard campaign to let School Board members know what they think of a plan to mix students of differing abilities in freshman physical sciences classes.

The idea of dropping accelerated classes and grouping students randomly sparked controversy last month after parent Peter Bealo drew attention to a goal in the school district's proposed strategic plan that suggested the district intended to end "tracking," the practice of grouping students in classes according to ability.

More than 200 parents commented. Most said they are opposed to the change and want to keep the accelerated classes.

In an e-mail earlier this week, Bealo said the woman who started the postcard campaign wishes to remain anonymous. But other parents, who have helped distribute the postcards, went on the record to explain why they feel the campaign is an effective way for parents' voices to be heard.

"It will be seen as parents getting involved, hopefully," said Nancy Steenson, a Danville mother. "If we have opinions, we should at least be listened to."

The postcard bears a headline, "Parents for Responsible Education." The card also reads, "As concerned parents and/or taxpayers of the Timberlane Regional School District, we are sending this to voice our adamant objection to heterogeneously grouped classes in the academic core classes at Timberlane Regional High School. We believe that all students should be rewarded for their hard work and achievement and be given the opportunity to work with their peers at the same level. We are in support of homogenous class for all academic core subjects."

The card has a line for the mailer's name, address and signature and space for additional comments.

Steenson became involved out of concern the brightest students have no one to advocate for them. She said she also worries school administrators are making changes without School Board approval and while parents are in the dark.

The School Board is expected to discuss the physical science course and the strategic plan at its meeting tonight at 7:30.

Steenson said parents also should consider sending e-mails to School Board members and attending School Board meetings.

Sheila Allen, also a Danville parent, said she will attend the meeting and has obtained permission from the School Board to speak. Allen wants to know if school officials failed to follow a policy when they decided to mix ninth-grade science students randomly, without a School Board vote.

If there was no policy on the books to be followed, Allen said, she thinks there should be one in the future.

Allen said she heard about the postcard campaign Sunday. She received her stack of cards on Monday and was ready to mail one out Tuesday.

"It's moving pretty fast," she said.

Principal Donald Woodworth said he has not seen the postcards.

"I understand this is kind of a lightning rod issue, and parents are trying to make sure their voices are heard," he said.

At a meeting with parents last week, he said the decision to mix students in a freshman year physical science class was developed from comments made last spring by the visiting committee of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

The visiting committee said the tracking did not "provide high expectations for all students" and did not reflect current education research and best practices.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

So it is not just Atkinson....

From the Plaistow Town Crier;

Embattled Stoughton chief is ousted

Officials fear move won't end turmoil

Manuel Cachopa was a 25-year veteran of the force. (Globe File/2005)

By Megan Woolhouse

Boston Globe Staff / February 15, 2009

Stoughton may promote itself on its website as a place of "tranquility and charm," but the reality is quite different.

On Friday, town officials closed one chapter of a long-running saga when they dismissed Police Chief Manuel Cachopa, a 25-year veteran who was convicted of attempted extortion and faces a prison term.

A former sergeant on the town's police force, David M. Cohen, is already serving two years in prison, convicted of attempting to extort and intimidate a local businessman. And Sergeant Robert Welch, who alleged that he was demoted from his position as head of detectives as re taliation for investigating both men, won a lawsuit against the town and a judgment of $165,000 this month.

Even Stoughton officials, who say they will begin a search for a new chief this month, don't see harmony on the horizon.

"Time heals all wounds, but all wounds leave a scar," said Selectman Scott Carrara, who had supported the police chief in the past. "I don't think this is the end of the discussion of it in the town."

Cachopa did not return phone calls yesterday, but Town Manager Mark S. Stankiewicz said Cachopa is expected to appeal his conviction.

Turmoil in the Police Department has divided the town for years. A faction in the community ardently supported Cachopa, a graduate of the local high school and former football player.

He also has his detractors, who say he showed a lack of leadership and little control over his officers.

In 2003, the issue came to a boil when Cohen was accused of abusing his police power when he tried to collect a debt from a local businessman on behalf of a client of his private business. Cachopa was later accused of trying to cover up the complaint against Cohen.

Two selectmen, Robert Mullen Jr. and Gerald Goulston, criticized the chief and the department and voted against renewing Cachopa's contract as chief the same year. Goulston said yesterday that he thought Cachopa was popular but lacking the leadership skills needed to oversee a department with more than 50 officers.

Police supporters launched a successful campaign to recall both selectmen in 2004. Two new selectmen were installed who supported the reinstatement of Cachopa.

Goulston said in an interview yesterday that many living in Stoughton were afraid to speak out against the police.

"At one point in time right after the recall, people who did not support Cachopa as police chief were fearful," Goulston said. "It was frightening."

That new selectmen reinstated Cachopa as chief. It didn't last long. In 2005, Cachopa was indicted by the Norfolk district attorney's office on charges that he attempted to cover up for Cohen. The Board of Selectmen voted to put him on administrative leave with full pay, about $139,000 a year, as well as Cohen, who was paid about $160,000 over two years.

That was three years - and more than a half-million dollars - ago.

This month, Cachopa was convicted of attempted extortion. He is set to be sentenced Feb. 26, and faces up to seven years in prison. He did not return phone calls to his home yesterday.

In a phone interview yesterday, Goulston called the termination and conviction of Cachopa "a sad affair," noting that he could have stepped down as chief in 2003 when his contract was due to expire and avoided the whole mess.

Welch, who investigated the extortion case as an assistant to a special prosecutor for the Norfolk district attorney's office, was informed in 2005 that he would not be reappointed to his supervisor position. Welch could not be reached yesterday, but in winning his court case against the town, he was reinstated to a supervision position. The $165,000 judgment in state district court does not include interest or lawyers' fees.

Carrara, the selectman, defended the decision to put both Cachopa and Cohen on paid administrative leave yesterday, saying that Town Meeting could have voted to end the chief's pay but did not.

"Pay was given to them because, well . . . if we had stopped their pay and people lost houses and sicknesses ensued or whatever, the town would have been liable," Carrara said.

But others said yesterday that they felt vindicated by Cachopa's dismissal.

Arthur R. Tilton Sr. said his son was charged with assault and attempting to kidnap a 3-year-old from a Chinese restaurant in 2005, in what he believed was an effort by police to generate positive publicity as they faced growing controversy.

The charges against Arthur Tilton Jr. were eventually dropped. Tilton, it turned out, looked nothing like the person on a wanted poster and he was never clearly identified by the child's mother in mug shots, either, according to his lawyer, David Zwicker. The elder Tilton said the experience put his son "through hell." Friends and neighbors in Stoughton shunned him and he had a hard time getting work.

Thomas Murphy will remain the Police Department's acting chief.

Tilton said he's hopeful Stoughton can hire a new chief that can restore trust.

"Right now, it's starting to turn around," he said, adding this disclaimer: "But you know Stoughton."

Megan Woolhouse can be reached at

© Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.

READER COMMENTS (21) Post a comment

Just another small town police department were corruption was uncovered. Good use of taxpayer money paying the corrupt cops a half million for not working. I wonder if the dopes running the town had a claw back provision to recover the half million if the cops were found guilty. Nah, that would require intelligence and concern for the taxpayer. Just another small town police department were corruption was uncovered. Good use of taxpayer money paying the corrupt cops a half million for not working. I wonder if the dopes running the town had a claw back provision to recover the half million if the cops were found guilty. Nah, that would require intelligence and concern for the taxpayer.

by ScheckyGreen February 15, 3:46 AM

Stoughton, don't be so hard on yourselves, these cases are becomimg more the rule than the exception. Police contracts should be put to a vote, only then will the people that pay the freight have any control over the gravy train. Stoughton, don't be so hard on yourselves, these cases are becomimg more the rule than the exception. Police contracts should be put to a vote, only then will the people that pay the freight have any control over the gravy train.

by blackhawk February 15, 7:19 AM

Robert Welch I commend you for your courage. Robert Welch I commend you for your courage.

by Anjelina February 15, 7:36 AM

Tilton should sue also - but NOT the taxpayers. The selectmen and policemen who intimidated, extorted, covered up, framed the innocent, then had teh audacity to reinstate - and compensate - criminals in positions of power should be personally liable - and their lucrative pensions ruled null and void. Tilton should sue also - but NOT the taxpayers. The selectmen and policemen who intimidated, extorted, covered up, framed the innocent, then had teh audacity to reinstate - and compensate - criminals in positions of power should be personally liable - and their lucrative pensions ruled null and void.

by BudgetAwareness February 15, 7:45 AM

So let me get this straight. We finally catch one of the bully cops in the act of breaking the law and intimidation at the point of a gun, fire them and we still have to pay them even though they no longer provide us a service. When you think about the logic that defends this system it will make your head spin. And it usually starts and ends with the word Union. The spineless board of selectman need to be replaced as well by a fair and tough breed.

Mr. Welch if you read these blogs. Thank You. Your act was truly brave.

We should pull the the admin pay from these thugs and give it to Mr. Welch and his family. Also, any cop who was involved in the Tilton incarceration should have their assets confiscated and transferred to Tilton himself.

by smarterjc February 15, 8:15 AM

Kowalcyk The chairman of the board of selectman,didn't even show up for the termination vote. He was quoted to say, He only ran in the recall election, to give Cachopa his job back ! He and Carrera,Levine, and Sousa should be sued and have to pay the town the $600K they voted to pay Cachopa during his "Paid Administrative Leave". Only Public sector employees get paid while under indictment ! The entire recall was run by union employees and union supporters.

This is a perfect example of what is wrong with this state,and the unionized democratic power machine !

Carrera is up for re-election,hopefully he resigns, or the town finally wakes up and Votes him out !

by Nomorehacks February 15, 8:59 AM

Haven't lived there for many years, but I'm embarassed for my hometown.

And as you attempt to fill the position, keep this in mind: maybe it's not a good idea for a local boy to become police chief.

by harrybosch February 15, 9:00 AM

Good point harryb, If they pick an insider, from what's been reported, there will always be internal strife within the department as well as the townspeople. Pick s proven outside leader who can hopefully bring back moral and integrity to the department. There are too many good cops there who don't deserve the bad press. Boston as well as some other towns did it and it seems to be working. But remember, there will always be the naysayers who have all the answers but somehow never climb up the ladder to put their ideas into play. to put their ideas into play.

by sammys February 15, 9:42 AM

What a sorry lot of selectmen and what a town. Sounds more like a herd of sheep! What a sorry lot of selectmen and what a town. Sounds more like a herd of sheep!

by Potlemac February 15, 9:42 AM

And...Robert Welch should be appointed chief for having the courage to do his job and to do it well in the face of so much opposition. If the town of Stoughton had any decency they should honor this man for doing his duty!

by Potlemac February 15, 9:45 AM

Any town dumb enough to elect a moron like Joe Mokrisky selectman gets exactly what it deserves!!! Any town dumb enough to elect a moron like Joe Mokrisky selectman gets exactly what it deserves!!!

by 2BigDee February 15, 9:58 AM

Mr Goulston and Mr Mullin were right. Manny was not qualified to be a police chief in any town. They were railroaded out of office by the three selectmen lackies who owe their elections to the Police Department and the Save our Stoughton group which is also the Police Department. Sgt Cohen was a victim of the Police Chief's lack of competance. I moved out of town after 43 years because the police department ran it. It won't change they pick another insider.

by movedfromstoughton February 15, 10:13 AM

Sgt. Welch should be commended by the public for what he went through, he and his family deserve far more than the award from the court. He has won his suit against the town and been vindicated. The investigation he conducted led to 2 indictments and 2 convictions, Sgt Welch is batting .1000. He is the honest, upstanding cop who was willing to take all the heat, including being demoted from chief of detectives. He should be the new Chief of Police, but since he won't be he should be put back in charge of detectives so there is someone competent to manage investigations in that position.

by topcorner February 15, 10:24 AM

I used to live in Stoughton,but as soon as I got a whiff of the corruption and cronyism I moved the heck out of the dump that the town has turned into. If you just look at the photo of the chief it speaks volumes as to what a swell guy he is.The town public works dept is so bloated with hacks that it could easily operate at half of its current capacity.The downtown area resembles San Paulo,Brazil (undocumented ,unregistered illegal aliens].And finally the selectmen who voted to pay these two corrupt cops should personally be held financially responsible for sticking it to the taxpayers of the town. A citizens arrest should be in order for these bums and force THEM to pay each payer the approximately $400 it cost to keep these criminals in the money.

by gerry70 February 15, 10:31 AM

Didn't Selectman Anastos hire Selectman Mokrisky for a position at Global Recycling, which Anastos owned, in 2000 in return for the Board of Selectmen turning a blind eye to serious environmental problems which existed at the Global Recycling plant???????

by 2BigDee February 15, 11:30 AM

Kowalcyk did indeed state that the only reason he ran in the recall election was to help out his pal the chief! Appalling isn't the word for this sort of hubris and cronyism. The Town of Stoughton should file a class action suit against the individual board members who were more concerned about making sure their idle, indicted friends were on the gravy train than they were the taxpayers of the town. At a minimum, might I suggest the Globe go a little further now in their investigative journalism? Kowalcyk did indeed state that the only reason he ran in the recall election was to help out his pal the chief! Appalling isn't the word for this sort of hubris and cronyism. The Town of Stoughton should file a class action suit against the individual board members who were more concerned about making sure their idle, indicted friends were on the gravy train than they were the taxpayers of the town. At a minimum, might I suggest the Globe go a little further now in their investigative journalism?

by floquick February 15, 12:14 PM

HaHaHaHa...I needed a good laugh .Is it Mayberry's Barney Fife or sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane of the Dukes of Hazzard.

by pia3 February 15, 3:02 PM

1) Fire everyone who backed Cachopa.

2) Remove the selectment who backed him.

3) The townspeople are bullied into silence with only two options, stay and fight or move.

4) Way to go Stoughton, you're making Randolf look awesome.

by iambull February 15, 3:13 PM

This is not over, civil law suits including kid knapping could add another 2 million onto the 1 million this has already cost. This will end up costing every tax payer in the town another $400 on thier property tax bill. Had they have terminated David 17 years ago for permently borrowing the scuba equipment from the department this would have never happened. I am not sure why as someone suggested before why liens could not be placed on property so the towns people can recover some of these damages?

by Barney447 February 15, 4:56 PM

He should have ran to Aruba like his daddy to escape a conviction? The ball does not bounce too far from the tree? Then again he only took $470,000 from investors that trusted him? Nothing compared to the big ponzi plays going on on wall street? The big lesson here is for police to stop sticking together (no coverups)and do what is right no matter if a buddy will get hurt in the process?

by Barney447 February 15, 6:51 PM

Monday, February 16, 2009

NEW VIDEO AT RIGHT-------------------------------------->

At right you will notice a block of three videos that appeared on YouTube yesterday. They are the actual video footage of our Town Moderater, falsely quoting the law, in order to stop someone from exercising their rights under the NH Constitution to take photos of town officials in public meetings. This is CLEARLY a violation of RSA 91A:2, II. Which states;

II. Subject to the provisions of RSA 91-A:3, all meetings, whether held in person, by means of telephone or electronic communication, or in any other manner, shall be open to the public. Except for town meetings, school district meetings, and elections, no vote while in open session may be taken by secret ballot. Any person shall be permitted to use recording devices, including, but not limited to, tape recorders, cameras, and videotape equipment, at such meetings.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

State OK's water company plan for 2

From the Eagle Tribune;

State OK's water company plan for 2
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Construction could begin this summer on a water main connection between Atkinson and Hampstead that would provide both towns with a backup water system.

The Hampstead Area Water Company gained approval from the state Public Utility Commission last week to borrow $1.1 million from the state to lay 15,000 feet of water main along Route 121 between the two towns.

"It's going to provide water to parts of the towns that don't have it," said Harold Morse, president of the water company.

The private water systems in each town serve about 1,000 customers, and a connection between the two would mean a backup system would be in place in case of an emergency. The connection also means that residents in both towns without municipal water could be connected to the system, Morse said.

But resident Bill Bennett, who spoke at a commission hearing in November against the loan, said he's still concerned the water company will use this pipeline to transport groundwater out of Atkinson. Atkinson doesn't have much undeveloped land while Hampstead has plenty where new homes could be built, Bennett said.

"I think his companies are looking at building up in Hampstead and supplying water from Atkinson," Bennett said.

The water company is owned by the Lewis Builders Inc., which also own a development company, building supply companies and the Atkinson Country Club.

Bennett said he's also concerned the water company is wasting water and it needs this connection to make up for that loss.

During the November hearing, Bennett said the Atkinson water system loses about 33 percent of its water or about 140,000 gallons per day. However, PUC engineers disagreed, saying the data Bennett used as evidence was inaccurate.

The water company will report the amount of lost water on a monthly basis to the PUC and the state Department of Environmental Services, according to the report.

In addition to the loan, the water company will use a $312,840 grant from the state Department of Environmental Services to help make its loan payments. DES has already approved the project.

The two municipalities could also benefit from the connection.

The new line could supply water for new fire hydrants. New hydrants aren't in the current plans but they could be added, Morse said.

To help pay for the connection, customers will see an increase after the construction is complete, according to the PUC order.

The average customer's bill is $424, but would see an increase of about $58 per year, according to a rate increase approved on Jan. 16 by the commission.

But the water company doesn't get the money right away.

First, Gov. John Lynch and the Executive Council have to sign off on the loan. The water company still has to develop engineering plans and bid the project. But Morse said he expects work to begin this summer.

In the meantime, Bennett said he plans to write to Lynch and the council about his concerns.

Bennett said, "$1.1 million does not need to go to a private business so they can make money off it."

The money is from the state's Revolving Loan Fund, administered by DES. The water company has 20 years to repay the loan at an interest rate of just over 4.2 percent.

The PUC concluded the project is "consistent with the public good."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Atkinson delays search for next town administrator

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson delays search for next town administrator
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — The town will have to wait another couple of weeks for a new — or interim — town administrator.

Selectmen said this week that they are planning to wait until after the March election to hire someone for the job, even on an interim basis.

A temporary administrative employee, Dani Carville, has been on the job helping administrative assistant Barbara Snicer in the meantime.

Selectmen's Chairman Paul Sullivan said he'd like the selectmen to make the decision after a new board is seated in March.

Sullivan's position will be up next month and he is not running for re-election.

"If we found somebody, it would be appropriate for the new board to make the decision," Sullivan said.

Selectman candidate William Bennett said hiring a town administrator will be a high priority and he would prefer a candidate who would work in town long-term.

Unfortunately, that doesn't always work out like planned.

Former Town Administrator Steven Angelo resigned abruptly two weeks ago, citing difficulty selling his Cape Cod home and a need to spend more time with his family. He held the position for less than five months.

Angelo's departure made him the third person to leave the job in a year.

"Having that as your goal doesn't mean you're going to have that as the outcome," Bennett said.

He declined to comment on any strategies for hiring, but said the selectmen would look for someone who could handle the day-to-day operations of the job to help the selectmen run the town.

The only other selectman candidate on the ballot, Leon Artus, declined to comment on whether he is still seeking the seat.

After three years as a selectman and three years on the Budget Committee, Sullivan said he decided to step down to spend more time at work and for personal reasons.

Sullivan works in marketing and after spending a lot of time dealing with lawsuits during his first two years as a selectman, he said he needs to spend more time at his day job.

He said this past year, where he served as chairman, has been the most successful.

"This past year, we just wanted to move forward," Sullivan said.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Selectmen Sullivan does the right thing, with help of Selectmen Friel.

Please accept as an article submission

So, What should it cost you to get a DVD copy of a meeting.

In Atkinson the price is apparently $165.00

That is the price given to me by the selectmen's office when I came by to pick up a copy of deliberative session. They also suggested I speak to the selectmen about it, So I did. And Selectman Sullivan returned my phone call, explaining that the price would be the same as it has always been, which is $15.00! Had he not acted to serve the townspeople thusly, the following would have been the story.

Now, normally the cost of a dvd copy of a meeting is $15.00, and, in fact, that is the price quoted to me by the Cable TV station manager, Mr. Williams. That is what it always has been, I have gotten numerous meetings dvd's and it has always been $15.00.

However, according to the selectmen's office, it NOW costs $15.00 for the DVD itself, PLUS $15.00/hr, of the station manager's time to prepare it, according to the person I spoke to, it took him 10 hours to make my dvd copy! This is not true, of course, but it is a great way to keep people from being able to privately view past meetings.

And it is ILLEGAL!

Here is what RSA91-A:4 says;

IV. Each public body or agency shall, upon request for any governmental record reasonably described, make available for inspection and copying any such governmental record within its files when such records are immediately available for such release. If a public body or agency is unable to make a governmental record available for immediate inspection and copying, it shall, within 5 business days of request, make such record available, deny the request in writing with reasons, or furnish written acknowledgment of the receipt of the request and a statement of the time reasonably necessary to determine whether the request shall be granted or denied. If a computer, photocopying machine, or other device maintained for use by a public body or agency is used by the public body or agency to copy the governmental record requested, the person requesting the copy may be charged the actual cost of providing the copy, which cost may be collected by the public body or agency. Nothing in this section shall exempt any person from paying fees otherwise established by law for obtaining copies of governmental records or documents, but if such fee is established for the copy, no additional costs or fees shall be charged.

Now the defining case law on this subject is Cioffe v. Sanbornton, 01- E - 022. part of the Order is as follows;

The petitioner, Anne Cioffi, brought this action to enforce her rights under RSA chapter 91-A (the New Hampshire "Right to Know" law). Specifically, she asks the Court to Order the respondent, Town of Sanbornton (the "Town"), to comply with the requirements of the statute. The petitioner also seeks a permanent injunction enjoining the Town from violating the provisions of RSA 91-A and a declaration that copying costs established by the Town are unreasonable....The petitioner, after expressing an interest in Town business, encountered certain obstacles. First, she observed that the Town did not post notices of public meetings or that it posted notices in locations where it was highly unlikely they would be seen. Second, minutes of selectmen meetings did not always accurately reflect what had transpired. Third, the frequency of non-public sessions increased dramatically in the last two years. The reasons stated in support of the Selectmen’s decision to enter into a non-public session were vague—the Selectmen would only state that they needed to discuss a "personnel issue" or an employee. When the petitioner asked to see minutes of the non-public sessions, she was told that none were taken and, therefore, they were unavailable. Lastly, the petitioner complains that an October 1999 increase in the charge for copying imposes an unreasonable barrier to the public’s right to know....The petitioner’s concerns did not arise in a vacuum. Town citizens were becoming increasingly polarized because of several controversial substantive issues. One such issue involved a salary advance given to the Town Chief of Police, which was polarizing because, inter alia, the public learned of it after the fact. Another substantive issue involved certain accounting discrepancies reported by the Town Trustees of Trust Funds.1 Town citizens were also concerned about the Road Agent’s management of his department and management of the Road Agent by the Selectmen. This controversy was exacerbated because the Selectmen would meet regularly with the Road Agent in non-public sessions....Based on the foregoing, the petitioner’s request for relief is GRANTED as follows:

1. The Town shall modify its check signing process, either by making the check manifest a part of the agenda included in the meeting notice, or by otherwise stating during the public meeting what action the Selectmen are taking when they sign a check. This order shall not be construed as requiring the Selectmen to reveal information recognized by RSA 91-A as confidential, so long as the board goes through the RSA 91-A process of conducting such business in a non-public session.

2. Because the this action played a significant part in causing the Town to correct its procedures as set forth in the minutes of the May 30, 2001 meeting, the petitioner is awarded her costs. The petitioner shall file an affidavit specifying said costs within 20 days of the issuance of this order.

Now, I know... All of this sounds very similar to what has been going on in Atkinson.
But the law is clear, the Town may charge THEIR ACTUAL COST TO PRODUCE THAT DVD. That is it!

So What is the Town's cost to produce the DVD copy that you purchase?

1.) I can buy 50 dual layer recordable DVD's for $24.99

2.) 24.99/50= $0.50

3.) It takes Mr. Williams no more than 2 minutes to load the blank DVD, and press the button, then he does other things while the recording is being made.

4.) I dont know his salary, but for the sake of argument, lets say he makes $25.00/hr.

5.) 25.00/60= $0.42/ minute x 2 minutes= $0.84

So the Towns true cost of producing the copy of the meeting for me is, $1.34.

Thank you Selectman Sullivan for once again proving his character and integrity, and the same to Selectman Friel, Thank you Gentlemen.

--- Mark Acciard

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Timberlane parents question student grouping plan Decision

From the Eagle Tribune;

Timberlane parents question student grouping plan Decision recommended by accreditation group
By Margo Sullivan

PLAISTOW — About 50 parents attended last night's Parent Teacher Student Association meeting to let school officials know they are still skeptical about a move to randomly mix students of differing abilities - a recommendation made by an accreditation panel.

Timberlane Regional High School Principal Donald Woodworth said the decision to mix students in a freshman year physical science class was developed from comments made last spring by the visiting committee of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

NEASC, the regional accrediting association, found more classes at Timberlane were "tracked," or separated according to students' academic ability, than the school's self-study indicated. The visiting committee said the tracking did not "provide high expectations for all students" and did not reflect current education research and best practices.

The issue about grouping students sparked a controversy last month when Peter Bealo, a Plaistow resident, drew other parents' attention to a goal in the school district's proposed strategic plan. The goal suggested the district intended to end "tracking"- the practice of grouping students by ability in the same classes.

More than 200 parents commented on the plan, Woodworth said. On Friday, school officials revised the draft to drop the phrase "non-leveled" and make the goal to create equal opportunities for all students.

Nancy Steenson, a Danville mother, questioned last night why the best students should take physical science in the same class with less studious youngsters and not as an accelerated class. She asked Woodworth and Assistant Superintendent Winfried Feneberg how they thought random — or heterogeneous grouping — would help all the students succeed.

Woodworth said mixed classes will work well for entry- level classes, such as basic science, and there is no reason to presume some students should automatically be placed in an accelerated class.

In his experience, the most gifted are not always the top students, Woodworth said. He wants less-gifted students who have the desire to succeed to have a chance to prove they deserve to be in an accelerated classes.

Almost all the parents interviewed said they attended last night's meeting to hear about the new course and the strategic plan on the drawing board.

"The big item on the agenda is homogenous grouping," said Kevin Geary, a Sandown parent. "It sounds good to theorists only" unless the district provides "extensive teacher training."

Sarah Machemer of Plaistow has four children in local schools. She attended the event to find out if the changes would diminish her children's education.

"I would like to find out more specifics," she said. "I want to make sure my youngest is going to get the same quality education as my oldest."

Sunday, February 8, 2009

What is the TRUTH about the Police Dept. Budget?

Please accept this as an article submission;

Does our police dept. operate on a shoestring, as Jack Sapia, so hysterically claimed at deliberative session?

Or is the truth somewhat different?

Well here are the facts;

Every year Our police dept. budgets 10,400 full time hours, 8,760 part time hours, And our PT Chief who is limited by law to 1,300 hours per year.

The hours listed are PATROL hours, they do not include hours budgeted for dispatch, clerical, school crossing,

We currently have, as Jack announced at deliberative session, ONE patrol officer on each shift! Same as we had in 2000, when the budget was $300,000.

There are 8,360 hours in a year! So we are spending 20,000 man hours to cover 8,360 hours. I know the math doesn't work out, does it?

We heard the budget committee's Fred Thompson try to explain away this vast difference by saying it was taken up with Vacation, sick time and holiday time, but that math doesn't work either.

You have 5 FT officers that get benefits.

2wks. Vacation(80 hours) x 5 officers= 400 man hours.

11 paid holidays(88 hours) x 5 officers= 440 man hours.

10 sick days(80 hours) x 5 officers= 400 man hours.

So here is the math;

20,000 man hours budgeted

-8,360 man hours spent patrolling the town.

-1,240 man hours covering vacation, holiday, sick time.
10,400 man hours we have paid for, but are unaccounted for.

Take out the 2000 hours for the Lt.

You still have 8,400 hours unaccounted for. That is an ENTIRE YEAR OF PATROL TIME WASTED!

So much for simplistic calculations, lets look at the money;

I asked, at deliberative session, why the dept. was costing us $767,000 this year, when last year we spent only $643,000?

Yes I am well aware, and sorely miss Cpl. Lapham, and Sgt. Kinney, but they have served to demonstrate the waste in the PD.

Please understand, last year police services were provided to the town without interruption, or degradation in services. Tickets were issued, court cases were prosecuted, arrests were made, halloween went off without a hitch, calls were answered, in short; everything the PD was supposed to do, they did, and they did it by SPENDING ONLY $643,000.00.

So If we could do all of that for only $643,000 last year, why is it going to cost us $767,000 this year?

Yes, I know, that we covered the shifts with part timers, but that just means that we should be doing that all the time, after all that is why we have 18 part time slots!

I was told by the chairman of the budget committee at that meeting that they dont run the PD. Well that is true, but, by law, the budget committee, is charged with finding the appropriate funding level for every dept. in town. They have enormous power and authority to gather information from any town official, or outside the town. When I chaired that committee, we compared budgets of surrounding similarly situated towns, such as Hampstead, and Sandown. Hampstead's police budget this year is $809,000, with a town that is 40% larger, 2 more full time officers, 2+ patrol officers on each shift, 40% more business.

Does this make any fiscal sense?

Take the personalities out of this article, ad look at the numbers, can anyone say that this is a necessary expenditure? Can anyone say that this job could not be done for less, as we did last year?


MArk Acciard

PUC Grants HAWC's request for $1.1M Loan to connect Atkinson to Hampstead, AND WE PAY IT FOR THEM!

Moderator, could you please post this.

Webmaster says -

Dear Atkinson Residents. Late this afternoon I received an EMAIL from the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission. This EMAIL can be read at This EMAIL is 17 pages long, but the short version is, the PUC is granting HAWC's request for a low interest, $1,100,885 loan to construct a pipeline along Rt. 121 (Main St.) to interconnect HAWC's Atkinson and Hampstead water systems.

The letter mentions all the testimony given by our Town Administrator, Carol Grant, Bill Bennett and John Wolters and the ordinances Atkinson (overwhelming) passed that prohibits such an interconnection. The letter also questions the accuracy of the massive water loss the Atkinson system has.

My take - The DES and PUC have thumbed their noses at the wishes of Atkinson's residents to protect our valuable aquifer against exploitation. Now, I'm not going to get into a discussion regarding whether our ordinances are legal or not. I will not respond to any comments on that issue. It has all been discussed before. Let’s leave it at this: The ordinances reflect the desires and wishes of an overwhelming majority of Atkinson's citizens.

The good news, this is not the end of the story and HAWC does not get a check in the mail tomorrow. This loan must still be approved by the Executive Council and the Governor. We have two things in our favor, 1) The state's fiscal situation, and 2) we have the support of our area's representative to the Executive Council, Beverly Hollingworth.

If you feel that the PUC's decision is wrong, please EMAIL Gov. Lynch at and copy Beverly at . If you are so inclined, I would like a copy of your EMAIL so I can archive them. Please be assured, your name will not be disclosed. I have no affiliation with any aspect of Atkinson's government or HAWC. My interests lie solely with the water issue. My EMAIL is You might want to include a mention of the state's fiscal crisis, that the pipeline is not needed, and the money can better spent elsewhere, or not spent at all. Thank you.

Side note - The EMAIL address for Gov. Lynch is a web based form. This means you cannot directly copy Ms. Hollingworth and that you do not retain a copy. It's a hassle so you could mention this to the Governor. So, use the web form to EMAIL the Governor, and regular EMAIL for Ms. Hollingworth and please mention that you sent the same message to the Governor.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Atkinson hosts benefit snowshoe races

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson hosts benefit snowshoe races
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — When Michael Holland helps guide people around the snowshoe course Sunday at Atkinson Country Club, he'll be thinking of his younger brother.

That's because his brother is one of about 100 New Hampshire residents who live with cystic fibrosis, a disease whose research foundation will benefit from the event.

Frosty's Dash for A Cure is in its fourth year.

Holland recruited the 24 members of his Central Catholic High School hockey team to help run the 5K race. The hockey players know his brother pretty well and are happy to help organize the half-mile kids race, give directions to runners and help set up the course.

"Everyone is always ready to step up and help out a friend," said Holland, 17.

Holland's mother, Amy, said she began organizing the race with girlfriends and it has grown a lot over the years. Last year, the race raised about $26,000 through sponsors, raffles, auctions and registration fees.

"It's really turned into a community event," she said.

Volunteer Deborah Fudge said the race should draw a couple hundred people to participate in the 5K and the half-mile kids race.

"Some people bring their own shoes and take it pretty serious," Michael said.

But snowshoes are provided for those who don't bring their own. And the race will go on even if the snow doesn't stick around. Participants should be prepared to run or walk both courses if the snow melts before kickoff.

There also is a silent auction and raffle, including items like autographed jerseys from several NHL teams and gift cards from local businesses. Refreshments will be available.

Registration for the race goes from 8 to 9:30 a.m.

The children's race starts at 10:30 a.m., the 5K at 11:15 a.m.

The kids race costs $5, the 5K $20, with a $45 family maximum.

Entry forms are available at

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hey Frank, Learn the Law before you lecture us!

From the NH Insider;

Hey Frank, Where You Going With That Brown On Your Nose?

Well I went to the Atkinson Deliberative session on Saturday to behold the spectacle of democracy at its worst – I was not disappointed.

Here is how it works:

The police chief has a following built with taxpayer dollars in the form of a nifty little program called “Atkinson Elderly Affairs.” The chief uses town resources to “help” people and in return is allowed certain privileges such as bullying anyone he dislikes.

The chief has a long record of suits filed against him and the town of Atkinson regularly pays for damages and defends thuggish behavior. It is an undisputable matter of public record not worth debating with his loyal clan of sycophants.

But try as he might, the chief can not stop the last few good people who are standing up to him, there are only a handful that show up in person at meetings so he seems to have it in for anyone who would sign a citizens petitioned warrant article for this small band of warrior/taxpayers. This would pull the rug out from under their ability to put something on a ballot for the larger vote on Election day in March.

As luck would have it, chief thuggo’s second attempt at intimidating petition signers in the last eight years has lead to a lawsuit based on the petitioners civil rights. The Town will lose this suit in court and with public opinion this time because it will get statewide publicity. The local press will not be able to save the chief this time and I think some of Atkinson’s power elite can smell it in the air.

This Saturday it looked like there was a bit of a muzzle on the chief and it was the job of two former selectmen to show the obstinate minority who was boss one last time.

No sooner had local taxpayer Gary Brownfield (trouble maker) quietly taken a handful of pictures with his professional camera than the Atkinson Moderator Frank Polito told him to stop – exercising his right to privacy as a private individual. Polito was quickly reminded by taxpayer Leon Artus that as moderator he was not a private citizen and he could simply hand the gavel over to anyone else and leave if he did not want his picture taken in a public meeting.

This lead to a unique rendition of RSA 91-A, where under Moderator Frank Polito’s learned interpretation the Right to Know law allowed FILMING and TAPE RECORDING of public meetings but no right to take pictures with a camera.

Polito even went to his police department sycophant power base for support and called for a vote of his decision to stop Mr. Brownfield. This is called: putting a cherry on the butterscotch sundae, all in the name of ego.

Later, Polito had the members vote to allow the Lawrence Eagle Tribune photographer to take pictures – jimmies on the cherry. And after that, one of the cookie ladies in the back of the room cranked out a camera just like Brownfield’s and took some pictures without a vote or comment by anyone – sprinkles on the jimmies.

But the crowning/clowning glory of the Atkinson Deliberative session was his “in-your-faceness,” Frank I-Forget-His-Name, who would leap to the microphone at the slightest opportunity to comment on his own comments, after amending his comments. Sad, sad, sad. Frank even sat as far from the microphone he so dearly covets so he could enjoy the walk to it every three minutes – ALL DAY LONG!

Atkinson should have an ordinance against abuse of the municipal limelight to slow the two Franks down a bit but they are too busy trying to crush every single vestige of opposition to kissing the thug of a police chief’s posterior. Let’s hope they don’t crack their heads if the chief snaps his fingers.

One other personal observation: I spotted the reporter for the Tribune, who was sitting in front of me in the Visitor section, clapping at the appropriate brown-noser opportunities the “moderator” allowed.
Posted on Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at 04:20PM by Registered CommenterEd Naile |

For the Record, the person Mr. Naile refers to as the second "Frank", was none other than our own former Selectman, current code of ethics member Jack Sapia!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Atkinson police chief: Bully or a target?

From the Union Leader;

Atkinson police chief: Bully or a target?

Union Leader Correspondent
7 hours, 19 minutes ago

ATKINSON – Two residents who claim police Chief Philip V. Consentino bullied people into removing their names from a warrant article petition are preparing to sue the chief and the board of selectmen.

In a notice sent to the town by attorney Charles Douglas, residents Leon Artus and Gary Brownfield claim Consentino, 68, harassed and intimidated residents into removing their names from a petition that would have changed the chief position from part time to full time and raised the job's minimum qualifications.

Artus and Brownfield collected signatures for the petition.

During Saturday's deliberative session, voters overwhelmingly supported an amendment to the warrant article that restored Consentino's hold on the position.

Had the warrant article passed in its original form, the town would have been required to hire a chief with at least a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and 15 years of experience in law enforcement.

Consentino, who has been chief for 40 years, said neither he nor his second-in-command could meet those requirements and that he was specifically targeted by people trying to get rid of him.

Douglas, however, claims Consentino is responsible for a pattern of civil rights violations made even more serious by the chief's position in town.

"He's got a gun, a badge, a cruiser and a bunch of armed men working for him called the police department," Douglas said. "It's not like he's the town librarian."

Douglas said his clients are seeking monetary damages and an injunction against any further intimidation.

He said he planned to formally file the lawsuit by the end of this week. The lawsuit will also name the current board of selectmen and former selectmen Jack Sapia and Francis Polito, Douglas said.

Neither Artus nor Brownfield would comment on the lawsuit.

Sumner Kalman, the town's attorney, did not return messages yesterday.

Sounds like a bunch of residents that have chips on their shoulders. Is the Chief doing a good job? If yes, then leave him alone. If no, then deal with him in a fair manner.
- Mike Hockhirtz, Atkinson

chief for 40 years, high school diploma and a smile like that, its time to go chief,,
its 2009 not 1969, the town has to catch up with the times
- mike, meredith

The day of allowing a Police Chief to retire from a Town as the FULL time Chief in order to collect his State Pension then returning the very first day after this Retirement in the very same job but now called PART time chief is so morally wrong it needs to stop NOW. The only reason a Town does this is to allow the Chief to "double dip"; to retire and collect his pension but NOT leave the EXACT job, just now call him the part time Chief and allow him to work LESS for MORE pay.
There are two other Town in NH that are doing this under the guise of saving enormous money with NOT a difference what so ever in performance of the Police Department. However, the second this annointed Part time Chief retires the second time the Selectmen will immediately make the position full time, get it recertified quickly with the NH retirement board and do so only because their next pick is not not ready or able to retire and needs a full time job so he can one day "double dip" also if he lasts that long as Police Chief.
This is what is happening in Atkinson, Hopkington and Henniker NH. All 3 Chiefs now earn six figures doing the very same job they did for far less money and now do it for working less hours. Of course these Chiefs will act as they wish in Town; they are already collecting their pension and the worst that could happen is that they retire for real a second time from their part time job as Chief and continue to laugh all the way to the bank to enjoy the TAX money that made him one of the highest paid Police Chiefs in NH.
And the State wonders why their Retirement System is broke???
- George P, Salem NH

Why don't the few people that are making these accusations about Chief Consentino, crawl back under the rock they came from and stop complaining, these accusations have been in the paper for the last couple of years. He must be doing a good job, as he keeps getting elected. It is always the same poople that have no life, why don't they spend more time trying to help out with Elderly program, that Chief Consentino coordinates. or better yet, why don't they just move out of Atkinson
- keith, Chester,NH

This is just another indication that the days of having a Part time or elected Police Chief are over. Regardless of the reason for the petition, todays policing requires that the head of policing agency have the qualifications and education to fill such a position. The good old boy syndrome is over and it is time to ensure that the people we trust to enforce the laws of this state and protect our families have the ability to conduct themselves as professionals. That they have a understanding of the change in how law is being enforced and be able to change with it. That person has to be able to follow the qualifications that are set by Police Standards and Training as well enforce those standards with the people in thier agency. This type of hold on a position is not good for the community or law enforcement in general.
- Dan, Portsmouth

Another Civil Rights Lawsuit, Another $100,000 or so down the drain! Thanks Frank!

From the Eagle Tribune;

Resident barred from taking pictures at meeting
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Residents have rights at public meetings, but that can all come to an end when they cause a disturbance.

Resident Gary Brownfield was taking photographs at the town's deliberative session Saturday, but was told almost immediately that he had to stop.

Moderator Frank Polito stopped discussion and asked Brownfield to stop taking photographs, saying he was causing a disturbance. Polito went so far as to put the question to voters, asking the audience whether Brownfield's photography should be banned, and they overwhelmingly agreed.

New Hampshire's public meeting law states specifically that cameras are permitted at meetings. But the law also gives the moderator broad discretion to determine what constitutes a disturbance, according to Deputy Secretary of State Dave Scanlan.

But Brownfield, a frequent critic of town officials, says the ruling wasn't fair.

He said he was sitting in his seat, taking photographs of Polito and other officials, and was not causing a disturbance. Brownfield said yesterday he was hired by the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers to take photographs and was not causing any trouble.

"I was acting as a paid professional," Brownfield said.

But Scanlan said if a moderator believes something is disrupting the meeting, he or she can have it stopped or have the offender removed. Residents can always overrule the moderator so putting the issue to a vote of the people was perfectly reasonable, the deputy secretary of state said.

"He wanted the people to be the ones to decide and not just him," Scanlan said.

Polito said Saturday that Brownfield disturbed the meeting because he was distracting and intimidating other residents who didn't know where the pictures would end up. Brownfield was told multiple times that if he photographed the event or disturbed the meeting, he would be thrown out.

"I believe you are creating a disorder in the room because you are taking pictures," Polito said at the meeting.

Polito asked Brownfield to delete any pictures he had taken of him.

Brownfield said the rule was unfair since it was not in the moderator's rules that were distributed at the meeting and a newspaper photographer was allowed to take photographs.

After Brownfield was banned from taking pictures, a newspaper photographer arrived at the meeting and was allowed to photograph the event. The photographer was asked to identify herself and was given permission by Polito and the audience to photograph the meeting.

Brownfield said he has given his attorney a videotape of the meeting and he may pursue legal action against Polito and the town.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Timberlane is on an academic slide......


Timberlane is going down the tubes, when will the school board stop it?

In 1975 the Timberlane Junior High School opened to much fanfare. I was in the eighth grade at the time. We had been attending double sessions at the high school for three years, while construction was going on. It, like the high school when it opened, was a model school, in layout, curriculum, and achievement. In the 70's Timberlane, believe it or not, was one of the highest academically rated school districts in NH. At a time when schools were something both much greater, and much less than they are today.

It was not a "middle school". There was no "Team Teaching". There was an English dept., a social studies dept., a science dept., a math dept., and so on. There was no "peer mediation", "grade inflation", "mandatory promotion", "SAC", "in-school suspension", or any of the other namby-pamby, wishy-washy, feel good, new age crap, that is currently choking this once fine institution.

I say it was one something more, because it was once a place where learning happened. Where Learning was EXPECTED to happen. Where Students were EXPECTED to do their work, maintain discipline, and accomplish a body of work in order to graduate on to the High School.

I say it was also much less than it is today because it was, at that time, more focused on the children learning than making the parents feel good about their child's performance, or lack thereof, as it is today. It didn't perform social work, as it does today. It didn't make excuses about children's laziness in failing to do homework as it does today. Contrary to the opinions of principal Hogan a child's natural laziness is not that child "doing their best" or "working at their pace" and the latter is never "ok"!

I am writing this because I recently had confirmation of something I had only heard about, and had not believed. I know of a child who graduated the eighth grade this year, and is going into the high school in the fall. A normal occurrence, I know, except that this child's graduated with 3 "F"'s and 1 "D-" all in core subjects. Unfortunately, the one subject that this child passed, with a "C", was language arts, and this child has not the ability to coherently write a report. No sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling skills commensurate with an eighth grade education.

When the parent spoke to Mr. Hogan about this atrocity, the parent was told that their child had not graduated but had merely gotten a "promotion certificate". When the parent asked if the child had to go to summer school, Mr. Hogan replied that the child should. The parent, picking up on the "should", asked if the child's "promotion" was contingent upon successfully completing summer school? Mr. Hogan then replied that summer school was not mandatory, but should be attended by this child. The parent then asked "if the child was not sent to summer school, would the child still go into the ninth grade in the fall? Mr. Hogan said YES! He went on that "studies have shown that it would hurt(the child) developmentally more for (the child) to stay back than to go on" He said "(the child) would catch up in high school"! THIS FROM A PRINCIPAL!!!

Mr. Hogan then explained that High school is a credit based institution and some kids will get their 20 credits in 3.5 years, some will get them in 4 years, and some will have to take that extra class, or semester to graduate, and that's ok. Well, I say, NO that is not ok! This is the attitude that has created the situation where 21% of high schoolers can not read or write well enough to fill out their own job application. This is why 74% of College freshman have to take remedial math or English, their parents effectively paying college rates to teach their kids what should have been taught in high school. Education is the single greatest defining attribute of life. People are judged by how they speak and what they know. Professional doors will open or close based upon a person's education, and we are leaving it in the hands of those who are more concerned with the children's self esteem than what they actually know. It is a telling fact that on International tests where America once reigned supreme, we now finish below third world countries, while the one area in which we excel is self esteem! The failing students felt really good about their performance!

Here are some facts for the parents reading this, that they may be unaware of. Students are allowed to take re-tests. If a student wishes to bring up their grade, regardless of that grade they may take the same test again, and take the average of the two grades. When they have to write a report, they are given a list of websites from which to gather their info., in most cases they merely cut and paste from those websites to form the report. They learn nothing! I know of four eighth grade girls who had to do reports on historical figures, Vincent Van Gogh, Harriet Tubman, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and the reports they handed in were cut and pasted from websites. No original content! I thought they would learn a lesson from this and said nothing. They did learn a valuable lesson, they got "B"'s!

There is so much more to learn than there was when we went to school, and the district, particularly the middle school is doing a horrible job of teaching it., The curriculum is weak. And even that is not taught to full effectiveness. There seems to be little if any oversight.

Now here is my question to the school board;

What are you going to do to bring this school district back to its glory days?

We, as parents pay Timberlane over $12,000/student per year! Timberlane has a $59Million budget and roughly 4700 kids district wide.

The Timberlane district currently boasts a 58% Proficiency level in grade 10 math.
The Timberlane district currently boasts a 76% Proficiency level in grade 10 reading.

This is what we consider acceptable? In 25 years this district which was 1st in the county, and 6th in the state, now places 15th in the COUNTY in reading, and 18th in the COUNTY in math!

We only have 8 more slots to fall before WE HIT ROCK BOTTOM!!! AND NO ONE IS DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT!!!

I ask the school board these questions because they are not supposed to sit there and act as bobble-heads whenever superintendent LaSalle says something. The school board is SUPPOSED to be running the district! They are the people we elected to look into these things, and see that we are getting the most for our money. We are not!

Does the school board look into, and question curriculum and practices? Do they discuss educational philosophy with Dr. LaSalle, and inform him of the direction the district is to take in bringing up test scores and achievement?

This is the basic problem with public education, it is not responsive to the needs of its customers. It gets its money no matter what, whereas in the private sector, if a school had the deplorable standards of TRMS, it would go out of business, because its customers, the parents, would not pay $12,000/yr. for their kids to be shuffled along whether they did the work or not.

It doesn't work this way in the real world. When you have a job(in the private sector, this doesn't hold true for a government job) you have to perform to a certain level. You have to accomplish certain tasks, or you will be fired. Schools rarely make these demands anymore.

I want my school board to answer one question for me;

Why cant Timberlane have the academic achievement of Phillips Academy in Exeter, or even Boston Latin in Roxbury( a public school with significant minority enrollment), or even Central Catholic in Lawrence?

Or how about this question;

Why is it that I can pay $8,000 tuition to send my kid to Pinkerton, one of the best schools in the state, or $3,500 to St. Joes and Timberlane costs almost $13,000 to do an inferior job?

Why are Atkinson's Town officials afraid of public debate?

On Saturday, as we all know, there were a number of citizen petitioned warrant articles on the warrant. Three of these were controversial; The Full Time Chief article, the Expansion of Elderly Affairs Article, and the Restriction of Legal Fees issue. We will address each of these in turn;


The interesting thing here was that Jack Sapia, immediately upon return from lunch, and after extended conversation during lunch with the chief, and Frank Polito, made a motion to pull this article and the Full Time chief article ahead for immediate consideration. As extraordinary as that was, what happened next was even more so, Elderly Affairs driver, Bill Anderson, immediately popped up to call the question, even before the moderator had recognized the question.

So, we wonder what is so threatening about this article that sought only to expand, and codify elderly services? Why couldn't it be debated on town floor? Well lets look at the article;

1.)The director would have to post information on outside programs available to seniors.

Thats not scary, unless you have a current stranglehold on information that is disseminated to your single largest voting block.

2.) The director would have to provide services to anyone over the age of 60.

Thats not scary unless you are not already doing that. Although the chief claims everyone over the age of 55 is eligible, we heard from Mrs. Goodrich about how SHE was unable to obtain a ride to the doctor. And there have been other stories of a similar nature over the years. But again, if, as the chief says, he is already doing this, where is the threat?

3.)The director would have to post information on available services in a conspicuous place in the town hall.

Thats not scary, again, unless you want to be the sole contact point for any elderly person to obtain services. God forbid, people could get services without you, then they might not need you anymore.


This article has been discussed since 1993! In 1993, NH Police Standards and Training Council did a survey in town, and determined that when the town got big enough to warrant a 5th full time officer that full time officer should be a full time chief. In 2000, Steven Lewis filed a citizen petition warrant article very similar to the one presented this year. This article has been talked about for years. So Why couldn't the people debate it?

Could it be because the town was served with notice of an impending federal civil rights suit tow days prior, and it appeared in the paper the day before, and God knows someone in the room couldn't have THOSE allegation talked about on town floor!


This is an article that should have appealed to every taxpayer in town. But to the TOWN OFFICIALS and TOWN EMPLOYEES WHO AMMENDED IT AWAY TO NOTHING, It mattered greatly that this not go to the ballot, because then they would not have FREE Taxpayer paid for legal counsel whenever they do something wrong.

No matter how you slice Saturday's meeting, the people should have been able to have an open debate about the issues. If, after debate, the majority of the people wanted to destroy the articles, then fine, but to close off debate, shows a cowardice, and fear of the subjects at hand, and the ensuing debate, that should make every resident think about who they have voted for in our town.