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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.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Town administrator interviews to start soon

From the Eagle Tribune;

Town administrator interviews to start soon
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Selectmen could begin interviewing for the next town administrator next week.

Selectmen Chairman Fred Childs said yesterday the three-member board is sorting through about 30 applications for the six or seven people it will interview.

"I would hope, in a couple of weeks, we'll have the interviews finished," Childs said.

The board began sorting through the applications almost three weeks ago. The deadline to apply for the job was May 29.

Applicants are from all over New England and quite a few people have little to no experience running the day-to-day operations of a town, Childs said.

This search yielded a lot more candidates than previous searches in recent years. But it's also the first time the selectmen have done the search entirely on their own, without someone to screen applications for them.

When the most recent town administrator, Steven Angelo, was hired in September, the selectmen hired the Local Government Center to advertise the position and screen applications. That service cost $5,000.

Selectmen have said they expect to hire someone as soon as possible.

An unnamed candidate was offered the job in April, but when that person gave notice to their employer, Atkinson's offer was matched. That candidate was left over from the search from which Angelo was hired. No salary range was specifically stated in the advertisement.

The new hire will be the town's fourth administrator in about a year.

Angelo left in January after only a couple of months on the job. Before Angelo, Craig Kleman served as interim town administrator. Kleman was hired in April 2008, but left last summer to take a similar job in Plaistow. He has since left Plaistow.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Atkinson Crime Statistics!

There has long been a debate about exactly how much crime exists in Atkinson. When it is convenient for there to be little crime, it is often said that we are a sleepy little town where nothing ever happens. When pushing for budget increases we get yelled at during deliberative session by the Lt. telling us that if we knew what he knows about what goes on in Atkinson, we would never control the budget.

So which is the truth?

Well, for the first time in at least a year, the Atkinson Police Web, is posting crime stats for 2009.

Atkinson Police Dept. Crime Stats

So for 1/1/2009- 5/30/09:

There were 634 dispatches; including;

Alarm: 95
Suspicious Person: 40
Welfare Check: 25

Assist other Agency: 84
Civil Standby: 12
Police Information: 16
VIN Inspection: 16
Paper Service: 21

This represents 22 weeks of police coverage, there are 21 shifts per week.

That makes 462 shifts covered in this report.

634/462 = 1.47 dispatches per shift on average.

Now lets see how this works out in $$$?

$771,000 police budget for the year

divide by: 12 months= $64,250 per month X 5 months of this report= $321,250.

$321,250 divide by 634 dispatches = $506.70 per call.

1.47 calls per shift.

Does anyone know what other towns spend per call, or how many calls per shift they use?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Our Atkinson moderator was WRONG?

Anonymous said...


Our Atkinson moderator was WRONG?

Someone please tell me it ain't so. I rely on him for knowing all there is about RSAs and running deliberative session. He and his attorneys now admit after getting nearly everyone in deliberative to vote along with his interpretation of 91-A he was mistaken. How did it happen?

I read the RTK Lawsuit Response 2009 found on the Atkinson Taxpayer website. I found reference to the 2009 deliberatvie session incident with Brownfield and Polito when our moderator did not want his picture taken.

Page 9, item 37 states

"Thus, while Mr. Polito’s understanding of 91-A was incorrect, his position was taken in complete good faith."

Page 16, item 6 states

"As to plaintiff Bownfield’s RSA 91-A claim, neither he, nor any of the other plaintiffs, is entitled to relief. Mr. Polito honestly, but mistakenly, was unaware that 91-A expressly allowed citizens to use still photography cameras (as opposed to video, movie and sound recording), and he based that understanding on his recollection of information from a memorandum from the Attorney’s General office. He has since learned that the statute expressly allows persons to use still photography cameras."

The defense admits our moderators understanding of 91-A was incorrect. Its one thing to make a mistake and its another thing to lead an entire legislative body to vote along with your incorrect understanding. I found the excuse funny. They blamed it on a memo from the Attorney General. Of course. Hey at least they didn't blame the police chief.

Did he have to blow it on 91-A? It couldn't have been on some other remote little RSA it had to be 91-A. Mr. Moderator please don't ever quote me an RSA again unless you have a hard copy to show so I can read it for myself so the town doesn't get sued based on your interpretation or mistaken recollection.

Go see the document for yourself. Maybe the next time our moderator starts interpreting RSAs for the rest us we should ask to see a copy of the RSA before we all follow along blindly to his interpretation of the law. Ya think?

The Atkinson Taxpayer web site serves a purpose. Let people read the documents & think for themselves without anyone's spin.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On Internet Privacy rights...

Legal Beagle said;


On Internet Privacy rights...

It seems there is someone posting to this blog that intends to intimidate the rest through the spurious allegations via news stories of a case filing, and foreign decisions, that all of your identities will be discovered. Although internet privacy law is not my prime practice area, I do have some experience here.

There have been many cases before various state Supreme Courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court, regarding the privacy rights of bloggers.

What follows are some of the U.S. LEGAL DECISIONS regarding this issue. Courts do not consider foreign law, or filed complaint, just adjudicated decisions.

Anonymous communications have an important place in our political and social discourse. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment. A much-cited 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission reads:

Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

The tradition of anonymous speech is older than the United States. Founders Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers under the pseudonym "Publius," and "the Federal Farmer" spoke up in rebuttal. The US Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized rights to speak anonymously derived from the First Amendment.

In N.J. in 2007 Case entitled Manalapan v. Moskovitz, the New Jersey Township of Manalapan filed a malpractice suit against its former attorney Stuart Moskovitz, alleging misconduct regarding the Township's purchase of polluted land in 2005. The decision to file suit was met by a lively debate in the regional press and among local bloggers. One blogger who was particularly critical of the Township, of this and other decisions, was Blogspot blogger "datruthsquad" ( Inexplicably, attorneys for the Township issued a subpoena to Google (owner of Blogspot) demanding that the identity of this anonymous critic be turned over, along with datruthsquad's contact information, blog drafts, e-mails, and "any and all information related to the blog." Despite repeated requests from EFF (now representing datruthsquad) to explain how this could be anything other than an attempt to out a vocal critic, attorneys for the Township refused to withdraw the subpoena and informed EFF that it could go to court to object to the subpoena if it so chose. On November 28, 2007, EFF filed a motion to quash the subpoena and for a protective order to prevent the Township from issuing similar subpoenas in the future.

Outcome: On December 21, 2007, Superior Court Judge Terence Flynn granted EFF's motion to quash the Township's September 26th subpoena seeking the identity of datruthsquad and denied a motion by the township to authorize future subpoenas, finding that the subpoena amounted to "an unjust infringement on the blogger's First Amendment rights" and that the blogger "has a right not to be drawn into the litigation." Judge Flynn denied the motion for a protective order, finding that it was unnecessary at this time.

More from Judge Flynn's ruling from the bench:

"And I [...] recognize that there are First Amendment issues with regard to disputes with the past administration. And that anyone [...] has a right to make their feelings clear. And they have a right not to be intimidated by the issuance of discovery requests in order to shut them down. For that reason, in many ways, the authority cited by the intervenor is correct and accurate. And first of all the [...] blogger, if in fact it’s an individual person, and I’m assuming absent any evidence that it is another individual person, has a right not to be drawn into the litigation and forced to reveal identity or to impede on his or her First Amendment rights simply on a suspicion, however founded or unfounded, and I don’t believe that this suspicion is sufficiently founded at this point to determine that it is Mr. Moskovitz. That person should not be drawn into the litigation and forced to abide by the rules with regard to exchange of information that the parties have, as opposed to a third party. So the Court is satisfied that there is no authority under law for this particular subpoena to obtain this private information. To allow the subpoena would be undue and unjust infringement on the blogger’s First Amendment rights. There’s no factual basis at this point, other than a mere suspicion for the justification. And ultimately that even if the information were obtained, it would be so remote to the actual elements of this litigation that it would not be admissible under any circumstances."

There are dozens more cases with similar outcomes that I could cite here. a quick Lexis-Nexis search will reveal over a dozens cases where the First Ammendment right to Anonymity is upheld.

Although I have no idea who the wannabe attorney is who posted those warnings, it reminds me greatly of Mr. Polito's public legal advice to townspeople, regarding his ability to Google search the law, without the contextual knowledge to apply the Law. In any event, these postings are merely, in my opinion, an attempt to muzzle dissent and debate, and are indicative of politics in Atkinson.

I have watched with rapt attention for many years the political fray in Atkinson, and I have observed that whenever a thorny issue presents itself, and is discussed on this blog, the reaction of the town officials is never to respond to the issue itself, but rather to attack the critics, this would appear to me to be an extension of that.

- LegalBeagle

Atkinson to hold hearing on tower

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson to hold hearing on tower
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — A public hearing will be held next month so residents can comment on a proposal to add three antennas to a communications tower.

Christopher King of BCI Communications, the company hired by SBA Tower II to bring the project through the permitting phase, appeared before the selectmen last night to seek approval for the project.

Selectmen said before they could approve the project, they would like to hear from the public.

"It's been awhile since the last thrash through," said Selectman Bill Bennett.

The proposal is virtually identical to the one denied a special exception by the town's Zoning Board of Adjustment in March 2007, King said.

SBA Tower II filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in September 2007, but a federal judge recently ruled that it was up to the selectmen to decide the case. The zoning board issued its decision when the 50-year-old tower, more than 150 feet high, was owned by Mariner Tower.

King said the tower's owner has an obligation under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to lease space to T-Mobile so it can provide service to its customers.

"The longer we can't serve our clients, we're being penalized," King said.

But Selectman Bill Friel said there have been changes made to the tower that weren't approved by the town.

"That's going to be a real sticking point for me in the process," Friel said.

Friel, a member of the zoning board in 2007, said the last public hearing drew a large crowd of neighbors who were unhappy with the tower.

"People who live in the area are concerned the darn thing doesn't come down on their house," Bennett said.

The public hearing has been scheduled for July 20, at 7:30 p.m. at Atkinson Town Hall.

Atkinson residents advised to lock up

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson residents advised to lock up
By James A. Kimble

ATKINSON — In the course of a week, they made off with laptop computers, jewelry and even loose change from three houses in broad daylight. But the thieves who burglarized the homes between May 27 and June 3, didn't have to work very hard, police said.

"Most of these burglaries took place in the back of the house," Lt. William Baldwin said. "Some people left their doors unlocked and some didn't."

Now, police are telling residents to bolt their back doors and doors leading to a garage or cellar, all places typically used by thieves in the recent break-ins, Baldwin said.

Since those burglaries, police also have taken reports of two car break-ins June 6 and 7. Car doors were unlocked in those cases, Baldwin said. A GPS was taken from one car. An empty wallet was taken from another car, then dropped farther down the road.

Police call it "car fishing" because thieves often drive around looking for targets that are easy to hit, then fish through the contents of a car for valuable items that can be quickly sold.

"Here's the problem," Baldwin said. "We live in a great community, but as much as I preach that you have to lock your doors, not everyone will do it."

The first two home burglaries May 27 happened between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., at homes on Fairview Farm Road and Woodside Way, he said.

Homeowners discovered someone had been inside their homes in the afternoon. The burglars were likely able to check whether anyone was home before they went inside, and could have pretended they worked for a business doing some kind of service at the house, Baldwin said.

"We've had suspicious activity like that," he said. "Someone would knock on a door and walk around to the back of the house, then leave."

The technique isn't new to the area, according to police. Baldwin said Atkinson has seen such burglaries in the past. He hopes the recent spate in property crime will encourage people to be more proactive about locking up their homes and cars.

Being so close to the highway along the Massachusetts border makes Atkinson an attractive spot for thieves to hit, he said.

"Commonly, people doing this sort of behavior are doing it for drug money," he said. "They will take the jewelry and give it to their supplier or dealer, who will either melt it down or resell it. Also, with the economy being the way it is, people are more brazen to steal stuff to make money."

Baldwin encouraged residents to call police if they suspect something doesn't look right.

"If you see something suspicious, call police," he said. "It's not a bother and we'll investigate it. We'd rather be safe than sorry."

Atkinson residents denied backyard wind systems

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson residents denied backyard wind systems Zoning board rejects requests; new state law to help applicants
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Two men learned last week that they won't be allowed to generate their own electricity through wind turbines. Like many other communities in Southern New Hampshire, Atkinson's zoning regulations don't address wind turbines.

Bruce LaCreta and John Recesso applied to install wind systems in their backyards, but were denied by the Zoning Board of Adjustment at a hearing last week because they're not a permitted use.

"It's a structure that's not permitted in the zoning right now," board member Sanford Carter said.

But a new law that is scheduled to go into effect on July 11 will prohibit communities from unreasonably limiting the installation and performance of residential wind turbines. Not allowing wind turbines in an entire community, setting electrical or structural design criteria that exceeds state and federal codes, and excessive setback requirements would all qualify as limiting wind turbines, according to the law.

Eric Steltzer, energy policy analyst with the state Office of Energy and Planning, said LaCreta and Recesso could file another application on July 12, and there would be no hearing with the zoning board. Under the new law, Atkinson would have to find another reason to deny the applications.

"The building inspector cannot deny based off permitted use or based off height restriction," Steltzer said of the new law.

To help communities regulate residential windmills, a model ordinance has been crafted by the state, Steltzer said. But each community should modify the ordinance to fit its zoning regulations. So far, about 20 communities across the state have adopted ordinances dealing with residential wind systems, Steltzer said.

Locally, several communities have discussed potential ordinances, including Atkinson.

Derry held a few discussions on the issue last year and Londonderry had a similar discussion last Thursday.

Bob Mackey, Derry's code enforcement director, said he seldom gets questions on windmills, but it wouldn't necessarily be a problem in that town.

"Basically, they would be allowed as long as it's for a residence," Mackey said.

Londonderry has scheduled a public hearing for July 8 to discuss an ordinance. Sue Killam, Atkinson Planning Board chairman, said a proposed ordinance could be put before voters at the March 2010 Town Meeting.

"That's something we'll be working on in the fall," Killam said.

Under the new law, the building inspector will accept or reject an application for a wind turbine. Previously, most towns would have sent the application to the zoning board, according to Steltzer.

In Atkinson, LaCreta and Recesso were first denied by Building Inspector Robert Jones, so the zoning board could interpret the town's zoning regulations.

Jones ruled that the wind turbines were not an accessory use as defined in the town's zoning rules.

LaCreta, a plumber, said the two neighbors had been researching the turbines for months and he was hoping to cut his electricity bill by three-quarters with the 54-foot-high model. Recesso was hoping to generate all of his electricity through a 71-foot turbine.

Although the Merrimack Valley isn't very windy, LaCreta said he had a wind report done and there was just enough to make it worth the effort.

He was looking at a model that cost between $12,000 and $15,000. With all of the federal, state and local incentives, LaCreta said now seems like the perfect time to install a turbine. "We thought it was a good deal," LaCreta said.

At Town Meeting in March, Atkinson voters approved a local ordinance, 1,194 to 369, to give homeowners an exemption for the cost of a wind system, plus installation. Pelham and Londonderry also have similar rules.

The federal government also will give homeowners a tax break of 30 percent on their income tax if they install a wind system.

The state Public Utilities Commission also offers homeowners an incentive for residential wind systems. Starting on July 1, homeowners can apply for a rebate of $6,000 or 50 percent of the cost of the turbine, whichever is less.

LaCreta and Recesso have even formed a business, Atkinson Alternative Wind Solutions, to install residential wind turbines. They were hoping their own turbines would be a model for what other people could do at their own homes.

But now, they will just help other people install wind turbines in other communities.

"I want to know what the next town is going to do," LaCreta said.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why does it take $130,000.00 more this year to do the same job as last year?

Please accept this as an article submission;

Why does it take $130,000.00 more this year to do the same job as last year?

It will be easier for everyone to focus on the issue at hand, if you remove personalities from the discussion. This is not about the police dept., or the fire dept. or the highway dept. for the purposes of this discussion it is dept. X.

Dept. X, performed ALL of their duties and responsibilities admirably in 2008 for $643,000.

This year Dept. X wants $771,000 to do the same job. It is not attacking to ask why. It is not slanderous to demand that our tax dollars be spent as efficiently as possible. Now here are the details;

Dept. X has both part time and full time employees. The ONLY reason we can have this discussion, or that we know the dept. can run on $100,000 less is that two of it's employees lost their lives last year, and the dept. increased their utilization of part timers to fill in for this loss.

Full time employee cost between 40-80% more than part time because of the higher wage per hour, and the cost of benefits.

This dept. currently has 5 full time employees and 17 part time employees, however only 8 or so part timers work shifts on a regular basis.

Every year Our dept. X budgets 10,400 full time hours, 8,760 part time hours, plus PT dept. head who is limited by law to 1,300 hours per year, and his right hand man who it has been stated many times works 50 hours per week, or an extra 500 hours per year. This gives us a total of 20,960 man hours per year.

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

There are 8,360 hours in a year! So we are spending 21,000 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 employees that get benefits.

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

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

10 sick days(80 hours) x 5 employees= 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;

It has been argued that the $130,000 included money to hire replacements for the lost employees, but a few hundred dollars for an ad does not explain $130,000, nor does this facetious argument about sick time, holiday pay, etc. That has been explained above.

So the original question still stands unanswered;

Why the extra $130,000?

And please don't bother trying to "shoot the messenger here" I am not interested, if you have a response to deal with the numbers and answer the question, I would love to hear it.

Thank you for your time.

Mark Acciard

Friday, June 12, 2009

Atkinson Loses a "favorite son"


Carol Grant said...

Mr. Moderator,

Is there any chance that you would post the below invitation as a separate article/notice at the top of the blog -- just until next
Wednesday's funeral?


Chet Ladd, Atkinson's long-time very dedicated Town Forester and Conservation Commission member and Chairman, recently died in Florida. His widow, Dorothy (Dot) will be bringing his remains back to Atkinson for burial in Atkinson Cemetery on Wednesday morning, June 17 at 11:00 a.m.

Mrs. Ladd would like to invite Atkinson town officials and residents who knew him, of him, or worked with him, to the grave-side service and final gathering for Chet.

After the interment, everyone is invited to the home of our former Atkinson Town Clerk, Linda Jette Johnson, 3 Forest Road, for refreshments and to share remembrances of Chet.

Atkinson owes a lot to Chet for his hard work, time commitment and dedication to preserving and caring for Atkinson's natural resources for so many years. Chet left a lot of great foot prints in Atkinson's many town forest and consrvation land parcels.

We hope all of you who knew Chet and respected his dedication to Atkinson's environmental quality of life will be able to attend the graveside sericve and gathering fterwards at Linda's home.

June 12, 2009 11:05 AM

Tell the Blog the direction it's future should take...

There has been mush debate lately about the direction this Blog should take in the future. The Blog Moderators, and Administrator are interested in hearing genuine ideas, and debate upon this topic.

Let's hear your suggestions.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Atkinson jogger hit by truck

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson jogger hit by truck
Eric Parry

ATKINSON — A jogger was seriously hurt after being hit by a truck on East Road last night.

A car was traveling south on East Road when they veered into the northbound lane and struck a truck. The truck spun around and hit a person running on the side of the road, according to Atkinson police Chief Philip Consentino.

The jogger was taken to Lawrence General Hospital.

Police initially called for a medical helicopter to take the injured jogger to a Boston area hospital, but there was a problem landing the helicopter in the area, Consentino said.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Atkinson Reporter would like to issue a Formal Apology to Lt. Baldwin!

As many of you know and have commented, there appeared on this blog a couple of weeks ago, a story about Lt. Baldwins job as a part time officer in Kingston. In response to the very first comment posted we pulled this article down out of fairness to Lt. Baldwin, while we attempted to either confirm or deny it. While we still have not found any officer willing to go on the record with the story, It appears there is a letter written by Chief Briggs of the Kingston police force that basically denies the original story.

This blog understands that our choice of language may be circumspect, but we have no wish to fan any wild speculation by alluding to the details of the original story.

Lt. Baldwin we apologize for any misunderstanding, and wish you well in your continued endeavors.

Why doesn't Atkinson apply for these grants?

Fromm the eagle tribune;

Grants to fund new radios for Newton, Danville police
By Ali LaFay

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program recently distributed $641,198 in funding to 14 Rockingham County towns.

The Danville Police Department will use its $10,714 to equip the town's four police cruisers with new radio repeaters, police Chief Wade Parsons said. "In the past, it has been a real safety issue for officers because they can't always make contact with dispatchers," Parsons said. "This will eliminate that problem and improve communication."

The Newton Police Department also plans to replace its portable radios with the $11,000 it received from the program.

Police Chief Lawrence Streeter said the department's current radios will no longer be serviceable after 2010, so it's important they are replaced as soon as possible.

The Kingston Police Department has applied for funding from the grant program.

"It's our intention to buy all of the officers new bulletproof vests," police Chief Donald Briggs said.

Kingston also has applied for a $190,000 COPS Universal Hiring Program grant to hire an additional full-time officer, who would be assigned to the Sanborn Regional School District.

If approved, the grant would be used to fund the training, salary and benefits package of the additional officer.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Consentino handling roles problem-free

From the Eagle Tribune;

Consentino handling roles problem-free
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Philip Consentino, the town's police chief and elderly affairs director, skims through the obituaries on a daily basis looking for local residents who have died. Once he finds someone, he sends a sympathy card to that person's family.

It's just one service the town's Elderly Affairs Department provides for the 1,200 senior citizens in its database, Consentino said. "When there's a problem, we're the fixers," Consentino said, flipping through a stack of thank you cards he has received over the years.

One of the most important services the department offers is the rides he and four drivers give to seniors on a daily basis to medical appointments and social events. Last year, Consentino said the department provided 1,644 rides.

It also conducts an annual flu shot clinic for seniors, provides a list of reputable contractors, supplies seniors with free medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, and operates a call-in program for seniors who live alone. They receive calls every day to make sure they are safe.

But for all the work Consentino does, he also has critics in town.

Last year, the state attorney general's office received complaints about the way he operated elderly affairs as a division of the Police Department. Last fall, the two were separated even though Consentino retains his role as head of both departments.

But the attorney general's office and head of the Board of Selectmen said there haven't been any recent complaints.SClBSelectmen's Chairman Fred Childs said it seems the changes made last year have worked out fine.

"So far, he's done everything that he's supposed to do," Childs said yesterday.SClBTerry Knowles, charitable trust unit director with the attorney general's office, said she plans to meet with the selectmen and Consentino next month to review the changes that were made. Knowles helped the selectmen and Consentino restructure the two departments last fall.

None of the services provided by elderly affairs have changed but now there is a logbook that provides specific details on the rides provided by the four drivers.

Five days a week, the department averages five or six rides and the logbook records who was transported, where they were taken, and how long the trip took.

"The seniors feel extremely relieved they don't have to rely on their children, they just call us," Consentino said.

The only change is that the names on the vehicles now say "Town of Atkinson Elderly Affairs Department" instead of "Atkinson Police Community Service." The drivers also were given new uniforms with the name "Elderly Affairs."

The department also was given its own budget, which pays for the drivers, fuel and maintenance on the vehicles. Consentino isn't paid for his work as director.

Changes also were made to donation accounts. SClBThe Atkinson Police Charitable Fund was created and primarily benefits elderly affairs. Next month, Consentino said they will begin a fundraising drive to replenish the fund, which brings in about $10,000 to $14,000 a year in donations.

Some recent purchases made through the account were $333 for new dentures for a senior citizen, $800 to install a wheelchair ramp at a resident's home, and $1,000 in books donated to Kimball Library, Consentino said.

To tap into that account, Consentino only has to contact the board of directors' treasurer, who also files monthly reports on the account's balance.

In the last few months, Consentino and Assistant Director William Anderson applied for nonprofit status with the Internal Revenue Service and are still waiting for their application to be processed.

With all the changes that have been made, Consentino said he's just happy he still gets to work with senior citizens every day.

A woman, who was given regular rides to chemotherapy appointments and recently learned her cancer had gone into remission, told him her good news. After transporting her to appointments for years, Consentino said it felt like he and his drivers had helped her along.

"That's the best reward you can get," he said.

Monday, June 1, 2009

What's This? Town officials that make decisions based on numbers, rather than politics?

Pelham police opt to cruise in Chevy Impalas
By Terry Date

PELHAM, N.H. — Police are cruising for criminals in black-and-white Chevrolet Impalas these days.

The Impalas replaced the silver Ford Crown Victorias as the leading ride in the department's 14-vehicle fleet with the arrival of the seven Impalas May 22.

Pelham police Lt. Brian McCarthy said he and police Chief Joseph Roark were sold on the Impala lease program after they learned its price — and that Ford plans to discontinue its Crown Victoria program in the future.

The three-year lease will end up costing about the same amount of money the town pays to buy two Crown Victorias each year — $60,000, McCarthy said.

The Impalas get better gas mileage, about 16 or 17 miles per gallon, as opposed to the 12 miles per gallon the Crown Victorias get. And the Impalas are front-wheel drive vehicles, which handle better in the snow and ice, he said.

Selectman Hal Lynde said the board encouraged McCarthy and Roark to broker the Impala lease when they brought it to selectmen last fall during budget talks.

"It actually saves us money," Lynde said. "We expect to see a reduction in maintenance costs."

McCarthy said the department traded Crown Victorias to help pay for outfitting the new cruisers.

The Pelham police fleet includes the seven Impalas, a pickup truck used by the animal control officer, a Ford Explorer and five administrative cars, McCarthy said.

When this discussion was brought up in Atkinson, two years ago, the Chief rejected it out of hand claiming "those will never work as police vehicles"