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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.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Illegal occupancy will cost Osborns $122,375

From the Eagle Tribune;

December 19, 2010
Illegal occupancy will cost Atkinson couple $122,375

By Cara Hogan The Eagle Tribune Sun Dec 19, 2010, 12:30 AM EST

ATKINSON — It cost Margaret and Daniel Osborn more than $500 a day for each of the 223 days they lived in their 8 Valcat Lane home.

The Osborns must pay the town of Atkinson $122,375 in civil penalties for living in their home without an occupancy certificate, Rockingham County Superior Judge Kenneth McHugh ruled Thursday. The couple also must pay the attorney fees the town incurred fighting the matter in court.

The town ordered the Osborns to install a sprinkler system in their home because it was not easily accessible by fire and other emergency vehicles. A building permit issued in May 2008 specified the necessity for a sprinkler system.

But the Osborns didn't install one and moved in anyway, occupying the house from Nov. 30, 2009 until July 10 this year.

McHugh ordered the Osborns to pay statutory penalties of $275 for the first offense for living there without the certificate and $550 for each subsequent offense — incurred daily.

"They didn't have the necessary occupancy permit," town attorney Sumner Kalman said Friday. "The town sent them a cease-and-desist notice as of Dec. 14 (2009), and they had five days to conform to regulations and they ignored that. The town told them again and again to comply, but it took until the spring of 2010 for the town to go for legal action. It was a long process and it's not like the town didn't give the Osborns enough time."

The Osborns received a $5,700 cost estimate for a sprinkler system in May 2008. But they tried to avoid the need for such a system by building a new driveway instead, according to court documents. A proposed driveway plan, with a grade of 23 percent, was submitted to the town in October 2008. The town immediately deemed that plan as "not acceptable."

The Osborns did have two avenues of appeal, McHugh noted in his decision, but did not take advantage of either one of them. Margaret Osborn testified she wasn't aware of the right to appeal, although she was a member of the Atkinson Zoning Board of Adjustment for two years while that board considered her request to build the home.

Fire Chief Michael Murphy wrote in May 2008 that a sprinkler system should be a condition of a building permit. The town building inspector adopted Murphy's recommendation and made it a construction requirement.

McHugh called the case an issue of "he said, she said," with arguments back and forth between Margaret Osborn and Murphy, along with other town officials.

"The important thing in this case is there was a disagreement between Mrs. Osborn and the chief between what was said in a meeting," Kalman said. "Only one could be believed and it was quite obvious the judge believed Chief Murphy. Mrs. Osborn's story was just not reasonable. It was a good decision."

The Osborns could not be reached for comment Friday. Their attorney, Bernard Campbell, said he had not read the decision and could not comment on it.

If the Osborns install a sprinkler and have the house inspected, they could qualify for an occupancy permit and move in legally, Kalman said.

Town Manager Phil Smith said he is glad the case is completed.

"We want to put it behind us and move onto other things," he said.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Atkinson man guilty of hiring illegal immigrants

From the Eagle Tribune;

December 15, 2010
Atkinson man guilty of hiring illegal immigrants

By Doug Ireland The Eagle Tribune Wed Dec 15, 2010, 12:28 AM EST

ATKINSON — A 53-year-old local man has pleaded guilty to employing illegal immigrants at his Dunkin' Donuts stores in Maine.

George Valvanis of Atkinson pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland to a single count of recruiting or hiring illegal immigrants unauthorized and one count of lying on an immigration document, according to U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II of Maine.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's homeland security investigations.

Valvanis managed several Dunkin' Donuts stores in the Portland area and employed 18 illegal immigrants between 2001 and 2009, according to court records.

He faces a maximum prison term of five years on the charge of lying on a document and six months on the hiring charge.

"ICE HSI will hold employers who knowingly hire an illegal work force accountable for their actions," said Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Boston.

"Our office will continue to investigate and find employers who flout our laws and hire illegal labor in order to reduce the demand for illegal employment and protect employment opportunities for the nation's lawful work force," Foucart said in a statement. "ICE HSI will use enforcement tools, civil and criminal, when appropriate to bring about compliance."

Valvanis is to be sentenced in April by U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Report from the Courtroom 2: Davis v. Osborns, et al.

For the past two days, The Osborns have been fighting in Court to retain the driveway which they built across Carol Davis' land.

First up at bat was James LaValle, the contractor who not only surveyed the land upon which they built the driveway, but he is also the man who put the right of way on Carol Davis plot plan back in 1995 for then owner Valenti. In Atkinson v. Osborn, Maggie claimed alternatively that "the Town" had told her that she "owned the deeded right of way", "her lawyer" told her that she "owned the deeded right of way", and that "Mr. LaValle" told her that she "owned the deeded right of way". Maggie's only problem today is that Mr. LaValle testified that he "did not tell Mrs. Osborn that she owned the deeded right of way". Sorry Mags, Somebody is lying, and it doesn't look good for you. After Maggie backed off, in Court, her oft tearful claim that she owned a deeded right of way across Mrs. Davis land, she claimed that it was a "road of aged". The only problem for Maggie was that In order for it to be a "road of aged" or a "road by prescription" it had to have been "in regular and constant public use" for a minimum of 20 years. Mr. Lavalle testified that he did the original design in 1995, in addition he admitted that the original road, Valcat ln., was not shown on any of his plans for the driveway. Again, Sorry Mags.

Next up was Paul Shea, neighbor to the osborn's who was there to testify to the "history of the land" up there. Unfortunately for him Davis' attorney questioned him on his investment in the Osborn's illicit driveway. It seems that Mr. Shea ponied up $14,000.00 to invest in the driveway, after Maggie advised him that he had a deeded, right of way through there. Again, too bad for the osborns, under cross examination, mr, Shea admitted that he had no knowledge of any right of way existing there until Maggie told him about it, he further testified that he consulted no attorney, or advisor, instead investng his money on the word of Margaret Osborn alone. Sorry, Paul should have bought Enron stock.

Last up today was Maggie Osborn. Maggie NOW claimed that she notified Mrs. Davis up front about the driveway she intended to build and Mrs. Davis had no problem with it. Of course this flies in the face of her admission at the ZBA that she had forgot to notify Mrs. Davis of the meeting. Another lie? Maggie then had to backpedal, when asked to show where on HER DEED, she was granted access to Mrs. Davis land. (cue the crickets)

Shortly after this exchange the Judge pulled the attornies into chambers, when they emerged he told the Court that he would rule on this case but first he wanted the parties to get together and try to work out a settlement. He cautioned the parties that although he would issue a ruling in this case, his court was not the lottery and no one should expect to get rich there, Mrs. davis is the only party with a claim.

the two sides have 2 weeks to file their closing arguments, then if no settlement is reached he will rule.

Question is: What will the Town then do, when The Osborn's lose their driveway, THAT was the ONLY thing that allowed them to build a 2,600 sq.ft. home on that site, Without that the site would only support a 1,400 sq.ft. home.,and not the 4,400 sq.ft. McMansion that sits there now.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Report from the Courtroom: Atkinson v. Osborns

Yes, although it is not known to most the Town has been in court twice in the last week against the Osborn's. This stems from the eviction Order obtained by the Town this summer against the Osborn's. The Osborn's are trying to do an end around the town by attempting to get the Court to rescind the eviction Order and allow them to live in the home until the issues are resolved "because it is the Christmas Season".

Maggie, in her Court testimony claimed to be "homeless", And Town Counsel, Sumner Kalman dropped the ball by not following up asking her where they stay every night, which would be the home that sits at 8 valcat ln. that they were evicted from in May.

Maggie in her court testimony also claimed that "they have done everything that the town has asked of them, except for two issues, which are in dispute" those being the sprinkler system and the tearing down of the boathouse. She conveniently ignores the fact that she agreed to the sprinkler system because the town can not get a fire truck up that road because it is too steep. She also claimed that she "thought she didn't need the sprinkler system after talking to the fire chief". She re-counts the town's numerous attempts to help her with a work around, but ignores her end of the proposals, for example:

She proposed a dry hydrant drawing from the lake in lieu of sprinklers: Problem is no one has a pump that can pump the volume of water necessary to fill an 8" pipe(hydrant width) to a height of 130', (roof elevation above the lake.)

She then proposed a cistern at the top of the ridge, which she claimed would benefit her neighbors as well. This never materialized.

She then claimed to have a "deeded right of way, directly to chase island rd.". Chief Murphy told her that if she did have that, and the grade was such that he could get a pumper up there, he would work with that as soon as she provided engineered plans for it. She provided no engineered plans, but went ahead and built her driveway(which it now looks like she may lose, because she built it) across Carol Davis' land, and even after cutting through Valcat ln 8' thereby cutting off access to the lots beyond hers, the grade is still 13.6%, FAR too steep for a 63' long, 17 ton fire truck.

Maggie's lawyer, made the claim that there was no access problem for their house, because her neighbor gets his pickup up there to plow, UPS and FEDEX get up there. Once again, Sumner dropped the ball by not following this juvenile comparison up by asking the relevance in these examples to getting a 63' long, 17 ton fire truck up that hill.

Forgotten also in Maggie's cloak of victimhood was the fact that the town ONLY gave her permission to build a 2,600 sq.ft. home because she claimed ownership of a direct right of way to Chase Island rd.and agreed to sprinkle, without that she would only have been allowed to build a 1,400 sq. ft. home on that site. She also forgot to mention that after submitting plans for a 2,600 sq.ft. home to get the building permit, she had Silverlake assoc. design a 4,400 sq.ft. home which is what was built.

The town, for their part does not want to "beat up" on the Osborn's during the Christmas Season, but spent the money, time and effort to go to Court to obtain an eviction Order, which they are now content to ignore. Why did they spend the money in the first place if they were not going to enforce it? The town is also faced with the hypocrisy of obtaining a court order for Mr. Mason to tear down the overbuilt portion of his home on the lake, while ignoring the VASTLY overbuilt Osborn Manse.

And our selectmen wonder why people get pissed at the high handed manner in which they selectively enforce and prosecute laws and violations in this town.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Atkinson energy audit shows potential savings

From the Eagle Tribune;

November 30, 2010
Atkinson energy audit shows potential savings

By Cara Hogan The Eagle Tribune Tue Nov 30, 2010, 12:01 AM EST

ATKINSON — The town could save 53 percent on fuel and 30 percent on electricity to heat the town's buildings, but only by spending $706,000 on energy-saving repairs and updates.

The just-completed energy audit of eight town buildings is the first of its kind for Atkinson, according to Town Manager Philip Smith.

"The town has addressed issues individually as needed, but never as comprehensive as what's been done now," Smith said. "The last thing they did that was an electric audit, an electric company coming in and looking at the electric usage. But this looks at much more."

Elmer Arbagast of Arbagast Energy Auditing did the audit and analyzed the energy usage in each building, coming up with changes, large and small, to improve energy efficiency and save money.

"I went to all the buildings and looked at all the energy usage, temperature and humidity, took all the data collected and put together a list of potential recommendations," he said.

The list includes changing lighting, weatherizing buildings with new insulation, and upgrading heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Arbagast said there is potential for on-site renewable energy: a thermal solar unit at the police station and a combined heat-and-power unit at Town Hall. He said the changes would reduce the town's CO2 emissions by 53 percent.

However, all of the recommendations would be expensive, costing more than $700,000. Arbagast said most towns don't do everything on the list.

"Most towns implement some of the recommendations over multiple years," he said. "I would anticipate Atkinson implementing half of these over five years."

The town applied for a federal stimulus grant to fund the energy audit, which cost just under $15,000. Because of the funding, other towns also are looking to have energy audits, and Arbagast said he might be working with Windham next.

Smith said the town will officially unveil the report and all the details at the selectmen's meeting Dec. 7.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A look at Southern NH superintendent pay

From the Eagle Tribune;

November 28, 2010
A look at Southern NH superintendent pay

By John Toole The Eagle Tribune Sun Nov 28, 2010, 12:41 AM EST

Londonderry School District's Nathan J. Greenberg is New Hampshire's superintendent of the year. But he's not the highest paid superintendent in Southern New Hampshire.

That honor goes to Timberlane Regional School District's Richard A. La Salle, whose $135,960 salary is tops among six superintendents in the region, according to figures released last month by the state Department of Education.

But Greenberg, whose pay for 2010-2011 is $131,325, has something La Salle can't claim this year: a raise. Greenberg's School Board gave him a $2,575 increase over last year's salary.

There is only about a $20,000 difference between Southern New Hampshire's highest and lowest paid superintendents. Their contracts are typical for New Hampshire superintendents, falling in the range of $120,000s to $130,000s. The state's highest paid superintendent is Manchester's Thomas Brennan at $160,471.

Superintendents work an average of 70 hours a week, getting up to check on road conditions before dawn and meeting late at night with school boards, according to Mark Joyce, a former superintendent who is executive director of the New Hampshire School Administrators Association.

"Being a CEO, you are 24/7/365," Joyce said.

The job has great challenges and great rewards, he said.

"You cannot operate in the role to make friends," Joyce said. "You have hard decisions to make on the part of children."

Is Londonderry's Greenberg worth the money? His School Board thinks so.

"Nate every day is like a page out of a how-to-grow-your-business-successfully book," Londonderry School Board member Steve Young said. "He's always in the schools, with management and with the employees. He knows everyone."

Greenberg has coped with reduced personnel, but "not reduced the delivery of the product, which is the education of the student in the classroom," Young said.

The Londonderry superintendent also has been in the thick of the state school funding fight, helping to start a coalition to look out for the interest of school districts.

"It was very important to him that we not make this a fight for us, but make it for every child in New Hampshire," Young recalled.

By the numbers

A superintendent, like a ballplayer, also can be measured by statistics.

Look at key numbers compiled for the state Department of Education and Greenberg comes to the head of the class.

His dropout rate? One of the best in New Hampshire at 2.8 percent. His student attendance? Beats the state average at 95.9 percent.

Salem's Michael Delahanty ranks fifth in pay among the region's six superintendents at $120,500.

Salem School Board member Bernard Campbell said Salem's superintendent should rank first or second in the region for pay.

"Mr. Delahanty's salary has been dropping (in comparison to other superintendents) for some time and that concerns me," Campbell said. "He has a sincere desire to see students succeed. He does not rest, literally and figuratively, to achieve that goal."

Joyce said pay for New Hampshire's school superintendents is typical for northern New England, but much lower than Massachusetts.

Andover, Mass., earlier this year advertised a superintendent's post with a salary range of $180,000 to $200,000.

Parents should evaluate superintendents on the experience of their children in schools, on the superintendent's communication from school to home, Joyce said. Taxpayers, who may not be parents, should look at their superintendent's stewardship of public resources and skills in management, he said.

Some say pay is too high

George Lovejoy, chairman of the New Hampshire Advantage Coalition, which has campaigned for local government tax and spending caps, said school administrators are costing taxpayers "way too much money."

It's not just in the top salaries, but the growth in the administration: more assistant superintendents, more business managers and finance officers, Lovejoy said.

"They get pay increases when the general worker, the taxpayer, is out of work or not receiving pay increases," he said.

They also get benefit packages and retirement plans, Lovejoy said.

The number of administrators has grown even as the number of students enrolled has declined in recent years, he said.

"There's something wrong with that," he said.

Lovejoy advocates a state study of school administrative units. He wonders if New Hampshire would be better with fewer of them through consolidations.

"Do we need a district in every other town?" he asked. "I think we can do a better job than we are now doing."

If teachers aren't doing the job in the classroom, they should be replaced. The same goes for superintendents, in Lovejoy's mind.

"Do we have progress in performance in the subject areas in the classroom?" Lovejoy asked.

Rick Trombly, director of public affairs for the National Education Association-New Hampshire, which represents 16,000 unionized teachers and support staff, said some of his members will tell you their superintendents are paid appropriately, while others will have a less rosy view.

That's because of the natural tension between labor and management, he said. Their opinions, he said, vary district by district, almost member to member.

Parents, in evaluating whether their superintendent is paid appropriately, should look at a variety of factors, in Trombly's view. How does the superintendent get along with the school board? The faculty? Does he understand the laws that govern education?

"Is the superintendent able to inspire not only the school community, but the local community" in support of education, Trombly asks.

"Can you say the superintendent has the interests of the students at heart when he makes a decision?" he said.

But Trombly admits the job of a superintendent isn't easy.

"Sometimes these people are running a school community that is larger than some of the towns in this state," Trombly said.

All about superintendents

Superintendent Pay 2010-2011

Richard A. La Salle, Timberlane, $135,960

Nathan J. Greenberg, Londonderry, $131,325

Frank Bass, Pelham-Windham, $121,411

Brian J. Blake, Sanborn Regional, $120,750

Michael W. Delahanty, Salem, $120,500

Mary Ellen Hannon, Derry, $117,749

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving to All, In the President's words.

President George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation. Reads as follows, and is followed by Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation.


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

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

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


Proclamation of Thanksgiving by the President of the United States of America

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the field of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than theretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony wherof I have herunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.


A. Lincoln

Most people forget the origin of Thanksgiving, and our children are usually taught in school that it's purpose was to give thanks to the indians that helped the pilgrims through that first winter. In truth it was our leaders giving thanks to God for our Nation. For Freedom, our Constitution, and the ability to live their lives without having to ask permission from an overriding government, or a tempermental King.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Timberlane Administrators take Vegas trip on our dime!

From the Eagle Tribune;

November 22, 2010
Timberlane officials tight-lipped about Vegas trip

By Cara Hogan The Eagle Tribune Mon Nov 22, 2010, 02:05 AM EST

PLAISTOW — Four Timberlane School District administrators flew to Las Vegas for a two-day conference this month, but district officials won't say whether taxpayer money funded the trip.

The School Board chairman and the superintendent also refused to identify the four employees who made the trip.

Edwina Lovett, the district's director of pupil personnel services, said she and three other administrators paid a significant portion of the cost themselves, in order to save the district money.

"The trip was approved, but we paid a good portion of this on our own, including accommodations and food," Lovett said. "For myself, I applied for a grant and paid for the registration of the conference, roughly $500."

The conference was held at the Bally Hotel in Las Vegas Nov. 4 and 5 and focused on school improvement.

Pollard School principal Michelle Auger also attended the conference. She said it was worthwhile to hear from education expert Robert Marzano, the main speaker.

"I think the district got a good deal out of it," Auger said. "We brought back quite a few things we're beginning to implement. There were some great ideas about critical commitments essential to improving student achievement, which is what Pollard School needs to do."

Neither Lovett nor Auger would identify the two colleagues who accompanied them.

"I feel like there's a bus driving around and I don't want to throw anyone under the bus," Auger said.

She defended the trip and the money the district spent on it.

"The only thing the district paid for was the conference itself, which was about $500," she said. "We paid for the flight, our hotel and the food."

From what little information has been made public, it doesn't appear the district invested a lot of money in the trip. But officials and School Board members refused to respond to repeated requests for information.

Numerous telephone calls were made late last week to all nine School Board members. Only one board member — Louis Porcelli — responded. But Porcelli said he had never heard a word about the trip.

Superintendent Richard La Salle and School Board Chairman Elizabeth Kosta did not return repeated phone messages.

Approached before the Timberlane School Board meeting Thursday, board members and La Salle refused to comment on the trip.

When asked directly Thursday evening, La Salle deferred to Kosta.

She initially refused comment, saying there wasn't a story.

When pressed, Kosta would only say the School Board does not approve travel expenses for the district.

At least one parent is less than pleased. Peter Bealo of Plaistow has two children at Timberlane and said at first, he couldn't believe the administration had really gone to Vegas.

"I had heard of one or more members of administration attending a conference," Bealo said in an e-mail. "I assumed it was a New Hampshire statewide conference, not some trip across the country."

He said it just isn't right to spend money on this type of trip, even if the administrators paid for some of it themselves.

"In this time of cutbacks all around, and with plenty of taxpayers out of work, such a trip would be a very bad choice," Bealo said.

But Lovett defended the conference trip.

"I don't believe we're wasting money at all," she said. "There were colleagues from all over the U.S. and Canada that attended this conference. These are experts in education."

Lovett said she invites anyone with questions or criticisms about the trip to call her directly.

The Eagle-Tribune Friday filed Freedom of Information Act requests for the names of the school employees who took the trip, the amount of money the district paid and who approved the expense. The request is still pending.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Report on the SAU Budget public hearing


Report on the SAU Budget public hearing.

by Mark Acciard

For those of you who were unaware, and I am guessing that is most of you, the SAU held their budget public hearing tonight.

How this works is that the two school boards; Timberlane and Hampstead, both approve the Superintendent's budget for the SAU, then the SAU has it's own budget public hearing, voting to move the budget forward, the next time you will hear about this budget is when we get to school district deliberative session in February. It will show up in the Timberlane budget as a single line item for 75% of the $1.3 million SAU budget. The other 25% is Hampstead's portion.

As I told Mr. LaSalle and Mr. Stokinger at the meeting tonight, Thank you! They prepared a very tight budget for the SAU for the coming year. $1.3million to service the 13 employees of the SAU. As expected health insurance is up significantly, as a re other benefits. Administrators will receive a 2% raise this year. What I found most disappointing, other than the lack of public participation( I was the only member of the public there until Mr. Artus arrived, then there were two.) was the sad fact that not one member of the school district budget committee felt the need to attend. Granted, I asked all the questions about what was in various line items that they should have been there to ask, but not even the chair felt the need to find out what would be presented to them as a single line item later on. As this was a public hearing, it is the last chance to change or question that budget, and the budget committee obviously felt due diligence was beyond their ken.

When will we ever have a school district budget committee that does not see it's role as "selling the superintendent's budget" but in following state budget law, and preparing the budget?

November 18, 2010 12:02 AM

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Atkinson man faces 29 sex assault charges

From the Eagle Tribune;

November 17, 2010
Atkinson man faces 29 sex assault charges

By Jillian Jorgensen The Eagle Tribune Wed Nov 17, 2010, 12:16 AM EST

BRENTWOOD — An Atkinson man has been indicted on 29 counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault for allegedly abusing two girls — one a blood relative — in the 1980s.

Robert Sturk, 68, of 8 Sawmill Road, was indicted this month by a Rockingham County grand jury. The indictments allege he abused two girls, beginning when both were under the age of 13. The alleged abuse goes back to Jan. 2, 1981, and continued into 1990, all in Atkinson.

The earliest indictments are for crimes alleged to have occurred in January 1981, when the first victim was 8 years old. Sturk repeatedly touched her genitals, including while she was showering, raped her, and made her perform oral sex on him, according to the slew of indictments listing her as the victim. The abuse continued until 1984, according to the documents.

Sturk also is accused of similarly abusing another girl, who the indictments say was a blood relative, beginning in 1986 when she was 9 years old. That abuse included Sturk touching the girl's genitals and penetrating her sexually with an object, and it lasted until August 1990, according to the documents.

Sturk did not return a message left for him yesterday. Prosecutor Karen Springer, with the county attorney's office, said he did not have a lawyer when his case was considered by the grand jury.

The case came to the county attorney's office through the Atkinson police, Springer said.

"It sort of came in the routine way for the police department and, as a result of that, we had contact with the victims," Springer said.

Atkinson police referred all questions about the case to the county attorney's office.

Springer said the statute of limitations in the case allowed prosecutors to charge Sturk for sexual assaults dating back to Jan. 1, 1981. There were so many counts, many alleging conduct over six-month periods, Springer said, because prior to 1994, prosecutors could not charge someone with a crime committed as a pattern over time. Other indictments do allege some of the conduct, such as the rape of Sturk's first victim, occurred sometime in a period that lasted for multiple years, and Springer said that was due to "economy."

"I could probably charge a lot more," she said.

For each of the 29 counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, Sturk faces seven and a half to 15 years in prison.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

SCOOP: Judge Denies Osborn Motion, trial in 1 month!

For those who have been following the saga of the Osborns alleged unauthorized taking of Carol Davis' land, the Rockingham Superior Court Judge issued the Osborns a stunning rebuke this week. In his Order meticulously researched with and laced with case law citations, he denied the Osborn's claim that they had a right to build on Carol Davis' land.

Despite Maggie's incessantly repeated claims here in town of "owning a deeded right of way" for the last two years, strangely enough when filing motions in Court she has noticably backed off that claim, retreating so far as to try to claim that the driveway which she cut down trees and graded the land to build was ACTUALLY a "public way" in regular use for at least 20 years! That's right she went into court trying to claim it as a "road of prescription". Sorry Maggie.

The judge rightly stated that the ROW did not even appear on Mrs Davis' plot plan until 1995, when it was a "proposed road". He rightly points out that it was never conveyed to anyone, leaving the rights to it in the hands of Mrs. Davis alone. He further points out that in 1995, the land underlying the ROW, was conveyed and specifically included in Mrs. Davis' deed "to correct a zoning violation" for an undersized lot.

He noted that Mrs. Osborn's deed DOES give them a ROW to Chase Island rd. and that the ROW appears to be Valcat ln., as has been used as such for 90 years, as laid out in the plot plan which the Osborn's deed specifically references.

It now appears that the Court has validated the arguments made against the Osborn's unneighborly encroachments upon their neighbors land, validated the problems pointed out at planning board meetings by Mr. Artus, and soundly rebuked the legal ramblings of the ZBA chair Mr. Polito.

Trial is in mid December in Rockingham Superior Court, but we can not see upon what basis the Osborn's can possibly continue their proposed theft, but it will be interesting to watch. We wonder how this will affect all of Maggie's legal claims against he neighbors?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Timberlane: More learning, less pressure without exams

From the Eagle Tribune;

November 8, 2010
Timberlane: More learning, less pressure without exams

By Cara Hogan The Eagle Tribune Mon Nov 08, 2010, 02:54 AM EST

PLAISTOW — Now that Timberlane Regional High School no longer has midterms or final exams, both students and teachers say they feel more relaxed in the classroom.

"I feel like it's not as stressful," said Sam Hackney, a Timberlane junior. "You're not worried about cramming before the midterm and then just forget everything after. Now we're learning more."

Over the summer, Timberlane principal Don Woodworth announced the decision to eliminate the exams that counted for 10 percent of students' grades.

Now, after teaching for a few months with the new program, he said teachers focus on reaching competency levels in each subject.

"We're still going to have large tests, we're just not calling them midterms and finals," Woodworth said. "Now the teachers can decide how much a test is worth per quarter. We're assessing with more of a plan in mind about if all the kids reach a competency, such as learning an algebra concept."

If kids don't understand a concept at the end of a section, they are sent to a lab to get extra help. Woodworth said this style of teaching helps students with different learning methods.

James Kelly, a social studies teacher, said he's changed the way he teaches.

"Not having midterms and finals allows me to be more flexible and gives the students a chance to be creative," Kelly said. "One project we do is an Ellis Island simulator. Students have a role of coming to America as an immigrant in 1900. We act it out and they can talk about their experience."

He also said the new system also allows him 10 more days of instruction, days that used to be taken up with reviewing for and taking the exams.

"That's almost a whole unit in a half-year class," Kelly said. "All in all, I'm loving it so far."

But some parents are less pleased with the changes at the school. Peter Bealo of Plaistow has two children at Timberlane, his son, a freshman, and his daughter, a senior.

"The other part that bothers me is about being an experiment," Bealo said. "When some parents asked could you tell us what districts have done this successfully, the principal said someone up in Maine and a district in New York state have tried this. But no one in New Hampshire. Let's let someone else be guinea pigs."

He said he understands the school had to make some changes because of poor New England Common Assessment Program scores. But he said he is worried the lack of testing would not prepare students for college, where midterms and finals are often the only grades in a semester course.

Woodworth argued the big tests are part of the problem holding back learning.

"Kids sometimes put off trying to learn until the large test," he said. "I think that's where failure comes, when kids misjudged and try to cram and achieve significant learning at the end of a long period of time. We want to make sure they're learning all the way through so when we give a cumulative exam, they'll do better."

Melissa Zorn, a Timberlane junior, said she's enjoyed the change in teaching style.

"The assessments are a wide range of tests, not just a big paper-and-pencil test," she said. "In my biology class, we had to show and narrate how DNA creates proteins. I didn't get it until someone showed it to the class. Actually doing it with the physical model made such a difference."

She said it gives the class a completely different feel.

"It's not just filling out A, B, C, but more creative," Zorn said. "I feel like I'm learning more because they're giving us information in a new way. I agree that maybe the lack of tests could hurt some students in college, but there is just as much pressure on competencies. We still have to learn the information, and we still have to study."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Atkinson Developer opens Model Green Senior Housing Project

From the Eagle Tribune;

October 30, 2010
Affordable housing project opens in Salem

By Jillian Jorgensen The Eagle Tribune Sat Oct 30, 2010, 01:17 AM EDT

SALEM — Local and state officials cut the ribbon yesterday for a 26-unit housing development that will provide affordable homes for seniors using federal tax credits.

Glenridge Apartments, off Veterans Memorial Highway, will see its first tenant move in today. It was built by developer Steve Lewis and his partner, Gino Baroni, who received tax credits from the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program.

Those funds are competitive. Each year, they are awarded by the federal government to each state, based on population. In New Hampshire, they are allocated by the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority. This year, the program had more funding than usual, thanks to the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"I don't think we'll see many projects like this happen because it's very difficult to get the tax credits," Planning Director Ross Moldoff said.

He said the project was great for Salem, and for a state that did not have much affordable senior housing. Of the units in the housing, 80 percent must be rented to people who make 60 percent or less than the area median income. For a single person, that's $35,880 annually. The rest of the units must be rented to people who earn 50 percent or less than the area median income.

Lewis said he chose to build affordable housing beside his Braemoor Woods development to overcome the "foolish, ignorant" belief that affordable housing lowers property values.

"There are million-dollar houses on top of the hill," he said.

Rent in the development will be subject to a federal cap that aims to keep the price at less than 30 percent of a tenant's income, said Dean Christon, executive director of NH Housing Finance Authority. Legally, it must remain affordable housing for 99 years.

The multi-family housing also incorporates green building technology, stormwater management, and low-impact landscaping that includes rain gardens and bio-retention basins to save water.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Timberlane superintendent predicts tough budget year

From the Eagle Tribune;

Timberlane superintendent predicts tough budget year

By Cara Hogan The Eagle Tribune Thu Oct 28, 2010, 12:24 AM EDT

The Timberlane Regional School District may have a tough time balancing the budget this year.

The district Budget Committee will meet for the first time today to go over the proposed school district budget for fiscal year 2012-2013.

It's early in the process and Budget Committee members were reluctant to say much about the proposal at this point.

Last week, the school administration presented a small fraction of the proposed budget — about $6 million of the probable total of $60 million.

"What you see there is a preliminary budget," Budget Committee Chairman Michelle O'Neil said yesterday. "It doesn't include health benefits or personnel costs, and more. We don't have a total dollar value yet."

But Superintendent Richard La Salle had some predictions for the challenges facing the school district this year.

"The economic situation of the state is tough," La Salle said. "The state sends us money for providing an adequate education, called adequacy. In the past two years, New Hampshire has paid for adequacy out of the Obama stimulus money, so that money goes away. There's a large shortfall, as much as $220 million the state has to make up in revenues this year. That has implications in terms of how much the state will be sending us."

He said the state also voted to decrease the money it spends on employee retirement by about 10 percent, while increasing the amount required, putting another burden on local schools and towns.

"The cost of employee retirement is expensive for us," La Salle said. "That's a very large ticket item for us, in the hundreds of thousands of dollars."

The loss of revenue, combined with increased expenses, makes this a difficult year for the school, he said.

"We still have to pay our bills," La Salle said. "Administrators have been charged with coming in with an extremely lean budget and they have accomplished that. But we're in the people business and the majority of our budget has to do with personnel costs. Our enrollments are declining a bit and I suspect we will have some reductions of positions due to class size."

La Salle said the committee still has some big decisions to make.

"It's an extremely tough time for the state and for those agencies, whether municipalities, fire, police or schools," La Salle said. "The School Board and Budget Committee know this and we're working hard. We'll continue to work on this through December."

Last year's Timberlane District budget was $62 million.

The district includes Timberlane Regional Middle and High School, Atkinson Academy, Danville Elementary, Pollard School and Sandown Elementary schools.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Heard in the Town Hall: Chief wants another 10 years!

Yes you heard that right! Apparently Atkinson's own police chief, Philip V. for Vengeance Consentino has been quietly talking to certain selectmen about retaining his position for 10 MORE YEARS!

He has also been lobbying the selectmen to accept HIS proposition that any new chief, must also agree to head Elderly Affairs! What unbridled arrogance! Didn't the Attorney General's office demand SEPARATION BETWEEN POLICE AND ELDERLY over 2 years ago? Some separation!

Supposedly the chief is supposed to keep a time sheet detailing his police hours and his elderly hours. The AG's office said they should clearly be able to tell where the police dept stops and the elderly dept. starts. Thats not happening!

10 More years??? Poor Billy! After all the demeaning, honor destroying, syncophantic duties he has had to perform to maintain his "on deck" position, to have his turn at bat put off for 10 years, That has to be a low blow indeed.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

You’ll Decimate the School Distrct Budget


You’ll Decimate the Budget
October 16, 2010
by danvilledelivery

Thursday the budget committee received La Salle’s first presentation of the 2011 budget. The presentations were very high level. The video and the presentation are posted on the budget committee web site.

The committee met after the presentations and the vice chair asked if it was possible to segregate discretionary spending from obligations. The answer, as always, from SAU 55 Business Administrator George Stokinger, was that this would be very difficult. He went on to complain that we wasted a lot of time on this last year and it was time to move on because the SAU respects the wishes of the taxpayers.

I reminded the committee that the SAU just asked the school board to allow $1.2m not allocated for school construction to be used for engineering studies and permitting for a new high school. Before I could add that Mr. La Salle warned the school board that a no vote on a construction warrant would preclude misappropriating other funds for this purpose, I was ruled out of order by the chair.

There was other discussion of the budget process culminating in the annual pronouncement that the budget committee recommends changes to the District which may or may not be accepted and that the administration is free to spend the budget as they see fit once it is passed by the voters. I countered that the administration could not transfer funds to a line that was zeroed and asked Mr. Stokinger if he would split buckets so that we could zero out frivolous expenditures. He said that the state sets the buckets — which is a half truth. I told him that not allowing us to zero out unwanted items by putting them in buckets with necessary items could result in necessary items going unfunded. Mr. Stokinger said that doing that would decimate the budget. And that is the SAU 55 tactic for boxing a timid budget committee out of the budget discussion.

The budget committee attended a Budget and Finance workshop offered by the New Hampshire Local Government Center. I would have called this Loopholes 101 as the program seemed to be designed to help government officers secure more funding from stingy taxpayers. Top of their list of problems was SB2 which allows taxpayers to vote on local matters under cover of the secret ballot. Government employees and officers fear the taxpayers will vote down the budget each year and they will have to make due with a bare bones default budget. SAU 55 has found a work around for this problem. The administration submits a default budget that is more than the requested budget so that a vote against the proposed budget will put more money in the hands of the administration. Brenda Copp and I challenged this tactic last year and Mr. Stokinger stated that the DRA (Depart of Revenue Administration) reviewed and approved the default budget. I asked the DRA rep at the seminar about this at Loopholes 101 and was told the no one from the state reviews the default budget. She stated that the practice of submitting a bloated default budget violated the spirit and letter of state law but that the only remedy was to challenge the default budget in court. And that is the SAU 55 tactic for boxing the voters out of the budget process.

I can think of other remedies. The most important thing we must do is to replace the school board members. The district is able to do all these bad things only because the school board rubber stamps La Salle’s edicts. Elect one decent person to the school board and it would not be possible to seal the minutes of a meeting for 99 years. Elect five decent people and the schools will start getting better. Change starts in March!

Until we can elect a decent school board, we can attend the Deliberative Session and amend the proposed budget. This would put La Salle and his Posse on notice that if they do not start teaching, we will not give them any money. See you at the Deliberative Session!

Atkinson home burglarized

From the Eagle Tribune;

October 19, 2010
Atkinson home burglarized

By Doug Ireland The Eagle Tribune Tue Oct 19, 2010, 12:49 AM EDT

ATKINSON — Police Chief Philip Consentino is concerned about a rash of burglaries in town, especially one Friday when an intruder broke into a house in the daytime when the homeowner was sleeping.

The burglary occurred on Crown Point Road between 7 and 10 a.m., when someone entered the house by breaking a window in the front door, Consentino said yesterday.

The intruder ransacked the house, stealing numerous items, including jewelry, before fleeing, the police chief said.

"The disturbing aspect of the event was the homeowner was sleeping in the upstairs bedroom during the burglary," Consentino said. "When they do it when a resident is in the house, it was a real red flag for us."

Consentino said this is the third burglary in Atkinson in three months. He asks that anyone who is home when a burglar enters gets out as soon as possible without confronting the intruder. The resident should then call 911 from a safe location, Consentino said.

"This is the third one we've had (recently), so it's been a problem," he said. Atkinson police can be reached at 362-4001.

Burglaries have been a big problem in other Southern New Hampshire towns, including some where the rate has risen 50 percent, according to area police.

Salem police said they had 56 burglaries by the end of September compared with 50 in all of 2008 and 51 in 2009.

In Derry, there have been between 175 and 180 this year, police said.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Atkinson man will remove illegal addition

From the Eagle Tribune;

October 15, 2010
Atkinson man will remove illegal addition

By Jillian Jorgensen The Eagle Tribune Fri Oct 15, 2010, 01:49 AM EDT

BRENTWOOD — An Atkinson man will tear down what town officials have said was an illegal addition to his house.

John T. Mason Jr. reached an agreement with the town in Rockingham Superior Court yesterday. As a result, he will have to remove a 10-by-25-foot addition to his 4 Rocky Point Lane home by April 30, 2011. But first, Mason will have to get a demolition permit from the town.

He also must pay the town $15,000 in fines and penalties, and $7,500 in attorney's fees, according to a decree signed by him, his lawyer, town officials and lawyers, and Rockingham Superior Court Judge John Lewis. Mason will pay $300 a month, beginning in May.

"I think it's a reasonable resolution of an issue that arose as a result of a man trying to improve his property," said William Mason, John Mason's attorney. "Perhaps the course he took was not the course that the town wanted him to take."

The dispute between the town and Mason was scheduled for a bench trial yesterday, but the parties reached an agreement instead.

The addition to the house was discovered in 2007, according to Atkinson code enforcement officer James Kirsch. The addition was equal to half the original size of Mason's home, and he needed a building permit to construct it, Kirsch said, but never applied for one.

The construction of the addition also violated other town ordinances and state laws, Kirsch said. In Atkinson, there must be at least 15 feet between the edge of a home and the edge of the property line, but the addition put the house much closer than that, Kirsch said. Because the addition brought the property closer to the shoreline of Island Pond, Mason also needed to get approval from the state Department of Environmental Services, Kirsch said.

"That's what's in the town's regulations," he said yesterday. "People have to abide by those regulations.

Mason applied for a permit in September 2007 to "rebuild existing structure." That request was rejected because it did not meet wetland zoning regulations and needed DES approval and a town zoning board variance, according to court documents. But by then, the addition was built.

A year later, a DES inspection of Mason's property found it in violation of state law. The state agency sent him a letter Dec. 2, 2008, ordering him to remove a wall for an enclosed porch. On April 28, 2009, Mason applied to the zoning board for a variance, but it was denied that July.

The town inspection office, in a letter dated July 23, 2009, demanded Mason demolish the addition. He refused.

It's unusual for a code enforcement issue to drag on for so long, Kirsch said.

"Normally, I would say, code violations get resolved before you go to court," he said.

Sumner Kalman, town counsel for Atkinson, said he didn't know why Mason didn't resolve the case before it went to court. Attorney William Mason said he couldn't speak for "the paths people take in order to get to court."

"In this particular situation, maybe it could have been resolved sooner or maybe it couldn't," William Mason said. "I don't know. I can't speak for both sides."

He said having a court date at least brought both parties into the same room so they could talk about a resolution.

"My client's position was that he would rather have it resolved sooner rather than later," Mason said. "But these things take on their own life once they're filed."

John Mason wanted to keep the addition, but had exhausted his options, his lawyer said. He said the agreement was a reasonable one to bring the house into compliance.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Railway Yard in Wetlands?

Article Submission: Please post as new:

Efforts by NH DOT, Mass DOT, MBTA, Rockingham Planning Commission and various officials of Plaistow have led to an application for funding to convert the old Westville Homes site to a rail layover yard with 6 sidings for passenger trains. This site in New Hampshire appears to be the trade-off for getting passenger trains to stop in Plaistow to pick up commuters.
The problem is that the layover site they chose is on the edge of a large wetland where Bryant Brook runs through and forms the border between Atkinson and Plaistow. It is one of Atkinson's Prime Wetlands, as voted by the Atkinsonian Voters. The proposed yard is a few hundred feet from many of the condos at Bryant Woods. Residents of that area are justifiably concerned about how their homes will be affected by noise and air pollution. Other sites were considered in Plaistow and Haverhill, with the potential for less impact to neighbors. Documents relating to this topic can be viewed at the Atkinson Selectmen's office. Please educate yourselves, and share your ideas; is this a good thing or a bad thing for Atkinson?

October 12, 2010 8:52 AM

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

NECAPS are out! TRHS Achieves SINI statusfor it's 6th YEAR!!!

From Danville Delivery;

September 25, 2010
by danvilledelivery

…and our schools are still terrible.

I have been pointing out since before no tax impact kindergarten was passed that the longer kids are in the Timberlane schools, the worse they perform academically. This year’s NECAP results once again support this observation. Our high school has been categorized as SINI (School In Need of Improvement) for Reading and Restructuring/Level 5 for Math. The math designation means that our high school has not made AYP for the sixth year (it’s a really, really, really bad school — bottom 5%). Our middle school is nearly as bad. Its math status is Restructure Planning/Level 4 which means it has not made AYP for the fifth year (also bottom 5% of schools). All elementary schools except Pollard have been designated acceptable (not designated as in need of improvement). Pollard is SINI Year 1 for both math and reading. If you live in Plaistow, chances are your student has never attended an acceptable school. And we are paying $15k/year for that.

That’s the bottom line. I urge you to examine the school report cards (as well as your student’s individual assessment) to understand how bad our schools are. Be sure to attend the Tuesday 9/28/2010 when ‘experts’ from SAU 55 and the NH DoE try to convince us that there is no need to test our high schoolers.

Report Cards

Report Cards links can be found here

* TRHS Reading:SINI Year 2 Math:Restructuring/Level 5 AYP: No/No
* TRMS Reading:Acceptable Math:Restructuring/Level 4 AYP: Yes/No
* Atkinson Reading:Acceptable Math:Acceptable AYP: No/No
* Danville Reading:Acceptable Math:Acceptable AYP: Yes/Yes
* Pollard Reading:SINI Year 1 Math:SINI Year 1 AYP: No/No
* Sandown Central Reading:Acceptable Math:Acceptable AYP: No/Yes
* Sandown North Reading:Acceptable Math:Acceptable AYP: Yes/Yes

What do the designations mean?

* School In Need of Improvement (SINI) Designation. A school is designated as in need of improvement (SINI) when it does not make AYP for two consecutive years in the same performance indicator (i.e. Reading, Mathematics, Attendance Rate/Graduation Rate). A school can be designated for multiple areas at the same time. The school in need of improvement (SINI) designation is removed once the school has made AYP for two consecutive years in the same indicator that caused the designation.
* Acceptable. A school or district not designated as in need of improvement.
* SINI/DINI Year 1. A sanction for a school or school district not making AYP for two consecutive years in the same performance indicator. The term “Year 1” does not indicate the number of years the school or district may have been in need of improvement; the term indicates the sanction level of the school or district.
* SINI/DINI Year 2. A sanction for a school or district in need of improvement that has not made AYP for the third time in the indicator causing the original designation.
* Corrective Action/Level 3. A sanction for a school or district in need of improvement that has not made AYP for the fourth time in the indicator causing the original designation. Note: Title I schools and districts are subject to federal sanctions under the No Child Left Behind Act as well as state sanctions; non-Title I schools and districts are subject to only state sanctions. At this sanction level, Title I schools and districts enter Corrective Action.
* Restructure Planning/Level 4. The restructuring (planning year) sanction applies only to Title I schools that have not made AYP for the fifth year in the indicator causing the original designation.
* Restructuring/Levels 5 and 6. The restructuring (implementation year) sanction applies only to Title I schools that have not made AYP for the sixth year (Level 5) or seventh year (Level 6) in the indicator causing the original designation.

Aren’t all schools struggling?

No. Despite the rationalizations spewed by the SAU staff, our schools are particularly bad. These spinmasters talk about cohorts, subgroups, and internal metrics, but there is only one important measurement — how much do the kids know when they get out of high school.

The answer is: not much.

For the last year tested, our 67% of our 11th graders were proficient or better in reading, 31% were proficient or better in mathematics, and 40% were proficient or better in writing. Compared to third graders testes in the same year of whom 83% were proficient or better in reading and 86% proficient or better in mathematics.

In 2006, these 11th graders were tested as 8th graders. Before being subjected to our high school, they 73% were proficient or better in reading, 53% were proficient of better in mathematics, and 56% were proficient or better in writing.

My theory is very simple. Pollard is a terrible school. Because Social Engineering Principles will not allow the schools to stigmatize these kids, the middle school lowers its teaching standards to the level of the incoming Pollard kids. After three years of inclusiveness, none of the kids are ready for a high school education.

A new building isn’t going to fix this. Getting rid of Big Tests isn’t going to help. We need new teachers, a new curriculum, and a new calendar that has the kids learning the right things from good teachers 180 full days per year.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Maggie's has ANOTHER neighbor arrested!

Apparently Maggies neighbor Mrs. Dubrov was arrested today on a charge of criminal threatening, based on a complaint from Mrs. Osborn.

For those who don't remember, Mrs. Osborn has filed criminal complaints against her neighbor, Mr. Meatey, Mr. Artus, Another complaint against Mr. Meatey, and now Mrs. Dubrov. This is in addition to her ongoing legal issue with Carol Davis for building a driveway across her land. Apparently Mrs. Osborn is not an ideal neighbor to have. Sources in the police dept. have confirmed that this arrest did occur.

The story goes that Mrs. Osborn has been staying in the house at 8 valcat ln. for the last few nights despite a Court Order evicting them from the house. As most of you know, the town has yet to issue the Osborns an occupancy permit for the house, because it has neither a driveway accessible to a fire truck, nor any kind of sprinkler system.

Although Maggie has made numerous promises to put in; a driveway to a class V road with no more than an 8% grade, a sprinkler system, a cistern and pumping system, alternatively to meet fire codes, she has, as usual reneged on all her promises.

It does seem that she has resumed her old tricks of filing criminal complaints against those who stand in her way, and this new complaint seems to be more of the same. It would appear that Mrs. Osborn graduated Summa cum laude from the Phil Consentino school of retribution. Some of you may remember phil's numerous televised attacks on Mr. Acciard, Mr. Kaye, Mrs. Grant, Mrs. Cole, and many, many others. These people go out of their way to make life hell for those who draq attention to their excesses.

The real question here is with Mrs. Osborn's track record of lying to town officials about "owning a deeded right of way" across someone else's land, Filing plan's to build one house then having it redesigned to be much bigger than the original permit allowed, building a driveway across her neighbors land without her permission, and having all of her neighbors arrested on trumped up frivolous charges( none of which have ever stood up in court), why does the police dept. still jump at her beck and call? Still arrest people with no investigation or probable cause other than her word? And why do the selectmen keep turning a blind eye, both to Mrs. Osborn's abuse of her neighbors, and the police depts. abuse of authority. It was bad enough to have the court set the precedent, in the Artus arrest, that the Pd arrests people on no investigation by having the case dismissed because they could not produce basic discovery materials that he was entitled to. That sets a precedent that may undermine any arrest that the PD makes, if the criminal is smart enough to find that case.

Mrs. Osborn, your fifteen minutes of fame is up.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Atkinson police lieutenant back from military tour

From the Eagle Tribune;

September 17, 2010
Atkinson police lieutenant back from military tour

By Doug Ireland Fri Sep 17, 2010, 01:38 AM EDT

ATKINSON — As a member of the town's police force, Lt. William Baldwin is ready to respond at a moment's notice while on duty.

But for the last year, Baldwin found himself ready to respond around the clock while with the U.S. military in Iraq. The Coast Guard reservist is back in Atkinson.

"I'm very glad to be home," said Baldwin, who is married and has 11- and 14-year-old daughters. "You get a different perspective when you are away."

A different perspective it was.

While deployed, the local police lieutenant and Timberlane Regional School Board member was part of a multinational force protecting the Basra oil terminal in the Persian Gulf, nine miles off the coast. The terminal is used to export much of Iraq's oil to world markets.

Although Baldwin said he couldn't go into detail about his service in Iraq because it is classified, he did say it was challenging.

"You're always at 24/7," he said. "You know what the risks are. We're just well trained and well prepared. It's a tough area to defend."

Baldwin also said it was a privilege to work with the British Royal Navy as they assisted Iraqi forces and helped prepare them for the task of protecting their own oil terminal once U.S. troops withdraw from Iraq.

"It was a great experience working with different cultures," he said. "The positive part of that is we're educating and training them so they can be on their own."

Baldwin returned to the United States in late August after being deployed in September 2009, and was reunited with his wife, Jennifer, and daughters Mackenzie and Brittany.

"They're very happy," he said.

This wasn't the first time Baldwin was separated from his family for months. In 2003-2004, he served as a gunner on a ship in the Persian Gulf.

Baldwin's family members aren't the only ones happy he has returned.

Atkinson police Chief Philip Consentino is glad his second-in-command is back, making his job much easier since he often found himself handling day-to-day duties Baldwin usually performed.

"It was tough," Consentino said. "Now that he's back, we're in good shape."

Baldwin has been with the police force since 1997. While the department has about 16 part-time employees, it only has five who work full time.

"Everyone else chipped in and everyone persevered," Consentino said.

Baldwin returned to the Atkinson Police Department only days after returning home. He also has returned to his seat on the Timberlane School Board, which met last night.

Although Baldwin is back to his old routine, it hasn't been easy for someone who became accustomed to long, grueling shifts while in Iraq, working all hours of the day and night.

"It's going to take some time," he said. "I'm still trying to get the sleeping habits again."

While Baldwin is glad to be back, he said he is especially grateful to everyone who supported him and the other troops deployed overseas.

"People in this town have been so gracious," he said. "I'm so appreciative of all the packages and well-wishes. It really helps out a lot. You get a little bit of home."

Monday, September 13, 2010

Atkinson teen suffers life-threatening injuries after crashing car into tree

From the Eagle Tribnue;

Atkinson teen suffers life-threatening injuries after crashing car into tree

By Mark E. Vogler Sun Sep 12, 2010, 10:20 AM EDT

ATKINSON — A 16-year-old Timberlane Regional High School student was in critical condition last night at Boston Medical Center after crashing his car into a tree Friday.

Police Chief Philip Consentino said emergency crews from the Atkinson Fire Department had to use a hydraulic device to remove the driver's side door and free Chris DiPietro of Atkinson from the wreckage following the crash, which occurred around 5 p.m. in front of 37 Maple Ave., near the intersection of Kelly Road. The crash forced the closure of Maple Avenue for about two hours.

"His car went sideways right into the tree," Consentino said last night. "Damage to the vehicle was extensive. It hit the tree right on the driver's door and completely demolished the vehicle."

He said the results of a preliminary investigation revealed that speed may have been a factor in the crash.

"We called in the Salem police accident reconstruction team to determine whether it was," Consentino said. "Once we get their report, we'll know more."

DiPietro was initially taken to Lawrence General Hospital, but later flown by medical helicopter to Boston.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Osborn's story changes again!


The Osborn's were back in Court today, trying once more to lay claim to the land they developed, owned by Carol Davis.

Once again, their story has changed.

You may remember the many times Maggie has claimed to "own a deeded right of way" that allowed them to build the driveway. Well they have now dropped that argument. Their NEW line of attack is to claim that they are not responsible, that there was no INTENT to do harm to Mrs. Davis, because they did "due diligence" to see if they could open the road.

They conveniently ignore the fact that the right of way is one Mrs. Davis' deed, and not theirs.

They ignore the fact that it was never granted to anyone.

They ignore the fact that it never appeared on any plot plan until 1995. They ignore the fact that their plot plan specifically refers to the "Stowers plot plan of 1924".

And they forgot to tell the Court that the language in their deed stating they have the right to "pass and re pass over A RIGHT OF WAY" was inserted into their deed BY THE OSBORNS. All the previous deeds in stead have language marking the boundaries of their property.

Their atty. Bernie Campbell, tried to claim that it is a "road by prescription", only to be shut down by Davis atty. pointing out that to be a "road by prescription" it must be in constant and regular use for more than 20 years. It didn't even exist until 1995!

Then Campbell made the argument that the Osborns "opened" the road, because since it was on Davis' plot plan, it could be granted and accepted by the town as a right of way at some point in the future, and then they would have a right to use it.

Quite a bit different from Mags tales of woe to the selectmen.

If the judge ends up siding with the Osborns, he will have made it legal for anyone to use feature of anyone else's deed, as their own, as long as they can make some spurious argument as to a right.

September 1, 2010 5:13 PM

Atkinson Wedding Photog's to go on Trial!

From the Eagle Tribune;

Former wedding photographers go on trial Oct. 4

By Jillian Jorgensen

BRENTWOOD — A judge yesterday granted a $250,000 attachment to the assets of two photographers facing a civil lawsuit from the attorney general's office for allegedly breaking wedding photography contracts.

Michael and Darlene Perrotta, an Atkinson couple who owned Forever in Time Photography in Salem, face criminal and civil charges for allegedly leaving more than 200 newlyweds without the photographs, albums and wedding videos they purchased.

Rockingham Superior Court Judge John Lewis added the $250,000 attachment in the civil case against the Perrottas. The attachment covers the cost of their property at 27 Meditation Lane in Atkinson. It means they cannot sell it until the case is resolved in case it is needed to pay a monetary judgment.

Senior Assistant Attorney General James Boffetti said the $250,000 was not an excessive amount to attach to the case. Boffetti estimated the state would seek around $150,000 in restitution for 206 customers who have filed complaints, some dating to 2001. But the state will seek civil penalties of $10,000 for each violation of the state Consumer Protection Act. With 206 potential violations, if the Perrottas are found liable, that could mean $2 million, Boffetti said.

Lewis already had ordered a freeze on all the Perrottas' property, including their Meditation Lane home. That happened after the judge learned the Perrottas had sold property at 7 Brittany Lane on June 4, after they received notice of the state's petition to attach, but before the hearing. The original attachment was for $250,000 for each property.

The sale of 7 Brittany Lane netted the Perrottas a profit of $71,000, just under $55,000 of which was placed in an escrow account, according to Paul Pappas, Darlene Perrotta's attorney. The judge ordered that money cannot be touched and Pappas must provide the court with a full accounting of what happened to the proceeds of the sale of the property within 20 days.

Pappas disputed the amount of restitution that could be owed to customers. He said the Perrottas had settled some individual lawsuits for between $100 and $300, and the escrow account held "more than enough money."

He said the business was successful for many years, until a September 2008 fire set the photographers back. The business reopened in May 2009. Pappas said the Perrottas did not intend to defraud anybody — the fire and the economy set them back and eventually forced them to close for good in September 2009.

"They didn't will it to happen," Pappas said.

Boffetti said many of the complaints came in the years before the fire — and the Perrottas kept taking new jobs, and money, after the fire, despite their inability to deliver photographs of weddings they had already photographed. Boffetti said 40 complaints were filed for weddings that happened after the fire.

Pappas argued the complaints before the fire were spread over many years. The Perrottas photographed up to 500 weddings a year, he said.

Boffetti said there were two complaints in 2001, five in 2004, four in 2005, five in 2006, and 12 in 2007.

"The events in this case will show a pattern of violations of the Consumer Protection Act," Boffetti said.

Michael Perrotta was in court with a new attorney yesterday, David Horan. In the ongoing criminal trial, the state had argued earlier this summer that it was a conflict for Pappas to represent both Darlene and Michael Perrotta. Darlene Perrotta kept Pappas as her attorney.

Boffetti argued that still was a conflict because Michael Perrotta had told Pappas confidential information while Pappas was his attorney. Pappas could use that information against him in his defense of Darlene Pappas.

"I don't know how a lawyer, once he has received confidential information, how he can continue to represent a client who may have an adverse interest," Boffetti said.

But Horan said the Perrottas already knew everything about one another's legal dealings.

"The reality is that Darlene and Michael, husband and wife, living together, traded massive amounts of information with each other," he said.

Michael Perrotta had signed an informed consent waiver saying he "trusted" Pappas would not use information against him. The judge said that language was unacceptable.

"You can't expect this lawyer (Pappas) to be put in that Catch-22," he said. "He has to fully represent his client."

After a recess, Horan offered a waiver saying Michael Perrotta understood that Pappas "may use any information relating to my representation to my disadvantage."

The judge accepted that waiver.

The Perrottas are scheduled to go on trial Oct. 4 on three charges of violating the Consumer Protection Act.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Timberlane decides to drop midterm, final exams

From the Eagle Tribune;

Timberlane decides to drop midterm, final exams

By Jo-Anne MacKenzie

PLAISTOW — Timberlane Regional High School's 1,500 students start a new school year today and it's going to be one like no other.

School administrators have decided to eliminate midterm and final exams, starting this school year.

Principal Donald Woodworth said the decision was five years in the making. This summer, the debate was only whether to implement the change this year or next.

"We felt we needed to get going," he said.

By making the change, Woodworth said, students and teachers will gain at least eight instructional days every school year. The school will do more assessment, not less, he said, but it will be done continuously and more effectively.

"It's an opportunity to be more responsive to students along the way," Woodworth said. "We'll have a better handle on what they know, when they know it and how to respond to what they need."

The school will still participate in state and national standardized testing — and teachers will still give tests, but there won't be all the emphasis placed on an exam worth 20 percent of a student's grade.

"We'll be able to get our assessments really focused on our competencies," Woodworth said, "and how we get every kid to be moving forward."

To help students move forward, the school also is adding reading and writing labs, places where students who struggle in either area can get extra help. Students can opt in on their own, and teachers, administrators, parents and guidance counselors can recommend a student work in one of the new labs. The labs will remain open until 3:30 p.m. every school day, well after the end of the traditional day at 2:10 p.m.

"As a building, we're trying to create more layers of support for students," Woodworth said.

He said he expects some students will object to the loss of the exam schedule — those two or three weeks a year when teaching stops and the whole school focuses on exams.

"I think a lot of them are going to be helped," the principal said. "Teachers will have more opportunities to tailor things to their learning styles."

Teachers were told this summer about the change, which will mean designing new ways of assessment and, perhaps, new teaching methods.

"I know there are some teachers who are working really hard right now getting ready to roll this out," Woodworth said Friday.

One of those is fifth-year French teacher Sandra Allaire, who was at school Friday.

"I'm in the process of digesting it. Any change is surprising and perhaps a little bit scary ...," she said. "But it's also exciting. ... I am definitely on board. I've been talking with colleagues and it will be a learning experience for us over the course of the year. From a teacher's perspective, we'll be able to use our planning time a little bit more effectively."

Allaire said the decision will affect both how she teaches and how she assesses student progress. She said exams, particularly at midterm, were often an artificial interruption of teaching and learning.

"We'll still be assessing the students," she said. "But rather than stopping at a certain time on the calendar, we'll be doing it when we feel the students are ready."

By no means does the decision mean Timberlane students won't have tests — they will.

"Many classes will continue to use these tests to determine the level of their students' learning and ability, and these tests will factor into their grades," Woodworth said. "Content knowledge will still be a significant factor in student assessment."

The School Board backs the decision to eliminate exams. In a prepared statement, board chairman Elizabeth Kosta said the board is encouraged by the efforts to meet all students' needs.

Woodworth said he anticipates many conversations with individual board members and parents as the news gets out.

On Sept. 28, he will host a "Coffee With the Principal" at 6:30 p.m. in the school library. That will give parents a chance to learn more about the change and its implementation.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Eggies opens in Atkinson

From the Eagle Tribune;

New Eggies opens in Atkinson

By Jillian Jorgensen

ATKINSON — Those who may have been forlorn to see their favorite Plaistow diner — a little rundown on the outside but offering great food inside — closed down can relax. Eggies is alive and well, just down the road a ways and one town over.

"This is more like a restaurant," said owner Kevin Barden. "There's a lot more room. It's all brand new and beautiful."

The new Eggies, with hardwood floors and bright, airy dining rooms, is a bit different than the long counter stretching through the old-fashioned diner in Plaistow. But Barden said with the rent rising and the building deteriorating, it was time to move on.

"Most people came in and told me they loved the food. Not many came and told me how much they loved the building," Barden said.

The old Eggies closed June 28, and the new location opened July 15. Barden, 53, of Derry, said his business has practically doubled since the move.

While the look is new, much has stayed the same. Barden took his staff with him, which will keep plenty of his regulars happy.

When Joe Roy, 51, of Sandown was asked to name his favorite thing about Eggies, he didn't think long before saying, "The waitresses."

Roy, who usually orders two eggs over easy with kielbasa, said he liked the new place but did miss the old bar. The longtime customer said he's seen Eggies grow over the years.

"I've been going to Eggies for a long time, probably about nine years," he said. "This is the biggest change."

Eggies has been around even longer than that. Barden has run the restaurant since February 1993. A former Marine, he's been cooking even longer, having prepared meals for Marine recruits on Parris Island, S.C.

In the larger, newer kitchen last week, he proudly showed off homemade specialties: black bean salsa, salad dressings, barbecue and hollandaise sauce. A heap of breakfast potatoes cooked on the grill, covered with his own seasoning. Roy said he prepares each meal individually, and hopes to make the food unique.

"You can't get it anywhere else," he said. "You can only get it here at Eggies."

The new restaurant holds a special place in Marilyn Wentworth's heart.

The 73-year-old, who now lives in Florida, dropped in last week to visit what she said was once her parents' home, built in 1957. She dropped in with her son, David Vencis, 55, of Exeter.

"My mother's looking down smiling because she loved to cook," Wentworth said. "It brings back a lot of memories."

The menu has expanded along with the size of the restaurant, but old favorites — eggs Benedict, omelettes, pancakes and meatloaf in the colder months — will remain.

Benjamin Goldbaum, 31, of Atkinson usually orders the eggs Benedict. He said the move was great news for him.

"I like it," he said, "because I live right across the street."

Goldbaum said the food and the waitstaff have kept him coming back for more than five years.

"They're easy to talk to," he said.

Lisa Liguori, 52, of Salem has been bringing Eggies customers their meals for 15 years. Though she loves the new spot, it was hard to leave the old Eggies behind.

"Of course," she said. "It has nostalgia." The diner was built in 1952.

Eggies is now open for business at 6 Main St. (Route 121) in Atkinson.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Do the Selectmen EVER plan on informing the public of their activities?

Today is August 10, 2010. It has been 16 months and 4 days since the last minutes posting from a selectmen meeting. They DO still have them weekly( or weakly?) do they not?

So where are the minutes? Well asking at the town hall will do you no good, Barbara Snicer will merely look at you with her best "Why are you bothering me with this petty crap" look, and tell you sweetly that they have sent the minutes over to the webmaster many times, he must be busy.


We have a website that we pay almost $40/month to HOST! We could host our site on many servers for $4- 6.00/mo. ANd get 1200 email addresses to boot. In short, as usual the taxpayers are paying too much for too little.

For short money we could be hosting the actual videos of selectmen's meetings online we could show them in real time, for the roughly one third of the town that does not pay for cable.

How about you guys do the EASY thing, and post the damn minutes!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Atkinson resident donates $25K for town park

from the eagle tribune;

Atkinson resident donates $25K for town park

By Doug Ireland

ATKINSON — What may have been a secret to some was probably not much of a surprise to others.

Months ago, voters were asked at Town Meeting to consider a $80,000 warrant article for construction of the East Road recreation area. Although residents knew an anonymous donor was footing $25,000 of the cost, it wasn't until the selectmen's meeting Monday that his identity was revealed.

It was longtime resident and former Planning Board Chairman Jake Collins.

For those who were surprised, they probably shouldn't have been.

Collins, who turns 88 this week, has been helping his community for years. He and his wife Una, who died in 2006, have contributed to local projects in many ways and for many decades.

But it was always without fanfare.

"Jake has made many anonymous contributions to the town over the years," Selectman Bill Bennett said. "Not that many people step up to the plate to that extent."

Collins, an Atkinson resident for 60 years, said Thursday he and his wife were never interested in receiving recognition for their efforts. They just wanted to help in any way they could.

"My wife and I started that a long time ago," he said.

Recreation Committee member Patti Mangini, who has been leading the recreation area project, said Collins approached her more than a year ago to express interest in helping to make it become a reality.

"It's a good thing that he's doing," she said. "He loves this town."

Once selectmen formally accept the donation, the $25,000 will be used in conjunction with $55,000 appropriated by voters in March to complete the project's second phase.

The first phase featured the development of two athletic fields funded by a $40,000 warrant article approved by voters in March 2009.

But residents rejected a $25,000 proposal to provide a 50-car parking lot and walking path around the two fields. Construction of an unpaved parking lot and walking path were approved this year.

The second phase includes installation of a well and irrigation system for the fields. Bocce courts also will be put in unless a water tank is needed for the irrigation system, Mangini said.

"It's going to be a nice park," she said.

The project's estimated cost is about $160,000, Mangini said.

Selectmen recently reviewed bids for the project's second phase but believe they are too high, Bennett said.

"We're trying to get bids at lower rates," he said.

The recreation area would not open until fall 2011 at the earliest, Mangini said.

Collins, a member of various local organizations over the years and a 17-year Planning Board member, said the East Road project will be an important asset to the community.

"It's necessary to keep the kids off the street and give them a place to play," he said. "It's a really good thing."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fire hits house in Atkinson

from the Eagle Tribune;

Fire hits house in Atkinson

By Jarret Bencks

ATKINSON — A car battery charger is believed to have caused a fire yesterday at a house on Sawmill Road.

The fire broke out just before 12:30 p.m. at 31 Sawmill Road, prompting a neighbor to call the Fire Department when she saw smoke coming from the garage of the ranch-style house, fire Chief Michael Murphy said.

The flames climbed the outer wall and into the attic, but the fire was doused before it spread to the living area or caused any major damage to the garage, Murphy said.

Two adults and two children were home when the fire began, but no one was injured, Murphy said. They did not realize there was a fire in the garage until they were warned by their neighbor, he said.

"It was her action that kept it from extending to the living structure," Murphy said.

He said it appeared the fire was started by a car battery charger that was in use.

The fire was under control by 12:46 p.m. and firefighters had cleared the scene by 1:15.

While the fire was quickly extinguished, other departments were called as a precaution because of yesterday's heat, Murphy said. Firefighters from Hampstead, Danville and Sandown also responded.

Some of the garage's contents burned, Murphy said.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Farmers market proposed in Atkinson

From the Eagle Tribune;

Farmers market proposed in Atkinson

By Doug Ireland

ATKINSON — The town is only one step away from having fresh vegetables available for sale right in the Atkinson Community Center parking lot.

Tomorrow night, Patti Mangini of the Recreation Committee will go before selectmen for final approval of a farmers market.

"Everything is falling into place," Mangini said Thursday. "We're hoping Monday night to get the stamp."

If approved as expected, the farmers market would be held Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. through September. Five local gardeners would sell their produce, with the hope more would join the effort as it grows.

"They are just local people who have gardens and herbs," Mangini said.

She said there won't be any large farms offering produce, just people with gardens who have extra vegetables to sell.

The farmers market would offer residents a chance to buy fresh, organically grown vegetables and whole foods not always available in stores, she said.

"When you are buying local, at least you can talk to the farmer and ask questions," Mangini said.

In the past, Atkinson residents have had to travel to other communities, such as Kingston, to buy the fresh produce they would now be able to get in their own town, she said.

"People can just go instead of driving around and looking — and wasting gas," Mangini said. "I have definitely heard from people who are excited about it."

The Kingston farmers market shut down last year, Mangini said. Meanwhile, Derry started a farmers market last week and Salem will begin its own July 21.

Atkinson residents would not have to pay a fee to sell their produce. The fee for out-of-town residents is $10 a week.

Bill Bennett, one of the selectmen who will consider Mangini's plan tomorrow night, said he anticipates no problems starting a farmers market in town.

"People are always looking for fresh produce and the more places you can get it, the better," he said. "I think it's a great idea."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Judge puts hold on Atkinson photographers' real estate

From the Eagle Tribune

Judge puts hold on photographers' real estate

By Jarret Bencks

BRENTWOOD, N.H. — An Atkinson couple facing litigation for allegedly breaking wedding photography contracts have had their real estate holdings temporarily frozen.

Michael and Darlene Perrotta face criminal and civil charges from state prosecutors for allegedly agreeing to photograph and produce albums for nearly 200 newlyweds — and getting paid for it — but never delivering.

The attorney general's office recently filed a petition seeking a $250,000 attachment to the Perrottas' assets to be added to the civil case, which seeks financial damages on behalf of the 178 complainants who allege they never got what they paid for.

Attorneys for the Perrottas and the state appeared in Rockingham County Superior Court yesterday, where a hearing was scheduled for the petition.

The hearing was continued for 45 days, but Judge John Lewis ordered a freeze on all the Perrottas' real estate assets after learning a property they owned was sold last month, days after the motion to attach was filed.

A parcel of land with a partially built home was sold June 4, after the petition to attach was served to the Perrottas, Assistant Attorney General Karen Gorham said.

After paying off the lien on the property, the Perrottas were left with $71,000 in profit, defense attorney Paul Pappas said. Of that, $55,000 was placed in an escrow account and the Perrottas kept the rest, the defense attorney said.

Lewis ordered the money in the escrow account to remain there, and for 27 Meditation Lane in Atkinson — the Perrottas' home — not be sold without permission of the court.

The orders are in effect until the hearing takes place. It has not yet been scheduled.

The Perrottas did not appear in court yesterday.

Along with the civil case, the Perrottas both face three charges of violating the Consumer Protection Act. They await trial on those charges.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thoughts On Independence Day- 2010

This Article was submitted last year, but is as true today as it was last year, perhaps even more so. Please take a moment out of your holiday celebrations to read this article and think about it's meaning. Thank you, Mr. Acciard for submitting this.

Submitted by MAcciard;

Please Accept as an article submission;

This holiday weekend, typically one of backyard bar-b-ques, sparklers, fireworks, gathering with family and friends, stop for a moment and do something you have probably never done before on this holiday, stop and give a moments thought to the meaning of this day.

In these perilous times where we appear to be replaying with modern technology the crusades, when the press and academia, and yes, many of our Senators and Congresspeople seem hell-bent upon telling everything that they believe is wrong with America, and the President and Congress seem to wish to spend the earning of the next three generations, Stop! and consider objectively everything America stands for and has accomplished in our 231 year history.

America stands for;

Freedom! Freedom to express yourself in any way you wish as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others.

Independence! Independence to pursue your brand of happiness in any manner in which you choose, so long as your pursuit does not infringe on the rights of another.
Opportunity! Opportunity to arrive on our shores as many immigrants do, with nothing to their names, and yet they are able to achieve a degree of wealth, and a comfort of lifestyle here that they could not achieve anywhere else on the globe. This is why people risk life and love to come here year after year. You don't see people sacrificing their lives to immigrate to the people's paradise of Cuba, or China, or Venezuela.

We hear day in and day out of the failures of our country, our country's leaders, our military, our culture, our society, our very existence. I say to those who can do nothing but complain, if you love France or Cuba so much go and live there, you are doing America no good here.

No Country in the history of the world has accomplished so much as has America. No country has been as generous, as noble, as honest, as forthright, or possessed as much integrity as America. America, as Ronald Reagan said, is the "shining city upon the hill". but much more than that we have consistently backed up our ideals with our blood, treasure, and deeds.

America was primarily responsible for the fall of Nazi Germany, after our victory, we spent hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild Europe, and now they show their gratitude by condemning America. America was responsible for the fall of the most oppressive regime in history, the Soviet Union, without firing a shot, and now those satellite countries that were crushed under the soviet boot for so long are now beacons of democracy on a continent bereft of that. They have become our strongest allies, replacing the lily-livered socialist countries of France and Belgium. And in the last 6 years we have liberated Afghanistan and Iraq, giving 50 million people their first chance to govern themselves. We have not stolen their oil, as John Kerry intimated was our reason for going, we have not plundered their country, as Micheal Moore stated we would do. We have not tortured them as Teddy Kennedy stated we have.

We hear from the media that it is our support of Israel that has caused the Muslims to hate us, but they fail to mention the $120 million a year we give to the Palestinian Authority for those very people.

America has made mistakes, but far fewer than any other country. We do not conquer, we do not enslave, or subjugate, We liberate, help our enemies get back on their feet, and then leave. We do far more for the world than all of the other countries combined. We have given time effort and money to 183 nations across the globe, most of those owe their very existence to the benevolence of the United States of America.

So when you are wolfing down your hamburgers this weekend, think for a moment about the history of our nation and reflect that you are a part of the Greatest Nation in Earth's History! Also reflect that our sons and daughters are in harm's way, fighting to defend the very freedoms that we are celebrating this weekend.

Thank you and God Bless.