Atkinson Town Hall

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Welcome Message and Mission Statement

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

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

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

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Consentino Wins Vaughn Award?

Yes, as pictured in the Carriage Towne News, Our police chief/elderly affairs director/ charity slush fund president/ harmless little fuzzball won an award for Having created the Atkinson Elderly Affairs program in 1993. And having worked 2040 hours in 2009 as Director of Elderly Affairs, seeing to the needs of our elderly.

Admittedly, the chief does a lot for the elderly in Atkinson, after all it IS his job as elderly affairs director, and he probably deserves this award that Noriko apparently nominated him for; BUT;

He DID NOT create the elderly affairs program, in 1993, or any other year. And if he worked 40 hours per week as elderly affairs director, when was he working as police chief? One of the Attornies General's office requirements when demanding "clear separation between police and elderly affairs depts." was that town keep timesheets showing the chiefs hours as a cop, and as an elderly director. Those would be interesting to see. How can he work so few hours as chief, especially when the Lt. is out of the country?

Also please remember we are paying him $24,000/yr. to work 1,300 hours as POLICE CHIEF!

As to the lie about creating the elderly affairs program, well Paul Grant started it in 1988 as his Eagle Scout Project. Carol Grant was the first Director of Elderly Affairs, and ran the program out of her home, and her own wallet, as the program had no budget. Chief was appointed elderly affairs director in 1993, and morphed it into the PD. And from there the greatest political operation ever known to Atkinson has thrived.

Just as a budgetary matter... if the PD can run seemlessly(meaning without residents seeing a degradation of services) without the Lt. whose job costs the town $90,000/yr. and the chief, whose job costs the town $42,000/yr. not including lawsuit costs and settlement fees, why do we need those positions?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Do we need a new $70,000,000 middle school and high school?

MAcciard said...


Do we need a new $70,000,000 middle school and high school?

For those who were unaware, the school board had a "workshop" last night to discuss the proposed new schools building project.

The presentation was made by the architect, with the school board members asking clarification type questions. No one on that board bothered to ask if this was NEEDED, that was simply accepted. At one point Mr. LaSalle stated that if you look around the southern tier(of NH) you have beautiful new schools, we have waited our turn.

I held my tongue, but the comment running through my head was; "YOUR TURN??? There are 15,000 taxpayers in this district who are struggling to pay the $14,500/yr. to send each one of their kids here to get their mediocre education NOW, how about improving the quality of your product before demanding a palace in which to work."

The architect stated that a ball park estimate for school construction runs about $180/sq.ft. So here are the number from last nights meeting...

Middle school currently has 1050 kids in 135,000 sq.ft. of space. New middle school is designed for 1100 kids in 200,000 sq ft. of space. A 50% increase in the size of the school for the same population.

High school currently has roughly 1,380 kids in 142,000 sq.ft. of space. New high school will be designed for 1,400 kids in 230,000 sq.ft. of space. A 62% increase in space for the same population.

Here is the math, although bear in mind that they have not budgeted any of this yet, so there are no "hard numbers" at this point.

200,000sq.ft. x $180/ft. = $36,000,000. + additional site work, planning, feasibility studies, and overruns. That is the middle school.

230,000sq.ft. x $180/ft.= $41,400,000 + additional site work, planning, feasibility studies, and overruns. That is the middle school.

Now here is where this gets interesting; Wasn't the bond for the last construction project that brought us the PAC center $32,000,000? So they are planning to HAVE THREE BONDS RUNNING CONCURRENTLY???

Is it too much to ask to improve the quality of education BEFORE asking us to build the King a new palace?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Timbelane to discuss NEW HIGH SCHOOL TONIGHT!

From the Eagle Tribune;

Timberlane to discuss future of school buildings

By Bryan Deyermond

PLAISTOW — Timberlane Superintendent Richard La Salle called it a "discussion of big ideas."

The School Board will hold a work session tonight to discuss the future of the high school and middle school.

La Salle said the big ideas come from the Capital Improvement Plan, instituted two years ago. In that plan, the school broke down its development into four phases.

The first phase was the potential merging of Sandown's two elementary schools: Sandown North and Sandown Central. The second and third phases involved the development or renovations of new facilities for the high school and middle school.

Architects who evaluated the middle school referred to it as "end of life," La Salle said. The phrase didn't mean the school was "terminal," he said, but did mean if the school needed renovations, it would need to be replaced.

Over the course of the year, a new plan arose for the futures of both buildings. Architects presented a plan to turn the current high school into a middle school, resulting in a new high school building.

La Salle said the district is in the early stages of the second stage of its CIP. The meeting tonight will be an informal discussion among board members, school officials and the public.

"This is an opportunity to bring everyone together in free conversational format," La Salle said. "It's less formal than a meeting protocol."

There will be no formal presentation of plans for a new high school at the meeting, and no plan could move forward due to the state legislation freezing its school building aid program. But La Salle said the idea is to get as prepared as possible for the future of both buildings.

"We want to get our ideas in line, and we'd like to be as well planned as possible," he said, "so when it's the right time, we're shovel-ready to go."

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the superintendent's office at 30 Greenough Road.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Atkinson Landscaper adopts 10 traffic islands in salem

From the Eagle Tribune;

Landscaper adopts 10 traffic islands in salem

By Jillian Jorgensen

SALEM — Some of the town's most heavily traveled roads are looking a little brighter lately.

Joanne Lakin of Atkinson grew up in Salem and runs a landscaping business. So when she noticed some of the traffic islands in her hometown were in rough shape, she adopted one. Then another. Then eight more. She's hoping others will join her effort to beautify the town.

"If everyone does one little thing, it'll get done," she said.

Her first traffic island was at Route 28 and Range Road. She pulled out weeds, laid mulch and planted some perennials.

"They don't get watered except for the rain, so I picked some real tough plants that will last," she said.

After her success with that island, the town suggested another one in need of work.

At Old Rockingham Road and Route 28, an island had a marker for Nicholas Arvantis, who was killed in 2006 while serving in Iraq. His grandmother lives nearby and asked town officials whether more could be done to spruce up the spot.

"I went right over," Lakin said. "It's different than any old island."

Yesterday, she planned to tackle a daunting task: eight traffic islands along Rockingham Park Boulevard. Freshwater Farms donated perennials for the project.

"And the town of Salem is lending me some helpers, a couple of workers so we can get it done in one day," she said.

The toughest part is removing the weeds and trash from the islands, she said, but it's worth it.

"The cleanup is the hardest part," she said. "You just mulch it over and it'll look beautiful."

Lakin, whose first gardening job was a flower box full of marigolds when she was 12, owns Lakin Landscaping and Design. She decided to take on the projects when she ran out of space to garden in her own yard.

"It's working out great," she said. "You either find (gardening) relaxing or you don't. And I do."

She said people generally don't notice the drab islands when they drive past.

"We probably pass 10 of them a day without even realizing it," she said.

But people noticed when she was working on the islands, she said. Every red light became a pep rally.

"People that were stopping at the light would roll down their windows and they said thank you," Lakin said. "Such a little thing goes a long way."

That's why she's hoping others — professional landscapers or people who just enjoy gardening as a hobby — will take on some other island. It doesn't take long or cost much, she said, but it makes a big difference.

"They should go to their town hall," she said. "They're probably going to get an assignment within hours."

Planning Director Ross Moldoff said he is happy to hear from people who want to help.

"It's fun to work with people who volunteer their time to make the town more beautiful," he said. "There are plenty of spots in town that could use some help."

Friday, June 11, 2010

School Board plans quiet little "workshop" to discuss new school!

Yes folks, on June 21st, your own elected school board chairman, Elizabeth Kosta of Plaistow, has announced to her board, that they are going to have a "workshop" to discuss a proposal for a new high school. The reason for the "workshop" is so that, although the meeting will be open to the public, it will not be televised, nor will they "need to keep minutes".

The facilities manager has already stated that both the middle school and the high school are "structurally sound", and therefore they do not NEED replacement for that reason. For those who are unaware, the school administration has been having student fill out surveys on what they would like to see in a new school. Do you get the feeling that this is a foregone conclusion?

The school board wants to;

1.) Build a new high school
2.) remodel and repurpose the existing high school to a middle school
3.) Demolish 80% of the existing middle school.

And those new $400,000 science labs, we just paid for...........

Well THOSE will make GREAT silent sustained reading rooms!

By the way, the expected cost of this boondoggle project.... Upwards of $60,000,000.00, Yes that's U.S. Dollars, not Yen or Lira.

Here is a little history for the TAXPAYERS in this tight economy; The middle school was built in 1976. The high school in 1966. When the high school opened it was a model school for the rest of the country to copy, with open air courtyards, skylights, and lots and lots of windows for children to see nature and not feel so closed in. The middle school has undergone a number of expansions and renovations as has the high school over the years, as the schools population has increased, BUT NOW IT IS DECREASING! The school district has lost 300 students in the last three years! Most to other schools where their parents feel they will get an education.

Is it too much to ask that the middle and high schools do a good job of educating students before we spend money we don't have on a new palace of education? How about dealing with that pesky "school in need of improvement" designation?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

State House to GUT Right to Know

From the Plaistow Town Crier;

Well Curt Springer and all you government lovers, what do you think about the NH Legislature, the NH Senate and all their RSAs now. I told you RSAs are used against the people. This letter was in todays Fosters Daily Democrat.


It's our right to know

To the editor: Last week The New Hampshire Senate and House of Representatives passed HB 53. This bill was sponsored by Kim Casey, Democratic representative of East Kingston. HB 53 amends the RSA 91A, the Right to Know statute. The amendment all but eliminates the public's right to access information from government agencies. The revision exempts Mayors, Town Managers, department heads, executive officers, superintendents and associated government political agencies as public bodies from complying with a "right to know" request.

This draconian modification of the Right to Know Law will allow these extensions of government to operate under a Vail of secrecy. The only information that we the people would be entitled to scrutinize is that which these agents would elect to disseminate.

How many crimes would have escaped legal consequence if the public's "right to Know or the freedom of information" was fettered by government agents who operate outside of the law? It is exactly why those who contemplate such acts fear the possibility of exposure through this mechanism of accountability.

In 2000 my attorneys and I sued SAU 16 for a parent's right to know what websites our children were accessing on school computers. Dr. Skip Hanson SAU 16 superintendent of schools denied our request, citing a child's right of privacy. Superior Court Justice Julian Abramson ruled in our favor. Unfortunately, the computer records were destroyed after the Judge ruled that the information must be released, a harm that found SAU 16 in contempt of court. SAU 16 actions required an amendment to RSA91A criminalizing those who would knowingly and willfully destroy public documents for the purpose of avoiding prosecution. None of this would have been possible without a formidable RSA 91A and the public's "right to know".

Gov. Lynch has on many occasions professed to be a fervent supporter of open and transparent government. We should therefore, call upon the Governor to honor this commitment and compel him to veto this amendment.

Jim Knight


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Police: Teen stole from elderly Atkinson couple

From the Eagle Tribune;

Police: Teen stole from elderly Atkinson couple

By Bryan Deyermond

ATKINSON — A Kingston teen has been charged with stealing from an elderly couple under his care.

Jarred Brisbois, 17, faces a single count of felony theft.

The incident occurred at a home near the intersection of Amberwood and East roads. Police did not release the victims' names or their address, saying only that they were an "elderly couple."

Detective Sgt. Phil Farrar said Brisbois stole antique currency from the couple, as well as gold, and diamond and amethyst jewelry. The total value of the stolen items is unknown, Farrar said.

Brisbois had been helping to care for the terminally ill man and his wife, police said.

The theft occurred Thursday when the woman went to the store, leaving Brisbois in the home with her husband, police said.

The couple filed a complaint with police later that night, and Brisbois was arrested Friday, Farrar said.

Yesterday, Brisbois was in Plaistow District Court and is being held on $20,000 bail.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Atkinson's first female selectman dies at 86

From the eagle tribune;

Atkinson's first female selectman dies at 86

By Bryan Deyermond

ATKINSON — Helen Woodlock, the town's first female selectman, died Tuesday at the age of 86.

Woodlock served two terms as a selectman in the 1970s after working in the tax collector's office for many years. She followed in the footsteps of her husband, Paul Woodlock Sr., who served several terms as a selectman. Her son, Paul Jr., said his mother always wanted to do what was right for Atkinson.

"She's remembered for doing the best for the town in making key changes and modernizing Atkinson," he said.

The Woodlocks were strong supporters of the town's recreation program.

In honor of their work, the recreation area on Pope Road was named after the couple. Her husband died in 1988.

Selectman Bill Bennett said Woodlock, his former neighbor, was best known for her kindness and compassion.

"She was always involved in everything, always making wise decisions for the town," he said.

Woodlock, the mother of six children, taught kindergarten at a nursery school in Atkinson.

She also worked as a photographer for two local newspapers.

Her granddaughter, Sherri Borgal, said Woodlock was an inspiration.

"She was just a very progressive woman," Borgal said.

Visiting hours are today from 4 to 7 p.m. at Linnehan-Grondin Funeral Home in Haverhill. A funeral service will be held there at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Atkinson teen finds a diamond in her sub

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson teen finds a diamond in her sub

By Bryan Deyermond

PLAISTOW — Samantha Arena, 14, of Atkinson took a bite out of her Subway Italian sandwich Sunday and found a little more than cold cuts and bread.

"I was like, 'Ow, that kind of hurt,'" Samantha said.

What she found was a small diamond inside her sandwich, which she bought at Subway at 18 Plaistow Road. She said she initially thought it was a stale piece of bread stuck in her mouth.

"It chipped my tooth a little bit," she said yesterday.

Samantha said she contacted Subway officials after speaking with her teacher, Josh Silveira, who convinced her to go back to the restaurant to try to find the diamond's owner.

"I think it's a nice gesture," Silveira said. "I mean, she's a freshman in high school. I think she's doing the right thing."

Samantha said she called the restaurant earlier in the week to report the incident. A Subway manager, who refused to identify herself, said yesterday that Samantha didn't want anything from the sandwich chain except help in finding the diamond's owner.

"It's something that means something to someone," the teenager said.

Subway officials don't know how the diamond got into Samantha's Italian sub. Les Winograd, a spokesman for Subway, said no employees reported missing a diamond.

"It's definitely an unusual situation," he said.

Samantha said she gave the diamond to her grandfather, who confirmed its legitimacy by cutting glass with it and looking at it through a microscope.

"It's kind of small," she said. "It's not microscopic, but it's not huge either."

Samantha said no one from the branch or corporate offices had gotten back to her yesterday. Winograd said representatives from the regional Subway office in New Hampshire would contact her today to find out the details of what happened.

Winograd said if an investigation is unsuccessful, Subway could investigate the matter on a larger scale. He said Subway would backtrack shipments of condiments, vegetables and other materials to find the source of the lost diamond.

"It might be really hard to identify where it came from," Winograd said.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Atkinson fire chief is in charge when disaster strikes

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson fire chief is in charge when disaster strikes

By Bryan Deyermond

ATKINSON — In case of disaster, residents can turn to Mike Murphy to lead the way.

Murphy, the town's fire chief, was reappointed as the town's Homeland Security director by selectmen on May 17. Murphy has held that position for more than 10 years.

"It's more of a coordination position," Murphy said. "We want to make sure we're taking care of the residents in a more systematic way."

Selectman Bill Bennett said the ultimate responsibility of the position is to respond to the needs of the town in a crisis situation.

The position was crucial during the severe ice storm that left many residents without power for days in December 2008. Murphy coordinated with town department heads, the Red Cross and power company officials to address the crisis.

Bennett wasn't a selectman during the ice storms, but remembered the work done by town officials under Murphy's direction.

"In 2008, the Homeland Security director was the pivotal person in charge," Bennett said.

The town used the community center as a shelter for residents without power.

"They turned out a pretty mean grilled cheese sandwich," Bennett said.

Bennett said Murphy's long-standing role as the town's Homeland Security director was also instrumental in the design of the town's fire station, built 10 years ago.

"He had the station built to standards that the federal government sets for disaster shelters," Bennett said.

The role was previously referred to as a civil defense director when it was created more than 50 years ago. While Atkinson isn't known as a hotbed for terrorist activity, Murphy said he had the title changed five years ago to help the community better understand his role.

"People understand it more with the names they're hearing thrown around in the news," Murphy said.