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.

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."