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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!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In Honor of Jane Cole

It is great sorrow, that the Atkinson Reporter observes the passing of one of Atkinson's greatest citizens.

Jane Cole, passed away this weekend, and services were held this morning at the Atkinson Congregational Church. Pastor Paul turned in his usual stellar performance officiating. I think Jane would have looked with amusement upon the gathering of friends and family paying their respects to an extraordinary woman who touched all of our lives.

For those who were unaware, Jane was a columnist for the Eagle Tribune, back in the seventies. She had an incredible knack for finding the humor in everything. For a woman who had seven kids, and more grandchildren than I can count, Humor was probably a refuge.

For those who have known her over the years, she would also joke about becoming a "Maine iac" every summer, a phrase coined for her by former fellow budget committeeman, Mark Acciard. Jane was also a political junkie, and totally dedicated to Atkinson. Unlike some town officials, employees, Jane never put her own desires ahead of what she thought best for the town. Residents can still to this day find her book; "Atkinson, Then and Now" on display at both the library, and in the town clerks office.

Jane made incredible contributions to the betterment of Atkinson, from her service with the town Historical Society, to her chairwomanship of the budget committee, to her long presence in both the selectman's office, and the town clerk's office, her presence, and piece of mind were always known. Jane was also the first person, to catalogue, and gather together all the town's selectmen meeting minutes, and all of it's capital expenditures, since the 1700's.

Jane those of us who have known you, will miss you dearly. Your wisdom, knowledge, love of politics, history, genealogy, and MOST OF ALL YOUR INCOMPARABLE WIT!

Rest Easy, Jane.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

RIP, Mrs C. You will be missed!

MAcciard said...

Jane, I should have heeded your warning. Good Night.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I did heed her warning. She was very wise and understood exactly how the town worked.

My condolences to your family. You will be missed.

RIP Jane

Carol Grant said...

Like so many in town, I was very saddened by the news of Jane's passing. She was a large part of the story of Atkinson, a town icon.

I contacted the selectmen's office about a full "In Memorium" page honoring Jane for the 2012 Annual Report.

Actually, I erroneously thought the Memorium might go in the current Annual Report but Barbara Snicer correctly pointed out that since Jane died in 2012, it should propertly appear in the 2012 Annual Report. That's even better since it allows for more time to do a good job on it.

Jane was the Selectmen's Assistant for 16 of us former selectmen -- before the town changed to having Town Administrators. Jane was in effect, the ''un-official fourth selectman'' as she very effectively totally ran the Selectmen's Office, incuding doing budgets, putting together annual Reports, han;dling correspondence, putting together pro and con fact sheets for the selectmen concerning issues coming before the selectmen.

I'd like to contact the 13 surviving selectmen who Jane worked with -- me, Bub Reynolds, Dennis Spurling, Ray Fourneir, Fred Galietta, Barbra Snicer, Tony Noberega, Phil, Mike Turell, Barbara Stewart, Brian Boyle, Charlie George and Fred Childs to get their imput and recollections on their memories/comments about Jane. (Bill Rollins, Jack holbrook and Joe DeRosa are deceased).

Jane was very special to us and was respected by us all. All of her hard work for us made our jobs as selectmen a lot easier.

So, anyway, I will be making contact with so many of you former selectmen for your comments to be included in the Memorium page.

I'd also like to get some comments from other town officials Jane served with on the Budget Committee, Planning Board and Board of Adjustment.

Also some comments from the Atkinson Historical Society, of which Jane was a dynamic member and wrote two volumes of the town history, "Atkinson, Here and Now." There was nothing about town history she didn't know. She was a waling encyclopedia aabout Atkinson's history, events, and people.

Jane was very special to us and respected by us all. All of us will miss her.

Carol Grant said...

I wanted to tell everyone a brief story about Jane, so everyone knows that she was far more than a very efficient Selectmen's Assistant. This story goes to her compassion and her character.

During my first of two terms as Selectman Chairwoman, I got a very tearful phonecall from a very upset elderly woman in town who was terrified that she would lose her home and be put out on the street because she had no money to pay her taxes. I assured her that it wouldn't happened and then talked to Jane about it.

Jane knew just about everyone in town and told me of several other elderly who were also in very desperate financial straits.

We both agreed that we needed to do something for them and that we should very quietly give all of those elderly who were hurting, a blanket abatement of their taxes. After all, why should they be buried by school taxes when they had not had a child in the school system for many decades?

Jane agreed and looked into the mechanics of the blanket tax abatement, coming back with the terrible news that we couldn't legally do it and DRA would certainly cite us for it if we did.

Jane and I sat there in the selectmen's office in the Old Grange Hall and talked about it all morning. We both agreed that sometimes the legal thing is not the right and compassionate thing.
And we both agreed that we owed it to the elderly who had built the town and that the abatements should be done, even though we knew that a strong rap on the knuckles would surely be coming from DRA.

Jane then spend a couple of days putting together a list of those elderly who were financially hurting.

To Jane's character, she said that she would proudly stand forthrightly with us during the future trouble from DRA and would take the citing along with us, as a willing co-conspirator.

That was Jane -- gutsy and fearless when she believed that doing something that was right was more important than doing something that was legal.

Needing a majority vote to grant the abatements, I appproached Dennis Spurling, our attorney selectman. We talked about legal vrs. right and compassion and how doing the right thing would get us cited by DRA. Dennis, a very decent and compassionate man, agreed to give me the second vote.

Convincing Jack Holbrook to go along with it was an up-hill battle. He didn't want to get cited by DRA for doing something we all knew was not allowed.

Jack finally got worn down to the fact that we were going to do it with or without his support, and he finally gave Dennis and I the third vote to make it unanimous.

Then quietly, illegally, with no publicity or public vote, we abated the taxes of those hurting elderly.

We knew DRA would cite us when they found out, and they did, and we were cited and warned never to do it again.

But that year, Jane and we three selectmen had the satisfaction of knowing that a terrible burden was lifted off of the backs of elderly in town who were financially hurting.

Jane chose to stand with us when she didn't need to. I told her very strongly that she need not get caught up in something improper that we were going to do. But she said that she was going to do what she thought was right. We had just hired her as our new Selectmen's Assistant and she had no job security, but she still stood up to be counted, for doing what she thought was right, consequences be damned. That was Jane.

Carol Grant said...

Another Jane story--

Jane was a conservation true-believer. which from me is a compliment of the highest level.

She felt very very strongly about doing everything we could to protect Atkinson's rural character and environmental quality of life.

Since my original appointment to the newly-formed Atkinson Conservation Commission back in 1978, I have over the years as a Commission member, Selectwoman and ordinary town resident, distributed at least 30 different Town Meeting-time hand-outs urging various actions on ballot questions affecting protecting open space or water quality.

What people didn't know was that those hand-outs were done in behind-the-scenes collaboration with Jane.

I would write up the first draft, then Jane would review it, edit it, and make changes/suggestions which would make the message stronger.

Because Jane then worked in Town Hall, it was her decision that we keep silent about her part in it all to avoid her receiving any flak from the Selectmen or Planning Board. So, as a result, Jane never got any credit or recognition for our successful efforts to protect the town's environmental quality of life.

So let it be known now, that Jane was, behind-the-scenes an activist Conservation true-believer.

Anonymous said...

Carol once again you start off with nothing but the best of intentions. I don't think its a great story to hear you conspired with Jane to break the law for one person. What about everyone else in financial trouble? I suspect at the time it was very isolated case but your story doesn't go over well these days.

Atkinson needs to be a place where the same rules are applied to all. It would be progress to see it done half the time.

You could've found a better story to honor Jane with. Jane did too much good for Atkinson to be remembered for something like this.

JMHO

MAcciard said...

To Feb, 20 @ 10:30;

Please explain exectly why you are accusing Jane, of breaking the law? And WHAT law exactly?

What an unmitigated ass!

Anonymous said...

DID YOU READ CAROL'S TEXT??

"Then quietly, illegally, with no publicity or public vote, we abated the taxes of those hurting elderly."

ILLEGALLY. What did you miss? NO PUBLIC VOTE. Carol admitted it. Her words not mine.

I stand by my position the same rules have to be applied to everyone, no more favoritism, if lawsuits are going to stop. I thought you understood that problem in town.

I stand by my point Carol should've picked a better story to honor Jane with. You just embarrassed yourself. I expect the blogmaster to remove your incorrect, random personal attack. I won't lower myself to personal attacks like you just did.

Anonymous said...

This society is rife with
favoritism. It's one of the wheels that makes this country go round. Just ask Obama and Bush. One small example: Boy do I wish I were one of the 50% - 60% that no longer pays any federal income tax. Problem is, those that pay no taxes, not even a token minimum, have no skin in the game. They should forfeit their right to vote until they contribute.

Get real, it's not like Carol and Jane conspired to abate Maggie Osborn's taxes. These folks were going to lose their homes, probably through no fault of their own.

Have you read Charles Diskens' novel "Oliver Twist". One of the famous lines from the novel is: "the law is a ass." I think that makes legislators, lawyers, bureaucrats holes in the ass. And that's about as delicate as I can get.

No time for spell and grammar check, my lunch is nearly over.

Anonymous said...

You are such a hypocrite. It would be OK if it were some senior but not Maggie Osborn.

As a taxpayer I will pay any of the cost the town incurs one way or another. Like I have some stake in the game for people I don't know. I don't care who the people are, you're giving financial favors to people other than me but somehow that's OK? I'm supposed to accept your definition of favoritism?

Favoritism is looking the other way when a resident mildly screws up or helping a little when a little help is needed. Favoritism is not to bail people out, or give them careers they haven't earned or don't deserve or should lose when they break the law. You have either some level of people following laws and rules or you have chaos. We have chaos until people decide to make some small sacrifices for the better good and town as a whole.

ME ME ME ME ME ME ME. Shut the bleep up with the Me's. The selfish, self-centered behavior makes me vomit. Especially behind politically correct phonies and huxters. You know who you are. God forbid you have to sacrifice a tiny freakin bit for what's in the best interest of the town. A lost concern.

A number of people in town go beyond favoritism. way beyond it. We have quid pro quo at the least. Never mind any rules or laws.

Anonymous said...

It's not illegal in the USA, NH or Atkinson to be poor. See NH RSA 76:16

What kind of town would throw the elderly out of the homes due to financial hardship and non-payment of taxes?

Anonymous said...

OMG you just don't get it. I'll spell it out for you.

Selectman should not break the law under any circumstances I don't care what justification you come up with cause once they do it for one don't they have to do it for everyone? Why not? uh oh, lawsuit ya genius.

When one of our police officers fell ill in Atkinson, there were a number of fundraisers for his family. That's the legal way to do things. That's how you help people.

It's amazing how hard it is to understand these complicated concepts in Atkinson.

Anonymous said...

WHERE"S WALDO ????????

Well Mark, where is your response?
I am very curious what you have to say. You stated: "What an unmitigated ass!" when it is obvious the prior poster was 100% correct in his assesment that her story although compelling is exactly whats wrong in this town.
How can one separate Carol and friends behavior from the very same behavior you claim to abhor when it is committed by those you dislike. I am saddened that
you have made an attack which smacks in direct opposition from the core principals I mistakenly thought you stood for. Please defend your position or admit your
response was an unthoughtful knee jerk reaction that you can still attempt to retract along with an apology.
Waiting....

Anonymous said...

The person that mentioned RSA 76:16 has it correct. There is a process in place for hardship abatements.

There's means testing so everyone and their brother can't take advantage of the system. And in many cases a lien is placed on ones property so there is a chance the town will be paid back eventually. Like it or not, it's the law. If Jane and Carol did anything wrong, it may have been not following procedures to the letter.

I just learned today that another local resident is having trouble paying for their meds. Guess it's not too difficult when one perscription costs $300 a month.

You know who I blame all this.? I blame the school system. Here we are in a down economy. Folks are in trouble and what do school officials do? They dream up yet another multi-million dollar project.

JMHO

MAcciard said...

Yo Feb.21@ 11:00am

I stand corrected, My apologies, I did not see that part. While I understand the motivation, there is a process to achieve the same result, and good intentions do not make it any better than the Chiefs violations of law, using the elderly as a beard for his nasty conduct as chief.

Once again, Sorry for the Ass comment

Anonymous said...

Mark I'll give you credit for admitting when you're wrong. You're comment about Phil is right on. I wish I were perfect 100% of time but nobody is. It's rare these days to see anyone admit they made a mistake. Apology accepted. Besides, I am an ass half the time anyway.

I'm not trying to trash Jane. We all know she was good as gold. I was annoyed Carol didn't pick a better story from the hundreds of wonderful, "legal" stories she could've told. Try again Carol.

One question. I heard a rumor Jane's phone got tapped by none other than J Edgar Hoover of Atkinson himself. Was it true?

MAcciard said...

Yes sir. Her grandson had made an off hand threat in the schoolyard to a bully, as Jane told me, Phil claimed it was a terrorist threat, and tapped her phone. I never had any evidence of it other than Jane's word, which I trust. Supposedly this happened just before town meeting, and she didn't find out until April.

Anonymous said...

Jane would never tell you herself about all the torment she and her children went thru. She did the unthinkable and asked for transparency with the police and elderly.

It didn't matter how hard she worked for the town and when a job had to be done she was the first one to volunteer, and did it. She had a mind like a steel trap and ran the selectmens' office with aplomb and dedication.

She never asked for anything for herself. When you are doing what
you love, to do it is not a chore.


RIP, Many will miss you

Anonymous said...

So if Police Chief Consentino is the "J Edgar Hoover of Atkinson", does that mean he wears womens' clothes? Oh cheap shot, my bad!

I just couldn't resist. Please remove this...

Anonymous said...

Thanks fort the visual. That would be one butt ugly chick.

Carol Grant said...

We just got back late last night from Ken's family re-union in Florida and I checked the blog.

I noted the couple negative comments about the tax abatements given to those financially-hurting elderly during my service as a selectwoman. You who didn't agree with what we felt we had to do are
certainly entitled to your opinions and I in not way am critical of them

It wasn't something we did lightly. In fact, we four (we three selectmen and Jane) gave it much thought and discussion before doing it.
Many elderly who are financially destitute are too embarassed to come forward and ask for welfare treatment or abatements. Also the thought of a lien being placed against their ownership of their home is also terrifying to them as the first step to losing the only home and security they have.

Jane, more than most, understood the hell those elderly were going through, and chose to stand with us, to face the fire from DRA because of the compassion that was her character. I told her that we would hide from DRA her part in it all, including her putting together the list of those elderly then needing a life-line, and Jane
CHOSE to want to stand up and be counted on the Compassionate side and the willingness to do something
about the elerly suffering then in Atkinson.

As Jane said then, she was "PROUD" of her part, and wanted to publicly
stand with us as a "willing co-conspirator.''
In telling this antecedote about JANE'S COMPASSION, I did it solely TO HONOR JANE, to give the strongest example of how Jane was courageously willing to stand up and be counted for what she thought was right. It was one of the reasons I loved and respected her and I was hoping that those who read what I wrote, would love and respect her for the same reason.

Anonymous said...

Carol, this was also handled very discreetly, correct? Was it discussed in Executive Session only? Most folks, young or old, rich or poor don't want their personal and financial troubles aired in public. One blog smartie actually suggested that it would have been better to hold a benefit to raise funds for these elderly residents instead of granting them tax abatements.

Anonymous said...

Some not-able-to-swim kids are out in a row-boat in a lake which has a No Swimming sign posted next to it. The boat tips and the kids are in the water yelling for help.

Some holier-than-thou people on shore will let the kids drown because they themselves don't want to break the law by swimming in a posted No Swimming area.

Carol, Jane and the other two selectmen will un-hesitatingly ignore the sign (thus breaking the law) and all swim out to save the kids.

Who do you think the parents of the kids will appreciate and be grateful to?

Anonymous said...

Carol I'm a long time friend of the Cole family and bit my tongue reading your post. I can't hold back anymore.

Your words you posted:

"Then quietly, illegally, with no publicity or public vote, we abated the taxes of those hurting elderly."

You and your cohorts broke the law. You admit it. Hundreds of people are in tough situations now so why don't we break the law for everyone? WHERE DOES IT END?

Your actions are no better than Phil's. Special favors toward some but not all.

IT'S WHAT'S WRONG WITH ATKINSON LEADERS.

They think because have power and it goes to their heads they can apply rules differently. It's got nothing to do with compassion or trying to help people. There are ways to help people and this isn't the right way. You endorse illegal activities to benefit a few but the collective can suffer.

Mark Acciard completely agreed with the post where he stated:

"MAcciard said...
Yo Feb.21@ 11:00am

I stand corrected, My apologies, I did not see that part. While I understand the motivation, there is a process to achieve the same result, and good intentions do not make it any better than the Chiefs violations of law, using the elderly as a beard for his nasty conduct as chief."

I'm not the only person who thinks the behavior you describe must stop in Atkinson. You've unfortunately trashed Jane' memory from my view, albeit an unintended consequence.

Selectmen need to follow all laws all the time without exception. Why don't you just admit it was a bad example, say it doesn't characterize Jane as lawbreaker and move on.

Your inability to do so will only prove what people say about your thick headed, stubborn refusal to look at all sides of a story.

Jane was a great person and a great neighbor. I'll miss her.

Anonymous said...

Tax abatements are voted on in public, with an amount. It's out there.

Anonymous said...

Lots of ppl need help and this town only seems to notice the elderly, many of whom do not need the help.

Our programs are flawed.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen many poor folks in Atkinson. It's a middle to upper middle-class town. Looks like they take confidentiality a little more seriously in liberal Hanover, NH. I think I'll move.

Abatement of taxes due to inability to pay

Under the provisions of RSA 76.16 –“Selectmen or Assessors, for good cause shown, may abate any tax assessed by them or by their predecessors. Any person aggrieved by the assessment of a tax and who has complied with the requirements of RSA 74, may, by March 1 following the date of notice of tax under RSA 76:1-a, and not afterwards, apply in writing to the selectmen or assessors for an abatement of the tax.” Applications of this purpose are available from the Assessing Officials. Confidentiality as to the applicants and the circumstances supporting their request for abatement is considered primary to all Town Officials involved in these applications.

Anonymous said...

How misleading.

"Any person aggrieved by the assessment of a tax and who has complied with the requirements of RSA 74"

Show me where under RSA 74 it says the selectman can grant an abatement of taxes due to financial hardship. You can't because it doesn't allow for it.

Welfare is a very specific provision and rules are set to qualify for it. People don't like the welfare word. Title XII, Chapter 165. Read it.

Carol another one of your divisive statments:

"After all, why should they be buried by school taxes when they had not had a child in the school system for many decades?"

What you state is exactly the type of class warfare hurting Atkinson. Suddenly its not OK to support the schools and pay taxes because you have no kids there?

But for the same people who used to have kids in the schools, it was OK when other seniors paid toward putting their and other people's kids through school by paying local taxes. You can't have it both ways! Do you realize how selfish it sounds?

Two major fundamental flaws in thought process need to be fixed in Atkinson.

1) Follow the law and apply the same set of rules and laws the same way to everyone. If you have financial hardship seek help. It's out there.
2) Stop the class warfare putting seniors against young people fighting over dollars and services. I don't benefit from Elderly Affairs with a $40,000 plus budget, but I don't occupy town hall about it. But the seniors refused to support a $5,000warrant to irrigate the ball fields their grandchildren play on. What's up with that? Where's the logic?

We all live in the same town. You wouldn't think so from the divisive nonsense. If I may requote a previous post,

ME ME ME ME ME ME ME

Sad. Very sad. The seniors lack of a sense of community is apparent and disappointing.

They are not entitled to free services.
They are not entitled not to have to pay taxes.
They vote down warrant articles for kids, which keeps kids off the street, mind you.
If it doesn't benefit the seniors then they are against it regardless of anything else.

You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Jane I'm sorry but I do know you'd understand it has to be said.

Carol Grant said...

First of all, to 3:34, 3:45, and 5:51, how about having the guts to sign your name to your postings, which I tend to suspect is pretty much the same 1 or 2 persons.

To 2:14, if you are "trashed" by something Jane was very proud of, then you obviously were not a friend to or simpatico with her.

I want to make it clear to everyone that the life of Atkinson's elderly of forty+ years ago was in no way like it is for Atkinson's retirement community today. The difference is like night and day.

And if you negative posters can't understand it, then forget it, you never will understand.

Back then when I was a selectwoman and Jane our very compassionate assistant, the elderly in town were a different breed of people.
Most were widows or widowers living alone in old homes, many with very poor insulation qualities. Most of them were financially hurting with hard choices to be made between heating fuel, food, warm clothing and medecine, and home repairs. Most had no phones or cars.

So many of them lived a hand to mouth existence. Tax-paying time was a terrible time for them, dreaded by many who had no real income.

So we, and Jane, did what we could to help them get by. These elderly built the town and now they were very old, alone and hurting. Yes, we did everything we could do to help them without making them have to sacrifice their pride and have to beg for help. And we don't apologize for trying to help them through their rough times.

Today, most of Atkinson's elderly are on pensions, and live in affluent and comfortable 100-250,000 dollar condos with additional fees for special services. There are regular senior luncheons, senior trips, and police chauffeurs to run them around. Most (but not all) can even afford to go south to winter homes in Florida.

Unfortunately, the blog posters listed above have no concept of the total difference in the lives of Atkinson's elderly then and now.

And more sadly, if they did understand how rough Atkinson's seniors of 40-50 years ago had it, I doubt they would have the courage and compassion to do anything about it.
Judging from their posts, sadly, they are definitely not Jane Coles.

Anonymous said...

Carol, too much generalizing on your part.

Not all the Town elderly belong to your today's "Atkinson's retirement community, nor all they all the "same breed of people".

I never had kids in the school system and have had to live hand to mouth. No services for me and you are dead wrong if you think you can justify breaking the law because YOU and Jane think you are justified in your own minds.

Anonymous said...

Everybody note:

Negative blogger 8:35, in going after Grant, did not have the
balls to sign his name and hid behind ''Anonymous'' as he did in his several other negative posts against Grant.
It doesn't matter what the topic is, he's just a Grant hater who pops out of the woodwork on a regular basis -- but never has the balls to sign his own name.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but I did not blog any of the other posts here, just 8:35.

What I have posted is true and not offensive as your post is.

She cannot justify breaking the law. Period, end of my point.

If you want to do your duty, do it the right way.

Anonymous said...

If what you say is correct, Carol, you imply that we no longer need the EA program! They're all rich, globe trotters in large condos, not a care in the world.

Anonymous said...

I am offended for all the seniors who can't get services when they are in need. We need to overhaul the elderly affairs department and put it with someone who doesn't use it against people. It's bad enough that the police are doing it without pushing around the elderly too.

Anonymous said...

Yes the new TA must be in on the conspiracy (sarcasm). You obviously don't know Mr. Innes or his credentials.

Anonymous said...

what are you talking about?