Atkinson Town Hall

Atkinson Town Hall
The Norman Rockwellian picture of Atkinson

There is a NEW POLL at Right--------------------->

Don't forget to VOTE!
Make your voice heard!

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, March 30, 2017

Grosky named Selectmen Chair

ATKINSON — The Atkinson Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to name Selectman Jason Grosky the new chairman of the board Monday night, replacing the recently reelected Harold Morse.
Although Grosky is entering the last year of his first term on the board, it’s not the Salem prosecutor’s first rodeo in a chairman’s seat.
He served as Timberlane Regional School Budget Committee Chairman in 2014.
“I’m honored that my colleagues gave me the opportunity and trusted me in doing this,” Grosky said when reached for comment. “That was very kind of them.”
“Before becoming a selectman, I was chairman on the school budget committee over at Timberlane, which, at different points in time, can have significant upheaval,” he said, noting that he had learned a great deal on the committee.
Selectman Phil Consentino, reelected vice chairman, said he had been slated to become chairman this year, but recused himself from the role for health reasons.
“I turned it down because of my health,” Consentino said. “And I let Grosky take chairman.”
When asked to clarify about his health, Consentino explained that he did not want to leave the board short if he were to be indisposed by illness.
Grosky explained that he does not see a big difference in power between the chairman and the rest of the board.
“The chairman has no more power than any individual member has,” Grosky said, adding that the difference is that he and the town administrator set agendas for each meeting.
“My vote is 20 percent and it is no greater than that or less than that, whether I’m chairman or not,” he said.
He sees the next year as a continuation of providing services with an eye towards keeping costs down.
“As far as the next year, it’s a lot of the same issues that you deal with in town government, trying to make sure that you’re providing the services that your neighbors need, that you’re doing so at a reasonable cost,” Grosky explained.
“Atkinson is known to have a very low tax rate, despite being a community that has very little business base, and that’s definitely our target.”
As to what projects Grosky thinks the board will tackle during his year-long tenure, he pointed to long-running issues facing Atkinson, including adding a cell tower and studying the police station.
“The building of a new cellphone tower at the highest point in town ... that hasn’t been resolved yet,” he said, adding that the access road, High Hill Road, poses problems related to repair and ownership.
“The Atkinson Police Department is in an old, almost one-room school house if you will — it’s nowhere near a modern police station,” Grosky said.
“So those discussions have just started, as to what the needs are going forward,” he added, saying that the time frame is years, rather than months, on big changes.
The headliner event for the year, he noted, has to be this summer’s celebrations for the town’s 250th birthday.
“We’re going to have a great celebration — if there is a headliner for this year it would be that,” Grosky said.
Town Administrator Alan Phair, who works closely with each chairman, said that Grosky will bring new energy to the board.
“I think he’s a bright young man and I think that he’ll bring a lot of energy to the board, not that we haven’t had it in the past, because I thought that (former) chairman Morse did a very good job,” Phair said.
“(Grosky) has got a good background, so I think he’ll do well,” he added.
Grosky himself feels that the opportunity is a good book end to his first term as selectman.
“This is a nice way to wrap up this first full term,” Grosky said.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Really NH????

Bride, 13, was divorced in 4 months

Four months after a judge gave permission for a 17-year-old Newmarket boy to marry his 13-year-old pregnant girlfriend, the girl was back in court - seeking a divorce.

The teens had told the court their religious beliefs compelled them to marry after they found out she was pregnant.

"We are 6-months pregnant, and it is important to us that the baby is born to a set of married parents, as we have been taught by our Southern Baptist church home," they wrote in a marriage petition filed on April 11, 2013, in Dover.

"We know we are young, but with the support of our parents and the congregation, we are committed to bringing our son into a loving and healthy environment."

A state law dating back to 1907 allows girls as young as 13 and boys as young as 14 to marry, with permission of a parent or guardian and approval by the family court.

That remains the law of the land after the House on Thursday effectively killed a bill that would have raised the minimum age for marriage to 18 and eliminated the court review process.

According to state vital records, courts have allowed 810 minors to marry here since 1989. The 13-year-old bride in 2013 is the youngest person granted permission during that period.

A judge from the 7th Circuit Court family division agreed to allow the marriage after a 30-minute hearing on April 24, 2013, in Dover, where the teens appeared with both of their mothers.

In her May 8, 2013, order, Justice Susan Ashley clearly had misgivings. "The initial thought of a 13-year-old getting married weighs heavily against granting this marriage petition," she wrote. "Nevertheless, this very idea is clearly contemplated, and allowable, by the ... statutes."

Ashley noted that the family court only sees the unsuccessful marriages. "To be frank, this court could imagine protecting (the teenagers) from the emotional havoc from 'marrying too young.' Yet, the court also knows all too well that such havoc may ensue whether or not (they) marry each other," she wrote.

Ashley said "trying to protect and guide these two young people is simply not the job of this court; it is the job of their parents."

All four parents had given permission for the teens to marry, she noted, and she cited their "desire to act in accordance with the tenets of their religious instruction" for her decision.

At the hearing, the couple "spoke of their Christian beliefs, which prompt them to take responsibility for their actions and do what is best for their child," the judge wrote. "They believe that their child should be born to married parents, as a symbol of their commitment to each other and their child."

The couple's baby boy was born on Aug. 3, 2013, according to court documents.

On Sept. 20, the girl, who had turned 14, filed a petition for divorce, citing "infidelity and domestic abuse" as the cause. The following January, she filed a motion to amend the petition, changing the cause to "irreconcible differences" (sic).

The divorce was granted on Jan. 9, 2014.

Efforts to reach the teenagers and their parents last week were unsuccessful.

Judge Edwin Kelly, administrative judge of the circuit court, said the judge's order in the 2013 case makes it clear she was concerned about the girl's young age.

But, he said, "it's pretty hard to say no when you've got a statute staring you in the face saying yes.

"Despite the fact it is 100 years old, it wasn't changed on the date that this case was heard. A statute in most cases will create a presumption that it's OK."

Rep. Jacalyn Cilley, D-Barrington, was the prime sponsor of House Bill 499, which would have raised the legal age of marriage to 18. She said the House vote to "indefinitely postpone" the bill last week was "devastatingly disappointing."

Her original bill would have raised the marriage age to 18, but allowed teens aged 16 or 17 to petition for court approval. The House Children and Family Law Committee amended it to remove the judicial review, and voted 11-0 to recommend it "ought to pass."

On Thursday, however, five members of that committee, including its chairman, Kimberly Rice, R-Hudson, and vice chairman, Daniel Itse, R-Fremont, voted to indefinitely postpone the bill.

Opponents argued that such a law would prevent young service members from marrying their teenage sweethearts before deployment, depriving them of family benefits.

The motion to postpone passed 179-168.

Watching from the House gallery on Thursday was Cassandra Levesque, a 17-year-old senior at Dover High School.

She began researching the effects of child marriage two years ago as part of her work on advocacy for her Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting. It was Levesque who approached Cilley about sponsoring the legislation; she also testified before the committee.

After the House limited debate on the bill and then voted to kill it, Levesque said, she was "a little bit discouraged."

"But then I took a breather and said, I'm not going to give up. I'm going to keep fighting for this bill and this cause," she said.

Levesque said the argument that it would harm military members isn't accurate. "I'm from a military family," she said. "Getting married, when you're in the military, that young is not a good start."

Changing the marriage age is a policy matter that is up to the Legislature, Judge Kelly said, noting the current law "is pretty wide open."

But here's his perspective: "On the one hand, if you were to ask people what's the youngest age at which someone should get married, I doubt they would say 13 and 14."

However, he said, "I do think whatever system we have ought to maintain flexibility for special circumstances and put someone who is neutral in the middle to make that determination, which is the role of the court."

Cilley said she won't give up on changing the law, but the House vote to indefinitely postpone means it cannot take up similar legislation for two years.

"That drove a stake through the heart of this bill," she said.