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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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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.


Anonymous said...

And Phil says "Congratuations, Mr. Gross Key
And Jason says " Thanks, Mr. Con Stench Teen O

Fun guys

Thanks for your service! Gentlemen

Anonymous said...

If they voted unanimously for Grosky, why is the Conman say he turned it down? Sounds like he got no votes. Reminds me of the time he got fired and then he tried to retire.

Anonymous said...

Another secret meeting to discuss how the votes should go I gather.

Anonymous said...

BRENTWOOD — A former Atkinson town official is considering appealing her conviction a second time after a Superior Court jury found her guilty of repeatedly lying to police by falsely accusing her neighbors of threatening behavior.

Joyce Lafrance, 61, of Granite Ridge Road was convicted of four counts of making false reports to law enforcement following a District Court trial in October. She appealed her conviction at the superior court level, and following a two-day trial in early February, was convicted of the crimes again.

"We're considering all our options," said Lafrance's attorney, Rick Lehmann. "I anticipate an appeal."

"The whole situation has been very difficult and serious for her. ... She maintains her innocence," Lehmann said.

According to court documents, Lafrance — who served on the Atkinson Conflict of Interest Committee for several years before she resigned in March 2014 — called police on several occasions in November 2014 to allege that her neighbor was making loud noises and threatening her. On at least one occasion she told police he had fired a gun and "yelled out her name."

Atkinson police charged a neighbor with disorderly conduct as a result of Lafrance's complaints twice. Lehmann said his client has a restraining order against that man.

After receiving constant complaints, the Police Department investigated by having an officer monitor the alleged noisemaker's home overnight. The officer testified she heard no noise coming from the home.

Lafrance has already begun the appeals process with her lawyer. On Feb. 14, Lehmann filed three motions, asking the court to set aside the guilty verdict, order a new trial, and allow for post-trial discovery so Lafrance could subpoena three police officers to testify.

Each motion was denied by Judge Andrew Schulman on Feb. 27.

Lafrance sought first to secure a new trial by alleging that Chief Al Brackett of the Atkinson Police Department had committed perjury in his testimony when he said Lafrance called the department "every day" and complained about "all" of Atkinson's officers.

The state argued that such concerns should have been remedied during cross examination at trial.

"If the defendant thought that the chief's statements were inaccurate, he (Lafrance's attorney) had the opportunity to cross examine Chief Brackett and did so quite vigorously," wrote Assistant County Attorney Melissa Fales. "Here, the defendant never objected to the chief's testimony, did not move to strike the chief's testimony and never even cross examined the chief regarding what he not contends is false testimony."

Schulman agreed Brackett did not commit perjury and denied the motion.

He also denied Lafrance's motion to have the verdict set aside because, as she said, "the jury's verdict in this case was contrary to the weight of the evidence." As an example, Lafrance noted that one of the prosecution's witnesses could not remember if he was 6 feet tall or 6 feet and 3 inches, casting doubt on his reliability.

Lafrance also sought post-trial discovery because she subpoenaed three police officers to the trial, but they did not receive the subpoenas before the trial ended.

The state and Schulman disregarded this because the subpoenas were delivered to the sheriff just one day before the trial began. The addresses listed on the paperwork were those of the stations where the officers worked, and the three were not working when the deputy sheriff attempted to deliver the subpoenas.

"The defendant should have attempted service prior to jury selection, when the trial was scheduled to begin the next day, and last only a few days," Schulman wrote.

Fales, the prosecutor, said she was "happy with the results" of the second trial.

"False reports, we take them seriously because they take police and first responder resources away from ... people who are actually in need of services," Fales said

Anonymous said...

Sound like her attorney sucks or she is lying. A simple phone statement of the Atkinson pd or hers would prove "calls every day". Lot's of other "holes" in both sides statements. The 6' or 6'3" tall is a reach. Seems like a waste of taxpayers money from both sides,again.

Anonymous said...

It was a waste of taxpayer money but hey, the Atkinson PD was pushing this case even though the county didn't want to touch it. Politically motivated prosecution. All the witnesses who did hear things weren't called and weren't interviewed by APD. It could happen to you!

Anonymous said...

Spero to lead board at Timberlane, New leader elected 5-4

PLAISTOW – The Timberlane Regional School Board convened Thursday night for the first time since the election, welcoming two new members whose votes tipped the scales in a 5-4 decision to choose a new chairman.

The board’s new leader, Chairman Greg Spero of Atkinson, presided over the reorganization meeting as some members questioned the school district’s current practices.

The bloc that supported Spero for chairman over Plaistow member Sue Sherman included newly elected members Kim Farah of Danville and Brian Boyle of Atkinson, along with returnees Donna Green of Sandown, Stefanie Dube of Danville and Spero himself.

Sherman received the support of Dan Guide and Peter Bealo of Plaistow and Kelly Ward of Sandown.

Farah was elected vice chairman over Guide by the same members –– a group that remained together on several resolutions the board considered.

Dube, who nominated Spero for chairman, described it not as a preplanned bloc but a group based on “like-mindedness.”

“Especially with the new members, I think the towns said we’re ready for some different people,” she said.

Both Farah and Boyle were direct and to the point with their introductions as new members.

“I’m glad to be here — I thank the voters of Danville for electing me and I will do my best in serving the town along with the district,” Farah said.

“I’m looking to work with fellow board members and do my best to make things happen,” Boyle said, thanking Atkinson voters.

As the board took on reappointments to district positions such as treasurer, clerk and board secretary, discussion of the district’s practices on litigation and legal counsel came to the fore.

Farah asked Timberlane Superintendent Earl Metzler, who serves as the district’s legal counsel, whether there are any outstanding lawsuits.

“We use the counsel that’s most appropriate based on the case,” Metzler said, before reiterating that response several times during the conversation.

A motion to recommend the superintendent seek legal counsel when necessary would be altered by the end of discussion to have the district choose one specific “counsel of record and involve the board more in deciding on how to respond to litigation.”

“The board is asking how many cases we have pending and we cannot get an answer… .This is exactly why we should not be authorizing this motion before us,” Green, who has sued the district several times, said of the motion before it was amended.

Bealo took issue with her seeking an amendment for the board to have prior approval on how the district responds to lawsuits.

“I find it ironic that someone who has actually filed suit several times against the district now makes a motion to be part of the decision in who should defend the district against potentially her next lawsuit,” said Bealo, who served as chairman until the meeting. “I just find that very odd.”

Boyle also advocated strongly for the use of one specific counsel, adding that he believed the district should be more forthcoming with the board when Timberlane is involved in litigation.

“Quite frankly, it sounds like you’re making a fantastic argument that the Timberlane school district should have a counsel of record,” Boyle said at one point to new Business Administrator Geoffrey Dowd.

Farah asked that Metzler update the board during the next nonpublic session.

Board members also discussed several other resolutions, with Green introducing at least one amendment concerning internal auditing practices.

Before the end of the reorganization, Sherman mentioned the need for public discussion of committee roles as opposed to the previous approach in which the chairman assigned committee seats.

“In the past … you would email the chair and he would take your considerations on what you’d like to be on, and the chair would put you on the committees and let everyone know,” Sherman said.

“I think there were people who wanted to get on committees who didn’t get on committees,” she said. “Everything should be in public that we can do in public.”

Anonymous said...

How can our superintendent not know what lawsuits are filed against the district? Of course he knows. What a great way to start off with new board members. It's not going to go well folks. I don't need a PHD to make the prediction. I hope our new chairman Mr. Sperro does better than the last guy.

Anonymous said...

HELLO MR MODERATOR - Why aren't posting articles about all the school board controversy?? Major news impacting Atkinson and the school board is in an uproar with Spero resigning under mysterious and strange circumstances. Very weird he is chairman one week and resigned the next. The lack of reporting on a topic very important to town taxpayers makes me wonder if there is censorship going on here which makes me wonder even more who the blogmaster is. Not that I really care its things that make you go hmmmm?

Anonymous said...

The story is in the newspaper. Criminal threatening over a water pistol? Give me a break. Bracket is an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Read the article. More than a squirt gun. Note was attached that was threatening. Clarify who is the idiot now.

Anonymous said...

If soneone was buying him a kevlar vest, it was to protect him. An enemy would not do that.

Anonymous said...

If someone is trying to protect him with a vest that must mean there is a valid threat to be concerned with. Why would he need a Kevlar vest if there is no threat?

Anonymous said...

the squirt gun indicates a joke.

Anonymous said...

The note indicates a threat big time. Squirt gun adds to the threat because of the note. You need to know the facts. Perhaps you are an attorney. I am not.

Anonymous said...

Different, but related subject: The BOS is going to take a look at the police station. May I offer an alternative. Where I grew up most of what the town administration does is handled at the county level. Wonder why your property taxes are so high? Part of it is a duplication of services by every town. In this case, the police. There is no reason a town the size of Atkinson should have its own police force. Merging APD with Plaistow makes economic sense. We already pay for Plaistow dispatch services. Merging with Plaistow would eliminate the need for a new or renovated police station (at our expense), increase the economies of scale giving the combined force improved purchasing power, reduce the level of turnover because many APD officers see the APD as only a stepping stone, eliminate duplication of staff, and reduce the negative influence certain town officials have on the department.

Under such a plan Atkinson would have a say in how the town is covered. Property taxes in this town are outrageous and a heavy burden on those with fixed incomes. It is time for the town fathers look for ways to combine certain functions with neighboring towns.

BTW - Same holds true for the library. Again, where I grew up it was a county library system. And, wouldn't it be nice to have a tax collector whose job wouldn't be compromised by all their other responsibilities.

Finally, a note to users of this forum. Did you know your IP address can be directly tied to your home address. Did you also know the moderator(s) have access to the IP addresses of the users of this forum. Personally, not knowing who the moderator is, I don't want him/her stalking my home. To shield my identity here I use a VPN service. If the moderator checks he will see this entry coming from India. It could also come from one of any 20 other countries. Good luck driving past that location. Just a word to the wise.

Mark Acciard said...

Traditionally, the compiling of information on citizens, in Atkinson, has been done by Phil Consentino, a la J. Edgar Hoover, abusing the authority of his office, never by the moderators of this blog, or it's predecessor. However tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer, and town insurers money has been spent trying to identify the moderators of this blog and its predecessor.

THAT should concern you Mr. VPN

Anonymous said...

If you think using a VPN is going to protect your identity or location, I have a nice piece of land for sale cheap. I just can't wait for our tax bills with the new increase for our wonderful school. A nice new police station will put the frosting on the cake.

Anonymous said...

4:31- I don't think the "moderator" is going to respond! I heard the went to jail for 10 days!! Maybe they will get good time.

Anonymous said...

I heard that the crazy cat lady is trying to sell house????

"Nice quiet cul-de-sac" haha. Tell that to the judge!

Anonymous said...

Who is this crazy cat lady? I'm looking for a house and don't want any crazy people near me.

Anonymous said...

anyone can get the police report. I think you all will be very surprised.

Anonymous said...

There's a police report saying who the crazy cat lady is? Wow! This needs to be published.

Anonymous said...

"False reports, we take them seriously because they take police and first responder resources away from ... people who are actually in need of services," Fales said

Anonymous said...

How quickly we forget when the police made constant traffic stops, smearing a man's business, harassing his family to the point of them packing up and leaving, using town's resources to electioneer and defend his actions that were very illegal FOR YEARS against many others. What about that taking " first responder resources away" from the towns residence. I trust this PD as far as I can throw them.

Anonymous said...

Time to drink some mouth wash, Hiccup !!!

Anonymous said...

The Atkinson Police impersonator spotted in Walmart. He was driving a white pickup with a cap sporting a Hilltop Cattle Farm logo. Partial plate "chief". Wearing an APD jacket. Described as old bald and sickly. Put out the APB. He's been identified.

Anonymous said...

5:27 be very careful making false statements.... I heard you could get thrown in jail for that. Even shit canned from your job. Maybe even barred from the town all together.

Anonymous said...

Unless your a cop

Anonymous said...

It's been said the Metzler's are good tires but expensive and when over- inflated, they get
Squirrly and eventually blow up. A safer more dependable tire might just be the answer, cheaper and
more reliable when the road heats up...

Anonymous said...

HE knows the new School Board is about to poke holes in his yacht
and he's bailing but it's been a good family gig, better than our last...

Anonymous said...

Just to change the above subject.... The tick problem could be less a worry than what it is now and in our future if we petition the state to stop bird hunting for a year or so and still allow deer hunting as it is now. Turkey and other ground eating birds eat most every insect they see and that includes all the varieties of ticks.

Anonymous said...

It is believed widely that if you have a large turkey flock roaming your property regularly, there are probably fewer ticks than there would be otherwise. But Louis A. Magnarelli, the entomologist and director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station says that “there are normal seasonal and annual variations in populations of ticks that are caused by many factors.'' He explained “In my opinion, it would be a stretch to say that turkeys are controlling ticks or are responsible for low populations of ticks.''

Anonymous said...

Go and get an opossum to live at your property. They devastate the ticks. Birds not so much.

Anonymous said...

Any relief from dreaded ticks is welcome. 6:04 @ 5:09 Turkeys aren't the only bird that eats off the ground or that which is nearby on bushes trees and other growth within reach . I feel it is a good suggestion to reduce the tick population by calling off bird season and allowing the deer kill to go on as it is now and can include Moose as well. JMHO

Anonymous said...

5:12, You best get more sleep time in. A joke is a joke but this is a serious matter of health and every ones concerns.

Anonymous said...

Then why oh why did we place a clock in the center of Town

Plenty of ticks in that thing..... Pretty though...

LIons, we in the community salute you....

Anonymous said...

You now have the distinction of being a jerk along with other jerk , nut cases , etc. within the town. Congratulations!!!!!

Anonymous said...

6:26 Get off your stupid ass and do some research! Possums are the top tick predator you idiot!

Anonymous said...

There isn't enough living area with in our own living areas for possums to make any difference in tick control. If we did then the possums wouldn't be as numerous as are squirrels are now. There is no way possum[s]can kill off enough ticks as would a good pest control bought most any where for you to use.

Anonymous said...

I use bug-b-gone maxx. No ticks, no turkeys.

Anonymous said...

PLAISTOW — A former Atkinson town official was found guilty Monday of repeatedly lying to police by falsely accusing her neighbors of disorderly conduct in 2014.

Joyce LaFrance, 60, of Granite Ridge Road was convicted on four counts of making false reports to law enforcement during her trial in 10th Circuit Court in Plaistow.

LaFrance served on the Atkinson Conflict of Interest Committee for several years but resigned in March 2014. She was arrested nine months later on six counts of making false reports to law enforcement.

It was not immediately clear Monday when the two additional charges against LaFrance were dropped, but she faced only four counts at trial.

LaFrance called police to complain about her neighbors on Nov. 13, Nov. 20, Nov. 21 and Nov. 26, according to court documents.

Police received all the calls in the early morning, most between 4 and 7 a.m. One call came between 2:30 and 10 a.m.

All of the false reports LaFrance was charged with making were made against a single individual, whom LaFrance's lawyer said she had a restraining order against.

But Atkinson Police Chief Albert Brackett said LaFrance complained constantly about her neighbors.

"Since I've been the chief here ... there have been ongoing, constant complaints coming from her residence about her neighbors," he said. "Early 2014 up until November, when she ended up getting charged, I was receiving constant communication, emails and calls from her."

LaFrance called police Nov. 13, 2014, to report that her neighbor had fired a gun and "yelled out her name." In the other complaints, she accused the same neighbor of setting off fireworks or other loud explosions, or simply making "loud noises."

Despite the constant calls, Brackett said the majority of the complaints were unfounded.

Atkinson police charged a neighbor with disorderly conduct as a result of LaFrance's complaints twice. On a third occasion, police issued a citation for violating the town's noise ordinance.

LaFrance was ordered to have no contact with the neighbor named in the complaints and was fined $2,000 for each charge. The fines will be suspended for a year on the condition LaFrance not be charged with any felonies, misdemeanors or major motor vehicle violations in that time.

LaFrance directed inquiries to her lawyer, Rick Lehmann, who said she maintains her innocence and is likely to appeal the conviction.

"There were a lot of limits put on the evidence that the court was willing to receive. That's not unusual in district court trials, but there's a long, long history between her and the complaining witness here," Lehmann said. "She had gotten a restraining order against him at some point ... during the time this was all happening."

"She has a right to appeal, to take this to a jury of appeals rather than having a judge decide her case and that is a right she is likely to exercise," Lehmann added.

Brackett assigned an officer to investigate LaFrance's claims in November 2014. That officer found "absolutely no evidence" that LaFrance's complaints were warranted, Brackett said.

"I can't explain why she was making those calls. She has had a longstanding problem in her neighborhood" since 2009, Brackett added. "Unfortunately, this case has been dragged out for the last two years and we're really happy to have a resolution

Anonymous said...

At first I thought she had a good reason to complain but as time went on she needs to see a shrink and stop harassing our PD and cluttering up the courts with her gibberish.

Anonymous said...

Joyce LaFrance said,

It doesn't matter what you thought. I'm innocent of these charges and I'll continue to defend myself until the truth is made public.

Moreover, I didn't clutter up the court, Fiset and Lyons, the two Laurie cops who launched a phony investigation against me are responsible. Officer Paige Booth Baril took point and arrested me. Booth testified that she never investigated the scene, couldn't even recall where she was on three occasions.

I have recordings of what I reported and other recordings not yet heard.

I don't need to see a shrink but maybe you should see an Attorney before you defame me again.

Evidently by your own remarks you saw merit in my complaints. How so? The general public doesn't see this unpublished information. No logs are made public, heck the APD even refused to provide the police reports they used to falsely arrest me. Yep, because the reports are evidence of an ongoing ignored problem.