Hudson-Litchfield News

Bernard Has Arrived!

by R. Rodgers

Alvirne High School’s Veterinarian Technology Instructor Betsy Craig proudly announced the birth of Bernard the newest addition to the donkey family at Alvirne.  “We are going to call him ‘Bernie’ for short,” said Craig.  “He was born on May 14 at 4:00 a.m. weighing 30 pounds, he has big brown eyes and his coloring is like his mother Sally.”  Sally and Alby were purchased in the summer of 2003 by the Alvirne Trustees.  Bernie is the fifth donkey to reside at the Alvirne farm.  When Sally was sent to be artificially inseminated, Iris took her place to accompany Alby.  At that time she was pregnant and “Wally” was born on August 24, 2004.  Now all five donkeys are in residence at the farm.  You may visit them during the day if you stop by the barn.

Bernard got his name from a Hudson First grader.  Last week all of the Hudson first graders visited Alvirne to plant their “Graduation Christmas Tree” with the agricultural students.  Each child was asked to pick a name for the baby and from those suggestions Bernard was chosen.  In a program designed by Rick Martineau all of the Hudson first graders plant a tree and when they graduate from Alvirne the trees will be sold as a fundraiser for the senior class.  Martineau has won several awards for this innovative program. 

The donkeys have the same bone structure as horses, but are smaller and easier to manage; this enables students to learn valuable lessons in the horse industry which is a viable agricultural enterprise that adds millions of dollars to the US economy.  It is the goal of the Equine Department to have a breeding program at Alvirne and offer donkeys for sale.  Currently the oldest donkey Alby (3) is being trained to “drive” the process that teaches the donkey to pull a cart.


Activists Protest Treatment of Illegals

by Len Lathrop

Hudson Police Chief Richard Gendron had many visitors on Monday, May 23 at 2:00 p.m.  State Representative David Bulhman had a delegation of Representatives including Andrew Renzullo, Lynne Ober, Jordan Ulery, and Ralph Boehm, all who represent Hudson, Litchfield, and Pelham; and Representative Lee Slocum of Amherst to Constitution Drive to present Chief Gendron with a commendation from the House Immigration Caucus for his dedication to his oath of office by applying the Laws of the State of New Hampshire to those who are in this country illegally.

While the presentation was occurring inside, outside the Police Station a group of approximately 30 people were gathering led by Representative Hector M. Velez (D-Manchester) who would present the Chief at about 2:30 with a petition with over 200 signatures.  The letter, which Velez read, chastised Gendron for “unjust, unconstitutional denials of human rights.”  “Everyone in the United States of America, regardless of immigration status, is entitled to equal protection under our Nation’s laws.”  The activists carried signs to stop racial profiling which was the third paragraph in the protest petition which Velez read as, “Those who are most likely to come under police scrutiny under such politics would be people whose complexion is dark, who speak languages other than English, and who were born in other countries, regardless of immigration status.”

Tuesday’s gathering was a result of the decision made by New Ipswich, New Hampshire Police Chief W. Garrett Chamberlain on April 15 when a Mexican man was arrested for driving without a license after his car broke down, who then was charged with criminal trespass for being in the country illegally.  On May 10, Hudson police cited two illegal immigrants on charges of criminal trespass, who were stopped for driving with a broken headlight.  The pair, Sergio Robles Ruiz and Margarito Jaramillo Escobar, two Mexican nationals, did not have valid drivers’ licenses and no documentation to prove there were in the country legally.

When Representative Velez finished his read, he invited members of the group, who called themselves a Human Rights Caravan, who also carried signs with messages like, “No human Being is Illegal”, “Undocumented immigrants pay taxes, is that illegal?”, and “You can’t trespass on public property”. 

In support of New Ipswich Chief Chamberlain and Hudson Chief Gendron, Bob Miller of Franklin carried a sign “thank you Chief, send illegals back home.”

Before leaving the Hudson Police Station, Mark Mackenzie, who identified himself as President of New Hampshire AFL-CIO stated, “All people who come here should be protected.”  “We are representing communities across the state and don’t want the message sent that this is what New Hampshire is all about.”


Connecting the Dots on Hudson’s Master Plan – Part 1

by Karen High

By definition, the master plan of any community is a fluid document, ever-changing and moving, and likely a town’s most comprehensive guiding force.  New Hampshire’s Revised Statutes Annotated states the master plan’s primary purpose as “a tool of the Planning Board, as a framework to guide development within the town.”  The master plan should also per the statute’s General Statement “highlight the wishes, desires and aspirations of the members of the community about growth and development.”

The master planning process evolves through a cycle.  To ensure that various sections of the plan are internally consistent, statutes specifying certain components to be updated are reviewed and recommendations are made to revise.  If the components reflect land use and development changes during the same timeframe, then the entire master plan is reviewed for revision.

Hudson’s master plan was last updated in 1996, according to Community Development Director Sean Sullivan.

With the “recommendation of revision every 5 to 10 years” per state statute, the planning board realized in 2000, Sullivan says, that it was time to update.  The Nashua Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) was thus hired by the town of Hudson to begin the “comprehensive rewrite” of the plan.  Together, the two offices have met “diligently for three years” to work on the project.  When asked about the plan in late February, Sullivan reported that the “final draft version” was in-process.

One unnamed source reported around this time that the master plan update project was “not doing well.”  The NRPC, a “quasi-government” agency, was paid $30,000 for a plan that was “boiler plated.”  According to this source, the NRPC “copied” another town’s (Epping’s) plan and didn’t have the staff to finish what had been started.  It was reported that the plan had been “sent back twice” and the source asked a moot question:  Will they refund the town’s money?

A master plan, among other things, determines a goal through committee meetings, et cetera visualized by the community it serves.  One problem with Hudson’s plan seemed to be that there was no “capitalized plan” in progress back in February and early March.  In laymen’s terms, this amounted to the “cost of doing business” relative to vital concerns, like proposed intersections, for example:  did they fit into the master plan?, being stonewalled in the town of Hudson.  At the same time, the so-called “impact fee,” which a builder pays to the town, was an unknown variable.  The fee needs to be set to help mitigate expenses for the town’s new roads or improvements made on schools, for example.

A public record, the master plan includes, per RSA 91-A, various “required sections” impacting a broad scope of areas.  Land Use; Transportation; Community Facilities; Economic Development; Recreation; Utility and Public Service, Cultural and Historic Resources; and Neighborhood Planning are all part of Hudson‘s master plan.

According to Sullivan, the document has most impact as an aid in designing ordinances.

The NRPC states:  “A Master Plan is necessary before a zoning ordinance may be adopted.”  (Source: http://www.nashuarpc.org/landuse/hudsonmp.htm).

Such ordinances are the regulations and statutes by which the town can put into effect the plan’s “principles of smart growth, sound planning and wise resource protection,” resulting in “enhancing the unique quality of life and culture of New Hampshire” (NHP Land Use Planning & Zoning).

At the town’s most recent planning board workshop on Wednesday, May 3, the NRPC was scheduled to present changes to the master plan, a “brand new update.”

Howard Dilworth, Jr. represents the town of Hudson on the NRPC.  A forty-year resident of Hudson, Dilworth is also chairman of the town’s budget committee.  Although appointed by selectmen, Dilworth’s position as treasurer (elected by NRPC commission) puts him on the NRPC executive board.  Dilworth has followed the process of the master plan re-write, because of its use as the base document for planning purposes in the town.

“The Master Plan is supposed to generate the Capital Improvement Plan---the CIP---used by selectmen as they recommend capital improvements to a community,” he points out.  It is the tool by which “you can levy impact fees” relative to building a house, for example, or towards roads, schools, libraries, and sometimes the recreation department, adds Dilworth.

In 1960, Dilworth explains, Hudson had a master plan which became obsolete by 1965.  This was due to the population growth of the town---the largest percentage increase was from 1960-1970---when Hudson went from 10,000 inhabitants to a community of nearly 15,000.  Another plan in 1980 evolved via a series of meetings, where “about 50 residents brainstormed” their ideas, the town acting as a “sounding-board” well before the plan was written.  An update followed in 1987, when the Community Facilities chapter was added.

As stated, it was 1996 when the master plan was officially updated by the NRPC, hired by Hudson.  Hudson’s town planner, according to Dilworth, only had time for a site-plan review---“lean stuff,” he adds.

Hudson again contracted with the NRPC in 2001, after the 2000 Census data, at which time Dilworth suggested to the planning board that the master plan retain its “living document” status, by asking questions such as:  “Do prices (i.e. “impact fees”) per year reflect the Census update, relative to housing and transportation?”

Dilworth clearly was one of the first people “not happy” with the plan.  He says disagreements ensued at the planning board.  Selectmen listened to his opinions only “sometimes.”  He refers to the selectman’s minutes online and their “goal-setting workshop” comments:  Hudson Board of Selectmen Goals Workshop, April 5, 2005

Master Plan—Selectman Maddox said this is a document that is supposed to reflect where they see Hudson heading.  The Planning Board has been working on this for a number of years with NRPC.  He believes that the Board of Selectmen, Conservation and the Townspeople all need to be involved in the final product because this is the document developers will look at when they plan a project.  What is the Board’s goal on land use?  Keep open space?  In previous Master Plans, Town offices were going to be located on Constitution Drive.  Obviously, whoever wrote that wasn’t on the Board of Selectmen.

Dilworth compares Hudson’s Master Plan to “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” stating flatly, “You’re not getting what you’re paying for.” 

   As Karen continues this series, many other citizens will voice their opinion. 

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