Standing Room Only for Police Swearing Ceremonies and Life Saving Commendation Award Ceremony
by Doug Robinson
“They have our instant trust,” commented Selectman Kathleen MacLean as a standing room only crowd watched the promotion of Lieutenant Jason Lavoie to the rank of Captain, the swearing in ceremonies of Hudson’s two newest Police Officers, and the honoring of two of Hudson’s finest, as they were presented with the Life Saving Commendation.
Following an invocation by Reverend David Howe, Hudson Police Chaplin, Chief Richard Gendron stated “that today was a very proud day for the Hudson Police Department. Today marks a very important point in these officer’s careers. The oaths that these officers take today are a promise to uphold the laws of this country, state, and town. You will witness today their commitment to uphold your trust and confidence in the daily performance of their awesome duties and responsibilities.”
Lieutenant Jason Lavoie was promoted from the rank of Lieutenant to Captain. Captain Lavoie was born and raised in Hudson. After graduating from Alvirne High School, Captain Lavoie attended Plymouth State College where he majored in Criminal Justice and received his Batchelor’s degree. Captain Lavoie joined the Hudson Police Department in 1991 and was hired by Chief Gendron.
Captain Lavoie attended Command Level Training at Babson College and received Leadership Training from the Massachusetts Police Leadership Institute. He is certified to instruct in the use of firearms, taser and defensive tactics.
Lavoie’s new responsibilities involve all support services including the hiring and the training of new police officers. “He possesses all the qualities we look for,” stated Chief Gendron. “He cares about the quality of policing and Jay is committed to the department’s philosophy of daily policing.”
Hudson’s two newest police officers, Recruit Officer Patrick McStravick and Recruit Officer Alan Marcotte accepted their oath’s of office as administered by Selectman Shawn Jasper.
Chief Gendron commended both recruits for “selecting a very challenging and rewarding career. Thank you for selecting the Hudson Police Department. Both officers did very well through the entire selection process. These officers tested with well over 145 applications. They went through extensive testing processes that not too many would pass. You are looking at the two very best we have seen in a very long time.”
Recruit Officer Marcotte graduated from Alvirne High School in 1999, and received a Bachelors Degree from the University of Honolulu in criminal justice. He was previously employed as a police officer in Plymouth, New Hampshire and attended the 137th New Hampshire Police Academy. During the graduation ceremonies, Marcotte was presented with the Motivation Award. According to Chief Gendron, the award is selected by the recruits to be given out to the recruit “who goes out of his way to assist others. He is definitely a team player.”
The Chief of Police in Plymouth, New Hampshire referred to Marcotte as “I will call you a year from now and you will tell me that Alan is one of the best police officers you have hired.” Marcotte stated that working for his hometown police department “was a dream come true.”
Recruit Officer Patrick McStravick attended Quincy College where he received an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice. He served five years in the U. S. Army as a Military Police Officer. McStravick also served in Kosovo, Macedonia, Croatia, and served two tours in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. McStravick’s supervisors used the words ”team player, dedicated, compassionate, loyal, go-to-guy, and fast learner” when defining McStravick’s abilities and strengths. Chief Gendron stated, “I am sure I speak for everyone in this room, I thank you for serving in the United States Army and protecting our freedoms.”
When asking McStravick how he felt about joining the Hudson Police Department, he stated “Those two tours paid off. I have been dreaming of this day to come for a very long time.”
Chief Gendron then called to the front of the Ann Seabury room, Master Patrol Officer James Stys and Master Patrol Officer Daniel Dolan in preparation for them to receive the Hudson Police Departments “Life Saving Commendation Award.”
Gendron stated, “During the evening of March 23, 2006, both Officers Dolan and Stys were radio dispatched to a vehicle crash on Route 111. Upon their arrival, they were informed the driver of the vehicle was unresponsive, and not breathing. The officers immediately assessed the situation checking for vital signs and were unable to detect an active pulse. They determined that the accident victim (Alice Trudel) was ‘coded’ and immediately engaged the automated external defibrillator (AED) and administered two shocks to bring Trudel back to life.”
“After the incident, the Officers packed up their equipment, and returned to their patrol duties without any fanfare,” continued Gendron. Subsequently, the hospital called the Hudson Police Department and commended the officers for saving Trudel’s life. After a brief stay in the hospital, Trudel recovered from her injuries and was here (in the audience) to present the officers with their awards.”
“The stars had to be aligned that day,” stated Chief Richard Gendron. “Officer Dolan is our instructor of first aid, and you could not have picked a better person to be on that job. And I can tell you, Jim Stys’ mother is in the medical field, along with his father. Jim has picked up a lot from his parents.”
In recognition of their quick action and experience, Stys and Dolan were presented with the “Life Saving Commendation Award.”
Resident Woes at Shepherd’s Hill Development: ‘Buyers Beware!’
Editors Note: Upon receiving a letter to the editor recently about some complaints at the Shepherd’s Hill development off Kimball Hill Road in Hudson, the Hudson-Litchfield News did some follow-up investigations. While this article addresses concerns uncovered among many Shepherd’s Hill residents, a related upcoming Hudson-Litchfield News article, The Broader Impact of Shepherd’s Hill to Hudson, will assess some of the past controversies and future implications to our community of the up to 400-unit development. Hopefully, the Hudson-Litchfield News will also get some response from the Shepherd’s Hill trio (the developer, condo association, and site management firm) and further thoughts from Hudson’s leaders and community development team.
by Maureen Gillum
What began as a single, recent letter to the editor, ended up exposing wide spread concerns among residents at the 68.1 acre Shepherd’s Hill development in Hudson, still under active construction.
One Shepherd’s Hill owner/occupant, Paul Finn, a professional man in his late 40s from Worcester Massachusetts, moved into the Hudson development in May 2005. “As I told my realtor (Bonnie Gravel, Prudential Realty, Nashua) at our very first meeting, I wanted a condo viewed as ‘luxury’ with suitable landscaping,” explains Paul, “based on the model units, limited availability of the larger unit, and promises made of ‘world-class landscaping,’ and quality construction, I went for it.” He closed on his “larger” 2,000+ square foot two-bedroom, two-car garage upgraded unit at 70B Shadowbrook Drive for more than $298,000 in April 2005.
In good faith, Mr. Finn expected the developer, Shepherd’s Hill Development Co. LLC, led by Ernest J. Thibeault, III and his staff at Thibeault Corporation of N.E., to make good on their pre-sales promises, including landscape work and final paving. “In hindsight, I should not have finished until the development was completely finished,” admits Paul, but he was lured to buy his larger Comdex building as he was told “it was the only one of four (16 units) approved by the town to be built; imagine my surprise when two more (32 in all) larger units began going up.” Finn details that he was also told plans of the landscaping included lining the streets with trees; sod, irrigation and plantings/bushes at every unit; and high-end retaining walls to address the development’s steep pitches and mitigate land erosion and water run-off.
Fifteen months later, most of the promises remain unfulfilled and many additional issues have arisen. Extensive erosion damage exists, largely caused by poor or inadequate landscape – unsightly rock and bark mulch (much of which runs off) was haphazardly dumped instead of building proper retaining walls or drainage; faulty irrigation systems and poor maintenance caused what little sod and plantings that were provided to severely wilt or die. Other things Finn has encountered include major heating and cooling problems (faulty duct work); “bubbled” and detached siding; dangerous sidewalks and road holes; incomplete paving; paint troubles (peeling, unprimed, rusting); and other warranty issues with construction.
For more than a year, Finn’s inquiries, complaints, and pleas have fallen on deaf ears with little response or action from either the developer, the newly formed condo association, or even the management firm they’ve hired, Harvard Management Solutions, Inc. He made numerous phone calls, took pictures, and wrote e-mails. He even looked into retaining a lawyer (for $3,500), but they advised him to drop it, as the developers would simply “promise to address the issues” in court. Citing the final pavement coat they’ve promised since May 2005, Paul shares, “they never say they won’t do it, it’s just a matter of when; it’s become a war of attrition.”
Bottom-line, “While I paid for and expected a luxury condo development,” said Paul disappointedly, “in reality, what I got looks more like a low-cost city housing project.” He describes his scenario as “being caught in a frustrating circle of finger pointing,” where the condo association tells him his problem is the developer’s issue and vice-versa. He cites his condo association, which should represent and protect the residents, as “weak,” “unresponsive,” and seeming to “act more in step with the developer.” After months of complaints Mr. Finn finally withheld his increased condo fee of $170 a month in protest (it started as $150 per month; he expects it to spike to $200 - $230 soon), only to get a lien notice slapped on him, which he paid.
“Paul is a terrific guy and the most reasonable person on the planet,” shares his girlfriend, Arden Twining, who actually submitted the editorial letter, “he works well with everyone.” After a manager of the development company, Vincent Iacozzi, sent Paul an e-mail accusing him of either “having amnesia” or “deliberately harassing his project manager” (Christine Paquette), Paul reluctantly felt he had no recourse left and went public. “I’m a pretty quiet guy who pays my dues and goes my own way,” explains Paul, “I’m not out to make any enemies, but enough is enough!”
Frustrated at the “lack of a response and solutions,” Paul Finn hung a large sign in his front window last week, proclaiming, “Buyer Beware. Consider this landscaping and know the developer is unresponsive.” Ironically, the sign is prohibited by the condo board and he is paying a fine to display it. Paul claims the developer also needs “more emphasis on aftermarket support and less on new sales.” Displaying comparison photos of ‘pristine model units’ versus his unit, with large eroded gullies and skateboard sidewalks, he chides, “this simply isn’t what they promised; it’s not even close.” He adds with a weary laugh, “I’m not looking for much, just to complete what they’re supposed to, as I was promised; if I were the developer, I’d fix this stuff just to shut me up.”
Ironically, Harvard Management Solutions’ web site (www.harvardmanagement.com) states the company offers “comprehensive property and facility management services.” HMS also claims “exceptional, responsive service is our highest priority” and “our professionals respond 24 hours a day, every day of the year.”
In practice, Hudson~Litchfield News also found HMS and Thibeault totally non-responsive, as others have claimed. Attempting to check details and fairly represent their side of the story, the Hudson~Litchfield News sent detailed e-mail inquiries with phone call follow-ups over several days, which yielded no response from either Harvard Management’s Jessy-Lyn Tetro; or Christine Paquette and Vincent Iacozzi from the development corporation, who were “unavailable” or “in meetings.” Though not directly responsive to the Hudson~Litchfield News, Paul believes “they got the message,” as he suddenly found a crew working in his yard this week; he’s “cautiously optimistic they’re going to do the right thing.”
Digging further, Hudson~Litchfield News discovered many other residents with problems at Shepherd’s Hill. While several willingly spoke up, it was only under anonymity due to “fear of retribution.” “Just spend five minutes by the pool or clubhouse and you’ll hear lots of complaints,” lamented one condo owner, “everybody I talk to is having issues.” They echoed Finn’s problems with “non-existent landscaping,” “faulty irrigation,” and “problems with land and water erosion.” Another mentioned, “There have been promises for the finishing of pavement for the past two years, still with no end product of completion.” Expressing safety concerns, a resident cited there have been “a couple of severe ankle sprains” for evening joggers due to poor lighting, broken curbs, and busted-up sidewalks. One mentioned concerns over the “increase of renters versus owner occupied units;” another questioned if the hill’s narrower upper roads were even wide enough for emergency vehicles or fire trucks to get through.
However, by far the most common theme among resident complaints was the “non-responsiveness” from the developer (Thibeault) and condo association’s management company (HMS). While some residents gave kudos to some of their contractor/builders, like R.J. Moreau, whom they called “absolutely fabulous,” they blamed the Thibeault for “more than 90 percent of the issues causing a ruckus up here on the hill.” Some considered them rude and unprofessional. One resident claims he witnessed a “Thibeault superintendent" openly reply to a resident who voiced a construction concern, saying, "I don't care ... I don't f*&%ing live here ... if you don't like it, you shouldn't have bought a home here." He indignantly added, “This is no way that anyone who is employed by the developer (Thibeault) of our community should be speaking to residents who call this place ‘home’.”
Surprising “complexities” also surround the Shepherd’s Hill condo association. Being a residential community still in development, with roughly 220 of the planned 400 units occupied to date, the condo association board was formed in early in 2006. Theoretically, their primary functions are to represent and address issues and concerns of the residents (who pay a monthly fee); they hire a management firm (HMS), and supervise on-going maintenance and management. The President of Shepherd’s Hill condo association, estimated to own about 25 units presumably as rentals, is … Ernie Thibeault, the CEO/President of Thibeault Corporation of N.E. As some residents expressed, “no one knows how he was actually appointed,” but concerns exist as “he rarely attends meetings” and the “network feels corrupt.” Despite a recent petition against unsightly and dangerous trash dumpsters, signed by about 140 residents (roughly two-thirds of the occupied units), the dumpsters remain. With Thibeault at the reigns of the condo board, the question looms whose best interests are really being served – the condo owners/residents or the developer?
On the brighter side, a few residents also expressed a more positive outlook on Shepherd’s Hill. One Canterbury Road resident of one year walking her 13 month old baby shared, “while I hope the landscaping improves, I have no major complaints.” She acknowledged with a smile and a shrug, “we live in a construction zone and along with that comes the noise and all the stuff we understand we need to live with for a while.” As a given, the Shepherd’s Hill development has excellent views and a good location. Another aptly concluded, “This is a really nice community with excellent potential,” but it also “needs to be more efficiently and professionally managed and developed.”
In checking with town officials this week, Hudson’s Building Inspector and Health Officer, Bill Oleksak shared, “no recent complaints have been cited regarding Shepherd’s Hill,” but also added “typically, such issues would not be heard by the town, but through a condo association or management company.” Stay tuned in the coming weeks, for more investigative reporting and more response in the related Hudson~Litchfield News article, The Wider Impact of Shepherd’s Hill to Hudson.
End of a Musical Era
by Lynne Ober
After 26 years as organist for Litchfield Presbyterian Church, Sue Harmon has retired.
Well, if you know Sue and her energy, you know that she will never retire, but she has decided that it is time to retire as regular organist for the church.
Sue and her late husband, Ralph, moved to Litchfield in 1979 and she immediately became involved with the choir. By then she was an accomplished organist and it wasn’t long before she became the church’s organist. “I’ve been blessed with many friends in the church,” Sue smiled.
Sue started taking piano lessons when she was eight years old. She also loved to sing and sang in church choirs. By the time she was in high school, music was an important part of her life. She loved both vocals and the instrumental side of music.
When the organist retired at Sue’s church, the choir and church was left without an organist. The retiring organist told them to put Sue on the organ.
“I talked to my piano teacher and we switched lessons from the piano to the organ. That was when I was 14 or 15. I took over as church organist and have played in a number of years over the course of my life.”
While in high school, Sue decided to join the band. The band director sat her down with a bassoon in a suitcase, taught her how to put it together, and then gave her playing lessons. Sue played bassoon for the four years of high school and two years in college. She even thought about playing bassoon in the Nashua Symphony, but there wasn’t a chair open and she didn’t want to cause someone else to lose their spot so she gave that idea up.
Sue competed in district and state contests as a high school and frequently found herself winning. She was coached by the Bucknell University vocal coach, who helped her enroll in college.
She studied at Bucknell for two years. “I was a vocal major and a piano minor, but I kept playing the bassoon too,” she smiled.
Then she met Ralph, who was a senior finishing college on the G.I. Bill. Sue and Ralph married; she went into the work force.
“We moved a lot with Ralph’s job,” Sue recalled. Ralph was an electrical engineer who worked on top secret projects. Years after the project was over, Sue learned that he had worked on the SR-71 project. “I guess we were a little bit of history.”
When they moved Sue involved herself in their church, frequently playing the organ.
She and Ralph had three girls, two of whom still live in Litchfield.
“I’ve been blessed in my life,” said Sue.
Others will tell you that it is Sue who has blessed them and their community. “She will be missed,” said Linda Peeples, who is a Deacon at Litchfield Presbyterian Church. “She is very special and was always giving. She never wanted anything for herself. Litchfield is lucky to have someone like Sue in the community.”
As a member of Litchfield Presbyterian Church, Sue did more than play the organ and sing in the choir. She served as an Elder for six years and a Deacon for 12 years.
Sue worked hard in the church’s food pantry and made sure that baskets were delivered to families at holiday times.
“She took snacks to the schools for the kids to have something,” recalled Peeples. “Who will do that now?”
Sue continues to work in the schools as well as enjoying her family, which has expanded to include two grandchildren.
Sue loves going to the theater and can be seen at many local theater group productions.
One of the Pride’s biggest fans, Sue loves summers in the stadium, but during every season you’ll always find her cheering along the sidelines at sporting events held at Campbell High School.
She’s an avid health care advocate who wants affordable healthcare for everyone.
Although she’s retired as the organist, you can be certain that Sue will remain a positive influence in the community.
Working Toward a Dream
by Lynne Ober
Hudson residents, Heather and Tara Hardy, are working hard to make their dream of a People to People Adventure come true. Since the last time we visited with them they have collected almost $2,500 from people and businesses in the Hudson area.
Money earned from painting and selling items around Hudson are all going towards their 2007 People to People Leadership Summit at George Washington University.
Tara and Heather Hardy want to thank to the caring businesses such as Carpet Creations, Performance Auto Body, Tim Keddie Roofing, Continental Paving, Bill’s Family Auto, and Distinctive Carwash and Detail for their generous donations.
“We are getting closer to our goal,” smiled the energetic twins. “T-Bones restaurant has been outstanding in their creative way of letting us raise money and learn about business. Many residents including Mike Burton, Gene Fennelly, the Weston Family, Kim Griffin, Norm Oppenheim, and Ron Anger have all helped to make our journey closer to being a reality.”
But the twins aren’t done yet. Soon, they will be having a benefit yard sale at their house. “The money we make at the yard sale will go toward our trip expenses.”
Not too surprising, as the time draws nearer the twins are getting more excited and look forward to meeting new people and establishing friendships that could last a lifetime. “We think we will have experiences which will help us lead productive and interesting lives.”
“We want to thank the town of Hudson for their great support and hope to see everyone at our yard sale at 12 Megan Drive.” If you have items that you’d like to donate to the twins’ upcoming yard sale, give them a call at 883-5349.
Photo by Mike Hardy
Selectmen Reverse Their Decision on Hot Dog Cart
by Doug Robinson
In a surprise move, the Town of Hudson Board of Selectmen reversed their decision to deny a Hawker-Peddler permit for Paula Tate-Jean.
Selectman Massey, who previously stated, “It being the Town who made the mistake, not the applicant, I would move we grant the hawker-peddler license,” worked with Community Development on the licensing of the hot dog cart.
Massey stated that he “contacted the Community Development Director and the Town does allow for itinerant peddlers, such as the ice cream trucks, and food wagons. Both of (these businesses) have the same common denominator - they move, never in one place, and not physically, permanently parked anywhere.”
Massey also spoke with the Hudson Police Department, and stated that they also recommended for approval the hot dog permit.
Originally the Hawker-Peddler permit had been declined due communication issues between Community Development, the Selectmen, and the Town Administrator.
When Tate first went to the Selectmen for approval, Maddox requested of Tate-Jean to provide the board with a diagram “showing where cars would pull off, so it would be a safe intersection with her vehicle being three, four, five hours a day.” When asked if she would have to come back to another meeting, Maddox replied, “Yes.” According to Chairman Maddox, “she could tell the Board now where she’d like to put it, or an alternate site was Greeley Park.” Ms. Tate-Jean stated “she would bring a diagram of the Ducharme’s property.” Chairman Maddox stated he needed to see something that “shows it would be safe for cars to pull off the side of the road and back into traffic … those types of issues.”
When Tate-Jean appeared before the Town of Hudson Board of Selectmen during the June 27, 2006, meeting, the revised plan for the placement of the hot dog cart was presented for the Selectmen’s review. Upon being asked if the Community Development Director had contacted her by Chairman Maddox, Tate-Jean stated that, “Abby from the Community Development office had called me and was asked to point out on the map (where the hot dog cart was going to go).”
While Selectmen Kathleen MacLean stated that “it looks like a fine place and that parking is ok and all that, but that is not the issue that was brought to us by the Town Administrator. I see that this application was signed by the zoning department as approved, so I don’t know how it can not be approved then.”
Selectman Shawn Jasper explained to Selectman MacLean, “We do not work for the Zoning Administrator. That is how it cannot be approved. I am really befuddled by what we have here tonight versus what we had last time. We have the memo from Steve (Town Administrator) and the last sentence says, ‘this property does not meet that condition and is not grandfathered and the Board’s decision to deny the license is correct.’ Jasper continue to state that the Zoning Administrator’s letter was incorrect based on our zoning. I was expecting something indicating something that tells us how to deal with this inconsistency. I do not know what to say.”
Malizia, Town Administrator, stated to Jasper that he “I looked at the ordinance and based on what you all asked me to do, that is what I did.” The ordinance in question, according to Jasper, dates back to 1997. Jasper continued by stating that “I do not know where we are as a town and that the Zoning Administrator should have been here, because we have something here that is clearly inconsistent.” Evidently, town code and zoning code conflict when a business involves the selling of food.
Chairman Maddox stated that “Hawkers and Peddlers are not something we see a lot of. Our ordinance clearly states that if you are going to have a food service that it has to be reflected on the site plan. This is not a permitted use.”
Jasper stated that, “Again, looking at the town code, and it says that the Zoning Administer shall review … he didn’t do that, so he had an opinion … and in the intervening two weeks, apparently Steve located this but we do not have anything different from the Zoning Administrator. Under the Town code, it appears that this is not allowed.”
Upon examining the timeline for the approvals and the permits, Jasper stated “the hotdog cart and that investment had been made before the application and certainly before Sean Sullivan made what I would agree was a mistake.”
“How Mr. Sullivan ruled is unfortunate” stated Chairman Maddox. “This body is the one that makes the decision.” Jasper piggy-backed off Maddox by stating, “The mistake the town caused didn’t lead up to the expenditure … the site should have been asked up front.”
Selectmen Massey’s motion to authorize Tate-Jean a Hawker’s-Peddlers permit had several stipulations attached:
The motion was approved 4 - 1, with Maddox voting nay.
Chairman Richard Maddox stated “that he hoped, as a result of all of this, a new procedure would be developed by the Community Development Department so neither the applicant nor the Board needs to go through this exercise again.”
Cardiac Arrest Victim Revived by Hudson Fire Department Members
Hudson Fire Department members Pat Robertson, Buddy Hallowell, and Pat Weaver revived a cardiac arrest victim on July 3 at Canobie Lake Park in Salem. All three members work at the park in their spare time – Pat Robertson and Buddy as medical responders, and Pat Weaver as a security person.
The trio was called out for a person that had fainted. Upon arrival at the location in the park, they found a 46 year old female in full arrest. CPR was started and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) was used to shock the woman’s heart back into a rhythm. A pulse returned to the woman with the three continually monitoring the woman’s condition until fire crews from Salem arrived to transport her to a local hospital.
The woman’s condition remained serious and unresponsive for several days. On July 10, Pat, Buddy, and Pat received word that the woman was awake and suffered from complications stemming from her ordeal. She will have to undergo further treatment to treat a heart condition.
For their life-saving work, the three were awarded Canobie Lake Park’s Cast Member of the Week Award.
A job well-done goes out to Pat, Buddy, and Pat for saving a life.
Raising ‘Bootie’ for Worthy Causes
Anne’s Country Florals, Inc., 212 Lowell Road, Market Basket Plaza in Hudson introduces Bootie Bags. First made in 2003, in Marietta, Georgia, each Bootie Bag is handmade from start to finish. Made from recycled blue jeans on the outside with a fabric interior and adorned with beaded handles and a belt of leather or ribbon, no two bags are exactly alike. Each Bootie Bag is tagged and serialized with its own “Bootie Bag Tag” to ensure its authenticity. The best part about these wonderful bags is that a portion of all the proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Breast Cancer Awareness. Each of these worthy causes even has its own bag to help raise awareness. So come on over to visit Anne’s Country Florals to choose your Bootie Bag from our wonderful collection.