Card Collectors Awarded

Haillie Mousseau poses with Officer Hoebeke, Chief Gendron and Officer Ballukonis .

Card collector were fested to a pizza party at the Police Station, open to the youth of Hudson, who are in grades one through six, to collect police cards. The contest was to collect as many cards from the police officers by, approaching them, writing an individual officer/employee a letter, or by going into the Hudson Police Station and requesting to see the officer/employee. Hudson youth also had the opportunity to meet some of the police staff as they visited the schools and interacted with the students.

The top three students from each grade, who finished collecting all 50 cards, were invited to a pizza party with Chief Gendron and his staff. The parents of these lucky students were also invited to attend.

The first student that acquired all 50 trading cards also received a $50 Visa Gift Card.

“I am thankful to Officer Cassandra Dabilis for taking the pictures of all the officers. Without her help, along with Sam’s Club and the Nash Corporation, we could not have been in a position to do this community service program” commented Officer Joe Hoebeke. “This event has always been a huge success for both the youth of Hudson as well as the Hudson Police Department. It s a lot of fun.”

All the collectors and their families enjoy pizza at the Ann Seabury Community Room.

First Grader Tammy Greenlaw receives her certificate from Chief Gendron with congratulation from Debbie Nash of the Nash Foundation and Steve Flanherty, General Manager of Sam Club.

Campbell Musicians Rewarded

by Lynne Ober

The combined band and chorus joined by Mr. Martin posed on stage with their trophies.

Music brings joy and sometimes music can bring the agony of competition, but when the Campbell High School band and chorus attended the awards presentation at the recently completed Toronto Musical Fest, faces gleamed with delight. The band had taken first place and the chorus had taken second place. Both groups came home with huge smiles and big trophies that they happily showed their families.

As their bus crossed over the bridge from Nashua and home was but a few minutes away, the students were getting ready to get off of the bus. As the bus approached Rodonis Farms, two Litchfield fire trucks pulled in front of the bus and one pulled in behind the bus. With sirens blaring, they accompanied the bus and the students the rest of the way home.

“You should have seen the kids’ faces when the fire department started their sirens,” said one chaperone. “They were just so pleased to have that recognition.”

Parents waiting at the high school could hear the sirens and knew the bus was almost there. A large sign and balloons awaited the students. A bucket filled with red carnations was ready. As students got off the bus, they got a carnation. Two large cakes had been set up in front of the high school. It was a celebration that these students will remember long after the cake is eaten and the carnations have wilted.

According to Mr. Martin, a total of 52 students went on the trip. Thirty-nine were band members and the rest were chorus members.

“We just had a great trip,” said Martin. “Chris Landry, who has been organizing Alvirne’s band trips for a decade, was our tour organizer. Everything was perfect. The kids had fun and I didn’t have to worry about travel arrangements.”

Friday night they had a cruise on a schooner around the Toronto Harbor. “There was dancing,” said Martin, “but the highlight may have been that some of the students got to raise the sails on the schooner.”

The awards were given at the Medieval Times celebration on Saturday night. “Our knight even won the joust,” said Martin.

Martin said he was very pleased with the musical levels of his students and thought that bringing home trophies was a demonstration of how well the Campbell students do when competing against their age level.

Selectmen Ignore State Law

by Lynne Ober

Every week something new crops up in Litchfield. This week with Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Ray Peeples away on business, Vice Chairman Pat Jewett presided over the meeting.

The meeting was posted to have a correspondence review at 6 p.m. and the public session at 7 p.m. This was posted in accordance with state law.

For some reason, Vice Chairman Jewett held an un-posted non-public meeting which violates state statute RSA 91-A:2 which states, “a notice of the time and place of each such meeting, including a non-public session, shall be posted in two appropriate places, or shall be printed in a newspaper of general circulation in the city or town at least 24 hours, excluding Sundays and legal holidays, prior to such meetings.”

The non-public meeting was with Police Chief Joe O’Brion and lasted well past the announced time for the public meeting.

When the posted public meeting finally started, Jewett gave no reason for holding an un-posted non-public meeting.

Budget Committee Speaks Openly About Selectman’s Words

by Lynne Ober

It started with the fall 2006 budget deliberations between the Litchfield Selectmen and the Budget Committee. Selectmen’s Representative to the Budget Committee, Al Raccio did not approve of the process used by the budget committee – especially the way they voted to add to the budget.

Raccio spoke for an extremely long time against budget committee actions after they added $200,000 to the Road Agent’s budget. He was outraged. He claimed that the Budget Committee over-stepped their rights and duties, and was surprised when he discovered that Budget Committee member Bill Spencer had consulted with then Board of Selectmen Chairman, Cecil Williams, before making the motion to add the money. Had Spencer not added the money at the budget committee meeting, selectmen were going to try to add it on the floor of the deliberative session.

At issue was the lateness of the budget submission from Road Agent Gerard DeCosta to selectmen, who were subsequently unable to hold the budget long enough to include road maintenance plans. DeCosta had not provided backup or a plan for road maintenance.

Selectmen knew that they had no justification for asking for $200,000, so they put $25,000 in the line item and asked DeCosta to put a plan together and come back. At that time, selectmen felt that they might be in a position of asking for an addition to that line item during Deliberative Session.

While Budget Committee members were trying to help and worked to add the $200,000, that left them in a quandary because they added money with no backup, but cut other lines because of “no backup.”

One of those lines reduced money that would have gone to fund a salary line as the employee had been given a raise during the previous year and was working at the new salary level. That salary cut left the budget without money to continue to pay the employee at their 2006 salary level.

Raccio, however, contended that budget committee should not add money to the budget, and he remained outraged and outspoken against them for doing so.

Raccio did not present a list of items still needing backup during public selectmen’s meetings. As a result, the budget committee was left waiting for requested information.

Per state statute, budget committees do have the ability to add or cut money while deliberating on the budget. While they are most known for cutting money, they have in the past added money when a line appeared to be under funded.

For more information regarding the state law that covers the duties and authority of the budget committee states, refer to RSA 32:5, RSA 40:14-b, RSA 40:13, IX(b) (for preparing the budget); RSA 32:5, I (to conduct a public hearing); and RSA 32:5, VI (to forward copies of the final budgets to the clerk or clerks).

However, Raccio could not accept that authority, and pursued his angry diatribe against the budget committee through the deliberative session, and even to a meeting after the March elections.

That was carrying the issue too far for Budget Committee Chairman Brent Lemire. Lemire decided to respond to the angry words, but he did it in typical Brent style – in a very soft voice with his words thought out.

Lemire waited until last week’s Budget Committee to speak. He probably wouldn’t have spoken at all if Raccio had not continued to rehash the incident after the March elections.

Telling now Selectmen’s Representative to the Budget Committee, Ray Peeples not to take his words personally, Lemire talked about Raccio’s frequent absences because he traveled for his company; the difficulty in grasping what the budget committee was supposed to do and how they did it; and Raccio’s basic lack of understanding about the entire fiscal review process.

Lemire directly expressed his dismay at Raccio’s misunderstandings which were accompanied by several speeches claiming that the budget committee had overstepped their bounds.

Lemire also expressed dismay that requests for additional backup were ignored by the selectmen’s representative.

Lemire explained that the budget committee did exactly what they were supposed to have done.

“Imagine where we would be today if you only had $25,000 in the road maintenance line item and were faced with the loss of the Brickyard culvert,” he commented.

Lemire also said that he felt that the budget committee, working with both the town and the school district, put forth a well thought out budget that met town needs but was not extravagant.

He then addressed his dismay that selectmen had voted to use contingency money to fund a raise that the budget committee had removed from the budget. Lemire did not address the fact that the money was being used to fund the salary at a continuing basis because the raise had been given in 2006 and was not a request for new money for the 2007 fiscal year.

After the budget meeting was over the Hudson~Litchfield News asked Chairman Lemire about the actions. In one case money was added with no backup and in the other case a salary was lowered because it had no backup. Two salaries were raised during 2006 and dollars included in the budget by the Board of Selectmen. Both increases had been for department heads, who are not under a union contract or any other contract that mandates a raise. Both brought the two department heads up to market parity with their peers in surrounding towns. In neither case did either department head reach complete market parity after the increase.

In the case of the female, the budget committee took the money out of the 2007 salary budget and selectmen subsequently used contingency from this year’s budget to continue funding the salary. In the case of the male, whose raise was also effective in 2006, the money was left in the budget by the budget committee. “Was this gender bias on the part of the budget committee? If you answer no, please explain why one raise for one department head would be cut and the other would not be cut when neither was contractual.”

Although Lemire quickly replied that it was not gender bias, he was also a bit reluctant to say what caused the issues. Finally he acknowledged that there were a number of items in the town budget that needed more backup. “We asked, but we never got backup.”

According to Lemire these salaries were part of those requests. Lemire said the Budget Committee waited three weeks for the selectmen’s representative to bring back up to the committee, and at the meeting where the raises were voted on, Raccio claimed that O’Brion’s raise was part of a contract. “We were told that the current salary for the Police Chief was contractual but got no back-up for the Town Clerk’s increase.”

Lemire also said that the budget committee inquired why selectmen looked at only two department heads instead of doing a town-wide look at salaries.

Lemire acknowledge the many additional items Briand, whose raise was cut, has brought to the job. “I went to Town Hall just to talk to her. I wanted to assure her that this was not personal, nor was it job related, and that the decision was made solely because selectmen did not provide backup to support her raise. She started E-reg; we have been hours to meet customer needs and her staff is efficient and pleasant to all of us.”

Probably what provided the final nail in the coffin on this matter as far as the Budget Committee was concerned was Raccio’s performance during the deliberations. “Mr. Raccio could not respond to our questions, other than to say that that’s what they decided to do,” said Lemire.

“Really there was no gender bias. Terry deserved her raise based on her performance,” stated Lemire, who obviously regretted that people might misunderstand the reason for the cut.

After Diane Jerry retired, Briand was elected to the position, but discovered that selectmen had decided to cut the salary. While Briand might have been able to successfully sue the town over that action, she took the high road and just dug into her new position and has brought changes that have benefited residents. The raise that was given to her in 2006 brought her salary up to less than what it would have been without the salary cut immediately after the election.

That wasn’t the end of that evening’s issue because Vice Chairman Bill Spencer contended that the budget committee had not done the same careful analysis that Lemire said they had done. Spencer works diligently on the numbers and may have been basing his contention on the fact that no backup had been provided for other lines. At that meeting, Spencer claimed that selectmen had at least eight bloated, over-funded budget lines that should have been used to fund the raise rather than take the money from contingency.

When the Hudson~Litchfield News asked Lemire about this and about why he and his Vice Chairman were at opposite ends of the spectrum on the work done by the budget committee, Lemire commented Spencer was remarkable at analysis and carefully used the backup he’d been given, but had been in the minority when voting on some “issues” (presumably cuts). Lemire also said that he thought that the whole issue just resolved around the lack of backup that the selectmen’s representative had brought to the table.

When Peeples responded, he commented that he couldn’t comment on Raccio’s actions or words and pointed out that he hadn’t been Chair last year. But he did say that sometimes in the heat of the battle that the Chair acts without actually consulting the board, and stated that he had had an instance of that the past week himself, so he didn’t want to comment more.

Peeples did say that he was already working with department heads to provide better back-up for the budget, and hoped that the budget committee would receive all information with the next budget. He stated that it was the selectmen’s intention to work cooperatively with budget committee members.

And the Winners are…

After receiving many Word Search contest entries, the Hudson~Litchfield News randomly chose three lucky winners in the Jungle Jack Hanna Word Search Contest. The three winners each received a five-pack of tickets to see Jack Hanna at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on April 29, courtesy of Hudson~Litchfield News. And the winners are … Kylie Letendre, Hudson; Chloe Luongo, Hudson; and Makala Vigeant, Hudson. Congratulations to all of the winners and enjoy the show! Keep reading the Hudson~Litchfield News to find more great contests to enter.

We’re going to see Jungle Jack Hanna! Word Search winners from Hudson, Pelham and Windham.
Back row, from left: Brandon Demers, Julia Rose Vigeant, Bryce Bienvenu.
Middle row, from left: Kylie Letendre, Makala Vigeant, Macy Delaney, Hunter Delane.
Front row, from left: Constantine Mouyos, Jake Letendre and Chloe Luongo.

Weaver Indicted

Former Hudson Fire Department Captain Clinton Weaver has been indicted by the Hillsborough Grand Jury. The indictment is a “true indictment” for Possession of Child Pornography under New Hampshire RSA 649-A.

Hudson Police confirmed that Weaver had not been arrested. The attorney handling the case for the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office, Attorney Roger Chatwich, was unavailable for comment at press time.

According to RSA 649-A, a child is defined as any person under the age of 16. The penalty for a first offense is a Felony-B. If convicted, a Felony-B carries a penalty of one to seven years in jail.

This incident began when Fire Chief Shawn Murray contacted Hudson Police to review Fire Department computers, which were subsequently confiscated. A thorough investigation was held and it culminated with the grand jury indictment.

Weaver has since retired from the Hudson Fire Department.

17 Executive Drive, Suite One, Hudson, NH 03051 Phone: (603)880-1516 Fax: (603)879-9707
email: Copyright © 2005-2009 Area News Group