Santa Breakfast

by Lynne Ober

JJ, 3, and Gillian Mikayla, 6, enjoyed their chat with Santa.

Every year Litchfield’s Santa Breakfast is one of the highlights of the holiday season, and this year was no different.

The Litchfield Women’s Club has been putting on the breakfast for years.  One member said that she’d belonged to the club for 16 years and the Santa Breakfast was already a tradition when she joined.

While Santa talked with children on the stage, the cooks in the kitchen made plain, blueberry or chocolate chip pancakes.  Sausages sizzled on the grill and the maple syrup was kept warm on the heating table. 

The Girl Scouts helped run games for the kids and there was a craft table for young artists.  As always, there was a laden raffle table.  Proceeds from the raffles support the scholarships given out by the Club as well as other activities in town.

“This is just such a warm, community activity,” said member Jean White, who had worked on the raffles.  White praised their sponsors, and noted that even in tough economic times the businesses had donated prizes.  “I guess what I like about living in small towns is that you have activities like this that bring people together to share community spirit.”

Kids lined up to talk to Santa were thinking about their Christmas wishes and what they’d like to ask Santa to bring.  Perennial favorites such as Barbie dolls were mentioned as often as the newer toys.  “I just hope I get to hear what my child tells Santa too,” laughed one parent.  “Sometimes it’s a secret.”

Marissa, Cathy, and Nicholas Carignan

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New Police Chief Selected

Chief Lavoie is congratulated by Selectmen Chairman Benjamin Nadeau and Town Administrator Steve Malizia

The Hudson Board of Selectmen announced on Wednesday, December 10, the selection of Captain Jason Lavoie as Hudson’s Chief of Police, effective January 1, 2009.  Lavoie has been with the Hudson Police Department since February of 1991 and was promoted to captain in July of 2006.

This appointment culminates an effort undertaken by the Board of Selectmen, through the professional recruitment service of Municipal Resources, Inc., upon the announcement of the retirement of the current Chief Richard Gendron, effective December 31.

Lavoie graduated from Plymouth State College, where he majored in business and psychology with a minor in economics.  However, he knew from an early age that he wanted a career in law enforcement, which was confirmed after a ride-along with a police officer.  Upon joining the Hudson Police Department, Lavoie attended the New Hampshire Police Academy in Concord.

Lavoie said he accepted the position with “honor and appreciation” and looks forward to his “leadership role in working with a highly dedicated and professional group of men and women within the Hudson Police Department.”

He and his wife, Linda, and their children, Tyler and Kayleigh, reside in Hudson.

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Road Work Deadline Not Met, FEMA Grants May be Lost

by Lynne Ober

Bad news continue to plague Litchfield Board of Selectmen.  At Monday’s meeting Chairman Frank Byron summarized two letters about roadwork being done in Litchfield.  To the dismay of selectmen, both projects had a required completion date or FEMA grant monies would be lost.

As Byron explained, he had never heard of an expiration date.  The grants had been discussed in open meetings, the most recent of which were the July 14 and July 28 meetings. During the July 14 meeting with Vice Chairman Andrew Santom, presiding Litchfield selectmen accepted FEMA grants for the Winter Circle and Talent Road projects. 

The approved minutes for the July 14 meeting state, “Mr. Gerard DeCosta, Road Agent, was present.  Mr. Dilworth said he has received two checks from FEMA, one in the amount of $23,890 and one in the amount of $98,000. “It was not certain what projects these entailed.  Mr. DeCosta said he believes the grant is for Talent Road culvert and Winter Circle hazardous mitigation. Mr. Dilworth left the room to obtain the information.

“Mr. DeCosta had submitted a rough estimate of what it would cost to do the projects and the Town would receive 50 percent of the cost.  Mr. Lambert: While we are discussing this, it occurs to me that construction prices will have changed significantly since we submitted the request for the grant and if the Town actually takes the money, we are on the hook for whatever it cost, not for whatever it is we projected it would cost a year ago.

“Mr. DeCosta said he asked that question and the only money they are dispensing is what we submitted for, if there is a cost override like I already know, the Talent Road project is going to be about $7,000 over what we had originally thought it was going to be because there is a drainage easement we have to comply, after the project was surveyed we found that the drainage easement was down the road 50 feet so now we have to pipe water from the drainage ditch out to the outfall of the brook ... it might be 900 feet of pipe and three structures. That cost increase was because, at the time, we did not understand what the ramifications were going to be because we did not have a survey yet.”

“Talk ensued.  Mr. DeCosta did state that what he was told at the end of the disbursement of all the moneys, we are not the only community that is in this hazardous mitigation pool.  At the end when all the money has been paid out, that could be another year or two, the surplus in that pool will be divided out at the end of the project if we submit a receipt saying we had a seven percent cost override due to ... and we have the documentation to back it up, whatever money is left in that pool will be dispensed equally amongst all the communities that have had cost overrides.”

There was then a lengthy discussion on another topic.  When Dilworth came back into the room with the requested information, Santom again turned the topic back to the FEMA grants and the minutes state, “Back to the grant reimbursement and hearing, two FEMA checks, one is for FEMA Disaster Code and the other one is Hazardous Mitigation Grant.  Project #1 is Winter Circle.  Project #2 is Brick Yard Drive and Project #3 is Talent Road.  Mr. Santom MOTIONED to have the hearing on July 28, 2008, at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall Meeting Room.  Mrs. Jewett seconded.  Motion carried 4-0-0.  Mr. DeCosta left the meeting at 8:45 p.m.”

On July 28, with both Chairman Frank Byron and Vice Chairman Andrew Santom absent, Acting Chairman Pat Jewitt presided over the meeting.  The approved minutes state, “Mr. Dilworth said he received some information from the Road Agent relative to the FEMA grants.  One talks to the Winter Circle drainage project and the other one was the Talent Road drainage project.  There was no public comment.  Mr. Raccio MOTIONED to close the hearing for unanticipated funds for $121,453.32.  Mr. Lambert seconded.  Motion carried 3-0-0.” “Mr. Lambert MOTIONED to accept the FEMA grants $121,453.32.  Mr. Raccio seconded.  Motion carried 3-0-0.”

At no time was there any discussion about an expiration date, but last night selectmen learned that one project had to be completed by December 31, 2008 and one by January 31, 2009.  In neither case will the projects be completed.

Selectmen George Lambert asked if there would be fines associated with not completing the work.  He also pointed out that one project had been put on hold by selectmen because of the town’s poor financial situation.  Lambert addressed that had he known about the deadline, he would have authorized the road agent to continue.  “We are talking about a combined total of $150,000 accepted dollars.  We could use that money to offset the costs of these projects,” said Lambert.

Selectman Al Raccio moved that selectmen ask the Road Agent to come to the Friday, December 10 selectmen’s meeting.  Unfortunately the Friday night meetings have not been televised, so residents who want to know what will happen with this situation need to attend the meeting scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. at town hall.

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Plan Accepted for Cable TV Access Center

by Gina M. Votour

For several years, a cable television access center within the town of Hudson has been on the minds of many, especially since nearby towns such as Windham, Derry, and Londonderry have already successfully established such facilities.

Public access television was initialized in Hudson about a decade ago when the Board of Selectmen’s meeting room, and later the Community Development meeting room, were set up to allow for televised meetings and events.  Although some efforts were made over the years to provide additional types of programming, lack of an access center prohibited significant progress from being made.  

Approximately five years ago, a warrant article passed which created a capital reserve fund to establish and equip this type of facility.  Dollars placed into this account were derived from surplus franchise fee funds and have accumulated to about $500,000.

In another step to make this project an eventual reality, Cable Utility Committee Chairman Michael O’Keefe appeared before the Board of Selectmen at their December 9 meeting with an access center proposal. 

The proposal, which spans over two fiscal years, involves leasing a structure located at 98 Old Derry Road in the recently developed Nadeau Park. 

The benefits of leasing rather than owning a new facility, according to the proposal, are that “it requires less initial outlay of money and affords us the opportunity to gauge the ongoing interest in town for access television.”

Before any votes were taken regarding the proposal, Selectman Ken Massey questioned O’Keefe on what he saw as a lack of a specific plan regarding exactly how the facility will be used.  Selectman Vice Chairman Richard Maddox agreed that some type of deliverable measurements would be preferable.  O’Keefe explained that Jake Nazarian, the new cable facilitator, has been conducting training sessions with town citizens who have expressed an interest in program production.  At this point, six proposals have been made for future shows and include the genres of cooking, sports shows, and a magazine-style show. 

Selectmen Chairman Ben Nadeau, along with selectmen Shawn Jasper and Roger Coutu, all expressed support of the current proposal.

As selectman liaison to the Cable Utility Committee, Coutu reminded the others that he acts as a safeguard to ensure all monies are spent in the best interest of the community.  Coutu added that the property landlord has shown a strong willingness to work with the town.  He agreed that moving forward on this idea was a gamble but felt confident in the abilities of the Cable Utility Committee.

The town’s attorney also looked favorably upon the lease agreement, a portion of which prohibits “activity within the site [that] creates noise that can be heard outside the premises” and also limits the hours for outside activities.

A motion to move forward with the proposal subsequently passed 3-2 with selectmen Massey and Maddox in opposition.  A later motion to authorize selectman chairman Nadeau to sign the property lease passed 3-1-1 with Massey opposed and Maddox abstaining because he had not yet read the reviewed lease documents.

Therefore, a one-year lease will be entered into from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009.  For a rent amount of $1,700 per month, two side-by-side units totaling 2,304 square feet will be leased with the dividing wall scheduled for removal to allow for more space. 

Funds from the capital reserve account will not be used toward this venture, however.  Instead, dollars will be taken from the Cable Utility Committee’s Fiscal Year 2009 and Fiscal Year 2010 budgets, which are based entirely on cable franchise fees and do not affect Hudson taxpayers.

Site preparation costs of about $6,130 will be funded by the Fiscal Year 2009 budget.  Items including lighting equipment and a curtain track will also be made with approximately $26,000 worth of Fiscal Year 2009 funds, while camera and audio equipment, video monitors and recorders will be among the purchases made later, using close to $113,000 of the Fiscal Year 2010 budget (pending budget approval).  Lease funding will be drawn from both budgets.

Should all go according to plan, a Cable TV Access Center could be up and running in Hudson by December 2009.  The ‘Option to Renew’ section of the lease includes the ability to extend the lease “for two periods of one year each.”  If the leased facility is a success, the next step in years to come would then be to put the capital reserve funds toward the purchase of a permanent facility.

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American Legion Remembers Pearl Harbor

Mike Mondoux and Warren Glenn salute as Taps are played as the firing squad stands at attention.

Hudson American Legion held memorial services on December 7 for those who died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.  The public was welcome.

Services began on the Veteran Memorial Bridge at 10 a.m. and regather in front of the legion hall at 11am. That is 8 a.m. in Hawaii, which is the same time the attack began in 1941.

The attack on Pearl Harbor gave the Japanese a temporary advantage.  Two battleships, three destroyers, and other small vessels were lost, airfields were wrecked, and approximately 3,000 were killed or wounded.  It was impossible to maintain American outposts against the Japanese.  Guam was taken three weeks later.  Japanese submarines appeared on the West Coast but did no serious damage.

An investigation into the cause of Pearl Harbor was led by President Roosevelt, with the investigation being headed by Justice Rube of the U.S. Supreme Court.  It was found that lack of co-operation between the Army and the Navy resulted in an almost total absence of precaution, while Japanese Nationals remained free to transmit signals to the enemy without hindrance.

Joining the American Legion Firing squad for the memorial were the  American Legion Band and the Honor Guard from the Derry American Legion Post.

Post Commander Warren Glenn and Mike Morin, son of the American Legion Commander, lay a wreath in front of the Legion.

Legion Band from Post #48 play at the service.

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