On July 13 at 10 a.m., Alvirne High School Music Director, Jerry Bastien, dropped the baton and the Alvirne Band began the processional music. From both sides of the dais came the faculty followed by the Class of 2009. The students were both well prepared for graduation and the Saturday morning ceremony. Parents, other family members and friends watched as each of the 344 graduates marched proudly into the Verizon Arena.
As senior members of the B Naturals joined the underclassmen for the National Anthem, you could see many a tear, as this was the last time they would sing as a Bronco. The 2009 Class President, Jennifer Hall, spoke of the memories of all that the class had done in the 12 years they have been together and the relationships that the class had build.
The Co-Valedictorian address by Amanda Lee Lavigueur counseled her classmates, “When you find your talents, work hard and persist. You will succeed.” While Jie Gu, the other Co-Valedictorian, thanked the people who have made his graduation possible, with a short history of his parents coming to the United States in 1993. He thanked everyone involved and got a chuckle from classmates as he thanked his mother for all the meals she made for him. He closed by stating, “Don’t be afraid. Our lives are in front of us. Don’t be afraid to have a vision so we can accomplish our dream.”
Three awards are given at the AHS graduation and this year’s were presented by Director of Guidance William Hughen:
Chairman of the Hudson School Board Gary Rodgers presented the diplomas assisted by Superintendent Randy Bell.
Jen hall directed the moving of tassels, then mortar board were in the air and the graduated class of 2009 left the arena to join with family and friends for congratulations.
For the 118 seniors graduating from Campbell High School, the day and the ceremony presented many highs and lows – it rained, the football field won’t drain, the graduation is in the gym with extra seating in the auditorium with live video connection. Eight tickets for the gym and four tickets to the auditorium. Well, okay, everyone is still graduating and getting there at 5 p.m. was all planned. The class picture prior to graduation was taken on time and everyone looked great.
Time to line up. There was classmate Dean Andrews, who most had not seen since the Campbell prom on May 9, being pushed by fellow classmate Brianna Rinadi. Dean had a headache the day after the prom and now is being treated for cancer. Released from a Boston hospital just for graduation, close friend and prom date Brianna, who should have graduated but couldn’t finish her requirements and keep the vigil at the hospital, pushed him through the procession and then across the stage for his diploma, as his classmates gave him a standing ovation.
Catherine Ferraro, Class Essayist, spoke of the “firsts” that changed the class of 2009 from curriculum and grading to becoming leaders in the school when it was needed.
Salutatorian Alison Lajoie spoke about her class and how close they are to each other and to never forget the bands that they formed at Campbell High School.
In his remarks, Michael Clark, valedictorian, thanked the adults that shaped their lives; parents, teachers and others, and how they helped them reach the platform today.
Mr. Chet Orban was honored as both having the edge in this year’s yearbook dedicated to him and he was also honored to be the guest speaker at the commencement.
Rose Harvey and Hanna Matte spoke to what led up to the yearbook dedication:
“When Mr. Orban’s freshmen advisory first stepped into his room on the very first day of school, they probably were not expecting to find a freshman teacher. New to the Campbell staff in 2005, Mr. Orban was given the unique opportunity of being able to grow alongside his new students. The bond he has formed with his advisory and with members of the Campbell community is strong and will be long-lasting.
While Mr. Orban may occasionally threaten to send a student to the moon, or declare him or he an evil child, beneath that rough guy image is a man who cares deeply for his students. Mr. Orban never fails to connect, and he does everything possible to get students to learn the material. Whether keeping his students interested means telling a thrilling story about his own experiences, or using hands on materials to make the structure of an atom, he has mastered the art of teaching.
So, thank you Mr. Orban for being an amazing teacher, a caring colleague, and a true “outdoors-man.”
During his remarks he entertained those assembled and spoke of his history of how he became a teacher and what the Class of 2009 meant to him.
Class Advisor Justin Ballou spoke to the graduates who had their diplomas and silly string in hand and brought tears to many including himself as he spoke about the rewards he received from his relationship with the students.
Last March, Litchfield voters decided to make a change in their road agent and elected Jack Pinciaro, who is a former selectman. Since that time, work has been on-going and Pinciaro said that he has started getting thank you calls from residents.
All the road striping is completed, which makes it easier to see at night. “We needed to get that done quickly as some of the striping was nearly invisible,” said Pinciaro.
In addition, there’s a new guard rail along Albuquerque Avenue. According to Pinciaro this is a project that had previously been on the ballot. “At that time, the price tag was $10,000 and the voters voted it down. I was looking at what we had in stock and Gil and I decided that we could install the guard rail with materials that we already had.” Pinciaro did some further research and became more convinced that this project could be completed for under $1,000 dollars. “It took three of us two entire days, but we installed that guard rail for $900,” smiled Pinciaro.
Under Pinciaro’s guidance, Litchfield was able to garner a $4,000 grant from FEMA. “We used that money to clean up debris and broken trees. All of this was as a result of the December ice storm, but it needed to be done.”
Every year money is placed in the operating budget for road patching. “That’s all done too,” stated Pinciaro. “We wanted to get the roads fixed as quickly as we could this spring.” Paving has also been completed. According to Pinciaro, ninety percent of the worst of Blue Jay has been paved. “We had money to pave 900 feet and we did the areas that were worst.”
In order to extend the life of the culvert under Albuquerque Avenue, a load limit has been placed and signs have been posted.
Broken or weaken sign posts have been replaced and signs are now visible.
Pinciaro has been attending meetings to get $440,000 in stimulus funds for Litchfield. “One of the requirements was a shovel ready project. Completing the bike/walking path along Albuquerque Avenue fit into that requirement as the engineering work has already been completed.” Pinciaro is hopeful that Litchfield will win this grant and that the bike / walking path can be completed at no cost to Litchfield taxpayers.
This past week he met with selectmen about two items. One was a successful warrant article from 2002. He told selectmen that voters had said yes, but the work hadn’t been done. “Rick Charbonneau is responsible for paving the end of Albuquerque from Morgan Drive to 3A,” he told selectmen. “However, the town is responsible for April to Morgan. The work on April will cost $19,000 and if we don’t do it, there will be a huge bump.” Pinciaro said that he could find that no dollars had been expended against the 2002 warrant article and it appeared to be a project that, while approved, had never been done.
Selectmen discussed whether the money was still available or not. Apparently the warrant article did not have a non-lapsing clause, so the money is not available.
Pinciaro pointed out that the base coat is starting to break up so Charbonneau felt that he could no longer wait to complete his section. Although selectmen continued to discuss, they decided not to make a decision.
Board of Selectmen Chairman Frank Byron said he’d just spent about three weeks trying to dig through Highway Block Grant monies in order to understand what the town did and did not have available.
Selectmen decided to wait on a decision. Pinciaro said that he hoped they would approve the needed $19,000 expenditure because it would make for a safer driving environment in Litchfield.
The other topic was a 37 year-old truck. Pinciaro told selectmen that the former road agent had purchased it for $1,000. Apparently the thought was to use the truck engine as spare parts. However Pinciaro noted that using a 37 year old engine for spare parts for another 37 year old engine probably wasn’t the best idea. “That truck is sitting there. It is so rusted that the supports holding in the battery have rusted away and the battery is now sitting on the ground.”
Pinciaro had already spoken to two scrap metal dealers to get possible quotes for scraping the truck.
Byron said that he wanted to have three quotes and Pinciaro agreed that he’d try to find a third bidder.
“We just need to get rid of this. It isn’t usable,” said Pinciaro.
Selectmen supported his efforts and asked him to return with three bids.
After nearly five years of uncertainty, the book is now officially closed on the proposal for a sports field adjacent to Hudson’s Stop & Shop supermarket.
Back in October 2004, Stop & Shop opened a store in Hudson at the end of Wason Road. As part of the Development Agreement, an escrow account was set up with the expectation that an athletic field, access way, and parking area would eventually be built on the land to the rear of the Stop & Shop property.
If this plan were not to come to fruition however, the escrow would be terminated by way of the town receiving $25,000 and Stop & Shop taking back the remaining $75,000.
The land in question is owned by the NH Department of Transportation (DOT) and was originally intended for use as part of a planned Circumferential Highway.
In September 2004, the DOT granted Hudson permission to use the land for a ball field with the conditional understanding that it could be lost at anytime should the state sell the land or need it for other purposes.
In late 2005, the town then began exploring whether Stop & Shop would be willing to support a field in a different area of town. Stop & Shop was not particularly responsive to this idea however and, by early 2007, expressed that they would prefer their money back if the field would not be built on their site.
Complicating matters further, a change in DOT Commissioners resulted in a different stance from the state on areas affecting this issue. Permission to build the field was eventually rescinded after these state level personnel changes. Subsequent town appeals to the Governor’s office were also unsuccessful.
Finally, in March 2009, Stop & Shop requested that the escrow account be dissolved.
“Unfortunately we didn’t get the ball field because of the lack of cooperation on the part of the Department of Transportation … but it is no fault of Stop & Shop,” stated Selectman Shawn Jasper during the June 9 Board of Selectmen meeting.
Selectman Ken Massey agreed, saying that this was never a case of Stop & Shop “dragging their heels” but heavily due to the fact that the DOT changed commissioners in the midst of this issue.
“At no point in time am I convinced that Stop & Shop ever wanted to get out from under the obligation,” Massey emphasized. He further explained that the new commissioner put a caveat on any state owned parcels, leading to laws which required that this type of property be sold at auction and through a commercial real estate process, as opposed to initially offering the properties to municipalities.
To close the escrow account, Stop & Shop requested a check from the town in the amount of $60,000 plus interest. The town complied, providing a check for $63,518.62.
However, the original petition was in error since Stop & Shop’s final decision was that Hudson receive $30,000 upon the escrow’s dissolution with Stop & Shop holding on to $70,000. Therefore, an additional $10,000 was asked of Hudson by Stop & Shop’s attorney, with no need for an interest recalculation.
A motion passed, 3-2, to pay Stop & Shop the remaining $10,000. Although Selectmen Richard Maddox and Ben Nadeau voted against this motion, both Jasper and Massey highlighted the fact that Stop & Shop was offering the town an additional $5,000 as compared to the original agreement.
“In this particular case, there was a good faith effort on both parts made. [But] the state wouldn’t go for it and we clearly owe [Stop & Shop] their money back,” Jasper concluded.
As the Hudson~Litchfield News went to press on Wednesday, the trial for the former Litchfield Treasurer entered its second day. Horace Seymour III, 51, is being prosecuted on two charges of Felony Theft. He could be sentenced up to 7 1/2 to 15 years on each charge. One count is for using roughly $135,000 from the Town of Litchfield for his personal expenses. The second charge is for stealing $2,497.35 from Masstech Inc., a former employer. The trial at Hillsborough County Superior Court is expected to last most of the week.
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