AHS Vandalized

On August 12 at approximately 6:30 a.m., Officer McElhinney of the Hudson Police Department responded to Alvirne High School in Hudson for a report of burglary and criminal mischief.  Approximately three subjects spray-painted (“tagged”) the exterior of the building by using various colored spray paints.  The term “SALO” was used frequently during the incident.  The subjects gained entry into the school and vandalized the interior with tagging in the stairwells.  There was no sign of forced entry into the school.  It is believed the incident occurred during the overnight hours of August 12.  The damage is still being assessed, and the Hudson Police Department is looking for the public’s help in identifying the offenders.  Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Hudson Police Department and ask for Officer McElhinney or the shift supervisor.

Selectman Asked to Relinquish Committee Liaison Seat

by Gina M. Votour

In a surprising move made this week, Hudson’s Board of Selectmen attempted to remove Selectman Shawn Jasper from his spot as the board’s representative to the Benson Park Committee.

During the board’s August 11 meeting, Selectman Richard Maddox announced the board’s desire for Selectmen Vice Chairman Ken Massey to take over Jasper’s position as this committee’s liaison in order to “make this a different perspective.”  Maddox revealed that he had discussed this issue with Jasper the previous day and that Jasper had expressed his wish to remain in this role, however.

Jasper’s strong passion for the Benson Park project has become openly apparent through several heated discussions among the board which have ensued during recent months.

Back on July 14, Jasper offered to step down as liaison after a somewhat acrimonious discussion regarding brush removal on the property.  This week, Jasper reminded the other board members that they had strongly encouraged him to remain as the committee representative at that time.  He further elaborated that his offer to resign was in regard to that particular situation and should not have been taken as an open ended offer. 

“I think you owe it as a courtesy to me for each of you to tell me what I have done to fail to represent this board,” requested Jasper.  “I have a feeling that each of you have different reasons for wishing me to step down, I’d like to hear those, but unfortunately I think some of them may have little or nothing to do with my performance as a member of the Benson’s Committee,” Jasper further stated, adding that the board had not given him any specific direction in terms of dealing with the committee.  Maddox later concurred with this last point. 

“I think I deserve a little better from this board…I have done absolutely nothing to deserve to be the only member of the Board of Selectmen that...has been asked to resign his or her position as a liaison to any committee,” Jasper continued.

In response, Massey informed Jasper that several members of the former Benson Park Committee could not be convinced “under any circumstance” to remain on this board due to Jasper’s presence as its selectman representative.  Massey added that some members of the new group are reluctant to become more involved for this same reason.

“They’re afraid to do anything because they believe you are establishing and setting and moving the direction…I simply believe that, on that basis, we’re going to continue down the same turmoil,” predicted Massey.

 At this point, Jasper admitted to strained relations between himself and current committee member Jerry Desrosiers.  As was previously reported, Jasper and Desrosiers publicly butted heads back in May after confusion arose regarding the entrance of the public onto the Benson Park property.

Jasper additionally revealed that former Benson Park Committee chairperson Esther McGraw was insulted when asked to re-apply for the new committee and most likely blamed him for this action since she subsequently would not accept his phone calls. 

McGraw verified some of these feelings the following day.  “I am seeing fire,” she began in describing her reaction to Jasper having publicly brought up her name during the meeting. 

With regard to the phone call issue however, McGraw countered that Jasper’s name has never appeared on her caller ID and that, unless he has a private number, she did not believe he made any attempt to contact her.  “He’s never talked to me personally,” stated McGraw.

When questioned, McGraw also let it be known that she would “absolutely” still be on the Benson Park Committee if it were not for the re-application process.  “After nine years, all of a sudden we [the former committee members] were worthless,” she lamented.

Other than Desrosiers and McGraw, Jasper concluded that he was unaware of any further problems between himself and the current committee.

“I think it’s always unfortunate when people are judged under the rumor mills,” Jasper acknowledged.  “I’m not one who generally sits here and toots my own horn but I am the person in this town who has been elected to represent the people of this town to more offices, more times, over a longer period of time, than anyone else in the history of the Town of Hudson and to be treated this way by innuendos and rumors is degrading to me and it speaks very poorly of this board,” he proclaimed.

Statements from the other selectmen ceased at this time so the meeting proceeded without any motion or formal vote having been taken relating to Maddox’s original suggestion.

Following the meeting, Benson Park Committee Vice Chairman Ken Matthews spoke highly of Jasper when approached by the Hudson~Litchfield News.  “He [Jasper] has done everything to help us; he has been giving us direction.  Everything he’s done has been correct.  Rumors don’t tell the story,” professed Matthews, a committee member since 2003.

Jasper confirmed to the Hudson~Litchfield News that he did not resign as liaison and Selectmen Chairman Roger Coutu further clarified to the HLN that Jasper remains the selectmen representative since no vote was taken.  Maddox expressed his disbelief and disappointment with the board’s actions when later asked about Jasper’s liaison status.  “This is Hudson, nothing ever dies.  Stay tuned…” Maddox replied.

Magic and Laughter at the Library

by Lynne Ober

Audience participation is the key to the laughter.

What do books, laughter, and magical mayhem have to do with each other?  Mr. Phil can explain in his zany way, and he did, much to the enjoyment of the audience at the George H. and Ella M. Rodgers Memorial Library.  Mr. Phil’s Summer Reading Show is called Summer Time in honor of the summer reading program of the same name.

The crowd of kids laughed hysterically at Mr. Phil’s invention for cleaning shoes that, to no one’s surprise, didn’t quite work as he expected.

Mixed into the magic is a humorous patter laced with really bad jokes.  When Mr. Phil began making a balloon dog, he got the body built and the head built and then stopped to ask his audience where they would find a dog with no legs.  “Right where you put him” was the answer.  The audience hooted as Mr. Phil showed how to give his balloon dog legs.

Part of the fun comes from the audience participation.  Mr. Phil loves to drag audience members front and center to participate in the zany fun.  Sarah went up to learn to blow bubblegum bubbles because Mr. Phil said he was a champion bubblegum bubble blower, but before long she was dragged into a card trick.  During the trick, Mr. Phil told her to park her gum on a bright red paddle.  After he got her to pick a card and show the audience, he had her hide her card within the deck.  Then there was a delightful back-and-forth between the audience before it was decided that Sarah would throw the cards into the air and Mr. Phil would catch her card on the gum parked on the red paddle, and sure enough he did!  The audience “oohed” and “aahed”.  When Mr. Phil said that he had accidentally gotten gum into Sarah’s hair and asked if anyone had scissors, the “oohs” turned to giggles.  Everyone knew that mayhem was about to begin.  By the end, the gum was magically out of Sarah’s hair so they had no needed to shave her head.

One of the delightful things that Mr. Phil does is to weave his show around children’s books.  He knows which ones are available and he tells his audience to go read the stories after giving them a teaser about the book and performing a magic trick related to a book.

Before the show was over, Mr. Phil created his magical balloon animals and gave them to audience members.  This year, Mrs. Phil also participated, and after the show she painted delightful designs and creatures onto audience members’ faces.

As cards fly through the air, Mr. Phil concentrates on capturing Sarah’s special card.

Improper Comment Spurs Selectmen Meeting with Land Use Chairmen

by Gina M. Votour

Stemming from a recent incident, the Board of Selectmen summoned the chairmen from each of Hudson’s three land use departments for a discussion.

Appearing during the July 28 Board of Selectmen meeting were Planning Board Chairman Vincent Russo, Zoning Board of Adjustment Chairman J. Bradford Seabury, and Conservation Commission Chairman Bob Haefner.

Selectmen Vice Chairman Ken Massey opened the talk by referencing a recent meeting of a land use board during which a member opined that two town businesses, mentioned by name, could be under code violation.  These comments were made despite the fact that no formal complaints had been filed against these companies.  Furthermore, these businesses were not included on any portion of that evening’s agenda. 

In reality, the two companies were in compliance with their business permits.  The companies subsequently threatened legal action against the town should similar allegations be made again, according to Selectmen Chairman Roger Coutu.

“These land use board members cannot be using their positions on a land use board as a bully pulpit, to try to correct problems that they perceive … it [could] give individual business owners a bad reputation,” said Selectman Shawn Jasper.  

Attempting to prevent similar occurrences in future public forums, Massey requested input from the three chairmen with regard to how these matters will be handled going forward.

Russo asked if a related written policy of selectmen expectations could be created and adopted since it is not always easy to control what board members say. 

Planning Board Selectman Liaison Richard Maddox also shared this opinion, pointing out that land use board members are often passionate about their work.  “I just don’t think we’re going to say at any given time that we’re going to give up passion for uniformity,” Maddox proclaimed.

“They [board members] are pretty passionate people …  they tend to say what they think,” agreed Seabury.  Seabury added that it is sometimes difficult to avoid mentioning companies by name, even though they may not be on the agenda, due to the necessity for comparisons.  Massey clarified that these situations would be permissible since the companies in question would already be part of public record for previous cases.

Although at this point there is no formal policy regarding this type of conduct, a form is available through Community Development in which land use board members may, as private citizens, submit written allegations.  Massey emphasized that zoning and site plan violations are not in fact violations until a determination is made in writing. 

Ultimately, the selectmen agreed that land use board members must understand that they are unlikely to be re-appointed if they fail to adhere to certain standards of conduct.

“I think what we’re just trying to say is that it is appropriate for you to at times say ‘that’s out of order, we’re not discussing that this evening’ and if the member persists and you cannot control, well then that’s something we [the selectmen] need to … take into consideration during the appointment process,” Jasper clarified to the land use chairmen. 

Haefner stated that this was a point well taken, further expressing his feeling, as a board chairman, to “always be doing the right thing.”  He assured the selectmen that he would bring this issue up at his committee’s next meeting.

At the discussion’s conclusion, Coutu praised all three chairmen for their work.

“I’m in awe of all three of you…you’re all very professional in the way you conduct your meetings and I appreciate that citizens, when they go before you, are treated with a tremendous amount of dignity and respect and you make them feel very comfortable in their presentations,” Coutu stated.

“I want you to know that this board…certainly appreciates all of the time and effort and energies that each member of your respective committees put into serving our community.  We are certainly not setting that aside.  That’s foremost in our minds,” concluded Coutu.

Old Home Days 2009

By Lynne Ober

This year’s four-day-Old Home Days event had excellent weather – no rain, not too hot and relatively low humidity.  It was a perfect four days to be outside.

Once again the Hudson Historical Society worked hard at providing low cost fun for the family.  As usual there was music and food and fun and carnival rides and events to attend and exhibits to see. 

Kicking off at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday evening, attendees could buy a one-price wristband and ride as many rides as they wanted.  Cars were streaming onto the grounds as soon as Old Home Days started.  Walking from the parking lot to the fair grounds, everyone got to look at a display of unusual cars.  They ranged from a tiny SmartCar to a large, well maintained Hummer and in-between.  For music lovers, there was karaoke by Disco Bob from 6 until 10:00 p.m.  For those looking for a pet, the Greater Nashua Humane Society brought an assortment of friendly, fluffy animals.

Throughout the four days, Hills House was open for tours and a display on the history of Alvirne High School was available in the great room.

Friday also began at 5:00 p.m.  New Hampshire State Police had displays.  At 6:00 p.m. an auction began.  The auction, organized by Sherri Lavoie, benefited the St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Pantry.  The Classic Oldies Band played on the front porch of Hills House. 

The Hudson Fire Department drew a large crowd with their interactive Fire Family Feud game show.  Lots of laughs and lots of fun for all.

The Smokehouse Lightening Blues Band, sponsored by King’s Court, entertained from 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Saturday was a full day with events starting at noon.  Charmingfare Farm brought their Petting Zoo and pony rides.  Placed under the trees on the edge of the grounds, families made an immediate stop to enjoy the animals.  “My kids just loved the animals,” laughed Jill. 

From noon until 2:00 p.m. there were free field games for the kids on the front lawn.  Parents sat in the bleachers and watched as their children tried to run with an animal cracker in a spoon, hold a cup filled with water on their heads and enjoy a variety of games with balls.  Sponsored again by St. Mary’s Bank, this was a popular stop for arriving families.

Watching the state police helicopter land on the grounds is always a popular event.  The helicopter swoops over the ground blaring its siren, and then it returns and hovers so that everyone can get a good look and finally it lands.  It seemed like everyone stopped and looked skyward.

As the day progressed, there were a variety of events and demonstrations under the tents.  The Historical Society’s food crew did another amazing job with food.  Lobster rolls, Butter and Sugar corn on the cob, sausages, chicken, watermelon, drinks and hot dogs and hamburgers kept attendees going back for more.

Hudson American legion Post #48 held a meat raffle under the large tent.  For the kids, there were the ever-popular sawdust pile treasure hunts and the Lila Iguana performed their live show on the front porch.

Finally the poker run winners was announced.  The Hudson Fire Department brought back their Fire Family Feud interactive game show much to the delight of the daytime audience.

As evening fell and the lights were turned onto the carnival rides, the very popular Old #7 band, sponsored by Nash Construction, played.  At 9:30 there were the annual fireworks display and then everyone popped back into the tent to continue listening to Old #7 band.

Sunday was a day filled with family events.  Charming fare Farm again had their petting zoo and pony rides.  Wildlife Encounters Zoo was also on the grounds as was the Birds of Prey display by the New Hampshire School of Falconry.

There were more sawdust pile treasure hunts and a return visit by the Lila Iguana show troop.  By 3:00 p.m. everyone was in the bleachers to watch the Police K-9 demonstration.  Under the big tent were a variety of kid activities.  “I just like to have lots of different things for the kids to do that don’t cost the parents any money,” said Chairman Priscilla Clegg.

Her husband, Bob Clegg, spent most of the four days working in the Moore Mart tent where there was a huge and moving display of photos from Iraq.  Participants could write a message on a soccer ball that would be included in one of the monthly shipments to servicemen stationed overseas.  “They do great work and I’m happy to help them,” said Clegg.”

By 5:00 p.m. when the event was officially closed, many had come and had a wonderful time.  Everyone who worked was tired, but happy.

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