Stephen Burton Earns Eagle Scout 

by Doug Robinson

Eagle Scout candidate Stephen Burton (r) instructs his father Mike Burton on the proper installation of the florescent lights at St. Vincent de Paul’s Food Pantry.

Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).  Those who attain this rank are called an Eagle Scout or Eagle.  Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than two million young men.  The title of Eagle Scout is held for life, thus giving rise to the phrase “Once an Eagle, always an Eagle”.  Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges and demonstrating Scout spirit, service, and leadership.  This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages.

“I first thought of painting the St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Pantry at St. John the Evangelist Church Parish Center on Library Street when I participated in the scouting for food drive which we held last year.  It was then that I realized that this wonderful organization needed some help,” stated life Scout and soon-to-be Eagle Scout Stephen Burton, of Hudson.  As outlined in Burton’s Eagle Scout application, “I will paint all walls, the ceiling, the exposed joists, and the floor.”

Before authority by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was given, Burton underwent seven intensive reviews of his project by members of the BSA Review Board.  Going before the Board of Review “is the last major step for an Eagle Scout candidate.  All his efforts peak at the Eagle board of review.  It’s akin to a job interview, but it allows the panel to determine whether the candidate is worthy of the recognition.  The interview focuses on the Eagle candidate’s attitude and his acceptance of Scouting’s ideals,” states Boy Scouts of America.

Life Scout Burton was required to “plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to your religious institution, school, or your community.”  His project needed the support and approval of the organization benefiting from the effort, his unit leader, varsity Scout coach, crew advisor, unit committee, and the council.

Burton has been involved with scouting for four years.  He belongs to Troop 252, which meets at St. Kathryn’s Church in Hudson.

“I remember how dark and dingy this pantry was when I first came here.  I want to brighten up the pantry and make it really nice.”

In order to paint the room, Burton had to first empty the room of all the food, shelving, boxes, and materials that are currently being used to provide food for the many needy families in Hudson.  A major concern for Burton was to find a way for St. Vincent de Paul to be able to continue to provide over 2,500 meals to those in need while he was painting the room.

Light fixtures were taped, electrical sockets were covered, refrigerators, chairs, and a desk needed to be removed from the room before the painting could begin.  Shelves were dismantled and supplies were ordered.  To paint the room professionally and properly, Burton consulted with professional painter Walter Buynowski.  With his help, Burton purchased the 25 gallons of wall paint, five gallons of light gray floor paint, along with the necessary supplies of masking tape, rollers, paint brushes, plastic trays, masks, markers, towels, and trash bags.

Burton estimated that his project would require 23 hours of labor and would last one week.  Burton’s plan listed the additional help of four Scouts along with his parents to assist him with the painting of St. Vincent’s.  During the first day of work, over a dozen friends, volunteers, and family members participated with the painting of the pantry.

“TI is very appreciative for the generosity of True Value of Hudson and the Kiwanis Club of Hudson as they helped me with the expenses of this project,” stated Burton.

Less than one percent of all those who enter Scouting earn the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout.  Soon Stephen Burton will be joining those elite Eagle Scouts who have walked the same path before him:  Sam Walton of Walmart, Astronaut Neil Armstrong (first man to set foot on the moon), President Gerald Ford, and film producer Stephen Spielberg.

St. Vincent de Paul’s Food Pantry

School Superintendent Responds to Farm Concerns

by Doug Robinson

During the September 14, 2009 Town of Hudson School Board Meeting, Hudson’s Superintendent of Schools, Randy Bell, read from a prepared statement in response to different “e-mails” that had been received by School Board Committee members.  The e-mails had been sent by three different people.

According to Superintendent Bell, the e-mails had been sent by Jessica Edwards, Ken Severance, and James Adamonis and were received last August of 2009.  In their e-mails, they expressed concerns involving the lack of safety at the Alvirne Farm, unfair process in the selection of the current farm manager, concern with the discipline of a teacher in the CTE with regards to an incident last spring, and that the superintendent had “lied and covered up” with regards to that specific incident.  Per their e-mails, the trio also requested that their concerns be discussed in public and on television.

“Frankly, I am happy to discuss these,” stated Superintendent Bell, “as the Board asked to have these concerns entered into the public portion of the meeting.”

Superintendent Bell addressed the e-mailed concerns by giving a brief history of events which had transpired during the previous year.  Bell explained that during June 2008 Jessica Edwards had been appointed to the position of farm manager for one year.  At that time, according to Bell, Edwards stated she wanted the position for “one year only” and a motion by (the School) Board was for one year.  As a result, a permanent manager needed to be selected this past June 2009.  Interviews were conducted by a faculty committee for the purpose of hiring a new farm manager.  The committee evaluated three candidates, and two candidates were passed onto Superintendent Bell for his approval.

According to Superintendent Bell, while the faculty committee chose Adamonis, Farm Director Lutz had chosen Nadeau, and Principal Lane stated he “would be happy with either candidate.”  Superintendent Bell stated that he “took Adamonis at his word” when he stated that Nadeau had “taught him everything he knew.”  Bell continued by stating that “When I conducted the interviews, I was highly impressed with both.  I checked their references and took three factors into account.”  Bell evaluated the candidate’s college training versus their practical knowledge, their references, and Adamonis’ personal statement.  Bell also explained that while Mr. Severance and Mr. Adamonis were “active volunteers on the farm” they were among some “20 different volunteers” as well.  Bell explained that many volunteers had contributed substantial hours for the “success of the farm.”  Bell concluded by stating that he was confident that he had made the correct choice in the selection of the new farm manager.

The trio of e-mailers also raised the concern regarding the “safety of equipment” as well as the safety of “equipment repairs.”  According to Superintendent Bell, the issues of farm equipment repair had been requested by the previous farm manager, Jessica Edwards.  Her concerns were that necessary parts were needed for specific farm equipment to ensure safety for the students.  Superintendent Bell stated that he was “surprised by the alarm of great danger” as the equipment of which she was speaking “had been the very same equipment used in the very same condition used” for the previous year.  Furthermore, it was learned that the request parts for the farm equipment had been received at the farm during Edward’s tenure as farm manager, yet rested on a back shelf in a storage room rather than being installed on the machinery.

“They used (the same equipment) for an entire year without raising safety concerns until May or June.  I do believe that the repairs should have now been made.  I have some sense these people are applying (conditions) to Mr. Nadeau that they did not apply to themselves.  Their concerns have value and have been addressed.”

Superintendent Bell continued his prepared message stating that “In the winter and spring of 2009 an incident occurred with the care of a miniature donkey.  (The incident involves) the issuance of syringes and medications to inoculate that donkey, and the issuance of those inoculations (were) given to a student over the weekend.

“An internal investigation did take place and it was validated.”  Bell went on to explain that he “asked the Hudson Police Department to investigate” the matter, “due to the potential seriousness of the incident.”  Bell stated that he asked the Hudson Police Department to investigate the areas of “child endangerment, cruelty to animals, and endangerment to animals.”  Bell’s statements requested the Hudson Police Department to be “thorough and independent.”  The dispute rose over the care of an animal as a result of two different veterinarians suggesting care which was contradictory with each other.  While one veterinarian suggested that the donkey be “euthanized”, the second veterinarian suggested that medications should be given to the donkey to “bring it back to health.”  Unfortunately, according to Superintendent Bell, the “donkey’s life was prolonged wrongly.  As a result, we now have one veterinarian and one person responsible for the animals on the farm.  The Hudson Police Department said clearly that no violation of any criminal statues occurred.  Nonetheless, we determined that the teacher had exercised a serious lack of professional judgment.”  As a result, “severe and appropriate discipline” was administered to the teacher in question, commented Bell.

Superintendent Bell continued, regarding commenting on their concern with the discipline of a teacher, by stating that, “I have not, and I cannot, and I will not comment on the discipline of a teacher who (is) a 22 year veteran of the staff.  Clearly she was not fired, which is what is desired by these people.  (And) despite the claim in the e-mails stating that the discipline was a slap on the wrist, I doubt very much that the teacher does not feel that way.  I believe the action taken was appropriate.”

In conclusion, Bell continued to state that “e-mails state that I lied and (I) covered up the incidents.  I presume (they are talking) about (the) donkey.  As to lying to Mr. Severance, I can tell you that I did no such thing.  I have no specifics, so I cannot make a specific response.  I do not believe I have lied to anybody whatsoever, (or) to anybody.  I am confident about my integrity.  As to a cover up, I was the one who called Chief Lavoie and asked for a police investigation, and (I) cooperated fully with the investigation.  The police file is open to the public and people have reviewed that report.  I just find it interesting how the charges of a cover up could occur under those circumstances.”

AHS’s Class Act Helps Hudson Go Green

by Doug Robinson

Alvirne High School’s Student Drama Club (Class Act) and Alvirne High School’s parent volunteers (AHS Onstage) recently hosted an Electronic Recycling Day in the parking lot of Alvirne High School.  The public was invited to safely recycle their old electronics in an effort to raise funds for the Drama Club.

A $5 fee was charged for laptops, DVD & VCR players, printers, stereos, toasters, and microwave ovens, while a $10 fee was charged for computer monitors and televisions under 19”.  Computer keyboards, computer mice, hand-held devices, including cell phones and PDA’s, were also recycled.

“We have been very fortunate to have a great turnout over the years for this fundraising event,” commented Heidi Spaulding, On Stage alumnae.  “We have been conducting this recycling event twice a year for several years.  The community really turns out in support of this event, and because of this fundraising event we have been able to offer the students of Alvirne High School scholarships and educational trips.”

For more information about upcoming plays and activities of Class Act, please visit:, e-mail, or call 320-1073.

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