Pittsfield NH News

February 28, 2018


 

Pittsfield School Board

February 15, 2018

Submitted By Ralph Odell

 

The recent School Board Meeting was highlighted by several success stories and examples of the school addressing current issues. Ms. Danielle Harvey described a gift from Tammy Rollins of a guitar rack in memory of her son, Jacob Rowell. We all appreciate the gift and it will be a valued asset for the school.

 

Mr. Derek Hamilton reviewed an antibullying program that has been established for grades 4-12. Two representatives from the Merrimack County Juvenile Service Program helped prepare and present the program. Additional programming is being planned. The effort appears to hit a current topic.

 

The impact of technology in the elementary school was described by Ms. Kathy LeMay. A marked increase in the number of students working at grade level has occurred in mid year, by the use of the Lexus Core 5 program. A second program, “Dreambox” is being utilized with good success.

 

The Deliberative Session was discussed and issues that need further clarification were identified. A citizen’s call led to a description of safety procedures related to the recent school shooting in Florida. The Department of Education and Homeland Security have assisted the school in developing an emergency plan, drills are being held and critiqued. It was evident the school administration has been prudent in addressing the issue.

 


 

Letter

 

Dear Pittsfield Voters:

I am running for reelection to the Pittsfield Planning Board, and I ask for your vote on March 13.

 

Many voters have little or no direct contact with the planning board and thus may not know what the board does.  The planning board’s basic functions are to (1) ensure that proposed development is safe and doesn’t overly burden taxpayers, (2) ensure that survey plats define boundaries and easements clearly and are recordable, and (3) propose zoning amendments that separate commercial and residential uses to the benefit of both use types.

 

A common misconception is that the planning board can bring about development, for example, to lower taxes.  In fact the board cannot give developers incentives. The board decides land use applications judicially, and the NH Constitution requires all judicial processes to be impartial.  Listening to both abutters and developers and deciding applications impartially is important in ensuring fairness and that proposed development is safe and doesn’t overly burden taxpayers.  The planning board under former chair Ted Mitchell and current chair Clayton Wood committed the board to following state law, listening and responding to abutter concerns, and protecting property values by supporting sensible development that benefits Pittsfield and the taxpayers.

 

As part of the board’s commitment, the board revised and clarified subdivision and zoning regulations that were sometimes vague or confusing.  I was active in these projects and took the lead in revising the sign regulations to allow businesses and home occupations the flexibility of posting signs without ZBA approval, and I plan to be active in designing a zoning district to protect our historic downtown.  Please give me your vote so that I can continue to support the Mitchell/Wood commitment to fairness and sensible development that benefits our town and taxpayers.

 

Thank you,

Daren Nielsen

 


 

Letter To The Editor

 

Nick Penney wrote in last week’s Sun that growing Pittsfield’s tax base with development—“specifically more taxable real estate that doesn’t overstress town services”—will solve the town’s tax problem, that the planning board is uniquely positioned to make such development happen, and that he is running for planning board to help make such development happen.

 

Nick’s perception of how development affects taxes and what the planning board can do is a view that many people have when they have never attended a planning board meeting and thus misunderstand the tax problem, how development actually affects taxes, and what the planning board can and cannot do.

 

A simple calculation shows that development cannot solve Pittsfield’s tax problem.  The town’s total real estate valuation is $292,546,617; the town’s highest value property, Globe Manufacturing, is $2,474,500; and the tax rate is $33.46/$1000.  Globe is thus only 0.85% of the town’s total value, and somehow magically adding three Globe-value properties that would draw no town services would lower the tax rate by only $0.83/$1000.  Pittsfield must reduce spending in order to reduce taxes.

 

As for making development happen, the planning board is powerless to entice developers, and trying would violate the board’s constitutional obligation to be impartial.  The board’s only means to encourage development are to eliminate regulations designed to prohibit development that is unsafe or that drains town finances.  This type of development benefits no one except developers.

 

I believe that Nick wants to help Pittsfield, but he has attended no planning board meetings, and getting on the planning board after attending no meetings is not the way.  A planning board that misunderstands its obligations and limits can cause many problems.

 

Jim Pritchard

 


 

Pittsfield Select Board Meeting 2/20/18

Submitted By Carl Anderson, Selectman

 

Several public hearings were scheduled; acceptance of a gift to the fire dept. of an inflatable boat, motor and funds for a storage building had no opposition, and Dan Shroth volunteered to captain the boat, if he could bring a fishing pole. A warrant article which proposes to add a $5 surcharge on vehicle registrations specifically for sidewalk improvement was mostly well received. If it passes it should add $26,000 annually to repair/replace sidewalks. Thirdly, a Rep. of the State explained the proposal to allow Keno at certain eligible establishments, some of the proceeds of which go toward funding $1100 to $1800 per student for full time kindegarten. Some attendees favored the additional state contribution (supplimenting revenue from lotteries) while another warned of “moral degredation” from gambling. Keno and the “sidewalk surcharge” will be on the warrant, and decided by voters. The gift to the fire dept. was accepted by the BOS, with appreciation.

 

At their request, the Old Home Day Committee was brought under the umbrella of town administration and a revolvng fund expressly for costs associated with that purpose will be established.

 

Two State police officers briefed us on what we could expect, and what not to expect, from the State Police in assistance of coverage until we are able to fill some of our recently vacated positions. Troop D, Merrimack County has 34 positions and only 14 officers, so they have the same issue as local and county departments. Ability to respond could be nearly impossible depending on circumstances, however, they assured us that if called, they will respond if possible. Pittsfield and our neighbors typically respond to calls for mutual aid in each others towns and this will continue, with some shift coverage as well. 

 


 

Letter

 

Voters of Pittsfield,

I have submitted my Declaration of Candidacy for re-election to the position of Town Moderator and I am writing this letter to ask for your vote and support for my re-election.

 

This is an office Ihave held for the past year and one half. My current term expires at the end of Town Meeting in March of this year, and I look forward to the opportunity of serving this community for another term.

 

I enjoy being Moderator and take my role seriously. I have attended classes at the NH Municipal Association and continue to do so. In addition, I have attended training on election law offered by the Secretary of State and Attorney General’s offices.

 

I am proud and honored to be able to help preserve New Hampshire’s tradition of free and fair elections. I believe I have been as fair and impartial as anyone can be.

 

As a member of this community for over 25 years and as a participant in the community, I care a great deal about what goes on in the community from the perspective of a citizen and taxpayer.

Once again, I ask for your vote on Election Day. Thank You for giving me the privilege of serving you.

 

Fred Okrent

 


 

Letter

 

Dear Pittsfield Residents,

My name is Heidi Asdot and I am excited to be running for School Board in the election coming up on March 13th.

 

My husband and I purchased our home in Pittsfield in September 2010 and have fallen in love with our little town!  We have a daughter that is currently in 6th grade at PES.  

 

I have worked in the retirement plan compliance field for over 10 years and I am currently a supervisor for a nationwide firm.  I have worked with numbers since I have been out of high school (working in a bank and in sales) and I am currently working with large corporations and their budgets and how different factors (such as their retirement plan) can impact them.

 

My husband has been working with the Parks and Recreation Committee in town for almost two years now and I have been looking for an opportunity in which I could give back to Pittsfield.  I feel that the School Board is a wonderful way for me to do that. 

 

With having a child in the school system and owning a home in town, I feel that I have a vested interest in helping the school be the best it can be while keeping in mind the effect the school has on the tax rate.  I want to see the school succeed at providing the children of our town with every possibility that is available to them.

 

Thank you for your support!

 

Sincerely,

Heidi Asdot

 


 

Concord Regional VNA Seeks Therapy Dog Owners

 

Concord Regional VNA is seeking therapy dog owners to volunteer to visit hospice patients.

 

K9 Comfort is a program offering the unconditional love of certified therapy dogs to hospice patients who may benefit. Therapy dogs typically make patients feel more comfortable and reduce the stress of a situation. All dogs must be certified under Therapy Dogs International or Delta Society.

 

To learn more, please call Lisa Challender, Volunteer Coordinator, at (603) 224-4093 or (800) 924-8620, ext. 2826 or e-mail lisa.challender@crvna.org.

 


 

The Cast of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest - Part Two

 

“We’re all mad here. I’m mad, you’re mad.” Okay, so that’s a quote from Alice in Wonderland but it still applies. Director Meggin Dail often gets teased for taking rehearsal time to discuss the characters in the shows she’s directed. Some cast members think it’s that rehearsal they’re allowed to skip without notice. Dail believes her Character Discussion “rehearsal” is what sometimes makes the show. 

 

“When I directed this show 18 years ago,” Dail says, “I remember we asked the guy playing Billy, if Billy  loved his mother. His response was, ‘no.’ When I asked the rest of the cast what they thought, they answered with a resounding, ‘YES!.’ This is why these discussions are so important, they help the actors figure out who they are playing. What the characters’ backgrounds are, stuff that goes beyond what’s in the script.”

 

This time around the character discussion proved just as interesting. The cast discovered things about each other as well as themselves. “I guess he’s kind of like me in a way.” One of them said. “I was bullied all through life,” was another reply. “I had some mother issues of my own.” Each admittance helping themselves and each other develop their characters further.

 

Jared Griffin plays Martini, a seemingly docile acute whose soothing mechanism is to pat an imaginary cat. Other times it’s clear Martini suffers from PTSD, a diagnosis that would not become known for another decade. Griffin, being in the military himself, plays the role with interesting insight, ranging between dramatic hallucinations, both funny and sad, to moments of such lucidity it makes him want to hide.

 

Marty Williams becomes Cheswick on stage. Not “plays the role of,” becomes. Marty, as Cheswick is eerily believable as an older gentleman who should not be left to his own devices. Cheswick believes the world owes him something and sometimes he actually gets up the nerve to demand what’s owed. Unfortunately when he does, he immediately backs down, realizing that perhaps if he gets what he’s owed, there may be nothing left to ask for. Cheswick seems stuck in his childhood when times were much easier and he had someone to take care of him. At the arrival of McMurphy, played by Ernie Bass, Cheswick clings to him as a life raft after timidly feeling him out as someone he could rely on who is not the “Big Nurse” played by Vicki Watson.

 

Kiefer Archambault struggles with Scanlon and comes across brilliantly. The few lines Archambault has to get the character of Scanlon across to the audience gives him very little time to establish this recluse of a man who is angry enough to “blow up the world.” His fellow actors have been known to remark, “He gives me the chills when he says that.” Meaning the deadpan delivery of lines that seem to crave emotion. When the words fall from Archambault’s mouth as Scanlon, there’s no question he means business.

 

If you’re not intrigued yet, hold tight, there’s more to come. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest comes to the Scenic Theatre, Home of the Pittsfield Players as part of their 50th anniversary season, March 9, 10, 16, & 17, 2018. It is sponsored by The Iron Dragon of Pittsfield. Tickets are now available by ticketleap at www,pittsfieldplayers.com or by calling for reservations at (603) 435-8852.

 


 

Letter To The Editor

 

On March 13,  please vote yes for both Article 8 to adopt the provisions known as SB2 for the town and Article 9 to delegate the determination of the default budget to the budget committee. 

 

The main reason for supporting Article 8 is that SB2 allows more people to vote. Important issues that affect the town like a $3 million budget should be determined by a true representation of the town’s voters. With SB2, voting hours are very flexible from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM and absentee ballots can be used. This also does not disenfranchise people who cannot attend a several hour town meeting. I have waited over 3 hours before voting on the operating budget! Almost as important is the privacy of a secret ballot. Many people have complained that the public voting at the traditional meeting is very intimidating. Who wants to vote against a town contract in front of the town employees? Also, the time between the deliberative session and the election does not allow for any surprises, giving the voter 30 days to get informed. With the traditional meeting, articles can change within minutes prior to the vote and testimony cannot be verified. 

 

Regarding Article 9, many have noticed that this year’s school default budget is almost $100,000 more than they actually spent last year! The law allows for the figure to be reduced or increased based on obligations previously incurred or mandated by law. The selectmen will determine this figure if Article 8 passes. Article 9 will delegate this to the budget committee. I believe that this extra layer of scrutiny will help avoid unnecessary increases.

 

Last year, SB2 failed for the town by 10 votes to make the 60%! All votes are important. Please vote yes for both Articles 8 & 9.

 

Clayton Wood

 


 

Josiah Carpenter Library March News

 

The library extends a huge thank you to The Circle of Home and Family for sewing window valances for the children’s room.  The valances are truly lovely; visit the library to admire the Circle’s talent and handiwork!

 

The Teen Book Worms will gather on Monday March 5th at 5:00pm; they will enjoy a light supper and discuss This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.  The Pittsfield Writer’s Circle will meet at the library on Monday February 15th at 5:00pm.  The adult book club will meet to discuss Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar at 10:30 am on Tuesday March 27th at the Pittsfield Senior Center.  Join any of our ongoing activities whenever you can.

 

During March the preschool story hour will explore colors, and then begin a unit on transportation at 10:00am on Thursday mornings. The afterschool Adventure Club meets at 3:30pm on Tuesdays and will finish up pets, then begin making marvelous movers and fantastic fliers.   The Stay and Play group for toddlers and their parents/caregivers meets on Tuesday mornings at 10:00am for a brief story, simple games, movement and time to socialize.

 

The library will join with Pittsfield Elementary School the week of March 12th thru 17th to celebrate Dr. Seuss and Read across America.  Children will enjoy the books of Dr. Seuss, crafts and activities.  At 10:30am of Saturday March 17th come to the library to decorate Dr. Seuss (gingerbread) houses!

 

At the Chichester-Epsom-Pittsfield Libraries Memory Café Mike Faiella will share the tale of a New Hampshire farmer, down on his luck, who sells his soul to the devil.  Find out what happens when he has regrets and asks for the help of his neighbor, the great Daniel Webster.  The Café will be held at 2:00pm on Monday March 12th at the Epsom Public Library.  Caregivers and folks living with memory loss are invited to come and savor supportive socialization.

 

Mark your calendar for an awe inspiring evening of entertainment presented by mentalist Preston Heller on April 10th at 7:00pm in the community room at the Pittsfield Community Center.  Mr.  Heller will amaze the audience with the feats he can perform using just the power of his mind.

 


 

Letter

 

To the voters of Pittsfield,

Not many public sector positions have as much impact on our town as School Board member. The member should be carefully scrutinizing the way the school is being run and the way their budget of over $10,000,000 is spent. If we’ve got to pour that kind of capital into an entity, we should be getting our monies worth.

 

That same person should be able to also keep our children’s education at the forefront of each discussion, and to be able to walk that tightrope. Having spent the last two years on the Select Board seeing Adam Gauthier’s cap out in the audience at nearly every meeting, knowing that when public input comes around he’ll be holding our feet to the fire about any number of things, I’ve seen firsthand his attention to detail. He’s not afraid to politely address sensitive subjects if they need scrutiny as he has demonstrated as a member of the budget committee. If elected to the School Board, Adam will take his job seriously and be an asset to both the school and the town.

 

Carl Anderson

 


 

From the Farm: The Drama of Farming

Submitted By Carole Soule

Farmer Carole snuggles with Charlotte, an 800-pound “pet pig.”​

 

Swords clashed, fighters groaned and the audience gasped as a battle raged on stage and actors fell to the ground. At the end (spoiler alert) the bad guy, Macbeth, was killed by Macduff in this Shakespeare play at the Hatbox Theater in Concord. Some of you may already know the outcome, but I was glad Macbeth died.

 

This play was enacted at the former location of Coldwater Creek, now Hatbox Theater, at Concord’s Steeplegate Mall. Surrounded on three sides by seating, the stage is only a few feet away from the audience. Without special effects,  other than metal swords and period costumes, the actors made the action real. It’s hard to imagine rhyming English and a 400-year-old story coming alive but it did.

 

The next night I watched ‘Vana, Sasha, Masha and Spike’ at the classic Concord City Auditorium (Audi). While this play didn’t have any sword-swinging, the verbal barbs were flying and the actors believable.

 

What does farming and acting have in common? Maybe nothing, but maybe a lot. Sitting in a space, with other people, watching actors repeat thousands of words they’ve memorized is astounding. These are not actors on TV or on the movie screen. These are people like you and me making magic happen real-time, in front of me and others.

 

‘Local’ is the connection. These are local actors on a local stage, performing for their neighbors. Just like buying locally-raised food helps neighborhood farmers and tastes good, going to a locally-produced play supports neighborhood actors and also feels good.

 

Actors are a lot like farmers. How many people have second jobs to support their careers? Most actors have ‘day jobs’ to pay the bills so they can pursue what they love; acting. Many farmers or their spouses have second or third jobs so they can farm. Actors act because they want to provide entertainment. Farmers farm because we want to provide food. Paying the rent or mortgage is important but not primary for farmers or actors.

 

While I appreciate actors, I never want to be one. I could never memorize all those words, but I’m glad someone can. For now I’ll converse with my monosyllabic cattle with a good Moo or two! It is worth checking out local plays. Visit your local farmer to buy food and attend a play for amazing entertainment. Like me, you just might get hooked.

 

Carole Soule is co-owner of Miles Smith Farm, in Loudon, NH, where she raises and sells beef, pork, lamb, eggs and other local products. She can be reached at cas@milessmithfarm.com.

 


 

Letter

 

Dear Citizens of Pittsfield,

My name is Ruth Thrall and I have lived in Pittsfield for 20 years. I have worked in the local pharmacy for 12 years. I am now retired and have never before written any kind of letter supporting a candidate for town office, but I feel that this is important.

 

I am supporting Daren Nielson for another term for planning board. I came to know him over the many years I have been here and find him to be a very concerned citizen and a productive member of the board. He sincerely cares about our town and has ideas that will serve our town well in the future. He wants only the best and will work hard to help achieve that goal. Darren Nielson is a caring and kind person and one we should be proud to have continue working for us.

 

Thank you all for reading this letter and please consider voting for him for another term.

 

Ruth Thrall

Pittsfield

 


 

Letter

 

Dear Pittsfield Voters,

On March 13th I ask that you vote for Clayton Wood and Daren Neilsen for Planning Board. Clayton has been the Planning Board chair for several years and Daren is currently the vice-chair. Through their leadership the Planning Board has not only run smoothly but made many voter approved changes to the zoning ordinance. These changes have brought the ordinance into compliance with state law, clarified language and enhanced its overall usefulness. Their experience and thoughtful thoroughness is important to the consistent enforcement of the zoning ordinance.

 

Please vote for experience, vote for Clayton Wood and Daren Nielsen.

 

Thank You,

Ted Mitchell

 


Obituaries


 

Ruth L. Bagnall

PITTSFIELD- Ruth L. Bagnall, 84, of Pittsfield, passed away on Friday, February 23, 2018 at her residence surrounded by her loving family following a brief illness.

 

Born on April 13, 1933 in Boston, MA, she was the daughter of the late Lawrence and Alice (Hodgdon) Douphinette.

 

Ruth joined the U.S. Navy in 1951 and proudly served her country before raising a family. Ruth worked as a Catechism Coordinator for St. Jude's Church in Londonderry for 17 years until her retirement. She was a parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Pittsfield, where she resided. Ruth was known for her ability to spread joy and her love of handing out smiley face buttons. She had extensive Seashells and Rock collections, was an avid reader and always enjoyed a good John Wayne Movie.

 

Besides her parents, Ruth was predeceased by her husband, Donald Bagnall in 1977 as well as a sister, Barbara Pettipost.

 

She is survived by a daughter, Alice Young and John of Pittsfield; her sons, Lawrence Bagnall, Richard Bagnall and Glee of Franklin, Ralph Bagnall and Susan of Fort Myers, FL and Robert Bagnall and Lisa of Ashburn, VA; a brother, Alfred Douphinette; eleven grandchildren, seven great grandchildren with another on the way as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 10 A.M. in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Pittsfield. In lieu of flowers, donations in Ruth's memory may be sent to the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. Assisting the family with arrangements is the Still Oaks Funeral & Memorial Home of Epsom. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit www.stilloaks.com

  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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