Fire issues top year in Barnstead


January 04, 2011
BARNSTEAD — The establishment of a municipal fire department and selection of the first full-time chief were among the top news items in Barnstead in 2010.

In January, after months of talks and negotiations, the selectmen signed an agreement with Barnstead Fire-Rescue, Inc. (BFRInc.) to make the fire department fully municipal.

The decision was left in the hands of voters in March, and the voters approved the measure at the town meeting in March. The article transferred ownership of BFRInc.'s buildings and equipment to the town, changing the method of financing the fire department in accordance with RSA 154:1-a; and ratifying the final agreement between the board of selectmen and BFRInc., which calls for BFRInc. to dissolve on March 31 and re-form as something akin to a firemen's association.

The Barnstead Planning Board made proposed changes to its sign ordinance. Feedback from the public claimed that the new ordinance would create unnecessary hardship.

Arnie Hayes came before the board and claimed that the new ordinance would force him to place a sign on someone else's property, some 125 feet back. The board actually ruled that additional setback would be zero feet.

Stuart Leiderman, a Barnstead resident, survived a 7.0-magnitude earthquake during a visit to Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince in January. Leiderman is an expert in the study of environmental refugees and ecological restoration and helped coordinate relief efforts.

In February, the Barnstead Board of Selectmen agreed to take part in a program called Clean Air-Cool Planet. Through the program, Clean Air-Cool Planet conducted inventory energy audits on the town's electricity usage, heating fuel usage and vehicle fuel usage. The program is funded by the state, so it didn't cost any money to join the program.

Staff cuts and the possible addition of another modular classroom dominated a hearing on the Barnstead School District's 2010 operating budget in February.

Due to anticipated reduction in Title I funding, several positions were reduced and four Title I aides were eliminated, but they took the place of four other staff members due to seniority.

"It's not about the person," said Principal Tim Rice. "It's about the position."

After much discussion, the committee voted 4-3 in favor of a new modular at Barnstead Elementary School.

A Warrant article was presented by Brett Tiede via petition, asking that the number on the Barnstead Board of Selectmen be reduced from five down to three. A public hearing was held in February, where the current board questioned the reduction.

Kathy Grillo defeated incumbent Gordon Preston to assume her late husband Phil's seat on Barnstead's Board of Selectmen. Dave Kerr returned to the board for another three-year term. Kerr was joined by Bob LaRoche.

In the only other contested race on the March town ballot, David Murley and Mike Kowalski edged out competitors for spots on the planning board.

Cynthia Treadwell returned to another three-year term as Town Clerk, while Jeannie Terry won election to a six-year term as a supervisor of the checklist. Denise Adjutant won a three-year term as trustee of the trust funds, while Bruce Marriott was re-elected to a three-year term on the board of library trustees.

Brian White and Paul Landry were re-elected to three-year terms on the budget committee, and Elaine Swinford was returned to a one-year position as Overseer of Public Welfare.

Bill Gosse won re-election to a two-year term as town moderator.

In school district results, incumbents Kathy Preston and Eunice Landry were re-elected to three-year terms.

Vernon "Chris" Hipkiss won re-election to a one-year term as district moderator, while Anna Williams re-claimed a one-year term as district clerk.

Barnstead voters approved a two-year contract between the district and members of the Barnstead Educational Support Team (B.E.S.T.) at the Barnstead School District's annual meeting on March 20.

The increase was $25,714 during the first year (2010-2011) and covered salaries of 40 employees, including administrative members, 28 paraprofessionals (four of whom are assigned to students at Prospect Mountain High School), three food service employees, four custodians and the school's behavior specialists.

The Barnstead School Board endorsed a proposal by Principal Tim Rice to establish a new Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) in late March.

Keith Couch was named the Chairman of the board, while Diane Beijer assumed the vice-chair position and Preston was appointed secretary.

The results of the fall's AYP on the NECAP were discussed by Rice at a Barnstead School Board meeting in April.

Rice informed the board that the school did not make the AYP in either reading or math. Barnstead entered its third year as a School and District In Need of Improvement (SINI/DINI) in reading, and its second year as a SINI/DINI in Math.

In order for this designation to be lifted, the affected school or district must make AYP in all areas for two consecutive years.

In late April, the Barnstead Board of Selectmen voted to keep a police cruiser that was originally set to be replaced by a new vehicle. The decision went against a Warrant article that had been passed by the taxpayers to replace the cruiser.

The Barnstead Historical Society adopted the Center Barnstead Bandstand as its restoration project. In May, members of community rallied together to scrape and then repaint the old bandstand.

In late May, longtime Fire Chief George "Rusty" Krause announced his retirement. Krause stepped down from his post on June 14. Krause was involved with fire services in Barnstead starting back in May of 1969 and was appointed as chief in 1995.

In early June, David Preston, the owner of OSG Paintball, went before the Barnstead Planning Board to address concerns by neighbors about possible zoning ordinance and building code violations. Preston claimed that there were no significant changes in the size or nature of the business since it opened.

The Barnstead Old Home Day Committee announced the cancellation of Old Home Day 2010 due to lack of participation in the planning process. The committee met in October, with hopes of recruiting volunteers to help plan Old Home Day 2011.

On June 15 Barnstead's newly selected full-time fire chief Mark Tetreault was officially sworn in. Board of Selectmen Chairman Jim Barnard ushered in Tetreault's official appointment by leading him in oath at a selectmen's meeting. Tetreault is the first full-time fire chief in Barnstead.

Former Barnstead Deputy Clerk Heidi Murphy was sentenced to 12 months in the House of Corrections, with all but three months suspended on a felony conviction. Murphy pled guilty and was sentenced on two counts of class A felony theft, and one county of misdemeanor theft. The thefts occurred while she was working her capacity as the Barnstead Deputy Clerk. She was also order to pay restitution in the amount of $5,862.65 to the town of Barnstead.

Principal Rice proposed an idea to Barnstead School Board to start an academic camp as a way to raise student scores on NECAPs. The idea was endorsed by the Barnstead School Board.

The Hampstead Stage Company presented "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" at its home theatre during a six-day run in July.

The Barnstead School Board moved forward with a proposal on bullying in late July. Barnstead planned to hash out a policy by Feb. 1, 2011, regarding the state's new Title 5 bullying policy.

In August, the Barnstead Planning Board approved the construction of an AT&T-capable cell phone tower. After several weeks of discussion, the board agreed to allow the erection of a lattice-style tower on Hartshorn Road. The tower will provide "excellent" coverage within a two-mile radius and will also serve callers within a five-to-six mile radius and will occupy a 100-square-foot area.

The Hampstead Stage Company presented "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" during a six-day run in August at the Hampstead Theatre.

In August, the board of selectmen continued to discuss OSG Paintball and continued to receive complaints from abutters claimed the facility is violating zoning laws.

In early September, Preston, the owner of OSG Paintball, went before the planning board and his revised site plans were approved.

The board of selectmen dismissed Building Inspector and Code Enforcement Officer Geoff Fossett for unspecified reasons in early September.

Rich Miller and Karlene Normandin presented a slideshow of their treks in Nepal at Barnstead Library in November in front of a packed crowd.

In November and December, the Barnstead Planning Board edited its building code to conform with the International Building Code.

After hearing complaints from citizens about the Brown Bus Route, the Barnstead School Board chose to make no changes in late November.

In December, the school board held a public hearing on their updated policy on bullying.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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