Around the Towns: Town moderator announces his own fate

Town moderator announces his own fate

MILFORD – One of the fun parts of being moderator in an SB2 community is that you get to read out the vote totals to the eager, awaiting throng.

Fun, that is, unless you have to read out your own defeat.

Town Moderator Stephen Martin obviously enjoys the reading part of his job. He lingered over the results of the much-contested vote on the police station Tuesday, drawing out the result to build suspense as if he was the announcer on “American Idol.”

But a few moments later, he had to announce that Nancy Amato had taken his job by a 1,558-924 tally – which produced an interesting psychological moment.

“For moderator,” he read, “Amato, one thousand, five hundred and fifty eight; Martin, nine thousand . . .”

Then he caught himself: “Nine hundred and twenty-four.”

As the crowd chuckled, Martin looked up and wondered aloud: “Was that a Freudian slip?”

Plenty of puns

MERRIMACK – The destruction of beaver dams in White Pine Swamp is a serious issue to conservation-minded residents and a violation of state law.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the occasional chuckle.

Andy Powell, the Conservation Committee chairman, got a couple of big laughs on Thursday at the Board of Selectmen meeting by uttering several unintended puns when describing the problem.

In the first instance, he was explaining that it would be better to let nature run its course than to try to come up with a manmade solution.

“We can rebuild, or we can let nature do the rebuilding. At locations like this, beavers are the best dam builders around,” Powell said.

The second pun came a half minute later, and Powell immediately realized what he had said.

“If we leave it to beaver to come back . . . that’s two of them,” Powell said over a roomful of laughter. “Have I reached my limit?”

Signs all around

Just as any marketing firm would attest, the key to making an impression on consumers is product visibility.

The same holds true in politics. The candidate with the best name recognition can often win office without voters having a true grasp of the politician’s stances.

So it made sense for candidates seeking public office this week in the Souhegan Valley to display their campaign signs all over the area, and not just in the town where they wanted to hold office.

George Infanti had several of his signs placed along Amherst Street in Milford, even though he was running for the Amherst Board of Selectman. Many Amherst residents use Amherst Street to access the Milford Oval, and Infanti once was a selectman in Milford.

Larry Pickett ran for the Milford Board of Selectman, but had his campaign signs set along Old Wilton Road in Mont Vernon.

And Bill Burris, who ran for a Souhegan Cooperative School Board seat in Amherst and Mont Vernon, had some signs conspicuously placed in front of a very busy Lorden Plaza in Milford.

Officer of the year

HUDSON – Police Detective Kevin DiNapoli was recognized this week for his work in the detective division and in solving a break-in at a local stereo store.

DiNapoli was named the 2003 employee of the year by the GFWC Hudson Junior Women’s Club. He was selected from 12 police employees who were named employee of the month last year.

According to police, DiNapoli took a leading role in investigating a burglary at Car Tunes on Jan. 3. Several police departments in Massachusetts, Maine and this state had experienced similar burglaries. When the case was solved, 10 other departments in three states and the FBI were able to crack cases allegedly committed by the same suspects, police said.

“Through creative investigative skills, he established key pieces of evidence,” a police press release stated.

DiNapoli has been a member of the department since 1998 was promoted to master patrol officer in January 2002.

Town Meeting wrapup

HOLLIS – Voters did their part for local veterans at Town Meeting Thursday night.

At the urging of Budget Committee member Ed McDuffee, the commander of the local VFW post, residents overwhelmingly endorsed an amendment to increase the optional veterans’ tax credit from $100 to $300. Not all vets qualify, said McDuffee and a veteran friend from Brookline, which on Wednesday boosted the credit from $100 to $500, the maximum permitted under a new state law.

For veterans who served after 1975, only those who actually fought in a conflict are eligible for the tax break, they said.

Hollis voters also approved an increase in the tax credit for veterans who are completely disabled, from $1,400 to $2,000. There are two disabled vets living in town now. The cost of the new benefits to taxpayers is about $80,000, officials said.

Selectmen and the Budget Committee were both surprised at the amount of enthusiasm a $50,000 petitioned article to repair and preserve the timber from the old Lawrence Barn drew from about 100 people at the meeting. Both bodies had recommended against the article. Selectman Mark Johnson said he supported the proposal, but didn’t think voters would want to spend the money. Budget Committee member Morton Goulder said he thought the same thing.

Well, they were wrong. Voters were all for the proposal, and said it would be a great project for the community to work on together. Ultimately, supporters of the project hope to reconstruct the barn at Nichols Field and use it as a community center.

Staff writers David Brooks, Anne Lundregan, Albert McKeon and Patrick Meighan, and correspondent Tom West, contributed to this report.