1998 -- The Year In Review

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Compiled by Corinne Schreier

Atlantic News, Thursday, December 30, 1998

[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News]

(Editor's Note: Corinne Schreier is a Winnacunnet High School senior who has been doing an internship with the Atlantic News throughout the fall. Corinne's final assignment was to do the paper's 1998 year-in-review, highlighting the important stories from 1998, picking what she considered was the best of the paper for the past twelve months. Her commentary on the project and the effect this last year's news has had on her life, is thought provoking and insightful. Great job, Corinne and good luck in your future endeavors!)

SEACOAST - 1998 has come and gone, and was quite an interesting year in the Seacoast area of New Hampshire. Wild chases almost ending in Hampton, depleting crops during the fall, and Media One issues are just a few things that helped to make 1998 a unique year for the Seacoast.

[Photo left:] BREAKING NEW GROUND - Among the many events of 1998, we saw Governor Jeanne Shaheen participate at the groundbreaking of the new Centre School addition. [Atlantic News File Photo]

Starting out in February, Seacoast residents had the opportunity to realize just how close to home crime can hit. On Wednesday, February 11, following an armed bank robbery in Portsmouth, a police chase almost came to a standoff in downtown Hampton. The suspect was stalled in front of a Mobil station on Rt. 1, when an off duty NH State Trooper, not knowing about the robbery, came across him with thoughts that this could be a stolen vehicle. The suspect, Chad Austin, somehow managed to start the car, and the chase began roughly 40 seconds later, when the next cruiser pulled up for back up services.

The chase ended in Salem, MA, after Austin took a father and two sons hostage in their own home, for protection. The family escaped, unharmed, but Austin was reportedly shot in the leg after the police stormed the house. Crime is not something that the Seacoast area is particularly used to, and after seeing something like this, many residents weren't sure what else to expect in '98.

The multiple spring showers in 1998 led to "unpollinated" flowers, which in turn, led to a poor harvest season for many. Joan Sewall, of Bunker Hill Orchards in Stratham, said: "We had 12 days of rain during the apple bloom time, and then on Easter we had freezing cold weather. Bees will not fly in the rain or when the temperature drops below 55 degrees." (From the September 10 edition of the Atlantic News).

Although the year wasn't greatly successful, in many orchards around the Seacoast there was still a variety of apples, one of the Seacoast's fall must "haves"!

Throughout the year, Seacoast residents voiced concerns about Media One. During a Hampton selectman's meeting in November, Fred Rice commented that "The heat needs to be turned up ..." on Media One because "nothing is being done."

Media One has come across many complaints this year on its lack of a local office and customer service, and the fact that the channels are constantly changing.

A Rough Start for SAU 21

SAU 21 -- The beginning of 1998 seemed to be dismal for SAU 21, with assault charges on a Winnacunnet High School student and a twelve year old at HAJH facing first degree assault charges after attempting to poison one of his classmates. But things did turn around, as the request for an addition to Centre School in Hampton was granted, and the new WHS principal was named.

Steven Collins, formerly the Pentucket Regional High School Vice Principal, replaced retiring Principal Roberta Neuman. It was a unanimous vote that was helped by Collin's qualifications as well as philosophies. Collins has been forthcoming with students, and made note that his door will always be open to the students and staff for suggestions.

An issue in the beginning of the 1998-99 school year was a letter sent home with the Freshman class on "What to expect if you're from ..." which was a segment of the Freshman handbook that explained some things about the school. The section entitled "What to expect if you're from Seabrook" brought up some issues on stereotyping others, which, in unfortunate circumstances, helped to make the community aware of stereotyping that goes on in the Seacoast.

As a result of all the negative press that SAU 21 was receiving, the Atlantic News introduced 21 Voices, a monthly SAU 21 newsletter, to enable the Seacoast to hear a more balanced view of what is going on in schools.

Hampton Celebrates 360th Birthday

1638 - 1998

HAMPTON -- Once again, as in years past, the Hampton selectmen made quite a few heads turn ...first with Fred Rice's comments on St. Patrick's Day and the Irish, then with Bonnie Searle as she allegedly passed copies of a complaint letter that was written for Rice from a Jr. High teacher.

Many residents were upset with such actions, and as Kevin A. Lonergan said: "Each of you has been a violator."

Rice's initial comment had been: "If you are going to drink like a typical Irishman, make sure you get someone else to drive."

Lonergan took much offense to this and said: "This is not appropriate of an elected official."

In April the members of the board of selectmen voted four to one to accept the planned gazebo as designed and landscaped for Marelli Park.

Throughout the comments of Selectman Bonnie Searle and other community members, the committee of volunteers worked for over a year to complete this project, though they were said to have been too secretive in their plans.

When Richard Correll, the volunteer architect, was accused of being too contemporary, he replied in the April 2 edition of the Atlantic News that there were similarities to the gazebo in Exeter and that: "It is simple, elegant and classic."

Hampton celebrated its 360th anniversary with a Founders Day celebration which was held on October 16th. A good time was had by all, and the HAJH school grounds proved to be a great spot for the celebration.