2003 -- The Year In Review

Return to 'Years in Review' Table of Contents

Compiled by John Hirtle, Production Manager

Atlantic News, Thursday, December 29, 2003,

Vol. 29, No. 51

[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News]

Another year has gone by. Despite war and disasters, life goes on along
the New Hampshire Seacoast, as you can find out in our annual Year in Review.


The State Pier in Hampton Harbor was demolished by a winter storm. Repairs would not be done to it until the summer.

After a series of large snowstorms, local towns snow removal budgets were being hit hard, and the question remained as to where to put all the white stuff.

An accident occurred on Tuesday, January 21 in the evening on Atlantic Ave and Woodland Road in North Hampton involving a school bus and a Toyota Camry. While both drivers were sent to the hospital, there seemed to be no major injuries sustained by the people involved.

The Hampton Budget Committee voted against adding $40,000 to the snow removal budget. Although no snow has fallen for a few weeks, the remainder continues to be a problem. Frigid weather ensures that it will remain for some time.

Plans for the addition at Winnacunnet High School were ready to go before the voters again.

A proposed 49 unit retail/residential condominium complex at Hampton Beach was approved by the zoning board. It will be erected on the vacant lot where The Old Salt and other businesses on Ocean Blvd stood prior to a devastating fire that destroyed those structures in 1999.

Thomas Beeler, a former Hampton Falls selectman, was denied a variance by the Hampton Falls Zoning Board to permit his large print book publishing business to continue operating from his home. Beeler is appealing to the Superior Court on the case.

Retiring Hampton Police Lieutenant Bill Lally was honored at the Ashworth Hotel for nearly thirty years of service on the force. He is currently working on the Lowell Mass. Police Department as a trainer.

Widow Fletchers, a popular downtown Hampton eatery marked its 20th anniversary in business.


The loss of the United State Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew of seven on February 1, 2003 was mourned as local towns sat down to deliberate on a wide variety of warrant articles.

Outgoing Hampton School Board member John Woodburn was honored at the deliberative session for his thirty years of service on the school board. "Exchange City" a project that will involve middle school students from across New Hampshire was started in Portsmouth NH.

Hundreds of Penguin Plungers dove into the Atlantic at Hampton Beach on February 9, raising over $250,000 for the Special Olympics of New Hampshire. North Hampton voters restored the $274,466 budget cut at the school's deliberative session by a vote of 103-33.

Hampton Fire Chief Henry L. "Hank" Lipe was honored at his Coast Guard retirement ceremony on January 31, Where he received the Coast Guard Achievement Medal for Superior Performance of Duty from October 1995 to February 2003.

Neither the towns nor the state have any inclination to plow off sidewalks along the Seacoast's beaches following heavy snowfall.

What few meetings were being held on the Seacoast despite the President's Day Holiday were cancelled due to a major snowstorm that was dubbed "The President's Day Storm" or "The Blizzard of 2003" depending on which commentator you listened to. In any case, two days of the light fluffy snowfall stopped the Seacoast and much of the East Coast cold in its tracks on Monday and Tuesday, although the following two sunny days began melting the stuff away. That in itself won't cover the cost of snow removal, which is eating away at local towns budgets. On the bright side, the thick snowfall will replenish the region's groundwater supply which had been hit hard by the 2002 drought.

The North Hampton Selectmen met on Friday, February 14 rather than Monday due to the absence of one board member and the illness of another. Topping their busy agenda was addressing a request by the town's Conservation Commission to approve the hiring of a "temporary, part-time, contracted internship to perform a baseline documentation project for the North Hampton Conservation Commission."

Residents of Hampton Falls were hot under the collar due to a request to increase the town's Fire Chief Mark Wooles' $30,000 salary by $22,500. The North Hampton Town Offices located over the Police Station will be locked up and access restricted during non-business hours due to doors being left unlocked and lights being left on.

Emergency information cards are being handed out in Hampton for Seniors to note down vital information should they require assistance.

A smash and grab robbery at the Quicksilver Jewelry Store was quickly solved as North Hampton Police arrested one John Cella who was observed walking down Route 1 in an intoxicated state and was seen stuffing jewelry down his pants. Following a disastrous fire at a Rhode Island Nightclub that killed at least 97 people, concerns were raised about the safety of seasonal clubs at Hampton Beach which host similar acts and entertainment. The band involved in the Rhode Island blaze played at the Hampton Beach Casino twice in the 1990's. It should be noted that the Casino has a "No Pyrotechnics" rule, has a sprinkler system and is still standing tall at the Beach.

Seabrook Selectmen listened to WHS Principal Ruth Leveille present plans for the expansion and renovation of Winnacunnet High School. The expansion, which is sorely needed, has been rejected twice by Seabrook voters.

The Seabrook Employee's Union is unhappy with the lack of progress in negotiating with the town over contracts ; the negotiations have been going on since September 2002.

A Seabrook Station Siren in Rye went off accidentally during a routine test of the emergency alert system. People either ignored the racket or complained about it until the town turned the rogue siren off.


Elections were held on March 11, 2003. Among the important items defeated was the Winnacunnet High School expansion project.

A five-car pile up took place on the Neil Underwood Memorial Bridge (often referred to as the Hampton Harbor Bridge) as four cars waiting to crossover the span were struck by a speeding fifth car that caused a chain-reaction pile up. Several people were taken to the hospital.

In what was probably the first ever televised haircut in Hampton, town manager James Barrington had his 25 year old beard cut off for the Rotary Auction on Sunday, March 9, for a total of $3300. The Rotary in all made $21,000 from the annual event.

Outspoken Hampton Selectman Bonnie Searle attended her final meeting with the Hampton Selectmen, who bade her farewell. At the meeting, Bonnie Searle brought up her observations of the vandalism of local political signs, and that the families of troops heading overseas should be supported . North Hampton SAU 21 and the Hampton Community Coalition received a grant of $95,370 to develop a comprehensive substance abuse reduction program . In an effort to draw more people to Hampton, the Hampton Chamber of Commerce is forming a "Destination Downtown" committee.

The 49 unit condominium slated to be built on the former site of The Old Salt was put on hold as abutters continued to voice objections to the structure. The issue will be revisited when the newly elected planning board meets in April.

As the United States moved closer to war with Iraq, SAU 21 assured parents that in the unlikely event of an attack the schools were ready to take care of the students safety.

In Seabrook, local law enforcement reviewed procedures to help secure Seabrook Station in the event of an emergency.

The War on Iraq officially began on Thursday, March 20, 2003 at 6:30 am., a little ahead of schedule, as intelligence indicated a possible location of Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein. The missiles missed, and Saddam was on the run for nine months before U.S. Troops caught him hiding in a hole.

The search for a new SAU 21 Superintendent was narrowing down the candidates to nine, while opening up a search for two Assistant Superintendents - one to serve Seabrook and South Hampton the other to serve North Hampton and Hampton Falls. Seabrook School Board dealt with a full house of citizenry, forcing a move to the Cafeteria. Top on the list of concerns was the division or reunification of the Middle and Elementary portions of the Seabrook School. A petition of 390 names was presented to the school board asking to keep the portions separate. The costs between separation and unification are negligible. Also of concern was the distribution of CORE (Seabrook's Parent/Teacher organization) literature prior to elections.

The North Hampton Planning Board selected Phil Wilson as their new Chairman. Of interest in the meeting were appointments and historic and environmental protection.

Seabrook's Police Chief David Currier thanked voters for approving the town's police contract. He also reviewed recent police activities, including familiarization of the Seabrook Station facility, and the need for an animal control truck.

Mary-Louise Woolsey has been elected chairman of the Hampton Budget Committee. The walls were coming down on the incomplete edifice known as the Farragut Hotel. Located on the corner of Ocean Blvd (Route 1A) and Central Road in Rye the landmark began to be torn down last week following decades of vacancy. Built in the 1970's on the site of the original Farragut Hotel which had burned down, the stately brick structure was never used or occupied, and was left in an unfinished state for over twenty five years. Work on discretely demolishing it began at the rear, only breaking through the front facade by Friday, March 14. The lot would be turned into a huge grassy field for the time being, as all traces of the hotel, except the flagpole, were removed.

Election Reviews:

The proposed expansion and renovation of the aging Winnacunnet High School was narrowly defeated. However, Seabrook, which has defeated the project in the past, had changed its opinion. Hampton voters though gave it a very narrow 1735-1182 defeat (59.4% yes - a 3/5 - 60% or more majority was required to pass). Students of Democracy should take note at this - every vote really does count!


In Hampton, Jim Workman was reelected to the Selectmen, and Cliff Pratt handily defeated Jack Lessard by one hundred votes. Surprisingly, Bonnie Searle, who had opted not to run for reelection received 37 write in votes. In other contested battles, Joyce Sheehan won the position for Tax Collector, John J. Kelley won the position of Trustee of the Trust Funds, Sara Casassa and Barbara Rallis won the positions of Library Trustee, Tracy Emerick and Tom Higgins won seats on the Planning Board, and Michael Kennedy and Vic Lessard won seats on the Zoning Board of Adjustment. The newly elected officials were sworn in by Town Clerk Arleen Andreozzi at Monday Night's Selectmen's meeting. In Hampton, most articles were approved by the voters, including sewer improvement, improvements in Hampton Beach's infrastructure, and adopting new building codes. An article concerning raising four million dollars for purchasing conservation land was narrowly defeated 1708-1319 (56.4% approved - 60% required to pass) North Hampton Lloyd Sullivan was elected Selectman. Larry Miller and R.G. Robinson were elected to the Budget committee. Sharon E. Halle was elected to the School Board. All articles voted on in North Hampton passed, except for Article 23, concerning a study concerning a new waste transfer facility and recycling center.


In Seabrook, a record 50% of all registered voters took part in the town elections. Karen Knight was re-elected as selectman. Seabrook School Board chairman Blanche Gove-Bragg did not win her bid for reelection. Learning from previous years, Seabrook voters approved town employee contracts. Water conservation, including the installation of water meters was also approved, which should be a boon for the drought-stricken town. Voting machines and th acquisition of shellfish beds were also approved by large margins. Failing articles included most vehicle purchases, including a new animal control van which is in dire need of replacement. Painting and sidewalks were also voted down, along with a sound decibel reader which would be used to determine if motorcycles were too loud. Surprisingly, a non-binding vote on withdrawing from the Winnacunnet High School Cooperative was defeated. Hampton Falls Hampton Falls held its final town meeting on Saturday, March 15 as it has approved SB2. The historic 281st meeting was heavily attended and lasted for seven hours as townspeople debated the finer points of the town's affairs. After losing its fire chief, Hampton Falls Voters turned down hiring a full time fire department staff and ambulance. "Help Wanted" signs soon appeared in the fire station's doors. A new police cruiser was approved along with funds for the future purchase of a fire truck.

Hampton Falls

In Hampton Falls Peter Robart was declared the winner after Friday's recount for the selectman's position against opponent William Kenney. The original selectmen's count on Tuesday, March 11 was Robart 368 and Kenney 350, numbers Kenney felt were too close, and a re-count was requested. In the recount, Kenney actually lost one vote to his tally. Robart has been serving as interim selectman in Hampton Falls since Thomas Beeler left the board. Hampton resident Charlie Preston appeared before the Hampton Selectmen again requesting they ask the state to make the beach more friendly to residents. The main direction of his request was to allow Hampton residents free parking in May, September, and October with the exception of Holiday weekends, noting that on most non-Holiday dates only 17 percent of the spaces were actually used at Hampton Beach. He also noted the meters in Rye and North Hampton were the last up and the first down during the summer.

An alarm at Seabrook Station was apparently set off by a large bird or animal on Friday night. Security promptly apprehended two men in a car who were lost and trying to get directions.

Hostilities abroad almost paled in comparison to a blowup at the Hampton Selectmen's Meeting on March 31. Hampton Selectman Chairman Brian Warburton and Hampton Budget Committee Chairman Mary-Louise Woolsey had a heated debate over refusing to have the Budget Committee on the evening's agenda. The crisis culminated with Warburton calling the police to remove Woolsey. Woolsey departed before the police could remove her, and the issues over which they were fighting remain unresolved.


The War on Iraq continues as U.S. Forces move in towards Baghdad. On the Seacoast, signs are up everywhere, supporting the brave troops involved in the fighting. At Winnacunnet High School a proposed walkout to protest the war was diffused by holding a voluntary forum to discuss the pros and cons of the war. A "Support our Troops" rally was held at the Harley-Davidson Dealership on Route 1 in North Hampton on Sunday, April 13, at 1 pm.

Jim Gaylord, currently Superintendent of Schools in Peabody, Massachusetts, has been named the new superintendent of SAU 21, covering Hampton, Hampton Falls, North Hampton Seabrook and South Hampton.

In Seabrook, selectmen were warned about how local cats are endangering the piping plover population and other ground-nesting shorebirds. The piping plovers in particular are of concern, as they returned to the region only a few years ago. Work on educating the public was approved to try and curb this problem.

Boy Scout Troop #177 of Hampton celebrated its 70th anniversary during a Court of Honor. Present was Ansell Palmer, one of the founders of the troop in 1933, and many other senior scouts.

It all added up for the Winnacunnet High School Math Team who won the Class "L" title.

Lincoln Akerman School and North Hampton School Destination: Imagination teams went on to the state finals.

The Seacoast was pummeled over the weekend with snowfall significant enough to cause the closing of schools on Friday, interrupting test schedules. WHS students though had little to celebrate on Monday as they found they still had to take their finals anyway.

The 40th anniversary of the loss of the U.S.S. Thresher (Lost April 10, 1963 with 129 crew and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard technicians on a test dive) was observed on the Seacoast.

Fred Rice's criticisms of the Hampton Cable Committee's performance in broadcasting town meetings last week resulted in the resignation of two committee members, Pete MacKinnon, Hampton's Animal Control Officer, and Jack Donaldson, current Cable Advisory Committee chairman. Brad Jett, another member of the Cable Committee spoke out at the Selectmen's meeting on the issues Fred Rice raised, pointing out that the people operating the system are volunteers, and that the hardware has changed little in the past eight years, although work on improving existing setup is always underway.

The North Hampton School Board decided not to extend the controversial Principal Peter Sweet's contract beyond 2004.

Records are made to be broken, which was exactly what the weather did earlier this week as temperatures soared into the 80's, only to plummet back down to the fifties within 30 minutes on Wednesday. Snow continued to plague the Seacoast.

Brian Warburton insisted on playing by the rules at the Hampton Selectmen at Round Two of the ongoing confrontation between him and Mary-Louise Woolsey of the Budget Committee. His rules included excluding Charlene Carliell, the vice-chairman of the committee permission to speak. The Hampton Budget committee acted to conclude the Warburton-Woolsey fight by removing Mary Louise Woolsey as chairman of the Budget Committee Board. The new chairman is Edward "Sandy" Buck, who is also treasurer of Rockingham County.

Chester Nez, an 82 year old Native American who was one of the U.S. Marine's Navajo Code Talkers in World War Two came to speak to students at the Winnacunnet High School.

A groundbreaking was held at Hampton Beach to install underground gas lines for the annual Hampton Beach Seafood Festival.

Students and parents spoke against the Senior Seminar project at the Winnacunnet High School Board meeting. The mandatory project which is required for graduation from WHS is accused of seeking too much perfection, and being stressful to students. There are now fourteen modular classroom units in use at Winnacunnet High School. Despite testimonials from the manufacturer of these units, one must admit that Winnacunnet is starting to look more and more like a trailer park.

Hampton Falls is still cleaning up the 'slaughter house', the home of Godfrey Rupia (42) who was arrested for animal cruelty. A search of the grounds revealed a "meat processing operation" in the residence, whereupon the certificate of occupancy was revoked by the town's Health Officer Rodney Vigneau.

The Atlantic News officially announced the opening of its brand-new website BeachNewsNH.Com.

Parking meters were sighted popping up along Hampton Beach on Friday, April 25, in time for Charlie Preston, a long-time opponent to the use of meters on residents in pre and post season months spoke out for action at the Hampton Selectmen meeting on Monday.


President Bush declares the end of fighting in Iraq. Unfortunately, terrorists and rogue Iraqis tended to ignore this declaration.

On Saturday, May 3, 2003 New Hampshire's state icon, The Old Man of the Mountains, fell down. It remains to be seen if all the Governor's horses and all the Governor's men can put him back up again.

Antonio Morgado, owner and operator of Morgado Paving and TM Construction, 126 Lafayette Road, Hampton Falls, was sentenced to 15 years in Federal Prison Monday for alien smuggling. 31 Portuguese citizens were found working for Morgado during a search of his residence and business on July 23, 2002.

Boiler replacements are urgently required at Hampton Academy Junior High School and Centre School in Hampton.

The Newick's location on Route 1 in Hampton will not reopen for the season. The other Newick's locations in Dover, Manchester and elsewhere remain open.

Winnacunnet High School standout Heidi Nadeau set a record 132 ft. throw in the girls javelin finals at the 26th annual Warrior Coed Classic on Saturday. Nadeau not only broke her own record but set a new school record as well.

Some Seabrook residents may see a two fold increase in their taxes in 2003 following the long-delayed property reassessments.

As the Hampton District Court House lease expires in 2003, as a result, Rockingham County Attorney James Reams appeared before selectmen to engage in dialogue concerning the trend of courthouses in New Hampshire over the past decade. While Reams noted that the remodeling or rebuilding of facilities had occurred often across the state, he advised selectmen that the town should become pro-active in addressing the future of the courthouse in Hampton.

The Hampton School Board dealt with several reports from committees, including the initial meeting of the Withdrawal Study Committee, which will study the feasibility of pulling out of SAU 21 to create a new SAU.

Local towns and county groups railed against the planned abandonment of the Hampton Rail corridor.

Wentworth by the Sea in Newcastle opened amid much fanfare.

Seabrook Selectmen welcomed Frederick Welch who started work as the new Seabrook Town Manager on May 21.

The State of New Hampshire is seeking a "permanent" plan of action for the constant erosion problem in Seabrook Harbor, rather than dredging it out again. Apparently no one has informed the state that this has been an ongoing problem for 300 years.

With the aid of volunteer "victims" area fire and police departments practiced for the worst at the Hampton Beach Casino in the event that a "Dirty" chemical bomb was ever used there. There was no preparations being made for any acts who might unfortunately "bomb" there during a summer performance.


Hampton was named New Hampshire's first Storm-Ready community, a federal program designed to encourage proactive preparation for threatening weather events. Components of the StormReady program include communications, warning reception, Hydro-meteorological monitoring, local warning dissemination, community preparedness, and a hazardous weather plan as developed by the town's administration. Two nice roadside signs with "StormReady Community" emblazoned on them were also given to the town by the National Weather Service, which may be intended to act as targets for the next major storm to come by - or, if they are indeed federally mandated targets, then we may assume that their presence will ward off any major storms approaching the Seacoast since official targets are rarely struck.

At a recent SAU 21 Joint Board meeting the results of the assistant superintendent search were announced. Lisa McMahon was named SAU 21 Assistant Superintendent of Schools for the districts of North Hampton and Hampton Falls. McMahon, who was introduced to members of the Joint Board by Superintendent-elect Gaylord, is currently principal of the Fuller Elementary School in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The board also named Michelle Munson, current SAU 21 Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, as the new assistant superintendent for the districts of Seabrook and South Hampton. Both positions are one-year contracts.

Winnacunnet High School's new Dance Team which started in February has grown to 30 girls and has performed at four events.

ACT ONE is getting ready for summer performances for the young and old. The third annual Master Sand Sculpting Competition is ready to return to Hampton Beach.

Noted North Hampton butcher shoppe owner Joe Kutt was honored by the Hampton Rotary which named him 2003 Citizen of the Year at their meeting on Tuesday, June 10.

The Seabrook School Board had it first ever televised meeting. Filled with kudos for all, Interim SAU 21 Superintendent David Brown congratulated Stephen Healey, one of Winnacunnet High School's top ten students, who has earned more credits than any other student in the history of the school.

Former Hampton Falls Selectman Thomas Beeler lost his battle to keep his large print book company in Hampton Falls at his residence as the Superior Court found in favor of the town of Hampton Falls, which had issued him a cease and desist order. Beeler has opted not to pursue the matter further, and will be moving out of his house -- which was reconstructed after a fire thanks to the good will of his neighbors -- and will move to a town that will not mind being home to a publisher of large print books.

North Hampton Selectmen are considering hiring a town planner.

The Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce is working on beautifying downtown Hampton, and is currently seeking sponsors.

A major thunderstorm descended upon the Seacoast descended on the Seacoast on Friday, June 27, unleashing torrents of rain. No major physical damage was reported, although lightning strikes knocked out numerous electronic devices including the phone service in North Hampton and Rye.

Groundbreaking for the long anticipated Hampton Police Station was held on Thursday, June 26 and was attended by some 80 people. Repairs on the Seabrook Town Pier are completed.

New Hampshire Governor Craig Benson vetoed the NH budget much to the astonishment of state legislators. Unable to override his veto, they hastily crafted a three month extension budget to get their act together.

Sand sculptors delighted visitors to Hampton Beach with a huge "Harry Potter" sculpture and 12 unique sand sculptures.

It remains to be seen if they will find Saddam Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction, or "WMD" as the catch phrase has become, are proving to be conspicuously absent in Iraq as is Saddam.


Hampton may become home to a hi-tech train prototype that is slated to be built by the NH Department of Transportation for possible export. The tracks will be located between Route 1 and the Taylor River.

Hampton Resident Marie Potts recently celebrated her 105th birthday.

The Hampton Fire Department received its long anticipated 30 foot long aluminum rescue boat to replace their 17 foot Zodiac.

Homeowners in Seabrook complained bitterly about the town's ongoing water ban, an annual event that has become strictly enforced as the region recovers from last year's drought.

Former Hampton Selectman Bonnie Searle complained to selectmen that she was denied information about her home's assessed value. It turned out that the data is still being processed and has not been released to the public.

The incomplete rusting dome at Seabrook Station's Unit Two is in the process of being dismantled, removing a blemish on the landscape of Hampton Harbor.

Charles Hayden of Hampton's Sun Valley neighborhood complained about a lack of signage and accumulating trash along the Sun Valley beaches.

The Sloop of War Providence arrived in the Port of Portsmouth on Wednesday, July 16, and will remain tied up at the state pier for visitors until July 23. Also of note, the Sarah M Long Bridge (Middle Bridge) over the Piscataqua River has been malfunctioning lately, forcing the tall ship to dock near the salt piles, and forcing the harbor tugs to turn a freighter bound for Newington around in mid river so it could return to its anchorage off the coast until the bridge is fixed. Motorists should probably consider avoiding the main Route 1 until the bridge is fixed.

Jim Doig has been named Assistant Principal of the Hampton Academy Junior High School.


A pre-construction meeting was held for the planned Hampton Police Station. The overdue project is slated to begin on August 11.

Exeter is looking for a place to put a new fire station.

Hampton Beach was named the 'Best Beach' in New Hampshire and the third best in all of New England (After Cranes Beach in Ipswich and Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester according to WHDH Channel 7 audiences).

As the school year approaches on the Seacoast, construction of the new addition to the Greenland Central School seems to be very far behind.

Forty five members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing returned home to Pease Air National Guard Base after taking part in the War on Iraq.

Portsmouth rents remain the highest in New Hampshire.

Members of the U.S.S. Albacore, an experimental submarine built at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and now an attraction in Portsmouth gathered to observe the 50th anniversary of her launching.

Greenland residents are mobilizing again against demobilizing The long running proposal to build a mall on Route 33 at the site of the old GE Plant has been taken to court and abutters try to block its construction. Another group of Greenland residents is seeking to block the development of wetlands and woods located south of September Drive on Breakfast Hill Road, citing that such a development would threaten the groundwater supply in Rye, North Hampton and Greenland.

Presidential Hopefuls are already setting up shop in New Hampshire for the 2004 elections. Fortunately this crowd does not seem to be as colorful as the group vying for the Governor's seat in the California recall election.

A special town meeting is to be held in Hampton Falls on Wednesday, August 20 during the Selectmen's meeting to reconfirm the vote on Article V, as the hand vote (135 to 1 to pass) was deemed defective, and a ballot vote will be used to reconsider the article.

As the Susan Lane Well in Seabrook is not drawing in any water, the selectmen unanimously agreed "with pleasure" to shut it down. The well will remain an option in Seabrook for the next two years as the town deals with it's continuing water shortage dilemma.

Winnacunnet Band Director Tony Cyrus and a group of 24 other local musicians have joined forces this summer, creating the area's first ever Community Band, designed to give musicians from junior high to adulthood the chance to continue playing in front of audiences during the summertime.

On Thursday, August 15 eight states and two Canadian provinces lost power in what has come to be called the "Blackout of 2003". Most of New England's power grid disconnected from the affected areas, so no power was lost locally. Iraqis, who have been living without power and basic utilities for the past three months after the War on Iraq have offered advice on how to cope with such matters. Power was restored by Monday to most of the areas affected.

Hampton Schools Food Service is making plans on dealing with childhood obesity as the School Year approaches.

Selectman Allen Hines officially resigned from the North Hampton Board of Selectmen.

Hampton Selectmen have decided to meet three times a month rather than four, in part to allow the School Board meet in their room.

A woman was charged for trying to sell her child at the NH Liquor Store on Route 95 in Hampton. The odd event made national headlines.


Seabrook Selectmen were wrestling with a misworded warrant article that linked the purchase of water meters to other water-related requirements that needed to be fulfilled.

The Hampton Selectmen held a special meeting to vote down a special town meeting to deal with amending elderly, disabled and blind exemptions.

Winnacunnet High School Football is going to be aired on Hampton's Public Access channel. North Hampton is preparing to sell 58 acres of Little River Marsh property to the Audubon Society of New Hampshire.

Tragedy was averted as police arrested a WHS student who was allegedly planning a Columbine-style attack on the high school.

Hampton Selectmen rebuffed the proposed Route 27 railroad bridge plans, citing there would be too many changes to historic buildings that may have to be moved or altered.

The Portsmouth Christian Academy held a ribbon cutting in Dover as they dedicated their new high school building.

Hampton Beach residents demanded answers about plans formulated by the recently formed Hampton Beach Commission at a standing room only Beach Precinct meeting held on Sunday, Sept 14.

Officer Barry Newcomb, a WHS Alumni has returned to his alma mater as the school's resource officer.

Clearing the area for the new Hampton Police Station is underway.

The MacIntyre Building in downtown Portsmouth may be vacated by Federal agencies for a new building at the Pease Tradeport. Such a move will free up spaces around the building that have been restricted since 9-11.

Michael Higgins was welcomed as North Hampton's new Recreation Coordinator. The Hampton Beach Commission laid the groundwork for future improvements at Hampton Beach. Long term goals include underground utilities, two-way traffic on Ashworth Ave, and making the beach a year-round destination.

Ambulance billing in Seabrook took top billing at their Wednesday meeting. At issue was a written Ambulance billing procedure, and steps to improve collection of the bills.

Despite the fact she is suing the North Hampton School, North Hampton School board Chairperson Sharon Halle has no intention of stepping down from her office, although she believes that the situation creates a conflict of interest for the school's attorney, Jeanne Kincaid, who she has asked to suspend all connections to the school.

The first Presidential Primary ads were sighted on TV, as contending Democrats set up their field offices.

Funds to dredge the Cocheco and Piscataqua Rivers have been approved. While the Piscataqua has always been a port river, the Cocheco River that branches up northward to Dover has been closed to large sea vessels for over a century following a disastrous flood in the late 1890's.


Hampton celebrated its 365th birthday.

Hampton officials are trying to get the town's tax rate set in Hampton rather than in Concord.

Hampton's James House recognized the Atlantic News for it's outstanding continuing coverage of the historic edifice.

SAU 21 expressed concern over aspects of the "No Child Left Behind" law which may hurt the teaching profession.

Presidential Hopeful Senator John Edwards (R-NC) drew the largest gathering of Democrats ever seen in Hampton Falls at the bandstand. Meanwhile, the Democratic field begins to narrow with Senator Bob Graham dropping out, leaving nine main contenders for the Democratic nomination.

At a special meeting Rye voters approved use of Parcel 7-96 for use as a telecommunications tower site. A tower located here could eliminate the two "dead zones" in Rye where cell phones cannot be used.

The Epping Conservation Commission is planning to purchase three parcels of land at an upcoming town auction.

Meetings were planned in Plaistow and Kingston to consider options on the reconstruction of NH Route 125 which is scheduled to take place in 2006-2007. ACT ONE, which has kept the tradition of the Hampton Playhouse alive is opening a set of new plays at the West End Studio Theatre in Portsmouth. NH Senator Judd Gregg's wife was abducted from their apartment in Virginia and forced to withdraw money from a bank by two men who took the money and fled. Authorities have two suspects in custody.

A massive wind storm hit the region, toppling trees, and cutting power to portions to the Seacoast.

New Hampshire is considering legislation to protect Fishermen's rights. Governor Benson greeted President Bush at Pease Tradeport.

The Seacoast Federation of Republican Women and other area Republicans celebrated the GOP's 150th birthday. Exeter NH is the birthplace of that Grand Old Party.

Unusually cold and windy weather led to snow and more wind damage.

Hampton Falls Police noted that there has been an increase of traffic as trucks and cars trying to avoid the $2 toll use the town as a shortcut. Similar complaints have been noted in neighboring towns.

The Beelers of Hampton Falls have found another location for their large print book business.

North Church of Portsmouth held a community meeting as it begins to work on fundraising to repair its fund raising roof.

New Hampshire Seacoast waterways are in 'good' shape according to recent reports.

Hampton Falls Police foiled a planned robbery of Citizen's bank when residents alerted them to the presence of a suspicious car. A gun and robbery note were found in the stolen car, and the driver was apprehended.

The Grandmaison family celebrated their 50th year of owning the reknowned Ashworth by the Sea, a Hampton Beach Landmark.

American Legion Post #70 has requested the use of land surrounding a Civil War Veteran's grave in Seabrook for Veteran use.

The chief problem facing Seabrook's conservation board is absenteeism - board members are simply not apt to show up. North Hampton was still seeking a replacement selectman.

A map of the Taylor River Watershed, which is shared by Hampton and Hampton Falls is in the works.

Seabrook is considering leaving the Coalition of Communities, an anti-tax group set up to fight the state education tax. Greenland is seeking new part time police officers and internet access for the town office.

The carcasses of five seals washed up or were retrieved near the shores of New Castle NH. Two had obviously been skinned and their genitals had been removed, possibly for the Oriental aphrodisiac industry which is one of the few markets for such gruesome things.

The Holidays in Exeter may be a bit less festive as the groups responsible for many of the celebrations are preparing to disband as no one has come forward to replace the current members.


Trinity United Church in Seabrook dedicated their new Parish Hall.

Maine voted down the proposed law that would permit casinos in that state.

The Little Warriors PeeWee Football "B" team won the first ever Class B Championships.

Two way tolls returned to Hampton for the winter as Governor Benson vowed that the one-way system would return.

Work is underway at the Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point in Rye to enlarge the facility.

Seabrook's taxes have risen to just over 17% of last year's taxes.

The Winnacutt River Dam in Greenland has been opened to release water so that the state of the dam can be surveyed. It will be repaired for the winter, pending a final solution on its dismantling or repair.

Paul Cuetara was selected to fill the vacancy on North Hampton's Board of Selectmen.

North Hampton residents are working to keep recycling in town.

Local taxpayers are expressing concerns over steep increases in their tax bills.

Jude Dionne has been named General Chairman of the 2004 Hampton Beach Seafood Festival.

The Music Hall in Portsmouth has been named an "American Treasure" and has received federal funding.

The North Hampton Planning Board approved the purchase of land next to the library to continue help keep the town's offices and facilities in the same location along Atlantic Ave.

The Hampton Falls Fire Department has received a $38,000 federal grant.

Mickey Mouse celebrated his 75th birthday this month.

The Winnacunnet Warriors Football Team were felled by their arch-rivals, the Exeter Blue Hawks in the final game of the season.

Hampton Falls firefighters this week are welcoming the newest "member" to the safety team - the department's recently-acquired ambulance.


An unusually early Nor'easter shut down the Seacoast on the weekend of Dec 6-7, cancelling numerous Holiday parades and events. Most were rescheduled for the following week.

The Presbyterian Church in Exeter went up in smoke, apparently due to a furnace malfunction. Some 16 fire departments took part in battling the blaze. While the church was a total loss, the church bell was saved, and plans are underway to rebuild the structure on the same site.

Portsmouth's Christmas Tree in Market Square was blown over by gusts of wind on the weekend, taking down the nearby flagpole as it went.

A Home Depot is being planned in Plaistow.

More hotel construction is being planned in Portsmouth.

Appliance Warehouse is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Snow removal is again a top concern. Curiously, most of the state budget seems concentrated to the north of the Lakes region.

The nine leading Democratic candidates appeared in Durham to debate at UNH.

The clear winner of course, was the local economy that received a shot in the arm due to the influx of media and staff. The candidate currently leading in the New Hampshire polls is someone named "Undecided".

The Pettengill House in Salisbury is doing their part to aid others. Birchtree Center, an autism school in Portsmouth, celebrated its first anniversary.

Marshall's may be coming to North Hampton between Shaws and Home Depot. Weight limits have been posted at Portsmouth's Memorial Bridge. Only ambulances and cars are allowed over it until repairs are complete. Hampton is considering leaving SAU 21.

Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was found hiding in the mother of all holes by U.S. Troops.

About 12% of the Seabrook Station workforce is expected to be laid off in January.

Hampton Selectmen nixed a plan to bury utilities underground at Hampton Beach.

Sharon Halle, the North Hampton School board President who was suing the North Hampton School, has resigned and is moving to Florida. Mary Coppingher has been elected President of the School Board.

NH Governor Craig Benson is considering saving the state money by reimporting prescription drugs from Canada, in violation of Federal law.

North Hampton's landmark, Joe's Meat Shop, has it's addition virtually finished.

Democratic Presidential Candidates are as thick as thieves as New Hampshire's primary approaches. Among them, Joe Lieberman visited The Old Salt in Hampton to ask Santa for a unique Christmas Gift - an improvement of his standing in the Presidential polls.