Editor Mazurka Remembers Covering The Early 70's

From the 75th Anniversary edition

Hampton Union

July 23, 1975

Editor Mazurka Remembers Covering The Early 70's

By Stephen H. Mazurka

Editor, Hampton Union

June, 1969 to April, 1970
Using major news stories as reference points, my experience as editor of the Hampton Union was between the time a high school teacher arrived at work proclaiming that "Vietnam sucked" via a sign attached to the back of his car; and the successful effort by Hampton Beach businessmen to bring liquor to a dry beach resort.

We had a peace march or two, the issue of what to do with the Coast Guard Station at North Beach, the emergence of the Seacoast Anti-Pollution League in response to the proposal to build a nuclear power plant at Seabrook and a scoop about some people from New York City who wanted to open a drug rehabilitation center at the old Whittier Inn. They were calling it "Odyssey House".

The board of selectmen numbered three. The members met quietly on Friday afternoons and were home for supper by 6 p.m. With a file full of complaints about poor drainage from homeowners, they tended to regard any developer offering plans for residential construction with suspicion.

With town meeting approval, the town fathers were selling town-owned leased land to beach businessmen in hopes it would upgrade the quality of beach structures.

The drug problem was big news nationally and locally. The Union ran an interview with a drug taker in which he told how easily he could buy marijuana and how it felt to get high. The paper also ran a drug survey in the high school, which proved ineffective because students "had fun" with the questions, as one administrator put it. Compared with events of the past 10 years, late 1969 and early 1970 was rather a quiet time.

If the news beat exhibited one dominant reading on the community, it was acceptance of the fact that the "newcomers" were becoming more firmly entrenched, not just jumping in and out of civic, service and political activities for the experience perhaps denied them in a more urban existance, but for the good of the future of Hampton.

The transient condition was fading fast.

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