Category Archives: Around Town

take heart

2015-09-12 08.14.16 I can see two flags from my balcony and it seemed they were at half mast all Summer. I was thinking just that  as I spied a figure approaching the Powder House pole.

2015-09-12 08.14.47I was thinking he was there to adjust the flag as it was well below half mast. My binoculars revealed one of our firemen. The lanyards had been worked on earlier this Summer, it was slipping constantly.

He put the flag at full mast and walked back to his truck.

A signal! All is well, now, this morning.

2015-09-12 08.16.31Sorry for the fuzziness,perhaps the impression is enough.

When he reached the truck I spoke from the window “I hope it stays up for awhile”.

He agreed and said they were all going up. So I got ready to  take a photo  of the Swasey flag flying high. I had a post all set in my head. No jingoism expressed, just all about signals, and the here and now.

This morning, this day.

2015-09-12 08.33.45The Swasey Parkway Flag will continue to fly at half mast.

Don’t worry , I called and found out why.

2015-09-12 08.24.17Only Park & Recreation have a key.

Cut the lock, send a signal (all is well) because the flag has been down too long.


Seacoast Family Promise News

SFP is proud to have been chosen as the 2015 charity of choice by the
Seacoast Board of Realtors!

SFP Business Partners,
Thank You!
Abbot Financial Management, Inc.
Access Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics
American Traditions Furniture
Avery Insurance
David Choate, Realtor
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Edward Miller, Edward Jones
First Colebrook Bank
Greenland Women’s Club
Hampton Business Services
Holy Rosary Credit Union
Home View, Inc.
Measured Progress
Northeast Credit Union
Pax World
Piscataqua Savings Bank
River City Software
Water Street Bookstore

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Ann Hopkins, Spirit of the Seacoast 2015 winner, shows “unwavering compassion”

By Dave Johnson, United Way of the Greater Seacoast

“If you know me, you won’t get away without hearing about Seacoast Family Promise.”

So says Ann Hopkins, winner of this summer’s Spirit of the Seacoast Award, an award which recognizes an exceptional volunteer of one of United Way of the Greater Seacoast’s community partners. The Spirit of the Seacoast is awarded twice a year and comes with a $500 grant from Federal Savings Bank to a nonprofit partner chosen by the award recipient.

This time, Ann chose Seacoast Family Promise (SFP). Ann has volunteered with the organization, which provides shelter and support to families with children experiencing homelessness, for 12 years and sits on their board.

When asked what keeps her passionate about the organization after all this time, Ann cites multiple reasons: SFP’s mission, the dedicated and talented staff, her fellow volunteers, and seeing the success of families after they’ve gone through the program are just a few.

What it really comes down to, is that Ann believes in the program. She’s witnessed families struggle with homelessness, knowing how difficult it is for the children involved. She’s seen the strength of the community that SFP gives the families during those hard times. She’s watched parents and children move into their own homes and thrive after their stay with SFP. It’s all made her a life-long advocate for and a dedicated volunteer.

“Her compassion for SFP, its mission, and vision have been unwavering,” says Pati Frew-Waters, Executive Director of SFP.

More than that, Ann says, it’s important to her to give back and create opportunities for her fellow community members.

“We all have gifts, talents, and skills to share,” says Ann about her love of volunteering, “Really, you get back more than you give.”

Seacoast Family Promise | 603-658-8448 | |
6 Emery Lane
P.O. Box 233
Stratham, NH 03885

Portsmouth Ave

Let’s hope they get the lines back on the road quick. It’s a bit of a free for all now, with folks(NH plates) using two lanes  in and out to travel the length.

While we are at it, Portsmouth Ave, it needs two additions.

The merge at the Volvo dealership is ridiculous. I have seen ten wheelers on the inside challenging oldsters in left lane inbound. If you have not merged left it’s your fault.

What we could do.

Better and BIGGER signage, and lots of yellow arrows on the pavement , to move left.

Right turn on red permitted after stop. This big sign should be  in front of Fenelons  Garage at the High St  T intersection.

There is still much confusion everywhere on this traffic easing, let’s get moving, maneuver.

“Can I go or not?”

Go, unless there is sign saying no.


A long time ago about 2am I stopped at a red light in Mattapan, in Boston. I had just completed  training some staff at a hospital , the late late late shift.

All of sudden the cops roar up beside me with lights blazing. The driver yells at me.

“What the f are you doing?”

Mr Peepers replies.

“It’s a red light sir”

“What are you nuts?, you never stop down here at this hour for a stop light, get going!”

Then they roared off.


I still stop at red lights.


Nova Star Ferry

I was going to write this after their first season but held off. I love the ocean, especially being on it, way out. So if an operator is willing to give it a go, I say go for it. When the new link to Yarmouth NS was announced after the Cat stopped service in 2009 I was elated. Then I read about the ship proposed.

The Nova Star.

It visited Portsmouth NH on its way to Portland for its maiden voyage to Yarmouth, NS. The service is heavily subsidized  by the Provincial government in Canada. That subsidy is in question this week and there may not be a season for them in 2016. We love Nova Scotia and have visited many times both mine and Doozies family have ties to Canada.I am not sure however that the experience of Nova Scotia is for everyone. The Nova Star is too big.

This vessel  was originally built for an English Channel run but  after completion there were issues with stability.

So since it could not carry the specified loads of  passengers and trucks across the English Channel it was offered for lease and an entrepreneur bit.

I just did not like the look of the ship. I didn’t like The Cat either, the high speed ferry, which is now racing across a strait in Taiwan. I enjoy being outside the cabin and The Cat and Nova Star are all cabin.

The_cat_ferryI found the jet wake disturbing to  view.

The Scotia Prince

8735-0 Scotia Prince credit Shipfax Mac Mackay

I was lucky to have sailed on the Scotia Prince several times, once we had the big cabin , the whole family. The kids got kicked out of the little casino. Gambling was not what the ship was all about.

It was the perfect sized vessel in my opinion, and it always sailed loaded, the Nova Star has sailed with more crew than passengers. There was some romance to the vessel but the best part was being able to get outside, and enjoy a leisurely pace . I have to say the high speed ferry ride is awful, like a plane ride, and the Nova Star is all about inside the vessel, more akin to a cruise ship experience. We have  some pals that took the voyage on Nova Star  to NS last season , it’s first . They did not take a cabin for the overnight trip. A floating building really that is Nova Star . On a clear night on the Gulf of Maine, I will take the air over the casino.

We always got a cabin too, they were cozy .

 The Scotia Prince was sold to ship breakers in India in 2012.

I found early this year an article on a group called Canamerica Cruises based in Halifax that included many of the same folks that worked on the Scotia Prince. They too felt that the Prince was the  right sized vessel, and are proposing to locate a similar ship. Maybe they are one of the groups now vying for the Nova Star contract. Apart from this article in the Portland Press I can find no more information.

I think it’s over for the Nova Star, it is an expensive trip. The group  proposing  a high speed ferry to Provincetown from Portsmouth , NH better have their financials  straight. Oh and bathrooms built, and parking and on and on.

I commented on their effort on Seacoast  Online. It’s true, high speed ferries are whale killers.

I ran into Andy Swanson of our Town IT department today at a gas station and we had a pump chat.

Drones came up.

town hoverThis is Exeter from a drone.

2014-06-08 06.50.18This is the drone that took that shot.

I have two great  drone videos for you  tonight. The first one up is the  Nova Star leaving Yarmouth NS bound for Portland, ME. It is a perfect illustration of the magic of a drone video. Which Andy is anxious to begin here in Town, making videos. How about a buzz over the crowd at the Beer fest?

How about the Selectmen going over the new Exeter Falls, in barrels?

Last winter I was texting Ken Berkenbush my concerns about the IOKA roof. Somerville MA was using a drone to survey snowy roofs. I suggested he send the EFD drone up for a look.

“I would love a drone” was his reply.


The second video tonight is of a burning house shot from a drone. The firefighters blast the drone at the 12 minute mark. A few years ago a anti gun group in PA I believe flew a drone over a private gun range .

It suffered some damage.

Two videos for your viewing pleasure.

Off to Brooklyn this weekend  to see Jeff our son who just completed his across America bike ride.


3 years and still no answer

Police Chief Richard Kane said late Wednesday afternoon that police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding Brackett’s death. He did say police had recent contact with Brackett prior to his death but he wouldn’t elaborate on it.

“It was a juvenile matter and I’m not going to discuss it more,” he said.

I am not leaving Town without full disclosure by the Exeter Police Department on the facts of this tragedy.

I was away at the time caring for my brother Steve in Plymouth NH while his wife took a much needed break.

My phone rang and a friend informed  me that this young man had committed suicide.

The part of the story that still has not been confirmed but is still talked about around Town is that police officers may have contacted him about a matter, at football practice.

In front of the team.

That was communicated to me that day in Plymouth. I immediately  called Coach Ball, no comment. Mike Morgan , no comment.

Aaron Sanborn the reporter for the Newsletter could get nothing from Chief Kane.

I asked for my Selectmen to follow up, nothing.

I just watched Superintendent  Morgan on tv with all the area Chiefs of Police discussing school safety.

I had to turn it off.

If it is true that police did this, went on  campus, then there should be consequences for everyone involved.


Board of Selectmen Meeting

There will be no meeting this evening because Ann Surman cannot attend. I had to make a call to determine why there was no meeting tonight. Just looking for some other information on the Town website over the weekend I spotted the cancellation. A friend this morning wondered why I was concerned, “maybe they are all on vacation”.


“Your kidding right?”

This was a meeting that I was going to watch as we have one month before School begins  and there is much left undone around Town. If we don’t have this meeting there will be no discussion for a month.

We have 5 selectmen and can suffer for decision making sake having one out for the  evening.

I suggest that tonight’s scheduled meeting be held and we get cracking on making sure we are ready for back to school time.


UPDATE: Brian Griset and my buddy Jayne just informed me Dan is out tonight too.

So that’s it then I guess, no meeting, no information on TV, in newspapers, on blogs.


Enjoy your Summer and forget about  Back to School.