In New Hampshire: politics, crime and a Super Walmart

Saturday December 31, 2011

HINSDALE, N.H. -- It was a busy year for town in southwestern New Hampshire. From the bad (a shooting in Chesterfield; bank robbery in Hinsdale) to the good (the heroics of the Walpole Police Chief; Chesterfield Middle School girls soccer enjoying a perfect 11-0 season). New businesses rose up (opening of the Super Walmart; Spofford Pizza opens) and projects faltered (plug pulled on Route 9 Welcome Center).

Take a look:

-- For the second year in a row, Hinsdale voters turned down the RSA 40:13 provision (known as SB-2) to allow official ballot voting on all issues before the Town Meeting. On March 8, voters did not pass the provision, which calls for an informational session before Town Meeting to review and amend all the issues on the ballot.

-- Walpole native Ron Rosko returns to his hometown to serve as the golf pro at the Hooper Golf Club in March.

-- The Hinsdale School Board unanimously selected Ann Freitag, a longtime physics and chemistry teacher, to serve as the next principal of the town's elementary school in March.

-- The Walpole Unitarian Church held its 250th anniversary celebration on March 12, featuring desserts through the centuries.

-- Hinsdale voters approved the newly independent school district's budget of $11.8 million on March 19.

-- The New Hampshire Department of Transportation said in March they would have to put several local infrastructure projects on the shelf because of financial reasons, including the reconstruction of Route 12 between Walpole and Charlestown, improvements on the multi-use trail bridge between Keene and Swanzey and the proposed Route 119 replacement bridge between Hinsdale and Brattleboro.

-- Police arrested two men in connection to an April 1 shooting at the Chesterfield Gorge Natural Area. On June 29, Neal Bolster, 21, of Hinsdale and Kishawn Tyler, 19, of Bronx, N.Y., were arraigned in court stemming from their alleged shooting of Christopher Bodisher, who was hit three times and left in the parking area just off Route 9.

-- The new Super Walmart held its grand opening on April 13, one day after shutting down its former store at 18 Georges Field, where the company has operated since 1993. The new 155,000 square-foot supercenter features an expanded grocery section, a hair salon, tire and lube express and an arcade center for children.

-- Connecticut residents John and Rita Chakolas, who have a home in West Chesterfield, donated $65,00 on April 15 to help the Chesterfield Fire Department purchase a 1987 Grumman Aerial Cat ladder truck. The ladder truck was donated in the name of the couple's grandson.

-- Jackie and Chris Caserta of the Walpole Valley Farm and Inn, won the Green Business Award in late April.

-- Massachusetts police arrested two Winchester residents on May 4 in connection to a pair of robberies, one at the Citizens Bank in Hinsdale. Robert Johnson, 22, and Craig Warner, 29, walked into the Rollstone Bank & Trust on Central Street in Leominster, Mass., and demanded money just a few days after robbing the Hinsdale bank.

-- In late May, police identified a body found in the Connecticut River as Joshua Parrott of North Walpole, who went missing in April. According to the New Hampshire medical examiner's office, Parrott's body was identified using dental records.

-- Police arrested 18-year-old Joseph Atwood of Hinsdale for allegedly soliciting a minor on the Internet in early June.

-- Several species of fish washed up around Spofford Lake in the first two weeks of June. By the middle of the month, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department concluded a common bacteria, combined with stress caused by spawning and warm weather, killed the fish.

-- The Friends of Chesterfield Gorge formed in June to serve as a conservation group to aid in the upkeep of the natural area on Rt 9.

-- Chesterfield celebrated its 250th anniversary over the Independence Day weekend with a parade, dances and other festivities during the three-day event.

-- Walpole Police Chief Mike Paquette jumped into the Connecticut River on July 26 to save the life of a drowning man who fell out of his kayak.

-- Plans for the Route 9 welcome center in Chesterfield were dropped in August for a proposed 8,000 square-foot liquor store instead.

-- Members of the Great River Co-op in Walpole received $30,000 in grants on Aug. 25 to take the next steps towards construction of a community-owned grocery store in 2013. More fundraisers were planned in mid-November, including an electronic waste event that helped bring in donations. The Co-op, already with more than 400 members, will expand to 11 towns in New Hampshire and Vermont.

-- Robert Sousie of Hinsdale was sentenced to 18 months in prison for violently attacking a woman in his apartment on July 14, 2010. He pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, felony criminal restraint and misdemeanor simple assault after he punched and choked the victim and wouldn't let her leave his apartment. He then stabbed her several times.

-- New Hampshire State Police arrested 18-year-old Bryan Stetson of Hinsdale on Sept. 10 following a high-speed chase that resulted in him slamming his vehicle into a building.

-- Police arrested Sean P. Raney, 26, of Alstead, after he allegedly followed an elderly couple after they had picked up a prescription at a pharmacy in Keene and robbed them Oct. 19 at the Spofford Post Office.

-- Ethan R. Clark of Walpole was arraigned Oct. 26 in a Keene court for robbing the Connecticut River Bank, N.A. on Main Street. According to the Walpole Police Department, Clark entered the bank shortly after noon and gave a note to the teller demanding money.

-- The town of Hinsdale postponed trick-or-treating until Nov. 6 after the Oct. 29 snowstorm knocked out power to hundreds of residents.

-- Barbara Girs of Chesterfield took over fir outgoing Town Clerk Tammy Rudolph on Oct. 31 on an interim basis. She has full power at the end of the month, but will have to run for the town clerk position in the springtime against anyone else interested in filling the post for a three-year term.

-- Chesterfield Police Department to find roughly 60 discarded marijuana plants on Dec. 2 at the Chesterfield Gorge.

-- Seven Landmark College students were arrested on Dec. 3 for criminal trespassing at the former Hinsdale Greyhound Park after police responded to the vacant building early in the morning after witnesses reported seeing movement on the property.

-- Spofford Pizza at the Big Deal Convenience Store on Route 9 opened its business on Dec. 7

-- Hinsdale Fire Chief Robert Johnson was arrested Dec. 16 for driving while intoxicated after police in New Hampshire and Massachusetts investigated a hit-and-run accident.

-- The owners of Ruggiero Processing Facility requested permission in December from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services for a permit to build a collection, storage and transfer facility in Walpole. Developers applied in March to get the facility, an estimated 91,000 square-feet, approved for construction.

-- The middle school girls soccer team from Chesterfield went a perfect 11-0 during the regular season and then captured the Westmoreland Tournament, and with it the Connecticut Valley League Championship, with a 6-0 record there.


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