School board working on next year’s budget

ReporterWearing my reporter’s fedora, I had a couple of articles in the Hampton Union today…

No. Hampton board tables talk on longer kindergarten day
Debate on $7.6M budget

By Amy Kane

NORTH HAMPTON — The North Hampton School Board met Wednesday evening to review the proposed 2008-09 school budget and warrant articles before they are presented to the Budget Committee on Dec. 6 and 10.

Next year’s proposed budget stands at $7,663,856, but several warrant article amounts have not yet been added in, including teachers’ contract figures currently in negotiation and a capital improvements project. The 2007-08 total school budget is $7,632,083.

The School Board voted to table discussion on an article to increase the length of the kindergarten school day until its December meeting. That meeting was scheduled for Dec. 12, but it conflicts with the school’s Holiday Concert. The board will reschedule and publicize the meeting.

According to chairwoman Mary Pat Dolan, the School Board would like further public input and discussion before voting on whether to advance the kindergarten article to the deliberative session and town meeting vote. The article would include cost of an additional kindergarten teacher.

The board is seeking further information on classroom space availability and firmer enrollment projections to know whether a modular classroom will be needed.

SAU 21 business administrator Bob Barry reported a modular can be leased for $27,912 per year or purchased for $102,000. Installation costs are estimated between $40,000 and $80,000.

School Board member David Sarazen asked that Barry and the school administration research installation costs more specifically before the December meeting by choosing the modular location, contacting the local code enforcement officer and getting a bid price locally.

“The question is, does the board feel the portable will be required?” Dolan said. “This is a bigger discussion than we have time for tonight.”

The board met for one hour at the Hawley library at Winnacunnet High School, before the SAU 21 joint board meeting.

Town tax time


Conservation, highway garage increases N. Hampton taxes
Selectmen cite land conservation, highway garage and revaluation

By Amy Kane

NORTH HAMPTON — Conservation land purchases and a new highway garage contributed to a 9 percent jump in the overall tax rate for town property owners this year.

The N.H. Department of Revenue approved the 2007 tax rate for the town early this week, setting it at $16.82 per $1,000 assessed value. Tax bills are being mailed by the tax collector now and are due Dec. 28.

The town government portion of the tax bill — $4 of the $16.82 — is up 10 percent from last year.

At the Board of Selectmen meeting this past Monday, Selectman Don Gould said the “vast majority” of the increase was because of two non-discretionary items: Debt service on voter-approved North Hampton Forever conservation acquisitions and a new highway garage; and an $80,000 line item for a state-mandated property revaluation coming in 2008.

With these items backed out, the total increase is about 2.5 percent, which is roughly consistent with inflation, Gould said.

“Education and county taxes we can’t speak to because we have no control over them,” Gould said.

According to information shared by Town Administrator Steve Fournier, 69 percent of the 2007 North Hampton tax rate goes toward education — 52 percent to local schools and 17 percent to the state education tax. Town government accounts for 24 percent and county government accounts for 7 percent.

At a Nov. 19 meeting with a representative from the Department of Revenue Administration, selectmen voted to use money from the town’s fund balance to offset the tax rate.

At the suggestion of Selectmen Chairwoman Emily Creighton, the board agreed none of the proposed town warrant articles for the next fiscal year, to be voted on in March, would draw from the fund balance. It now stands at slightly less than $1 million.

Other business

This past Monday, selectmen agreed to ask town counsel to review the wording in a Vision Appraisal contract before they approve it. Vision was awarded a bid for the town’s 2008 statistical property revaluation.

Resident and former selectman Jon Rineman asked why Vision was hired.

“Four years ago they came through and they were horrible,” he said. “Don and I signed 200 rebates.”

Creighton said she had concerns as well, but the statistical revaluation was put up for bid twice and only two companies bid, with Vision being the most qualified.

• Selectmen voted to accept Evergreen Drive as a town maintained road as recommended by Road Agent Robert Strout.

• Aquarion Water Co., is installing a new water main on part of Mill Road and all of Pine Road. Aquarion plans to install new lines linking the main to each house in the spring. Strout worked out an agreement to schedule a road reclamation (including regrading and repaving) for the same time, probably in June.

By matching funds with Aquarion, cost to the town will be about $50,000 instead of $100,000 to reclaim Pine Road. Funds are available from the Highway Department’s paving account, Strout reported.


The public is invited to meet the new town administrator Stephen Fournier at an open house on Monday, Dec. 3, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the North Hampton Public Library. Light refreshments will be served.

Cold sand


More bleakness, Hampton Beach. Oh where are the fry does of yesteryear?


Did you ever just start running but you don’t know where? He looks ahead only to see where he is about to end up.


When I’m watching him live, in action, he looks like poetry in motion. When I take a photo and freeze him, he looks like a goon. His legs and tail and ears are all over the place. And what’s with the tongue?


Empty, except for ghosts of summers gone.


Most rental signs mean there are weeks open next summer. But some people do live here year-round or rent off-season. They must have a mind of winter.


Lobster traps are so conveniently stackable, and decorative. Nice Beemer.


Arrgh! obviously.

Hampton Beach Past, Present and Future

Babies don’t need a vacation but I still see them at the beach. I’ll go over to them and say, ‘What are you doing here, you’ve never worked a day in your life!’”

– Stephen Wright

November at the beach


A photo for Tim, this afternoon at Hampton Beach.


Formerly, Ye Colonial Inn?


Playground across the street, where children learn the hard way about centrifugal force.


Beach view of the strip.


Zeus had fun on the beach.


Dune’s edge cottage.


For rent.



In today’s Hampton Union…

Reinventing the classic barbershop
Clipping Post offers sports theme, multiple televisions

By Amy Kane

HAMPTON — Barbershops are not a thing of the past. Tammie Michaud wants men to know they don’t have to go to a fancy salon to get a good haircut.

The master barber just opened her second shop, on Route 1 in Hampton. The Clipping Post is geared toward a male clientele, with team pennants and a sports theme, and flat-screen TVs in the waiting room and at each cutting station.

“Guys think barbershops are going by the wayside. We try to let them know there’s a place for them,” Michaud said.

The Clipping Post has a comfortable, inviting atmosphere, with a friendly staff. It’s a little like coming into a living room. No appointments necessary.

Michaud has been cutting men’s hair for 12 years. She owns and operates the original Clipping Post in Newfields and works there on Wednesdays.

According to Michaud, The Clipping Post is the only barbershop in the area open on Sundays as well.

Michaud lives in Hampton with her husband and four children ages 18, 15, 14 and 7. Her daughter Justina, 18, is a receptionist at The Clipping Post in Hampton. She is going to school and working to get her barber’s license, too.

“It’s pretty much the best job you can have,” Justina said.

She takes after her mom. Tammie Michaud said she loves her job, especially when it’s busy and she can talk to lots of people all day long.

“It’s a very relaxed atmosphere. You’re not trying to impress,” she said. “If you do a good job, you make a lot of friends. Guys are really loyal.”

Her biggest challenge?

“Having guys notice it’s a barbershop. They’re used to them not being around,” she said.

Michaud emphasizes that barbers can accommodate all sorts of haircuts now, not just the traditional or military cuts. Michaud also offers neck shaves.

“They are a wonderful luxury, and a nice finishing touch,” she said.

. . .

The Clipping Post
875 Lafayette Road, Hampton, across from Cactus City Boot & Saddlery
Cuts for men and boys are $13, and $10 for seniors.
Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 926-3133.



Column: Small Pond
Hampton Union, Nov. 20

Pass the baby a Thanksgiving tradition

Traditions abound at our annual family-reunion Thanksgiving. One of my favorites is Pass the Baby.

I suspect this is not a common tradition – not as common as eating turkey and pumpkin pie, or watching football. But it is a beloved ritual among us. It is enjoyed by all except perhaps the mother of that year’s baby, especially if it is a first child and she’s a little nervous about the hand off.

Not every baby has made it all the way around the table. Cranky babies are returned promptly to their parents. We’re not trying to irritate them. We just want to take turns introducing ourselves to the newest member of the family.

There are usually 30 to 35 people in attendance. Some cuddle and goo-goo the baby for a minute or so. Others who are less sure about these soft, strange little humans make a quick receive and pass to the next family member. A few are total baby hogs and have to be reminded that others are waiting their turn for some baby lovin’.

The baby is passed after dinner and before dessert.

There’s a new baby this year. His name is Patrick, and I think he’s about 9 months old. He’s a third child, with two big sisters, so I think he’s going to make it all the way around the table. Though his father warns he has developed some powerful defensive moves regarding diaper odor.

Other traditions? Before dinner, we will chant my stepmother’s name – “Julie! Julie! Julie!” – as she has nearly single-handed created the gourmet feast that is everyone’s favorite meal of the year. Then we will hold hands and say grace. During dinner there are sentimental toasts and eloquent speechifying, with reminders of why we are thankful.

Someone will lift a glass to my grandmother seated near the head of the table, wearing her Thanksgiving Queen tiara like a good sport: “To Grammy, who started all this.”

She always says, “I can’t believe I started all this.”

A couple of years ago there was a toast by Brandon that turned into a wedding proposal, accepted by my sister Ann, and we all happy-cried.

After the huge and fabulous dinner, we gather around the piano to sing. The traditional holiday favorite is “Rocky Raccoon,” by the Beatles. It’s a song about a cowboy who tries to shoot the guy who stole his girlfriend but is wounded instead and tended by a doctor stinking of gin who tells him, “Rocky, you’ve met your match.” But Rocky says, “Doc, it’s only a scratch,” and he’ll be better just as soon as he is able.

We sing this because my uncle Dan can bang out a mean honky-tonk piano, even with a baby on his knee or a small child next to him plinking out a random tune.

One of the traditions whose time seems to have passed is the annual post-feast wrestling match between the large, strong but slow uncles and cousins and the small, fierce and wily children. It is called Elephants and Chimps. But I fear the chimps have grown too big, beautiful and teenaged.

But if the babies keep coming, in a few years the next wave of chimps may be ready to take it to the mat.

I wish you all the blessings of an abundant season and a joyous Thanksgiving to you and your families.

Amy Kane is a correspondent for Seacoast Media Group living in North Hampton.