SEABROOK — Although two amendments to warrant articles were merely “housekeeping” issues, there were important changes made to two other articles in the Town Warrant at Tuesday night’s deliberative session.
The amendments that offered major changes were made to 42 and 43. Article 42, a citizen’s petition, sought approval to name the gym in the town’s Recreation Center in memory of longtime employee Ted Pickard. The amendment changed naming the gym after Pickard to running and naming an annual Recreation Center sporting contest after him.
According to Recreation Department director Sandy Beadoin, the change better reflects Pickard’s interests while he worked at the center.
“Ted wasn’t about the building; he was all about programs for the kids,” she said yesterday. “He was a great guy and this would recognize him once a year at an event, which is better than just putting his name on a plaque on the wall, which is all that naming the gym after him would be.”
The amendment to Article 43, however, nullified the article completely. Offered in a petition conceptualized by Max Abramson, Article 43 originally requested $2,800 to install dash cameras in all Seabrook police cruisers. On the floor of deliberative session, Abramson offered the first amendment, which would have increased the funding to $16,000. But the amendment failed.
The amendment that passed came from resident Jo-Anne Page, and it changed the amount requested from $2,800 to zero.
During the debate, Seabrook police Chief Lee Bitomske rose to inform residents that installing dash cameras on cruisers may be coming to town as a tool to be used for law enforcement. Bitomske said “dash-cams” are on his “to-do list,” paid from the D’alessandro Fund, money left to the department by the late Elmo Augusto D’alessandro, currently amounting to about $600,000.
Amendments were also approved to make two minor language changes to Articles 15 and 25. Article 15 was changed to indicate the request for $40,000 was for maintenance and capital improvements work at Seabrook Public Library, which, if passed, would be overseen by the Library Board of Trustee.
Article 25 originally requested $21,000 to purchase a 3/4-ton pick-up truck for the Sewer Department until Interim Sewer Superintendent Phillippe Maltais changed the description to a “midsize” truck. Maltais said the intended use of the new truck allows for a smaller truck, for it would not be doing heavy duty. The new truck, if approved by voters, would replace a 1999, 4-wheel drive three-quarter-ton pickup that has more than 170,000, miles on it, and which has had numerous service problems.
But the champions of the deliberative session were definitely the town’s middle school and high school wrestlers, who pleaded their case for their petition article (45), which requests $10,000 to purchase wrestling mats for the Recreation Department. It isn’t often those asking for taxpayer dollars earn applause from those who’d have to pay the bill, but that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday night when the boys spoke.
The students came prepared, with brochures on the benefits of wrestling and their plans for a youth program at the Recreation Department. For its participants, said middle school student Jayden L’Esperance, wrestling builds “work ethic, mental toughness and self-discipline,” and a mat at the Rec Center would allow young kids to get involved safely in the sport that builds character.
One of Winnacunnet High School’s wrestling team captains, Lucas Rosa of Seabrook, reinforced how important wrestling can be in the lives of young participants. Rosa, who has achieved statewide acclaim as a wrestler, said because wrestling is an individual sport, it really trains athletes to think for themselves and to be self-reliant.
The young men also offered to give of themselves, if Town Meeting approves the article at the polls on March 12. They promised to sign up as volunteers to work with the youngsters who enroll in the Rec Center’s wrestling program.
Their speaking ability and decorum so impressed everyone at the meeting one residents pledged to give money to the program and “pass the hat” if it’s approved. And Bitomske also offered to help.
Seabrook police School Resource officer Jim Deshaies began the wrestling program at Seabrook Middle School and coaches it, Bitomske said. As a result, Bitomske views wrestling as a “police department function,” he said, making it eligible for a $10,000 match from the D’alessandro fund to cover start-up costs, which he’s willing to put up to help Seabrook children.
Town Meeting will vote to on all 46 warrant articles at the polls on Tuesday, March 12; the election includes those running for town and school district offices. The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Community/Recreation Center, Lafayette Road (Route 1).
Those not yet registered to vote may do so at the town clerk’s office at Town Hall or at the polls on March 12. Proof of residency, age and a photo ID are required.