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December 27. 2012 9:25AM

Year in Review 2012: Political races, stable fire, doctor’s brutal beating top stories

The year began with the arrests of four men allegedly involved in a copper theft ring – a crime that law enforcement officials say is more prevalent in difficult economic times.

After a two-month stakeout of the vacant former Sheraton Wayfarer Hotel led to the arrest of the four men.

Sgt. Kris Dupuis of the Bedford Polkice Department said stolen copper is brought to various metal recycling centers, where thieves can get money for it, and it’s become a regular business for some.

Library work

In January, the Bedford Public Library closed temporarily as a weatherization project got under way. The library also got a new roof, as approved by voters in March, as well as additional insulation.

“It’s a big project,” said Mary Ann Senatro, library director. “The attic is very challenging for anyone to get up there, with the domed ceiling and catwalks.”

Workers added insulation to the attic at a cost of about $96,000, and the new roof cost about $166,000 to replace.

Also in January, the Town Council set ground rules for the Bedford Cross-Country Ski Club’s use of the trails at Legacy Park.

The council approved the rules at its meeting on Jan. 25.

The guidelines were drafted after complaints were lodged by a resident upset that the ski club had gone too far in clearing trails at Legacy Park.

Roxi Nixon brought her concerns to the Town Council in December 2011, saying the ski club was treating the publicly owned property as if it were its own.

On Tuesday, Jan. 24, club officials signed an agreement that contained rules for how the club would make use of the trails going forward.

Flo-Pro, Inc., a Bedford manufacturing company, closed its doors on Monday, Feb. 6, leaving more than 100 people out of work.

The company produced automotive parts and had about 120 employees.

Despite the concerns of some abutters, the Town Council voted Jan. 25 in favor of building a dog park near the sports fields on Nashua Road, the culmination of more than five years of work by proponents.

Plans for the dog park, however, fizzled later in the year as a dispute over questions of liability and who would maintain the parcel arose between the town and the dog park committee.

Election change

Ryk Bullock, for years a political lightning rod in town, faced a challenge this year for the town moderator’s seat – a post he’s held since 2008.

Brian Shaughnessy, a local attorney, said Bullock wasn’t being straight with residents about his status as a taxpayer, and that’s one reason why he sought to unseat the incumbent.

In what he called his first electoral defeat since he was 17, Bullock, was beaten Tuesday, March 13.

Lori Radke resigned from her position as school district clerk, leaving room on the ballot for someone else to be elected. The only problem was that no one else ran for the position.

After a three-month search and establishment of a protocol for recruiting town managers, the Town Council landed on a final candidate for the position following the untimely death of Russ Marcoux in November of 2011.

Council Chairman Bill Dermody said the more than 50 applicants were narrowed to a list of three. However, the applicant finally chosen never became town manager because the final candidate could not fulfill the town charter’s residency requirement, which states that a town manager must move to Bedford within six months of appointment.

That brought the Town Council back to the drawing board. The five-month search for a new town manager took a new turn when the Town Council signed a contract with a consulting firm charged with finding a new leader for the town.

The $9,000 deal was inked with Municipal Resources Inc., a firm that provides professional, technical and management support services to municipalities, schools and nonprofit organizations throughout New England.

Apparently in a giving mood, the 4,784 residents who turned out for the March 13 school and town elections accepted every budgetary suggestion of the school district and also the warrant article they recommended against.

Nearly a thousand more people voted than in the 2011 elections. Radke said the high turnout was due to the town moderator race and the teachers contract. “This one was very brisk,” she said.

IB debate

The International Baccalaureate program at Bedford High School looked like it was in jeopardy with a proposed bill, HB 1403, sponsored by Republican legislators Laurie Pettengill, Sean Cox, Gregory Hill and Kenneth Kreis, that initially would have allowed parents to pull their children out of a school district offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. Opponents of the IB curriculum alleged that it was designed by elements sympathetic to the goals of the United Nations and that by adopting it, Bedford risked losing its educational autonomy to internationalists and others who seek to downplay the importance of American ideals.

Dozens of students, parents and concerned residents poured into the school administration building Monday, April 9, to express their support for the International Baccalaureate program.

As it turned out, legislators in Concord were in no mood to pass a law that would have effectively eliminated the IB program at Bedford High School. The college preparastory curriculum remains in place.

A variance that allows Market Basket to move ahead with its plans to build a 78,000-square-foot store at a location where only 40,000-square foot structures are allowed was upheld by the Town Council on Wednesday, May 23. The zoning amendment was approved by voters last March.

Saturday Night Live star Seth Meyers played to a packed house at the Bedford High School auditorium on Friday, June 1, riffing on everything from the presidential race to his post-adolescent passion for the X-Box.

A Bedford man who was wanted on an arrest warrant charging him with robbing a Manchester bank was arrested Saturday morning, June 23, by police in Andover, Mass., according to Manchester Police Sgt. Richard Brennan.

Joel Gordon, 30, allegedly robbed the TD Bank branch at 293 S. Main St. in Manchester on June 11, police said.

The Fresh Market opened June 27 at the Bedford Mall as the first New Hampshire store of the grocery chain.

New manager

The Town Council unanimously approved the hiring of Jessie Levine as Bedford’s new town manager on Wednesday, Aug. 15.

Levine began her duties in Bedford on Sept. 4, with an annual salary of $110,000.
Levine’s appointment came after a five-month search conducted by Muncipal Resources Inc.

Also in August, the Bedford Little League 11- and 12-year-old all stars got ousted in the final game of the Eastern Region Championship by a team from Fairfield, Conn., dashing their dreams of a trip to Williamsport, Pa., and a chance to play in the Little League World Series.

A Republican candidate for Hillsborough County Sherriff, Frank Szabo, said he wouldn’t withdraw from the race despite controversial comments he made about using deadly force against abortion doctors.

Szabo said that although he had been urged to step down by some leaders in the New Hampshire Republican Party, he would continue with his campaign.

“I did not start this campaign for political gain or to join the status quo,” Szabo said in a statement.

Szabo said he would “absolutely” not rule out using deadly force to stop an abortion, and that he would “use the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office to arrest abortion doctors for murdering innocent life.”

He later apologized for and retracted those comments, saying he didn’t understand the meaning of the question asked.

Szabo ended up losing the primary race to incumbent James Hardy and later moved out of the country with his family, reportedly to someplace in South America.

A fire killed 14 horses at Perry Hill Farm on Sept. 6, sending shock waves thoughout the community, which rallied around the horses’ grieving owners Harriet Finks and her daughter, Elissa.

After it was discontinued in 2011, Bedford’s Olde Towne Day made a comeback on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Riley Field complex, bringing together Bedford citizens for a day of entertainment and activities.

Cupcake flap

At its Sept. 10 meeting, the Bedford School Board voted to approve a new policy that prohibits students from bringing cupcakes or other sugary confections to class for a special occasion, such as a birthday party or similar celebration.

“The state is required to expand that (federal law) into regulations,” Assistant Superintendent Chip McGee said. “It’s a policy required by federal law if we want to be following the federal guidelines on food service.”

Although the policy was approved and is now in effect, it did not pass without criticism.

“It doesn’t control what kids bring for themselves, what parents pack for their kids or what can be distributed before or after school,” McGee said.

After 60 years in business, a preschool will be shutting its doors this spring – a sign of a tough economy and the evolving mission of the Bedford Presbyterian Church.

“Many of the congregants are very upset over this; they can’t believe this is happening,” said Gwen Broder, who has been the director and a teacher at the Bedford Mothers’ Club School since 1965. The announcement was made in November.

Brutal beating

A local anesthesiologist and his wife were assaulted inside their upscale Bedford home on Saturday, Nov. 24.

Although initial indications were that Eduardo Quesada and his wife, Sonia Quesada, were injured during a burglary, police said they were not ruling out other explanations for the assault.

Dr. Quesada remained under medical treatment as of Nov. 28 with serious head injuries, inflicted at their home at 7 Proclamation Court, Police Chief John Bryfonski said Monday, Nov. 26.

It was a crime that put the community on edge, prompting police and other law enforcement officials to hold a community meeting attened by about 80 residents, many of whom were upset about the lack of information about the crime coming from the police department.

As of the end of the year, no arrests had been made in the case.

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