An Independent Weekly Newspaper
starts March 20th!
Hudson~Litchfield News Volume 21 Number 34 March 18, 2011 20 Pages
The Gift of Sharing
Trial of Former Hudson Police Captain Breault Begins
Editor’s Note: At press time, the trial of Donald Breault was closing on its second day of testimony. The anticipated length of the trial is 5/6 days. The Area News Group will continue to follow the trial and report next week of any developments that occur between now and then.
Julia Cote and Marinna Toth
submitted by Sister Maria Rosa, Principal, Presentation of Mary Academy, Hudson It is amazing how, on an otherwise ordinary day, an apparently trivial matter can take on a life of its own. Just such an experience thrust itself upon me several weeks ago. The quiet desk work I was rushing to accomplish was suddenly interrupted when Julia, a bubbly second grader, burst into my office, shoe box in hand. She quickly requested permission from me to place the shoe box in her classroom, so that her fellow classmates could donate money to help her cousin Ashley, who was dying of cancer, to pay her bills. I looked up at Julia and hesitated for a moment, since the Academy had recently finished collecting “pennies” to help the disadvantaged in our community. Just as I was about to open my mouth to reply that perhaps we could just dip into the penny collection and offer to pay some of her cousin’s medical bills, she proudly interjected, “I’ve already collected $7.51 of my own money.” Impressed by her determination and seriousness, I agreed to have her place the shoe box in the classroom for one week only.
continued to page 6- Gift
by Doug Robinson The criminal trial of Hudson Police Captain Donald Breault has finally begun at the Superior Court in Nashua after having been put on hold for close to one and a half years. Donald Breault, formerly Captain Donald Breault of the Hudson Police Department and 20-year veteran of the same department, was formally indicted by the Hillsborough County Grand Jury on February 23, 2011, for “theft … [and] computer-related offenses. The indictment states that his actions were done “recklessly, without authorization [where he] altered or tampered timekeeping dates.” In addition, the indictment states that Breault “scheme or conduct, generated and claimed fictitious work hours which allowed him to obtain approximately $2,639.07 from the Town of Hudson for unused vacation time.” The Theft by Unauthorized Taking or
Transfer charge is a Class A Felony, which carries a maximum penalty of 7 1/2 to 15 years at the New Hampshire State Prison, a fine of $4,000, or both. The Computer Related Offenses information are Class A Misdemeanors, and each carries a maximum penalty of 12 months at the Hillsborough County House of Correction, a fine of $2,000 or double the amount of the gain from the commission of the offense, or both. Breault, the second highest-ranking officer in the Hudson Police Department, was placed on Administrative leave on September 8, 2009, and while suspended with pay during the month of September, he was then suspended without pay in the month of October. During the spring of 2010, the Hudson Police Department reorganized their Captain’s positions and Breault’s employment
with Hudson was terminated.
During opening arguments, Prosecuting Attorneys from the NH Attorney General’s Office stated that Don Breault falsified his personal timekeeping records by using “comp time” hours to supplement his income. Comp time hours are afforded to salaried police officers (as well as other Union employees) as a method to reimburse these employees for hours served over and above the normal 40-hour work week. Often times, salaried personnel from all departments within the Town of Hudson are required to prepare for meetings, attend meetings, and participate in departmental functions, which require the employee to work in excess of 40 hours. The Attorney General stated that Donald Breault documented comp hours for hours that he never worked. In addition, the Attorney General’s office stated that Breault falsified his hours in attempt
to not to use his “earned time” allocation. Hudson defines earned times as the combination of vacation, personal, and sick time. Having served 20 years with the Town, Breault has earned 280 hours of earned time to be used as desired. Should he not use the entire amount, those hours would be carried over to the next year. Any hours carried over in excess of 720 hours would be paid out to the employee on an annual basis, as stipulated by the Union contract. The Attorney General contended that Breault stated that he was documenting comp time on his payroll sheet without authorization instead of recording his earned time and, as a result, continued to “bank” his earn time for future payout. Breault’s defense attorney stated that this entire affair came down to Captain Jason Lavoie “getting him.” While addressing the jury, Attorney Wilson referred to e-mails obtained from Chief Lavoie’s computer sent to the Attorney General’s Office, which stated that Chief Lavoie wished to have Breault “tangled in a web” and “should be prep
witnesses” for the upcoming trial. Defense Attorney Wilson hammered the point that Chief Lavoie was out “to get rid of him” as he pointed directly to Breault. “Was he bitter?” asked Wilson, in regards to Breault not being chosen to the Hudson’s new police chief when Police Chief Richard Gendron retired. “There is no written policy for comp time,” continued Wilson. “Between 2008-2009, 87 hours of comp time hours, or eight days of work, have been questioned. Of that, 63 hours are being claimed as fictitious and that is the central issue of this trial.” Wilson also stated that Hudson has spent in
excess of 100 hours of manpower investigating this alleged crime. He offered the jury the two-hour transcript of the Attorney General’s investigation, stating that they (the jury) had the option of listening to the CD for two hours or listening to the trial for the anticipated five days. He also stated that his client Donald
Hudson Police Chief Lavoie completes taking the oath on the witness stand
Breault would be “taking the stand” in his own defense. As day two unfolded, the Assistant Attorney
General Vara continued to examine Chief Lavoie on the witness stand. This was the Chief’s second day of giving testimony. At hand to the prosecutor were eight boxes filled with evidence collected by the Hudson Police Department with regard to Breault’s involvement. Time sheets, requests for time off, and other related materials overfilled the boxes as the State went onto the attack of Breault. One by one, the State led Chief Lavoie as he discussed the dozens of time card violations that the HPD had uncovered. According to the records, Breault was crediting himself for working extra hours and then requesting himself to be paid. Records offered in testimony reflect that Breault manually entered extra time worked going back as far as two years.
Chief Lavoie testified that he was concerned with Breault’s tardiness. Upon checking
continued to page 6- Breault Trial Imagine Hudson Without … A Tribute to Phil Rodgers Through decades of stealth and dedicated
service, Phil Rodgers lived the solid maxims of family, community, hard work, faith, and integrity. With Phil’s passing on March 10, at 82, Hudson has lost a stalwart citizen who helped build and enrich this community over the last half-century. In a two-part Hudson~Litchfield News tribute, this first article looks at Phil’s personal life, while the second article highlights his public service. On behalf of Hudson, Hudson~Litchfield News’ sincere condolences go out to the Rodgers family and our heartfelt and eternal gratitude extend to Phil Rodgers—God Bless you and Rest in Peace.
by Maureen Gillium
Imagine Hudson without the Hudson Community Center (HCC)—host spot to most Hudson Senior events; Hudson Rec’s summer youth programs, basketball, comedy nights, and family movies; town deliberative sessions and voting; Alvirne scholarship banquets and Scouts; Hudson Police Department’s Fright Night and Blood Drives; and popular dances. HCC has been the central location of Hudson activities, debates, and celebrations since it was built in 1970—largely due to the support and sweat of its building co-chairs, Phil and Al Rodgers.
which opened in June 2009. While hard to imagine what Hudson would be like without these philanthropists, sadly, we have lost our eldest Rodgers’ shepherd. G. Phillip Rodgers, 82, died peacefully at St. Joseph’s hospital on March 10, 2011, after a four-and-a- half-year battle with cancer. “Phil” died much as he lived—forever positive, working almost until the end, and surrounded by loving family. This remarkable high school dropout and self-made millionaire was an eternal optimist, inspired by his “mother’s positive attitude” and “guided by Rudyard Kipling’s poem, If.” A self-professed workaholic, he was urgently driven in his 80s to realize his life-long dream for a new town library in the name of his beloved parents. Without the vision, perseverance, and quiet generosity of Phil Rodgers, Hudson would be a very different town—one far less community-centered and enriched.
Phil Rodgers was born in Nashua on August 25, 1928, the eldest of five sons (followed by Al, Ken, Joe or “Dewey,” and Ronnie) of the late George and Ella (Landry) Rodgers. The family’s early
the Hudson Lions Club, Hudson Grange #11, and St. John’s Church.
“In the late ‘40s, our family moved to Central Street and bought some $4-a-week rental properties near the bridge and Baker Block,” shared Phil. “Al and I learned how to do, fix, and build most anything from Dad.” “Dad had an incredibly strong work ethic and deep commitment to family and community, which he inherited from his parents and passed along, as we have passed it on to our children and grandchildren,” shared his eldest daughter, Susan Gendron, in an emotional family interview last Sunday morning. “Work was his hobby.” “’Everything will be OK’ was what he always told me, and he was right; it always has been and always will be because we will be eternally linked to him and his values.” Phil started as an entrepreneur at the tender age of seven, selling pencils and graduating to water boy at 10 cents a day for a neighboring farmer, George Steel. As a young man, he worked at the Nashua
Phil Rodgers was the photographer of the crew assembled to build the Hudson Lion’s Hall, now known as the Community Center. Pictured are Marcel Lemay, Earl Maxfield, Al Rodgers, Bob Plomondon, Dick Joseph, Norm Vichery, Ray Lafave, unknown, Merv Nevens, Al Bashalany, and Bill Pointer
Many in our community will remember the Rodgers Brothers’ work shirts from around town
In addition to HCC (formerly Lion’s Hall), the Rodgers brothers also championed Hudson Recreation Center (adjacent to Dr. H. O. Smith School) in the late 1970s by their generously donated labor, supplies, and equipment. They were also stewards of the Lions baseball field, Hudson swimming pool and St. John’s Novitiate, and is now home to St. Vincent de Paul. The benevolent brothers also gifted $4 million to the town to build the new George H. and Ella M. Rodgers Memorial Library,
years were spent in an area of south Hudson, then called “Stuart’s Corner” (on River Road, just south of Dracut Road), where they ran a family store and filling station near their home from the early 1930s to late 1940s. “My parents were hard-working people,” Phil modestly shared in a Hudson~Litchfield News 2007 interview. “Dad was a ‘wop changer’ [skilled millworker, changed huge rolls of thread] in the Jackson Mills [Nashua], where he worked 50 hours a week for $20.” As the mills waned around World War II, George worked as a trained mechanic for $1 an hour at Fort Devens. Known for her Yankee ingenuity, optimism, and sage advice, Ella was always “very busy with family, the shop, gardening, and crafts.” Both were active in
Foundry, a Hungarian bakery, and as a cook before launching Rodgers Brothers Construction in 1956 with his brother, Al. For the next half-century, the name Rodgers – through businesses including Rodgers Brothers Construction, Autoland, PAK, Concrete Systems, Liberty Millworks, Rodgers Realty, and McKenna’s Purchase – employed hundreds and dominated the local construction and realty market, as they built about 2,500 area homes and many
commercial properties. “We primarily aimed to build good homes at reasonable prices that families could afford,” Phil humbly detailed in 2007. Their earliest homes were on Birchcroft (behind T-Bones) and sold for $12,800 in the 1950s; most are now worth more than a quarter-million dollars.
A former Hudson real estate agent offered, “A Rodgers Brothers home was always the home of choice. They were famous for high-quality craftsmanship.” “Being the oldest,
Phil Rodgers brother, and partner.” His oldest son, Dana, shared that his Dad was
Area Newspaper Group 3x3 ANG31
renowned as a sharp “numbers man” and wore his dark, khaki-green work uniform with the red embroidered “Rodgers Brothers Builders” for years after he worked job sites. Withholding tears, he quietly said, “Dad made me stronger.” Son-in-law and long-time employee Steve Middlemiss shared that Phil exemplified “a man’s continued to page 6- Phil Rodgers Tribute
The Smart Career Move
Seacoast Career School offers career-focused training that prepares students with the skills for today's careers!
Classes now forming for:
Dental Assisting Professional Medical Assistant Health Claims Specialist Massage Therapy
• Career placement assistance • Day & evening schedules
• Financial aid available for those who qualify
Call or Click Today! 800-758-7679
670 N. Commercial St. Manchester, NH
I always knew Phil was boss,” quietly admitted Al. “We always got along well because he did his job running the business office, buying, and planning, while I did my job doing the design work and field construction.” Last Thursday, Al tragically lost his “best friend,
Supported Through Advertisers ECRWSS
U.S. POSTAGE PAID
HUDSON, NH 03051
PERMIT NO. 33 Postal Customer
staff photo by Doug Robinson
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16
| Page 17
| Page 18
| Page 19
| Page 20