Swearing in of Seabrook Fire Captain Marc Bibeau

A big congratulations to new Seabrook Fire Captain Marc Bibeau, who was sworn in at the Fire Department on Wednesday February 22, 2017. A big thank yopu to Fire Chief William Edwards, and to the entire Department. Many Firefighters were on hand to wish Captain Bibeau well. He was pinned by his dad. Thanks to the Board of Selectmen for their strong support of the Seabrook Fire Department.

The Press coverage of the swearing in.

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Robert Wheeler Donates Painting to Seabrook

Many thanks to Bob Wheeler, who painted “Memorial Parade at Seabrook” and has donated it to the Town. The Board of Selectmen has ordered that it be displayed prominently in Town Hall. We look forward to its formal unveiling in Town Hall in the very near future.

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EPA Recognizes Seabrook Wastewater Plant for Regional Excellence

The Seabrook Wastewater Treatment facility has been recognized by the federal EPA with a Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Excellence Award. On behalf of our Board of Selectmen our congratulations to Superintendent Maltais and all of the men and women that worked so hard to achieve this recognition. Running a successful Wastewater facility requires tremendous diligence, hard work, and attention to detail. We are all very proud of our Wastewater facility for achieving recognition by the Environmental Protection Agency. The press release from the EPA is below.

BOSTON – The Seabrook, N.H. Wastewater Treatment Facility was recently selected by EPA for a 2016 Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Excellence Award. The Seabrook facility, led by Philippe Maltais, Superintendent and Dustin Price, Chief Operator, was recognized by EPA’s New England Office for exceptional work in operating and maintaining the wastewater treatment plant. The facility was one of six facilities in New England acknowledged for exemplary performance during 2016.
The EPA Regional Wastewater Awards Program recognizes personnel in the wastewater field who have provided invaluable public service managing and operating wastewater treatment facilities throughout New England. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services was instrumental in the plant’s nomination.
“The professionals operating wastewater treatment plants play a very important role in keeping our communities and environment healthy by protecting water quality. We are proud to acknowledge this staff’s outstanding contributions to help protect public health and water quality and to give them the credit they deserve,” said Deborah Szaro, acting regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office.
The EPA Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Excellence Award was established to recognize and honor the employees of publicly owned wastewater treatment plants for its commitment to improving water quality with outstanding plant operations and maintenance. More often than not, and particularly with the smaller facilities, conscientious operators and staff continue to perform exceptionally with limited resources. EPA’s New England office formally acknowledged the Seabrook facility for its fine work during the annual New England Water Environment Association Conference last month.
More information: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/about-office-water#wastewater

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Book Review of “Five Presidents” by Clint Hill

Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and FordFive Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford by Clint Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Retired Secret Service Agent Clint Hill has written another book about his service, detailing a career spent serving five Presidents. Hill was made famous by his role in the tragic assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, seen jumping onto the back of the Presidential limo after the fatal shot had hit. Agent Hill was actually on the Secret Service detail protecting the First Lady that day, not on the Presidential Protection detail. That was a day that stayed with Hill forever, which he talked about in great detail in the book.
Hill’s tenure covered Ike, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and finally Ford. He handles the assessments of each honestly, showing us some of the warts, as well as the strengths, of each, in a non-partisan way. As someone who has read all the Caro books on LBJ Agent Hill’s descriptions of Johnson rang true. While this book will not shed new historical light it was an interesting take on each of the five Presidents. Hill, who has an active Twitter account @clinthill_ss gives a nice overview of the challenges that come from being in the Secret Service, and how the organization has evolved from his early days.
Agent Hill has put together a fine book that is an interesting and easy read. I know we are a bit early calendar wise but it would make a great summer read for folks putting together that list early.

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Review of “Smartest Guys in the Room” by Bethany McLean

The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of EnronThe Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Enron business story remains one of the most significant instances of business corruption leading to failure and bankruptcy in American history. This book gives an excellent overview of the business practices of Enron, and of the roles played by the major players on the inside. In my opinion the author does a really terrific job of shedding light on the business in a non-technical way, allowing for all to understand the insanity that constituted the Enron business model and practices.
McLean brings us the major players, including Enron top man Ken Lay, who was a major player on the social and political scene in Houston, and had national political connections. We meet Jeff Skilling, the McKinsey alumnus who brings great drive and “brains” to the table, operating as the day to day manager of the operation, and who likely bears much of the responsibility for the calamity that Enron became. We get introduced to Andy Fastow, who devised the complex financial tools that enabled Enron to hide massive losses “off book” while enriching himself through the “third party entities” where the losses were stashed.

The Enron story obviously has many more major players, but these three are the real “stars” of this story. The devotion to financial practices that caused the collapse takes center stage, and those practices should be a main focus. However the collapse entailed far more than shady financial practices. For a group with the these business pedigrees the poor business decisions were shocking, and were the real reason for the collapse. The financial chicanery was necessary to paper over the losses created by the business geniuses at Enron, while enabling the company to put out a false narrative that fooled the investing public, and drove the stock price higher, and enabled all involved to draw huge compensation packages. While the stock price continued to rise the fraud was manageable, but it is not hard to see now that it was never truly sustainable, especially with the disastrous business decisions made by Skilling.

There are many lessons to be learned from the debacle, and the book covers some of them. Board oversight, or the lack of that oversight, was especially damning here. The complicity of the rating agencies in this fraud is self evident, and they bear a heavy burden for the ultimate calamity.

The disturbing trend of dismissing “management details” did not start with Enron, but that style of management usually leads to disaster, and seems to have more fans than ever before. Certainly the management team at Enron, especially Lay, practiced that methodology. Those details may be pesky, but they are usually the difference between success and failure. If there was a shoddy business practice you will likely find it practiced by the “smartest guys in the room,” the Enron management team. Great book, highly recommended.

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Tedeschi Trucks and Jorma Kick It on “Key to the Highway”

I had the opportunity to get into the Orpheum on December 1 to see Tedeschi-Trucks on the first of a three night stand in Boston. My third time seeing them, and this one was was the best of the three. It was the only night of the three that Jorma Kaukonen was the opening act, and that alone was worth the price of admission. Jorma gave us a terrific opening set, and then joined Tedeschi-Trucks for the blues classic, “Key to the Highway” which was a barn burner. The song appears on the Derek and the Dominos Layla album, with a blistering duet between Eric Clapton and Duane Allman. I picked up the Orpheum video from Sean Roche’s You Tube Channel. He did a great job capturing one of the highlights of the night.

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Seabrook Procures a New Recycling Truck

The Town of Seabrook purchased a new recycling truck, which is now in service collecting our recyclables curbside. The truck was procured after a long process of laying out specifications, and careful management of the the truck build out after bid award. John Starkey, and his staff, worked hard on putting together the process, and overseeing the truck build to ensure we got the best value for Seabrook taxpayers. The recycling truck was financed with dollars from our recycling program, with no impact to our taxpayers. Thank you to John Starkey and the staff for all of the hard work.

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