MARCH 30, 2010

Union Leader Correspondent
A Salem town official charged with sexual assault and kidnapping is expected to be arraigned in Salem District Court this morning.
Jeffrey Gray, 48, a member of the Salem Planning Board, was arrested Tuesday morning by Brockton, Mass., police on a charge of being a fugitive from justice, according to Windham police Capt. Michael Caron.
Gray waived extradition on Tuesday afternoon and was brought back to New Hampshire by Windham police officers. Gray is expected to be arraigned in Salem District Court this morning on charges of aggravated felonious sexual assault and felony- level kidnapping, along with misdemeanor charges of simple assault, obstructing the report of a crime or injury and false imprisonment. 

Gray was transported to Rockingham County jail in Brentwood Tuesday evening on $50,000 cash bail, according to Windham police. 
Windham police say Gray, a longtime resident of Salem, allegedly held a woman he met on Craigslist captive in a home he was renting in Windham for three days earlier this month, sexually assaulting her at least once. 
Caron said more charges could be forthcoming. 
Warrants for Gray’s arrest have been active since March 15, but until recently Caron said he was “not accessible” to police. 
On Monday, Caron said Windham police were working with Gray’s attorney, Mark Stevens of Salem, to convince Gray to turn himself in later this week. 
But Caron said that things changed on Monday. 
“We spoke with his attorney yesterday and he said he wasn’t sure if (Gray) was going to agree to turn himself in, so we said, OK, we’re going to go get him,” said Caron on Tuesday afternoon. 
Caron said he could not comment on why Gray was in Brockton, Mass., or where the arrest had taken place. 
All documents connected to the Gray case remain sealed in Salem District Court. 

MARCH 28, 2010
Salem benefit to raise funds 
for 'Journey of a Lifetime'

Union Leader Correspondent

SALEM -- Proceeds from a benefit yard sale planned for later this spring will assist a New England charity aimed at sending World War II veterans on the journey of a lifetime.

Phyllis Marchulaitis, member of the Salem Women’s Club, said she was inspired to plan the May event after meeting a group of elderly California veterans during a visit to the national war memorials in Washington, D.C.

Moved by the experience, Marchulaitis soon contacted Joe Byron, founder of Honor Flight New Eng­land, a nonprofit organization aimed at sending the region’s remaining World War II veterans to Washington, with full honors. 

She learned the charity has a waiting list of approximately 200 veterans, all waiting for their chance to participate in an upcoming “honor flight.” 
Nationally, more than 8,000 war veterans are awaiting similar journeys, with thousands applying for the program each year. Of those, an estimated 250 veterans have died while waiting their turn. All are flown on a first-come, first-served basis, though top priority is given to World War II veterans, particularly those with terminal illnesses. 
It costs about $400 for Honor Flights to send a veteran on such a journey, including airfare, meals and a commemorative tee shirt and baseball cap. 
Locally, upcoming Honor Flights are planned for April 17, May 22, June 5 and June 19, with most flights departing from the Manchester Boston Regional Airport. 
“It’s a great cause, and the event will be held close to Memorial Day,” said Marchulaitis, who serves as a committee co-chair along with fellow club-member Sandra Demers. “There aren’t very many of these men left and it’s a very moving experience for them.” 
It’s an experience she said her late father, a World War II veteran who served through four wartime years, would have relished. 
“It would have meant so much to him,” Marchulaitis said. 
According to 2008 statistics on Honor Flight New England’s website, the population of New England’s wartime veterans is dwindling, with approximately 1,000 World War II veterans lost each day. 
The charity sponsored its first “honor flight” in June 2009. On board were 50 veterans and their volunteer guardians. 
So far, the youngest New England veteran to participate in an Honor Flight was 83, with others in their mid-90s. 
The benefit yard sale will be held May 14, rain or shine, at Centerpoint Church, 101 School St., in Salem from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is sponsored by the Salem Women’s Club. 
Those wishing to reserve an 8-by-10 foot booth may do so for $20 per unit, with all booth rental fees to benefit Honor Flight. 
For more information, go to www.honorflightnewengland. org. To reserve a table, contact Marchulaitis at 898-9090, or Demers at 893-4179.

MARCH 25, 2011

Union Leader Correspondent
SALEM -- Just over a week after moving into his new office at the Salem Municipal Center, Town Manager Keith Hickey said he’s settling in quite nicely to his new surroundings.

Hickey, 46, the former Merrimack town manager whose hire was an­nounced in mid-December, began his latest career chapter on March 14. 

His hire was the end result of the town’s months-long interviewing process, headed by Municipal Resources Inc. following former Town Manager Jonathan Sistare’s resignation last summer. Over 100 candidates had expressed interest in the position. 

Up until this month, former town manager Henry LaBranche had been serving in the position on an interim basis, and the two men have been meeting regularly to ensure the transition continues to go smoothly. 
With a lengthy professional resume, Hickey has certainly entered into somewhat familiar territory. For the past four years he served as Merrimack’s town manager, following a decade spent working in admin-istrative positions for the town of Bedford, first as the finance director, then being promoted to town manager. 

“My immediate goal: to get my feet wet,” the new town manager grinned as he sat in his Salem office amid cardboard boxes and family photos on Thursday afternoon. 

“And we’ll be starting the budget process soon enough,” he added. 
Other immediate goals that come to mind, he added, would be brainstorming new costcutting technology tactics for the town, better utilization of the town’s website, collective bargaining agreements and providing more cost-effective benefit plans for town employees. 
A resident of Merrimack, the father of two and golf enthusiast said he looks forward to the challenge of serving a more populous community, noting that Salem, a community of approximately 30,000, has about 4,000 more residents than Merrimack. 
“Salem is definitely a bigger community, with a larger tax base. There’s a lot more vehicular traffic and more commercial businesses,” Hickey said. “It’s located on the Massachusetts state line, which obviously drives a lot of retail business into town.” 
A graduate of Franklin Pierce College, Hickey also earned a master’s degree in business administration from Southern New Hampshire University. 
While serving in Bedford and Merrimack, Hickey said he placed a high emphasis on community involvement, something he’s excited to take on in Salem. 
Last month he attended a Salem Rotary Club meeting, and he soon hopes to extend contacts to various civic and community organizations. 
In the coming days, Hickey said he’s also looking forward to getting to know the Board of Selectmen better and working closely with town employees to offer leadership. 
A trustee of the state’s retirement system, Hickey serves on the board of directors for the Local Government Center and is a member of both the International City/County Management Association and the state Municipal Managers Association. 
Though the proposed state budget means a tough road might loom ahead for Salem later this year, with state reimbursements for teacher, police and firefighter retirements facing a reduction from 35 percent to zero, Hickey said he’s no stranger to facing such challenges head on. “In Merrimack, economical challenges made it a challenge, first and foremost, to continue providing programs and services to residents, despite the shrinking local revenue,” he said. “With the state budget expected to be finalized in June, we’ll be debating three very different budgets, with each one having a different impact to communities.” 
Should Gov. Lynch’s proposed budget get approved this spring, Hickey said, the town could face unanticipated costs of up to $950,000 annually. 
“It would be a very significant impact for Salem,” he said. 

MARCH 24, 2011

Eighth-graders get a taste of what their financial futures might be like and in the process
 gain a new understanding of what their parents might be going through. 

Kiley Kennan, a Salem eighth-grader who hopes to one day work as a news broadcaster, lucked out when a spin of the “Wheel of Reality” earned her a $250 “bonus.”
Union Leader Correspondent
SALEM --  In the game called life, there can be many unexpected twists and turns.
As part of Service Credit Union’s CU 4 Reality Education program, eighth-graders from Woodbury School had a chance to experience such reality firsthand, during a Financial Education Fair held at the Salem Boys & Girls Club on Wednesday. 

In the days leading up to the fair, each of the school’s 400 or so eighth-graders were asked to select a profession of their choice, and given an annual “salary” to work with. With their monthly budget attached to clipboards, the students, who came dressed to impress, visited various booths where they were met with representatives from various local organizations.

They learned some pretty tough lessons about making it in today’s world, such as juggling student loan payments, groceries, utilities, clothing costs, rents and mortgages, not to mention entertainment and transportation.
It was financial literacy at its finest.
“They learn to make real-life, adult choices,” SCU spokesman Nancy Layton said on Wednesday. “The hope is that they’ll end up with some money left over after tackling all their monthly expenses.”
The credit union has been sponsoring the fair in conjunction with Woodbury’s Family and Consumer Sciences department, for the past several years, though this year is the first the fair has been held locally. In previous years, Salem students were bused to America’s Credit Union Museum in Manchester, though schedule conflicts typically meant the event had to take place over the course of two days.
Having the fair within walking distance from the school, with dozens of parent volunteers and representatives from companies such as Public Service of New Hampshire, BJ’s Wholesale Club, National Grid and the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation on hand, means a richer, more true-to-life experience for participating students.
“Often times, the kids will come to the fair and they might rethink some of their career goals. They also come to realize what their parents might be going through right now,” Layton said.
Learning how life’s trappings come with a cost is a lesson teacher Ellyn Burke said she hopes would resonate with her students for years to come.
“They’re learning just how much things really cost, and how much money it costs to simply live,” Burke said. “I think it definitely makes them appreciate things more.”
Having her students gear their monthly “budget” towards their chosen “career” is a much better way to show them the total picture, she noted. For example, students who are considering a career in the military are sometimes surprised to learn their housing and college tuition costs are often compensated, while a student considering becoming a doctor or lawyer might not initially realize there are such “hidden” costs as skyrocketing student loan payments or the need to maintain a professional wardrobe. Student Nicholas Pappas said he hopes to become a civil engineer one day, as he’s always been interested in “building things and the way things work.”

“It makes for a decent living,” Nicholas noted. Still, he appeared somewhat dismayed to realize some things cost more than he’d previously considered.
“If I didn’t have a roommate, I’d be broke right now,” he mused. “I wasn’t expecting things to cost this much.”
Student Kiley Keenan, who wants to be a news broadcaster when she grows up, couldn’t have agreed more.
“It takes a lot of work,” she said. “You have to budget in a lot of stuff.”
Diane Frost of the Bedford Animal Rescue League spoke to students about the financial burdens and other “real life” concerns that come with pet ownership.
For example, one student who aspires to become a professional athlete, was at loss for words when he realized he’d have to provide for his pet when he traveled for work.
“Often they forget that they need a landlord’s permission to own a pet,” Frost said. “And even smaller pets, like bunnies, need veterinary care.”
Others were in for a reality check when it came to their utility expenses.
“Some of them are really surprised when you tell them they need heat and electricity — they think they can get by on extra blankets,” National Grid representative Anna Masiello said. “I ask them if I could take away their Xbox 360, though, and most of them change their minds.”
Later, each student had the chance to spin the “Wheel of Reality,” where, much like in life, one can be faced with financial loss — or windfall —with the toss of the dice.
That’s what student Haley Brust soon learned when the wheel landed her $100 in the red for a lost cell phone.
“It can be really hard to stay on top of things,” she said.

MARCH 22, 2011

Union Leader Correspondent
SALEM -- Twenty of the Salem School District’s 1,000-plus employees earned more than $80,000 last year, with seven of those employees making upwards of $90,000. Two-thirds of the district’s highest-paid employees were administrators, with a few top-earning teachers thrown in the mix.
Two district employees — Superintendent Michael Delahanty and former Salem High School principal William Hagen — earned more than $100,000 last year, with Delahanty making $120,500 and Hagen earning $106,800.

Hagen left the district at the end of the 2009-2010 school year after accepting a position in the Bedford School District.

For Salem, a community of around 30,000 with approximately 5,000 students in its school district, those numbers are actually on the lower end of regional administrator pay scales.

In Merrimack, a community of 26,000, Superintendent Marjorie Chiafery earned $129,012 last year. Londonderry Superintendent Nathan Greenberg made $131,260, while Derry Superintendent Mary Ellen Hannon earned $117,749.

“Our administrators generally show as underpaid when we consider our comparison pool,” Superintendent Michael Delahanty said. “While some positions are paid competitively, like our high school principal position, most of our principals, assistant principals and department directors aren’t paid comparatively to those in other districts.”

School Board Chairman Peter Morgan, who works with the board’s compensation committee, agreed, adding that according to the most recent data, the district’s administration salaries fall short when compared to other schools in southeastern New Hampshire. 

“We’ve had difficulty in hiring people who we think would make for quality administrators, because the salary we’ve been able to offer them was just too low,” Morgan said last week. 

Also placing among the district’s top earners were Deborah Payne, Salem High School’s math and science director, who earned $80,850, with a base of $79,350 and co-curricular pay of $1,500. 
Soule Elementary School Principal Anna Parrill made $90,120, while Fisk Elementary School Principal Susan Rhodes earned $89,100. 
Barron Elementary School Principal Anthony DiNardo earned $87,450, Lancaster Elementary School Principal Adam Pagliarulo made $87,000, and North Salem Elementary School Principal Janice Wilkins earned $84,150. Haigh Elementary School Principal Christine Honey-Nadeau made $83,000. Tracy McCaffrey, Salem High School’s humanities director, took home $80,750. 
In Derry, one principal, Daniel Lafleur, earned $93,598 last year, while in Londonderry, high school Principal Jason Parent earned $97,557 last year. Former Londonderry Middle School principal Andrew Corey made $99,248 last year. 
Delahanty said this data concerned him. 
“If we want to continue attracting a strong administrative base, we need to stay competitive,” he said. 
Assistant Superintendent Edith Soley was third on Salem’s list, earning $99,000 last year, followed by Business Administrator Linda MacDonald, who made $98,150. 
Former Woodbury Middle School principal Maura Palmer, who is currently the high school principal, made $94,25, while Salem High School teacher Thomas Aiello earned $92,984 last year. 
As Human Resources Director Cindy Palermo noted, however, the overall salaries of some school personnel can be initially deceiving, as various staff members earn considerable co-curricular stipends for coaching and other duties in addition to their base annual pay. 
For example, Aiello, the district’s highest paid teacher, earned a base salary of $68,043 last year, though he also made additional pay from his secondary position as a driver’s education instructor. 
Salem High School teacher Michael Wrzesinski earned $87,001 with a base teacher pay of $65,419. In addition to his base salary, Wrzesinski made an additional $21,492 for teaching driver’s education classes, and additional co-curricular pay. 
Delahanty further noted that teachers completing their final year before retirement do receive a retirement benefit of up to 60 percent of their final year’s salary. 
“So some people who appear to have earned substantially as a teacher, they’ve actually benefitted from the district’s attempt to retain quality teachers,” the superintendent stressed. “This helps us retain consistency in our staff.” 
Most of the teachers’ overall salaries, however, fell within the $50,000 to $65,000 range. 

MARCH 21, 2011
Union Leader Correspondent
SALEM -- Eight Salem town employees earned over $120,000 last year, and seven were members of the police or fire departments.

Former town manager Jonathan Sistare made $121,122.

Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten was the town’s top earner last year, earning more than $165,000, followed by police Sgt. Marc Prescott, who made $155,176.

Thirty-one town employees earned $100,000 or more last year in Salem — a community of approximately 30,000 — including police Chief Paul Donovan, who earned $112,155.

In comparison, Derry police Chief Edward Garone earned $130,185 last year, while Londonderry Police Chief William Hart made $107,386. Merrimack police Chief Michael Milligan earned $106,567.
According to Salem Finance Director Jane Savastano, overtime and outside detail expenses accounted for a hefty chunk of the town’s 2010 municipal earnings.

Though those numbers may seem staggering to some, Patten said, the town’s unique situation of having a mall, an amusement park, and a racetrack means ample opportunity for Salem police officers to rack up detail hours. Certain officers were able to nearly double their pay by working details.
For example, Patten’s base pay was $89,224 last year, though overtime and details made him the town’s highest paid employee.

Prescott, the town’s second highest paid employee, earned a base salary of $63,434.
The Salem Police Department earned an overall $856,492 in outside detail pay, $338,039 in outside details and $668,767 in replacement pay in 2010. 

“Salem differs from a lot of communities, as it has a lot of large venues, a lot of restaurants and bars,” Patten said last week. “There’s a lot of retail here, and the opportunity for police detail is greater than a lot of places.” 

In 2006, Salem’s Police Detail Revolving Trust Fund was created, where participating police personnel are paid a cap rate for detail work, fees that are typically less than regular time-and-a-half earnings. 

In 2010, after payroll expenses were paid out to officers earning detail, the town still earned $137,390. Salem’s detail earnings were $116,532 in 2009 and $141,386 in 2008. 

Since the fund was established, the town has earned a total of $668,894, with $377,523 of those funds spent on payroll. 

“The town of Salem has a good system in place,” Patten said, noting that the detail factor can essentially add an additional eight to 12 officers on the road on any given day, which, in turn, earns money for the town while making the community a safer place. 

Earning the town’s sixth highest salary last year was fire Chief Kevin Breen, who earned $123,856. Assistant Fire Chief Paul Parisi made $107,012, while Deputy Fire Chief Paul Leischner made $105,263. 

Those rates are comparable with nearby towns. 

In Derry, fire Battalion Chief David Hoffman grossed $130,283 last year, while fire Chief George Klauber earned $123,980, the fourth highest wage in the town. Londonderry Fire Chief Kevin MacCaffrie made $114,302 in 2010. 

Salem paid its fire personnel a total of $34,889 for outside details last year, $168,892 in fire department overtime and $1,061,485 in fire department replacement pay. 
“Replacement pay” is similar to overtime. In Salem, the difference is that overtime pay refers to instances where a staff member is required to stay past a regular shift due to various circumstances, while replacement pay covers full shifts in instances where regularly scheduled staff members are unable to work due to illness and other circumstances. 
“Replacement pay was high last year. It was high due to a number of things we could not have forecasted,” Salem fire Chief Kevin Breen said last week. 
In 2010, the department had at least six full-time firefighters experience some significant medical issues, all of which meant they were unable to work for a month or more. 
Another firefighter was activated for military duty last year and was sent to serve overseas. 
It’s a situation Breen hopes won’t be repeated, but one the department was faced with nevertheless when striving to maintain minimal staffing levels. 
“We definitely overspent last year due to these unanticipated absences,” Breen said. “None of those replacement pay shifts had been budgeted.” 
Salem’s fire department has 15 people working on each shift. Breen said this is a minimal level in keeping with national safety standards for a community Salem’s size. 
As for the $34,889 in detail expenses, the fire chief noted that while the department handles nowhere near the detail assignments staffed by the local police, they do happen. 
At least 10 times each summer, fireworks shows at Salem’s Canobie Lake Park mean there needs to be Salem firefighters stationed nearby. Fire department detail expenses are covered through a self-funded revolving fund that’s separate from residential tax fees, similar to the police department. 

MARCH 18, 2011
Union Leader Correspondent
Det. Jim Fox
SALEM -- Those who knew Detective Jim Fox best described him as a compassionate, community- minded officer and friend, one who always put the needs of others before his own.

Fox, a six-year veteran of the Salem police force, died March 16 after a brief battle with lung cancer. He was 42. 

“If you were going through the door in a difficult situation, he’d be right behind you,” Deputy Chief Shawn Patten said yesterday. “No, actually, he’d go right in front of you.” 

Fox began his police career in Rochester and joined the Salem police force in 2005. A father of four, he was promoted to detective in 2009 and received numerous awards and commendations for community service over the years. 

Fox leaves his wife, Jennifer, and sons J.J., 16, Josh, 14, Justin, 10, and Joey, 8. 

Sgt. Robert Morin said he’d known Fox since they’d attended police academy together. In 1999, Morin worked for the Dover Police Department, while Fox worked for the Rochester Police Department. 

The two policemen soon struck up a friendship as they worked together on many cases within the nearby towns. 

In February 2010, Fox was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, and underwent surgery to remove several inches of his esophagus. At that time, his prognosis was very hopeful, Morin said, and the young police detective returned to work this past June. 

Within the past month, doctors discovered Fox’s cancer had returned, with a diagnosis of Stage 4 small cell lung cancer. 

“It’s the worst type of cancer you can get,” Morin said. “And Jimmy never smoked a day in his life. Just four weeks ago he was doing his job. It’s hard to wrap your head around.” 

His co-workers remember him as a devoted family man and a dedicated police officer, one who, when he wasn’t working or spending time with his family, was volunteering within his community. Fox coached local youth football and baseball programs, was an active champion of the Salem Rams football programs and supported various community programs, including the Relay for Life. 

“Jimmy was an extraordinarily hard worker. If you were the victim of a crime, he would do everything in his power to make sure the perpetrator was brought to justice,” Patten said. 
Last week, members of the Salem Police Department signed off Fox’s number, as the ailing detective returned home from the hospital his final time. “Even then, he was strong,” said Morin, who recalled how his friend got on the police radio and told his colleagues, “I’m fighting this. I’ll be back.” 
“His final days mirrored the life he led,” Morin said. “He was an absolute warrior — you never heard him complain.” 
“We’re grieving right now,” Morin continued. “But Jimmy wouldn’t want us to feel sorry for him. He’d be happier to see us raise a glass and give him a toast.” 
Calling hours for Fox will be held this Monday, March 21, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Mary Queen of Peace Church, 200 Lawrence Road, Salem. Funeral services will be held at the church on Tuesday, March 22, with the time to be announced. 
Those wishing to assist the Fox family may send checks to the Salem Police Benevolent Association, 9 Veterans Memorial Parkway, Salem, 03079. 

Union Leader Correspondent
SALEM — A Salem resident who has dedicated a good part of her life to raising awareness of the plight of disabled citizens in her home state was honored Thursday afternoon with the presentation of this year’s Chief John P. Ganley Community Service Award.

Alfreda “Freda” Smith, this year’s award winner, was the guest of honor yesterday at a special St. Patrick’s Day luncheon held at the Salem Boys and Girls Club and sponsored by Pentucket Bank.

The afternoon included a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner, a performance by the New Hampshire Pipe & Drum Band, and live Irish tunes played by The Andy Healy Band.

Named in honor of former Salem police Chief John P. Ganley, who died in 1989, the award is presented each St. Patrick’s Day to a local individual who demonstrates qualities Ganley was said to have personified: leadership, compassion, community involvement and inspiration to others. 

The annual event drew a crowd of roughly 350 people, with guests including Gov. John Lynch, Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams, Attorney General Michael Delaney, Salem town officials and past Ganley Award recipients. 

The governor was met with a standing ovation while he spoke a few brief words, lauding the community contributions of both Ganley and Smith. 

“John Ganley was a remarkable man who worked so hard to make a positive difference in the lives of other people,” Lynch said while addressing the crowd. “I’m sure if he was alive today, he’d be so proud of all of you.” 

Smith, who was nominated by many community members for this week’s honors, played a key role in the 1991 closing of the Laconia State School, and continues to challenge the way New Hampshire cares for individuals with disabilities. 

“I can’t think of a more deserving winner than Freda Smith,” said Michael Goodwin, chief professional officer of the Salem Boys and Girls Club. 

A volunteer for both the Greater Salem Caregivers and the Ingram Senior Center, Smith currently serves on the board of the Disabilities Rights Center, the VFW Ladies Auxiliary of Salem, and Advocates Building Lasting Equality (ABLE). 

The recently released documentary film, “Lost in Laconia,” is dedicated to Smith, a former state representative and past president of the Salem Association for Retarded Citizens (SARC). 

Rev. David Yasenka, pastor of the Triumphant Cross Lutheran Church in Salem, read a prayer that had been sent to Smith decades ago while she was working as a voice for children hospitalized at the former Laconia State School. 

“She always said, she wasn’t an activist: she said she was just trying to be a mother,” Yasenka said. “The vulnerable of our state are in need of many more Freda Smiths today.” 


Union Leader Correspondent
SALEM -- Seats are still available for the Salem Boys & Girls Club’s annual charity auction next week.
The event, which marks the club’s 24th auction and dinner, is scheduled for Saturday, March 26. A silent auction will take place from 5 to 7 p.m., with dinner at 7:30 p.m. and a live auction to commence at 8:45 p.m.

According to Membership Director Kevin Salemi, this year’s auction items include tickets to see the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, New England Patriots and Manchester Monarchs, a ride on a genuine fighter jet, a trip to Albuquerque, N.M., for a hot-air balloon festival, autographed sports memorabilia, art, jewelry, gift certificates to local eateries and businesses, and even the chance to be first in line to ride Canobie Lake Park’s newest roller coaster this summer.

Salemi said the event is an important one for the local Boys & Girls Club each spring, since all of its proceeds help finance programs serving over 350 children each day. Funds made at the auction also assist the club in offering affordable memberships to over 2,000 young people each year.

For those who can’t make it to the auction, the club is also selling raffle tickets at $20 apiece, with the winning prize of four Green Monster tickets for the Boston Red Sox vs. Chicago Cubs game on May 21.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 898-7709, visit or stop by the Boys & Girls Club’s administrative office, located at 3 Geremonty Drive in Salem.

MARCH 15, 2011

Union Leader Correspondent
SALEM -- The town tax rate went up an extra 10 percent after a single $2.56 million amendment to a road warrant article was passed at the second session of town meeting, attended by about 200 voters. Town officials originally proposed a total tax rate increase of 6 percent, but the amendment pushed the increase to 16 percent. 

The amendment came after a $5.8 million bond for road and bridge work on the March 8 ballot failed when it didn’t reach a two-thirds majority vote. The bond included work on Brookdale Road and Brady Avenue. 

A warrant article for $3.4 million for other work — not bonded — was on the list at the second session and didn’t include work on those two streets. 

Longtime Brookdale Road resident Brent Whittaker asked the selectmen to add the $2,562,311 necessary to repair both roads to the warrant — an amendment that passed 118-92. Whittaker said he’s seen the road closed due to failure many times during the 13 years he’s lived there. 

The article with the new amount passed, with 128 voting in favor and 84 opposed. 

“It was a disappointment,” said Jane Savastano, Salem finance director, about the amendment. “We worked hard to keep the rate increase to 6 percent. The rate is not supposed to spike like that, but it spiked. What can you do?” 

Reconstruction efforts also will go on as planned on Cluff Crossing Road, portions of South Policy Street, Cross Street, Kelly Road, Chappy Lane and Lisette Drive. 

The added money will result in an extra $159.48 in taxes for those with homes valued at $300,000. 

“This isn’t the end of the world,” resident Sherry Kilgus- Kramer said. “This is a good thing.” 

Voters also approved a $1 million snow removal budget for the coming fiscal year, effectively doubling the town’s current budget for winter maintenance. 

According to Savastano, this winter’s heavy snowfall has already pushed snow removal spending to the limit this year, with upwards of $950,000 already spent on that purpose so far. 

At the March 12 meeting, Selectman Patrick Hargreaves introduced an amendment that doubled the $500,000 that the town had originally sought from voters. 

Approval of a separate warrant article will allow the town to move $165,000 from the general fund to the Snow Expendable Trust Fund to help cover winter maintenance costs. 

An amended version of an article asking voters to spend $385,000 in existing general fund money to reconstruct some of the town’s bridges also passed, with voters approving replacement of a South Policy Street bridge. 

Also approved were two citizens petitions for road improvements, including the paving of Nowell Court at $91,000 and new drainage and culvert repairs on Martin Avenue at $95,000. 

A $65,000 fire station generator, $60,000 in roof repairs at the Kelley Library, and the sale of a Conservation Commission- owned home on Town Farm Road was also passed by town meeting voters. 

Town officials also honored several of their own during the four-hour meeting, with acting Town Manager Henry LaBranche honored for his service. LaBranche left his position early this week, when former Merrimack Town Manager Keith Hickey stepped in. 

Also recognized were former selectmen Everett McBride and Arthur Barnes. Barnes resigned last summer in order to care for his son, an Army sergeant who was wounded while serving in Afghanistan. 

McBride, who did not win re-election last week, had served as a selectmen for 18 years. 

MARCH 15, 2011

Union Leader Correspondent
SALEM -- Salem Recreation Director Chris Dillon will get the chance to discuss future recreation funding with some of the nation’s lawmakers this week when he attends the National Legislative Forum on Parks and Recreation in Washington, D.C.

The forum, which takes place March 16-18, will give professionals from 150 parks and recreation agencies spanning 41 different states the opportunity to network and meet with decision makers in both Congress and the Obama administration.
According to Mary Busby, spokesman for the National Recreation and Park Association, the annual event provides ample opportunities for professionals to discuss creative ways of addressing critical issues, including federal funding opportunities and legislation relative to public parks, utilization of parks and recreation programs to increase physical activity, conservation of open space lands, and revitalizing urban areas.

Speakers at the forum will include Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior Ken Salazar and Deputy Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ron Sims. This week’s forum will be Dillon’s third.

Accompanying him this week will be recreation directors from Hampton, Gilford, Claremont and Moultonborough.
“It’s very exciting, the chance to meet with various representatives and talk about parks and recreation,” he said. “A lot of stuff is covered in a very short time.” 

With Salem’s Hedgehog Park project under construction, Dillon said his participation in this week’s forum comes at a crucial time. 

“Obviously, in our current economic climate, many parks and recreation programs have seen some reductions,” Dillon said on Monday, the day before departing for Capital Hill. 

Of particular interest, Dillon said, is the topic of federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) money. The federal program provides matching grants to states and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities, and was created in 1964, utilizing funding via offshore drilling leases rather than tax funds. 

To date, 101 state projects and 526 municipal projects have been created in New Hampshire thanks to this funding option. 

“Over the past few years, that fund has been reduced,” Dillon said. “But its such an important program. So many of our wonderful parks wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for LWCF. Whenever we go to D.C., the representatives seem surprised to hear just how many projects have been completed using LWCF funds.” 

In Salem, the town’s new skate park opened at Hedgehog Park last year with the help of LWCF funds, and Dillon said further funding hasn’t been ruled out for the park’s future phases. 

Past Salem LWCF projects have also included the town’s main recreation facility, awarded in 1973; the town’s softball field, awarded in 1974; the Lancaster School field, awarded in 1978; and the Hity Tity Brook Open Space Area, awarded in 1979. The town’s tennis court and soccer fields were also made possible by LWCF funding. 

While visiting the nation’s capital, Dillon said he had several meetings already scheduled this week, including a meeting with state Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen on Wednesday, and with Reps. Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass on Thursday. 

MARCH 8, 2011

Union Leader Correspondent
SALEM -- Salem voters approved a $35.4 million budget, but voted down raises for all school teachers and support staff -- except for food service workers -- during Tuesday’s elections.
About 17 percent of voters turned out to decide on two selectman seats -- three-year terms for Stephen Campbell, with 1,758 votes, and Michael Lyons with 1,641 votes. Campbell unseated incumbent Everett P. McBride Jr., who served on the board since 1993.
Susan Covey was elected to a one-year term on the board, beating opponent John Manning by a vote of 2,147 to 1,120. Covey was appointed to the board in August 2010 when former selectman Arthur Barnes stepped down to care for his son, who was injured in Afghanistan.
For Campbell, who ran on promises of stricter accountability on spending by board members, the fact that he received the most votes for the seat was a clear message.
The town faces a lot of challenges,” he said. “Changes planned in Concord will flow down. There are going to be a lot of tough choices, not just for Salem but all the municipalities in the state.”
Campbell wants to see changes in the town budgeting process.
Right now the board looks at expenses then sets the tax rate,” he said. “Instead, the board should tell the town manager what they want the tax rate to be, and then figure out what revenue they have, and decide on expenses from that. When you run out of money, you stop spending money.”
One way to cut expenses, Campbell said, is to work on town wages and benefits.
Getting unions to agree to different benefits for new employees is one thing the board can work on,” he said.
Campbell will be sworn in on Friday, March 11, and will sit on the board for the first time for the second voting session on Saturday, March 12, at 9 a.m., at Salem High School.
Elected to serve on the town Budget Committee for three-year terms were Patrick McDougall and Barry Pietrantonio; Paul Huard beat Paul Welch for the one-year Budget Committee seat by a vote of 1,472 to 1,225.
Several other races were uncontested, including Susan Wall for town clerk; Cheryl-Ann Bolouk for tax Collector; John Sytek for treasurer.
Of the nine warrant articles proposed, all were green-lighted except a $5.8 million road/bridge construction bond to fund reconstruction of Brookdale, Pelham and Stiles roads and Brady Avenue and South Policy Street bridge over Porcupine Brook. The construction bond failed to make the two-thirds majority necessary for approval
Voters eliminated the annual resident tax by a vote of 1,718 to 1,118.
Although the school operating budget was approved by a vote of 2,035 to 1,309, each of the five warrant articles for a total increase of $330,478 in wages for teachers, secretaries, support staff, and custodians was voted down. Only Article 7, to approve an increase in salary for food service personnel, was approved by a vote of 1,745 to 1,644.
Bernard Campbell ran uncontested for a single School Board seat and received 2,158 votes. 

FEB. 23, 2011
State budget forces district 
to play waiting game

Union Leader Correspondent
SALEM -- With the coming year’s proposed budget already finalized and several position cuts already on the table, Salem school officials are now facing additional challenges in the wake of Gov. John Lynch’s newly proposed budget plan for the coming fiscal year.

On Feb. 15, the governor revealed his proposed $10.7 billion budget plan, which includes millions of dollars in cuts, including plans to reduce adequacy funding for all but the most financially challenged communities and a reduction in retirement funding.

This week, Salem Superintendent Michael Delahanty said it’s still too early to determine just how the state budget will play out in the coming fiscal year.

Delahanty said the challenges implied by the proposed state cuts are twofold, since the district would not only be faced with a loss of state reimbursement for teacher retirements but could at the same time lose thousands of dollars in much-needed revenue. With state reimbursements for teacher, police and firefighter retirements facing a reduction from 35 percent to zero, Salem might need to come up with up an additional $1 million to cover anticipated teacher retirements. 

To complicate matters further, the state budget won’t likely be finalized until late spring, as Delahanty noted. 

“If the governor’s proposal, as is, is ultimately approved, this could have a huge impact on us,” he emphasized. “Because our budget, for all intents and purposes, was finalized during our (Feb. 10) deliberative session, we’re playing a waiting game right now.” 

The superintendent stressed, however, that he didn’t expect the potential state cuts to affect the district’s five collective bargaining agreements appearing on the March 8 ballot. 

“We’re hoping the distraction of the state budget won’t affect the public’s support of the collective bargaining agreements next month,” Delahanty said. 

Collective bargaining agreements between the district and its teachers, secretaries, support staff, custodians and food service staff members will all appear on next month’s ballot, with all five warrants totaling $330,478. 

By far the most costly of those proposed agreements is a two-year, $240,000 collective bargaining agreement with the Salem Education Association. 

Though time will ultimately tell just how bleak the situation is when it comes to state funding, Delahanty said the slashing of retirement reimbursements would likely cut the deepest. 

“With the retirement system, there is no revenue line we can increase to meet this added expense, unless the Legislature makes some adjustments,” he said. “So we could be looking at additional staff cuts.” 

The cutting of several staff positions is already under way for next year, with the elimination of a high school guidance councilor, one teaching position, and other positions already proposed for this year’s $59,048,800 recommended budget. 

Though the Budget Committee had proposed additional cuts of a high school dean and high school secretary next year, residents attending the recent deliberative session supported the School Board’s recommendation to restore $344,867 to the proposed budget, allowing both positions to remain. 

Delahanty said further job cuts could be considered following the March 8 elections, with a public discussion to take place during the March 15 School Board meeting. 

“To play this game where we won’t have any real figures until June is, in my opinion, quite unfair to our district,” he said. “Though I’m sure the effects will be felt by districts all across the state.” 

 FEB. 18, 2011
Mother, son previously arrested 
for shoplifting now accused
of violating parole

SALEM — A mother and son accused of tag-team shoplifting at a Salem Best Buy last August were back in court on Thursday, both facing parole violation charges related to new theft charges in Massachusetts. Police said the son also was charged for allegedly assaulting his mother.

Christopher Andrukaitis, 21, of Amesbury, Mass., was being held on $5,000 cash-only bail, accused of violating the terms of a suspended jail sentence in Salem. He was arraigned Thursday before Judge Robert Stephen in Derry District Court on a bench warrant issued by the Salem District Court.

Salem Police Department prosecutors filed a motion asking the court to issue a warrant for Andrukaitis’ arrest, and impose his suspended jail sentence following word of his December arrest in Amesbury.

Andrukaitis was arraigned in December 2010 in Newburyport District Court on charges of assault and battery and witness intimidation for an alleged attack on his mother.
While in Massachusetts’ custody, Andrukaitis was charged with an additional Receiving Stolen Property case after Amesbury Police conducted search warrants at his Amesbury home and a storage unit in Salisbury and discovered hundreds of video games and movies believed to be stolen. He is awaiting trial on those matters in Newburyport District Court.

Andrukaitis pleaded guilty on Nov. 2, 2010, in Salem District Court to being an accomplice to theft for an Aug. 16 arrest at the Best Buy on Route 28 in Salem. His mother, Luise La-Querre, 65, was also arrested at that time, and convicted as part of the Best Buy theft. As part of his sentence, Andrukaitis paid a $1,000 fine and received a 12-month suspended jail sentence. 
On Monday, Andrukaitis agreed to waive extradition in Newburyport and return to New Hampshire to face the suspended sentence in Salem. In the event he tries to post bail in New Hampshire, Judge Stephen ordered a “source of funds hearing” to ensure the bail money came from a legitimate source. Andrukaitis is scheduled to appear March 16 in Salem District Court for a sentencing hearing.

A Salem judge has also issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Andrukaitis’ mother, who received the same sentence as her son in Salem. Prosecutors allege she also violated the terms of her suspended sentence by way of new arrests. Like her son, she was also charged by Amesbury Police in connection with the recovery of stolen video games and movies from her home and the storage unit. LaQuerre is also wanted on warrants by the Derry Police Department in connection with the theft of video games from a Walmart there. LaQuerre remains in custody in Massachusetts after refusing to waive extradition to New Hampshire to face the suspended sentence in Salem.

FEB. 11, 2011
For voters, an emotional 
debate over school budget

Union Leader Correspondent
SALEM -- A collective bargaining agreement with the teachers’ union and the question of whether to cut several district positions from the general budget were main topics of discussion Thursday evening, when voters and school officials gathered for the annual school deliberative session.

Just under half of the auditorium’s seats were filled during the Thursday meeting, held at Salem High School.

When it came to the district’s operating budget, the School Board and Budget Committee had several disagreements when it came to the final number appearing on the March 8 ballot. A lengthy debate ensued for well over an hour.

At the same time, School Board member Bernard Campbell noted the coming year would mark the district’s first budget where they won’t have Windham’s revenue for its high school students, since the 2011-2012 school year will mark the first time no Windham students will attend the high school, a factor he attributed to a near $6 million loss in revenue.
“The impact of that is something we have been dealing with,” Campbell said. “We have been very fortunate that has been cushioned to a large extent.”
Faced with a proposed $58,696,667 operating budget, the Budget Committee recommended eliminating a high school guidance councilor, a high school secretary, a high school secretary and one teaching position, among other things.

Campbell made a motion to increase the operating budget to $59,041,535, reflecting the board’s recommendation that the high school dean and secretary remain, along with districtwide wage pools and benefits for wage cuts.
“We’re asking to restore $344,867 of the $686,807 the budget committee removed,” he emphasized.
Several residents offered comment.
“I do think the two positions they want to add back, we could do without,” resident Steve Campbell said. “With 4.6 percent less students, I think we could come up with something better.”

Resident Sherry Kramer said she favored the restoration.
“I’m tired of talking about cutting and cutting. Maybe we need to be a little more creative about revenues and how to keep these valuable services we have,” she added.
A resident motion to restore the funding for the Salem High School boys’ gymnastics program to the general budget, at $7,266, was consequently passed.
With another motion finally made to move the budget forward, reflecting the restoration of both positions and the restoration of the gymnastics program, the majority agreed to pose the $59,048,800 budget to the March ballot, resulting in a $8.604 tax impact.

Collective bargaining agreements between the district and its teachers, secretaries, support staff, custodians and food service staff members will all appear on next month’s ballot, with all five warrants totaling $330,478. The combined bargaining agreements would represent a $0.068 combined tax impact.
By far the most costly of those proposed agreements was a two-year, $240,000 collective bargaining agreement with the Salem Education Association.
If approved, the new contract would give the district’s teachers and nurses wage increases only for those at the higher, Step 12 level in the initial year, with a $190,000 increase in employee benefit costs accounting for the majority of costs. During the second year, all 369 union members would see a 1.85 percent raise.

School Board member Peter Morgan said the district teachers haven’t seen a salary increase in several years. Morgan encouraged residents to consider the warrant item, as it would be a key factor in keeping Salem’s teacher salaries competitive with regional averages.
Voting on the warrant articles will take place March 8 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Soule School, Barron School, Fisk School, North Salem School, Lancaster School and the Salem Town Office Building.

JAN. 28, 2011

Police are investigating on overnight burglary at a local electronics retailer in which 17 game systems were stolen. 
According to Salem Deputy Police Chief Shawn Patten, a burglar alarm was activated at Ultimate Electronics, 412 S. Broadway, Salem, at about 12:40 a.m. Thursday.
Police arrived to find a front emergency exit door left open, and evidence indicating that it had been pried open. Police also found footprints and tire tracks in the snow. However, the snow was falling fast enough at that hour that the tracks did not provide a solid lead.
A police dog was brought in to assist in searching the area around the store. In the meantime, police were able to review a tape from a security camera, which captured images of two males wearing dark clothing and hoods breaking into the store and taking 17 Play Station 3 game systems from the store, with an estimated value $5,100.
Detectives are looking for anyone with information to call police headquarters at 893-1911 or the Southern NH Crimeline at 893-6600. -- Carol Robidoux

JAN. 27, 2011

Union Leader Correspondent
SALEM -- Three Salem police officers were justified in shooting and wounding a Salem man outside his home earlier this month, according to a preliminary report from the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office.

Armed with a 12-inch sword, 51-year-old Larry Minassian charged several Salem officers outside his 155 S. Policy St. home on Jan. 6, after calling police with threats of suicide that morning, the report says.

Salem Patrolman Michael White, Detective Eric Tine and Sgt. Joel Dolan fired their weapons multiple times at Minassian when he had come within 10 feet of the group of officers, the report says. 

Lt. Jim Chase also fired a Taser at Minassian as he approached, the report says, but at least one of the prongs missed its mark and no electric current was deployed. 

Minassian was hit in the torso, hip and left leg by bullets from two handguns and one rifle, according to the preliminary report. 

Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati said Wednesday that he could not release how many shots were fired or how many times Minassian was hit, but that that information would be included in a forthcoming final report. 

Minassian remains in serious but stable condition at a Boston hospital, he said. 

According to the report, Minassian was standing outside his home holding a 12inch sword to his stomach and clutching a Bible when Salem Patrolman Ryan Sambataro first arrived on the scene at about 10:37 a.m. on Jan. 6. 

Minassian told Sambataro that he had “lost his faith” and threw the Bible to the ground, the report says. He made several statements that the FBI was “after” him and trying to frame him for selling drugs out of his home, the report says. 

Patrolman Matthew MacKenzie arrived on scene shortly thereafter and both men repeatedly asked Minassian to drop the knife, showing him their open hands, the report says. No weapons had been drawn at that point. 

The report identifies George Finn, a neighbor and acquaintance of Minassian, as having assisted in the negotiation efforts. 

In an interview on Wednesday, 72-year-old Finn said he happened upon the scene while driving to his nearby MacGregor Avenue home. 

“(Minassian) was talking kind of crazy and saying that we were a bunch of liars and that we called the FBI on him,” Finn said on Wednesday. “I said, ‘Larry, it’s me, buddy. I wouldn’t lie to you.’” “I think he recognized me for a minute and kind of took the knife out of his chest and started walking toward me, but at that moment, the posse of police arrived with sirens going and lights flashing, and I think it set him off a little bit,” said Finn, who said he has known Minassian for about five years. 

Finn commended Sambataro, the first officer on scene, for doing a “heck of a job” in talking with Minassian. “He kept saying, ‘We’re only here to help you,’” Finn said. 

A total of eight police officers responded to the incident, the report says, continually trying to talk Minassian into giving up his weapons. 

Several times Minassian told police that, “Today is the day,” the report says. Two officers reported hearing Minassian make comments to the effect of, “You’re going to have to shoot/kill me,” the report says. 

At one point, Dolan asked for an officer to be ready to handcuff Minassian if needed. The report says Minassian immediately stopped yelling and turned toward the officers gathered about 40 feet away. 

He held the sword above his head, with the tip pointing down and in front of him, and began to sprint toward the officers, the report says. All officers began shouting at Minassian to drop the knife, but according to the report he ignored the orders. 

Officers fired their weapons when Minassian was 10 feet away, the report says, and he ultimately fell to the ground about 8 feet from the group. 

Citing RSA 627:5, the AG’s report says that the use of deadly force is justified only when an officer “reasonably believes” it is necessary to defend himself or a third person from imminent use of deadly force. In this case, the report said that Minassian’s threatening statements, the presence of weapons and his final charge at police gave officers reason to shoot. 

“Preliminary investigation has also revealed that Minassian may have been trying to prompt officers into killing him because he wanted to end his life, but could not do so himself,” the report says in a footnote. 

Salem Deputy Chief Shawn Patten applauded Dolan, Tine and White for their work on Jan. 6. All three men have between eight and 13 years of experience in police work, he said. 

“We were confident that our three veteran officers performed admirably under extremely dangerous and trying circumstances,” Patten said Wednesday. “They are well trained, and they performed as they were trained.” 
Two of the men remain on leave while they recover from the incident, he said. None were physically hurt. 
Patten said the department will be working with the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office to investigate whether criminal charges against Minassian are appropriate. 

JAN. 25, 2011
Woman indicted in intersection incident

A Salem woman whose car mirror allegedly clipped a Salem police officer directing traffic during a power outage at the intersection of Routes 28 and 111 has been indicted for felony reckless conduct.

Police said Leah Keaney, 38, continued to drive her vehicle through the intersection on Aug. 30 after being directed several times by a police officer to stop, according to police. Officer Michael White was knocked to the ground after being struck by the car mirror of Keaney’s vehicle, the indictment said.

Last week, a Rockingham County grand jury indicted her on the felony reckless conduct charge along with two misdemeanors of disobeying a police officer and resisting arrest.

Police said Keaney pulled up to the officer, who was struck by the side mirror, and then accelerated rapidly through the intersection and headed south on Route 28.

The officer got in his cruiser and pulled over Keaney in a nearby plaza, according to prosecutors. Police said Keaney was taken into custody after a brief struggle.

She faces a potential 3 1/2 to seven years on the reckless conduct charge. -- Chelsey Pollock

JAN. 7, 2011
Evidence markers pepper the street Thursday in front of 155 South Policy St. in Salem, where police say a possibly suicidal man carrying a large knife was shot by officers. 
Union Leader Correspondent
SALEM -- A man carrying a large knife and reported as suicidal was shot by officers outside his South Policy Road home Thursday morning, police said.
Salem Deputy Police Chief Shawn Patten would not comment on what transpired between the officers and the man, but confirmed that the man had been shot several times by officers.
“He’s alive at this point,” Pat­
ten said outside the 155 South Policy St. home. 
On Thursday night, Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati said the man was in critical condition at a Boston hospital. 
Authorities refused to identify the man, who is in his 50s. He suffered “several wounds” after some of the responding officers shot at him, according to a news release from the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office. 
The man was “making threats of suicide” and “armed with at least one knife,” according to the news release. 
Police received a call about 10:37 a.m. Patten said he doesn’t think anyone else was at the home during the incident. 
“It was relatively quick from the time we got the call that it happened,” Patten said. 
Several officers were later examined at a local hospital, Patten said, but none were injured. 
John Armstrong, who lives two houses down from 155 S. Policy St., said he returned home within minutes of the shooting to find his street blocked off. 
Armstrong said he doesn’t know the man involved, but that he regularly saw a couple of young adults visiting the home. He said he believes the man lives alone. 
Investigators remained on the scene through the afternoon and blocked off a section of South Policy Street from MacGregor Avenue to MacLarnon Road. 
Nearby Soule Elementary School was briefly put in lockdown Thursday morning. 
The state Attorney General’s Office and State Police have taken the lead on the investigation, as is the protocol for shootings involving police officers. 
In 2005, two Salem officers were found to have been justified when they shot and killed a Salem man outside his Pleasant Street apartment. 
In that case, Sgt. Wesley Decker and Officer Brian Bodenrader shot Kip Pepin, 27, seven times in the lower back and buttocks, after a struggle during a February arrest. 
Police said Pepin had control of a 12-gauge shotgun and was turning his body toward the two officers when they fired. 

DEC. 30, 2010 
Union Leader Correspondent
SALEM -- With help from an anonymous tipster, Salem police have arrested the Massachusetts woman they say made off with thousands as part of a flim-flam scam at Salem’s mall.
Shannon Gallant, 26, of Somerville, Mass., turned herself in to police Wednesday to face a felony charge of theft by deception.
On Sept. 20, police say Gallant
 met a local woman at the Sears store receiving area at the Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem with the promise of discounted televisions.
The woman told police her business had been contacted by a man calling himself Teddy, who offered to sell her four surplus televisions for $3,000 in cash.
Gallant took the woman’s cash and told the her that workers would
 deliver the televisions shortly, police said. Gallant was then caught on surveillance camera walking through the store and out into the larger mall.
Local media outlets published a still taken from the surveillance footage and the story was picked up by Massachusetts news stations and
the Massachusetts Most Wanted list, said Salem Deputy Police Chief Shawn Patten. 
Patten said Wednesday that it was an anonymous call to Most Wanted last week that first put Salem detectives on Gallant’s trail. 
Somerville, Mass,. police provided Salem detectives with an old booking photo of Gallant, which Patten said the Salem victim identified out of a photo lineup. 
Gallant appeared in Somerville District Court last week on separate charges, Patten said, and was informed of the arrest warrant out of Salem. Patten said Salem officers worked with Somerville police and the Somerville Housing Authority to convince Gallant to turn herself in. 
Gallant was arraigned in Salem District Court Wednesday, where bail was set at $1,000 cash and $10,000 personal recognizance. Patten said a probable cause hearing will be scheduled within the next few weeks. 
Patten said police are investigating connections between the September theft and a similar incident from July, where a mall employee gave $1,700 to a man wearing a Sears employment badge in exchange for discounted televisions that never came through. 
“It’s possible that the two are related and both cases remain open and under investigation,” Patten said. 
And in 2008, Ross Minotti of Stoneham, Mass., was arrested after police say he offered to sell a restaurant owner four discounted televisions. In that case, police said the victim met Minotti outside the Sears store and turned over $4,000 in cash to pay for TV sets that never arrived. Minotti was convicted of a felony charge of theft by deception.