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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nashua...From the inside

Prosecutor moving to the other side of the fence

Roger “Rusty” Chadwick has been a fixture in the Hillsborough County attorney’s office for more than 11 years, prosecuting some of the region’s most notorious crimes, but all that will change Friday.

Chadwick, 46, said he’s moving from the old courthouse at 19 Temple St. to join the criminal defense law firm of Adam Bernstein and Ray Mello at 21 Temple St.

The move takes Chadwick back to his roots; he started his legal career in criminal defense as an aide to the defense team for one of the conspirators in the Pamela Smart case, and later as a public defender.

Although Chadwick notes he has served under five county attorneys in the last decade, the move has nothing to do with the latest, Dennis Hogan. Chadwick praised him for bringing stability to the office.

“I think things are in really good shape,” Chadwick said. “My leaving has nothing to do with his coming in.”

Rather, Chadwick said, he simply felt it was time for a change in his work, his schedule and (he hopes) his income.

“I am sad to leave, because I’ve enjoyed this job so much; the people are wonderful,” he said. “I think if you can walk out the door and be sad, that’s a good thing.”

Having more say in his schedule should help Chadwick to juggle other commitments. He also serves on the school committee in his hometown of Boxford, Mass., and is a Scoutmaster and basketball, baseball and soccer coach.

“Your kids are only young once, and you have a very limited window,” he said.

Chadwick’s most memorable cases as a prosecutor included several convicted sex offenders, all serving lengthy prison terms – Timothy Dupont, Jeremy Jennings, Zebediah Kellog Roe and Delvin White, to name a few – and Chadwick was among those who helped start the county’s Internet Task Force, which focuses largely on sex crimes against children.

The attempted murder case against Raymond Paul Thomas, of Nashua, which Chadwick tried twice, was perhaps his most intense courtroom drama, he said.

Overall, Chadwick said prosecutors share two major sources of satisfaction on the job:

“The first one is when you put a real bad guy away for several decades at a time.”

The other, equally if not more satisfying, is when a defendant gets a second chance, with probation, deferred sentences and court-ordered rehabilitation programs, and succeeds in making something of it.

“When someone comes in and has done all that and succeeded, that’s also my greatest day,” he said.

Ah, the disco era

It’s happening oh, so slowly, but City Hall is making strides toward the 21st century.

Mayor Donnalee Lozeau pointed out in her State of the City address that residents can now pay their wastewater bills online rather than mailing a check or trudging to City Hall.

Of course, you still can’t pay property tax bills or register your car online – and those improvements may be a long time coming.

“Our systems are actually pre-DOS,” Lozeau said. “Like, the ’70s. The disco era.”

The city has found success with an online feature that allows residents to report issues that need attention, such as pot holes or graffiti, and track the city’s progress in addressing them.

Next step: online streaming of city meetings.

Strutting their stuff

Students in Nashua High School North’s Future Business Leaders of America held a red carpet prom fashion show last week to benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The students raised hundreds of dollars for the organization.

“It was a lot of work, but the cause was worth it,” said Tim Coy, FBLA President.

Kate Ricchetti and Shardell Hamilton, FBLA special events coordinators, are considering careers in marketing, and this experience was an opportunity for them to practice skills learned in the classroom.

Students from graphic design, hospitality, cosmetology and business planned, decorated and developed the theme, as well produced the show. David’s Bridal and Men’s Wearhouse provided support for the event.

Cynthia has her day

The Greater Nashua Council on Alcoholism, better known as Keystone Hall, will open the doors of its newest facility, the Cynthia Day Family Center, to the public at the end of the month.

The center will host an open house from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 28. The center is at 440 Amherst St.

With a slogan of “Giving hope to women in recovery,” the center opened in January. It houses pregnant and postpartum women and their children who struggle with addiction.

The center offers a safe, supportive environment for these women and children and helps enable them to move forward with their lives.

The open house will raise awareness and give the public the opportunity to see the new facilities and to learn about some of the women benefitting from the program, staff members say.

Day will be present at the event. A longtime volunteer at Keystone, Day was a corporate vice president whose career and marriage were destroyed by alcoholism. After recovery, she became a psychiatric nurse working in the field of chemical dependency.

“The Cynthia Day Family Center will allow women to receive help without having to choose between getting the care they need and being separated from their children,” said Thisvi McCormick, program coordinator. “This program gives these families a fresh start.”

The center will relocate to 615 Amherst St. when the renovations of Keystone Hall’s new location are complete. The program will then allow participants easier access to the many programs offered by Keystone.

Both the Cynthia Day and Keystone Hall facilities always welcome volunteers and donations. Monetary donations to be used toward the new building are welcome, program officials say.

Keystone Hall provides all-inclusive substance abuse treatment and recovery services to individuals and families.

For more information about the Cynthia Day Family Center or Keystone Hall, visit or its Facebook pages. To RSVP for the open house, contact Kelly Russell at or 882-3616, ext. 1139.

Nashua … From the Inside was compiled by staff writers Andrew Wolfe, Patrick Meighan and Michael Brindley.