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The Freecast

Apr 3, 2017

On this episode of the Freecast, the city of Portsmouth pours gas all over the Gaslight's plans for summer fan, and it's Attorney Sullivan that comes across looking like a gas bag, huffing and puffing. And speaking of a puff, if you're in prison for a drug offence in Massachusetts, there's a good shot your conviction will be vacated next week because of massive corruption, but will tax payers be funding the restitution? You bet your butt. And the Ballroom's an institution. Next on the Freecast.



Portsmouth city government stick their meddling hands in local business.

City of Portsmouth and The Gas Light restaurant are going to court May 12. TGL is suing Portsmouth to prevent them from forcing an enclosure to be built around their outdoor deck space. Portsmouth health dept ordered its outdoor deck to be enclosed, saying that was part of the permitting process. But this is this the first time the HD has requested it in 26 years of operation. 


"Attny Sullivan (op Ports)replies in his answer to the suit, "The city has worked with many proprietors of outdoor restaurants and all of them have worked with the city to create appropriate barriers to protect the equipment uses in outdoor bars and restaurants from the health risks of rats, insects and other vectors of disease that can injure public health, which includes not only the citizens of Portsmouth but its visitors." 

And of course Attny Sullivan says: ""The Health Officer has the authority to prevent the use of unprotected equipment not only because it fails to protect the public health by eliminating the access of rats, other rodents, birds, insects, pollution, intentional tampering and contamination by people, but also presents a public health nuisance by providing food, water and harborage to these pests, which attracts and sustains their population." By any means necessary is what he means 


County Correctional officer caught sneaking heroin into County Jail 

A correctional officer was arrested after allegedly attempting to bring heroin into the county jail on Wednesday, according to law enforcement.  Bryant Shipman, 25, of Rochester, was charged with delivery of articles, a felony, according to a release from the Strafford County Sheriff's Office. Shipman was detained before entering the housing area of the facility. 

Sheriff David Dubois said Wednesday night the investigation has been ongoing for about a month. He would not comment on whether investigators believe Shipman was providing the controlled drug to inmates or how much heroin was alleged to been found on him. Dubois did say future charges are possible. 

Shipman is being held on $35,000 cash bail at the Strafford County jail where he worked. 


MA is preparing to vacate nearly 24,000 Tainted drug convictions 

MA prosecutors are taking this step because drug lab chemist Annie Dookahn pled guilty in 2012 of falsifying test results in favor of law enforcement and tampering with evidence over a nine year period starting in 2003. That adds up to 1 in 6 drug cases in MA during that time period. 

The MA chapter of the ACLU pressed the court to vacate en-masse because they said it would take 48 years to assign public defenders to each defendant. 

The court declined this but ordered state prosecutors to dismiss all cases they would not or could not re-prosecute. They have 90 days to comply. On April 18th


New Hampshire leads United States in car affordability 

Go Banking dot com survey results say that It’s cheaper by far to own and operate a car in New Hampshire than anywhere else in the nation. 

The three-year cost to own an average car here is $9,021 which is $1,067 less than in North Carolina, the second most affordable state. 

Here’s how New Hampshire stacked up in the major categories: 
• Auto Insurance: $941 per year, fifth lowest in the U.S.; Maine was lowest in the nation, Michigan highest with an average bill of $2,738. New Hampshire does not mandate automobile insurance coverage and it’s a fault state, meaning rates are raised for those who cause accident claims; 
• Repairs: $389 annually, 22nd lowest in the US; Maine was fifth lowest and the U.S. average was $387 
• Taxes: $0, New Hampshire is one of only four states that does not levy a sales tax on car sales. 

However, the survey didn't include the municipal registration fee which varies town to town. A new 3000 lb. Vehicle is $540 in Concord 


New to the Freecast


Local happenings

  • April 8th Spring Potluck! 4pm at The Praxeum in Portsmouth


Philosophy of Liberty

  • An Eye for an Eye: Debating the Death Penalty 


Seacoast History

  • Casino Ballroom 
  • Massachusetts businessman, Wallace D. Lovell, owner of the Exeter, Hampton and Amesbury Street Railway Company financed the construction of a two-story wood-frame building to draw people to the Hampton Beach area and stimulate business. The building, which opened its doors on July 15, 1899, calling it the "Hampton Beach Casino." 
  • At that time, the word "casino" did not mean a gambling establishment as it does today. The word is Italian for "summer house" and came to describe a social gathering place, a room or building where one could dance, listen to music, and gamble. 
  • It has been the center attraction at one of New England's most popular summer resorts for more than 100 years. 
  • The Casino provided entertainment for the whole family. Vaudeville shows ran in the Opera House; a penny arcade, merry go-round, and shooting range, complete with live ammunition and clay pigeons were added below, on the street level. Baseball, now popular to many, was played frequently in the back to sizable crowds. Beginning in the first two weeks in July when the mills shut down, workers escaped their dark, ten-hour work days and streamed to the shore for sunlight and fresh air. Running on the new alternating current, the trolleys made the resort accessible to those near and far. The droves grew larger with the automobile's advent, and by 1914, hundreds of Henry Ford's inexpensive Model T's were parked in front of the Casino. 
  • In 1927, the Hampton Beach Casino was purchased by John J. Dineen, John Cuddy, and Napoleon Demara and a new era in the Casino's history began. A little more than a quarter of a century after the Casino's founding, radio, records and motion pictures were creating a new kind of entertainer - the national star. The new owners quickly moved to design a "ballroom" large enough to accommodate 5,000 people. 
  • Patterned on old English ballrooms, the new owners incorporated part of the old Opera House and added space toward the south end of the complex. The ballroom's wooden dance floor was one of the largest in the region and it soon became the most popular nightspot in the area. Each week, more than 20,000 people danced in the air-conditioned ballroom. 
  • The rules were strictly enforced. One hot night, Tommy Dorsey dared to remove his suit coat. Dineen upbraided the bandleader and Dorsey promptly put his jacket back on. 
  • Dineen's adamancy made the nightspot secure. William J. O'Brien, a frequent patron, told the Boston Globe in 1976, "The ballroom was the only place where mothers would let unescorted girls go because they knew how well policed it was. You got away with nothing, believe me." 
  • In the 60's, rock 'n roll started to creep into the Ballroom, the businessman in Dineen couldn't resist the lucrative allure of rock 'n roll. People paid ten times more admission than the check-dancers had.. 
  • One fateful night in July, 1971, more than 3,999 ticket-less fans showed up to a sold-out Jethro Tull show. A human tidal wave besieged the building, fans scaling walls and dropping through skylights on the roof. Though no one was injured, ten youths were arrested and one police officer was injured. It was immediately following this event that the town of Hampton banned any further rock performances. "With great respect for John Dineen, who over the years has conducted a fine, clean operation, it is with regret that the action had to be taken." 
  • During the mid 1970's, long-awaited transformation began. The Casino complex was taken over by a group of area businessmen determined to bring back the Grande Dame. 
  • In 1976, Dineen's family sold the Hampton Beach Casino to a group of local businessmen. The plan was to restore the Casino to its original style. 
  • The former Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, reopened in the mid-1970's as the "Club Casino". The Club introduced a Vegas-style showroom with cocktails, 1,600 chairs and tables and a 144-foot bar (which was, at the time, the longest bar in New England!). 
  • But the ghost of Jethro Tull still haunted the Casino. Town officials remained hostile and in the eyes of music agencies, simply remodeling was not enough. 
  • Due to its limited seating capacity, the strategy was to work at catching both rising and falling stars to build back the Ballroom's reputation with the industry and to eventually grab bigger stars at their peak.  
  • Between 1977 and 1982, more than one million dollars in renovations were completed, work which included rewiring the entire building, demolishing the Ocean House hotel and partially revamping the interior of the complex. The most obvious work done to date is the buildings' new white-columned facade which was completed in February 1982.  
  • Repeated sell-outs in the 1980's allowed Club Casino to hold as many as 50 shows in a three month period. This grueling pace managed to take a toll and as the 1990's grew near it was evident that change would once again be needed in order to revitalize the historic building.  
  • The early 1990's saw a change in management, with various cohorts taking a stab at running the Casino. For a short while, the Casino experienced a bit of a bad reputation - strict no dancing rules" and rough bouncers - and as a result, some of the large name acts were passing over the venue during their summer tours. Change was needed and, in the minds of the Casino partners, it would entail a visit to the past. Hence, the Casino Ballroom was reborn. Customer service was of utmost importance, as was returning the Ballroom to its once-unparalleled fame and prestige. The goal, in short, was to play host to hundreds of thousands of patrons with one thing in mind - to have fun. 
  • The Schaake family - Fred, Sr., Fred, Jr. and daughter, Kristin - took ownership. They began to build the Casino Ballroom back to form and the magic was almost immediate. One summer evening in 1995 soon became an unforgettable night when Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead performed with his band Ratdog on the eve of Jerry Garcia's death. Thousands of Garcia fans and numerous television crews surrounded the building, mirroring, in an instant, the fateful Jethro Tull concert some 15 years prior. However, with the new management in place, event security on tight duty and the new approach to customer service, the night went off without a hitch and has proven to be one of the most revered shows in the Casino Ballroom's history. 

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Featuring: Host Matt Carano, Mike Vine, Nick Boyle and Rodger Paxton 

Producer: Pax Libertas Productions 

Editor: Matt Carano