I met up with Dave Ridley yesterday as we live in the same town pretty close to each other.
My family and I have had ‘dealings’ with the town of Winchester. One of my neighbors used to be a selectman and he’s still friends with a lot of the elements which bullied poor Gary Chase. People in this town are afraid to speak out and fight back because this place is run like Boss Hogg’s little berg in the old Dukes Of Hazzard TV show. Should you step out of line with them, they come after you - or at least they used to. I haven’t heard much about it lately.
But, not long after what happened to Gary Chase, our ex-selectman neighbor decided to bully everyone around him. I guess he was emboldened by it. So, he put in a complaint with his buddy at the Health Department (LeRoy Austin) and said he was getting a huge smell from our property that was probably our septic tank. Sure, our septic tank was 30 years old. But, it wasn’t leaking. Our neighbors decided to get horses on their barely 1 acre of land and there was a HUGE manure pile there. (They’ve since sent the horses to an actual farm - mercifully.) But, the ex-selectman decided to target US instead. We’d been nothing but good neighbors to him for 30 years plus! So, along came LeRoy and he THREATENED my elderly mother that the town would take our house and kick us out unless we got a new septic tank.
So, we called a company to inspect the property and put one in. Even the guy who owned the company had to go searching for our leech field because he couldn’t smell anything at all! After an inspection, our septic tank was fine other than just being old. So, to appease the town, we had a new one put in. It cost us nearly $20k - which we’re still paying payments on 6 years later! Could we have fought the town and went to the state? Yes. Would the state have done much of anything for us? Nope. All that would have ended up happening would be us getting the Gary Chase treatment.
It’s no wonder that I’ve seen a LOT of people move out of the town in the recent years. Winchester and Hinsdale have the reputations as THE most corrupt small towns in all of Cheshire County. I’ve lived in both and,YES, they live up those reputations!
Myself, I’m a retired performing musician and computer technician trying to just live the quiet life with how much life I have left. My health is really bad - so, I had to stop performing. I’m a stroke survivor, have bad COPD, arthritis, and other health issues which are basically shortening my time greatly. You would think that the town would have taken all that into account and left us alone. But, nope. That’s not how Winchester operates. They just don’t care how long you’ve lived here or how steadily you’ve paid your taxes. They’ll go after anyone who’s not one of their friends.
My lovely ex-selectman neighbor went after his neighbors on the other side of his property about zoning lines. He did this just after they had lost their son to leukemia. The guy is a real piece of work. Honestly, people like him should live on an island somewhere where he can only harass himself! I’ve caught him on my property spray painting one of my trees because he said he was marking property lines. He wasn’t even a selectman when I caught him doing it, either! But, he’s in very good with the town since they’re all buddies. So, I couldn’t do anything about his trespassing and vandalism. I’ve been outside sitting on my deck and caught him walking around our property line. The thing is, the thin strip of property between our properties ISN’T EVEN HIS! But, on the upside, I haven’t seen him there in a few years now. He did his damage with the septic system complaint. And now he’s probably too old to bug us.
So, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I just keep a low profile in this town and don’t mess with anyone - especially the town govt. I want to just live out what time I have left in peace and without strife.