Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tall Ship Amistad

By Doug Mills

    Fall brings many surprises to the coast of Maine. A very pleasant surprise was to find Captain Sean Bercaw of Freedom Schooner Amistad, awaiting customs clearance after returning from Nova Scotia. Amistad is a ship with a mission. A reminder of a dark time in history when people were stolen from their homes and carried off to a far away land where no one spoke their language and they were forced into a life of slavery. Her namesake La Amistad was transporting 53 slaves to Cuba to be used as labor in the sugar cane fields when she was forced to change course and this eventually helped to change the course of this nation. During to voyage to Cuba one of the slaves was able to free himself and also the others who were on board. Armed with sugar cane knives the managed to take the ship. They ordered the crew to sail west, which they did during the day but at night they would sail north east in hope of running across another vessel to free them from the slaves who held the ship. Off Long Island New York the U S Navy ship USS Washington found them and took the slaves into custody and took possession of La Amistad.
The court case that followed was instrumental in bringing the blight of slavery into the public eye in the United States. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court who freed the those who had been involved in the taking of La Amistad. They eventually were able to return to their home but things had changed forever in the United States due to the actions of these former slaves.
    “The impetus for building the Amistad came from Warren Q. Marr II, former editor of the NAACP’s The Crisis magazine. Marr’s inspiration for the replica emerged during New York’s operation sail 1976, a spectacular parade of the world’s tall ships. Participating in that event was a representation of the historic 19th century schooner, La Amistad. It was actually the schooner Western Union with its name temporarily hidden under signs proclaiming her La Amistad. Marr wanted the story of the African captives’ fight for freedom on the seas, in a New Haven court, and in a landmark United States Supreme Court case to be told. Marr’s goal was to design the re-created vessel as a floating exhibit, assemble a crew, and sail her from port to port teaching the history of the Amistad Incident of 1839. Marr believed the Amistad story could foster unity among people of diverse backgrounds and help improve race relations.”
    “The reproduction was built in Mystic Seaport’s Henry B. DuPont Preservation Shipyard. It was built using traditional construction techniques. Some of the tools used to construct the Freedom Schooner Amistad were those that may have been used in 19th century construction. Others were electric tools. The reconstruction, while based on the appearance of La Amistad was about 10 feet longer than the original to accommodate an engine room. It also had bronze bolts in use as fastenings throughout the ship and an external ballast made of lead. None of these features would have been available on the original Amistad.”
The dimensions of the Amistad are as follows:
1. Length from bowsprit to stern: 129 ft (39.4 m)
2. Length Over Rail: 85 ft (26 m)
3. Length On Deck: 81 ft (24.7 m)
4. Maximum Beam (Width): 23 ft (7.01 m)
5. Length at Waterline: 78 ft (23.8 m)
6. Draft (depth): 10.5 ft (3.3 m)
7. Height of masts: 100 ft (30.5 m) 

[AAI Staff. "Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)." AMISTAD America. AMISTAD America Inc, 14 Jan. 2008. Web. 7 May 2009..] 

Bluenose II Launch Today

    Lunenburg, Nova Scotia-Today the Bluenose II was returned to the water after a nearly two year restoration project.  In the early morning hours at the high tide she slipped back into the water at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. 
Bluenose II was designed around the original Bluenose, famous for her speed. All wooden vessels require regular maintenance.  Through the years, Bluenose II began "hogging". Hogging is a term used to describe the distorting of the shape of the hull due to the forces of gravity and buoyancy. As the weight of the vessel pushes down, the water pushes up. The bow and the stern are pushed closer to the water. As the shape is distorted, it effects performance, safety and maintenance.  Restoration work was done by the Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance, consisting of Covey Island Boat Works, Snyder's Shipyard and Lunenburg Industrial Foundry & Engineering.  Her hull was carefully dismantled and rebuilt to eliminate the "Hogging" Much of the original Bluenose II was reused including: rigging, masts, sails, ironwork, deck structures.
    There is still work to do to return her masts and sails, but she is looking good and back in the cool blue Atlantic were she belongs.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


 TIME FOR WARNER FALL FOLIAGE FESTIVALFestival planned for October 6 & 7
WARNER, NH---September 26, 2012---For generations, leaf lovers have climbed high atop Mt. Kearsarge to admire the magnificent views and breathtaking autumn colors during Columbus Day weekend, and this year will be no different. The vibrant splashes of red, orange, yellow and green which the autumn princess has painted is astounding.
     Nestled at the foot of Mt. Kearsarge in western New Hampshire, lies the charming little town of Warner. Its main street is lined with flower-filled planters and trees showing off their most colorful fall costumes.
     Adding to the ambiance of this quaint village are the friendly folks who live here. This is the weekend they invite everyone from near and far to visit their town to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage and crisp, clean autumn air. They celebrate this occasion by holding a festival of fun. The Warner Fall Foliage Festival is scheduled for October 6 and 7, and festival organizers are excited about this year’s offerings.
     “We have several new activities, musicians and entertainers this year, including the
1-Mile Fun Run for kids, an Apple Pie Baking Contest and more Kids Korner activities,” said Sherry Thomas, festival president. “Our Eat Local food tent was a great success last year, so this year we’ll be offering even more locally-grown food.”
     Festival-goers will notice a larger number of young volunteers, as dozens of area students pitch in to help.
     “We expect a great crowd. As always, admission is free, and this year we’ll have free carousel rides all weekend. An entire family can enjoy most of the activities for as little as the $3.00 parking fee. We‘ll even have free shuttle service from parking areas to the festival,” Thomas said.
     Local farmers will offer fresh vegetables and other foods at the Farmers’ Market, while scores of artisans and crafters showcase their finest creations in and around the town hall. Bands and roaming musicians will fill the air with music, and other entertainers will fill the hearts of festival-goers with joy. An ice cream eating contest, sumptuous meals, and other appetizing offerings will fill empty stomachs.
     “The younger children will love the puppet show and bubble party,” Thomas said. “We’ll also have a midway, games and crafts. Saturday after dark, we’ll be telling ghost stories around a fire pit, while the kids toast marshmallows.
     “We hope our friends and neighbors from all around will bring their families to Warner on Columbus Day weekend to enjoy the foliage and the fun,” Thomas said.
     A complete schedule and map are available at area businesses and on the Warner Fall Foliage Festival website:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TEENS PITCH IN Warner Festival Rejuvenated

TEENS PITCH INWarner Festival Rejuvenated

WARNER, NH––September 24, 2012–– Each year organizers of the Warner Fall Foliage Festival have faced difficulties in recruiting the army of volunteers it needs. After decades of tradition, many long-time volunteers have ‘aged out’ and there hasn’t been enough new blood to fill the needs. Year after year, there has been talk of not having the festival because of this critical shortage.
     Over its 65-year history, the Columbus Day weekend festival has grown to where an estimated 30,000-40,000 people attended last year, enjoying free admission, entertainment and demonstrations of skill. Proceeds from the festival have always been turned back into community projects, organizations and charities.
     “People look forward to the Warner Fall Foliage Festival because there are so many wonderful phases to it, like the oxen and woodsmen competitions, dog agility demonstration, entertainers, rides, farmers market, crafts, and of course, the delicious food,” said Sherry Thomas, festival president.
     “We really need hundreds volunteers to organize and execute the Warner Fall Foliage Festival, but we were down to mere dozens last year, and it looked like we couldn’t survive much longer. Setup and cleanup, before and after the festival are the most critical piece of the puzzle.”
     After last year’s event, the board of directors volunteer outreach branch went into action. They met with schools and organizations, explaining their situation and trying to recruit young volunteers.
     “And they came through,” Thomas said. “This year we have dozens of students from Kearsarge Regional High School scheduled to help out. Already there is enthusiastic support from sports teams, a dance troupe and organizations, such as AmeriCorps*VISTA, Volunteer NH and Invisible Children.”
     The KRHS dance team will be helping with the Kids Korner activities, as well as the children’s 1-Mile Fun Run, where over 70 children have registered.
     “The volunteer outreach plans to include students from Proctor Academy, New England College and Colby-Sawyer College. We’re really excited to have these young people on board,“ Thomas said.
     This is the first year Kearsarge Regional High School has included community service in its graduation requirements, and students are anxious to accumulate their 20 hours.
     Amanda Chase, KRHS School-to-Work Coordinator said about the volunteer requirements, “The students are finding many diverse activities to use as their hours, and already many kids have gone way over the required hours to as much as 100 hours or more. I believe this and the senior project requirement will benefit students as well as the community on many levels.”
      One of the new features at the festival this year will be the Kearsarge Mountain Art Walk, where Kearsarge Regional students will proudly display their artwork.
     “This year’s lineup looks more exciting than ever, and we‘re delighted to have these young people working with us,” Thomas said.
     A complete schedule, map and more information about the Warner Fall Foliage Festival can be found on their website:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rochester Main Street Host's Super Secret Project On Saturday, October 6

Rochester, New Hampshire - The volunteers at Rochester Main Street will present "Super Secret Project" on Saturday, October 6th at 8:00pm at the Rochester Opera House, Rochester, NH. Say's Christian Wisecarver of SSP...oh, we LOVE Rochester!”, so the evening promises to be a great evening of humor. Super Secret Project has appeared on Good Morning America, NH Chronicle and Nh Public Radio after their parody of Jay-Z’s “Empire state of Mind” called   “Granite State of Mind went viral on You Tube. Since then they have also contributed such great pieces as “Plowman Boogaloo” and others.  

Tickets are just $15, general admission, and all proceeds will benefit the work of the Rochester Main Street volunteers. The doors open at 7:00 pm, there will be a cash bar, and it is suggested that this is an 18 and older show. Tickets are available by calling the opera house box office at 603-335-1992 or via email at Patrons may also purchase tickets through the Rochester Main Street Office at 603-330-3208.

Attitash Mountain Resort Hosts 15th Annual Oktoberfest Columbus Day Weekend

Bartlett, New Hampshire – Attitash Mountain Resort will host the 15th annual Oktoberfest on Columbus Day weekend, Saturday, October 6 and Sunday, October 7 at its Bear Peak base area. New this year, the Attitash Oktoberfest will serve as this region’s official qualifier for the Samuel Adams Stein Host National Competition. The two-day Oktoberfest weekend will also feature live, traditional Bavarian music from the world renowned King Ludwig's Band, dancing, kids' activities, games, authentic German food and the Biergarten tent featuring local and regional brewers. This year’s participating brewers, all competing for the “People’s Favorite” annual award, include: Frank Jones, Long Trail Brewing, Narragansett, Samuel Adams, Sebago Brewing Co., Shipyard Brewing Co., Tuckerman Brewing Co., White Mountain Distributors featuring Bud & Bud Light, Woodchuck Cider, and Woodstock Inn Brewery.

In addition to the previously mentioned Samuel Adams Stein Host Competition happening both days that allows participants age 21+ a chance to compete for a Grand Prize trip for two to Munich, Germany, Oktoberfest will also feature the annual favorite “Keg Toss” contest with chances to win prizes from sponsors Tuckerman, Long Trail, Shipyard, and Woodstock Inn Breweries. A climbing wall, EuroBungy trampoline jump, and the Kinderplatz games and activities area for children will also be located within the outdoor festival area. Hours for Oktoberfest will be Saturday, October 6, noon – 6 p.m. and Sunday, October 7, noon – 5 p.m. The entrance fee to attend Oktoberfest, food or beverage not included, is $10 (age 21+, positive ID required), $5 (ages 6-20), and children under age 6 are free. During the event hours in the Bear Peak base lodge, Attitash staff will be available to process season pass purchases before the current lowest-price deadline of Monday, October 8 and to also print 2012/2013 passes for those who have already purchased and want to pick up (no entrance fee required to purchase or pick up a 2012/13 season pass). For more information on the Oktoberfest visit

Attitash Mountain Resort in the Mount Washington Valley offers fall fun with the original Alpine Slide, year-round Nor’Easter mountain coaster, lift-service downhill and cross-country mountain biking, scenic summit chair ride and will host its 15th annual Oktoberfest during the Columbus Day weekend. Attitash Mountain Resort is also home to the Attitash Grand Summit Hotel & Conference Center providing the areas only full-service, slopeside accommodations. For further information, please visit or call 1-800-223 SNOW.

In Photo Above – A participant in the annual Keg Toss contest at the Attitash Oktoberfest gets ready to give it her best throw.

Symphony NH debuts in renovated Keefe Auditorium

Nashua, New Hampshire - For its opening night concert on Saturday, October 6, Symphony NH has added dimension not only to its interpretation of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, but to the entire event.  The performance, entitled “Fifth Dimensions” will highlight important changes in the organization, honor members of the community, introduce audiences to the improved acoustics in the concert hall, and delight everyone present with a program that also features the Symphony Chorus and young violin sensation Caroline Goulding. Music Director & Principal Conductor Jonathan McPhee will conduct.

The Symphony has released the following details about the event:
  • After more than a year of community-wide effort including a successful fundraiser by the Greater Nashua Arts Initiative that made the renovations possible, Keefe Auditorium is ready to host its first performance by a Symphony orchestra following acoustical improvements made there over the summer.  “Not only will this enliven and deepen the sonic experience for our patrons,” notes SNH Executive Director Eric Valliere, “but it will also be a visual revelation:  new lighting, a fresh paint job, and dark curtains replaced by creamy white acoustic panels make the hall brighter and more welcoming, too.” 
  • The concert marks the state debut of young violinist Caroline Goulding, who (thanks to support from Artist Sponsors The Nashua Bank and Charles Schwab of Nashua) will perform Mendelssohn’s beloved Violin Concerto in E minor.  Although only in her early 20s, Ms. Goulding has already performed with many of North America’s leading orchestras, including Cleveland, Toronto, and the National Symphony.  Praise from critics has been abundant as well. In a review of Caroline’s 2011 debut with the National Symphony Orchestra, Anne Midgette of the Washington Post proclaimed, “Goulding is a skilled violinist well on her way to an important career.”  Gramophone has called her a “precociously gifted virtuoso,” and The Cleveland Plain Dealer has praised Caroline for being “vibrant and intensely musical.”  A past recipient of the Stradivari Society, Caroline currently plays the General Kyd Stradivarius (c 1720), courtesy of Jonathan Moulds.
  • The concert is sponsored by BAE Systems, whose support makes it possible for Symphony NH to offer free tickets to veterans.  Each year since 2006, over 100 active duty personnel from Hanscom AFB attend this concert, and this year is ontrack to keep pace with that history.  “This is a great partnership,” remarks Valliere, “because BAE Systems’s focus on the military community means more people have access to this wonderful music.”
  • Now under the direction of Holly MacEwen Krafka, the newly-named Symphony NH Chorus will have its debut on this program performing Brahms’ Nänie – a sublime ode to the transience of earthly beauty.  This 12-minute work is vintage Brahms:  lush harmonies, rich orchestrations, and lyrical melodies for the voices. 
  • Although its musical motifs are among the most familiar in all of the classical repertory – and perhaps in part because of that fact  –  Beethoven’s  earth-shattering Symphony No. 5 in C minor is less-frequently performed than one might think.  Maestro McPhee brings his trademark blend of clarity and passion to this monumental work, and it’s an opportunity to hear it live that only comes along once  in a great while.

The program begins at 8:00 pm at Keefe Auditorium, 117 Elm Street, in Nashua.  Tickets, priced from $12 to $48 (with discounts for students, seniors, and groups of ten or more), are available at the door, or by calling (603) 595.9156, or online at

Violinist Caroline Goulding has performed as a soloist with some of North America’s premier orchestras including The Cleveland Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, National Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Houston Symphony, Detroit Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Sarasota Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Columbus ProMusica, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Cleveland Pops and the Cincinnati Pops.  Aside from her orchestral engagements, Caroline has appeared in recital at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, the Kennedy Center, Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall and  the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, among others.
The 2011-2012 season included debuts with the London Chamber Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Colorado Symphony and the Eastern Connecticut Symphony as well as recital debuts at the Kansas City Harriman-Jewell Series, University of Florida, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC and Fundacion Sinfonia in the Dominican Republic.  Caroline also had return engagements with the Dallas Symphony and the Boise Philharmonic. In the 2012-2013 season, Caroline makes debuts in Germany, Japan and China, as well as with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, California Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, Camerata Chicago and the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra.

Recognition from the classical music world’s most distinguished artists, critics and institutions has been significant in Caroline’s young career. In 2011 she was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and in 2009 she won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and was the recipient of the Helen Armstrong Violin Fellowship. That same year, Caroline received a Grammy nomination for her debut recording on the Telarc label. The self-titled album spent several weeks on Billboard’s Classical Chart and garnered attention from other venerable musicians, including violinist Jaime Laredo who called Caroline “one of the most gifted and musically interesting violinists I have heard in a long time; her playing is heartfelt and dazzling.”  Composer John Corigliano, whose Red Violin Caprices Caroline recorded, said, “She gives a totally individual interpretation to my music. I think she will shortly become a very famous young woman and only hope that she gives my other violin works a glance.”Maestro Erich Kunzel was also an ardent supporter of Caroline’s in her early teens and she was chosen to appear on his last Telarc recording From the Top at the Pops, released in 2009.

Praise from critics has been abundant as well. In a review of Caroline’s 2011 debut with the National Symphony Orchestra, Anne Midgette of the Washington Post proclaimed, “Goulding is a skilled violinist well on her way to an important career.”  Gramophone has called her a “precociously gifted virtuoso,” and The Cleveland Plain Dealer has praised Caroline for being “vibrant and intensely musical.” Along with her orchestral and recital appearances, Caroline has appeared on NBC’s Today, MARTHA, PBS’s From the Top: Live from Carnegie Hall with world-renowned banjo player Bela Fleck, and will make her debut this December on Germany’s hit primetime television show “Stars von Morgen” (Stars of Tomorrow) hosted by Rolando Villazón on ZDF/ARTE.  On the radio, Caroline has been a guest on NPR’s Performance Today, From the Top, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, WNYC New York and on CosmoGirl Online. In December 2009, Caroline was named Musical America’s Artist of the Month.

Caroline currently studies with Donald Weilerstein at the New England Conservatory, and is a participating artist at the Marlboro Music Festival.  She has previously attended the Aspen Music Festival and School – where she won the Aspen Music Festival’s Concerto Competition at age 13, Interlochen Arts Camp, and The Ceilidh Trail School of Celtic Music on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.  Past teachers include Paul Kantor, Joel Smirnoff and Julia Kurtyka.

A past recipient of the Stradivari Society, Caroline currently plays the General Kyd Stradivarius (c 1720), courtesy of Jonathan Moulds.

Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse Open House on September 30

Portsmouth, New Hampshire - Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, will host an open house at Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse in New Castle, NH, on Sunday, September 30, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. This will be the next to last Sunday open house for the 2012 season.

No reservations are needed; the guided tours are on a first come, first served basis. Children under 42 inches tall are not permitted to climb to the top, and adults are not permitted to carry children up the stairs.

Visitors are invited to climb to the lantern room to enjoy the magnificent view at the mouth of the Piscataqua River and to see the 19th century lens up close. The tours take around 30 minutes. Volunteers will tell visitors about the history of the light station, and there will be souvenirs for sale.

There are 44 stairs and a 7-rung ladder to the lantern room. Flat shoes (not sandals or flip-flops) are strongly recommended to climb to the top.

The suggested donation to climb the lighthouse is $4 for adults and $2 for children 12 and under. Visitors should park outside the gate to Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor and walk to the lighthouse. For more information, visit

14th Annual Fall Chili Challenge Heats up with Jimmy Lehoux Concert

Waterville Valley, New Hampshire - Saturday, September 29th. Things heat up in Town Square with Waterville Valley Resort’s 14th Annual Chili Challenge and the sizzling country sounds of Jimmy Lehoux. Visit each Chili Tent for a variety of tastes while enjoying a cold beverage, great music and fiery foliage on the mountains surrounding Waterville Valley’s Town Square.

Things kick off when Ruby Records recording artist, Jimmy Lehoux, takes the stage with his unique style of traditionally rooted contemporary country music. He’s sure to get the crowd warmed up and hungry for the noon start of the Chili Challenge. Local restaurants will be all fired-up to compete for your votes and the red-hot title ‘Champion of Chili’. Come on out and celebrate this beautiful time of year with family, friends and fellow chili heads!

11:30 – 2:30pm  Jimmy Lehoux and the Jimmy Lehoux Band - free of charge

Noon – Until the chili is gone! Sampling of all Chili Challenge entries - $7.00 for adults - $5.00 for children 12 and under.

Also, returning for its second year is The White Mountain Storytelling Festival, September 28th  - 30th. Festival-goers will meander between two venues within Town Square- each location featuring experienced storytellers and a different type of story, geared toward either young children and families, or older children and adults. The featured story-teller this year is popular New Hampshire storyteller and author, Rebecca Rule, whose humor is sure to delight audiences.  The festival starts at 7:30 Friday evening with ghost stories at the Town Square gazebo, continues from 11am to 9pm Saturday (with time for some sampling at Waterville Valley’s 14th Annual Chili Challenge), and finishes Sunday morning with Sacred Stories.  Tickets can be purchased online at
The weekend will have activities for the whole family including Curious George Story Time at the Rey Center, public climb times and open gym at the Recreation Department, and restaurants and shops open in Town Square.

Special travel packages for the Chili Challenge & Storytelling weekend include Saturday and Sunday night stays and Summer Unlimited activities. Prices start at $54 per person per night based on quad-occupancy.

The Waterville Valley Summer Unlimited package includes boating, mountain biking, tennis, golf, bike rentals, access to the White Mountain Athletic Club, use of the Waterville Valley shuttle, and a scenic chairlift ride up Snow’s Mountain. With all the activities included in the price, guests who take advantage of this package will save at least 50 percent on their family vacation.

Waterville Valley Resort was designed and planned as a self-contained, four seasons resort with activities for the whole family. In addition to its world-class ski area, Waterville Valley Resort has award-winning tennis courts, golf, hiking, biking, boating, an indoor ice rink, a skate park, kids camp programs, and a host of other family activities and summer festivals.  Cultural and educational activities include art exhibitions, painting and craft classes, children’s and Shakespearean theater, beading and jewelry making, science and nature presentations.  Dining options include both traditional favorites and elegant eateries. For more information, call 1-800-GO-VALLEY or visit

The Roads to New Hampshire’s Future: What’s on the horizon?

Chamber Hosts Breakfast Forum in Concord on October 5th
Concord, New Hampshire - The Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce invites members and the public to an informational breakfast forum, “The Roads to New Hampshire’s Future: What’s on the Horizon?” featuring guest speaker, NHDOT Commissioner, Christopher Clement. The event will be held Friday, October 5th from 7:30 to 9:00am at the Grappone Conference Center, 70 Commercial Street, Concord. The breakfast forum is generously sponsored by Nobis Engineering, Inc. Cost to attend is $20 for Chamber members and $30 for non-members, and includes a full breakfast.

Concord is strategically located at the intersections of I-93, 89 and 393/4, providing a unique economic advantage to our region. Mr. Clements will discuss the plan for New Hampshire’s road and bridge infrastructure, the state’s priorities, and what we can expect for I-93 improvements through Concord.

As Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, Chris Clement oversees a $700 million transportation agency of over 1,600 employees with the daily mission of transportation excellence that enhances the quality of life in New Hampshire. Mr. Clement was sworn in as Commissioner of Transportation on September 14, 2011. He has an extensive leadership background in both the private and public sectors. He previously served as Deputy Commissioner of the NHDOT from July 2008 to February 2010. Prior to becoming NHDOT Commissioner, Chris Clement was the Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Stimulus.

For more information or to register, please contact the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce at (603) 224-2508, or visit to register online.

State reviewing Middlesex site for temporary mental health facility

Montpelier, Vermont – The State of Vermont has been seeking a temporary host site for developing a much needed seven bed secure residential facility to assist in the immediate restructuring of the mental health system while the new 25 bed hospital is being permitted and built in Berlin. After looking at several locations throughout the central Vermont area without success, the state is examining its own property.

Buildings and General Services Commissioner Michael Obuchowski and his staff are reviewing  a Middlesex site which presently hosts the Vermont State Police Field Station, as well as the General Services Building and the Vermont Archives and Records Administration (VSARA) facility.  This location is ideal from several perspectives: immediate proximity and access to I-89, a central Vermont location less disruptive to relocated former VSH staff, existing state owned property, easily developed site with existing access to US Route 2, zoned for industrial development with few residences in proximity to the site,  and little impact to the community.

Commissioner Obuchowski has been working with a Vermont company from St. Johnsbury with global experience in the development and deployment of mobile or portable “rapid response” medical facilities.

Once permitting is obtained, development could be completed within two months.  The temporary facility is expected to be in use until the new hospital planned in Berlin is completed and Department of Mental Health can determine whether or not a new, permanent seven bed facility is needed, or the need can be met within the 25 bed hospital.

Bike for Books - A Fall Foliage Mountain Bike Tour of the Mount Washington Valley

North Conway, New Hampshire - The North Conway Public Library will hold its 11th annual Bike for Books fund raiser on Saturday, October 6th, 2012.

This scenic mountain bike tour of the Mount Washington Valley during peak fall foliage season offers different route options for all ability levels from novice to expert mountain biker and for children.  The big tour will begin between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. (start time is your choice!) and is expected to conclude by early afternoon; shorter routes can be done in an hour or two. Every participant can choose their own route and own pace since this is a tour and not a race. The mountain bike trails will be well-marked, nobody will get lost. Food and drinks along the way and afterwards will be provided to all participants.

All bikers and volunteers will receive a book, a BPA-free bike bottle, and are invited to a free big lunch at the finish where Elvio's pizza, hot soup, desserts, and fresh coffee from Frontside Grind will be served. Many local businesses have donated numerous free giveaways and gift certificates to be given away on a random draw basis. 

Participants should be on a mountain bike with knobby, fat tires and children should have some off-road cycling experience. You can come and bike for an hour or all day; easy or difficult routes- it’s your choice! This year, there will also be an obstacle course for practice at the registration building and professional photographer Dill Pollock will be at the event.

A benefit for the Library’s children’s room, the registration fee is $20 for individuals, $35 for couples, $40 for families, and $10 for students 16 and under. Registration forms may be picked up at the North Conway Public Library or downloaded at . For the first time, registration can also be done online at .

Registration on the day of the event will be held at the Whitaker Woods Rec Building (“Whitaker Woods Homesite”) off Route 16 across from White Mountain Oil)  in North Conway from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Jacob Fisher, Madi and Cy Courser awaiting the judges’ decision.

Show at Festival

WARNER, NH–––September 18, 2012––– When Madi Courser of Warner was six years old and her brother Cy was nine, their parents gave them each a matched pair of bull calves. The children belonged to 4-H, and wanted to train and raise the small calves as working steers. It would take a year of dedication and hard work to accomplish this, but Madi and Cy were determined.
     “Our Dad raised steers when he was growing up,” Madi said.
     Now it was their turn. Every day the children fed, watered, groomed and patiently worked with the frisky animals, getting them used to wearing a halter, then teaching them to calmly walk on a lead, or leash. When the calves had that mastered, it was time to hitch them together with a yoke and teach them to work as a team.
     “We had them drag an old tire for a couple of weeks, building their muscles and endurance,” Cy said.
     Meanwhile, their friend, Jacob Fisher, began training and showing pigs at fairs.
     “I hated pigs. They’re slow, they stink, and I had to keep nudging them with a cane. I wanted something faster,” he said. “When I was eight, I got my first pair of steers. I like shorthorns, because they’re fast and snappy.”
     As the first calves grew, the children had to make larger yokes to fit them.
     “They need three different sizes during the first year,” Madi said.
     “We make them out of maple or butternut wood, because those are light-weight and strong. We can’t use pine, because that’s soft wood and will crack when they’re pulling a heavy load,” Cy added.
     After training the calves for six to nine months, the children compete with their animals at eight different fairs, such as Hopkinton, Belknap, Cheshire and Acton, Maine. They also participate in 4-H shows. This year, Cy qualified to compete at Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, Massachusetts, a notable honor.
     “Only the eight highest scorers in New Hampshire qualify and they have to be 13 years old or more,” Cy said.
     The animals must not only perform well, but they have to look their best at the fairs in order to score well.
Jacob Fisher backs his steers while Cy Courser readies the hitch.
      “They have to be clean, their hair has to be well trimmed, and we polish their hoofs with black shoe polish,” Madi said.
     “At Stratham Fair, one steer kicked the jar of shoe polish and splashed it all over me, just before show time,” Cy said. “I had on my good clothes and couldn’t get it cleaned off in time, so I had to show them with spotted clothes.”
     All of the children agreed that their main pet peeve is when people ask to feed the steers.
Madi Courser gently coaxes her steers to pull a log scoot.
      “If we say it isn’t time, they often go ahead and feed them hay anyway,” Jacob said, shaking his head. “They perform better if they eat on a regular schedule.”
     By the end of the fair season, the calves, about one year old are now called working steers and weigh 1100-1300 lbs. They are outgrowing their trainers and will soon be too large for the youngsters to handle. When the trained steers reach the age of four, they are called oxen.
     “Ours are pretty well trained when they‘re one year old, so we sell them as a team to someone who wants oxen.” Cy said. “We put the money in the bank, then buy new calves as soon as we can find a matched pair.”
     “I like Brown Swiss,” Madi said. “ They’re gentle and cute with their big
ears.” Cy prefers a crossbreed between Swiss and Holstein, and Jacob loves his snappy shorthorns.
     All of the children play sports, but raising and training oxen has taught them responsibility, leadership, and a lot of patience. Madi, now 12, wants to continue raising oxen and hopes to someday become a large animal veterinarian. Jacob, 11, has similar ambitions, and would like to own a beef farm. Cy, 13, wants to continue raising oxen, and dreams of a sports career.
     “I play baseball and basketball. I like them both, but I’d probably choose big-league baseball.”
     At the Warner Fall Foliage Festival on October 5-7, Madi, Cy and Jacob will be demonstrating what their steers have learned in the past year. On Friday night, they will have their teams pull a wooden scoot through an obstacle course. On Saturday, the steers will maneuver a two-wheeled cart into position and drag a load of cement blocks a distance of six feet.
     “At Hopkinton Fair, my team pulled 1400 lbs,” Jacob said. “Madi’s pulled 1400, and Cy’s pulled 1750.”
     Madi and Cy Courser and Jacob Fisher hope many people will come to the Warner Fall Foliage Festival to watch their steers perform.
     The festival will be held October 5, 6 & 7 in downtown Warner. More information can be found on the website:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Franklin Pierce University Invites Public to Observe Constitution Day at Events on Rindge Campus

Rindge, New Hampshire – The Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication at Franklin Pierce University has organized observations of Constitution Day on September 17 by inviting voters to visit with various campaigns at the Rindge campus. The 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 men, including New Hampshire's Nicholas Gilman and John Langdon, acknowledges the document that established our democracy and allowed the citizens of the new country to elect their representatives.
Voters are invited to observe Constitution Day on September 17 by visiting with campaigns as follows:
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.: Candidate’s Fair for state and federal offices in the Library Courtyard (rain locations are in Spagnuolo Hall and the Alumni Lounge in Peterson Hall)

Presidential campaigns will engage those gathered in conversations throughout the day in Spagnuolo Hall as follows:

10 a.m.: White House staffer and actor Kal Penn and the Obama for America campaign (Democratic Party)
12:30 - 1:30 p.m.: The Johnson campaign (Libertarian Party)
2 - 3 p.m.: The Romney campaign (Republican Party)

The Libertarian Party's Vice-Presidential Candidate, Judge Jim Gray, will be on campus on Friday, September 21, noon - 1 p.m. He will speak about "Over-Criminalization and Legal Reform."

The general public is invited to all of the aforementioned events. For more information, please contact Dr. Kristen Nevious, director of the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication, at (603) 899-1039.

Franklin Pierce University is a regionally accredited university grounded in the liberal arts, with a focus on personal attention and high-quality instruction. The University consists of the College at Rindge and the College of Graduate & Professional Studies with locations in Arizona and throughout New Hampshire. Degrees are offered through the doctoral level. The institutional mission embraces an education that matters: one that achieves academic success through the integration of liberal arts and professional programs. Our community of educators and learners creates an environment that fosters intellectual curiosity and encourages experiential and applied learning. A Franklin Pierce experience enables each student to discover and fulfill his or her own unique potential. We prepare students to become confident, knowledgeable individuals and leaders of conscience.

Franklin Pierce University, 40 University Dr., Rindge, NH 03461, (603) 899-4000,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Study: Concord arts non-profits contribute $17 million to local economy each year, support hundreds of jobs

Concord, New Hampshire - A new Arts and Economic Prosperity survey finds that Concord region nonprofit arts and culture institutions  are a significant industry – one that generates more than  $17.7 million in economic activity each year. This spending – $10.8 million by nonprofit arts and cultural organizations and an additional $7 million in event-related spending by their audiences – supports 568 full time equivalent jobs, generates $12.9 million in household income to local residents and delivers $1.6 million in local and state government revenue.

“The study sends a strong signal that support for the arts both enhances quality of life and stimulates the local economy,” says Concord Chamber president Tim Sink. The Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Washington-based Americans for the Arts to conduct the economic impact survey of nonprofit cultural institutions in the Concord area.

Fifteen Concord area nonprofit arts and cultural organizations participated in the survey, which measured the individual organizations’ direct spending and employment impact. In addition, nearly 600 audience-intercept surveys were collected from people attending cultural events, measuring spending on event-related activities such as meals, souvenirs, transportation and lodging.

“We believe that these numbers, while very significant, are very conservative and really just the tip of the iceberg,” says Byron Champlin, chairman of the Chamber’s Creative Concord Committee. “It is important to note that the survey only measured nonprofit arts and cultural institutions.  If we included the numbers from for profit cultural organizations and individual artists, these numbers would be even higher.”

Greater Concord was one of six regions in New Hampshire participating in the Arts and Economic Prosperity Survey. The New Hampshire State Council for the Arts measured results on a statewide basis and served as the convener between Americans for the Arts and the individual regions.

“It is important that we develop this baseline data on the impact of arts and cultural organizations on our economy.  We are now better able to measure future growth with reasonable points of comparison” says Sink.

For a copy of the full report, please visit For more information, please contact the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce at (603) 224-2508.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

10th Anniversary of Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication Celebrated at Franklin Pierce University

Rindge, New Hampshire - Franklin Pierce University celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication, which has developed a vibrant body of programming in pursuit of its mission to educate leaders of conscience in public communication. Marlin Fitzwater, who served as press secretary to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and who is also a trustee of the University and a member of the Fitzwater Center Advisory Board; author and journalist Tom Rosenstiel; and Presidential photographer David Valdez took part in special 10th Anniversary events September 9-11. The Fitzwater Center includes a radio broadcasting studio (WFPC-LP 105.3FM), a television station (FPTV-25), The Pierce Arrow campus newspaper, audio production facilities, an online journalism lab, writing and lecture rooms, and non-linear editing suites. The department of mass communication is also housed within the Fitzwater Center.

The 10th Anniversary keynote address was given on September 10 on the Rindge campus by Rosenstiel, recipient of the 2012 Leadership in Public Communication Fitzwater Medallion. A journalist for more than 30 years, he has also written six books, including, with Bill Kovach, The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect; and most recently Blur: How to Know What's True in the Age of Information Overload. Rosenstiel spoke about the future of journalism and the new technologies that impact the gathering and dissemination of news. “It is the greatest moment to be 18, 20, or 25 and to be thinking of journalism and mass communication,” Rosenstiel said, expounding on how his generation tried to learn how their elders did things, while today’s crop of journalists have opportunities to create something new. “The potential you have in your hands is so much richer,” he concluded.

David Valdez was introduced by Marlin Fitzwater at an event in his honor on September 11, and presented with a Visiting Fitzwater Fellow Medallion by James Birge, president of Franklin Pierce. Valdez, who is on the advisory board for the Fitzwater Center, has been a professional photographer for more than three decades; he served President George H.W. Bush as Director of the White House Photo Office and as his personal photographer, among many other accomplishments. Valdez gave a briefing about his years at the White House, giving the audience a rare opportunity to learn about the experiences of a professional photographer in the Oval Office. Students had additional opportunities to engage with Valdez in scheduled visits to various classes at the University.

Franklin Pierce University is a regionally accredited university grounded in the liberal arts, with a focus on personal attention and high-quality instruction. The University consists of the College at Rindge and the College of Graduate & Professional Studies with locations in Arizona and throughout New Hampshire. Degrees are offered through the doctoral level. The institutional mission embraces an education that matters: one that achieves academic success through the integration of liberal arts and professional programs. Our community of educators and learners creates an environment that fosters intellectual curiosity and encourages experiential and applied learning. A Franklin Pierce experience enables each student to discover and fulfill his or her own unique potential. We prepare students to become confident, knowledgeable individuals and leaders of conscience.

Franklin Pierce University, 40 University Dr., Rindge, NH 03461, (603) 899-4000,

Motorcycles, Music, Family Festivities! The 23rd Annual Milford Pumpkin Festival Will Feature New Events!

Milfold, New Hampshire - The Milford Great Pumpkin Festival celebrates its 23rd year on October 5-7 in downtown Milford with music on two stages all weekend.

New This Year: Calling all Easy Riders! The first annual Pumpkin Festival Custom/Vintage Motorcycle Show will take place on the Oval on Friday, October 5 from 5:30 PM - 9:00 PM. Display your bike - prizes awarded in a variety of categories. Register online at

This year, the popular Beer Tasting has morphed into a Beer, Wine and Spirits Tasting featuring New Hampshire produced beers by Tuckerman Brewing, Bellavance Beverage and Martha's Exchange Restaurant, wine by Sweet Baby Vineyard and Labelle Winery, mead by Sap House Meadery and rum by Sea Hagg Distillery. The tasting takes place on Saturday, October 6 from 5:50-8:30 pm on the Community House Lawn, tickets $10 to taste all. Also taking place, the Chili RoundUp contest and music by popular Boston-based band The Macrotones!

Cheer on the brave souls performing in the 6th Annual Pumpkin Festival Talent Show at The Amato Center on Saturday, October 6 at 8 PM. Contestants from all over New Hampshire will sing, dance, perform acrobatic and display other unique talents for a chance to win $500 and bragging rights. Interested contestants can enter at

Pooches love Pumpkin Festival too! The Milford Lions Club will hold their Ugly & Costumed Dog Contest on Sunday, October 7 in Emerson Park. Bring your favorite furry friend in costume!

There are several returning favorites such as the Great Pumpkin Weigh In, the Pumpkin Catapult, Haunted Trail, scarecrow making and face painting all on the Oval and the Community House Lawn.  Fireworks by Atlas Pyrotechnics kick off the festival weekend at 8:45 PM on Friday, October 5 on the Oval.

Music on two stages is the highlight of the weekend. Over 30 local bands and singers will take the stages over the weekend, performing everything from award-winning country, bluegrass, symphony, folk and rock ‘n’roll.
The Milford Great Pumpkin Festival is organized on behalf of the Town of Milford by the Milford Improvement Team. Many thanks to our Primary Festival Sponsors Kokko Realty, Centrix Bank, Atlas Pyrotechnics and Custos Morum Lodge 42 and our event sponsors: Alene Candles, Amigos Restaurant, Ciardelli Fuels, Chop Shop Cycles, Contemporary Chrysler-Dodge, DGN Motorsports, Eaton & Berube Insurance, First Colebrook Bank, Granite State Credit Union, JP Pest Services, Lake Sunapee Bank, Ledgewood Bay Assisted Living, Maple Brook Dentistry, Milford Lumber, the Pasta Loft Restaurant, St.Mary’s Bank, Souhegan Motorsports, Triangle Credit Union and Toyota of Nashua.

For more information on the Festival, telephone (603)249-0676, email or visit the website:

VSO Masterworks Series Opens with Famed Kalichstein-Laredo Robinson Trio

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra 2012/2013 Masterworks Series opens with the acclaimed Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano.  This exciting program also features Concerto Grosso No.1 (for strings and piano obligatto, performed by Joseph Kalichstein) by Ernst Bloch and Stravinsky’s Suite from Pulcinella, with music director Jaime Laredo conducting.  The concert, the first of five Masterworks Series concerts this year, will be held at the Flynn Center in Burlington on Saturday, October 27 at 8 p.m.

     The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio is known as America ’s premier trio.  After thirty-six years of success all over the world, including many award-winning recordings and newly commissioned works, the trio continues to dazzle audiences and critics alike with its performances.  Since making their debut at the White House for President Carter's Inauguration in January 1977, pianist Joseph Kalichstein, violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson have set the standard for performance of the piano trio literature.  As one of the only long-lived ensembles with all of its original members, the trio balances the careers of three internationally-acclaimed soloists while making annual appearances at many of the world's major concert halls, commissioning spectacular new works, and maintaining an active recording agenda.  “Among the superstars of the chamber music world,” notes The Washington Post, “few induce as much open-mouthed rapture as the Kalishstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio.”

     Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson live in Guilford , Vermont , and both serve on the esteemed instrumental and chamber music faculty at The Cleveland Institute of Music.  Joseph Kalichstein is a long-revered teacher at the Juilliard School of Music.

     A pre-concert discussion, “Musically Speaking,” moderated by Vermont Public Radio host Joe Goetz will be held at 7 p.m., free for members of the audience.  The discussion will feature Joseph Kalichstein, Sharon Robinson and Jaime Laredo, providing entertaining insight into the music, composers and musicians themselves.

     Concerts by the VSO are made possible in part by the State of Vermont and
individuals, businesses and foundations throughout Vermont .  Vermont Public Radio is
the co-sponsor for the 2012/2013 season.  WCVT-FM is the 2012/2013 Masterworks series media sponsor.  Additional support is provided by the Concert Artists Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, and the Lintilhac Foundation.  The October concert is also made possible in part by Windstream and Bravo Society members Ed and Nancy Colodny.

     Single tickets for the October concert start at $16.  Student tickets are available for $9.  For additional information or tickets, please visit the FlynnTix Regional Box Office website at, telephone (802) 86-FLYNN (863-5966), or visit the VSO website at  Subscriptions for the five-concert Masterworks series range from $68 to $261, $45 for students.  For series subscriptions, please call the VSO office at 800-864-9293, extension 10.

Come to a Haunted Valley Pumpkin Extravaganza!

Waterville Valley, New Hampshire - Well, not really, but come to the Waterville Valley Haunted Halloween on Saturday, October 27. Calling all kids, ghouls, Jonas brothers, and vampires for a fun pizza party, pumpkin carving & decorating on Friday, at the Waterville Valley Recreation Department from 6-7:30 p.m. Enjoy a spooky pizza dinner, then decorate or carve a Halloween Pumpkin. Kids can bring their own pumpkin or purchase one. All the tools you will need to create your masterpiece from paint to pom?poms and carving tools will be provided (must be at least 10 years of age or have adult supervision). Cost is $5/carver for admission + $6 for an optional locally grown pumpkin.

Come celebrate Halloween include a Haunted House, Halloween games, Costume Contest and Trick?Or?Treating around the resort (a.k.a. free candy)! Hors D'oeuvres will be served. We are going to have a Jack-O-Lantern.  Anyone is welcome to bring their own carved pumpkin.  Cash prize to best Jack.

Lodging packages start at $150 a night and include a pumpkin, Friday evening pumpkin carving and decorating with the Waterville Valley Recreation Department, Saturday night Trick-or-Treating, Haunted House, and costume contest. Access to White Mountain Athletic Club and spooky Halloween events and activities is available.

Waterville Valley was designed and planned specifically as a self-contained, four seasons resort. In addition to its world-class ski area. Dining options include traditional favorites and elegant cuisine. For more information, call 1-800-GO-VALLEY or visit

Gov. Shumlin, Congressional Delegation announce long-term recovery funds

Montpelier, Vermont - Gov. Peter Shumlin and Vermont’s Congressional delegation today announced the availability of long-term disaster recovery funds for housing, economic recovery and community infrastructure projects.   That announcement followed federal approval of the state’s plan to use $21.6 million in funding through the Community Development Block Grant Program.

“This funding will help communities, homeowners and businesses get back on their feet after Tropical Storm Irene and the spring floods,” Gov. Shumlin said. The Governor said there remains a great deal of recovery work to be done, and thanked the Congressional Delegation – Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Peter Welch – for their commitment to securing this latest round of funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Sen. Leahy said “These grants will help Vermonters struggling to recover from Irene. I was proud to work with the Appropriations Committee to provide funding for the disaster CDBG grants and was especially pleased that HUD agreed to provide a waiver to their targeting requirements to ensure this much needed funding could also be used to help Windham County residents. This funding will help them find new jobs, rebuild their businesses, settle a year-long dilemma of what to do with destroyed homes at risk of flooding again, and leave Vermont more resilient in the future. These funds will help fill gaps other federal, state and private funding have exposed.”

“These federal funds are critically important in terms of the long-term recovery from the devastation caused by Irene,” said Sen. Sanders. “The increased flexibility approved by HUD will allow the Shumlin administration to target the funds to the areas of the state that need the assistance most.”

Rep. Peter Welch said, “On year after Irene, Vermont is well on the road to recovery but more work remains. These funds will help Vermonters get back on their feet by providing much-needed assistance to communities, homeowners and businesses throughout the state.”

Gov. Shumlin said grant applications are now being accepted by the state Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development from towns, businesses, organizations, farms, and other groups impacted by last year’s flooding.  Funding is available to restore community infrastructure, build and relocate replacement housing and assist businesses re-open and recover.  Potential applicants should review the information provided on the CDBG-DR website and email general questions to

Funding for individuals and households for housing needs will be distributed through the statewide network of homeownership centers, also known as the NeighborWorks Alliance of Vermont, and will be administered by Gilman Housing Trust.  The homeownership centers operate in all regions of the state and will provide direct assistance to homeowners and small rental property owners impacted by last years’ flooding.  The funding is available for rehabilitation and flood damage repairs, services, grants and low interest loans. Information is available at 888 MY VT HOME (698-8466).

Disaster case managers are available to assist Vermonters in need of recovery assistance.  They play a critical role in helping survivors access all the public and private resources available.  Individuals impacted by the storms of 2011 and who are not currently working with a case manager should call 1-800-846-9506.

The CDBG disaster recovery funds will also be used for the 25% local match for FEMA buyouts.  Property owners and towns pursuing buyouts do not need to apply for the funding as the state will provide it directly with the assistance of the regional planning commissions.

Earlier this year, HUD allocated $21.6 million to the State of Vermont to target these resources in Washington, Windsor and Windham Counties.