Hudson-Litchfield News

A Blast from the Past

by Len Lathrop

As with the seven past performances, the Eighth Annual Cabaret Weekend by the Alvirne High School Music Department was a resounding success.  The Saturday 7:00 p.m. performance was sold out, the house lights went down right on time, before you knew it, you had entertainment.  The B Naturals in Roaring 20s costumes with an arrangement by Schmutte of “Anything Goes”, then the Concert Band appears  on the stage and you turn to hear the Alvirne High School singers, dressed as hillbillies, singing “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou” a medley arranged by Hoff.  The Stage Band came alive on the third stage with “Alexander’s Ragtime” and “Honeysuckle Rose”.  The evening continued from the three different stages with music from Cole Porter, Gershwin, The Beatles, Stephen Foster, Chicago, Doo Wop and much, much, more.

Trumpter Walter Estrada Jr. with Nothin' But Treble playing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"

Each number was performed with such enthusiasm and excitement that you forgot you weren’t at professional show.  Then all of a sudden the lights came on and it was time to go.

Six-hundred people per show, three shows over the weekend – what a blast for all!  Get your ticket early for next year’s show as it is always sold out.

Joseph Dubois.

Alvirne Freshman Shannon Cunningham sings an arrangement of Beatles Hits.

Charles Marlowe of the Alvirne Singers in "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" medley.

The B Naturals posed before the opening number of this year's Annual Cabaret.

Greenhouse Helps Beat Winter Blues at Alvirne High School

by Mandy Larouche and Megan Lisay

On a cold winter day, what could feel better than walking into a warm, cozy greenhouse where dozens of varieties of plants are growing right before your eyes?  Even more, what if you knew you had a hand in the life of every one of those plants?

Well, in the Alvirne High School Vocational Horticulture program, it happens every day!  Here at Alvirne in our very own greenhouse and flower shop, we have the opportunity to learn the basic and advanced fundamentals in floral design as well as greenhouse production and management, giving us all the chance to get a little dirty and have hands on learning experiences in the horticultural industry.

Horticulture students from Alvirne as well as schools in the surrounding area take part in the everyday operation of the Blooming Broncos flower shop and greenhouses.  There are three classes available to those who wish to become part of the Horticulture family.

The beginner classes, Retail Florist I and II, teach the basic principles of design as well as color harmonies, design shapes, plant identification, basic floral marketing skills, and customer service.  Students that show interest and promise in the program go on to Vocational Horticulture.

The class runs for two periods each day.  In the beginning of the school year, the class covers a variety of dried and silk designs.  Each student creates a portfolio of work which is displayed and sold at the annual Winter Open House.  After the holidays, the students study basic botany and greenhouse structures.  This prepares the students for the production of a widely ranged crop of plants which start as seedlings or plugs and grow under the care and supervision of our student-based staff.

Each student hand-picks two plants to raise from seeds.  All throughout the second semester, every student takes part in the weeding, fertilizing, watering, and general care of the greenhouse.  We have a mini greenhouse which contains most of our household plants and a large greenhouse measuring 30’x70’, which is managed and cared for by our 40 students enrolled in the program this year.  So far, the two Horticulture classes have invested over 300 hours into their plants.

All of the classes are self-funded, and all profits from sales go back into the program with the hopes of generating a successful business-like atmosphere.  We have two sales during the course of the year; the winter open house highlights the students’ work in dried and silk design, and the May plant sale is host to over 100 bedding crops including annuals, perennials, vegetables, and herbs.

       This year’s plant sale starts May 2 and runs all through out the month of May.  The greenhouse will be open during school hours, 7:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Monday – Friday.  We will also be open on three Saturdays, May 7, 14, and 28 from 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.  We hope to see you there, and thank you for your support of our program.

Remembering Pope John Paul II

As Catholics worldwide mourn the passing of Pope John Paul II, local religious were asked for their thoughts about the Pope:


A quote of Pope John’s that Father shared with the parishioners, “Whatever you make of life make it something that reflects the love of Christ.”  Father Gary was a young seminarian when he first heard Pope John Paul II on the Boston Common and prayed that should he become a priest that he would be graced with the ability to be as simple, energetic, and direct as the Holy Father.

Father Gary Belliveau, Saint Kathryn Church, Hudson


Pope John Paul II was the best of Catholics.  He added great credibility to our faith by showing us what it means to be a Catholic.  His life was exemplary and he did all that he could do to promote peace.

The children of St. Francis School celebrated a Mass of Remembrance for the Pope on Thursday, April 7.

Father Dennis Broussard, St. Francis Assisi Church, Litchfield


Pope John was a man for this age.  Certainly a pilgrim for peace and justice, Pope Paul reminds Father Jack of St. Paul who underwent many dangers to spread the word of our Lord. 

A mass was held for parishioners at 10:00 a.m. on Friday.

Father Jack Horan, St. John the Evangelist Church, Hudson


We have been touched by Pope John Paul II’s strong beliefs and efforts for peace, justice, the poor, and the dignity of human life. 

More than any other pope, he has worked toward Ecumenism.

He has touched people of all races, color, creed, tribes, and ages.  We feel that he was another Christ in the world.  He witnessed this in all the countries he visited.

He was a man of the Eucharist and had a tremendous love for Mary. 

He was a holy and prayerful man, very sympathetic, understanding, and forgiving.

He has shown by his own suffering and death that there is meaning in suffering. 

He loved the youth.  Whenever he’d speak with/to them, it rejuvenated him.  He would break into a wide smile and would just beam!

He’s been all over the world getting his own experience.  He’s gone beyond the limit in all he has done.

This year’s Community theme for us is:  “Jesus Christ, the Church, and the World, how can we not love them?”  This was at the heart of his being. 

Jesus surely already said to him, “Welcome, good and faithful servant.”

We the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, Hudson


During his papacy, Pope John Paul’s universal message to Catholics was one of hope and reconciliation.

“Do not be afraid.  The power of the Holy Spirit is with you, is with you.  Amen,” he said.

The Switch is On!

Editor’s note:  This is the third in a multi-part series about Lions Hall, the Rec Department and the Hudson Seniors. Part 1, Part 2

by R. Rodgers

The process of converting Lions Hall into Hudson Community Building has begun.  “We had a walk-through with 5 contractors on Monday,” said Hudson’s Recreation Director Dave Yates.  What started as a request over two years ago is now a realization for the Rec Department.  At the January 29 Selectmen’s Meeting Yates and Recreation Chairman Mick Reagan met with Selectmen and made recommendation for the Rec Department to use Lions Hall, a decision “based solely on need and what is best for the Town.”  The proposal differed from their original request two years ago when they asked for a complete switch of Lions Hall and The Rec Center.  That was quickly shot down, but this request was ultimately accepted at the February 22 Meeting after passionate speakers from both the Hudson Seniors and Hudson Youth vied for the Selectmen’s vote. 

Everything that is currently offered at Lions Hall will still be available with a couple of exceptions.  For eight weeks (this year June 29 through August 24) the Summer Recreation Program will be moved to Lions Hall and the Hudson Seniors will be relocated to the Rec Center on Oakwood Street, for profit rentals of the Hall will be discontinued and the Hall will be fitted for basketball play.  “I just thought asking them (the Seniors) to move for 8 weeks to benefit the whole town would be ok,” said Yates.  According to the Board of Selectmen’s Minutes for February 22, “The Seniors were firm in wanting to remain at Lions Hall.”  One of the main concerns was the lack of a kitchen at the Rec Center, Yates assured the Selectmen and the Seniors that part of the switch would include upgrading the Center to accommodate that need.

The Bid Process to upgrade the Lions Hall has begun and they are due back by April 18.  The upgrades include relocating the heat/ac ducts at an estimate of $18,000, purchased of Portable Basketball Hoops at $15,000 and resurfacing the floor for approximately $30,000.  Other renovations under the $10,000 cost which do not need to go out for bid are:  Electrical upgrades with grating installed over the lights and removal of the televisions, computer wiring and installation of additional wall outlets.  Remodeling of the coat room into a satellite office for the Rec Department’s use, and padding the walls for basketball play will also be done.  Outside water spigots and bubblers will be installed.  All of that will be topped off with the purchase of a new sign changing the name of Lion’s Hall to Hudson Community Building. 

This proposal from the Rec Department will be funded by the Planning Board Rec Fund which is approximately $114,800.  Yates estimates that all the renovations including construction of a 10x50 canopy, and a sandbox for the Summer Program will cost $91,000.  The Lions Hall will be under the Recreation Departments control as of May 1, 2005.  “I don’t want this to turn into a war, I want to benefit the whole town, and I am looking at the big picture.  The Lions Hall is under utilized and the Rec Program is busting at the seams.  This is a space issue and needed to be addressed,” said Yates. 

The Rec Department is Town run and budgeted for.  The Hudson Seniors is a private run organization and although the Town does make a contribution to the group it does not have fiscal responsibility for it.  At one time the Town did carry a budget for them but not since 1997.  When the Town purchased the Lions Hall in the early 1990’s, part of the funding came from a Senior Capital Reserve Fund.  “Seniors do have a legitimate right to the facility, but it’s not exclusive and it’s not 24/7,” stated Selectman Ken Massey at the February 22 Meeting.  He was reluctant to vote in favor of the switch saying he did not want to “act in haste and repent in leisure.”  Selectman Bill Cole’s remarks that evening were that he was the original sponsor of the Capital Reserve Fund back in 1992 and at that time the fund was set up to purchase a stand alone facility for the Seniors.  He felt that the Board at that time made a bad decision using that money to help pay for Lions Hall.  Since this controversy has arisen, Hudson Resident Herb Simpson has stepped forward with a plan to build such a facility for the Seniors.  “I am very enthusiastic about Herb’s offer, because they do need a place of the own,” said Dave Yates about the plan. 

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