Magical Hand Puppets Enchant Hudson Children
by Lynne Ober
Have you ever seen a large frog blow out a birthday candle or a magical unicorn turn a glass of milk into snow? Those and other captivating feats were performed on a rainy afternoon in the Great Hall of Hills House.
For 19 years Martha Dana has been entertaining youngsters with her hand puppets and their enchanting performances. On Saturday, thanks to the sponsorship of Joan Tate, she wowed Hudson children and their parents.
Never before had the audience seen a gargantuan frog, almost too big to sit in Martha’s lap. It was Philip the Frog’s birthday. Teaching the small members of the audience about props and what they are, Martha passed out birthday gifts so that members of the audience could participate in Philip’s birthday party.
Martha, who speaks to her puppets and then, as a ventriloquist, speaks for them, wove intriguing tales with lots of laughs, but also with a lesson. Philip the Frog learned how to share and the audience giggled and cheered him on.
Dee Dee the Duck wanted to join the circus. She convinced Martha that she would be a perfect tight rope walker. With the help of two audience members, Dee Dee tried to walk the tight rope, but she kept falling. “I bruised my bum,” Dee Dee wailed while the audience laughed. Then she tried to tame a lion, but she couldn’t do that either. Finally she convinced Martha to let her sky dive into a magical box – with predicable results. Dee Dee tweaked her beak. Martha convinced her to land on her bruised bottom and Dee Dee was a success. “Oh Oh. Is that a fish in the magical box? Why yes!” Dee Dee grabbed it in her beak and then squirted her audience with water.
All of Martha’s friends were entertaining. The cat carried a square of cheese around her neck in a necklace so that she could attract and catch Cheese the mouse. It was a classic chase scene with the mouse squeaking and the cat growling as they chased each other across the stage until the cat chocked on a hair ball. It was Cheese to the rescue. No one had ever seen such a huge hair ball, but it earned Cheese a bite of cheese.
The afternoon ended with Magic the Unicorn telling the audience that she was a “wanna be magician.” Her first trick to produce a cup of tea for Martha was a terrible flop. She produced a cup of frogs. With the audience’s help, she turned a cow into an ice cream cone and a cup of milk into snow.
At the end of the performance, witches fingers and candied apples were given to all.
It was a great afternoon of laughs and giggles.
Responding from the Heart at Nottingham West Elementary
Good new abounds with the Nottingham West Elementary School’s community outreach program, “Help from the Heart.” In response to Hurricane Katrina, Nottingham West families rolled up their sleeves and got busy with the job of helping others. This effort began early in the school year when several students asked, “What are we going to do to help?”
For most of September, students, staff, and parents gave generously to aid the victims of this natural disaster. Quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies, Chuck E. Cheese tokens, and the like, made their way to the collection pot each day. Classroom teachers encouraged students to donate loose change, and parents took the time to talk to their children about the importance of reaching out to others in need. Children enthusiastically parted with piggy bank collections with a smile and a sense of accomplishment. Students wrote about how this made them feel, and how much they empathized with children that suffered.
One fourth grader reflected:
“I don’t know what I would do if my family lost everything we have worked so hard for – giving my $43 dollar savings is a small thing to give up if it means that a kid somewhere feels like someone in Hudson, New Hampshire, cares.” Brandon Acosta
This sentiment prevailed at Nottingham West. Children were not only talking about how good it felt to give, but about how fortunate they were to have all that they did. Students were able to raise approximately $3,000 in coins and brought in hundreds of items for crisis care kits providing people with basic health care products.
“We are very proud of this community – not only for stepping up and giving – but for infusing a spirit of good will that contributes to a positive learning environment for all,” said guidance counselor Meg Williams. “We want to thank all of you for making this such a successful effort. A special thanks to Karen Cassidy for helping to transport and distribute the care kits.”
Way to go Nottingham West Wildcats!
Governor Lynch Unveils Comprehensive Child Protection Act
by Doug Robinson
Governor John Lynch recently held a press conference with state senators, state representatives, lawmakers, and local officials at the Hudson Police Department to unveil the Child Protection Act. This act is “comprehensive legislation to protect New Hampshire’s children against sexual predators and other crimes.”
"People who prey sexually on children are among the worst criminals we face," Governor Lynch said. “It’s time to send a clear message: If you prey on children in New Hampshire, we will send you to prison - and we're going to keep you there for a long time."
The new legislation allows prosecutors to seek a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years for someone who molests a child under the age of 13. This new law also allows prosecutors to request sentences of 25 years for persons who purposefully and permanently injure a child. The legislation goes further to allow the prosecutor to request a 35-year sentence for second-degree murder of a child.
"These sentences are fitting for the destruction of young lives that sexual predators cause,” Lynch said. “Not only do sexual predators physically harm children, they rob them of their childhoods. The harm predators do stay with their victims for the rest of their lives.”
This new bill involved the collective recommendations from the attorney general, county attorneys, police chiefs, the advocacy community, as well as our state representatives and state senators. The assessment included the review of the present New Hampshire Laws, Jessica’s Law in Florida, and other child protection laws across the country.
This legislation gives prosecutors and law enforcement tools they need to keep sexual predators off the streets and to hold our worst child abusers fully accountable," Attorney General Kelly Ayotte said. “This legislation goes beyond Jessica's Law and is a New Hampshire approach to protecting the children who have already been harmed and preventing other children from suffering the same fate."
“The Child Act contains 28 provisions aimed at increasing the penalties on people who prey on children” stated the governor. The new proposed law requires the Department of Corrections to implement a GPS monitoring system of sexual offenders by July 1, 2008. The bill also allows communities to prohibit sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare facility, or park where children regularly gather.
The bill will require offenders to register more often, and report their work address and descriptions of their cars. Failing to register will result in larger and stiffer penalties.
"Our children are New Hampshire's most precious resource, and among our most vulnerable citizens. Nothing could be more important than keeping our children safe, and our children deserve the protection that this legislation would provide," Lynch said. "Sexual predators have earned the tough penalties this legislation would ensure."
To view the summary of the Child Protection Act in detail, visit http://www.nh.gov./governor/news/documents/child_protection_act_provisions.pdf (Adobe Acrobat needed to view the document).
Mack Trucks Ready to Tackle Snow
by Len Lathrop
As approved by the voters in March, the four new 2006 Mack trucks have arrived in town and are being set up for the impending snow.
Each truck has a 500 HP power engine with a 10-speed transmission, three forward speeds and two reverse. Each comes with an Everest plow and banding units. The 16-yard body bed, which you can see raised on one truck, can handle approximately 18 tons of sand.
The five-year lease/purchase agreement through which this equipment was acquired leaves the town with approximately 20 years of useful life after the five years of payments are made.
Each truck is worth $134,000 and four trucks were traded in for a combined value of $29,000, leaving a package price of $509,920 for this equipment.
The tires on the trucks are Bridgestone C25-11R-29, 16-ply radial tires with a sidewall rating of 14,000 pounds per square inch, about three times the size of an average car tire.
When asked to compare these trucks to the Mack that was bought five years ago, Road Agent Kevin Burns first pointed out the more efficient engine which now delivers 400 HP versus the 350HP of the older truck. This larger engine meets new emission standards and is projected to be more efficient in its operation which should lead to better fuel economy.
Give a wave when you see a highway employee and these new trucks on the street plowing or doing other work maintenance and repair.
Presentation of Mary Academy Receives ExxonMobil Grant
by Maureen Gillum
The Presentation of Mary Academy in Hudson recently received a generous grant from the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance program. Arianne Nolet-Forrest, manager of the local Mobil station on 82 Derry Road worked with school officials to secure the grant since last May. The $500 educational grant was one of 4,000 available to schools across the country.
“PMA works hard to make learning interesting and fun and it’s an important part of our community,” shared Nolet-Forrest, who was a student at the private Catholic school for nine years in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She remembers PMA and its staff with admiration, affection, and gratitude. “As a Mobil retailer, I am proud to help young people in the Hudson area and give something back to such a wonderful and caring school as Presentation of Mary.”
The five seventh and eighth grade PMA student council members -- Ryan Christian, Julia Clarke-Pounder, Kyle Coumas, Katie Wachel and Frankie DelPizzo -- representing the more than 370 Presentation of Mary Academy students at the award presentation, were thrilled their school was an ExxonMobil grant recipient. “I think it’s cool that a big company like Mobil invested in our school,” shared eighth grade council representative, Kyle Coumas. After some thoughtful and collective deliberation, the student council reps, said they hoped the grant might help fund “more book or media equipment” for the PMA library for all to use.
PMA Principal Joan Dobzanski graciously accepted the ExxonMobil educational alliance grant. She promised, “after careful consideration with her staff and students, the grant will be put toward something key to PMA’s educational purposes.” She offered sincere thanks to Nolet-Forrest for her efforts in recommending and selecting PMA, as well as the ExxonMobil Corporation’s continuing commitment to support education. The Hudson-Litchfield News also applauds such corporate investment programs, which enable local branches to work in partnership with administrators to best identify and support the needs of local schools. “This was a great win-win situation for everyone involved,” Dobzanski and Nolet-Forrest whole-heartedly agreed.