Hudson-Litchfield News

Nottingham West Lions Recognize Peace Poster Contest Winners

The Nottingham West Lions Club of Hudson is proud to present the local winners for the 2005 - 2006 Annual Lions International Peace Poster Contest.  More than 50 entries were received. 

All were students at Hudson Memorial Middle School from Ms. Luckus’ and Ms. Walsh’s art classes.  They competed for the chance to represent the Nottingham West Lions Club in the District 44H competition.  Each of the school’s five winners was presented with a U.S. Savings Bond and a Certificate of Merit at a ceremony held November 28. 

First-place honors went to Kelsey Fillmore.  The other winning entries were from Cassie Pezza, Evan McKenney, Alexis Winter and Kameo LeLievre. 

The Peace Poster Contest is an international contest for students age 11, 12, or 13.  Starting at the club level, a club’s winning poster is entered into the district competition and, if successful, will continue to advance through the multiple district level and international levels.  At the international level, a panel of judges from the art, peace, youth, education and media communities select one grand-prize winner and 23 merit award winners. 

Each poster is judged on originality, artistic merit and expression of the current year’s theme.  The 2005 - 2006 theme was “Peace without Borders” and was nicely interpreted by the Memorial School students. 

Any person wishing to learn more about the Peace Poster Contest may call the Peace Poster chairperson Diane Tate at 889-1308. 

     The grand prize and merit winners for the 2004 - 2005 competition may be viewed by visiting the website and clicking on the youth development programs.

“Peace without Borders”

Left to right:  Cassie Pezza; Ms. Jan Walsh, Art Teacher; Evan McKenney; Lion Mary Luckus, Graphic Arts Teacher; Kelsey Fillmore, First Place Winner; Nottingham West Lions Club President, Lion Sandra Sawtelle; Alexis Winter; District Peace Poster Chairman, Lion Charlene Provencal, and Kameo LeLievre.

This week and next, the Hudson~Litchfield News will run a two-part series featuring the dispatchers of both the police and fire departments in Hudson.  This week’s article was written as a “Have you Met?” column, while Week 2 will review the business expectations of this town position.

I wish to extend my appreciation to Chief Gendron and Captain Breault of the police department, as well as to Chief Shawn Murray and Deputy Chief Charlie Chalk of the fire department for allowing me full access to their departments.  Having spent many hours side by side with these professionals and witnessing firsthand their courage and ability to multi-task, I consider them heroes for our safety.  Many thanks to Hudson’s first line of emergency response, our valued dispatchers, who have one of the most stressful and misunderstood jobs in our town government.

Imagine Your Most Stressful Day Over and Over Again; Welcome to Dispatch

by Doug Robinson

The job interview to be a dispatcher is by no means typical.  While both the Hudson fire and police departments run background checks, verify employment data and ask the usual questions, there is one more piece of the puzzle that eliminates 90 to 95 percent of all of the applicants.

Here goes…“What would you do, if you were working alone at a dispatch desk, and you were handling a phone call about a domestic violence situation in progress, and at the same time, you were conversing with the police officer who had just arrived at a motor vehicle traffic accident?  In addition to these activities, you are trying to accommodate the person who is pounding on the bullet proof glass at the window, demanding to talk to the “Chief.”  .

The phone rings again, and in answering it, you realize the call is from your babysitter.  Your babysitter is screaming and saying that your child is “choking and cannot breathe.”  Your babysitter tells you she does not know what to do; your baby has turned “blue.”  Your precious baby is not moving or breathing and has gone limp.  What would you do?” asks the interviewer.

After that potential scenario, most applicants say “thanks, but no thanks.”  Few people are cut out for the job of a dispatcher.  The demands are very intense.

The dispatchers for the town of Hudson are not just a voice at the other end of the line when you dial that three-digit number, 911.  They are not a means to the end.  They are the end.  Actually, they are the beginning.  They are the first-line responders to any and all crises.  These highly trained dispatchers are qualified to give medical advice and authorized to dispatch any piece of emergency equipment within the town of Hudson.  Both Chief Gendron and Chief Murray state, “The dispatcher is our first-line of defense.  They have our backs.”

The on-going training programs for these dispatchers involve emergency medical training and CPR over the phone.  Using guide books, dispatchers are taught how to handle drug overdoses, eye injuries, fractures, heart problems, poisons, allergies, animal bites, assault/rape, bleeding, breathing and 44 different medical issues. 

Further training for the dispatchers involve the areas of crimes in progress, hit and run carjacking, abandoned children, drunk drivers, larceny, theft, and an additional 64 possible scenarios!

Domestic violence training and use of the telecommunications equipment which connects with the state and national computer system are also required.

And then, there is the suicide training. 

“My scariest moment was when I had a suicide call,” said Brian DePloey, dispatcher for the Hudson Police Department.  “The caller had told me he had a shotgun and it was pointed at him, in his mouth.  He told me he was going to kill himself.  I was the only guy between the victim and the cops outside.  It was the longest eight-minute phone call I have ever had in my life.  As it turned out, the caller’s medication was off, and we were able to prevent his suicide.”

Heather Poole, Senior Dispatcher and Spots Coordinator (State Police online Telecommunications Systems) for the Hudson Police Department explained that the public “doesn’t understand the level of stress each dispatcher is under.  New dispatchers are often overwhelmed by the responsibility of this job.  I used to get emotionally involved and feel bad, but I learned that feeling is part of the job.  I always remember that the safety of the caller and the safety of the officer are in the forefront of my mind.”

She continued, “You have to visualize the situation; we are the eyes and ears for our police.  From the moment the officer stops a car until the officer responds, he is in danger.  The officers are performing many stops on any given day.  We need to log every stop and put the stop into the police logging system while we perform the rest of our duties.”

The dispatchers at the police department are required to answer three phones, four business lines, two emergency lines and radio calls from the police; enter data into the dispatch screen; monitor the building’s security; and handle faxes from the Nashua Courthouse, as well as “walk the rope between the dog barking and life-threatening calls” according to Poole.

Warren Glenn, full-time dispatcher for the Hudson Fire Department shares many of the same sentiments with the police dispatchers.  He too, at times finds the job “overwhelming” and “stressful” while working in an environment referred to as a “closet” by Selectman Terry Stewart.  The monitoring of fire personnel between two stations, two fire engines, a ladder truck, and three ambulances, seven phone lines, four radio frequencies requires a “different set of skill sets to do the job” stated Glenn.  With this responsibility, the knowledge of computers, the monitoring of 272 street call boxes, telephone alarms, as well as the monitoring all police frequencies is involved with their daily tasks. 

The duties for a Hudson Fire Department dispatcher include dispatching not only for Hudson but for Litchfield as well.  The dispatchers handle the phone lines for the deaf, issue fire permits, record information on the incident screen, also known as the State National Reporting System.  Each fire engine is tracked by GPS, and the dispatchers are not only responsible to know their location at any given moment, they are also required to participate in using the mutual aid system when the town of Hudson’s resources are all in use.

The Hudson fire dispatchers are also emergency medical technicians.  They are professionals qualified to aid with any medical emergency that may arise.  The dispatchers are trained to assist with emergency phone calls which come across both the business line and the 911.

Every call to the fire department is reviewed, analyzed, and inspected in an effort to improve their efficiency.  “If the dispatcher does not stay calm, the entire line gets fired up,” said Dave Morin, acting Captain.  “After every call we review all the recorded calls and use them for training.”

Whether we speak of the fire department or of the police department, the consistent thread between these two public service organizations is the word “service.”  These dedicated and professional dispatchers are committed and “not willing to have anything happen to the guys,” stated Angela Allen, dispatcher for the Hudson Police Department. 

Officer Rachelle Megowen, a Hudson police officer for the last 5 1/2 years, stated, “They have the officer’s back … (We) would not be able to function without the operation of the dispatchers.”

Fire Chief Murray sums it up best by saying, ”The dispatchers are the first person a person with an emergency talks to … they are highly trained in getting the information, obtaining the location, identifying the problem, and then creating a chain of events which will solve the caller’s problems and concerns.  They play a critical role, being able to visualize and dispatch, remaining indifferent and calm, while realizing that time is critical.  They are there to help.”

Hudson Police Investigating ‘Incident’ of Injured Woman

by Doug Robinson

The Hudson Police Department, after receiving a phone call at approximately 7:30 a.m. from an early morning traveler on Derry Road, responded to an incident at 14 Derry Road, Hudson December 12. 

Other news agencies, such as WMUR television, have reported “that investigators said on Tuesday that a woman found beaten outside her Hudson home on Monday was not the victim of a random attack.”  Yet, Police Chief Gendron has commented that “until we are able to talk to the victim, that we are investigating an incident.”

Upon arrival at the scene, the Hudson Police Department found a 47-year-old woman lying on the driveway of 14 Derry Road.  She was found to be unconscious, with many bodily injuries to her head and to her legs.  According to Lieutenant Bill Avery, she had “been outside for some portion of the night.”  She was transported to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua, where she underwent surgery and has remained unable to communicate since the incident. 

According to Captain Breault, “Until she can tell us more, we don’t know what happened or who did this to her.”  As HEPPA laws do not allow for the disclosure of medical names or information, the Hudson Police Department would not release the victim’s name or volunteer any medical information about the victim.

Assistant County Attorney Justin Shepherd said investigators are still trying to determine whether the woman was the victim of an assault or simply an accident.  According to Sheppard, “It's fair to say that we haven't ruled anything in and haven't ruled anything out.”

Upon arrival at the scene, the Hudson Police dispatched their crime unit investigation team as well as requested assistance from the New Hampshire State Police.

When the police arrived at 14 Derry Road, they found the front door to the house was ajar, and the house was empty except for a big black dog.  The Hudson police took the dog for “safe-keeping,” according to Breault.  In the driveway a blue Isuzu SUV was parked, with both doors on the passenger side open.

Tsubaki Flowers Featured in Nashua Symphony Holiday House Tours

by Maureen Gillum

No red for Christmas?  It may sound strange, but not using red was the objective of one floral and decorator team from last weekend’s 19th annual Friends of Nashua Symphony Holiday House Tours.

Bea Francoeur’s family room is beautified by two silk spray arrangements on the mantle with flocked blade fern, curly ting, white hydrangea and a cascade of tulle and ribbon.  On the cocktail table is a square boxwood wreath in four glass cube vases, with copper millemeter balls, copper and green ribbon, winter berry, and star of Bethlehem flowers.

“Red is fantastic, but it’s often overused for Christmas,” explained David Picard, proprietor and floral designer of Tsubaki Flowers of Hudson.  “In creating the unique holiday decor for this special home, we were looking for exceptional ways to decorate with unusual shapes and tones.”

The annual Holiday House Tours in Nashua supports the Nashua Symphony (, the state’s oldest professional orchestra.  David humbly admitted he was “honored to be asked to participate again this year” and shared, “It’s also a lot of fun and helps a great cause!”  For a second year, David Picard teamed up with local decorator, Marlene Bennett, to adorn one of the four houses featured for the 2005 Nashua Holiday House circuit. 

Kitchen is an arrangement in four varying size copper containers using scotchbroom, curly ting and white Madonna lilies; the entire arrangement is lit and set underneath the glass kitchen tabletop.

This year Picard and Bennett transformed Bea Francoeur’s home on 5 Anthony Circle into a festive holiday banquet for the eye.  “The Francoeur home has a lovely colonial exterior with a Mediterranean-Tuscan feel on the interior,” shared David.  “Staying clear of reds, we opted for a lot of whites, coppers, greens and even blues along with the use of squares and even inversion.”

Perhaps most impressive, professional floral design is relatively new for the acclaimed Picard.  He grew up in Nashua, has lived in Hudson for the last six years and was looking for a career change several years ago.  “From 1994 - 2002, I worked at the non-profit Southern New Hampshire HIV/AIDS Task Force in Nashua, most recently as their executive director,” revealed Picard, “but that was extremely intense and I wanted a change.”  Turning his life-long hobby into a vocation, David opened up Tsubaki Flowers (, 886-0003) about three years ago and loves his work.  He illuminated and named his retail shop, “after the Japanese rose, the Tsubaki or Camellia, the flower which brings spring.”

The bathroom arrangement by Tsubaki Flowers consists of white amaryllis with copper millimeter balls and curly ting in a square clear vase.

Located at 203 Central Street, adjacent to TJ’s Eatery in Hudson’s Times Square, Picard states his business is helped by a great commuter location and continues to grow steadily.  “Much of my early business was guys stopping on the way home from work to set the tone for a nice evening or romantic weekend.”  While his commuter business remains strong, he’s also built a good residential clientele and some commercial customers.  “Tsubaki Flowers has a bit of everything, but we specialize in offering a unique twist on the traditional through the use of color and design,” concluded David.  The proof of Picard’s distinctive talents is in the pictures taken at the Francoeur home.

In the Dining Room a boxwood garland with floating white calla lilies also with white lights in the blooms.  The lamps on the sideboard have boxwood lampshades adding to the holiday flavor.

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