Troop 21 Commemorates ‘Living History’ to Prepare for Gettysburg Trip
by Maureen Gillum
Hudson Boy Scout Troop 21 had an exciting glimpse of the Civil War through some “living history” recently. In preparation for their trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, this May, the troop invited a re-enactor of the 3rd Arkansas Regiment, Jack Jenkins, to share what life was like during the 1860s.
Troop 21’s 40 Scouts meet weekly at Hudson’s Wattannick Grange Hall (Route 111). “This hall, erected in the 1850s, was a launching place of our local regiments heading into the Civil War,” explained Scoutmaster Ben Dibble. “We also turned off the electric lights and lit oil lamps to give our Scouts a better understanding of life nearly 150 years ago.”
Jenkins, a Litchfield resident with a master’s degree in history, got involved in re-enacting in 2002; in part, inspired by his great-grandfather, Jeremiah Jenkins. “Like many brothers of their time who were torn between the North and South,” illuminated Jack, “Jeremiah started out with the Confederacy in the 16th North Carolina, but in 1864 joined Co. K, 8th Indiana, Infantry, on the Union side.”
Authentically garbed with four uniform layers of wool, Jenkins detailed how re-enactors portray the lives of Civil War soldiers – march, sleep in canvas tents on straw, tote the heavy artillery of the day and fight. He described how they recreate smaller “tacticals” and major Civil War encounters, such as the battles of Bull Run, Cedar Creek, New Market and Gettysburg -- all scripted to reconstruct “living history.”
Jenkins’ Company A of the 3rd Arkansas, consists of 12 “rifles” (men) and four women who typically wear the big hoop period skirts. “Driving the enemy back for two miles up hill, in four layers of wool, carrying a full pack and a 23-pound muzzle loader in July’s 95 degree heat, is a real workout for a 57-year-old man like me,” he laughed, “but I truly cherish the camaraderie with the other guys in my unit.”
Emphasizing an important creed of Scouts and re-enactors – “safety first” – a highlight of the night was Jenkins’ demonstration of his reproduction musket. He showed Scouts how to safely load powder cartridges and fire blanks imitating the 58-caliber lead bullets of his period muzzle loader. “The real thrust to re-enacting is to bring history to life for people today,” shared Jenkins enthusiastically, “and enable us to get in touch with our ancestors.”
The exhilarating re-enactment was the start of Troop 21’s work to “Be Prepared” for their five-day Memorial weekend trip to Gettysburg slated for 30 Scouts and 15 adults. “We also held a Merit Badge College focused on the trip March 3,” stated Scoutmaster Dibble. “Scouts worked on their communication merit badge, doing presentations on battles, and genealogy, by researching family members who fought in the Civil War.”
For example, Dibble uncovered more on his wife’s great-great uncle, Judson Spofford, who was 16 when he enlisted in the 10th Regiment, Vermont Volunteers, and ended up being shot through both lungs and left to die at 19. “Judson survived and went on to serve as a Postmaster General in West Virginia and later built a veteran's hospital, with his own money, and donated it to the government to help Civil War veterans,” detailed Elizabeth Dibble proudly. “He died in 1937 at the age of 91 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.”
Troop 21 plans to leave May 25 and spend their first night at High Point State Park in New Jersey and head to the National Park Group site at Gettysburg the next day. While at Gettysburg, the Scouts will earn some historic patches by doing hikes up to nine miles and visiting battle sites. Troop 21 will also lay a wreath at the monument to the 12th NH Volunteers, the New Hampshire unit that fought at Gettysburg. The troop will also visit Hershey Park for some fun before their return. “Our troop will be using the Patrol method and doing Patrol cooking during the entire trip,” explained Senior Patrol Leader Tom Laste, proudly. “We’ve also largely financed the trip though our annual popcorn and Christmas tree sales.”
Dibble enthusiastically concluded, “Scouting is the greatest program available for kids today – come join us anytime!” For more information on Hudson Troop 21, contact Scoutmaster Dibble at 880-2077 or e-mail email@example.com.
Mousseau and Roy Families Light Up Hudson with CHIPS Donation
by Doug Robinson
What started out as a simple project years ago with only a few hundred Christmas lights has now grown into an elaborate display of nearly 140,000 holiday lights, animated scenes, and a display which awes everyone who visits their home in Hudson.
“The complex and intricate arrangement of the lights takes the two families three weeks to complete,” commented Paul Roy. “Each year it gets bigger and bigger.”
This year the Roys and the Mousseaus accepted donations from those who visited their display and have decided to donate those proceeds to the CHIPS (Children of Hudson Interacting with Police Services) of the Hudson Police Department.
The website for the Hudson Police Department describes CHIPS as, “Children of Hudson Interacting with Police Services is a charitable organization which is dedicated to fostering improved relations between the children of our town and our police department. Since 1990 CHIPS, which consists of a committee of police officers, business people and concerned citizens, has endeavored to fund and produce programs which allow our town’s police officers to meet and socialize with Hudson’s children and their parents.”
Due to the hard work and efforts of these two families, their Christmas light display raised $2,650 for the CHIPS program. This generous donation will be used to continue the activities of CHIPS with Hudson’s youth.
Currently, CHIPS sponsors a tee-ball team for youth baseball, participates in the sponsorship of two to three students from the Memorial Middle School to attend the annual trip to Washington, D. C., as well as off set the costs of their annual Fright Night.
Selectman Ken Massey, Chairman, stated that these two families were “a credit to the community, and that the town is very appreciative. This is why a community is made up of people, not things.”
Decision Time: Candidates Respond Candidly to Top Town Issues
by Doug Robinson
The right to vote is considered by many to be the single, most precious right or privilege we have as American citizens. Each year, either in the spring or in the fall, we are asked to vote, or make a choice on whom we wish to lead our government in making decisions on our behalf.
Scholastic Update writes, “When the polls open on Election Day, every citizen over the age of 18 will be able to cast a vote. It is a right we take for granted, one that defines our nation as a democracy. The right to vote wasn't just handed to Americans. They had to fight for it.”
On March 14 the voting polls for the town will be open at the Community Center in Hudson. The Office of Selectmen for the Town of Hudson has four candidates running to fill two vacant seats: William Cole, Shawn Jasper, Ben Nadeau and Terry Stewart.
To clarify their positions on various town issues, the Hudson~Litchfield News has prepared a list of questions which the public has told us are of importance. Each candidate was asked to respond to the questions for readers’ review.
After reading these candidates’ responses, readers are encouraged to exercise their personal freedom to vote. It’s decision time: don’t complain - change it. The choice is yours.
Q: Hudson~Litchfield News
“What is your management style when managing the department heads in the town of Hudson? Do you feel they are currently micro-managed? How would you hold the department heads accountable for their positions of responsibility?”
A: William Cole
“My style is to identify the requirement, appropriate individuals, give them the means to accomplish the mission, guidance and then give them the opportunity to execute. On any of those rare occasions, where they may have been inadvertently micro-managed, I have made mid-course correction.”
A: Shawn Jasper
“I believe that the BOS should cause or require the department heads to justify all of their requests, whether those requests be budgetary or personnel. I will make sure that we review all alternative ideas…making sure that alternative solutions are known to department heads. Presently, I think the BOS are inconsistent with their management of department heads.”
A: Ben Nadeau
“No, they are not currently micro-managed. The department heads need more rules and guidelines to follow. The department heads need to follow the rules and there needs to be consistency between the different departments.”
A: Terry Stewart
“If I see an issue that concerns me, I would go to the department head and review the matter with them. I think I have a very good relationship with the department heads in town.”
Q: Hudson~Litchfield News
“How can/should the town of Hudson “get out front” with the Green Meadow project? When should we partner with W/S Development on mutual concerns, i.e., the water tank?”
“The town has been out in front since day one with the Green Meadow project. Not with just W/S, but with other developers of the property. We should consider partnering when an official proposal is presented to the town and that proposal is only in the town’s best interest.”
“The town should “get out front” by using the funds in the Contingency Fund ($50,000). We should hire a professional to research various W/S development projects, and verify that they have a strong and positive performance track record of accomplishments with communities like Hudson. When we can get commitments from W/S development for both financial and consulting help with no strings attached, we should partner with them.”
“We have to be open with them and tell them what we are looking for in a project of this size. We need to find out the impact on traffic as well as any financial concerns. We should look at what they have done in other towns. We should have partnered with them yesterday.”
“We have in the 2007 budget $100k to bring on board some extra consultants. We have an excellent Community Development Department. But this project is well above anything the town has done in the past. Regarding the water tank … they will be coming back to the Board of Selectmen with a memorandum. If they can contribute financially, then I would be in favor of becoming involved with them.”
Q: Hudson~Litchfield News
“What could/should be the town of Hudson’s involvement with the Hudson seniors? Should the town have any involvement with a Senior Center?”
“The town should support the entire senior community of Hudson. The town should have involvement if the senior center if it involved the services of the entire senior community of Hudson.”
“I think we should be treating the seniors the way we treat our Hudson youth. Our support should be along the same lines. Until up to now, while the town has been supported, we should be looking to further assist the seniors by reimbursing the seniors with the funds that we borrowed/used from their Capital Reserve Account to buy the Lions Hall years ago.”
“The town of Hudson should have a lot of involvement with the Hudson seniors. As the citizens in town age, we must take care of their needs and support them in their projects. Yes, the town should have involvement with their Senior Center.”
“I would like to see the Hudson Seniors come under the Hudson Recreation Department and it would be for Hudson residents only. I would have a separate committee, a seniors committee, operating under the umbrella of the Recreation Committee. They could have a lot of events between the children and the seniors. I think there could be a lot of bridge building between the two age groups. Regarding a Senior Center, I would be open to suggestions. I would like to see a plan. I am unable to comment until I see a plan.”
Q: Hudson~Litchfield News
“How could the selectmen better solidify their relationship with the Budget Committee and should that be important? Should the two organizations work independently or mutually for Hudson’s interest?”
“It is critical there be a good working relationship between all governing bodies. Both parties need to check their egos at the door and the issues that do arise as a result of individual’s concerns not institutional disconnects.”
“The town is better off when the two governing bodies work together. The Board of Selectmen need to be open to suggestions, develop flexibility, and be better prepared in terms of accuracy when presenting the supporting documents for their revenue projections.”
“I think the relationship between the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee has improved over the past few years. They should work together in order to do the town projects. They should work mutually in the interest of the taxpayers.”
”The best example is when we brought forth the warrant article for the combined dispatch. Only three budget members attended and two did change their vote after the tour. As budget liaison, I would always ask, “do you have any questions so that the department head may come prepared?” The best way to work with them is to keep them fully informed as to why we put things into the budget. It is important to work together … it should not be hostile and I felt that it was quite hostile this year.”
Q: Hudson~Litchfield News
“Computer technology was a big focus during the budget process this year. Should the town and the school system team up to work together on this growing concern?”
“Yes … it would be an excellent idea.”
“Yes. Years ago, we had a committee to work together to explore areas where the town and the school district could work together to save the taxpayers money with regard to computer technology. I think we should be working together. We need to put our private concerns aside and work for the taxpayer.”
“Yes. As we look to the future, we need to be able to access data and be able to control our data flow. Working together can only bring down the town budget and school budget because the two governing bodies would be working together for a common cause.”
Q: Hudson~Litchfield News
“What is the most important message you would like to tell the Hudson voters? “
“I will continue to work as hard as I can as I have for the past four years, be true to my beliefs and to the best interests of the town of Hudson.”
“I’ve been involved in town government for 26 years. My experience in state government has given me a broader outlook on how government should function. In order to be effective, government needs to be innovative. By asking the right questions, I will make sure that our local government is working for the taxpayer of Hudson. Those who work in government should and need to be held accountable.”
“We need to control our taxes by controlling growth, especially Green Meadows. I believe in taking a stand for the citizens of Hudson, and I am not concerned about the status situation of the current Board of Selectmen.”
“I have always looked at all issues with an open mind. I want to have the best trained and best equipped departments to serve all of Hudson’s residents. One of my future goals is a useful path from Taylor Falls Bridge to the Sagamore Bridge.”
Community Supports Hudson Police Department’s Blood Drive - 162 Collected Units
by Doug Robinson
The community of Hudson came out in large numbers to support the Hudson Police Department’s Blood Drive. At this semi-annual event at the Community Center “162 usable units” were collected, according to Lieutenant Jason Lavoie, of the Hudson Police Department.
The Hudson Police Department has partnered with the American Red Cross since 1987 in hosting blood drives. “Each spring and each fall we host a blood drive,” commented Lisa Nute of the Hudson Police Department. “We used to host the blood drive at St. Kathryn Church on Library Street, but when this event became too big and we outgrew the church, we moved it to the Lions Hall or Community Center as it is now called.”
Janet Ostrom, Managing Nurse for the American Red Cross blood drive, stated “The need for blood is always great. This blood drive that we (Red Cross) do with the Hudson Police Department is one of the bigger blood drives we do. Each unit of blood can help up to 3 people depending on the circumstances. ”
The semi-annual blood drives that the Hudson Police Department and American Red Cross sponsor each year offer movies for children, babysitting for those who need a sitter while giving blood, and a full menu of donated food for those who gave the “gift of life.”
The following companies provided food and donations for the blood drive:
The Hudson Police would like to “thank all those who donated blood and volunteered to help out with the drive. We had people from town government, school officials, and teachers, fire department members and Department of Public Works, as well as the staff at the Hudson Police Department who put in all kinds of volunteer hours to make this semi-annual event a success.”
Those who donated gave for many reasons. “I had a relative saved” stated one donor, while another donor stated “I am healthy, and I am thankful. I want to help someone else.”
‘In the Blink of an Eye’: The Story of Justin Bissett
by Doug Robinson
Nothing can be more rewarding to parents than raising a child who is intelligent, fun-loving, spunky, outgoing, sweet, and affectionate. Sometimes parents are blessed with children who completely love another, are best friends, and who share their growing years together playing board games together, skateboarding together, and taking their math lessons together.
And then, in the “blink of an eye,” the family is hit by a 100 mile per hour, illegally thrown spitball, seemingly coming out of nowhere. Time stops, and life becomes surreal. When Jeff and Darlene Bissett, Litchfield, awoke on that early New Year’s morning, little did they know that their life and the life of their nine year old daughter, Casey, and their son Justin, five, had changed forever.
It was New Year’s Day when Justin said “I have a headache.” These three words were the Bissett’s first clue which has led this family to a series of chain-linked events which would immediately change their lives.
When Justin’s headache did not clear up in a couple of days, Darlene Bissett took Justin to their family doctor, Dr. Peter Seviour, Hudson. Because Justin has a history of being allergic to dust, combined with the fact that the cough and cold season was upon us, Justin’s doctor prescribed a regiment of medicine to relieve the possibility of headaches due to a possible allergic reaction to dust.
However, as the next few days passed, Justin’s headache did not go away. In fact, it began to hurt worse. Justin began to get dizzy and he now complained about having an upset stomach too. Justin also began to demonstrate other symptoms which were not consistent with allergies and were not consistent with the warning instructions on the medication Justin was taking. Justin became more “sluggish, his right foot began to drag, and he favored his left arm” recalls Darlene Bissett. “I called the doctor and he changed his schedule to see us immediately.”
And then it happened. Darlene will never forget the next set of words from her little boy’s primary care physician. After examining Justin with these new symptoms, she was told by their doctor, “It appears like he has something in his head, the left side of his head. He has vision problems and he has gait issues. I would not want to hear about this if it were my child.” This is when time stopped for the Bissett family. This was their “blink of an eye.”
Justin was diagnosed with a brain tumor and it was located in the deepest part of his brain, the brain stem. The Bissett’s learned that the name given to this type of brain cancer was “pontine gliomas” and according to information from St. Jude Children’s Hospital, “Brain stem tumors account for 10 percent of pediatric brain tumors. The peak incidence (age group) is between ages 5 and 10. Pontine gliomas are so rare that only 150 children are diagnosed with this disease yearly.”
“The scary thing is that we know nothing about this and all of a sudden, you have to learn everything about this thing. One day we have a healthy boy, learning his letters, and in the next day, we are told our worst fear, our son has brain cancer and it is referred to as a pontine tumor” recalls Jeff Bissett.
“Pontine tumors affect the cranial nerves, causing symptoms relating to the nerves that supply the muscles of the eye and face, and the muscles involved in swallowing. These symptoms include double vision, inability to close the eyelids completely, dropping one side of the face, and difficulty chewing and swallowing” according St. Jude Hospital’s website. “The tumor also affects the (side) of the brain, with resultant weakness of the arms or legs and difficulty with speech and walking. Symptoms usually worsen rapidly because the tumor is rapidly growing.”
While patients, who have pontine tumors have been known to improve dramatically during or after six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, the overall prognosis for children with these tumors reflects survival times of 12 to 14 months.
According to the website for Children’s Hospital of Boston, ‘There are no known factors or conditions that predispose an individual to the development of … pontine tumors.” These tumors have also been found to impair the ability to walk, create fluid build up in the brain, vomiting, increase headaches (especially in the morning) and fatigue.
Surgery to remove pontine tumors “is not generally possible because these tumors are widely spread within the brain stem and can not be removed” according to the web site of St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
“Justin is currently on a strict regiment of chemotherapy and radiation for the next six weeks” states Justin’s dad, Jeff. “Justin has had a feeding tube surgically implanted so that we can continue to feed him when he has problems swallowing. The doctors also surgically imbedded a shunt into Justin so that he is able to drain excess fluid from his brain. The recent lumbar puncture performed on Justin showed that he did not have any cancer in his spinal fluid, and for that we are thankful. Right now, we are giving him steroids to reduce the swelling in his brain, administering the chemotherapy ourselves, and we take Justin by ambulance to Boston everyday so that he can receive his treatment of full head or more commonly known, as focal head radiation.”
“Fortunately, we have health insurance which is helping us with the medical costs” continues Bissett. “I am concerned that we may be required to visit another hospital. We have organized a fund raiser on Justin’s behalf. The event will be held on Saturday, April 1, 2006 from 6:00 - 11:00pm, at the Casa di Fior in Wilmington, Massachusetts. There will be a buffet style dinner, live music, dancing, raffles, and door prizes. The fund raiser will help pay medical bills (not covered by insurance), provide financial aid to our family (as Darlene had to stop working), as well as pay for a trip to Houston, Texas, to visit the Burzynski Clinic” comments Bissett. Tickets for the event may be purchased by calling Jen at 978-988-6322, or Brenda at 978-851-5278, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. A fund has been set up in Justin’s name at TD Bank north, 62 Nashua Road, Londonderry, New Hampshire as well.
Casey, Justin’s older sister wishes we could be “playing board games and riding their scooters together, just like they used to do.” She wishes and says that she misses that “they are not doing their home school lessons together again” and she wishes they could be “playing with their favorite stuffed animals together,” just like they used to do, before the “blink of an eye.” They are best of friends and they love each other very much.
So, each night, when Casey goes to bed, she recites the following prayer: “Dear God, Please make Justin stronger and healthier so he can get the important medicine that he needs. Please kill that tumor so his brain will get better. We love him so much and need him to stay with us for a long time. Please hear our prayers, God. Amen.”