Seniors and Teenagers Alike Dance the Night Away

submitted by Brandon P. Mansur

The clouds loomed on the horizon, threatening anyone daring enough to venture outside in the early evening hours of Saturday, May 20.  Luckily, the rain held off, and about 130 slightly-older people were able to make it outside and arrive at Alvirne High School’s cafeteria for the Third Annual “Senior-Senior” Prom.  This event is a nexus for Hudson’s real “Seniors” of Hudson and the surrounding communities, and the “Seniors” of Alvirne High School (complete with a few juniors, sophomores and freshmen).  This event was once again sponsored by a joint effort between Alvirne High School’s Key Club and National Honor Society. 

Lucille Boucher gets some help from Jolene McCarthy with today’s phone setup; Evelyn Poulin looks on.

The dance itself this year was known as the “Senior-Spring Fling” and people certainly had a spring in their step throughout the evening.  The music, laughter, and most importantly, dancing, never stopped once during the entire evening.  Everyone who came enjoyed themselves immensely.  One couple, Raymond and Mary Ann Gendron, were very pleased with the way the students of Alvirne were able to put on such an event, “It’s a lovely evening … we got to meet of nice people tonight … especially teenagers, who we normally would not get to be with on a normal evening.”  Lucille Boucher, President of the Hudson Senior Citizens Group, echoed these statements, “It’s a marvelous evening that brings together multiple generations … it’s truly something to see.” 

Bud and Phoebe Hodge

The student volunteers helping out at the dance stood in awe of the level of aptitude some of the Seniors were demonstrating.  One student, Matthew Veves, quipped, “Wow, these people really get into it!”  Another student, Megan Lisay noted, “I wish I could dance like that” as she observed a lady doing the Charleston. 

This year’s event was all the more remarkable considering the limited publicity it received in the weeks preceding it.  Key Club President Jolene McCarthy said, “The Key Club and National Honor society faced some challenges and obstacles in trying to plan this event, so we are extremely happy that the event turned out to be a success.”  It appeared that many people have either been to this event before, or they had heard from word-of-mouth sources about the dance.  Much to the delight of the students and seniors alike, it was announced that there will be another “Senior-Senior Prom” next year at the end of the dance.  So, next spring, stay tuned for announcements about the Fourth Annual “Senior-Senior Prom.”

Both groups of seniors try their luck at line dancing.

Where Were You on Mother’s Day 2006?

by Doug Robinson

Throughout our lives, we all celebrate events and occasions on specific days of the year.  We also remember those special days of the year when events happen that are both tragic and pleasant.  The older generation will always know where they were when John F. Kennedy was shot.  And likewise, the younger generation will now where they were when the two planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City.

Firefighters, police, Highway Department, town leaders, Red Cross personnel, emergency response personnel, and neighbors helping neighbors will always remember Mother’s Day, 2006.  For it was on Mother’s Day, that Hudson and the surrounding towns endured the torrential rains as it entered its three-day marathon.  It was on Mother’s Day that the rivers of Hudson went above their flood crests and the Merrimack rose 10 feet above the flood level.

And when the storm was over, while 15 families had to be evacuated from their homes, not a single injury or death resulted from the catastrophic rains, flooding, road washouts, and loss of power concerns.  The Highway Department opened their gates to families needing sand while the Fire Department Explorers went from home to home, filling bags, helping families, and protecting the public.  The Hudson Police focused on traffic and public safety while the Highway Department focused on keeping roads open, safe, and the waters controlled.

“All departments within the Town of Hudson as well as agencies on a state level assisted, and worked together in efforts to safeguard the residents of Hudson from the dangers of the flowing waters,” stated Fire Chief Shawn Murray.

The first call to the Fire Department regarding the potential flooding of Hudson Rivers was received on Saturday, May 13 at 6:26 p.m.  “Hazardous conditions, brooks, streams, swamps … Pelham and Bush Hill rising in swamp” was the first of many calls to be received by the fire department during the next 96 hours.

“Speare Road getting ready to spill over, Kimball Hill … starting to flow over, 58 Gowing starting to flow over, Dumont Road … several driveways under water … Selectman Ben Nadeau called in “Sullivan Road and Beaver Brook is flowing over” were the next calls to be received by the fire department.    

Homeowners began calling the fire department at 7:05 p.m., requesting assistance for water in basements and the fire department began to check residences on Bush Hill Road for possible evacuation.  Highland and Greeley became temporarily closed due to drainage issues.  The Highway Department responded and cleared the drains so that flooding in this area of Hudson was averted.

By 9:03 p.m., on Mother’s Day, Burger King on Central Street was “under water,” and four Explorers had already sandbagged a residence. 

“Approximately 15 firefighters assisted in the direct management and safety concerns of the residents of Hudson,” commented Chief Murray.  “We still had to man the ambulances as well as manage the overall operations of the fire department during the storm.  Normally we have eight firefighters on duty, but we increased our manpower to 15 firefighters and the Explorers so that we could keep up and manage the effects of the storm.  The wives of the firefighters cooked many meals for the firefighters as many of them worked long hours helping families.”

At 9:36 p.m. the Hudson ambulance responded to a “not breathing, heart attack.”  And, his life was saved by the paramedics as he was in cardiac arrest.

By 9:26 a.m., the fire department had responded to 17 additional incidences involving flooding at Alvirne Drive, Highland and Greeley, Wason Road, Speare Road, Gowing Road, Haggarty, and Belknap Road.  Evacuations had begun, utility power was being cut off in homes which were being flooded, and one caller stated “sewage is coming into the residence.”  

And at 12:01 a.m., 911 received a call to notify the fire department that a female had fallen and had a possible injury.

The Towns of Hudson dispensed approximately 500 sandbags and received an additional 3,000 sandbags from the State of New Hampshire in efforts to prevent water from entering residents’ homes.  

By the end of Mother’s Day, the Town of Hudson Fire Department had received 45 more “incidences.”  A chocking victim, dropping off more sand bags, church flooding, gas shut offs, furnace concerns, a seizure, an unconscious male, and smoke in building list only a few of the calls received. 

At 3:30 p.m. on Mother’s Day it was like the movie Groundhog Day; the scene for the Hudson Fire Department kept repeating itself, unchanging from caller to caller, looking for assistance from their town. 

Within the next 24 hours, the Hudson Fire Department would begin fighting the rain storm and a second front:  the Merrimack River.  The Merrimack River was now rising and entering the yards of homeowners who live along the river.  Continental Paving became involved and had already donated sand to a homeowner on Webster Street in efforts to protect their home.

More roads began to flood.  Birch Street began to flood and evacuations began.  The Community Center was opened to house the evacuees.  The Red Cross communicated they would have a shelter open at the Nashua South High School for those who needed temporary housing. 

Cotton Wood, Waters Edge, Radcliff and Riverview were all advised that evacuations may be necessary and for these homeowners to start getting prepared in case this was necessary.  A motor vehicle, located on 14 Waters Edge was now under water, as the Merrimack River had traveled approximately 100 yards up the embankment and now covered the first four feet of the residence where the vehicle was parked.

A tractor trailer backed into a tree and fell across the road.  A telephone pole support failed and the telephone pole leaned, causing wires to spark.  PSNH was called to control the electricity on this pole.

Meanwhile, the ambulance was responding to an 87-year-old female who was having trouble getting out of bed.

And when the day was over, and when the rains had stopped, 88 “incidences” had been recorded in total.   The Preliminary Damage Assessment for Public Assistance filed by Chief Murray, lists the total estimated dollar amount to be $50,938.36.  The estimated costs to the Town of Hudson are:

  • Road Systems:  $13,000
  • Buildings and Equipment:  $10,000
  • Fire Equipment Costs:  $5,500
  • Fire Equipment Protective Measures (Overtime Salaries):  $16,438.35
  • Highway Department Costs (Overtime Salaries):  $6,000.

“All the people who were affected were grateful,” commented Chief Murray.  “The town of Hudson has a great community spirit.  The benchmark for the flood and for any emergency, to which we determine the success of an operation, is that no one sustained an injury from the flooding, and no one died.  Everyone took it seriously.  Our emergency plans were in place and they worked.  All the departments within the town worked together well and professionally.  It was a group effort.”

Family Fun Day

by Lynne Ober

Officers Sullivan and Akim with Kendra, 9, a member of the Red Devils team and Madison, 10, a member of the White Lightning team.

Litchfield Girls Softball League sponsored Family Fun Day 2006 on Saturday, May 20.  Although the day started with bright sunshine, by the middle of the morning gray clouds and a cool breeze had rolled in.  That didn’t matter to family members who donned sweatshirts and jackets and kept on having fun.

Family day is both a chance for families and team members to have fun and raise money for the league’s scholarship fund.  Events included a cake walk, bounce house, face painting, a softball toss game, and several other games.

A bake sale was held, pizza and grilled hot dogs and hamburgers were available for the hungry, and Dippin Dots were enjoyed by all.

The Hudson Police K-9 unit, consisting of Officer Kevin Sullivan and his canine partner, Akim, put on a demonstration from 12:30 to 1:30.

Officer Sullivan introduced Akim to the audience and talked about the training that he and Akim undergo together.  Akim, a trained tracker, can help with criminal apprehensions, search and retrieve crime scene evidence and sniff out drugs.

Officer Sullivan told the crowd that Akim has assisted the Hudson Police Department in retrieving over $100,000 worth of drugs this year.

Akim is trained to both voice and hand signals.  While Officer Sullivan explained how they worked together as partners, Akim spent part of his time watching the baseball game going on and you could tell that he was thinking that he could play in the outfield and catch the balls.

Officer Sullivan told the audience how Akim had tracked and found a lost 12 year old autistic boy in April of this year.  “The boy had been gone for over an hour and a half when we got the call.  We were just going out to dinner, but Akim and I went to the boy’s home,” explained Officer Sullivan.  “When we got there we found deep woods on one side of the home and a swamp across the street.  No one had seen the boy leave.  No one knew which way he had gone.  Akim sniffed his sneakers and then started tracking.  Within eight minutes he had led us half a mile away and we found the boy.  So if you ever get lost and see a big black dog, you’ll know that Akim has found you,” Sullivan grinned.  “He’ll run up and lick your face.”

Akim can run at 35 miles an hour. 

Akim and Officer Sullivan wanted to demonstrate how Akim found evidence at a criminal scene.  They left the field.  Bev Sullivan, Officer Sullivan’s wife, came onto the field and hid three items on the field.  Then Officer Sullivan showed how Akim responds to the verbal “search” command to seek and retrieve items that might be part of a crime scene.

After the demonstration the kids lined up to have their photos taken with Akim.

The Litchfield Girls Softball League is a Babe Ruth affiliated softball league.  Players are organized into several divisions based on a player's age as of December 31, 2005.  Current divisions include; Instructional (ages 5 - 6), U8 (ages 7 - 8), U10 (ages 9 - 10), U12 (ages 11 - 12) and U16 (ages 13 - 16).

Girls Scouts Donate Cookies to Troops

Girl Scouts from Hudson Junior Troop 708 pose with cookies they are donating to US military troops overseas as part of Swift Water Council's Gift of Caring program.  With the help of many generous cookie customers, the troop purchased almost 100 boxes of cookies to donate.

Governor Lynch Visits Hudson to Review Damages Firsthand

by Doug Robinson

New Hampshire Governor John Lynch recently toured the Town of Hudson with local officials, observing and assessing the damages created by the recent rain storm.

During the review, Chief Shawn Murray reviewed the three areas of Hudson which were hardest hit by the storm:  Bush Hill and Pelham Roads, Waters Edge, and Riverview.

Chief Murray and Governor Lynch discuss repair options.

“Flooding in the town of Hudson usually starts flowing at Second Brook,” commented Chief Murray, “where it swells and bottlenecks after Lowell Road, behind T-Bones.  This river also gives us problems on Bush Hill Road and the Pelham Road areas.  I began to check this river on Friday, before the storm started in preparation in case the storm really hit us.”

“As the rain began to subside on Monday, May 15, our attention was drawn from the brook to the Merrimack River,” explained Chief Murray to the governor.  “Our first issue was Toll Street which is located off Webster Street.  We had 500 sandbags on hand and we picked up an additional 3,000 for needy residents.”

During the tour of Hudson, the governor saw firsthand the damage done to homes on Radcliff and on Waters Edge.  The governor also had the opportunity to speak with the homeowner whose house was flooded up to four feet high. 

Fire Chief Shawn Murray and Selectman Ben Nadeau survey water damage with Governor John Lynch on Bush Hill Road.

Governor Lynch also reviewed the diligent and expert work done by Hudson’s Highway Department on Bush Hill Road and Pelham Road.  In two separate areas, water had risen in excess of 30 feet as the pipe carrying Second Brook under the roadway had become blocked and prevented the water from flowing properly.  Highway crews used heavy equipment to not only save portions of Hudson’s roadways, prevent further damage to a home, as well as repair the barriers adjacent to the roadways.

 “We got out early,” commented Chief Murray “and all town departments, town officials, and state agencies participated in the success of handling this dangerous storm.” 

“Yes, everybody worked together,” stated Lynch.  “We learned a lot from the storms that ravaged Alstead last year, and we put those lessons to work during this storm.  Overall, we activated over 400 National Guard statewide and we had another 650 on alert.  We had good communication with the towns.”

As a result of the governor’s tour of Hudson, as well as the other towns affected by the storm, Governor Lynch requested and the State of New Hampshire approved $5 million to be allocated to those towns that were in need of aid to rebuild their infrastructure as a result of the damage done by the storm.  This money, according to Lynch, was “an advance of state money until the affected towns qualify for federal disaster aid.” 

The town of Hudson has filed for $50,938 of disaster aid with FEMA.

Successful Blood Drive

by Lynne Ober

Litchfield Knights of Columbus hold their blood drive every year while the Litchfield Garden Club holds its plant sale.  This year, as in years past, there was a great turn out.

The Red Cross was in need of blood because they only keep a week’s supply on hand and donations were slower than normal with some New Hampshire residents flooded out.

Every pint donated can help up to three patients.  “Our goal was 40 pints, last year we collected 48 pints, but today was even better,” smiled Gilles Bard, Community Director, Knights of Columbus.  “We had 58 donors, which resulted in 53 usable pints, of the 58 donors three were first time donors.  With each pint of blood being broken into three components, our drive will touch the lives of as many as 159 patients in need.”

Once again the Knights had organized a fun, friendly drive.  Dunkin’ Donuts donated gift books, every participant got a T-shirt and cookies, and drinks were on hand.

Seated from left to right, Phil Wood, Gilles Bard, and Joe Ferry.  Back row, Joe Fontaine, who came to donate, Tom Houle, Red Cross Blood Services Representative; Roland Lacroix, Gayle McCarthy, Charge Nurse; and Jeff Charette, Mobile Unit Supervisor.

17 Executive Drive, Suite One, Hudson, NH 03051 Phone: (603)880-1516 Fax: (603)879-9707
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