Decorated Serviceman Gives Insight into Being a Vet on Memorial Day

The weather on Memorial Day is always “up in the air” you might say, but this year we couldn’t have asked for any better.  Monday dawned clear and warm.  Both Hudson and Litchfield celebrated with parades.  Hudson Memorial School held its annual observation with a silent walk, flag ceremony and 21-gun salute on Thursday morning.  The entire student body walked single file in complete silence to watch the flag being raised as the choir sang the Star Spangled Banner

On Monday the Hudson parade disassembled at Library Park for the 21-gun salute and the playing of taps.  The Alvirne Band and the American Legion Band both played patriotic songs and the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Rick Maddox gave a moving speech about patriotism as the community assembled on the lawn for a warm summer celebration of freedom.

The commemoration continued on Tuesday Morning with the American Legion Post saluting all those lost in battle with the offering of a wreath to the waters of the Merrimack River.  This finished off with a final 21-gun salute and the playing of taps.

In Litchfield, Margaret Parent and the Litchfield Historical Society arranged for a moving but also enjoyable Memorial Day remembrances.

Once everyone was gathered at Old Town Hall, Dr. Steven Calawa issued a warm welcome to all.  Pastor Paul Miller gave the Invocation and the Boy Scouts presented the colors.  Fire Chief Tom Schofield and Police Chief Joe O’Brion led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Campbell High School band played the Star Spangled Banner.  Director Phil Martin asked the audience to join in and sing along with the band.  It was a great way to start the day.

Then Margaret Parent recognized the importance of remembering those who serve our country, especially those who die in that service.  She introduced the Keynote Speaker, Russ Ober, who served 22 years in the U.S. Air Force and flew 265 combat missions in Southeast Asia.  Russ Ober was awarded the prestigious Silver Star for heroism for his efforts during the Son Tay prison raid.

Russ Ober spoke about being in Washington, D.C., last Memorial Day with the Red River Fighter Pilots Association (RRFPA), a group of men and women who have flown in combat since the Vietnam War.  That association began when members who had flown combat north of the Red River in Vietnam joined together, and they have opened their arms to others who have flown in later combat situations.  That group was joined by the Vietnam prisoners of war and the men who participated in the Son Tay prison raid that occurred on November 20, 1970.

He told about the 500,000 motorcycles of Rolling Thunder who converge on our nation’s capital for Memorial Day.  Rolling Thunder members wear vests with their units on the back and their rank and medals on the front.

As the RRFPA, ex POWs and Son Tay Raiders walked from their hotel to the Vietnam Memorial, no cars were on the streets – just one motorcycle after another.  As the men and their wives gathered on a grassy hillside near the Vietnam Memorial to make a few speeches and remember their fallen comrades, members of Rolling Thunder began to gather too.

Russ Ober said when the bag piper finally started played and the group gathered on the hillside began its walk to the memorial to lay a wreath, members of the Rolling Thunder drew aside and made a path for them to reach the memorial so that all could remember their fallen comrades who could not be with them.

“We shook hands with each other and we remembered together for we knew the men behind the names on that memorial,” Ober stated.  “It was two groups honoring each other.”

Campbell High School student, Sarah Evans, sang America the Beautiful.

State Representative Lynne Ober was joined by State Representative Leon Calawa.  Lynne Ober said that it was a perfect time to honor not only a veteran, but someone who meant a lot to the town of Litchfield.  She asked Will Jewett to come to the podium.

Lynne Ober spoke about Will’s willingness to do anything for anyone and “if Will’s not around, we all know what Pat’s famous four words are – Will, will do it,” Lynne grinned.

She read a proclamation from the House of Representatives honoring Will Jewett for his volunteerism to the town of Litchfield.

Pastor Paul Miller gave the Benediction; Dr. Steven Calawa gave closing remarks and then three wreaths were laid to honor those who had given their lives in service to America.

Echo Taps played during the wreath laying.

There was a doll carriage and bicycle parade, organized by Karen Hodge, after the ceremonies.

The Macareag family rode on the Hudson~Litchfield News truck in the Hudson parade to honor their dad who just returned from Afghanistan and was marching with the VFW.  Four-year-old Aisling and 2-year-old Sinead with mom, Lisa.

Amelia Grace Monicka add an adorable touch with her carriage to the Hudson~Litchfield News Parade truck in the Litchfield event.

Legion Commander Peter Ledoux offers a wreath to honor the veterans of Tuesday.

American Legion Commander Peter Ladoux, center, is assisted by Sue Buxton, President of the Auxiliary and Mike Morin, President of the Sons of American Legion, place a wreath at the Hudson services.

Litchfield forest fire truck now owned by Warren Adams.

Legion Post 48 Honor Guard and Commanders at the Tuesday morning services on the Memorial Bridge.

Russ Ober – keynote speaker at Litchfield.

Students Chris Doherty and Derrick Faria raise the stars and stripes during Thursday’s Memorial Service.

Hudson Police Honor Guard head the Hudson Memorial Day Parade.

Girl Scout cookies in the Litchfield Parade.

American Legion Bugler George Roe

Hudson Fire Explorers Dan Skafas, Corey Morin, and Shane Collins pay their respect at the Hudson Library Park Services.

Hudson Memorial School choirs perform during the annual service.

Abbott Towing annual float to salute the troops.

American Legion Commander Peter Ledoux assists students Dohery and Faria with a new flag that the Post presented to the school.

Soggy Tigers at Fun Day

submitted by Meghan Costro

On any given cold and rainy Saturday morning, most people don't hurry out of bed to venture outdoors.  On May 13 a small group of Tiger Scouts felt differently.  The Tiger Fun Day, similar to mini-Olympic games for Cub Scouts, would not be cancelled due to weather.

Den Leader, Pete Ripaldi, and five of his Tiger Scouts from Den 6 Pack 20 in Hudson, met at Greeley Park in Nashua.  There they found a handful of other scouts from neighboring towns.

The boys gathered under the tent and spent the afternoon competing in various games.  Throughout the competitions the boys consumed hot chocolate and donuts.  When you gather young energetic boys together to play, the raw wet conditions are not an issue and they were in great spirits.

As the three and a half hours of laughter, slipping and sliding in the wet grass and meeting new friends came to an end, the boys who were still standing (see photo) were rewarded with a patch for their participation.  Great job boys!

Drug Sting Operation Results in Arrest of Massachusetts Man

On May 25 members of the Hudson Police Department in cooperation with the Attorney General's Drug Task Force conducted a drug sting operation involving a subject suspected of selling crack cocaine in the town of Hudson.  

Under the direction and control of the Hudson Police Criminal Investigation Division and the Attorney General's Drug Task Force, a drug transaction was observed in which approximately 7 grams of a narcotic drug was sold to a cooperating individual.  The controlled buy occurred within the town, but the exact location is being withheld to protect the identity of the cooperating individual. 

The suspect was stopped at approximately 7:30 p.m. by Officer Scott MacDonald of the Hudson Police Department and subsequently placed under arrest for the alleged sale of the narcotic drug crack cocaine.  The suspect was identified as Juan M. Soto-Mejia, 41, of Dorchester, Massachusetts.

Soto-Mejia's vehicle was subsequently impounded and a search warrant was executed.  The vehicle was identified as a 1999 Mitsubishi Gallant.  Approximately $5,000 in cash was seized from the vehicle, along with approximately 80 grams of suspected crack cocaine and 50 grams of suspected powder cocaine.  The street value of these narcotics is estimated at more than $10,000.  The majority of the narcotics and cash was discovered in an electronically operated hidden compartment within the center console of the vehicle.  The compartment operates hydraulically. 

Soto-Mejia was arraigned at the Nashua District Court in Nashua for the charges of Sale of a Narcotic Drug, Possession of a Controlled Drug, and two counts of Possession of a Controlled drug with Intent to Distribute.  Bail was set at $500,000 cash.  Soto-Mejia was unable to post bail and he is scheduled for a probable cause hearing at the Nashua District Court on June 6.

VFW Hosts Veterans from New Hampshire Veterans Home

by Lynne Ober

Hudson VFW Post 5791 invited veterans from New Hampshire’s Veterans Home to a Sunday dinner.

Two vans filled with veterans arrived at approximately 11:30 a.m. last Sunday.  Tables were already set with festive red, white, and blue decorations and the cooks, members of the VFW Cooties, an honorary group of former VFW officers, and the Men’s Auxiliary, had been cooking since the day before.

The extensive menu featured roast beef, ham and turkey, mashed potatoes, whipped carrots, green beans and two kinds of gravy.  Rolls and butter were on the table.

VFW members greeted the arriving veterans in the parking lot and escorted them to the tables.  Drinks were served and people were quickly chatting and laughing.

Salads were served and orders taken for dinner.  Members of the VFW manned a buffet line and helped served the meals to the veterans.

“This is what it’s all about,” said VFW Women’s Auxiliary President Brenda Gora.

“As a veteran myself, I enjoy working with and honoring other veterans,” said Hudson resident Russ Ober, who served at the buffet table.

As the dinner plates were cleared from the tables, VFW Commander Jack Cantara, District Commander John Cesana and Brenda Gora welcomed the veterans.  The Ladies Auxiliary had prepared a small gift for each veteran to take home when they left.

Happy birthday was sung to a veteran who had just turned 85.

Then dessert orders were taken.  Apple pie, strawberry shortcake with whipped cream and chocolate pudding with whipped cream were available.

After dinner coffee was served and the veterans were entertained with a musical program and slide show before they headed home.

Brenda Gora serves a veteran dinner.

Hudson Community Television to Expand

by Doug Robinson

Over this past year, Hudson Community Television has outgrown what Selectman Shawn Jasper refers to as a “disgraceful” working area.  Currently, HCTV operates its broadcasting facility from a 4-foot-by-8-foot “closet” in the employee break room of Town Hall.

During the past year, HCTV has expanded it broadcasting to include high school sports, high school functions, local government events, and many of the meetings of the various town boards. 

Special programming has begun for forums and as Michael O’Keefe, Cable Utility Chairman, stated, “As interest in HCTV programming has grown and the number of government meeting cablecast has expanded, we are reaching the limits of what we can do with the current configuration.”

The Cable Utility Committee presented to the Board of Selectmen a proposal to equip the Community Development Room with television production equipment similar to that in the selectmen’s meeting room.  “The cost will be approximately $22,000, and we are recommending that HCTV be allowed to utilize the small conference room for a second control room, as it is not feasible to add the additional necessary equipment to the current control room.  Additionally the larger space available in the conference room will allow us to setup a video editing system and store equipment that can be loaned to users,” commented O’Keefe.

Funds to build the project would come from the cable franchise fees and be spread out over fiscal years 2006 and 2007.  Selectman Shawn Jasper stated that the $22,000 is slightly more that a third of what they (selectmen) saw last time” when the Cable Utility Committee requested an expansion.  “It is a reasonable price.”

“It is the opinion of the committee to maintain this (selectmen’s) room and expand over there.  We looked into three options:  cram all the equipment in this room, maintain this room and have a second room and locate everything over there,” stated O’Keefe.  “This way we could do two meetings at the same time.”

The expansion of HCTV will allow the cablecast of the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and other groups which meet in the Community Development Room.  Selectman Ken Massey commented that he wanted to “take the opportunity to commend the Cable Utility Committee.  When I think back where we were last May at this time, look what has happened since we reformulated … I think it is a credit to Mike and his committee, and Selectman MacLean.”

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