Editor’s note: This is a follow-up article to one that appeared this summer about Jim and Lu Williams, longtime Hudson residents, and their housing dilemma caused by the Mother’s Day Flood of 2006. Fellow members of the First Baptist Church stepped in to help Jim and Lu rebuild their lives following the devastation.
Extreme Makeover: Williams Family Returns to ‘The Home Built Upon a Rock’:
by Doug Robinson
Do you know what you were doing on May 14, 2006? Jim and Lu Williams, longtime residents of Hudson, will never forget the horrible day. They spent that day feeling helpless as they watched their home become destroyed by the destructive flooding on Mother’s Day 2006.
Thanks to the members and friends of the First Baptist Church, Hudson, the Williams are now returning to a new home, after spending nearly five months with their daughter, Stacy, in Litchfield,
The interior of the Williams’ house now hosts new light fixtures, new thermostats, a fresh coat of paint, new carpet, as well as news doors for the front, back and all the closets. Members of the First Baptist Church have also provided the Williams with two recliners, a sofa, loveseat, and kitchen table. The new television sits nicely on their new entertainment center. The television “clicker” rests comfortably on the living room table, awaiting Jim and Lu’s first “clicker control” discussion, or “what did you do with the clicker for the television?”
The new sheet rock has been painted in “faux” style. Volunteers from the First Baptist Church, Hudson, have provided beds, complete with linen, pillows, and an afghan which lies at the foot of their twin beds. A rocking chair, complete with a cuddly bear, rocks silently in the master bedroom, as it awaits the return of the Williams. Accent lamps fill each room, a new kitchen clock ticks on the kitchen wall again, and grandchildren once again could sleep with their grandparents during their weekend visits. Curtains have been hung, windows have been washed, and the freshly laid carpet has been vacuumed. Each room of the Williams one-bedroom house has been transformed, enriched, and touched with compassion and love.
Members of the First Baptist Church, Hudson, have partnered with Professional Building Services, Carpet Creations, and Cyr Lumber (Windham), in their efforts to rebuild the Williams home. “These companies have been very gracious and helpful with our project. We could not have done it without their guidance and assistance,” commented Craig Bailey.
Members of the First Baptist Church have donated their time, talents, and support for the Williams. Currently, their donations have exceeded $35,000 toward the re-building and makeover of the Williams’ home. According to Bailey, “We are in need of a few thousand dollars more to complete the project.”
Matibo’s Hair Salon, Hudson, has volunteered to host a “cut-a-thon” to help the Williams. On October 9, Matibo’s, 12 Dracut Road, Hudson, will donate all proceeds received from their cut-a-thon, to help with the costs of this project.
Matibo’s Salon, formerly Baron’s, has been providing quality hair care to area residents for many years. “We picked Columbus Day because we knew that businesses would be closed. We are just trying to help out,” commented Ibo Yilmaz, Matibo’s co-owner. During the cut-a-thon, all haircuts will be only $25, down from $30. “We are asking for our patrons to pay in cash during the event.”
The Williams have also placed their 14-foot boat up for sale. The boat has a 90 HP motor. Years ago, the cost of the boat was $1,500, but today, they are asking for a “fair” price. Proceeds from the sale will be used to offset the costs for the extreme makeover.
“I think it is a wonderful thing; everyone is full of kindness” stated Lu Williams, who is in her 60s. I am very grateful for all the concern and support we have received throughout all this. I never expected this type of help. It is a wonderful thing for us and it is overwhelming. I only hope I live long enough … to enjoy it.”
And each night and each morning, when Jim, 70, and Lu Williams rest their heads and awake in the morning, they can both see the wonderful stenciling done on the beam of their roof by fellow parishioner, Lorna Granger: “May you wake each day with God’s blessing and sleep each night in His keeping. And as you grow older, may you always walk in his tender care.” For you see, their house is “built upon a rock.”
Hudson Police Educate Public Regarding Sex Offenders
by Doug Robinson
Officers from the Hudson Police Department took to the streets, going door-to-door, notifying residents that a convicted sexual offender lived in their neighborhood.
“We are doing what is known as affirmative notifications,” commented Hudson Police Chief Richard Gendron. “I am of the opinion that when a sex offender moves into our community it is everybody’s business, and I am choosing to exercise my authority by notifying neighbors, schools, recreational groups, day-care centers and area churches.”
The Hudson Police Department personally handed packets containing a picture of the sexual offender, the address of the sexual offender, and a letter from the chief explaining the details of the notification. Neighbors who abutted the residence of every sexual offender as well as the home located directly behind the residence of the sexual offender received these packets.
Police officers visited 39 residents, 23 child day-care facilities, nine churches, and seven schools. While residents only receive a picture of the sexual offender who live in their neighborhood, churches, and schools received a complete list including pictures of the sexual offenders who live in Hudson.
Hudson is the home to 13 sexual offenders. While some have moved and others have relocated to Hudson, Hudson also had 13 sexual offenders living within the town last year as well.
Under “Megan’s Law” which was signed by Governor John Lynch earlier this year, defines sexual offense as that individual had sex with a minor. “The list is put together by the State of New Hampshire and it is furnished to us,” explained Gendron. These sex offenders have been convicted of “aggravated felonious sexual assault, indecent exposure, or child pornography … where the victim is a minor (under the age of 16 years.) Those convicted of a sexual offense must register with local police, twice a year, for a period of ten years once released from prison.
Every September, the Hudson Police Department updates their list of sex offenders for the purpose of notifying the public. “Many change their appearance by adding facial hair, shaving their hair, or coloring their hair and we want to make sure we have current identification information. We also want to make sure the website is up to date. Two sex offenders are not on the list as they are incarcerated.” stated Gendron. “It is during September we hand out a new list to the schools and churches. We are also posting the list at town hall and at the library.”
Residents and school leaders expressed gratitude for the notifications. Cathy Schofield, teacher at Head Start, stated, “This is a good idea. I can go online (www.hudsonpd.com) and see the list.” An Elmwood Apartment resident responded “I am aware” when presented with the packet from the Hudson Police officer.
Another resident (who asked not to be identified), upon being notified stated that “I wish I knew about him before I moved in a year and a half ago. I probably would not have moved in. I also have two kids who walk by his house every day to the school stop. There are about six other kids in the neighborhood who also walk in front of his house. I will make sure everyone knows and that there is a parent present at the bus stop.”
The Hudson Police asked of every resident to “spread the word to their neighbors” in their efforts to communicate with as many Hudson residents as possible.
The chief’s letter to the residents also stated that this information was being provided for “community safety purposes only and should not be used to threaten, intimidate, or harass the registered sex offender.”
“We have a great responsibility to our citizens to make sure that the children and the adults are protected,” said Lieutenant Bill Avery.
For more information, visit the sex offender link on the Hudson Police Department’s website: www.Hudsonpd.com.
EEE Threat Hits Hudson
by Sue LaRoche
Friday, September 22 saw the first indication that the EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) threat had come to town. The Alvirne versus Timberlane football game was cancelled and rescheduled to Saturday, September 23 at 10:00 a.m. The State Department of Health and Human Services contacted the Health Officer for the town advising that a test pool in Hudson near Lions Field (behind Dr. H. O. Smith School) had a mosquito that tested positive for the EEE virus. Town Administrator Steve Malizia and Superintendent of Schools Randy Bell were then contacted and made aware of the findings.
At approximately 1:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon, Athletic Director Karen Bonney received a call from Superintendent Randy Bell discussing the options for the game. “In consultation with officials from Timberlane, because of the evening nature of the game and because the alert was so fresh in people’s minds, the football game was changed” stated Bell. “It was strictly a precautionary measure.” Bonney spent a very hectic afternoon shifting her home football game much to the disappointment of a squad seeking its second win of the season. “It is disappointing, especially for the kids, but it is in the best interest of the team and spectators to err on the side of caution and postpone the game until Saturday.”
Sean Sullivan of the Community Development Department was very glad that the town had the necessary permits in place for the spraying of the mosquitoes. “Every winter we go through the permitting process to have a licensed agency perform spraying in the town should it be necessary. We were originally going to spray on Monday night but we needed to give the public a 48 hour notice of the spraying so instead, if all goes as planned, we will be spraying on Thursday night beginning at 9:00 p.m.” The firm of Municipal Pest Management Services will be doing the spraying. The town determined that public schools and the recreational fields adjacent to the schools will be targeted. Specific locations to be sprayed include: Alvirne High School, Hills Garrison Elementary School, Memorial School, Dr. H. O. Smith Elementary School, Library Street School, and Nottingham West Elementary School. The spray will be applied to the vegetated perimeter areas of these schools and recreational fields and will provide extended mosquito control for several weeks. Bell was “extremely appreciative that the town had the foresight to apply for the necessary permits to ensure that quick action could be taken.”
The mosquito spray that is used is a water based application which is odorless and will dry within approximately 10 minutes of application. The insecticide to be used is Crosscheck plus (active ingredient: bifenthrin). (All of this information is available on the town website www.hudson.ci.hudson.nh.us.) The Department of Health and Human Services for New Hampshire reported that several towns in the area have already sprayed including Windham, Salem, and Londonderry. The state does not mandate spraying rather it leaves that decision up to the individual town governments to decide. According to Michael Morrison, Entomologist at Municipal Pest, “we have sprayed quite a few towns already this season including Portsmouth, Rye, Atkinson, Freemont, and Raymond. The spray is not sprayed into the air rather on the vegetation surrounding the fields.” He went on to explain “mosquitoes like to rest during the day so they will light on the vegetation. Once they come into contact with the vegetation that is sprayed, they will either die or fly off thus decreasing the mosquito population.” Morrison’s company will continue to set up traps and monitor the mosquito population after the spraying is completed.
Although there have been no human cases of EEE in New Hampshire yet this year, the threat is still very real. Several high school sports schedules have been altered with games being played earlier in order to get players and spectators home prior to darkness and the inevitable appearance of the troublesome insects. Alvirne High School is no exception to this policy as both the girls and boys varsity soccer games were changed to 4:00 p.m. instead of their usual 6:00 p.m. start this week. Pelham’s Town Administrator Tom Gaydos states “We are emphasizing precautions. It is all around us so we are encouraging limiting exposure. Insect repellant is handed out to all athletes.” With the coaches and parents in close contact if there are any concerns, schedule changes will be made.
According to the Center for Disease Control, EEE is a mosquito-borne viral disease which occurs in the eastern half of the United States where it causes disease in humans, horses and some bird species. Because of the high mortality rate, EEE is regarded as one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the United States. EEE is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It generally takes three to 10 days for symptoms to occur. Many people infected with the virus show no apparent signs of illness. In those persons who do develop the illness, symptoms can range from mild flu like illness to brain swelling, coma, or death. It is highly advisable that anyone who is active outdoors especially in the early morning hours and from dusk to darkness take certain precautions including wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants along with spraying with and insect repellent. Also, eliminating any standing water where mosquitoes can breed is highly advised. Anyone wishing any additional information on EEE or West Nile Virus can contact the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services at 1-866-273-6453 or www.dhhs.nh.gov.
Money Approved for Additional Study at Griffin Memorial
by Lynne Ober
In Litchfield yet another study will be completed on the water issues at Griffin Memorial School.
“There are still voters who have unanswered questions about the long-term viable use of Griffin as a school,” said Litchfield School District Business Administrator Steve Martin, who has spent three years on Milford’s school board and three years on Milford’s budget committee. “I know first hand what it is like to try to extend the life of an old building.”
The total amount of the money approved is not to exceed $60,000. According to Martin $32,500 of that will be to provide actual costs of dehumidifying Griffin, $10,000 will be for extending architectural and engineering work and the rest will be to provide a total cost of dewatering Griffin’s land.
“I’d rather see that money put into bricks and mortar for a new school, but if getting these costs will convince the voters who seem not yet to be convinced, then it is money well spent,” said Martin.
According to Martin, the school board, after this length of time and the studies already completed, have all the facts. “But the voters don’t want to believe the facts.”
Just to dehumidify the school, Dan Cecil, from Harriman Associates, predicts that new mechanical systems have to be in place so that dehumidification can be added onto that.
“I fully expect that the roof will have to be braced because it won’t be able to handle the extra load,” said Martin, “and I know that the electrical distributions systems are already maxed out so they will have to be replaced. They can’t handle the extra load that will be required.”
Martin said that what to do with Griffin is a question with multiple possibilities. He noted that if you want to keep using it for a school for 50 or more years that “the mindset is changed because you have to put significant dollars into Griffin to keep it viable as a school.”
Among large-ticket items would be new windows and doors as well as replacing all of the ceiling. According to Martin, Litchfield Building Inspector Roland Bergeron has stated that if that much work is done, then state law will require that the whole building be brought up to code. “That’s a very expensive project,” noted Martin.
New Hampshire Department of Education building specialist, Ed Murdough, is an engineer by trade. After reviewing all of the water data, the department concluded that the only way to keep Griffin was to elevate it about the ground.
Documents recently printed in the Hudson~Litchfield News and provided by Harriman Associates show a large body of water flowing southward under the Griffin property. But renovating Griffin does not eliminate the need for new capacity.
For the past three years Litchfield voters have said no to a new school. At this point in time, the school board had not decided what, if anything, to submit to the March 2007 ballot. “I do know that Murdough sent an E-mail stating that construction costs had risen 16 percent over last year’s costs,” said Martin. “That applies not only to new construction, but also to renovations. The longer we wait the more it will cost.”