Fright Night: Fun Time for All
by Doug Robinson
The pouring rains, the blustery winds, and the chilly night air did not have a chance of stopping Batman and Bumble Bee, Superman and Spiderman, Ms. MisSpelt (with dictionary in hand) and Mr. Skeleton, Mr. Toothpaste and Ms. Christmas Tree, as well as an additional 800 costumed children from enjoying themselves at the annual Fright Night activities, hosted by CHIPS (Children of Hudson Interacting with Police Services).
Each year, for the past 11 years, CHIPS has hosted the annual Halloween party, specifically for the “children of grammar school,” commented Lieutenant Bob Tousignant. “We sent flyers home with the children from school to let the kids know of the event and every year we have standing room only. The line to get in goes around the building.”
CHIPS is a charitable organization 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.
Lieutenant Bob Tousignant, stated that to host the Fright Night activities, the cost was approximately $6,000 and that the volunteers of CHIPS are very thankful to those who donate to CHIPS activities.
Each year the Hudson Selectmen have approved a $3,000 donation to the CHIPS organization. Last year, the Mousseau and Roy families of Hudson donated the proceeds they received (approximate $2,650) from their spectacular Christmas light display which adorns their home, located at 75 Pelham Road. The Christmas light spectacle could be characterized as a “winter wonderland.” ”With about 140,000 lights covering dozens of wire-framed designs, it’s easily one of the most decorated homes in the region,” states their Website: www.husdonchristmas.com.
Upon entering the Community Center, children were welcomed by a clown making balloon animals, as well as two volunteers who personally handed to each child a reflective bag full of goodies and treats. Not only do the children receive information on bike safety, seatbelt safety, ruler, pencil, two picture frames, “be safe, and be seen” reflector buttons, a CHIPS T-shirt, the bags are also filled with the best Halloween gift of all: candy.
As the room filled with both children and adults, the bounce houses became full with a line waiting. Face painting artists began to decorate the anxious young faces as the children waited patiently for their turn in the painting chair. Lines formed three deep at the pumpkin painting tables as children waited to paint their Picasso on their own pumpkin.
Volunteers in the kitchen were in full swing cutting pizza, filling popcorn cups, making lemonade, as all the food for the children is free. “The entire event is free of charge to the children,” commented Lieutenant Tousignant. Music filled the air as the children, side by side with Hudson’s finest, danced, followed the giant pumpkin around the Community Center during a line dance, ducked under the bar during the limbo contest, and cheered the three Hudson Police officers for their rendition of the “chicken dance.”
A beautiful, decorated pumpkin which was donated by Hudson orthodontist Dr. Anne Todd was raffled to a lucky winner, and Professor Pizza, Hudson, provided gift certificates for the winners of the best costume contests. Costumes were judged 0 - 5, 6 - 9 and 10 and up.
In addition to the annual Fright Night event, CHIPS also interacts with Hudson’s children during the summer months with its free popsicle event. CHIPS also helps sponsor three eight grade students from Memorial School with their annual Washington, D. C. trip.
“The school decides and advises us to whom we help with the cost of the trip,” explained Tousignant. “It’s nice to be able to help out three eighth graders through CHIPS.”
First in line for the festivities were Hannah and Lydia, both students of Hills Garrison. “Phenomenal, great music, the bounce houses, and seeing our teachers is really great,” commented the energetic girls.
Hudson Police Cruisers Go Wireless
by Doug Robinson
After 10 long years, the Hudson Police Department has upgraded their cruiser laptops from the old technology of analog radio frequency, to the present day technology of wireless transmission.
The radio and the laptop which are in the police cruisers are commonly called the “officer’s lifeline.” It is through this lifeline officers communicate with dispatch, with one another and with other police agencies. Policies and procedures are in place whereby once a “call, “or “tone,” or motor vehicle stop has been made, procedures are in place to ensure the officer’s safety as well as the citizen’s safety.
In the past, due to the type of technology combined with the location and strength of the cell towers, the town of Hudson had many “dead spots” or areas in town where neither dispatch, nor officers could communicate with one another. Essentially, the Hudson Police officer was alone, without any opportunity to call for assistance if the officer or citizen needed help.
Today, “There are no dead spots,” commented Chief Richard Gendron, Hudson Police. “The laptops are mainly an officer safety issue as well as a Homeland Security matter.”
The Town of Hudson Board of Selectmen unanimously approved the Hudson Police Department to enter into a contract with Verizon Wireless service for the mobile data terminals (MDTs) with an approximate cost of $14,000 for the first year and a projected cost of approximately $75,000 over an eight-year period. The change in services will save the taxpayers of Hudson approximately $90,000 over the eight-year period.
The data-linking laptops are directly connected to the terminals in dispatch that access motor vehicle information. They are also directly linked to the State of New Hampshire Motor Vehicle Department. The system offers instant and accurate feedback on registration information, licenses and wanted checks.
In addition, as information is being received by the dispatcher and is typed into the system, officers receive on their laptop screen, correct information as to addresses and phone number which they may need in their day-to-day activities. “Repeat that” or “say again” requests by the officers to dispatch has been eliminated due to the upgraded technology.
Officers are also capable of writing their reports in the field, rather than driving back to the police station. “Officers are now able to be centrally located and offer the citizens of Hudson a better police presence,” stated Lisa Nute, Information Services Manager, Hudson Police Department. According to Nute, the Verizon network used by the Hudson Police Department is “a secure network,” and this system is presently being used by the New Hampshire State Police.
“It is undeniable that public safety has improved and the officers are able to obtain information more quickly and more accurately,” stated Nute.
Area Schools and Volunteers Get Accolades at Blue Ribbon Awards
by Maureen Gillum
New Hampshire Partners in Education (NHPIE) 25th Annual Blue Ribbon Achievement Awards, held at the Radisson in Manchester on October 16, featured a remarkable amount of Hudson and Litchfield connections and accolades from start to finish.
Highlighting local honors, Alvirne High School’s ‘B Naturals,’ directed by Elizabeth Beaton, were “welcomed back by popular demand” to perform two amazing vocal harmonies as the opening and sole entertainment. AHS Principal, Bryan Lane, served as one of NHPIE’s seven Directors at Large, and the Hudson district received NHPIE’s esteemed “100% Award.” Griffin Memorial School Principal, Martin “Bo” Schlichter, proudly accompanied GMS volunteer coordinator, in recognition of Litchfield’s “banner year” of community service. Capping the ceremony, Nottingham West Elementary School PTO’s, Laura Bisson, was awarded one of the NHPIE’s highest individual honors, as “Outstanding Volunteer of the Year 2005-2006” in the state.
In his welcome to the crowd of about 700 school administrators, teachers and volunteers, NHPIE’s Executive Director, Dan Hebert, outlined some astounding statistics. “NHPIE represents 45,000 New Hampshire residents that collectively volunteered more than one million hours of service to the 195 qualifying schools and their 95,000 students in the 2005-2006 Academic Year.” Throwing out the gauntlet, he inquired, “Imagine what those statistics could be if we harnessed all of NH’s volunteer efforts among all of our 600 schools?”
Dr. Lyonel Tracy, New Hampshire’s Commissioner of Education, heralded, “As we celebrate NHPIE’s 25th year, we acknowledge that the level and commitment of our active adult school volunteers is one of the key reasons New Hampshire ranks among the top states in education.” He added, “Every adult volunteer role model we bring into our schools helps our students.”
Putting the reach of NHPIE (www.nhpie.org) into perspective, Peggy McAllister, New Hampshire’s Association of School Principals Executive Director, recalled 20 years ago, this was held in the governor’s chambers with about a dozen participants. “Look at NHPIE now,” she exclaimed sweeping the enormous conference room. “This is a real testament to the power and vibrancy of school volunteerism in our state.”
The assembly’s non-traditional keynote speaker, Jeff Yalden, has addressed youth in more than 3,500 middle schools, high schools, conference, and colleges in 48 countries. The 35-year-old self-proclaimed “fat, balding flunky” is the unlikely star of MTV’s longest-running reality shows, MADE, and author of six books including his latest, They Call Me Coach. He also stated he “largely didn’t support standardized tests.” Yalden also shared he was excited to return home (he graduated 128 of 133 in his 1989 Bishop Guertin class) to “encourage the encouragers.”
Yalden lit up the podium with a powerful message “we’re all educators” and extolled three primary rules to instill in youth: 1) do what is right; 2) do the best you can – work to be good; and 3) treat others the way you would like them to treat you. “Too many parents and educators encourage kids to be happy,” bellowed Yalden. “What kids really need is to find their purpose, take responsibility and strive to be their best -- happiness follows.” Quoting from Ghandi to Janet Jackson and most especially from his childhood hero, beloved basketball coach and ESPN commentator, Jimmy Valvano, Yalden inspired and cajoled the crowd to a standing ovation. He also urged everyone to visit the Jimmy V Website (www.jimmyv.org) to take “look at this extraordinary man.” Since Valvano’s death in 1993, the Jimmy V foundation had raised $60 million for cancer research. Yalden closed, with Valvano’s profound life prescription he used daily: “to laugh, to think, and be present and not afraid to feel -- every single day.”
Griffin Memorial School qualified out of Litchfield’s three schools for the NHPIE awards. In 2005 - 2006 “We worked throughout the year on our volunteer programs to raise about $30,000 to support a very ill student at Griffin Memorial and his family.” explained GMS volunteer coordinator, Heather Stagnone. GMS Principal, Bo Schlichter, proudly echoed, “Our volunteer program has never included so many Litchfield community members.”
In the closing special awards, Hudson received its best accolades. Superintendent, Randy Bell, graciously accepted the NHPIE’s “100% Award” meaning all six SAU 81 schools again met the stringent volunteer accomplishments achieved by only about a half dozen districts in the entire state. “We have an extraordinary community of parent volunteers and educators in Hudson that untiringly support our schools and students,” stated Bell with pride.
On an individual basis, NWES PTO’s Co-President, Laura Bisson, earned top state honors as the “Brenda L. Abbott Outstanding Volunteer of the Year.” In addition to her positive attitude, high energy, and grace in her hospitality work, Bisson was noted for successfully co-chairing NWES’ playground drive. The playground committee raised more than $23,000 at last February’s Dinner Dance and Silent Auction and smashed their overall goal of $50,000 by raising $68,000 in just one year through fundraisers and grants. “Behind every great school are many great PTO volunteers and Laura is at the top,” complimented Peter Durso, NWES Principal, who nominated her for the award. “Laura is very special -- her support is so unconditional and genuine.” Recalling previous 2001 recipient, Hilda Abbott, he added, “This is NWES’ 2nd volunteer to earn this prestigious award in five years.”
“I had a great group of NWES PTO volunteers backing me,” deflected Bisson modestly, “I’m a person who always wants to help people, especially my kids and their school.” She is also “very excited about the installation and ribbon cutting for the new playground,” slated for November 15. Last, Bisson thanked the Hudson community for their “generous help and support in making this dream come true for so many children.”
“I’m very proud of her,” shared Laura’s husband, Steve Bisson, glowingly, “While Laura never wants it, she deserves the recognition she received today.” He also good naturedly quipped, “since the playground project is nearly done, I hope she can pencil me in her schedule soon.”
A major proponent of parents getting and staying involved in the schools, AHS Principal Lane succinctly concluded, “This is great stuff -- Hudson has much to be proud of!”
Catch the glow at Hudson’s First Pumpkin Fest and Family Fun Day
by Sandy Russo
Get prepared to be surrounded by jack-o-lanterns this weekend. Spend a “spooky” night out with the family this Saturday, October 28 at Hudson’s First Annual Pumpkin Fest and Family Fun Day. Go to the Kiwanis softball field behind Charman’s Restaurant on Lowell Road from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Hudson Kiwanis and the Hudson Girls Softball organization.
The day will begin – rain or shine -- with a flea market at Harmony Real Estate on Lowell Road from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. To be part of the flea market – there is a $10 donation for a space - bring a table and arrive at 7 a.m. to set up.
At 11 a.m. the many festivities will get underway: free bounce houses, face painting, cotton candy, saw dust candy pile, free speed pitch, free basketball toss, free nine-hole mini golf, live D.J., free 22-foot slide, Halloween safety, crafters, community organizations, pumpkin painting, sales & carving, pony rides, food venders, goodies, games and more. Jazzercise, Evolution Martial Arts and Tokyo Joe’s will perform demonstrations throughout the day. The Hudson Police and Fire departments also will be on hand. There will be something for everyone.
A buffet fundraiser for the Hudson Girls Softball and Kiwanis will be held during the festival in Charman’s Function Hall.
Everyone is encouraged to bring a carved jack-o-lantern with candle, lining them up on the bleachers for the “Pumpkin Glow” at 6 p.m. Countrybrook Farms will have pumpkins to buy and will even assist in carving. Businesses are encouraged to spell out their name on the carved pumpkins. Jack-o-lanterns may be taken home after the glow.
The goal of the festive event is to provide a venue in which families can gather and celebrate fall and Halloween safely. No pets are allowed and children have to be accompanied by an adult for the rides. Don’t miss the Pumpkin Fest!
Find more information on the Pumpkin Fest website at: hudsonpumpkinfest.com