Kiwanis Derby Fun for All
by Kathleen Kirwin
Sunday’s break in the freezing weather made the 22nd annual Hudson Kiwanis Ice Fishing Derby at Robinson Pond, easier and more enjoyable for the 96 adult and 49 children fishermen who participated. Everyone was out on the lake hoping to catch a fish impressive enough to take home one of the trophies, or a cash prize.
The freezing New England weather on past dates never deterred the ice fishermen before.
“It could be twenty degrees colder and we’d still get the same crowd,” local Kiwanis member Norm Coulter said with a laugh.
Stepping out on the ice, it was easy to see why. Although there were over a dozen scattered ice fishing parties on the lake, there was a lot of communication between them. People from camps would buzz past on their preferred method of ice transportation, (Ski-doo™ or All Terrain Vehicles) to go and greet friends camped out across the lake, or just a few feet away. There was a sense of real community that had sprung up on the frozen surface of Robinson Pond. Perhaps because for most of the people there, going to the derby had become a longstanding family tradition.
Walter Mansur, Kiwanis President, said “Some families have been coming to the ice fishing derby since it was started 22 years ago.”
Michael Tevepaugh stated that his family has been coming to the derby for 16 years. The family looked well prepared for the long day of fishing; a small circle of lawn chairs face a grill on which Tevepaugh was cooking lunch for several family members. Both of Tevepaugh’s sons, Collin, 2, and Brennan, 5, had already caught some fish, and were occasionally glancing over at the holes drilled in the ice, waiting for another fish to bite. Even though Tevepaugh and his family had moved to Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, recently, they still came to the derby this year.
“It’s always a fun day,” Samantha Tevepaugh said as she watched her boys play with their golden retriever, King, in the snow.
Although the ice was filled with many people who had been going to the derby for years, there were a few first timers scattered among the groups on the ice. Justin Gauther, 9, was at the Derby for the first time with his cousins Kendra, 7, and Haley Gerace, 5.
“This is a lot of fun,” Justin said and added that he may come next year as well.
The Kiwanis members are happiest to see children having fun at the event, whether they are first timers, or have been coming with their families for a few years.
Kiwanis member Phil Potter stood at the weight center, measuring a fish for a young boy in crowd of children who had brought their fish up to be put in the running for one of the trophies. Potter called out the measurement, and then turned to the boy, “Did you kiss your fish?” The group of kids around the measurement station squealed with delight as Potter placed a light peck on top of the fish’s head before placing it in the bucket on the table.
“We do this for the kids more than anything,” Potter said with a smile.
The ice derby not only insures that kids have a good time but also gives back to the children of Hudson as well. The money raised from the Derby goes to the numerous groups and activities in Hudson that help kids. Some of the money also goes to several Alvirne High School scholarships that Kiwanis gives out to graduates.
Around 1 p.m. a light, icy wind began to come off the ice and brought the familiar winter chill with it. But, the fishermen on the ice, ambled up to the measurement station to hear the results of the day’s catches, with little heed to the change in temperature. Even the kids in the crowd didn’t seem to mind the cold. They wove in and out of the adult bodies that were surrounding them, and made their way up to the front of the crowds with giggled whispers about who may have won which prize. The adults in the crowd laughed and talked about the days events. There were many discussions about the sizes of fish caught, but the fishermen remained tight lipped about their fishing secrets. They were however, quick to offer their favorite recipes on how to cook their latest catch, and invited their friends around them over that evening to enjoy their spoils.
The young faces around the measurement station glowed from a combination of fresh air and excitement as they applauded every winner. Little do the children know, thanks to the Kiwanis’ efforts to support charities that help kids in Hudson, they are all winners.
The Kiwanis Club of Hudson New Hampshire, chartered in 1972, is part of, Kiwanis International -- a “Global Service Organization of Volunteers Dedicated to Changing the World; One Child and Community at a Time.” To learn more about the organization, visit www.kiwanis-hudson-nh.com or call 881-3990.
Humorous Play Within a Play
by Lynne Ober
If you didn’t catch the Campbell High School production of Noises Off, this past weekend, be sure that you attend one of the performances Friday, February 23 or Saturday, February 24 at 7 p.m.
When the stage lights dim and the audience is quiet, no director wants to watch the actors in his play fail to keep their cues or know their lines, but that’s exactly what happens in Noises Off, a play about a play in shambles.
From the opening scene, the audience was laughing at all the antics on-stage. Written by Michael Frayn, Noises Off is a behind-the-scenes look at the production of another play titled Nothing On, which is a third-rate English sex farce. Action starts with the final dress rehearsal, and follows a group of actors through the run of their play.
The character of Frederick Fellows played by Chris French captures the audience with his pathetic, yet realistic character. He’s always up to something that makes the audience laugh.
Brooke Ashton, played by Brittany Shafer, takes an ordinary problem, like losing a contact and propels it into a full-fledged drama, accompanied with a touch of sexual manipulation. She brings everyone on stage to a halt, and leaves those that witness it, laughing so hard they seem to be splitting at the seams. “I loved my character,” said Shafer before the show started. Brooke Ashton provided a nice foil for the rest of the cast.
Gordon Wade played the character of Selsdon Mowbray, an old man, hard of hearing, with a bad memory, a love for alcohol, and an unmistakable habit of getting lost before his entrance. The audience constantly watched him to see what outrageous thing he would do next.
Allie McKillop played Belinda Blair, one of two women at the heart of the play’s romantic shenanigans. Watching her transform from a doting, level-headed woman to a green-eyed jealous, unhinged shrew was one of the play's highlights.
Emilia DiCola brought life to Dotty Otley, a has-been actress trying to make it big again. Dotty’s behind-the-scenes affair with Garry Lejeune, played by Scott Branscomb, adds another layer of humorous dysfunction to the play.
The director of Nothing On, Lloyd Dallas, played by Nick Dube, is a grand character, who is at once pompous, sarcastic, and as unashamedly stereotypical as a director can get. Dube played him to the hilt, and earned much laughter from the audience.
Poppy Norton-Taylor, played by Kristen Hoffman, is the starry-eyed Stage Manager stuck between the ambitious director, dorky stand hand, and outlandish cast.
Mike LeBraun, as the Stage Hand, Tim Allgood, endures much from cast and director. He portrayed good comic timing as he was run ragged throughout the entire production. When he is forced to go on for an incapacitated actor, one can almost see the discomfort pour from him as this backstage worker is forced in front of real people. He brought both pathos and comedy to the audience.
The elaborate set was built with volunteers. Kathleen Reilly is the Drama Club advisor and directed this play. Working behind the scenes to make everything go smoothly were Dan Marquis, Mike Boutselis, Andy McLavey, Meghan Flood, Greg Smith and Ken Reilly.
It was a frolicking good time from beginning to end. Cast and crew performed magnificently and obviously enjoyed the production.
Citizens Gather to Address Development
by Maureen Gillum
Almost 70 residents packed the Ann Seabury Room at the Hudson Police Station last Thursday night (2-15-07) to review and discuss RiverPlace and overall development plans for the town.
The meeting was initially touted as the first meeting uniting two citizen groups – Friends of Green Meadow (FGM) and Hudson Grass Roots Central (HGRC). FGM are neighbors of the golf course who tracked Green Meadow development since late 1995, including Bill Cole, Kathy Leary, and Connie Owens. A virtual e-mail group of residents, HGRC is led by Hudson realtor, Ron Peters, who opposes RiverPlace and development.
What was expected to be a chaotic gripe session against RiverPlace, turned out to be a well-orchestrated meeting aimed to inform, involve and enable citizens in the total development process of Hudson. About a dozen people raised their hands as representatives of either FGM or HGRC – just 20 percent of the attendees. From the start, former Hudson Selectman, Bill Cole, who led the meeting, targeted to unite attendees under the umbrella of “concerned Hudson residents.”
FGM’er Ed Thompson, commented, “This meeting has been planned for months, it was only in the last week that HGRC jumped into this.” Unfortunately, due to a sudden illness of his wife that morning, Peters couldn’t attend, announced Cole. Thompson clarified the many large red lawn signs and bumper stickers, which asked: RiverPlace Project: What about the Traffic? was not their message, “We’re not even sure where these came from; they were here when we got here.”
The citizen’s meeting opened with speculations on Hudson size, zoning breakdowns, and town developments in process. Most unwitting citizens gasped when Cole revealed, “There are 36 commercial and residential development plans in Hudson, including those in process, proposed or expected to be proposed shortly.” In addition to the proposed 2.1 million square feet of RiverPlace (in its full three-phase build), he cited commercial developments, including Nottingham Square (51,000 square feet, under construction, 140 Lowell Road) and Hudson Village (66,000 square feet of “upscale retail,” between New Life Church and Pete’s Gun and Tackle) proposed just two months ago. Local residential developments include: Wason Heights, Vista Knoll, Nadeau Farms, Crow Development, James Way, and Hudson Hills.
Cole also reviewed the status of RiverPlace. In short, after W/S Development submitted its initial plans to the town (1-19-07), the Hudson Planning Board returned proposed plans (2-7-07) citing wetland exemptions were first needed from Hudson’s Zoning Board of Adjustments (ZBA). He also thought, “RiverPlace will bear no resemblance to what we’re seeing today” as “the project is conceptually unmanageable.”
Given the project’s “massive scale;” proximity to the river; wetlands; the “glacial speed” of town government, made up of “volunteers like us that work full-time with families;” along with state/federal permitting and approval, Cole estimated, it will likely be “six to 18 months before (RiverPlace) plans will be submitted again.” The golfer smiled, “I’m relatively confident we’ll be playing at Green Meadow next summer and perhaps after.”
Cole cited Hudson’s total land mass at about 18,000 acres. Roughly 10,000 acres are currently zoned as “G” or “G-1” for “mixed (commercial and residential) use,” which Cole called, “Hudson’s real ticking bomb.” He also acknowledged, “We can’t simply say to no all development, nor would we want to.” Instead, Cole called for “manageable development” and encouraged an overall “Master Plan” that would encompass all of Hudson’s projects in total, related issues, long-range goals, and policies.
FGM advocates, Kathy Leary and Connie Owens, echoed Cole. “Too much of this town is zoned as G or G-1, which allows for such development,” emphasized Leary, “We’re not going to stop Hudson development, but we need to be a part of it to protect the long-term interest of the town, its residents and our quality of life.” She also mentioned, “It is the many little things -- from zoning ordinances to parking space size regulations -- that we need to monitor in this long process and we’ll need help from many residents with various skill sets (legal, engineering, financial).”
A resident of Hudson for more than 20 years, Owens reminded attendees, “It is our town to run,” and our selectmen and boards are all “there for us.” With clipboard in hand, she encouraged attendees to join their network; monitor the town Website (www.ci.hudson.nh.us) for updates on RiverPlace, meetings and minutes; call the Hudson BOS (Board of Selectmen, 886-6024); attend meetings or view them on Hudson Cable TV (Channel 20, 21 and 22). To the applause of many, Owens concluded, “Be heard and do not sit back. It is our town, our government, and our responsibility. Let’s kick butt and take names!”
Numerous townspeople also spoke up at the meeting regarding quality of life; traffic; pollution; property rights; the environment; the circumferential highway; escalating taxes; and the 1977 public defeat of the proposed dog track.
Colleen Varney, a resident of Lowell Road since 1963, complained, “I’m very upset and have emphysema; I can’t even go out on my porch or open my window in summer because the car fumes are so bad now -- never mind with RiverPlace.”
“Each time developments are proposed, we’re promised lower taxes,” interjected Fran, another audience member, “We were told that when Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club came; but in the 50 years I’ve lived in Hudson, I’ve never seen my taxes go down.”
Ed Thompson, a Hudson Water Utilities board member, commented, “The devil is in the details.” He cited, Howard Dilworth Jr., Vice Chair of Sewer Utility Commission, at the deliberative (2-10-07), “We (Hudson) by virtue of our ownership (12.58 percent Nashua Wastewater Treatment Plant or NWTP) are allocated 2 million gallons a day and we’re approaching that limit; today we have about 75,000 gallons a day we have left to allocate to citizens and businesses.” Despite Hudson’s new water tank (south end, spring 2007) and potential capacity expansion with NWTP (if Warrant Article 24 passes with 2/3 majority vote on 3-13), Thompson shared, “Hudson faces serious water and sewerage issues, regardless of RiverPlace.”
Several commented, RiverPlace was “only the start” and would attract greater Hudson commercialization. Some believed, it may “already be too late to really impact or change RiverPlace” and given Green Meadows’ 375 acres only represents about three percent of the G and G-1 10,000 acres, future efforts should protect Hudson’s remaining acreage in jeopardy.
Most agreed, the “collective impact” of Hudson’s three dozen proposed developments, including RiverPlace, will not just be felt in the south end or even Hudson, but regionally. “This will have cataclysmic impact on our entire region – down into Dracut and Tyngsborough, Massachusetts; up into Litchfield and Merrimack; across into Nashua as well as Pelham and Windham.” warned Cole.
“This land is not going to be left undeveloped; so what is it you want Hudson to look like in 20 years?” queried Paul Johnson. A Nashua CASNH (Citizens Action for Southern New Hampshire) activist, Johnson helped prevent a 166,000 square foot Super Wal-Mart from infiltrating Nashua wetlands. He warned, “Hudson needs to be careful not to over focus on RiverPlace and miss the big picture of overall development.” He also advised citizens to “Think regionally, think big picture, and use available tools, like the Nashua Regional Planning Commission (www.nashuarpc.org).”
Johnson closed, “Growth and development are going to happen; the goal is to reduce impact, control the pace of growth, and keep with the town’s long-term vision. It’s all about planning and making people part of the process.”
FGM leaders collectively called upon Hudson citizens to unite, get involved, and help “our volunteer town officials” as “watchdogs” of these “monumental” developments as “our duty, obligation, and right.” Surprisingly absent were most town officials, with the exception of a few, including BOS Chair, Rick Maddox.
“We do have say and control,” encouraged Cole -- by voting and actively being part of the process to help monitor, set plans, parameters, and vision for Hudson’s “manageable development.” He asked those interested to e-mail him at: BCFairway@msn.com. Cole heralded in conclusion, “It is time to take control of our town’s development, which is not a negative,” but it will require “a lot of heavy lifting from all of us.”