Alvirne Class Act Visits United Kingdom

by Kathleen Kirwin

Alvirne High School’s Class Act and United Kingdom pals at the altar where Shakespeare is buried.

Alvirne High School’s Class Act learned that experiencing history is much better than learning it, on their recent trip to the United Kingdom (UK).

“We learned more in one week there than we could have learned in months in the classroom,” said the Class Act advisor and AHS English teacher, Jennifer LaFrance.

The trip was set up as part of an exchange program, between Alvirne High and The Woolston School in England.  The class from the Woolston School came to Hudson last October.  On February 23, the members of Class Act were packed, and excited to start their adventure over to England.  Each of the Class Act members were assigned a host family from the Woolston School for the week.

All of the members of Class Act agreed that the host families were “extremely kind and accommodating.”  Many of the host families took the Alvirne students out on adventures on the days they didn’t have assigned outings with the rest of the Class Act group.

One of the favorite sites visited, was the Roman Baths.  The baths are centuries old, and are still running today in the English city of Bath.  Some of the Class Act students were even brave enough to sample the mineral rich water that is still pumped into the baths.

“The Roman Baths were the best.  But not how they taste, just the views,” said Class Act member Maggie with a laugh.

The highlight of the trip was when the Alvirne and Woolston students visited Holy Trinity Church in Stratford, England, where the famous playwright William Shakespeare’s tomb is located.  It was an emotional moment for some of the young actors to be standing in the presence of arguably one of the greatest playwrights to ever live.

“There were some misty eyes that day,” remarked LaFrance.

The students also visited the historic Globe Theater in London.  The Globe was originally built in 1599 by the theater company that Shakespeare belonged to.

“The Globe Theater was amazing.  You could feel the history in that building,” said Class Act member Shayla.

The members of Class Act were invited to have tea with the Lord Mayor of Southampton.  Class Act’s Marni Balint got to dress up in the Lord Mayor’s robes and his chain of office which costs 50,000 pounds (roughly $97,000 to us Yanks).  The students were awarded a plaque of Seal for the City of Southampton, to bring back to Alvirne. 

Class Act also preformed their rendition of the play, Between Any Two Points at the Woolston School before an assemblage of parents, teachers, and students.

The things that stuck with most of the members were the things they learned about the UK and its historical sites.  LaFrance cited one time in which the group was looking a piece of wall that was centuries old, that was right in the middle of modern-day London.

“It’s one thing to read about the places we saw,” said Marni, “but I got so much more out of the experience seeing them firsthand.”

Catch Class Act’s performance of Between Any Two Points and 100, next Thursday evening, March 22 at 7 p.m. on Alvirne’s stage. 


From the left:  Jon Adams, Marni Balint, Maggie Williams, and John Slade, Mayor of Southampton.

Library Fails at Town Election

by Tom Kuegler

Candidates for Selectmen campaign outside the polls with HPD Captain Don Breault.

Thomas “Tip” O’Neill - a longtime Speaker of the House in the U. S. Congress - once declared, “All politics is local.”  And every local election has a few issues or races that stir the American voter apathy from its doldrums, creating situations where people get excited, and exercise their right to have their voices heard at the ballot box.  In Hudson this year, there were three items that stirred the most interest from the electorate:  electing two new members to the Board of Selectmen; Warrant Article 9, for the new library (proposed to be built on town-owned land at 194 Derry Road); and Petitioned Warrant Article 30, to hire two new police officers.

The selectmen’s campaign was a race between five candidates seeking two spots.  The voters cast a total of 3,233 ballots on this issue and voiced the following results:

  • Thaddeus Luszey – 1,086
  • Richard Maddox – 1,337
  • Normand Martin - 613
  • Doug Robinson – 1,455
  • Raymond Rowell - 683

The two selectmen elected were incumbent Richard Maddox and newcomer Doug Robinson.

“I see this as an affirmation of the work the Board of Selectmen have been doing, and I plan to continue that work,” said Richard Maddox, the incumbent Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, about his victory in the  race.

“As the highest vote getter, I am humbled by the support of the community and, as I promised, I plan to represent all of the workers and citizens of Hudson,” stated Doug Robinson with a smile as he leaned back in his chair at the Community Center as the final results were announced.  “It was a tough race with five different candidates.  I am blessed that the voters felt I was one of the qualified candidates.”

Even the dog came out to support Doug Robinson.

The concept of a new Hudson library has been an issue that was first proposed 27 years ago.  The current proposal, Warrant Article 9, called for construction adjacent to the Alvirne High School campus and was called by Selectman Shawn Jasper, “The best plan I have ever seen.”  (Hudson~Litchfield News, (2-23-07, page 3.)  Because the vote for the new library was a $3.6 million bond issue, it needed a “super majority” or 60 percent of the vote.  With this requirement in place, the library was not able to muster the needed votes with 1,628 votes for, and 1,528 votes against.

“I cannot say that I am surprised by us not getting the 60 percent needed to pass,” said Arlene Creeden, Library Trustee.  “But I am disappointed.  I think this was our very best plan at the very best price.”

In a post-election gathering at Hills Memorial Library, about a dozen library advocates discussed the disheartening results.  “The need is never going to go away,” shared Jane Bowles, Friends of the Library President, “and the cost is just going to go up – that is the reality.”  Citing the majority victory, she also optimistically commented, “The town isn’t saying they don’t want a library, we just couldn’t reach super majority.” 

A key, albeit sleeper article, that failed may come back to haunt Hudson soon.  Warrant Article 24 proposed to allow the town options to purchase additional ownership or capacity in the existing Nashua Wastewater Treatment Facility (which Hudson currently owns 12.58%) system.  Since Howard Dilworth, Jr., Vice Chair of the Sewer Utility commission, reported at last month’s deliberative session the town is “approaching” its “limit” (allocated two million gallons a day), Hudson may soon face a serious infrastructure crisis.  With 1,873 in favor and 1,116 opposed, the sewer utility capital reserve fund article failed to reach the two-third majority needed by 120 votes.

Maybe the most spiritedly debated issue was Petitioned Warrant Article 30, which was for the hiring of two new police officers.  This warrant article was championed by former selectmen Terry Stewart, and was the most intensely debated item at the deliberative session on February 10.  There was a great deal of heated discussion on both sides of this article, but in the end it was the voters’ voices that carried the most weight.  The voters did not see it in their interest to pass the article, with 1,526 votes for and 1,628 votes against.

In all, Hudson voters approved 27 of the 30 amendments and articles on the town ballot, as detailed in the overall election results.  This included okays on the proposed:

  • Seven zoning amendments (all approved by the Planning Board).
  • All wage and benefit increases (Highway and Police union, Library, Town Clerk).
  • Town operating budget of $26.85 million (passed 1,709 vs. 1,361).
  • Hiring two firefighters/paramedics and conversion to a full-time police dispatcher.
  • Equipment replacement (fire engine, police vests and weapons).
  • Feasibility study ($15,000) for the Community Center (passed 1,775 vs. 1,276).
  • Veterans tax credits and all tax exemptions (elderly, disabled, blind).
  • New Hampshire Climate Change Resolution (petitioned, passed 2,051 vs. 1,062)

During the deliberative session the Town’s Moderator, Mike Keenan said, “History has been made here this year as all the warrant articles have been approved by both the selectmen and the Budget Committee.”  But in the end it was the election, with overall voter turnout of 23.4 percent, that allowed the citizens of Hudson to voice their opinions on the key issues that will affect the town not only today, but for years to come. 

Selectmen Kathleen MacLean with the Bridge support letter.

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