Mother/Son Reptile Night
by Doug Robinson
Small presented to the audience “Pumba”, a thick tailed Galago. This nocturnal animal eats worms, can jump 20-25 feet and is very nocturnal.
The Hudson Recreation Department recently sponsored a mother/son event especially designed and planned just for them. The sold-out event was hosted at the Hudson Community Center and more than 200 mothers and sons attended the event.
Mothers and sons screamed alike as Derek Small of Wildlife Encounters Zoo produced animal after animal from his stack of crates. “Wildlife Encounters Zoo is a not-for-profit traveling Educational Zoo and operates from their USDA-licensed Wildlife Center in Rochester, New Hampshire,” Small said.
From a cockatoo, to an arctic fox, red-eyed tree frog to a very prickly hedgehog, Small dazzled the audience with stories, history and lesson of each animal.
Having put the cockatoo back into his cage, Small next produced a four-foot crocodile. “Look at these guys, and he is only a baby. He weights 150 pounds and can bite with 300 pounds of force. When full grown, this croc will grow up to 12 feet, three times the length of this table and he could weight up to 1,200 pounds,” Small said. As he moved the crocodile from child to child, Small demonstrated the workings of the crocodile’s three eyelids. “One eyelid continually covers his eye, the next eyelid protects him underwater, just like you may use goggles, and the third eyelid allows him to sleep, just like you when sleep,” he said.
The moms and sons were also treated to an up close and personal visit with a 13-foot Burmese python. The yellow reptile was wrapped around Small’s body and mothers and sons were allowed to touch the python.
Nine-year-old Ben Desrochers of Hudson thought the evening was “cool.” He and his mother, Suzanne, enjoyed the evening together, as they ate pizza and visited with some animal friends they have never seen at the Hudson Recreation’s Department’s first Mother/Son Reptile Night.
Children were mesmerized by the enormous 13 foot Python snake as they stepped up to pet it as they exited the Hu
Litchfield Teacher Honored as New Hampshire School Advisor of the Year
by Doug Robinson
Michael Clark, Andrew Cialek, Anthony Savani. Back: Jay Vance and Shawn P. McDonough
Honored by the students, respected by the administration, Campbell High School teacher Shawn P. McDonough recently was selected for New Hampshire’s highest award citing high school student council advisors. “It is my pleasure to thank you for your dedication to the leadership development of our nation’s youth. The many positive contributions you have made as a student council adviser have truly qualified you for this honor,” said Rocco M. Marano, director of the National Association of Student Councils.
“Mr. McDonough’s love for the Student Council is difficult to capture in a few words” wrote Michael Clark of Litchfield’s Campbell High. “I don’t know how he does it. For the past seven years … piloting this program at the beginning of this school’s young life, Mr. McDonough has nurtured this organization from humble beginnings to the large and hardworking influential advisory board and a group of role models and leaders in the school that we have become.”
The Student Council for Campbell High blends the school and community as they improve the lives of those who live in Litchfield and attend the school. Each year, the council sponsors the annual Make-A-Difference food drive, the Litchfield Education Association’s Valentine’ Day flower sale, along with the annual Christmas Tree lighting event and stocking the food pantry shelves of St. Vincent DePaul Society.
“Oscar night was a great school event,” said McDonough. “The kids did everything. They organized, they put together the refreshments, produced the event from beginning to the end. It was probably one of the biggest school functions we have had. We had 178 students attend the event. Students made home-made movies and we had judges to rate the movies for categories such as best movie, best actor and best theme. Creativity creates culture and this event gave the entire school community a chance to laugh.”
In McDonough’s hometown of Salem, he and his wife “do numerous activities within their church parishes of Mary Queen of Peace and St. Joseph’s. He is the acting youth minister at both parishes and does numerous volunteer activities within the parish schools … he is most notable as Santa Claus. Along with his religious activity, he also is the assistant coach to his daughter’s … softball team,” wrote Clark.
Jay Vance, senior and Council president said McDonough “is the only teacher that I feel comfortable with. I trust him and I can go and talk to him. He is a friend as well as a mentor,”
Andrew Clark Jr. said McDonough is good listener. “The biggest part for me is that not a lot of older people can sit down and hear our side of everything. He works to the best of the ability to help solve any problem. Recently he helped me with the whole college process. He helped me in choosing and weighing out of each school to find out which school would be the best fit. He gives respect and he has no ego.”
“He is dedicated to the students at Campbell High School. He facilitates a myriad of activities and events for student Council. He is the “voice” of CHS. You will see him at every student event. He has a positive passion and a love for the students at Campbell High School. He truly sees the potential in every student” said Elaine F. Cutler, superintendent Litchfield schools.
Trash Surplus to be Spent on Road Paving
by Tom Tollefson
The recovery from the unforgettable winter of 2007-2008 has begun in Hudson. A total of $300,000 of the $340,000 surplus in the Highway Department’s trash removal line item will be used to repair roads. This surplus resulted from an increase in recycling that grew from 11 percent to 28 percent. The additional $40,000 will be used to cover the price of fuel.
The $300,000 would cover roadwork to Wason, Burnham and County roads and Ferry Street in May and June. The price of asphalt at $52.72 has been calculated into this plan.
“I avoided any neighborhood streets and focused mainly on main drags so that this money saved by residents on recycling would be shared by all the residents instead of doing an isolated neighborhood so that not only those people would see the improvement,” Road Agent Kevin Burns said. Burns estimates the price for this project could go up as much as $26,000 in the next fiscal year, and that he wouldn’t know when the town would have the funds for these streets if they were not paved soon.
He also outlined the following work to be done to the roads.
- Total reconstruction of Wason Road, from Bush Hill Road to just east of Burns Hill Road. This would included reclaiming, re-grading, compacting, base and finish pavement. (This process was used to rehabilitate Bush Hill Road in 2007)
- Cold-planing of the eastbound lane of Burnham Road and Ferry Street, from Central to Ridge. Re-paving the eastbound lane and then overlaying the entire section.
- Shimming and overlaying the entire portion of County Road.
“I would think that most residents use those roads if not daily, at least frequently throughout the year,” Burns said.
The Board of Selectmen approved the expenditure by a vote of 4 - 1, with Selectman Rick Maddox in opposition.
Maddox agreed that the roads need to be paved, but he couldn’t support the expenditure, because, he said, it would be better used to offset taxes by returning it to the General Fund.
Longtime Hudson resident and former Budget Committee Chairman Howard Dilworth spoke during public hearing and he also said the money should go back into the General Fund to help offset taxes instead of additional roadwork, which, he said, had not been discussed before as a need. “I might be inclined to support this if I thought there was a real plan here, but since no one asked for any more money for paving, since no one asked [the Budget Committee] for any more money the year before, and it’s probably likely that we’re not going to ask for any more than the $400,000 next year, I’d say there really isn’t much of a plan for us,” Dilworth said.
Before ending his comments, Dilworth looked over to address Roger Coutu, the newest member on the board. “Sir you have this opportunity to give this back to the taxpayers.”
Dilworth reminded Coutu that he had written letters stating that more needs to be done to lower the tax rate.
If the money was put back into the General Fund, it would average about $32.25 for each family.
“I can not put a price on safety. I am willing to pay more to avert accidents, to avert having more damage done to our municipal vehicles, and to the life and safety of the public of this community,” Coutu said in response.
Police Chief Richard Gendron and Fire Chief Shawn Murray also spoke at the public hearing in favor of the expenditure. “The fire department travels these main roads each and every day when responding to emergency and non-emergency calls for service. One of the critical travel routes, Ferry/Burnham Road has experienced a line of pavement degrading that creates a hazard to oncoming traffic when cars attempt to avoid those areas,” Murray said.
He also said smoother roads would be easier on town vehicles, which would save money on repairs and vehicle replacement.
Gendron echoed Murray’s thoughts, saying that several accidents on those roads had occurred from cars driving too far on the side of the road to avoid the potholes.
The Highway Department will receive its annual $400,000 in July to cover the paving expenses for fiscal 2009. This budgeted amount would continue with the approved road paving plan set by selectmen in a 25-year rotation. The line item has a tentative schedule to include the finish pavement on Bush Hill Road, Roosevelt Avenue, and Derry Lane, all of which were reclaimed in 2007. Library Street is on the schedule for cold-planing and extensive drainage work to be continued from 2007. Other roadwork is scheduled for Putman, Cutler, Fuller, Andrews, Edgar, Clifton, Wyeth and Charbonneau.
Hudson Police Connect to Interactive Website
by Gina M. Votour
The Hudson Police Department has announced a new interactive feature on its Website through a partnership with LinkingCommunites.com
With the new Website link, information can be disseminated to the public more rapidly than in the past. “It allows the citizens to be better informed as to what type of police related issues are occurring,” said Captain Jason Lavoie, who heads up the new program.
“We wanted to try and work a little better with the community and let them know what things may be happening both at the Police Department as well as activity in their area, in Hudson,” Lavoie said.
The Website is geared more toward informational topics rather than emergencies. An interesting part of the site is the alerts section. Through this feature, members receive instant alerts on a variety of issues through e-mail, text messaging or both.
Among alerts that can be chosen are crime alerts, resources, missing persons, wanted persons, police logs, and weather alerts.
As an example, through crime alerts, subscribers could be notified directly about a spree of car break-ins. Alerts in this situation could remind people to be sure to lock their car doors, for instance.
Alerts are also helpful for sharing information about missing persons. Although alerts would not take the place of the reverse 911 emergency system, the alerts system could be an additional aid in helping spread this type of information.
Alerts also may be searched online directly within the website. The site allows searches to be as wide or as narrow as the user prefers. Alerts can be received from any area, not just local vicinity. For example, members who have relatives in another state may choose to receive alerts from that particular area in addition to their own.
In the near future, e-mail alerts will be used to inform members when Power Point presentations of potential interest become available on the Website. These may center on issues such as scams, identity theft, elderly abuse, etc. In these cases, e-mail alerts let subscribers know when the file is available for online review.
Another integral part of the website is the Neighborhood Watch. The Website includes a feature that, as more people join, will allow individuals to set up their own community Neighborhood Crime Watch Programs. Lavoie says current neighborhood watch programs often don’t work well because a single person is usually making multiple phone calls, which can take a lot of time.
With the Website however, information can be spread faster because there is only the need to create one message that can then be sent on to a larger group. “One person can do it in a matter of a couple of minutes,” said Lavoie.
Yet another major part of the site is the Business Watch Program whose purpose is “to encourage the exchange of information and crime prevention techniques between the law enforcement community and local businesses.”
Businesses in this portal are able to network with each other and with law enforcement agencies throughout the country. In addition, online training seminars are offered on topics such as credit card fraud and robbery and burglary prevention.
The Website also will contain a calendar of Police Department events such as Old Home Days, blood drives, and Toys for Tots.
The aspect of an interactive Website through the Police Department is a fairly new idea. In fact, Merrimack is one of the only other towns in New Hampshire besides Hudson that has such a resource.
For more than a year Hudson Police have strived to make this connection a reality. John Beike of the department’s Information Services has worked on all technical aspects of getting the site up and running. Beike points out that since the connection goes through a separate Website, advertising that members may encounter does not stem from the Hudson Police Department.
Hudson residents who wish to become members may sign up by going to hudsonpd.com and then clicking on the link to LinkingCommunites.com. Access is free for individuals and $100 a year for businesses. Residents with a valid e-mail address will become approved members and granted access.
Since the launch was so recent, the Police Department urges those who become members to have patience and be sure to check periodically for additions and upgrades.
“We’re trying to just interconnect and link all of us together within the town of Hudson to share more information. We’re hoping to be able to provide a lot of information for citizens that want to know what’s happening,” Lavoie said.