“Giving is Good”
Fun Fundraiser! 
New Annual Scholarship to Honor Memory of Special Community Volunteer

Jeanie, Heather, Jess, John and Lara Barkley

Leaning up against the chain-link fence surrounding the Alvirne football field, she could often be seen wearing her favorite lavender “Life is Good” T-shirt, while taking photos of the band.  It was one of her passions to make sure there was a picture of every student in the Alvirne High School Band for their annual band photo CD.  Jeanie Barkley wanted every musician to feel special, and to cement his or her place in the history of the band.  Jeanie had a mission to fulfill and she did it every year, even as a rare disease sapped her usually more-than-ample supply of energy.

When Jeanie contracted aplastic anemia, a debilitating disease in which the bone marrow can no longer supply the body with blood cells and platelets, it was months before she received a complete diagnosis.  Her blood supply was bolstered by more than 100 blood transfusions over the two-year course of the disease.  Jeanie became a volunteer for a new cause, the Red Cross, serving as a spokesperson for blood and bone marrow donation.  Her hope was that a bone marrow recipient would be found in time to save her own life.  Stem cells were eventually procured from Australia and the transplant procedure was performed.  Though Jeanie fought hard, the disease had progressed, and she lost her life on December 22, 2007.

How does one measure the impact that one person’s life can have on another?  For Jeanie’s friends and family, it was the realization that no one person could ever take her place.  Jeanie Barkley was one of those people who, when asked to help, never said “No.”  She was a Girl Scout volunteer, was Vice President of Alvirne Friends of Music, worked with the Alvirne soccer and track teams, taught in her church’s Sunday school, and was a hostess for the Alvirne-German Exchange Program.  She was involved with fundraisers for all of those organizations and was constantly on the go, raising money for the good of all the kids.

Jeanie’s friends and family have been volunteering their time for months in preparation to honor the woman whose life touched their own.  Their goal is to raise enough money to fund a perpetual scholarship in Jeanie’s name.  The scholarship will be awarded annually to an Alvirne High School senior who best exemplifies Jeanie’s contribution to community.

One way to support this effort is to don your favorite grass skirt or Hawaiian shirt and head out to the “Giving is Good Island Time Luau.”  This one-time fundraiser will be held from 6 to 11 p.m. on September 12 at the Alpine Grove Banquet Facilities in Hollis.  This will be a night of food, fun, entertainment, and a celebration of Jeanie Barkley’s life.  Guests will be able to dance the night away to the sounds of DJ Dennis Grainger, as well as enjoy a special performance by the award-winning Alvirne High School Stage Band.  A luau-themed dinner is included and a cash bar will be available.  There will be silent and live auctions, raffles, games, and surprises.  Auction items include one-of-a-kind sports memorabilia, passes to New Hampshire attractions, gift certificates to local businesses, loge tickets to a Boston Red Sox game, a night for two at the Nashua Crowne Plaza, and other great items.  An online auction will complement the event for those who may not be able to attend the evening and will be available from the organization’s Website, www.jeaniebarkley.org.

Tickets for this event are $50 per person or $450 for a table of 10, and may be purchased by contacting Allyson Jutras by email at zmzmzm@comcast.net or by phone at 886-1901.

Monetary contributions to the Jeanie Barkley Memorial Fund may be made online at www.jeaniebarkley.org or by check made payable to “Jeanie Barkley Memorial Fund/GLCF” and mailed to:  Jeanie Barkley Memorial Committee, Linda Hedrick, Treasurer, 13 Lindsay Street, Hudson, NH 03051.  For further information on the event, or to donate auction items, visit the Website or contact Carol Martin at 881-5835.

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Father Jack, Once-in-a-Lifetime Man and Priest

by Tiffany Semple

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8

The Reverend John “Jack” Horan was a caring, helpful, selfless man.  He spent many of his days spreading his faith among many people in the New Hampshire area.  As many of us know him as Father Jack, we will remember a great man who touched our hearts. 

Father Jack was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, on July 7, 1926. After studying at the Saint Paul Seminary in Ottawa, Canada, he was ordained into the priesthood on May 19, 1951.  From that point on Father Jack spent many hours with the poor, failing marriages, the sick and hospitalized and many other people whom he has helped in over many years.  He traveled throughout the state becoming associate pastor in many towns across New Hampshire.  He also served as dean of the Franconia Deanery, member of the College of Consulters, the Diocesan School Board and was elected by his brother priests to several terms on the priest Personnel Board.  He served as chaplain to the Daughters of Isabella, the Elliot Hospital School of Nursing, and on the Knights of Columbus. 

It was in 1990 that Father Jack would be appointed by Bishop Leo E. O’Neil as pastor of Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Hudson, where he stayed until his retirement.  It was around that time where I first got the chance to develop my faith in the Catholic Church.  Through Catholic education, First Communion, youth group, Reconciliation, and Confirmation that Father Jack taught me and peers about the importance of faith and life lessons.

I can almost hear his voice, “Okay kids, story time!” And I remember the excitement that filled the room.  His stories helped us understand the importance of the message for the day, and in words children understood.  He made church something more than another Sunday morning but something to remember and to look forward to. 

Remembering my personal experiences with Father Jack it seems to me that he was the most caring and thoughtful man I had ever met.  When I was hospitalized after a car accident in my early teens and left ICU after a couple days it was Father Jack who I remember was in my room through my pain and medicated state that helped me realize how lucky I really was.  He taught me the importance of life and family and helped me through a difficult time. I know he has done this for many people because that is what he did and enjoyed so much. 

Even years later when I was busy with school, family, and friends and did not make it to church quite as much as I would have liked when I saw him around town he remembered exactly who I was and always made me feel that just because I had not been to church my faith still was inside me and every time I talked to him he just seem to know it was there.  Father Jack performed my sister’s married and buried my grandmother.  It was during these two events that restored my faith in the Catholic Church.  He took every available step to make these two occasions as special and memorable as possible.  He was a wonderful public speaker and made everyone feel comfortable and at home.

While researching the specifics of Father Jack’s life I came upon a message board where people from around the state and a few from other parts of the country wrote their thoughts on the passing of such a wonderful man. 

Online messages can be viewed at connorhealy.com.

“Father Jack could always make you feel special.  When my mother was passing, I called him and he dropped what he was doing and went right to her side.  He blessed and welcomed new babies into our family.  He was a blessingto Hudson and St. John’s parish,” said Robin Rodgers of Hudson.

 “His sermons alone were a gift. He always stood by his words and helped you understand the things you could not.  We thank God for putting him in our lives,” came from the Simard family in Litchfield. 

“Father Jack has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  From the days of First Communion, First Reconciliation, Confirmation and my wedding in 2005, plus the baptism of my godson who, even though he wasn't a member of the church, Father Jack accepted as one of his own,” wrote Jocelyn Demas in Londonderry. 

Kathleen Dietrich of Hudson said, “Father Jack is one of those individuals you come across once in a lifetime.”

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Hudson Parents Concerned, Confused with Gibberish Letter from Schools

by Lynne Ober

Hudson parents whose children attend either Hills Garrison or Dr. H. O. Smith schools received confusing letters offering to move their children to different schools.  The way those letters were written caused parental anxiety and confusion about the educational offerings at the two schools.

The first paragraph of the letter boggles parents’ minds with its jargon.  “The school has been identified as such [school in need of improvement] as a result of failing to meet the state target goal in reading for two consecutive years with our cohort of learners identified with education disabilities.”  

When Hudson Superintendent Randy Bell was asked about the wording, he explained that the special education student sub-set at Hills Garrison failed to make adequate progress in reading.  “Our special education students have shown progress each year, but the bar keeps going up.  They aren’t progressing as fast as the bar is being raised.  The remainder of the students met adequate yearly progress.”

However, parents would not know that as the next paragraph states, “Hills Garrison School has not made the start target goal in reading for two consecutive years, which is why we have been identified as a School in Need of Improvement.”  Bell quickly said it was not the whole school, but rather just the sub-set of special education students who had not made adequate progress.

“At first I thought it was the special ed population,” said one mom and then I got to the second paragraph and I thought it might be the whole school.  Finally, I looked at page four and the data they provided didn’t have enough explanation so I got even more confused.  My child is at Hills and is special ed and I’ve been happy with the program, but the letter was confusing.”

“What started this was the district’s decision to accept $470,000 in Title I funding.  We have not had such funding for a number of years.  In fact the district turned down $12,000 in Title I funding because there is so much administrative overhead associated with the acceptance of the funds.  However, administration and school board could see the value in the large amount of money offered this year.  “More services at no taxpayer expense made the grant very appealing,” said Bell.

As part of the acceptance of the Title I funds, letters had to be sent home to parents.  Questions were immediately raised by the letters.  According to Bell, much of the jargon in the letters is provided by the Department of Education and the school district had to comply when they accepted the Title I funds.

Students in Hudson schools have been scoring better on the required testing.  “Our students are above the state averages and score better each year, but the bar keeps going up for those scores,” said Bell.  “I actually expect that in a few years there will be no schools in America who are not identified as schools in need of improvement.  What is acceptable today will be deemed to be in need of improvement tomorrow as the standards go up and up.”

Parents may move their students to Nottingham West School or if the child is in first and second grade, to Library Street School.

“We’ve been very happy with the education our son has received at Hills,” said Joanne Bergeron.  “I was confused by the way the letter was written, but I want my child to stay at Hills.  I just wish if it had been the special ed population that caused this problem that the data provided on test scores was for that population.”

“Part of the Title I monies will be used to bus any student who changes schools,” said Bell.  Other benefits include reading tutoring that will be paid for by Title I funds, curriculum materials and additional tutoring. 

“We are buying math intervention curriculum that we will keep and be able to use year after year.  This will help our students who need extra help in math.  In addition parents can request for additional tutoring for their students.  All of this came with our $470,000 from Title I, but so did the letters to parents.  It is a mixed bag.”

“The letter parents received is very confusing, and so is the process by which schools are labeled in need of improvement,“ Bell said.  “The state establishes a target index score for student achievement.  Each school must reach that target score, and each of eight sub-groups within the school must also attain that score.  Every one of our schools met or exceeded the state index score, often by a large margin.  In Hills Garrison and Dr. H. O. Smith schools, our special education students failed to reach the target index score.  When that happens, the entire school becomes a school in need of improvement.”

“All of this is a nightmare to explain,“ sighed Bell, “and we must do a much better job clearly explaining this situation to parents.  When and if we have to send those letters out again, we’ll do more than simply accept the model letter provided to us.”

Scores for the entire district are kept on file at the SAU office and are available to anyone.  “I know the scores were in the newspaper, but sometimes you don’t see an article,” said Bell.  “However, Assistant Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond would be happy to provide an explanation and the scores to anyone who is interested.”  Ormond’s direct telephone number is 886-1269. 

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Litchfield Short of Money, a ‘Real Mess’

by Lynne Ober

Financial fur is flying in Litchfield as selectmen discuss whether the town has enough money to pay its bills between now and when the next tax bills are due.  Town Treasurer Joe Stapleton told selectmen he anticipates the town will be out of money on November 1.  If Litchfield School District sends the town the money it owes, the money might last until the middle of November.  “I don’t know exactly how much the school district check will be,” Stapleton said.

Stapleton characterized the financial situation as “a real mess.”  He had to contact the state attorney general to get permission to get copies of all reports.  He also discovered that documents in the selectmen’s office did not correlate with what existed at the bank.

Stapleton took over as treasurer on March 12 after former and recently re-elected Treasurer Howard Seymour was arrested for embezzlement.  Since then Stapleton has been trying to make heads or tails of the books.

“The problems go back years,” Stapleton said.  He told selectmen the former selectmen’s assistant did not have an accurate accounting of town accounts and balances.  “The balances in the treasurer’s accounting did not match the balances in the BOS office.”

While digging, Stapleton found one bank account that held money for the general fund that had no paperwork associated with it.  He found no record of it and noted that this went back five or 10 years.

At the same time, there’s difficulty paying bills.  In some cases, such as bills against escrow accounts, the names on accounts do not match names on bills.  Stapleton estimated that $23,000 worth of payments needed to be made and that he has found a shortage of about $12,987 in the books.

That shortage led to a lively discussion, but no concrete conclusions except that there are significant problems with the escrow accounts.

But in other cases, there isn’t enough money in the account to cover the bill.  Stapleton gave an example for the library and talked about impact fees and bills that had been charged to the wrong account.  Stapleton said the library director had been very helpful, had forwarded several bills and was working with him to clarify the errors and get the bills paid.

Some accounts have been combined for no apparent reason.  The Litchfield fire camera account had been combined with the Police DARE account.

Stapleton and Assistant Treasurer Bruce Sanderson have completed a reconciliation of the general fund as of July 31. 

One of Stapleton’s findings is that the town is paying what it owes the School District at an accelerated rate.  “We owe them a total of $12 million or approximately $1 million per month, but the school board wants us to pay them $1.2 million per month.”

Board of Selectmen Chairman Frank Byron said he had contacted School Superintendent Elaine Cutler to set a meeting to discuss this.

While Stapleton said he could bring the payment schedule to the board’s attention, it was a board decision as to whether it paid at an accelerated rate.  “The school district likes to get the interest, but cannot legally spend that interest,” Stapleton said.

Stapleton indicated that if the school district took its money in equal monthly installments of $1 million rather than the accelerated payment schedule the town might have enough money to pay its bills between now and December when the next tax payment is due.

One option being discussed by selectmen is to procure a bridging loan.  Although Stapleton called the bank to get the paperwork and requirements, he did not know how much this would cost taxpayers.  He told selectmen that three years worth of audits would have to accompany the paperwork.

One of the findings surrounded the interest being paid on the accounts.  One of the accounts had been earning a quarter of a percentage point.  Stapleton moved the money into an account that earns 3.85 percent interest.  “We went from interest of $2.48 in a month to earning $39 worth of interest in a month.”

Stapleton has also set up separate impact fee accounts so that they can be reconciled and tracked appropriately.  “No one knew how much money was in each account.  The bank had a balance that didn’t match any balance in the selectmen’s office.”

Byron directed current selectmen’s assistant, Howard Dilworth, to make reconciling all accounts a top priority and directed him to work with Stapleton. 

The auditor has recommended that the town provide the treasurer with a laptop.  “We are doing everything with pencil and paper,” said Stapleton.  “What should take five minutes takes 55 minutes.”

Stapleton said he has been working nearly full time on the financial situation.  “This is supposed to be a part- time job.  I think with the growth in Litchfield that the auditor may recommend a full time treasurer.”  Stapleton also asked selectmen to consider a small stipend for the assistant treasurer, who currently gets no stipend.  Stapleton pointed out that it was best for the town to have two people who knew the books in case one of them could not continue.

Byron said selectmen would consult with the Budget Committee on this request.  “I’m not sure if it will require a warrant article or not.  We’ll look into it.” 

Campbell High and Highlander Inn Work to Develop Hospitality Work Force

by Doug Robinson

Sean Corcoran makes a bed

When hosting the parent kickoff tour of the Highlander Inn, located at the Manchester Airport, Manchester, the dad of a special education child looked me in the eye and simply said, Thank you, I knew I had made the right decision to team up with Ronda Gregg and her team of professionals at Campbell High School, Litchfield, said owner Peter Morgan. 

It was from that single handshake and simple thank you, that, for me,  began to emphasize the real community need to help school systems develop training for those in need, he said.

The Highlander Inn and the Litchfield school system have developed a premier program for special education students in which they receive hands-on training and coaching for those interested in pursuing careers in hotel hospitality.

As a parent, we all want our children to be productive and engaged.  The START (Skills, Tasks, And Results Training) program offered by Campbell High School for those special need students who have recently graduated, offered these student to be productive, engaged, and in some way level the playing field.  This program gave the students the opportunity and a venue to learn the ropes of the hospitality industry in a straight forward environment.  The program has had an impact on all seven students who participated in the program, Morgan said.

The START program is a 180-hour curriculum intended to provide students an overview of the lodging industry, followed by a in-depth look at the most common line-level positions at most hotels, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute.  Upon completion of this program, the student is ready to perform the acquired skills on the job.  This course includes an internationally recognized line-level certification of the students choice, once the work requirement has been met.

The START program is designed specifically for workforce development to serve targeted clients such as, at-risk youth, welfare-to-work, dislocated workers and other targeted groups.  Students in the START program get on track to begin a career in lodging or continue their education with additional lodging educational programs.

The year-long program has been developed by the American Hotel and Lodging Education Institute.  The formal curriculum involves the training of hospitality positions, food and beverage positions, front desk, reservations, housekeeping, bell services, restaurant services, banquet setup and service as well as professionalism, career development and guest services.

The Highlander Inn provided the students the opportunity to experience all aspects of the industry.  The Highlander Inn has been nationally recognized as a premier lodging, dining, and conference facility with airport parking.  Our full-service facility includes the elegant 65-room Highlander Inn with three Cs Cozy Culinary Cafe & Lounge, and the 22-room New England country-style Coldwell House.  We pride ourselves on our efficient and courteous customer service, professionally trained staff, elegant setting, carefully selected amenities, adherence to detail, and beautifully manicured landscape.  Our staff is committed to making your experience with us comfortable and rewarding, Morgan said.

Students were required to participate in classroom, textbook studies, complete rotating internships and an assignment in their area of interest.  Students were required to follow the expected dress code, wear name tags as well as perform their duties as expected.  Students, working shoulder to shoulder with Highlander employees, received professional and practical one-on-one training as they learned from the experienced staff of the Highlander Inn

The idea was for the special education student to come here and to get off the high school campus, Gregg said.  As they learned, developed, and matured we could see these student gain confidence, grow and mature emotionally, as well as become confident of their new professional beginnings.  They learned new social skills, developed professional attitudes and learned how to handle the day to day issues which affect us all.

The students, who range in age 18 to  21, will be receiving two recognized certificates for their efforts from the American Hotel and Lodging Association.  These certificates offer the opportunity to go to the head of the line when interviewing for positions in the industry.  Two members of the class already have been hired by hotel chains

We recognized the need to build more organized transition programs for this important period in these kids lives, said instructor Lesleigh Grant.  These students will walk away with not only valuable work experience, but also a nationally recognized certification.  This program was designed as a direct result of the need to prepare these students for a career and to be successful in life and were happy to have the Highlander partner with us.

On September 12, the seven students will assemble on the beautiful, landscaped grounds of the Highlander Inn one more time to celebrate their individual and group achievements during their graduation.

For those wishing more information regarding this or any other program for special education students, call Gregg at  546-0300.

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