Spirited Fun

by Lynne Ober

The grounds of Hills House were filled with well-kept classic cars

There was lots of spirited fun at the second annual Hudson Pumpkin Fest, a day filled with kids activities, music, people selling things, raising money, cooking and selling food, playing games with kids, bounce houses, raffles and prizes, and capped off with jack-o-lanterns aglow on the bleachers.  Sponsored by Hudson Kiwanis and the brainchild of Mike Falzone and Norm Cloutier, the event was held for the first time on the grounds of the Hills House.

By moving to the grounds of the Hills House, the event was able to provide even more events than last year as Alvirne High School’s Friends of Music also held a sale that began at 8:00 a.m.  Bargain hunters enjoyed looking at the yard sale and craft sale.  “I got some Christmas shopping done,” said Wendy Boyer who was visiting family in the area.

By 10:00 a.m. a classic car show was set up on the grounds.  The cars sparkled in the dim sunshine that shone through the clouds.  Trophies for best in show were given out at 3:00 p.m. 

Carved pumpkins, which would be lighted at dusk, began to appear on the bleachers early on in the fair.  Every participant who brought a pumpkin got a ticket for the bounce house.

Already this has turned into a great Halloween event for families, and is sure to get bigger next year.

The Litchfield Fire Department had one of their engines on the grounds for kids of all ages to explore.

The Kiwanis provided a number of free games for kids.  “Find a duck” was the one that provided the most excited giggles throughout the day.

Hills Memorial Library Head Children’s Librarian Betsey Martel wore a funny Halloween hat as she read to the children.  Also on hand was Librarian Megan Ellis who oversaw the craft area where kids could make a caramel apple with worm decoration to take with them.  Ellis was often surrounded by children as they worked on their crafts with parents watching them.

Food vendors were also on hand to provide traditional fair food.  What is an afternoon or evening without some fried dough or cotton candy?

Face painting was one of the highlights of the afternoon.  One of the hardest decisions was to choose one of the whole face designs.  Maggie Dery, 6, finally decided that she wanted to have her face painted with flowers, including one that sat of the end of her nose.

Sam the Music Man provided music throughout the afternoon and then at 4:00 p.m. Hudson’s own Old No. 7 band began their concert under the tent.  The band consists of Craig Mello, lead vocals and guitar; Steve Gove, lead guitar and vocals; Dennis Wells, bass; Rodney Blais, drums; and Steve Noel, lead vocals, harmonica, and percussion; and together they cover many musical genres.  They played throughout the evening and could be enjoyed even when families strolled through the pumpkin display or stood by the bonfire.

Children loved sitting on the ground among the leaves to craft a Halloween decoration.

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Litchfield Treasurer Abruptly Resigns the Day before Pay Day

by Lynne Ober

On Wednesday morning, October 29, Litchfield Treasurer Joe Stapleton, as well as the Assistant Treasurer, resigned.  With pay day on Thursday, selectmen called an emergency meeting Wednesday evening to appoint an Interim Director so that paychecks could be signed.

According to Selectman George Lambert, selectmen were taking proactive steps to find a person who would accept the interim position.  Lambert said that the goal was to get someone appointed, even if it had to be a selectman, so that paychecks would be delivered on time.  “I understand that we are very close, however, to having a candidate so that we do not have to appoint a selectman.”

Reportedly, Stapleton was to meet with selectmen assistant Howard Dilworth, to work on financial reconciliation, but when Stapleton arrived for the meeting, Dilworth was at a seminar.  Efforts to reach Stapleton to confirm this were unsuccessful.  With the selectmen’s office closed on Wednesday, nobody was available to confirm or deny the missed meeting.

With the difficult financial situation left after the arrest of the former treasurer on embezzlement charges, Stapleton has met with selectmen to discuss the current status and ask for assistance.  At one point, he asked for a laptop because they were keeping all records on paper; he told selectmen that they had to do everything two and three times to double-check the manual calculations.  That led to the use of an older laptop from the police department.  However, that laptop was reportedly not adequate for the amount of financial calculations that were being done to straighten out the books.

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Blue Ribbon Awards for Hudson Schools, Volunteers

by Laurie Jasper and Maureen Gillum

Lionel Tracy and Dalton Blodget

The Annual New Hampshire Partners in Education Blue Ribbon Awards breakfast took place on Monday, October 27, at the Radisson in Manchester, and featured remarks from Governor John Lynch and Commissioner of Education Dr.  Lyonel Tracy, along with a keynote address from Bob Johnson, a Texas education consultant and author.  One hundred and ninety seven schools across the State of New Hampshire participated in the 2007-2008 Blue Ribbon Awards by submitting volunteer hours to recognize the important partnership between schools and their valuable volunteers.  In addition, six individual school volunteers were singled out for their contributions.  Dalton Blodgett of Hudson’s Memorial Middle School (HMS) received the Senior Volunteer of the Year honor for his outstanding dedication and commitment to Memorial School.

Dalton Blodgett taught social studies and language arts for 37 years before retiring from Memorial in 1995.  During his tenure, he worked at Alvirne High School while Memorial School was being built, was social studies Department Chairman at Memorial for 12 years, accompanied classes to Washington, D.C. in 1987 and 1988 and was the Director of Intramurals.  Along with his dedication to his students at Memorial, Dalton was the Hudson Recreation Director from 1962 - 1972.  When he retired in 1995, he became an active school volunteer, averaging 1,000 hours per year.  Sue Nadeau, HMS Principal, said, “Dalton is the kindest, gentlest and most giving person.”  For years, Dalton organized and maintained the teacher supply closet with order and precision and has assisted in the office and throughout the building.  He always seems to know where there is a need that he cheerfully can provide, whether it’s locating a fan for the PTO on a hot day during the annual magazine drive or guest lecturing during social studies units about World War II.  “I can’t wait to get up in the morning,” Dalton said.  He recalled that Dr. Barbara Stone, former HMS Principal, used to deliver supplies herself, and he asked if he could assist. 

Dalton Blodgett was taken back to have been nominated and pleased to receive the award at Monday’s breakfast, as many members and volunteers from the Hudson School District Community were present.  In addition, Dalton’s twin sister, Darlene LaPlante, and her husband Ray from Brattleboro, Vermont attended and were both very proud of Dalton’s special recognition.  

In a charming coincidence, which just seemed to add to the special morning for Dalton, the keynote speaker, Bob Johnson, did his student teaching approximately forty years ago in Hudson under Dalton, and they enjoyed a warm reunion.  Also, State Treasurer Catherine Provencher, who spoke that morning as well, had been one of Dalton’s pupils.  

Hudson’s School District SAU 81 was one of only a handful of districts that received the award for 100 percent school participation in New Hampshire Partners in Education, and Lizette Estrada from Alvirne High School won the Volunteer Coordinator of the Year - secondary school award for her dedication.  While Lizette supported Hudson schools throughout her children’s school years, she has been a tireless supporter of Alvirne’s Friends of Music and Class Act, and is a fabulous, loyal costume designer.

Congratulations to Dalton, Lizette and the Hudson School District.  

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Harvest Fest at Litchfield Middle School

by Lynne Ober

Litchfield families enjoyed a day of fun at the Harvest Fest held at Litchfield Middle School.  The large field was circled with activities for children, which included two bounce houses, games, pumpkin carvings or paintings, hayrides, and a haystack hunt.  Do you know how hard it is to find that ‘needle in the haystack’ in under two minutes?!  The afternoon also saw a costume parade, with the winner receiving tickets to Nightmare New England being held at Mel’s.  It was a great day of fun for children and adults!

Charlie Diack, 5, diligently hunted for that proverbial ‘needle in a haystack.’

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Hudson Prepares for Increased Election Day Turnout

by Gina M. Votour

Record voter turnout is expected in Hudson for next week’s elections on Tuesday November 4.  According to Town Moderator Paul Inderbitzen, 13,000 ballots were sent by the state, along with close to 800 absentee ballots. 

Polls will be open that day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Specific preparations have been made in an effort to accommodate the larger than usual crowd at the Community Center (formerly Lions Hall) on 12 Lions Avenue.

Police officers will be stationed at several points on streets around the building to aid general traffic flow and to assist with parking.  Voters should be aware that parking will not be allowed on Lions Avenue that day. 

Inderbitzen admitted that parking might be difficult and that it could be “tough getting people in and out efficiently.”

To keep foot traffic flowing in one direction, voters will be asked to enter the building through the main doors and to exit via the side doors.  “Hopefully we can process people as quickly as possible,” said Inderbitzen.

Inside the building, eight stations will be set up, each with two separate lines which may move voters more rapidly.

“We’re going to do the best we can.  We ask for patience of the public and cooperation in trying to get through the process since we only have one space and it’s limited, particularly the parking, … ” Inderbitzen explained.

“We’ll get people through … everybody will get a chance to vote who wants to vote,” he assured.

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