Fish and Game Thanksgiving

by Lynne Ober

How many turkeys did Tom Gilbert carve for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner? If you guessed 162, you’d be correct!

For some, Thanksgiving dinner comes and goes in almost the blink of an eye, but for those who work on the Hudson Fish and Game Annual Thanksgiving Dinner, it takes weeks of planning and organizing and at least two days of cooking.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, fruit is placed into large zipped bags, vegetables are peeled and started, turkeys are gathered and prepared, dinner rolls get bagged, and tables are set up.

People who called to have their dinners delivered are already organized into drive routes; paper bags are grouped into drive routes and labeled.  Mountains of styrofoam dinner containers sit, patiently waiting for the chaos of Thanksgiving day delivery.  Baked pies are delivered, cut, and re-packaged for delivery.

According to Hudson Fish and Game President Dave Irving, the club had orders for 1,100 dinners — more than ever before.  Of those orders, 900 would be delivered to homes by volunteers, while 200 people would come and eat at the club.  “It’s the most we’ve ever had, and donations are down this year, but we’ll get everyone a good dinner,” Irving said.

By 4:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Fish and Game club members were busily cooking.  “I don’t think I’ll want to see another turkey for months,” laughed Tom Corcoran.

This year marked the second decade of this tradition that began when Gil Knox, a club member, invited several men who were away from home to a Thanksgiving dinner.  When Gil died, his wife, Karen Knox, wanted to continue the tradition, and members of the Hudson Fish and Game Club continued to work on it in the memory of Gil.

Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts begin helping on Wednesday and continue to help on Thanksgiving morning.  For many families, it is a tradition to stop by and help before joining their own families for Thanksgiving. 

The dinner is available at no cost to anyone.  Karen Knox has always said anyone who is alone should have an opportunity to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and thanks to Hudson’s Fish and Game, that dream comes true every year.

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In Memory of Bob Hedrick

by Len Lathrop

Our community lost a good guy when, this past weekend, Bob Hedrick died.  If you knew Bob, you would know what I mean; if you did not, then think of one of the most friendly people you know, always willing to help in any way he could, and you have the man that we remember.  An obituary cannot tell you who this outstanding man was.  While our paths met mostly at the Alvirne High School events, Bob could be found playing Taps on Memorial Day in Pelham and many other communities.  Please read others’ memories of Bob Hedrick that follow, from people who knew him.

Bob Hedrick - Memorial Day Taps 2008 - Pelham

submitted by Gerry Bastien

“It’s Friday, late afternoon, November 28.  The annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is over, the kids are gone, the equipment has been put away, and as I say a “Thank You,” I hear “Not a problem, Mr. B; I’m only a phone call away or an e-mail if you need me anytime.”  I would have never thought those words would be the last I would hear from Bob Hedrick.  I can’t believe that almost a year to the day, in a newsletter, we again are informing the Friends of Music Family of the passing of another beloved member of our organization.

“Bob Hedrick passed away suddenly on Saturday evening, November 29.

“Bob was the husband of Linda, father of Lindsey (2005), Caitlin (2008), and Paige, their foster daughter. 

“Bob had been involved in the Friends of Music (FOM) for seven years, serving in the ‘Pit Crew’ and participating in every other aspect of the marching component to the band program.  He was president of FOM from 2006-2008, the transportation manager for our yearly performances at the Salem Band Show, Cabaret ‘worker bee,’ the ‘coffee and set-up’ man for the FOM meetings, as well as a very involved and supportive dad to his daughters’ interests in and outside of the music department at Alvirne High School.  Bob Hedrick was the quintessential volunteer, helping out at Rosita Lee’s Music School, playing Taps on trumpet for the Pelham Memorial Day parade, working with the Hudson Lions and the St. Casmir (Lowell, Massachusetts) Sunday school.  He was able to get a PA system for the Hills Garrison music department,t and just two months ago delivered on a promise to me for the donation of a Sousaphone for the marching band. 

Bob was not averse of giving of his time.  The job would get done with enthusiasm, quality, humility and a smile.  A good soul who lived our band motto ‘You Choose To,’  ‘Want To’ and ‘Love To.’

We’ll miss you - rest in peace!”

submitted by Allyson Jutras

“I became acquainted with Bob through the Friends of Music.  Our daughters were friends, and I took over as vice president while he was still president last year.  Bob was a person that you could always count on.  If Bob said he was going to do something, you didn’t have to worry about it anymore; it would be done.  He would have given you the shirt off of his back if you needed it.  Always affable, Bob got along with everyone.  He continued to help out with Friends of Music activities even after his daughters graduated.  He was a good man.”

submitted by Fred Guiffrida

“Len:  I've been sitting here trying to come up with something useful, and I'm not sure I've had any more success than you did when you admirably called Bob just one of the most friendly guys.  That was Bob, to me.  I don't even remember when I first met him, though I'm sure it was at one of our kids' events, and I'm sure he was smiling and friendly.  Bob was one of the most friendly, helpful, and totally unassuming people I've met.  He was always there to lend a hand, whether to load a truck with band equipment or take over as president of FOM, and he approached every task the same way, with a great sense of humility and an overwhelming desire to be of service.  Bob was a gentleman, in the best sense of the word.  Always there to help, never with an unkind word about anyone, and never needing to be in the spotlight.

“When I close my eyes and try to think about Bob, the first thing that comes to mind is work: schlepping equipment, Bob showing me how to use those darn tie-down cables in the truck, sometimes sweaty, often cold, occasionally soaking wet from standing in the rain.  He was a hard worker, but always with a smile.  There were also those moments shared by proud parents:  performances and milestones, as we watched our kids’ progress through Alvirne.  I remember, too, how hard he and Linda worked to become foster parents, and the friendly ribbing we gave them about taking care of a baby at their (our!) age.  I remember celebrations, FOM events, band trips.  I don't think any of this is much help for your article Len, but it's what I thought of.  He was a good guy, and I'm glad our paths got to cross in life.”

submitted by Gary and Robin Rodgers

“Bob and Linda joined Lions a couple of years ago.  They jumped in with both feet.  Whatever the event, you could always plan on seeing Bob there.  He was very involved.  Bob recently led the clean-up crew for a two-mile stretch on Route 3A from Sam’s to the state line.  He would arrange for ten or so Lions to assist with the clean-up, and then report at the next meeting on the treasures they found.  Bob’s schedule was always full, but if you needed him he would change things around to accommodate you.  At last year’s Old Home Days, Bob was busy with his church and new daughter, but managed to put in several hours assisting in parking vehicles at crucial times.  He was a Lions Lion and will be deeply missed.”

submitted by Rosita Lee (DeeDee) Latulippe

“Bob was a wonderful person.  He was willing to help whenever needed.  He will be missed by many, in many ways.  For the past ten years, he has run the soundboard for the Show Stoppin’s Concert Tours and all the dance schools’ performances.  A kind and gentle person, he worked well with all our parents and kids at the schools.  With his answer to my requests being, ‘I’ll see what I can do.’  He will be missed.”

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Budget Decisions Remain

by Lynne Ober

Litchfield Budget Committee continues to take an active role in determining town policies.  This began a number of years ago when Litchfield’s Budget Committee decided that selectmen had not included a big enough budget for road repairs, and added several thousand dollars.  While then Selectmen’s Chairman Cecil Williams worked to make this a positive action, a trend was set that has continued with the Litchfield Budget Committee continuing to suggest policy and budget recommendations that impact the overall work of selectmen.

Budget committees are tasked under law to make financial decisions and to decide if a budget item is prudent or not.  Often, discussions stray away from purely financial aspects into a grayer area of policy decisions.  Many times, the only way to have a complete financial understanding is to examine and discuss the policy issues behind the financial request.  Usually what happens after such a discussion is that Budget Committee attention returns to the requested dollars and a decision is made to cut or keep the request.

Recently the Litchfield Budget Committee took exception to a warrant article vote made by selectmen.  Selectmen decided, given the uncertain economic environment, to limit spending as much as possible, and one of the items not brought forth was a warrant article for a town administrator/manager.  Budget Committee member John Harte, under the Member Input section of the budget committee agenda, made a presentation on a need for such a position.  Not surprisingly, other members also had opinions on this topic.  What was surprising was that the Budget Committee then made and passed a motion to take a stand on this policy issue.  As a result of the motion, the Litchfield Budget Committee sent a letter to selectmen urging them to revise this policy decision.

At the recent selectmen’s meeting, another policy question, the one to freeze the budget, was discussed.  Litchfield selectmen, under the guidance of Chairman Frank Byron, voted to limit spending from now until the end of the year.  At the time, Byron said that he didn’t want to see a “run on the bank” and preferred that some limits be placed on department heads.  The other selectmen agreed.

Selectman Al Raccio inquired if the board would endorse the Budget Committee position that money should be spent now rather than appropriated for next year.  At issue were cuts that the Budget Committee made to the Mosquito District budget.  According to Raccio, these cuts were made because there was unspent money in this year’s budget.  Raccio said that the directive from the Budget Committee was to spend the money this year on the requested items and to reduce next year’s budget.  Raccio specifically asked the chairman if the board would concur with the Budget Committee’s recommendation or stay with the selectmen’s voted position on freezing budgets.

Budget Committee Chairman concurs with Raccio’s remarks and noted, “Yes, we indeed suggested that if appropriated monies were available that it might make fiscal sense to spend them on items the money was intended for.”  Lemire also praised the work that Raccio has done on behalf of the town and talked about the efforts put into the Mosquito District.  “When he does something, he really puts his all into it, and it shows,” stated Lemire.

After a bit of discussion between Byron and Raccio, Byron said that budgets were frozen and that “on a case by case basis we will evaluate requests and make a decision.”  He noted that the selectmen’s position was that the budget was frozen, and concluded, “So that is continuing to be the position of the Board of Selectmen.”

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Hudson Highway Department Adopts New Work Schedule

by Gina M. Votour

As part of a fuel savings effort, Hudson Road Agent Kevin Burns made a proposal back in July for a Highway Department schedule adjustment, which was accepted by the Board of Selectmen along with the Highway Department union.

Through the proposal, the department schedule changed on a trial basis from a five-day, eight-hour work week to a four-day, ten-hour work week running Monday through Thursday.

The trial schedule resulted from the department’s FY08 fuel overspending in the amount of $30,325 when $160,750 was spent on 57,658 gallons of gasoline and diesel against a fuel budget of only $130,425.   

After three months, Burns found that the schedule change did result in an overall fuel savings.  Specifically, upon comparison to August, September, and October of last year, 1,483 gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel were conserved, an average savings of 14.76%.  This figure compared quite closely to Burns’ July prediction that a new work schedule could potentially save the department 15% or more on fuel.   

Increased productivity in several areas turned out to be yet another benefit of the new schedule.  As one example, Burns explained that the VacCon (drain suction) truck previously made two collections per day, five times a week, for a total of ten loads per week.  Using the four-day schedule, the truck has been making three collections each day, which inevitably allows for an increase of two loads per week.

Through a motion which passed 4 – 1 at the November 25 Board of Selectmen meeting, the Highway Department’s new permanent schedule was adopted and will involve a four day work week from the last Sunday in March through the first Saturday in November.

During the winter months, specifically between the first Sunday in November through the last Saturday in March, the department will revert to a five day work week, working 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.  Split shifts on Mondays and Fridays will allow the department to work 50 hours of straight time per week, with no added costs when compared to last year’s 40 hour work week, according to Burns. 

“I am not comfortable with not being open in the winter months on Fridays when school buses must run, children must walk to school, and regular traffic must navigate the roads.  Icing can and does form many times on the roadways, even when it is not snowing at the time.  I believe we must be available,” Burns stated in a previous letter to the selectmen.

Burns assured the board that all crew members would be readily available to work all snowstorms, regardless of the new schedule.  “If it snows, it’s all hands on deck…there’s 24 of us, and all 24 of us work,” he said.

The new Highway Department schedule will take effect immediately.  Burns agreed to keep the board informed should future problems develop resulting from the schedule change.

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