AHS dit “Bienvenue” aux étudiants français

by Doug Robinson

Visiting French Students

Faculty members, staff, and students of Alvirne High School, along with the Hudson School District and the entire community of Hudson, say “Welcome” to the French students who will be visiting Alvirne High School during their week-long exchange program.

“This will be our fourth exchange with students from France,” commented exchange organizer and AHS Guidance Counselor Dan Wells.  “This year we are fortunate to have two dozen students from Les Pieres Vives School, located in Carrieres sur Seine, France, visit us.  While they are here, we will have a mutual learning experience about each other’s culture, educational system, and life experiences.  The time spent with these students is an invaluable experience for not only the host families but for the community as well.”

Over 90 French students applied to participate in the French exchange program, however, “The program afforded only two dozen places to the fourth year French students,” stated Josette Spartacsus.  “We drew lots because we had so many kids wanting to come to the United States.”

While funding was available for the students to make the trip, each student was responsible to raise the funds.  In preparation of their visit, students studied the paintings of Norman Rockwell, the history of the Mayflower, American History, the Constitution, as well as American Literature.

  During their visit, the French students will be living with host families in Hudson.  As they share in the lives with their American host family, the French students will also mirror the academic schedules of the AHS student.

The French students will also visit Parker’s Maple Farm and Restaurant, New York City, Harvard University, JFK Museum, USS Constitution, The Freedom Trail, Boston’s North End, Boston Common, and view the sunset from the Prudential Center.  In addition, the students will also visit the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Hancock Shaker Village, the White Mountains, and attend the play Les Miserables.

Students from Alvirne High School will be visiting their French partners next February vacation.

Hannah Dustin Guild

by Robyn Hatch

The Hannah Dustin Quilters Guild met the first Monday of the month at the Hudson Community Center.  There are over 200 members who get tighter in friendship to share projects, learn new techniques, and support charitable endeavors for the community.  Members of the Guild donate quilts, toiletries, and can tabs to David’s House and quilts for the incubators to the NICU at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center and to the Chemo Unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital.  Monetary donations have been made to the Nashua Soup Kitchen, the NE Quilt Museum, and David’s House.

Hannah Emerson Dustin was the first female in the United States to be honored by a permanent statue.  Today there is a monument erected in her memory in the center of Haverhill, MA, commemorating the extensive ordeal she endured when she was captured by Indians on March 15, 1697.  They killed her one-week-old daughter Martha, and forced her to travel by canoe and walking for days until they arrived at an island in the middle of the Merrimack River in Boscawen about six miles north of Concord, NH.  There she met Samuel Lennardson, a young English boy who had been a captive for about two years.  They became friends and plotted to find a way of escape.  On the 31st, they got up around midnight, killed the ten Indians, and escaped down the river to Hudson, NH, with the scalps to prove their story and collect a bounty.

Today you can travel from Haverhill to Boscawen in about an hour (66 miles).  The island is accessed by an unused railroad bridge, and there is the statue.  Check it out.

Susan Schiff (president)

A quilt to be auctioned

Partners in Crime (Beverly Johnson, Connie Weaver, Mary Jane Warner)

Former Benson’s Owner Offers Memorabilia Exhibit

by Gina M. Votour

Since the Town of Hudson’s purchase of the Benson’s property from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) back in January, the retrieval of memorabilia pieces dating from the Park’s earlier days has been strongly encouraged as part of the town’s future plans.

Arthur Provencher, who owned the property 30 years ago, recently made a generous offer to provide his own memorabilia display to the town.

Appearing before the Board of Selectmen on April 14, Provencher described several items he currently possesses that could make interesting future exhibits.  Among these items are framed photos and mega prints, personal photo albums, newspaper articles spanning over nearly 60 years, promotional materials, a video and DVD slide presentation, and a 6-foot by 6-foot architectural scale Park replica.

“If anybody should have [this memorabilia], it should be the Town of Hudson,” Provencher stated.

Provencher suggested that these items be temporarily displayed at the building, which currently houses the Hills Memorial Library, since further use for this building will be needed once the new library opens later this spring.  To this effect, he additionally mentioned a full-sized circus wagon, which could be displayed outside the building.

Provencher, who now resides in Henniker, previously explained in a letter to the town that he would not expect any type of monetary gain related to the display of his memorabilia.

“It is my intent to display the exhibit for the enjoyment of the public, and I have no plans to either charge anyone or sell anything while the exhibit is on display,” he wrote.

A one-week memorabilia display was Provencher’s original suggestion.  However, after the board indicated that public interest could be overwhelming during such a limited time, Provencher agreed he would be open to a longer time period provided that proper precautions were taken against vandalism or damage to his display items.

When asked by selectmen vice chairman Ken Massey whether he would consider a more permanent memorabilia display within the Benson’s site once it is opened publicly, Provencher pointed out that a larger area may be necessary for the display than could be offered by some of the Benson’s buildings.  He also referenced the need for a “museum-type atmosphere” which the Hills building could provide.

Provencher purchased the Benson’s property back in 1979.  According to the book Remembering Benson’s Wild Animal Farm by Bob Goldsack, “Art Provencher’s aim was to make Benson’s New England’s major zoological institution and dominant theme park.”

Initial revitalization efforts under Provencher’s ownership included the addition of more animals and special acts to the site.  Despite his hard work and optimistic attitude, Provencher nevertheless found himself on the verge of bankruptcy in 1985.  In 1987, the Park’s focus therefore changed to include amusements, and it was renamed the ‘New England Play World Amusement Park and Zoo’.  However, this focus shift could not save the Park and, to Provencher’s chagrin, the park closed in November of 1987 after running for over 60 years.

In 1989, the property was purchased by NHDOT for the intention of wetland mitigation.  Hudson’s planned renovation of the property, which remained vacant over most of NHDOT’s 20-year ownership, is anticipated to breathe new life into this section of town through the provision of a future site for passive recreation.

Overall, the selectmen unanimously approved the acceptance of Provencher’s offer to display his items.

“If we were to say ‘no’ to this offer, we would have to be the biggest bunch of fools that ever sat at these tables,” laughed selectman Shawn Jasper.

Selectmen chairman Roger Coutu alluded to the notion that Governor John Lynch could visit Hudson in the near future and may therefore also have the opportunity to view Provencher’s display.

As Provencher concluded his discussion with the selectmen, a round of applause went up from the board and all those in attendance for the meeting.  Coincidentally, several audience members were present that evening to apply for seats on the Benson’s Committee.  Sitting at the back of the room prior to his presentation, Provencher contentedly witnessed their interviews.

The next step toward the creation of Provencher’s memorabilia display will be his coordination with both the Assistant Town Administrator and the Library Trustees to work out additional details.  Info will be forthcoming.

HPD to Apply for Justice Assistance Grant

by Gina M. Votour

The Hudson Police Department will soon be applying for the State of New Hampshire’s 2009 Recovery Act Justice Assistance Grant (JAG), requesting an amount of $58,516.  This grant portion is intended for Hillsborough County Police and Sheriff’s Departments and spans over a four year period. 

Should this grant be awarded to the HPD, funds will be put toward the purchase of a police cruiser to serve as both a D.A.R.E. and patrol vehicle.  The grant is also expected to cover the cost of the purchase and instruction associated with a virtual firearms training system.

Budgeted individually, the cost of the vehicle is estimated at $25,700 while the cost of the virtual firearms system is projected to be $29,526.  Two hour training for 47 officers within this new system is expected to be about $3,290.  In total, these funds would add up to the total grant request amount of $58,516.

The JAG program is a form of assistance to state and local communities stemming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was enacted on February 17 by President Obama.  The Office of Justice Program’s (OJP) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Website calls this act an “effort to jumpstart our economy, create or save millions of jobs, and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century.” 

Overall, the Recovery Act is anticipated to provide up to $4 billion to state and local law enforcement agencies.  Approximately $2 billion of these funds will be administered by the BJA through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program to specifically allow “state and local governments to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime and improve the criminal justice system.” 

HPD to Participate in DWI Hunter Patrols Project

by Gina M. Votour

The Hudson Police Department recently received unanimous Board of Selectmen approval to enter into an agreement with the New Hampshire Highway Safety Agency as a means of supporting the “Hudson Statewide DWI Hunter Patrols” project.  The department has participated in this program for the past several years.

A state statistic from 2007 showed that 31.8 percent of fatal crashes were alcohol related that year.  Furthermore, the project description references a statistical analysis of fatal crash statistics, which indicated that “the greatest number of alcohol-related crashes occur during the summer months.”

DWI Hunter Patrols will therefore occur in Hudson on June 12-13, July 24-25, and August 21-22 between the hours of 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. on each day.

Funding for the project will come from a $2,124 federal grant through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  These dollars will cover the overtime salary of one Hudson officer for these six patrols spanning six hours each. 

The results anticipated through this state-wide effort are that “numerous vehicles will be stopped resulting in the apprehension of alcohol and drug impaired drivers, greater public awareness of the alcohol and drug impaired driving issue, and a reduction in serious motor vehicle crashes, deaths, and injuries.”

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