First Baptist Church Hosts ‘Crocodile Dock’ Vacation Bible School

by Doug Robinson

All the children shout “Fear Not” as they raise their arms in appreciation of the Lord.

Area children have been “taking romp through the swamp” as they have enjoyed the week-long activities of ‘Crocodile Dock’ — Hudson’s First Baptist Church’s Vacation Bible School.

“The setting for Crocodile Dock is the bayou, a.k.a. the swamp.  At Crocodile Dock, kids will watch for God in everyday life through something we call God Sightings.  Kids discover that God is active in our lives and that His fingerprints are everywhere,” writes the course outline.  The program is designed “To know Christ and make Him known.”

Nearly 48 children, 3 through 12 years old, participated in the week-long Vacation Bible School, Crocodile Dock, as they learned about God’s presence, power, love, life, and care.  Daily themes involving “God is with us” (based on Moses and the burning bush); “God is powerful” (taken from God’s judgment plagues upon the Egyptians); “God does what He says He’ll do” (based on the first Passover); “God gives new life” (recounts the death and resurrection of Jesus); and “God cares for us” (based on the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea) were learned.  Children participated in crafts, singing, play-acting, and readings, to further learn these important Biblical points.

First Baptist Church Vacation Bible School organizers Kristin Rice (Sunday School Superintendent) and Lorna Granger (Vacation Bible School Director) stated, “The children were encouraged to participate and share daily with their personal God Sightings or the acts of kindness and love they saw out there in the world.  Children learn about the various Biblical stories, from hand-making various crafts, such as a burning bush, from styrofoam, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, glue, markers, and tinsel to re-enacting the trip to the mountain to hear Moses speak.  Children also make musical instruments, lanterns, and alligator clips.  God is fun, and this is a fun time for the children.  Vacation Bible School is a great place to plant the seed of God.”

The daily learning activities were centered upon the children singing, making crafts, and snack time.  Outside water games entertained the children as they threw water balloons, shot water guns, slid on the water slide, played catch with water balloons, and ran through water sprinklers.  The church halls were decorated with various signage stating “Leap for the Lord” and “Hungry for the Lord.”

In speaking with First Baptist Pastor Jim Harrington, he stated, “Vacation Bible School is one of the key ways to reach people in the New England Community.  It is a great way to give parents a break in mid to later summer.  Vacation Bible Schools offer the parents an opportunity to look at our church and see that we are family orientated, offer a great family worship, and show kids some fun.  I am very appreciative of all the hard work that has gone into the making of this program successful.  They have been working for months.”

Alex Laval Lee, of Manchester, places the final touches on his creation of the Burning Bush.

Maddy stops for a second and laughs as she just ran through a water sprinkler during the water games at Vacation Bible School.

Hudson Benson Volunteers Say “Yes We Can, Yes We Can”

Benson’s Cleanup Huge Success

by Doug Robinson

The Elephant Barn begins to appear from under the overgrowth during Saturday’s work.

Like an Amish Barn Raising, dozens of Hudson residents said, “Yes we can, Yes we can,” as they united together, volunteering their time and talents, as they participated in the cleanup of Benson Wild Animal Park, saving the Town of Hudson $2,800.  Equipped with mowers, trimmers, chain saws, and dressed in jeans, work boots, and gloves, the band of volunteers cut brush, eliminated line vines, trimmed small trees, and cleared pathways up to 10-feet wide around several historic buildings at Benson’s Wild Animal Park.

“Our goal was to work together, saving the town some money, so that we can open the park as soon as we could,” commented cleanup organizer, Selectman Ben Nadeau.  “I appreciate all the help to those who showed up, especially Jerry Desrosiers.  We had over 30 volunteers here on Saturday, and then close to 20 volunteers returned on Sunday.  Our oldest, and probably hardest worker, was 82-year-old John Lavoie.  He worked circles around me and he worked me into the ground.  We had a lot of fun.”

The volunteers spent their time near the front of the entrance as those who visit Benson’s will now be able to get a good view of the Elephant House, Office Building, and Train Station.  Brush, vines, and small trees have littered the property for years.

Mark Pearson, Assistant Town Administrator for the Town of Hudson, described the condition of the property to the Hudson Board of Selectmen as, “The Elephant Barn has trees growing in the fenced-in area, and (vines are growing) against the building.  Extensive vines (run) along the fence and building, and the buildings (have been) taken over by vines.  (It) looks like big green shrubbery.  (In the) … Gorilla House … branches are hanging down touching sophists and roof (and there is) a pine tree against the A frame.  (The) Hazelton Barn … needs roof work and there are trees against the barn.”

Pearson, during the July 14 Board of Selectmen’s meeting, proposed to the Town of Hudson Selectmen that they should spend $2,800 from the Benson’s impact fee account for the purpose of the removal of the brush and trees which hinder the buildings.  “The purpose of my memo was to ask for the use of using $2,800 to clear trees and brush from around the buildings at Benson’s … (These) funds are available and have been allocated and this will leave a balance of just under $6,000 to be used before the sixth year when it expires.  With that, I am asking the Board’s approval to spend $2,800 to remove the brush and trees around the buildings at Benson’s Park.”

Chairman Roger Coutu commented for Pearson to give an overview of the expenditure in an effort for the public to understand that, “We are not just throwing away $2,800 to remove trees.  People are going to say we can get volunteers out there.  Give us a general overview and give us an idea how the roofing work would be interfered and how the growth would prevent … (and) how extensive impact or prevent (the work of the roofs to be done).

Pearson stated that there were three trees, which are between the Office Building and the Railroad Station.  He commented that there were “branches touching the roof (which) need to be pruned back to prevent moss.”  He further stated that brush was extensive around the Office Building.

Fearful of damage to any “rare plant life” which might be growing in the areas where brush was to be removed, Chairman Coutu received confirmation from Pearson that he had personally spoken with the Chairman of the Benson’s Committee and that the only “thing he was able to identify was a small bush in front of the Office Building and he (Dickerson) said it was not worth saving the one bush.  Other than that, it is all junk, provided we trim the bushes around the Gorilla House.  Regarding the three cedar trees separating the Office Building and the Train Station, Dickerson also stated (that) they are in tough shape and he understands if they are too close to the building and if they are to pose a problem with the shingles drying up … it would be better to take the trees down.”

While not part of the cleanup work, a roofer was re-shingling the A Frame building

Selectman Jasper then stated, “I would like to move to approve the request … and authorize … for the purpose of tree and brush removal surrounding the buildings at Benson’s and to hire Tip Top Tree Service in the amount of $2,800.”

Selectman Jasper then stated, “Most of this money is going to be spent on things that volunteers cannot do, taking down those trees that are currently between the Train Station and the Office Building.  The trimming of tall trees is something you do not want to send volunteers to ... unless they are insured and certified to do this type of thing … so this is relatively short money … we received two quotes for a very small amount of money … this one is … $1,100 lower than the second quote, so it makes sense … I hope the majority of four (Selectmen) support this because otherwise we are going to be in a quandary.”

In response to Jasper’s statement about volunteerism in the Town of Hudson, Selectman Ben Nadeau stated, “I read both quotes… remove and prune back trees from five buildings … remove all branches and wood cut to ground level … pruning tree and brush removal.  I went out today to look at the buildings and the brush which had to be cleared around them, we can get volunteers to go in this weekend … (and) clean up the brush around the buildings … the trees do not need to go today.”

According to Pearson, the bids from the contractors did not include the removal of the brush.  “All the contractors (roof and tree) asked about the clearing of the brush, as it is not part of the contract.  I know it seems that anyone can cut a tree away from a building … it is more difficult than just having volunteers going out there and doing it.”

Selectman Jasper was admonished by Chairman Coutu as he was “gaveled” when he challenged Selectman Nadeau as to his ability to coordinate, arrange, and execute his statement that he could get volunteers to work a cleanup day at Benson’s.  “Will you pledge to us that you will spend the rest of your week coordinating volunteers to get the brush removed?” commented Selectman Jasper.  Chairman Coutu responded to Jasper with the gavel, stating, “That is unfair and unreasonable.”

With confidence, Selectman Nadeau again stated, “You want it done this weekend.  It can be done this weekend.  I can make it happen.”

Selectman Richard Maddox commented to Selectman Jasper, “If the Train Station is moving, why are we taking down trees?  It seems to me that you only have $20k left and that you are burning through money and this is all you have for the next year.  If volunteers cleared the brush … are you spending your monies frugally?”

“I believe the brush is short money … it is the bringing down trees and high branches that are the money … my feeling is that the trees could drop easily … to my understanding these are not the only monies for Bensons, (that) there is another account … it is not clear to me that this is the only money ... there are other monies approved by the town … these are only monies in the Benson’s account … I need to get a handle on that … what is the goal here … we are micromanaging which tree or branch should be done by volunteers versus professionals …”

Selectman Maddox replied, “I would hope there is an accounting of all the money being spent at Benson’s … they bought a lot of tee shirts and hats for sale … where are the monies they are supposed to have … it would make me feel better.”

“I can make it happen,” continued Selectman Nadeau.  ”If you want a 10-foot path around the buildings, I’ll give you a 10-foot path.  We can worry about the trees later … if you want trees trimmed up, show me, and if you want trees removed, we will get someone to do it … as for the brush, it looks labor intensive to clean the brush around the five buildings.  We can put in piles and take it to the dump and burn it or stack it for a chipper.  If you want it done for next weekend, I can probably get a tree service in.  Two or three have volunteered in the past to do it.  A lot of people want to get involved and clean up Benson’s … I do not think this is as big a project … we can spend the $2,800 on better projects.”

And “make it happen” happened.  Selectman Nadeau, along with the wonderful team of volunteers, cut 10-foot pathways of brush, trimmed trees, and eliminate the assorted vines which had been choking the buildings for years.

Jerry Desrosiers commented, “This has nothing to do with the Benson’s Committee.  This event was spurred on by the Selectmen’s meeting.  Volunteers are looking to volunteer and becoming involved.  This is a movement.  The park does not belong to a single person, it belongs to the town and they want to work in the park … if they cannot play in it, they want to work on it.”

Leading by example, Selectmen Coutu, Maddox, Massey, and Nadeau cut, raked, and cleaned the property of Benson’s Wild Animal Park.  Chairman Coutu has volunteered to participate and host another cleanup day, which will be held on Saturday, July 25.

As the movement of “Yes We Can” spreads from citizen to citizen, businesses and organizations are also coming forth to participate, free of charge, as well.  “Landscaping companies, heavy equipment companies, tree companies have called and asked if they could help out in some way,” continued Desrosiers.  “We are very appreciative of Wally’s Pizza for their support on Saturday and we are also appreciative of Pizza Man from Connie’s Plaza on Sunday.  Baked goods and water were also donated to the worker bees throughout the weekend.  Thank you very much.”

“Volunteering for this event has been very special to me,” stated Selectman Nadeau.  “Our community is filled with wonderful people who give of themselves daily for the betterment of Hudson.  Without these special people, many services and many organizations would not be able to survive.  The volunteers recognized the waste in spending of the $2,800 and they want to participate to making of Benson’s to be the beautiful park that it is going to be.  The volunteers were very excited and very excited to be making a difference for their town, Hudson.  While I said ‘I can make it happen’, I did not make it happen.  The volunteers made it happen.  The efforts were grassroots and vibrant.  It makes people feel good to participate and to be a part of something.  To them I say ‘thank you’ and let’s do it again next week.”

Selectman Nadeau receives instructions on how to “cut the vines” and how to “work the chainsaw” from 82-year-old volunteer John Lavoie, while clearing the brush at Benson’s Wild Animal Park during the weekend’s cleanup.

Pichette Brothers Awarded Route 102 Sidewalk Project

by Gina M. Votour

The Town of Hudson recently accepted a bid from Pichette Brothers Construction Company Inc., of Manchester, for the Derry Street/Route 102 Sidewalk and Bike Lane Project.

This segment of the job will comprise an estimated 2,230 linear feet of sidewalk on Derry Street (Route 102) going east between Towhee Drive and Evergreen Drive.  Also included within this area length will be bicycle lane stripping and improvements to drainage.

A Request for Bids yielded a total of three proposals for this work.  DBU Construction of Epsom submitted the highest figure of $393,250, while Continental Paving of Londonderry came in at $388,327.  Pichette Brothers, who previously labored on the town’s Lowell Road Sidewalk Project, bid lowest with a proposal of $378,402.

In addition to the above-mentioned construction costs from Pichette Brothers, initial engineering costs added up to $61,670, bringing the price of this part of the venture to $440,072.

A reimbursement from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) is anticipated to help cover a portion of these expenses.  Additional funds are also expected through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The town responsibility for the remaining total, which will be drawn from the Route 102 Corridor Account, could therefore come in as low as $12,114.90.  However, an additional $35,000 must be taken from this account to cover costs for full-time inspection services required for ARRA fund eligibility.  Acting Town Engineer Gary Webster stated to the selectmen during their July 14 meeting that there is also a chance for reimbursement of these funds.

“This project has been a long time coming and I’m glad to see that we’re finally going to get some extended sidewalks on that highway.  It would be greatly appreciated by the residents, I think,” stated Selectmen Vice Chairman Ken Massey prior to the board’s unanimous approval of the Pichette Brothers contract.

This section of the Route 102 project is now pending approval from NHDOT.  At press time, the town’s Route 102 Corridor Account contained $293,760.10.

Lowell Rd. Resurfaced

Travelers on Lowell Rd. have a smooth surface under their wheels due to work by Continental Paving. Each truck carries enough material to pave about 220 feet of the roadway, which took three passes of the paver for each coat of 1” pavement. A 10-ton roller compacts the surface. The project, including the initial coat and raising the manholes, was completed on Wednesday.

Dear Readers

Hopefully the long wet summer finds you dry.  July 09 started the 30th year of our paper coming to your home in Hudson and Litchfield, 10 years as the Hudson News and 20 years as your Hudson~Litchfield News.  There are two changes underway.  The first being that your paper on July 31, 2009 will be delivered by an independent carrier and not by United States Post Office.  On that Friday the HLN should be in your driveway or walkway when you wake up. 

The other change is the relocation of our Hudson office only two miles from Bell Tower, our home for the past nine years.  As of July 31st, we have leased a wing with our friends The Telegraph at 17 Executive Dr. Hudson, with easy first floor access and parking near our own separate entrance.  The email addresses and phone numbers remain the same.

Thank you for reading the HLN.

Len Lathrop

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