Hudson Litchfield News Goes to School

The Hudson~Litchfield News just completed a six week program at the Presentation of Mary Academy called “We’ve Got News for you.”  The program, created over five years with, then Dr. H. O. Smith 4th grade teacher Sandi Blanchard and Editor Robin Rodgers brainstormed resulting in an in depth program to share the world of newspapers with her students.  Since that time, Mrs. Blanchard retired and came to work for the paper to continue to share her teaching and now newspaper expertise with Hudson students.

The program begins with the basics of the five “W’s” and a simple scavenger hunt through the paper.  Ending up with the student done pages in this week’s center section of the Hudson~Litchfield News.  The students learned about graphics and design, how a “free” paper makes money, how to conduct an interview and create a story with your information, as well as what the different jobs available in the newspaper industry are.  Many guests visited the class including Tom Tollefson from the Telegraph with a video presentation of the “Daily” preparation of newspapers and even a surprise visit from “Scoop!” 

The goal for the Hudson~Litchfield News is to bring a love of reading to students through this project and others like the “Battle of the Books” program also sponsored by the weekly paper.  The students in both fifth grades, the teachers, administration and all the visitors embraced the project with respect, enthusiasm and grace, and even learned something along the way.  Turn to page 10 and share in this coloration of students, industry and community.

Negativity Only Takes Away from Important Heritage in Litchfield

by Maureen Gillum

There has been some controversy lately regarding the responsibilities and rights of the “the poopers, peddlers and the pedestrians” using Litchfield’s nine-mile walking and bike path, which parallels Albuquerque Avenue.  At a recent Litchfield Selectmen’s meeting a proposed ordinance to ban horses from the path was deferred six months in hopes to encourage all horse owners to act responsibly and let the issue resolve itself.


4 year old Meghan feeds Riley, the Gibbon’s new Quarter Horse.

Many locals, and most horse owners, feel the publicity is unfortunate and somewhat exaggerated as the majority of horse owners handle their horse dropping responsibly.  Further, such negativity takes away from all that horses give to their people and the charm it brings to the community.  It also negates the important heritage and role horses have played in Southern New Hampshire, where small farms were plentiful until the last few decades. 

Take as an example, Litchfield resident and horse owner, Julie Gibbons, who owns and operates the “Four Girls Stable” with husband, Eric, and her family since 2001.  The 1982 Alvirne graduate, who grew up with her four sisters in Hudson and moved to Litchfield in 1996, believes “everyone is entitled to their own opinion,” but foremost encourages proper and safe horse care.  Julie also acknowledges, “Litchfield’s not the country farm town it used to be” and believes everyone needs to make concessions as “the horses have been here far longer than most incoming residents.”  Personally, she doesn’t like riding on roads today as “it’s just become too hazardous.”  The Gibbons family lives on Route 3A and rides on trails and fields adjacent to their barn and not on the Litchfield path.  “Since we’re away from it, we’re kind of happy we can avoid all this mess about the poop on the path,” but she also mentions there are options, like waste bags, that may keep everyone happy.


Amber, age 8, at the horse show.

Instead, she, Eric, and their four daughters (Meghan, 4; Cassidy, 6; Amber, 8; and Courtney, 15) focus on the cultivation and training/competition of their three horses – two registered Paints and one new Quarter Horse.  Julie explains, “There’s lots to be done on a daily basis to take care of three horses, including feeding, cleaning, brushing, stall prep, and training time and everyone does their share.”  They also maintain rules at Four Girls Stable; one is “if you don’t clean, you don’t’ ride,” laughs Julie.  Even her youngest, four year old Meghan, knows exactly what each horse eats and how much to feed them.  Gibbons also explains, “Four Girls Stable is also an ‘ultimate recycler,’ as local farms in Litchfield haul away and use our manure each spring for fertilizer – it’s a win win for all.”

The Gibbons family also takes their horse show competitions quite seriously.  They all ride Western (large horn), a seat Julie has been riding since she was 5, and show out of the Silver Heels Riding Club (Fremont, NH).  “My daughters, especially Amber, eats breaths and sleeps horses,” admits Julie, “equestrian care, training and horse competition have had such a positive impact on all of them.”  Eight year old Amber actually won the overall title “2005 Super Horse of the Year” with their horse, Pretty Bit O’ Chick (affectionately nicknamed Jo), among all competition levels, including adults.  “It was a surprise to all of us as we didn’t know it until we saw it in the year-end banquet program at Ashworth by the Sea,” shares Julie, “I just started crying when I saw Amber took the Super Horse title, it comes from hard work.”

Collectively, over the past four years, Amber and Julie have accumulated over 100 ribbons and trophies, which are mostly kept in their barn.  Other family titles include, Top Paint Horse 2005, several Champion and Reserve Championships in Leadline and Novice Adult classes.  They both enjoy showing Pleasure and trail classes but are known to show in a couple game classes to break up the long days at the shows.  Amber is already marking the days off her calendar in her room to the first show.  “I can hardly wait to show in April,” exudes Amber, “horses are my life and we get to meet great friends!”  “It is a great experience for Amber as it builds her self esteem and confidence for her daily life,” shares Mom proudly, “I am glad my husband and I can provide this life style for our children.”  Julie concludes with a smile, “I’m not sure they would want it any other way; they love it!”

Sex Offenders Beware:  Hudson Just May NOT Be Your Kinda Town

by Doug Robinson

The Town of Hudson has been applauded by Governor John Lynch, Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, and Senator Robert Clegg for the proactive approach position the Town has adopted regarding sex offenders.  Governor Lynch believes that “People who prey sexually on children are among the worst criminals we face."

Police Chief Richard Gendron has led the crusade, developing departmental philosophy, education, and pro-active lines of communication regarding sex offenders in the Town of Hudson.  Chief Gendron freely states that the public “needs to know who they are.”  The Hudson Police Department created a Town of Hudson Sex Offender website in efforts to inform the public.

To further protect the children of Hudson, Chief Gendron has introduced to the Board of Selectmen changes to the current ordinance which governs the behavior, actions, and responsibilities of convicted sex offenders.  He suggested to the Selectmen the following restrictions be made to Registered Sex Offenders:

  • The registered sex offender is required to register for life
  • The sex offender is prohibited on any School or Day Care facility, or any public or private educational facility that provides services to children in grades K - 12
  • The sex offender is prohibited on the premises of any building structure or cartilage surrounding building, playground area or playing field, or courts
  • Not reside within a 2,500 foot radius of the property line of a school or day care center
  • Prohibited from entering upon the premises of a school or day care center, unless specifically authorized by the school administration or day care center owner
  • The only exception will be to those who resided within 2,500 feet will be given to those who lived there before the ordinance was passed
  • The penalty for any person violating the provisions of these ordinances will be subject to a fine of not less than $500 for the first offense, and $1,000 for any subsequent offence.

After discussion, Selectmen voted unanimously to accept the recommended changes to the ordinance and sent it to town counsel for legal review.

The Hudson Police Department also participated with the creation of the new sex offender law which was proposed and passed by the legislators of New Hampshire.  New Hampshire now leads the nation as having the toughest sex offender laws on the books.  If convicted, offenders now receive 25 years in prison. 

"These sentences are fitting for the destruction of young lives that sexual predators cause.

Not only do sexual predators physically harm children, they rob them of their childhoods.  The harm predators do stays with their victims for the rest of their lives," stated Governor Lynch.

In efforts to communicate effectively with the Town of Hudson, the Hudson Police Department also hosts a website, http://www.hudsonpd.com/offender/offender.html, with information and pictures of those who are considered to be sex offenders in the Town of Hudson.  The website clearly defines the responsibilities of the sex offenders in Hudson. 

Information available on the website includes duty to report, change of name, and duration of registration, availability of information to the public, rules, penalties, and hearings.  Check it out to become better informed.

Information from the website for the Center for Missing and Exploited Children states, the sexual victimization of children is overwhelming yet (goes) largely unrecognized and underreported.  Statistics show that “one in five girls and one in ten boys are sexually exploited before they reach adulthood, yet less than 35% of those child sexual assaults are reported to authorities.”  Furthermore, according to Highlights of the Youth Internet Safety Survey conducted by the U. S. Department of Justice “one in five children (10 to 17 years old) receive unwanted sexual solicitations online.”

The Center for Missing and Exploited Children has several recommendations ranging from keeping current photos of your children to teaching your child important telephone numbers and where to go in case of an emergency.

Hudson Home Destroyed by Fire

On a blustery February night a fire started in the laundry area of a home on 4 Maureen Drive in Hudson.  The homeowner was home alone and was told to evacuate when he called the fire in.  He and the family’s dog were safely evacuated.  The three children were not at home when the fire started.

Because there are no fire hydrants in this area of Hudson, Hudson Fire Department called for mutual aid, requesting two additional tankers respond to the scene.  Litchfield, Windham, and Derry Fire Departments responded to the scene.

Firefighters fought the fire from both inside and outside the home in cold, windy conditions.  “It was one of those nights that you could have made snow from the water coming out of the fire hoses,” said Litchfield Fire Chief Tom Schofield, who complimented the tremendous job done by all responding firefighters.  “The conditions were brutal.”

Firefighters worked until approximately 4:30 a.m. on the fire.  By the time the fire was out, all the windows were broken and significant fire damage had been sustained.  Because the fire reached the attic before containment, all floors of the 2.5 story home were damaged.  The garage sustained little damage.

At 8:38 a.m. a neighbor again called Hudson Fire Department because heavy smoke was billowing out of the home.  The responding fire crew discovered that the fire had rekindled in the attic and was being fanned by the heavy swirling winds blowing through the broken windows in the home.

Once again mutual aid was called and more tankers responded to the scene.  The tankers rotated being on the scene, providing water, and refilling at a hydrant in Litchfield on Page Road.

By 2:30 in the afternoon, the fire was out, but crews were standing by.  The wind continued to blast the area.  “The fire inspector is on the scene,” said Deputy Fire Chief Gary Rodgers.  “We don’t think it is a suspicious fire at this point, but everything is pretty much gone.”

Motor Vehicle Accidents 2005

It is the intention of this article to make the reader more aware of the current accident rate and pattern taking place within the Town of Hudson.  Recently a search of the motor vehicle accident database at the Hudson Police Department revealed some interesting and disturbing causes.

It is the department’s intention to enforce the laws of our State and Town ordinances in an effort to make the quality of life better and safer within our town boundaries.  On a daily basis you will observe Hudson Police Department officers on directed patrols.  These directed patrols are an attempt to put our resources in areas of town that need immediate attention and resolution.  Motor vehicle accidents have always been a major concern to the citizens and town officials.  Deterring bodily injury is the first concern as well as the sky rocketing cost associated with insured and uninsured drivers.  Anyone of us can have an unavoidable collision which is why they call them accidents. 

This article is being written to inform the public of the number one causation of accidents in recent months is driver inattention and inexperience.  The days of the cellular telephone has only increased this phenomenon.  People are looking everywhere else but the road in front of them in many cases.  In over 70% of motor vehicle collisions on our roadways, the following conditions existed:  Pavement dry and clear of maintenance; daylight conditions; traffic control devices in place and moderate to heavy traffic.  These are not conditions that warrant a hazardous situation.  In fact they are ideal driving conditions. 

The highest amount of impact damage to the vehicles involved was front end center damage and rear end center damage.  The number one cause of accidents in the town is rear end collisions and the number one reason given was “I didn’t see them stop in front of me.”  If your eyes are not looking in front of you when you are operating a 3,000 to 5,000 pound vehicle then you are risking your life and the lives around you with this type of behavior.  Use extra caution when operating a motor vehicle during these winter months.  Ice and snow conditions are not ideal conditions for driving so we must make adjustments. 

A 30 MPH posted speed limit sign is taken at prima facia value.  That is to say that it is the recommended safest speed for normal driving conditions.  If there is ice and snow on the roadways and your tires are sliding and skidding at 25 MPH then you are driving too fast for the conditions.  You must drive as slow as pre-existing conditions require.  The Hudson Police Department urges you to use due care when operating your vehicle upon our public ways. 

It is the job of the Hudson Police Department to change driver behavior through motor vehicle enforcement.  When it comes to driver inattention and or experience accidents then we need your help.  We can slow drivers down who are speeding and cite stop sign and red light violations but we need public awareness for what is the current trend in these accidents.  If 89% of the accidents listed in this article are happening under normal conditions with no vision obscurement, then that means that 89% of these motor vehicle collisions were preventable.  When stopping in traffic, give your vehicle plenty of room to slow down and stop.  When you are slowing or stopped in traffic you should be able to see the rear tires of the vehicle directly in front of you at all times.  If you cannot then you are traveling too closely and you will not have enough distance to stop your vehicle and prevent a collision.

Some simple tips for a safer driving experience this winter are: 

  • Buckle up.
  • Get your car serviced now.
  • Check your battery.
  • Check your cooling system
  • Fill the washer reservoir
  • Check your windshield wipers and defrosters
  • Inspect your tires and brakes
  • Plan your travel and route
  • Stock your vehicle
  • Learn what to do in a winter emergency

Campbell High School in First Place in National Internet Scholarship Competition

by Maureen Gillum

“It’s not who you know, but what you know!” according to the Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation (www.cksf.org), who runs the on-going monthly High School Internet Challenge, among other Internet contests such as books, Bible, American heroes, and sports.  The Foundation’s mission is “to create scholarly (educational) and scholarship (financial) opportunities in which participants of all levels have a fair and equal chance to participate and be successful.”

Garnering 39,978 points, Campbell High School (CHS) is ranked first in New Hampshire as well as first in the Nation for CKSF’s National High School Internet Challenge.  On the state level, CHS usurped former New Hampshire champions, Hanover High School, in November 2005, and has maintained the state lead ever since.  All totaled, 2,723 high schools across the country competed in the February scholarship competitions.  The Campbell High Cougars team is well poised to compete in the April Grand National Competition.

For Campbell High, the Internet competition all started last spring with Andy Towne, a 16 year-old Litchfield Junior.  Andy explains, “I was doing a search on Fastweb (www.fastweb.com) last May for college scholarship money and came across the CKSF’s High School Internet Challenge and thought I’d give it a try.”  The quizzes, which vary on all kinds of different topics, “is basically a national trivia game you play on the Internet,” reports Andy.  He found the chemistry questions to be the most challenging among CKSF’s database of over 5,000 questions in 35 different topics.  Towne soon drew in Chris Huston and Nick Dube among nearly a dozen other Campbell High School (CHS) students to participate as a team in the on-line challenge.  Dube even won a book contest on a book he had never read.  Andy, who is the sports announcer for CHS basketball, hopes to attend Northeastern University and eventually break into sports broadcasting.

The first Common Knowledge Scholarship was created for high school students in Norway, Michigan in January of 2000 by alumni, Daryl Hulce and Jim Chartre.  “Our goal was to find a way in which all students, not just the strongest academics, would have a fair chance to win a scholarship,” explained CKSF President, Mr. Hulce, “the "Common Knowledge" scholarship was based on well-rounded practical knowledge, rather than textbook and classroom material.”

The no-fee program, which starts over every month and includes three rounds, is open to every high school student in the United States.  A school is automatically entered with its first student competes with CKSF.  There is no software to buy; quizzes typically take 5 - 15 minutes to complete and are available full time six days a week.  The program allows every student to belong to their school’s team,” details Hulce, “no one can get cut from his team, and because every point counts, even the lowest scoring student helps build the school’s score.”

Over 200,000 people from more than 9,000 different schools have registered with CKSF.  While most CKSF scholarships are for $500, the largest was $10,000 and approximately $75,000 cash scholarships and prizes have been awarded to date.  If you are interested forming a CKSF team for your school, please contact Daryl Hulce at hulce@cksf.org.

Congratulations to all of the CHS champions in CKSF’s National High School Internet Challenge.  With continued success, they will likely vie for the Grand National competition in April.  Cheer on and track the Cougars progress on-line at the Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation’s web site at www.cksf.org.

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