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Pittsfield NH News

December 4, 2013

The Suncook Valley Sun News Archive is Maintained by Modern Concepts. We are NOT affliated in any way with the Suncook Valley Sun Newspaper.


Craft Fair this Saturday


The Dorcas Guild’s annual Craft Fair at the First Congregational Church, 24 Main Street, Pittsfield, is happening this Saturday, December 7, 9-2. It will feature over a dozen local artisans with fine seasonal crafts of all types including knits, decorative items, fresh greenery, gourmet selections, the Dorcas Guild crafts and much more. The Pittsfield Historical Society also has a table at the fair. And make your final bids on those special items on the Silent Auction table. The auction ends at 2 pm on December 7. Luncheon is available and offered by the Dorcas Guild. There is parking and a wheelchair accessible entrance at rear of church. More info at 435-7471.



Joyce Sanborn Memorial Concert

Saturday, December 14 at 7:30 PM

Featuring Trillium at the First Congregational Church of Pembroke, UCC - 301 Pembroke Street, Pembroke, NH


Trillium brings the sounds and sentiments of the season in a joyful concert called O Christmas T(h)ree. The title is taken from a set of three Christmas songs arranged especially for Trillium by William Fletcher, which will be premiered at this concert. Peggo Horstmann Hodes, Hannah Schramm Murray and Jane Berlin Pauley, assisted by Calvin Herst at the piano, will present selections from the traditional to the new, including The Cherry Tree Carol, The Christmas Song, The Twelve or So Days of Christmas and a few sing-a-longs to get everyone singing.


Peggo, Hannah and Jane have been singing as Trillium for 7 years and have also performed extensively as soloists throughout New Hampshire and beyond. Calvin Herst has been accompanying singers brilliantly for as long as we’ve known him. Between them, they have recorded over 10 CDs, soloed throughout New England, won voice competitions, performed on many stages together, taught voice, conducted and managed the faculty at Concord Community Music School, where Calvin is the Education Director, Peggo conducts Songweavers, and Hannah and Jane both teach voice and conduct vocal ensembles. We sing for the beauty and joy of making music together and the love of sharing it with others.


For more information contact the church at 485-9639 or by e-mail: [email protected] or [email protected].



VA Marks The 10-Year Anniversary Of My Healthevet

Online Access Available To Support Veterans Health Care

Submitted By Merrill Vaughan, Past Commander

American Legion Peterson-Cram Post 75

Pittsfield, NH


In recognition of the 10th anniversary of its award-winning Personal Health Record, My HealtheVet (, the Department of Veterans Affairs is urging all Veterans and Servicemembers to join the millions already accessing VA health care information and services online. 


VA is marking this milestone by spreading the word about the benefits of My HealtheVet Personal Health Record, such as VA prescription refill, VA notes, VA Blue Button and secure messaging with VA health care providers. 


“VA is a pioneer and a leader of health information technology that improves patient-provider relationships, embraces wellness and improves health outcomes for the brave men and women who have served our Nation,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “VA invites all Veterans and Servicemembers to get online to become more active partners in their health care.” 


Throughout November, My HealtheVet Coordinators at all 151 VA medical centers organized community events, host enrollment and education health fairs, lead training sessions and work with VA Voluntary Service to showcase how My HealtheVet contributes to more informed and more engaged Veteran patients.  VA continues to build its My HealtheVet online health record, adding new online tools and features, and My HealtheVet Coordinators are geared up to accept new My HealtheVet enrollees throughout November.


“VA is dedicated to providing Veterans with the best experience possible, both at VA facilities and online,” said Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Robert A. Petzel. “We are proud to celebrate a decade of online access for Veterans and look forward to a future of even more access to meet their evolving needs.”


My HealtheVet is VA’s award-winning website that offers Veterans secure access to portions of information in their VA health care records anywhere and anytime.  Its web-based tools give users greater control over their care and wellness, helping them become active partners in their health care. 


In addition to allowing Veterans access to their records, My HealtheVet lets them save, print and share their health information using the VA Blue Button, refill VA prescriptions online and track their health activities. Veterans who upgrade their accounts, free of charge, can use secure messaging to communicate electronically with their VA health care teams between visits.  They can also view VA appointments, get VA Wellness Reminders, access VA lab results and more.


“We urge Veterans and Servicemembers to go online during November and throughout the year,” said Theresa Hancock, director of the My HealtheVet program. “My HealtheVet offers a flexible and convenient way for Veterans to become engaged in their health care and well-being.”


My HealtheVet is celebrating 10 years of online access.  All Veterans and Servicemembers are encouraged to enroll or upgrade today at



Pittsfield Kindness_club_food_drive_031.jpg

The ABC Kindness Club organized the PES food drive to support the Pittsfield Food Pantry.   The students brought in 590 items totaling 601 lbs of food. Back L to R Brandon Desilets, Cody Hodgdon, Devin Bedell, Quinn Bissonnette. Front Abby Cote, Paige Provencal, Rebecca Smith, Paige Boudreau and Aryannah Carter. Not in picture Courtney Butler, Hailey Beliveau, Mackenzie Dumond and  Kianna Vincelette The group has also been busy reading stories to classrooms around the issue of bullying.  Students are learning what to do when they see it.  Who are the grown ups in their lives they can talk to when an issue arises. They are also learning how to respond in a kind way when a classmate’s feelings have been hurt.



Pittsfield Players’ Christmas Goodie Box Sale

All Proceeds go to The Scenic Theatre Sprinkler Fund


Each box contains 1 dozen cookies, white and dark chocolate bark, English toffee pieces, a mini loaf of sweet bread, candy canes and kisses.


A perfect hostess gift or a box of many hostess gifts!


$12 per box


Boxes will be on sale at Dominic’s Restaurant during regular business hours beginning Wednesday, December 11 through December 24, or until sold out. 


Dominic’s hours are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10 am to 8 pm and on Sunday from noon to 7 pm.



Letter To The Editor


To the good citizens of Pittsfield,

It’s almost 3:30 PM in Nottingham. Waiting for a concrete truck. Looks like I’ll be working late. I’ll probably miss the selectmen’s meeting tonight. That’s one thing I love about stonework, it gets dark, you go home. Up here helping build an addition. It gets dark, these guys pull out the lights.


Another thing I love about stonework is you don’t have to wait for concrete. There generally are stones somewhere close.


Anyway, sitting in my car thinking about how Carole Richardson called last night and told me to stop by. She had something for me, a large decorated box filled with cheeses, crackers, cookies, couple gift certificates, one to Jack’s Pizza, and cash.


What a gift. Nova also got a box of dog bones, which she will share with Larry.


I am thankful for the Beautification Committee, and anyone who has supported their efforts to improve our downtown. They are careful how they spend their donations. For that, I am grateful. The only think I’m missing is Nicole Ward’s Christmas candies.


God, I love my town.


Dan Schroth Piermarocchi


Pittsfield SVSun_Metcalf_Anniversary.jpg

Congratulations to Paul & Lucia Metcalf who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on November 21, 2013. A family celebration was held on November 23, 2013 with 25 guests attending including children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and special friends Ron & Judi Ainslie from Scituate MA.



“Meet Our Members” – June Tillotson-Norman


Next up in Pittsfield Fire Department’s “Meet Our Members” series is our secretary, June Tillotson-Norman.


Q: How long have you worked at the Fire Department and how have you seen the department progress over the years?


A:  Call volume has increased over 60% since I was offered the position here almost 17 years ago.  Changes in the fire service and EMS steers a lot of what we need to accomplish and to meet those challenges working smarter and being more resourceful has never been more important as it has in recent years. One thing that hasn’t changed is how deeply passionate our members are about fire and EMS, their affiliation with the department, and their commitment to serve the community. It’s an honor to work with them.  


Q: What projects do you work on as a volunteer member of the Pittsfield Firefighters Association?


A: I’ve been the secretary for 7 years for our 501 (c) 3 organization.  I enjoy having the opportunity to work on our Facebook page found at “Pittsfield Firefighters Association” and this “Meet Our Members” series.



PMHS Presents A Christmas Carol

Introducing Actor Daren Brooks

By Emily Little


Daren Brooks, a senior at Pittsfield Middle High School, has been involved in theatre since his sophomore year. This year for A Christmas Carol, sadly one of his last plays with PMHS, he received the part of Fred, Scrooge’s flamboyant, good-hearted nephew.


Daren started working in theatre in the tenth grade at the local Pittsfield Players when a friend recruited him while in need of backstage assistance. He was never interested in being on stage, so he helped by setting up props for plays like State Fair and Bugsy Malone; Daren was quite content with his backstage roles, claiming he ran the play and “made it look good”.


Last year, in his junior year, Daren was recruited by the PMHS Drama Club to play the role of Dirk Shadow in their performance of The Boardinghouse when they were short on cast members. Daren enjoyed working with the Drama Club immensely, loving his character, and having “a grand old time” with his fellow actors.


Daren enjoyed working with the Drama Club so much that this year he auditioned for a part in A Christmas Carol, taking on the role of Fred. Daren expressed that he was very pleased with the selection of the cast, saying that “they’re all really good actors” and “working with this cast is exciting and different from the five-person play last year. All in all it’s fun; there’s a lot of energy in this group.” “It’s been three months or so and everyone’s pretty much got their lines down. We’re ready to put on the show!”


As for his own part, Daren feels confident about his role, saying “Fred is really fun to play because he’s an outgoing and charismatic person just as yours truly. Fred is the heart of the show because he tries to be fair to everyone. He gives his uncle, who wants nothing to do with him, a chance for redemption. He tries to keep his Christmas spirit throughout his whole life.”


 Daren seems to admire Fred, and he admires A Christmas Carol just as much, possibly more. When asked if he was happy with the choice of A Christmas Carol for Drama Club’s winter performance, Daren answered “How can you go wrong with A Christmas Carol? What hasn’t been said about it? It’s a classic!” Daren appreciates the moral of this holiday story: “The message of the story is, ‘don’t be selfish.’ Try to be generous. Try to speak up for those who can’t. Try to help those in need. Everything your parents should have taught you when you were little.”


Now Daren can only hope that the message of the play is expressed in their performances, and that it gets through to enough people. He is very passionate about this play, and would like support as he plans to continue in the drama field, going into directing after he graduates. “Maybe I can make the next blockbuster. I want to do something different from what everyone else wants to do; I want to stand out in the crowd, I don’t want to be a sheep.” So come support Daren and the rest of the Drama Club by watching their incredible performances of A Christmas Carol.


Fred invites you to come experience Pittsfield Middle High School’s magical performance of A Christmas Carol on Friday, December 13 at 7:00 pm and Sunday, December 15 at 1:00 pm. Tickets are on sale at the door ($10 for adults, $8 for students). Please e-mail director Joshua Shawver at [email protected] or director Anne Banks at [email protected] with any questions.



2014 Calendar Highlights Pittsfield History

Pittsfield Calendar copy.jpg

Willis Hurd toting his wife Grace somewhere along Webster Mills Road as published in the 2014 Pittsfield Historical Society Calendar available now.         


Learn of the prominent South Pittsfield families that established large and productive farms in the 1700’s and view old photographs of their homes in the newly issued 2014 Pittsfield Historical Society Calendar.  This calendar also includes early photos and descriptions of later residents, public buildings and views of South Pittsfield.  What was the most famous early industry whose products reside in museums and with collectors today?  Find out when you purchase your 2014 calendar (still only $10) at the Suncook Valley Sun offices, Jitters Café, Carpenter Library, the Pittsfield Town Hall or at the Congregational Church Christmas Fair on December 7th.



The Wednesday Schedule At Pittsfield Middle High School:

New Frontiers


Over the past couple of decades, scientists and educators have been investigating how people learn.   How does the human brain process information?  What strategies enhance learning? What are the barriers to learning and how can they be overcome?


Whether by looking inside the brain through sophisticated imaging technology or by closely observing classroom practice, these experts have been helping us understand what works best.  Just as a successful business keeps abreast of latest trends and brings the newest products to market, a successful school system redesigns its teaching and learning to incorporate the newest understandings from the field.   


Two research findings, in particular, have been at the center of our efforts—and gave rise to what we call Late Start Wednesdays.  First, when educators collaborate with one another and learn together, student outcomes improve. Second, when students are motivated to learn, they become engaged in their learning in a deeper way--and they are more successful as a result.  


The first years of Late Start Wednesday were focused on the first finding:  that teacher collaboration and learning are essential to student learning.  Every Wednesday morning, our teachers arrived ready to work together and improve their practice. Sometimes, national experts would demonstrate a new instructional practice; often, members of our talented teaching force would share new strategies and methods with their peers.


This time together made it possible for teachers to meaningfully shift their practice.  The downside was a shortened schedule for our high school students (middle school students come at the usual time).  Yes, they may have gotten to sleep a little later, which research shows is actually beneficial for adolescents, but many parents felt that their children were losing valuable learning time. We agreed. 


So the Wednesday Schedule has evolved.  While teachers continue to work together for an hour and a half at the beginning of the day, both middle and high school students have a more enriched schedule, consisting of five periods. Here’s what students experience every Wednesday:


Content Focus 1 & 2

At the beginning of the school day, students make a quick stop at Advisory. Then, they spend the next two 40-minute periods in a “Content Focus.”  These periods are meant for review, support, and enrichment.  “The support blocks are meant as a preventive measure BEFORE students need competency recovery, and the enrichment blocks are meant for students who are proficient or above to further explore concepts within the subjects that are interesting to them,” said High School science teacher Christie Dunlavey. 


Every Monday, teachers get together to decide what will be made available to students on Wednesday. They post their Content Focus topics, and students work with their advisors to select their areas of focus, based on their learning needs at the time.


Learning Studios

After the two Content Focus periods, students then attend an hour-long “Learning Studio.”  Learning Studios are project-based learning environments in which pairs or groups of teachers from different content areas work together to develop and implement semester-long or yearlong project investigations. They can also include collaborative partnerships between classroom teachers and local professionals with expertise in such areas as science, technology, engineering, and math. The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) pioneered this strategy, and, two years ago, at a Nellie Mae Education Foundation presentation on flexible scheduling, PMHS staff heard how Learning Studios were being implemented in other schools in New England. 


In the High School, teachers create Learning Studios based on their own interests and passions, and students select their top three choices. This year, ten Learning Studios cover a wide range of topics, as evidenced by their titles:  Connecting Canonical Classics to Context and Their Relevance Today; Event Production, Green Thumbs Greenhouse, NASA Budget Committee; Preparing for a Successful College & Career Experience; Poets and Printmakers; Stock Wars; The Mount Rushmore of Sports; The Power of Asking Questions; and What Ifs in History.  All of these topics lend themselves to engaging students in deeper learning and exploration.  All of the high school Learning Studios are credit-bearing. 


In the Middle School, three different Learning Studios will each last 12 weeks, with students assigned to them by their teachers. During the first Learning Studio, students will be answering the question: “What will you be when you grow up?” Students will explore different career choices and speak with experts from many fields. At the end of the Learning Studios, students will present their findings in an Exhibition of Learning.


Advisory Focus

After a half-hour lunch break, students head to Advisory Focus for an hour.  During this time, students have the opportunity to strengthen their “executive function” skills such as time management, organization, and study skills.  They also have time for college and career planning. 


Content Focus 3

The last hour and fifteen minutes of the day is devoted to a third Content Focus.  Again, all students have an opportunity to review what they’ve learned, get support or deepen their learning.  For students who participate in the Site Council and the Justice Committee, this time is also utilized for meetings. The Site Council and Justice Committee meet on alternate weeks during Content Focus 3. “As a student-centered school, in order to have students in authentic positions of authority, we had to keep pulling them out of classes. This Content Focus period gives students, teachers, and administrators time to meet without jeopardizing important class time,” said Dunlavey.


“Our Wednesday schedule allows us to create a flexible learning environment and lets both teachers and students engage more deeply in the things they want to learn more about,” said Middle School English teacher Chris Davitt.  “It also gives teachers the opportunity to incorporate all of the new strategies and tools we’ve been learning over the last several years.” 


In the spirit of continuous improvement, the Wednesday Schedule will continue to evolve.  As we monitor and evaluate the impact of flexible scheduling and inquiry-based instruction on learning outcomes, we always welcome ideas and suggestions from the community.   After all, when the community participates, our schools are strengthened. And when our schools are strong, our community thrives. 


For more information about the Wednesday Schedule, join the Pittsfield Parent Connection next Wednesday, December 11, at PMHS in room 126 at 6:00 PM.








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