Letter To The
There has been some buzz about the ACLU’s
condemnation of our town’s curfew ordinance. Some are disappointed
with the threat of a lawsuit, and see it as an effort to undermine
our freedom of choice to (ironically) restrict the freedom of
others. Others will be pleased to finally be free of the startling
curfew horn sounding at 9:00 pm every night. Incidentally, since I’m
an early riser I appreciate the horn letting me know that it’s
But I suppose we should ask ourselves what
the real problem is here, and I can’t help but view it through the
lens of my faith. I wasn’t yet living in Pittsfield when the curfew
was established, but I imagine it was in reaction to mischief caused
by adolescents roaming the streets after dark. So what does a curfew
solve? Well, it lets us spend quieter evenings in our comfortable
homes, sleep without disturbance, and wake up to graffiti-free
public buildings. What does it fail to solve? It does not change the
hearts and minds of kids with no stability at home or in spirit. It
does not force parents to be better stewards of the miracle of life
placed in their hands by a loving Creator. It does not give us, as
believers, another opportunity to reach out to a troubled and broken
world with the peace and love of Jesus.
For those of us in Pittsfield who are
Christians, let’s ask ourselves why we are here. Are we here to
build walls around our safe and comfortable lives, or are we here to
shine a light into the darkness of the ignorance of God’s love?
Let’s identify the real problem apart from political distractions,
and apply a Gospel solution. We’ve been loved to love; blessed to be
a blessing; made free of this life to give our lives away. Let the
world see what Jesus is like through our lives.
Sing-along Features Old-fashioned Christmas Carols
First Congregational’s Christmas
sing-along, “Caroling, Caroling,” is set for this Friday, December
11, 7-8 p.m. The church is located at 24 Main Street, Pittsfield.
The sing-along will include a variety of old favorite Christmas
carols – with the original words – to sing or to just listen to.
Light refreshments and fellowship will follow. Get into the
Christmas spirit! Be sure to include this free enjoyable seasonal
event for all ages in your holiday plans. There is parking and a
wheelchair accessible entrance at rear of church at Chestnut Street.
For more information call the church office at 435-7471.
Auditions Announced For “The Game’s Afoot”
The Pittsfield Players will hold open
auditions for the March 2016 production of “The Game’s Afoot; or
Holmes for the Holidays” at 7 pm on Sunday and Monday, December 13
and 14 at the Scenic Theatre, located at 6 Depot Street, Pittsfield.
Cast requirements for this award winning play by Ken Ludwig are
eight adult (three male and five female) actors. This madcap
mystery-farce is a Sherlock Holmes-themed whodunit.
Auditioners will be asked to read from the script. Performance
dates for next spring’s play are March 11, 12, 18, 19, and 20.
For more information, contact Mike Hobson at 724-9060.
Pittsfield Players’ Kid’s Theater Workshop Will Hold
Auditions For Music Man, Jr
The Pittsfield Players will hold auditions for their February Kid’s
Theater Workshop production of Music Man, Jr. on Sunday and Monday,
December 13 and 14 at 4 pm each day at The Scenic Theatre, 6 Depot
St., Pittsfield, NH. The Workshop is open to kids ages 8 to 18, and
is a program by kids, for kids. The show is performed two afternoons
for local schools and three evenings for families and the general
public right before February vacation, February 16 to February 20.
Auditioners will be taught a song from the show and some simple
dance steps and will be asked to read from the script. If you have
any questions about the auditions, contact Maye Hart at
or at 736-9563.
Long-Term Energy Needs In The Pittsfield School District
The Pittsfield School Board organized several open meetings this
fall to seek community input regarding the long-term energy needs of
the district. Meetings were held on the evenings of October 7,
October 21, and November 18, in the PMHS media center (and were
advertised on the school district website).
During the meetings, residents and school
officials reviewed an energy audit conducted on the district’s
facilities in 2011 (now somewhat outdated due to improvements made
since the audit), discussed energy options in the current and future
environments, and considered steps to support an efficient and
sustainable approach to energy needs in the schools.
To gain additional information and support
eventual decision-making, several steps are in the process of being
completed; these include:
• Several vendors will be providing the
district with cost estimates for the replacement of the current PES
boilers (in their 27th year of service) with similar oil-fired
boilers; • An application is being submitted to the New Hampshire
Wood Energy Council to conduct a no-cost feasibility study of using
wood products as an energy sources for schools; • A complete energy
audit will be completed, providing an assessment of current and
future needs, potential cost-saving measures, and proposed
strategies for efficiency and sustainability.
As the district’s energy project is, in
effect, being re-started and time will be needed for a thorough
study and consideration of options, it not anticipated that a
proposal will be brought forward for consideration at the March 2016
annual school district meeting.
The next open meeting will be scheduled once the feasibility study
and energy audit are completed and received by the district.
The scheduling of this meeting will be announced on the district
website and in The Suncook Valley Sun when established.
Individuals who participated in this fall’s meetings will be also
notified by email when the next meeting is scheduled.
Pittsfield residents who would like to be personally informed of the
next meeting are requested to email your request to:
Changes To Veterans Choice Program
Barriers and Expands Access to Care
Submitted Via Merrill
WASHINGTON – The
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced a number of
changes to make participation in the Veterans Choice Program easier
and more convenient for Veterans who need to use it. The move, which
streamlines eligibility requirements, follows feedback from Veterans
along with organizations working on their behalf.
“As we implement the Veterans Choice
Program, we are learning from our stakeholders what works and what
needs to be refined,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “It is
our goal to do all that we can to remove barriers that separate
Veterans from the care they deserve.” To date, more than 400,000
medical appointments have been scheduled since the Veterans Choice
Program went into effect on November 5, 2014.
Under the old policy, a Veteran was
eligible for the Veterans Choice Program if he or she met the
Enrolled in VA health care by 8/1/14 or
able to enroll as a combat Veteran to be eligible for the Veterans
Choice Program; Experienced unusual or excessive burden eligibility
determined by geographical challenges, environmental factors or a
medical condition impacting the Veteran’s ability to travel;
Determined eligible based on the Veteran’s current residence being
more than 40 miles driving distance from the closest VA medical
Under the updated eligibility
requirements, a Veteran is eligible for the Veterans Choice Program
if he or she is enrolled in the VA health care system and meets at
least one of the following criteria:
Told by his or her local VA medical facility that they will not be
able to schedule an appointment for care within 30 days of the date
the Veteran’s physician determines he/she needs to be seen or within
30 days of the date the Veteran wishes to be seen if there is no
specific date from his or her physician; Lives more than 40 miles
driving distance from the closest VA medical facility with a
full-time primary care physician; Needs to travel by air, boat or
ferry to the VA medical facility closest to his/her home; Faces an
unusual or excessive burden in traveling to the closest VA medical
facility based on geographic challenges, environmental factors, a
medical condition, the nature or simplicity or frequency of the care
needed and whether an attendant is needed. Staff at the Veteran’s
local VA medical facility will work with him or her to determine if
the Veteran is eligible for any of these reasons; or Lives in
a State or Territory without a full-service VA medical facility
which includes: Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire (Note: this excludes
New Hampshire Veterans who live within 20 miles of the White River
Junction VAMC) and the United States Territories (excluding Puerto
Rico, which has a full service VA medical facility).
Veterans seeking to use the Veterans Choice Program or wanting to
know more about it, can call1-866-606-8198 to confirm their
eligibility and to schedule an appointment. For more details
about the Veterans Choice Program and VA’s progress, visit:
A Note From The Pittsfield Historical
“Happy to share with you such as we’ve
got, The leaks in the roof, the soup in the pot.”
But wait. We don’t have leaks anymore thanks to the fastest
roofing team around that was able to replace the roof at the
Pittsfield Historical Society Museum in – about a day. (And
yes, that was a hot pink dumpster collecting the old shingles.)
So once again the treasures and memorabilia inside the museum are
safe from the elements.
But wait. We don’t have quite enough $$$ to pay for this new
roof. The bill came in at $9200, and unfortunately we’ve been
able to raise only about half of that. Not quite enough “soup
in the pot.”
But wait. Our friends and neighbors in Pittsfield and
surrounding towns have been so very generous in the past, and we’re
hoping they will be again, during this season of giving. The
Society is but one of several community groups asking/begging for
donations to their individual causes. We understand.
But wait. Any amount of giving adds to the bottom line. $5.
$50. $500. We’ll gladly accept whatever your heart and
wallet can afford. Please help the Society reach its full goal
But wait. You want to hear the end of the poem?
“You don’t have to thank us or laugh at
our jokes, Sit deep and come often, you’re one of the folks.”
Sounds just like the good old days, no?
Merry Christmas to all.
Donations may be mailed (or dropped off at the Museum) and checks
made payable to: Pittsfield Historical Society, PO Box 173,
Pittsfield, NH 03263.
To the good citizens of Pittsfield,
“The actual experience of the smoked herb
has been clouded by a fog of unrespectability by the unthinking,
unknowledgeable few who have not smoked themselves and yet insist
upon setting themselves up as centres of propaganda about the said
experience.” Allen Ginsberg With this quote in mind I ask your help
in signing the following petition warrant article, and your vote at
our Saturday Town Meeting Day in March.
To see if the Town will vote to reduce
property taxes by means of allowing and taxing the production, sale
or possession of up to 8 ounces of cannabis sativa, commonly known
as marijuana. Said tax to be at the rate of $10.00 per unit produced
or sold, imposed upon each transfer (production to sale) the
proceeds of which are dedicated to being applied directly towards
the reduction of Pittsfield’s property taxes.
The idea behind this proposal is to have
no prosecution of any present marijuana crimes, and reduce property
taxes. Remember, change don’t happen by itself.
Dan Schroth Piermarocchi
Candlelight Christmas Eve
Make your plans for a wonderful
candlelight service Thursday evening, Christmas Eve, 7 p.m., at the
First Congregational Church, 24 Main St., Pittsfield. The program
includes beautiful music by the Chancel Choir and the JuBellation
Handbell Choir, scripture lessons, the story of the first Christmas,
the sanctuary bathed in candlelight and the singing of “Silent
Night.” Bring the whole family for a lovely evening service. Parking
and wheelchair accessible entry are available at rear of church at
Chestnut Street. For more information, call the church office at
She Dreams In Flowers
By Meggin Dail
Gini Hayes, owner of Forget-Me-Not Flowers
and Gifts invites you to take a peek and into her tiny, beautiful
Boxwood trees, Fairy Gardens, mini
poinsettias and tiny holly plants, all available at Forget-Me-Not
Flowers and Gifts for your little local Christmas!
There’s a tiny little shop in the middle
of Pittsfield’s Main Street that has unassuming appearance and might
just be missed if you don’t know about it. That shop is
“Forget-Me-Not Flowers and Gifts” and is run by new owner, Gini
Originally owned and operated by Paul Rogers and known as “The
Flower Shop” (and, in fact still bears that signage), “Forget Me Not
Flowers and Gifts” was bought this summer by Hayes who had a
lifelong dream of owning a flower shop one day, as evidenced in her
high school yearbook.
Gini, who now lives in Strafford with her
husband, Ken, grew up in Pittsfield as one of the Marstons of
Webster Mills Road. You might know her brothers, Sam and Tom and
sister, Betty; and most definitely you know her mom, Frannie
Marston. I mention family here because Gini’s family is a big part
of her life. When she was contemplating buying the shop it was her
husband and family who debated with her, encouraged her and helped
her to come up with a suitable name for the shop.
“I don’t necessarily have a green thumb
myself but I love flowers. At lunch one day someone told me that I
should be wearing a flower behind my ear to show I’m the shop owner.
While I’m not the type to do such a thing, I was asked ‘Well what
flower would you wear?” and a forget-me-not just came to mind and
the name stuck.”
Right now, Forget-Me-Not Flowers and Gifts is the only flower shop
in or around Pittsfield and while the shop seems small on the
outside, once you walk through the door, you are transported to a
world of sight and smell. The aroma of fresh flowers and the
plethora of arrangements, gifts, cards, candles, boxwood trees,
fairy garden terrariums and wreaths are breathtaking.
While Gini spent most of her life doing
other jobs, this is her dream, to own a little flower shop in a
little town where she grew up and to spend time with customers who
are also friends, even if she hasn’t met them yet. Plans for the
future? “To just keep growing,” Gini says with a wink.
Don’t Punish A Job Well Done
Submitted By Senator John Reagan
Praising government agencies for a job
well-done by reducing funding is a mistake we are watching play out
in real-time at the Sununu Youth Services Center [SYSC].
This correctional institution was first established with the hope
that we could change the habits of its residents: young people
facing criminal charges. With this facility and programs, we aimed
to reduce the odds that these youth would repeat criminal behavior
that led to their incarceration in the first place. Young people are
sent to SYSC by a judge, as a last resort to be treated for any
underlying behavioral disorders and often sent through rehab because
of drug or alcohol addiction. More than 250 girls and boys ages 11
to 17 are placed in the Sununu Center each year with an average time
spent at the facility ranging from three and six months.
SYSC has done a commendable and notable
job of turning lives around for many young offenders, healing their
families and changing attitudes. The SYSC has proven that it can
steer a misguided young person on a path to a productive life
supporting others by working, paying taxes, and not being a threat
to local communities.
The Sununu Youth Services Center has been
successful, but now, fewer young people are requiring incarceration
and the services provided.
Unfortunately, SYSC may be victim to its
The success of the program and
short-sighted changes in state law has resulted in fewer individuals
being committed to the center, causing many legislators to no longer
see the need for the center. Budget reductions that threaten the
Center’s closure are now in place, without a plan for the current
residents if the center is forced to shut its doors.
It is a shame to see the state fail a
successful resource like SYSC, which is a model agency for reforming
incoming youth offenders.
Alternative uses for the facilities have
been discussed, but many of these well-intended ideas are ill-suited
for the purpose of the center’s programs or the facility’s physical
structure. For example, it was suggested that the space be used as a
homeless shelter a few years ago, but a performance audit found this
to be a difficult, costly, and overall, a proposal not fitting for
SYSC. And the latest idea, using the Center as a drug rehab
hospital, would be prohibitively costly.
A child psychiatric facility, with modest
building alterations, however, is feasible and could be a legitimate
option for SYSC.
Currently, the state’s only secure
psychiatric treatment facility is at New Hampshire Hospital, which
continues to operate at capacity with local hospital emergency rooms
holding patients awaiting openings. Removing the 18 year-old and
younger patients from New Hampshire Hospital would free-up that
number of beds that could be used for adults. This
hold-without-treatment approach in private hospitals is bad for the
patient, their families, and increases costs while often extending
the length of treatment.
The Sununu Youth Services Center has the
leadership, staff and contacts to allow the center to become a
revenue generator, in addition to the work they do to improve the
lives of offenders, their families and our communities.
We must not let the success of the Center lead to a reduction in the
resources available prohibiting continued operations. Should the
SYSC close, I worry that we would see increased rates of
recidivism due to lack of treatment for young offenders, leading our
misguided young people on a track to becoming repeat adult
offenders, which comes at a much higher cost to the state and a
greater negative impact on our society.
The success at the Sununu Youth Services
Center has proven that New Hampshire is a leader in the treatment of
young offenders and I believe we should continue to support this
effort. We have the staff, now let’s continue to make sure the
resources are available to maintain a level of continued success and
that we are using the Sununu Youth Services Center to the best of
Senator John Reagan (R-Deerfield)
represents District 17 and is a member of the committee studying the
Sununu Youth Services Center, chairs the Performance Audit Oversight
Committee and is a member of the Senate Finance committee.
Further information: Senator John Reagan:
Sanctuary Bodyworks And Sauna
Coming to Pittsfield in January 2016:
The Sanctuary Bodyworks and
Sauna, owned by Jan Lesieur (integrative skin care) and Nathalie
Snyder (Lighthouse Therapeutic Massage).
In addition to all the excellent esthetic
and therapeutic services already supplied by Nathalie and Jan, the
Suncook Valley community will also have access to the health
benefits of an infrared sauna.
The Sanctuary’s mission and purpose is to
provide its clients with a safe, quiet, and nurturing place where
one can go to recharge from life’s stresses and achieve better
health through the detoxifying effects of infrared saunas.
For more information call Jan at
603-731-3855 or Nathalie at 603-608-2411 or visit and like The
Sanctuary Bodyworks and Sauna on facebook.
Pittsfield Listens is growing- we welcome
the newest member of the team, Mo Baxley! Mo joins us as our new
Assistant Director/Organizer. She brings experience working on issue
based public education and community organizing. She has worked in
organizations at the local, state, and national level, in grassroots
organizing, coalition building and legislative/policy efforts. Look
for Mo around town as she joins us in this exciting work. Introduce
yourself and say Hello!
What’s Up At PYW?
Submitted By Paula Martel, PYW Program
A BIG THANK YOU!
The Pittsfield Youth Workshop (PYW) is so
grateful to have such great support from the community, schools,
families, volunteers and staff!
As many of you already know, The Pittsfield Youth Workshop has been
working diligently to improve the lives of the youth in Pittsfield
for twenty nine years! We have had another very exciting year and
look forward to many more years supporting the youth and families in
our town. The generosity and support from community members like you
has allowed us to increase programs that empower youth, build their
self-esteem, and help them build stronger relationships and
leadership within the community. Over the past year, we have seen a
steady increase in youth membership - a total of 230
individual youth participated in our programs and activities during
the last fiscal year (about 75% of the 6-12th grade youth population
in Pittsfield). We have continued to see an increase in the number
of youth attending our Drop-In programs each day. On several
occasions well over 50 youth visited us on a single afternoon. Just
imagine how many snacks we go through each day!
Most of us are grateful to have family,
good health, a roof over our head, and food on the table. Not
everyone is so lucky. If you feel you want to help but can’t give
tangible items, volunteering time is a way to pay-it-forward, and it
is a great way to give back to you community and to help others!
Sometimes we can get wrapped up in our
day-to-day lives and we can forget to say thanks for the simple
gestures or the continued support we receive. We hope that each and
everyone of you that has helped support PYW in any way knows that it
does not go unnoticed!
THANK YOU for all your support in 2015!
We hope you have a happy and safe Holiday
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!