Birthday to Brittany Reed who will be 25 on Christmas Day!
Pittsfield Historical Society will hold its annual meeting on
January 10, 2017 at the Society headquarters at 13 Elm St. The
meeting will start at 7:00 PM.
Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service At St. Stephen’s Episcopal
year St. Stephen’s will be opening its doors to members, friends
and neighbors near and far to celebrate a Child/ Family friendly
Christmas at 5 PM on Christmas Eve. Follow the path up the candlelit
ramp at 50 Main Street and find the ancient town of Bethlehem and
the Judean desert waiting for you to help us complete the scene. The
church will be decorated with Christmas plants, candles and flowers
to celebrate the Savior’s birth. The service will be a simple
telling of the Christmas story and the story of Holy Communion with
Christmas Carols and the singing of Silent Night in a darkened
sanctuary. Come and begin your celebration of Christmas
with us. The sanctuary is handicapped accessible and the
congregation child friendly. All are welcome.
Christmas Day Service At St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
December 25th, at 9:30 AM, St Stephen’s will celebrate the birth of
Jesus with a service of Lessons and Carols. Father Ted Rice will
offer a Christmas Sermon and as always, Holy Communion will be
offered. Everyone is welcome to join us for this service and at
VA Grants Full Practice Authority To Advance Practice Registered
Follows Federal Register Notice That Netted More Than 200,000
Submitted Via Merrill Vaughan
WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs
(VA) announced that it is amending provider regulations to permit
full practice authority to three roles of VA advanced practice
registered nurses (APRN) to practice to the full extent of their
education, training, and certification, regardless of State
restrictions that limit such full practice authority, except for
applicable State restrictions on the authority to prescribe and
administer controlled substances, when such APRNs are acting within
the scope of their VA employment.
“Advanced practice registered nurses are valuable members of VA’s
health care system,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. David J.
Shulkin. “Amending this regulation increases our capacity to provide
timely, efficient, effective and safe primary care, aids VA in
making the most efficient use of APRN staff capabilities, and
provides a degree of much needed experience to alleviate the current
access challenges that are affecting VA.”
2016, VA announced its intentions, through a proposed rule, to grant
full practice authority to four APRN roles. Though VA does have
some localized issues, we do not have immediate and broad access
challenges in the area of anesthesia care across the full VA health
care system that require full practice authority for all Certified
Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). Therefore, VA will not
finalize the provision including CRNAs in the final rule as one of
the APRN roles that may be granted full practice authority at this
time. VA will request comment on the question of whether there are
current anesthesia care access issues for particular states or VA
facilities and whether permitting CRNAs to practice to the full
extent of their advanced authority would resolve these issues.
are clinicians with advanced degrees and training who provide
primary, acute and specialty health care services; they complete
masters, post-masters or doctoral degrees. There are four APRN
roles: Certified Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist,
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, and Certified Nurse Midwife.
provide an invaluable service to our Veterans,” Under Secretary for
Health Shulkin continued. “Though CRNAs will not be included in VA’s
full practice authority under this final rule, we are requesting
comments on whether there are access issues or other unconsidered
circumstances that might warrant their inclusion in a future
rulemaking. In the meantime, we owe it to Veterans to increase
access to care in areas where we know we have immediate and broad
APRNs are required to obtain and maintain current national
final rulemaking establishes professional qualifications an
individual must possess to be appointed as an APRN within VA,
establishes the criteria under which VA may grant full practice
authority to an APRN and defines the scope of full practice
authority for each of the three roles of APRN. Certified Registered
Nurse Anesthetists will not be included in VA’s full practice
authority under this final rule.
the nation’s largest employer of nurses; as of July 2016 its
workforce of approximately 93,500 nurses (RNs, LPNs, NAs) includes
approximately 5,769 APRNs
more information about openings for nurses or other health care
positions at VA, visit [email protected].
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
the wonderful Christmas Eve candlelight service this Saturday night,
Christmas Eve, 7 p.m., at the First Congregational Church, 24 Main
St., Pittsfield, in your holiday celebrations. The service includes
beautiful music by the Chancel Choir and the JuBellation Handbell
Choir, scripture lessons, the story of the first Christmas, the
sanctuary sparkling in gleaming candlelight and the singing of
“Silent Night.” Make this lovely evening service a tradition with
family and friends. Parking and wheelchair accessible entry are
available at rear of church at Chestnut Street. For more
information, call the church office at 435-7471.
Letter To The Editor
Correction of Misinformation Regarding SAU #51 Staffing Levels
December 14 issue of The Sun, a writer incorrectly stated that the
SAU office… has continued to be fully staffed and funded as it was
when we were a three school district SAU.
time many years ago when SAU #51 consisted of the Alton, Barnstead,
and Pittsfield School Districts, the SAU office was staffed by 7.0
full-time equivalent positions: a superintendent of schools, a
business administrator, three financial professionals, an
administrative assistant, and a secretary.
present time, the SAU #51 office (which now serves Pittsfield alone)
is staffed by 2.8 full-time equivalent positions: a part-time
superintendent of schools, a financial manager, and an
also be of interest to note that the workload of the SAU office has
increased significantly over the years due to increased demands of
state and federal reporting, grants management, and school
Superintendent of Schools
behalf of the Community Wellness Coalition, we’d like to thank many
people for making the Narcan Event, held on November 15th, a
like to express gratitude to Grace Capital Church on Barnstead Rd.
in Pittsfield for allowing us to hold this important community
event, in addition to: supplying video usage, tables, coffee, tea,
and hot cocoa for everyone.
of time was spent on getting the word out about Narcan or Naloxone
and how to administer it in an emergency situation. 39 people were
taught the steps on how to help someone who’s overdosed and is
unresponsive. Step #1 is to call 911 and THEN proceed to help the
person by administering Narcan.
truly appreciate the delicious chili donated by Wendy’s in Epsom and
the fresh baked cookies donated by Subway in Epsom, both were a huge
hit! A big thank you also goes out to the Lays Potato Chip company
and Margarita’s in Concord for donating chips and to Rite Aid in
Pittsfield for donating water.
Pittsfield Wellness Coalition would like to invite the public to
another important event at Pittsfield Middle High School in the
cafeteria. “Facing Heroin and Substance Misuse” is the topic for
the evening on Wednesday, January 25th from 6-8pm. More information
will be coming in the next few weeks. We look forward to having a
huge turnout for this community dialogue.
Pickard, Coalition Member
VA Announces Funding Opportunity For Community Partners Working To
End Veteran Homelessness
Submitted Via Merrill Vaughan
WASHINGTON – Building on President Obama’s
commitment to end Veteran homelessness, the Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA) is announcing the availability of funding for
non-profit organizations and other groups that serve Veterans
through VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF)
program. The SSVF program assists very low-income Veteran families
who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. These SSVF grants
are available to current grantees seeking renewals and make new
funding available for eight high-need communities.
relies on strong, targeted collaborations in key areas at federal
and local levels and engages community partners to develop
innovative and forward-thinking solutions that can lead to scalable
and replicable models of service. SSVF grantees currently operate
in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S.
Virgin Islands, and Guam, working within their communities to end or
prevent homelessness among Veteran families.
the things you learn in the Army is you never leave a soldier
behind,” said Secretary McDonald. “Unfortunately, we’ve left some
people behind, and they’re our homeless Veterans. VA is committed
to achieving the goal of ending Veteran homelessness, and we won’t
rest until every homeless Veteran has a place to call home.”
grantees typically serve Veterans with incomes below 30 percent of
the area median income. Grantees must follow the housing first
approach, which centers on permanently housing homeless Veterans
quickly without preconditions and providing supportive services as
needed. Additional SSVF requirements are that grantees engage in
outreach to find and serve Veterans in need, provide Veterans with
case management, and assist them in obtaining VA and other public
benefits. SSVF served nearly 150,000 Veterans and their family
members in fiscal year 2016. As a result of these and other
efforts, Veteran homelessness is down significantly since the launch
of the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness in
2010. Since 2010, homelessness among Veterans had dropped by 47
more information about VA’s homeless programs, visit
www.va.gov/homeless. The Federal Register notice of funding
availability may be found at:
www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf/index.asp. The application deadline is
February 3, 2017 at 4p.m. EST.
Study Confirms High Cure Rates With New Hepatitis C Drugs
undetectable in high percentage of patients after treatment.
Submitted Via Merrill Vaughan
WASHINGTON – A Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) database study
shows that new drug regimens for hepatitis C have resulted in
“remarkably high” cure rates among patients in VA’s national health
more than 17,000 Veterans in the study, all chronically infected
with the hepatitis C virus at baseline, 75 percent to 93 percent had
no detectable levels of the disease in their blood for 12 or more
weeks after the end of treatment. The therapy regimens lasted 8 to
24 weeks, depending on patient characteristics.
promising news comes as VA is dedicating significant funds to help
greater numbers of patients with hepatitis C,” said David Shulkin VA
Under Secretary for Health. “In March, we announced our ability to
fund care for all Veterans with hepatitis C for fiscal year 2016
regardless of the stage of the patient’s liver disease. VA has long
led the country in screening for and treating hepatitis C. As of
mid-September 2016 alone, the Department treated more than 100,000
Veterans infected with the virus. More than 68,000 of these patients
had been treated with these new highly effective antivirals.”
researchers analyzed data from four subgroups of patients infected
with hepatitis C—genotypes 1, 2, 3, and 4—and found that genotype 1
patients showed the highest cure rates and genotype 3 the lowest.
Genotype 1 was by far the most common type of infection among the
study group of more than 17,000 Veterans included more than 11,000
patients with confirmed or likely cirrhosis, a liver disease that
can result from hepatitis C, among other causes. The study team
found “surprisingly high” response rates of around 87 percent in
overall results were consistent with those from earlier clinical
trials that led to FDA approval of the three new drug regimens in
the study: sofosbuvir (SOF), ledipasvir/sofosbuvir (LDV/SOF) and
paritaprevir/ ritonavir/ ombitasvir and dasabuvir (PrOD).
drugs, introduced in 2013 and 2014, have been credited with
revolutionizing hepatitis C treatment, which means a cure is now in
reach for the vast majority of patients infected with the virus.
Previously, using earlier drug regimens, most patients could expect,
at best, only a 50 percent chance of a cure.
results demonstrate that LDV/SOF, PrOD and SOF regimens can achieve
remarkably high SVR [sustained virologic response] rates in
real-world clinical practice,” VA researchers wrote.
drug regimens examined in the study do not contain interferon, which
has troublesome side effects such as fever, fatigue, and low blood
counts. The newer drugs are considered far more tolerable than the
older interferon-based antiviral regimens, although they are far
researchers extracted anonymous data on all patients in VA care who
received HCV antiviral treatments between January 2014 and June 2015
using the VA Corporate Data Warehouse, a national, continually
updated repository of data from VA’s computerized patient records.
study’s optimistic finding is a source of optimism for Veterans and
others infected with the hepatitis C virus, according to coauthors
Dr. Lauren Beste and Dr. George Ioannou, specialists in internal
medicine and hepatology, respectively, with the VA Puget Sound
Health Care System in Seattle.
According to the researchers, modern, direct-acting antiviral drugs
for hepatitis C far outperform our older options in terms of
efficacy and tolerability. With older drugs, most patients could not
undergo antiviral treatment because they had contraindications or
medication side effects. With newer options, almost anyone can
safely undergo treatment for hepatitis C.
research continues to expand knowledge of the disease through
scientific studies focused on effective care, screening, and health
care delivery. Some studies look at particular groups of hepatitis C
patients—for example, female Veterans, or those with complicated
medical conditions in addition to hepatitis C.
more information on VA care for hepatitis C, visit
www.hepatitis.va.gov/patient/hcv/index.asp. Information about
the database study may be found in the September 2016 issue of the
Carpenter Library Open For Business!
Library is OPEN!! But - enter at your own risk. Currently the
Library does not have a working restroom or running water. The
library’s wastewater pipe is clogged, and is possibly broken. The
Library Trustees have been working with contractors to repair the
problem, but it was necessary to close the library on December 8th.
Following consultation with the NH Municipal Association to
determine the guidelines for access to restrooms in public
buildings, the Trustees decided to re-open the library. We are very
grateful to our Main Street neighbors for allowing an occasional
library visitor to use their restrooms!
temporary basis, the library will be open during daylight hours.
Our temporary hours of operation are: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
10:00 am – 2:30 pm, Wednesday 10:00am - 4:30 pm, and Friday,
Saturday 10:00am - 1:00 pm.
are very fortunate the pipe may be repaired before The Sun arrives
in your mailbox. Work will continue until the problem is fixed.
The Library Trustees are grateful for the cooperation of the
Pittsfield Board of Selectmen as we all work toward the modern
convenience of indoor running water.
Regulation Decreases Cost Of Outpatient Medication Copay For Most
Submitted Via Merrill Vaughan
Washington – The Department of Veterans Affairs
(VA) is amending its regulation on copayments for Veterans’
outpatient medications for non-service connected conditions. VA
currently charges non-exempt Veterans either $8 or $9 for each
30-day or less supply of outpatient medication, and under current
regulations, a calculation based on the medication of the Medical
Consumer Price Index (CPI-P) would be used to determine the
copayment amount in future years.
“Switching to a tiered system continues to keep outpatient
medication costs low for Veterans,” said VA Under Secretary for
Health Dr. David J. Shulkin. “Reducing their out-of-pocket costs
encourages greater adherence to prescribed outpatient medications
and reduces the risk of fragmented care that results when multiple
pharmacies are used; another way that VA is providing better service
new regulation eliminates the formula used to calculate future rate
increases and establishes three classes of outpatient medications
identified as Tier 1, Preferred Generics; Tier 2, Non-Preferred
Generics including over-the-counter medications; and Tier 3, Brand
Name. Copayment amounts for each tier would be fixed and vary
depending upon the class of outpatient medication in the tier.
copayment amounts will be effective February 27, 2017:
a 30-day or less supply - Tier 1 outpatient medication
a 30-day or less supply - Tier 2 outpatient medication
a 30-day or less supply - Tier 3 outpatient medication
changes apply to Veterans without a service-connected condition, or
Veterans with a disability rated less than 50 percent who are
receiving outpatient treatment for a non-service connected
condition, and whose annual income exceeds the limit set by law.
Medication copayments do not apply to former Prisoners of War,
catastrophically disabled Veterans, or those covered by other
exceptions as set by law.
Copayments stop each calendar year for Veterans in Priority Groups
2-8 once a $700 cap is reached.
information on the new tiered medication copayment can be found
National Cemeteries Now Offering Pre-Need Eligibility Determinations
Submitted Via Merrill Vaughan
WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it
now provides eligibility determinations for interment in a VA
national cemetery prior to the time of need. Through the Pre-Need
Determination of Eligibility Program, upon request, individuals can
learn if they are eligible for burial or memorialization in a VA
is about looking at VA from the Veterans’ perspective, and then
doing everything we can to make the Veteran Experience effective and
seamless,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald.
“This new program reaffirms our commitment to providing a lifetime
of benefits and services for Veterans and their families.”
Interested individuals may submit VA Form 40-10007, Application for
Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility for Burial in a VA National
Cemetery, and supporting documentation, such as a DD Form 214, if
readily available, to the VA National Cemetery Scheduling Office by:
toll-free fax at 1-855-840-8299; email to
or mail to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office, P.O. Box 510543,
St. Louis, MO 63151.
review applications and provide written notice of its determination
of eligibility. VA will save determinations and supporting
documentation in an electronic information system to expedite burial
arrangements at the time of need. Because laws and personal
circumstances change, upon receipt of a burial request, VA will
validate all pre-need determinations in accordance with the laws in
effect at that time.
operates 135 national cemeteries and 33 soldiers’ lots in 40 states
and Puerto Rico. More than 4 million Americans, including Veterans
of every war and conflict, are buried in VA’s national cemeteries.
VA also provides funding to establish, expand and maintain 105
Veterans cemeteries in 47 states and territories including tribal
trust lands, Guam, and Saipan. For Veterans buried in private or
other cemeteries, VA provides headstones, markers or medallions to
commemorate their service. In 2016, VA honored more than 345,000
Veterans and their loved ones with memorial benefits in national,
state, tribal and private cemeteries.
Eligible individuals are entitled to burial in any open VA national
cemetery, opening/closing of the grave, a grave liner, perpetual
care of the gravesite, and a government-furnished headstone or
marker or niche cover, all at no cost to the family. Veterans are
also eligible for a burial flag and may be eligible for a
Presidential Memorial Certificate.
Information on VA burial benefits is available from local VA
national cemetery offices, from the Internet at
www.cem.va.gov, or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at
800-827-1000. To make burial arrangements at any open VA national
cemetery at the time of need, call the National Cemetery Scheduling
Office at 800-535-1117.
Pittsfield School Board Meeting Of December 1, 2016
Submitted By Ralph Odell, School Board Member
meeting began with public comment from Ross Morse and Susan Bradley.
Ross commented on the student involvement with the upcoming Drama
Production and encouraged all of us to attend. Susan mentioned that
there have been a series of positive comments about the school,
atmosphere, student involvement and student interaction by a series
of recent visitors.
Danielle Harvey introduced Nick Persson, a new social studies
teacher who had not had a previous opportunity to meet with the
Danielle continued describing interaction with the NH Department of
Education and the innovations that have occurred within the
curriculum. Derek Hamilton reviewed the number of behavioral
referrals has dropped approximately 50% from this past year. He
summarized the results of a recent food drive in the elementary
school and upcoming concerts and other productions by various school
Evaluation by special education teachers have found that students
have been making progress on their Individualized Education Plans
plus academic progress. Discussions with teachers have been made to
indentify strategies to maintain this progress.
Brown, Director of College and Career Readiness had several items.
To insure that students have every opportunity to graduate or eighth
graders to be promoted on schedule, contact has been made with
parents or guardians to develop a plan. Contact with eleventh
graders who are not on pace was made and plans were developed to
make up deficiencies. Several NH Community Colleges will be visiting
and interviewing students for potential admission into the Community
College System of NH. A School Board member commented it was
encouraging to observe the accountability and monitoring of student
Edutopia, a national non-profit organization with a vision that
project based learning is a key to improving learning, recently
visited the Middle/High School. They recorded various aspects of the
Site Council, PMHS’ student-majority governing council. I will let
the public know when it is to be published.
budget was a major focus of the meeting. Potential cuts were
outlined and the impact on services was discussed. A meeting with
faculty was scheduled for December, 5 to describe the scenario. The
School Budget will be presented to the Budget Committee on December
School Board meets alternate Thursdays at the Middle/High School
library, at 5:30. The public is always welcome.
Singers 2017 To Be 40th And Final Year
wave ran through the room as Gayle and Dan Troy announced that 2017
would be the 40th and final performance year of the Dove Singers.
The announcement was made at the cast party at the end of the 2016
season. As the words, “To everything there is a season, and a time
to every purpose under heaven” (Ecc 3:1), were spoken, many in the
room had a foreboding of what was coming.
group started out as a performance by a small youth group that the
Troy’s led. Forty years later, there are sound systems, lights,
drama, dancers, a full orchestra, tech crew and singers. This group
isn’t your “stand up front in robes” choir. There is constant
movement. Every action taken and every note played or sung
contributes to the story picture being drawn in front of you. Over
the years, the group has become a family and shared the lows and
highs that family can bring. They open their arms and hearts to new
members that God calls each year. Members have come from as far
away as VT, ME and MA, and from as many as 50+ different churches
and many denominations. Performances are typically held between the
Concord and Nashua regions.
2017 being the final year, this is a “Calling All Dove Singers”
casting call. If you’ve participated in any manner in the past and
were moved by it, or if you’ve always thought you’d like to join,
but hadn’t made the time, the time is now. In particular, demand is
high for high sopranos and men, but all parts are open. Rehearsals
are each Monday night starting in January and culminate in four
performances held at 4 different locations on successive weekends in
March. Former Singers that can’t make the weekly commitment are
invited to practice and then sing the Hallelujah Chorus on
more information, see www.dovesingers.org, contact
[email protected] or come
to the first rehearsal at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 14 Mammoth Road,
Manchester on Monday, January 9th at 7 p.m. Come early for check
in. You’ll meet everyone, read/listen through the musical and have
a chance to figure out if God is calling you for this final season
of the Dove Singers.
Pittsfield Chamber Of Commerce celebrates Christmas
Thursday night, 12/15, there was revelry and joy as members of the
Greater Pittsfield Chamber of Commerce and some of their family
members celebrated at the offices of Epping Well & Pump at 26 Main
Street. The previous weekend’s festivities, including the
children’s store and the Christmas Tree Lighting were considered
members brought shrimp, meat pie, mac & cheese, taco dip, taco soup,
cheesecake bites, and other delicacies to share. Once the food had
been enjoyed by all, a traditional yankee swap was on the agenda.
The most coveted gift was tickets to Red River Theatres. The
night wound down as members shared funny stories of their travels
and mishaps over the years. The only thing to have increased the
merriment of the evening would have been more attendees! Hope to
see all the Greater Pittsfield Chamber of Commerce members come out
next year for this wonderful annual event.