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Pittsfield NH News

March 16, 2016

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


Josiah Carpenter Library presents: Our first library art exhibit featuring the ink drawings of local resident, Gene Matras.


This exhibit will run through May 8th at Josiah Carpenter Library, 41 Main Street, Pittsfield, NH 03623 (603) 435-8406.





Dear Pittsfield Voters,

Thank you for granting me the privilege of serving for three more years on the planning board.


Thank you for approving the planning board’s four zoning amendments. These amendments have clarified many zoning rules. The clarifications will empower property owners who must appear before the zoning board of adjustment and will help voters in evaluating the zoning board of adjustment’s performance.


Thank you to all of the other candidates for serving the town and for giving the voters so many good choices.


Thank you to the thoughtful citizens who brought food--doughnuts, cookies, and pizza--to make the long day’s wait a little shorter for the candidates who were standing in front of the town hall.


Jim Pritchard



Upcoming Lenten And Easter Services


First Congregational Church, 24 Main Street, Pittsfield, will hold its Palm Sunday Service at 10 a.m. this coming Sunday, March 20. Palms will be distributed.


A special Maundy Thursday worship service including Holy Communion, commemorating the “Last Supper” of Jesus, will be held Thursday, March 24, at 7 p.m. Special music will be provided by the Chancel Choir and the JuBellation Handbell Choir.


On Easter Sunday, March 27, at 7 a.m., the customary Sunrise Service will be held in the Sanctuary with breakfast immediately following (about 8 a.m.) in the Vestry. The traditional Easter worship service will commence at 10:00 a.m. with special music by the Chancel Choir and JuBellation. Come and worship at either service and join us for breakfast!


There is parking as well as a wheelchair accessible entrance at the rear of the church at Chestnut Street. For more information about any of these services, call the church office at 435-7471 and speak with Rev. Dave Stasiak.



VA Announces Additional Steps To Reduce Veteran Suicide

Because even one suicide is one too many

Submitted Via Merrill Vaughan


WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced new steps it is taking to reduce Veteran suicide. The steps follow a February 2 Summit, “Preventing Veteran Suicide – A Call to Action,” that brought together stakeholders and thought leaders to discuss current research, approaches and best practices to address this important subject.


“We know that every day, approximately 22 Veterans take their lives and that is too many,” said VA Under Secretary for Health, Dr. David Shulkin. “We take this issue seriously. While no one knows the subject of Veteran suicide better than VA, we also realize that caring for our Veterans is a shared responsibility. We all have an obligation to help Veterans suffering from the invisible wounds of military service that lead them to think suicide is their only option.  We must and will do more, and this Summit, coupled with recent announcements about improvements to enhance and accelerate progress at the Veterans Crisis Line, shows that our work and commitment must continue.”


Several changes and initiatives are being announced that strengthen VA’s approach to Suicide Prevention. They include:


Elevating VA’s Suicide Prevention Program with additional resources to manage and strengthen current programs and initiatives; Meeting urgent mental health needs by providing Veterans with the goal of  same-day evaluations and access by the end of calendar year 2016; Establishing a new standard of care by using measures of Veteran-reported symptoms to tailor mental health treatments to individual needs; Launching a new study, “Coming Home from Afghanistan and Iraq,” to look at the impact of deployment and combat as it relates to suicide, mental health and well-being; Using predictive modeling to guide early interventions for suicide prevention; Using data on suicide attempts and overdoses for surveillance to guide strategies to prevent suicide; Increasing the availability of naloxone rescue kits throughout VA to prevent deaths from opioid overdoses; Enhancing Veteran Mental Health access by establishing three regional tele-mental health hubs; and Continuing to partner with the Department of Defense on suicide prevention and other efforts for a seamless transition from military service to civilian life.


For information about VA initiatives to prevent Veteran suicide, visit



Veterans With Incomplete Health Care Applications Receive Additional Year To Enroll

Submitted Via Merrill Vaughan


WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today it will extend the healthcare enrollment application period for one year to approximately 545,000 living Veterans that have pending incomplete enrollment applications.


 “Fixing the Veterans enrollment system is a top priority for VA. This is an important step forward to regain Veterans’ trust and improve access to care as we continue the MyVA Transformation,” said VA Deputy Secretary Sloan D. Gibson. “We’ve got a lot of work left to do, but this is a big step in the right direction to restore the data integrity of our enrollment system,” Gibson said.


The National Enrollment Improvement team conducted a detailed analysis of the pending applications in VA’s enrollment system and identified approximately 545,000 living Veterans whose applications were incomplete and in a pending status.  The team also validated that approximately 288,000 pending enrollment system records were for deceased Veterans. VA has segregated deceased records from living Veteran records and, as part of the Veteran Enrollment Rework Project (VERP), will review each incomplete application to determine if any should have been enrolled in VA health care.


VA is required by law to provide notice to Veterans of incomplete applications. The VERP team could not verify that VA’s mailing system used to contact Veterans about their incomplete applications was able to notify the 545,000 Veterans identified above.


VA will contact living Veterans to confirm their continued interest in enrolling in VA health care and ask them for the necessary information to complete their application.  Veterans will have one year from the notice to provide this information.  After a year, VA will close the record.  A Veteran may reapply for enrollment at any time.


As  Veterans choose to enroll, VA offers an enchancement to their enrollment experience through “Welcome to VA” (W2VA).  Veterans enrolled since July 1, 2015 have received a personal introduction to VA health care services, programs and resources to help them become more familiar with VA’s services. In addition, VA sends each new enrollee an introductory letter and personalized handbook in the mail. W2VA enhances communication by reaching out to newly enrolled Veterans through personal phone calls upon enrollment, providing assistance with health care inquiries and assisting with their initial appointment at their preferred VA healthcare facility.



 What’s happening at PYW?

Submitted By  Paula Martel, PYW Program Director PYW Volunteer of the Year!


Each year, PYW likes to recognize someone that has made a lasting impact and helps make our organization the best it can be for the youth and the community. We are very proud to announce that Paul Sherwood is our Volunteer of the Year for 2015. Paul started to work at PMHS 5 years ago in Tech Education. Since that time we have grown to know and appreciate his talent in the wood working field.


Paul has been volunteering many hours after school and during the summer months on   projects large and small. Having these opportunities can help the youth expand their knowledge, and teach many new skills. Most of the youth that started using tools now have a new respect for both hand and power tools! Paul has also spent many hours volunteering during drop-in hours and on trips. He is not only a caring and committed part of the PYW family, he is also a dedicated member of the community. We appreciate all that Paul has done in the past and all he continues to do—Congrats Paul and thank you so much!


The Pittsfield Youth Workshop is lucky to have a loyal and committed group of volunteers who help keep things running throughout the year. From our dedicated Board of Directors to the volunteers that help to coordinate events and activities, help us with fundraisers, or cover drop-in hours. Our volunteers play a huge role in everything we do — and we are so very grateful!




To the Voters of Pittsfield


Thank you for putting your trust in me by electing me to the Board of Selectmen.


Congratulations to Carl Anderson and Larry Konopka for also being elected to the Board. I look forward to working with the other four members of the Board.


During the twelve hours that I spent outside the Town Hall on Tuesday, I got an earful of comments and concerns you have regarding our town; what you would like to see and what you definitely hope will be changed.


I will guarantee that your voice will be heard and you will be treated fairly and respectfully.  The Board has to look at all options to make sure that your tax dollars are spent wisely, and that decisions will be fair and transparent.   Communication is the key, and decisions by the Board should be well thought out and determined to be what is best for all the citizens of Pittsfield.


Thank you again for your support, and I will never forget that the Pittsfield voters had faith and trust in me to elect me to this extremely important position. 


Carole Richardson  



Sled Dog Races

Submitted By Larry Berkson


I was saddened to read Keith Bryar’s obituary in the Concord Monitor a little while back and it got me to thinking about the sled dog races that were held in Pittsfield when I was a youngster. Mr. Bryar was an avid, and many times, champion racer. So I did a little research and much to my surprise found at least three periods when sled dog races were held in Pittsfield.



The sled dog races during the 1930s were sponsored by the American Legion under the auspices of the New England Sled Dog Club. The first was held in February of 1932 as part of Pittsfield’s first winter carnival. Sixteen teams participated with 1500 spectators watching. The Winter Sports Association co-sponsored the event in subsequent years. Added to the event in 1933 was a Mushers Ball. Richard Foss remembers the Adel Family, which lived in the house at the southwest corner of Route #28 and Leavitt Road, participating in the events.


In 1934 Pittsfield was one of only eight towns in the state to hold races. There were several separate division races. No Pittsfield person entered the senior races but two young Pittsfield men entered two junior, one mile races. Rodney Lindberg came in third in the two or three dog race, and Paul Badger came in third in the single dog race. The route began at Drake Field, crossed the river to High Street, thence to Barnstead Road, to Depot Street, to Broadway, to South Pittsfield turning left at the Tan Road, along Tan Road crossing Route #107 to Tilton Hill Road, and turning left to Will Smith Road, along Will Smith Road down to Barnstead Parade, toward Pittsfield to Province Road, along that road to Laconia Road, to Lilly Pond Road, to High Street, and finally along High Street to the point of beginning, a distance of 21.3 miles.


Miss Phoebe Barton won the popularity contest to become queen. Viola Hall, who later married Edward Murphy, came in second.


In 1935 the races were shortened to 18 miles. At least 21 teams competed, with two teams driven by ladies. Several Pittsfield people competed in the junior division. Jackson Freese won the two or three dog race and his sister Dorothy was second. Rodney Lindberg won the novice race with Paul Badger coming in second.


In 1937 the races were cancelled because of a lack of snow, and it was decided not to hold them in 1938. Apparently, they were not held again until 1949.



In 1949 the Chamber of Commerce revived the sled dog races under the auspices of the New England Sled Dog Association. In 1951 the event drew 1,000 onlookers. In 1952, 2,000 viewed the major race on Sunday, the last part of which was taped and broadcast on Manchester’s WKBR Radio Station a day later. The mushers raced to Jenness Pond and back over Tilton Hill. Judith Feldman was crowned sled dog Queen. The following year Barbara Colby was selected as queen.


A newspaper article suggests that the 1953 races began at Dustin Park, went down Park Street, to Green Street, to Main Street, to Crescent Street, to Loudon Road, to Ring’s Corner, cross country to Lyford Hill, to River Road, to Bridge Street, to Depot Street, to Catamount Road, to Clark Street, to Main Street, passing Dustin Park and repeating the route.


Apparently, this was the last race for many years, as none is reported in the local newspaper.



In 1958 the sled dog races were revived by the Lions Club. Again, they were held under the auspices of the New England Sled Dog Association. By 1964 four or five radio stations were broadcasting the race. Steve Davis was the only entry from Pittsfield. Thirty-eight teams raced over the 28 mile course. John Piscopo, Jr. of Laconia won the major race by nine seconds over the second musher.


During this period races were held on Saturday and Sunday with several divisions. The combined times of the two days determined the winner. There was a Class A event for large teams, and junior events for five, three and one dog sled races.


In 1965, the Pittsfield Sled Dog Club developed a new trophy known as “The Pittsfield Trophy.” It was to be awarded to the winner of the New England Sled Dog Championship Race in Pittsfield. The largest in the sled dog racing circuit, it stood 49 inches tall and was finished in antique silver. The first driver to win it three times would be allowed to keep it permanently. The New England Sled Dog Club would present a small replica of the award to each winner.


Local teams in junior divisions in 1956 included those driven by Steve Davis of Pittsfield, Richard Collins of Barnstead, and John Bryant and Jack and Ethel Adel of Gilmanton. Richard was a Pittsfield High School graduate, John was the son of Harold Bryant who owned the Pittsfield Locker Plant where Rustic Crust Pizza is now located, and the Adels were originally from Pittsfield.


Unlike previous races which began at Depot Square and ran over back roads for 20 miles, the 1965 race was held on the abandoned railroad bed between Fairview and Webster Mills Roads, a 12 mile round trip, won by John Piscopo, Jr. of Laconia, finishing 30 seconds before the next musher. There were 500 people at the finish line.


In 1966 there were 30 drivers, and 300 dogs, huskies, Irish Setters and hounds. The event drew 7,000 spectators. Donna Mudgett of Laconia won the five dog race.


The following year a new trophy and $100 in prize money was created to present to the best Siberian husky team. It was given by Neil Rice of Hamilton, Massachusetts in memory of Leonhard Seppala, the famous musher who raced by dog sled from Nome, Alaska over the dangerous Norton Sound, in the winter of 1925 to obtain serum for a diphtheria outbreak. He travelled 260 miles in 4.5 days. Later Mr. Seppala placed second and won a silver medal in a sled dog demonstration event in the 1932 Olympics.


John Piscopo, Jr. won the senior race for a second time in 1967, this time by 44 seconds over the second place musher. Steve Davis, who competed annually throughout this period, placed sixth in Class C, 17minutes and five seconds behind the winner. In the five dog race, Richard Collins came in fourth.


In 1968, John Piscopo, Jr. won the race for the third time and retired the trophy. The following year a new trophy was created, but was not as large. That year a woman, Tilton’s Darlene Hawkins, took second place in the senior race with an 11 dog team.


In 1970, seven races were run: One Dog, Five Dog, Five Dog Amateur, Regular Amateur, Class A, Class B, and Class C.


Senator Thomas McIntyre was the honorary starter for the races in 1971. The route went to Barnstead, around by Lilly Pond and back to Pittsfield. The best viewing spots were at the start and finish lines, Barnstead Parade Grounds, Bosco-Bell Garage, and the Route 107 crossing near Lilly Pond. A bull dozer was used on 75% of the route to level the snow because it was so deep. Seventy-nine junior and 80 senior mushers took part. The Sunday races had to be cancelled because of the weather so the Saturday race times determined the winners. Jack Adel of Gilmanton came in third in the Class A, Senior Division. The one dog race that year was held on a winding course on White’s Pond.


During the 1970s the route generally passed through Barnstead and continued to be sponsored by the Pittsfield Lions Club. Strangely, there is very little coverage of the event in the local newspapers, despite extensive coverage of other events.


Races probably were not held during 1976 due to weather conditions, for a brief note in the newspaper stated that the Lions voted at the end of February “against an attempt to restage” them. The following year they were held but probably for the last time. That year George Twigg, IV came in third in the one dog class.



The Story Behind The Sign!


In 2009 the Board of Selectmen, with guidance from the Economic Development Committee (EDC) and assistance from Central NH Regional Planning Commission (CNHRPC) presented a warrant article at the Town Meeting. This article asked residents to support the creation of a Economic Redevelopment Zone (ERZ). The warrant article was approved. The following ERZ boundaries were subsequently established:

As a result, Pittsfield businesses within this zone are potentially eligible to apply for tax incentives. (RSA 79E and RSA 162N). RSA 79E allows a business owner who improves his building by 15% of it’s total assessed value or up to $75,000 to apply for a tax deferment up to a maximum of 5 years.


RSA 162N is a state tax credit program based on the increase in the number of employees hired.


In 2010 this ERZ was expanded to include Barnstead Rd (RT 107) from Carroll St beginning at Depot St and ending at RT 28.


In 2013 Kentek became the first business to take advantage of RSA 79E.


In 2014 Rustic Crust burned to the ground. Upon their building of the new facility the EDC assisted the Board of Selectmen in expanding the area within the ERZ that would allow businesses along Barnstead Rd to be eligible for RSA 79E. This encompassed Rustic Crust. Rustic Crust is the second business to receive a tax deferment under RSA 79E. Prior to this, they had already qualified to receive tax credits thru RSA 162N.


Now to the present… The EDC with assistance from Diamond Signs created and installed a sign at the junction of River Rd and RT 28, under the EXIT Reward Realty sign. The intent of this sign is to advertise that Pittsfield is open for new businesses and that there is an Economic Redevelopment Zone with tax incentives to give them a leg up when relocating to Pittsfield. EXIT Reward Realty has kindly volunteered to act as an agent of the EDC to direct prospective business owners to available properties within the ERZ, regardless of which realty agency represents them.


The EDC continues to look for more ways to promote our town. There are 3 openings on the EDC. Please join us in making Pittsfield an even better town in which to live. You can contact our chairman at: [email protected] or call 435-6573.


Thank you for your support!



News From Friends Of The Josiah Carpenter Library


The Friends of the Josiah Carpenter Library would like to thank all the Pittsfield voters who supported us on the last two election days at Town Hall by participating in our raffles.  It’s a fun and easy way for residents to contribute to the Friends and the library.  Our Valentine’s Day gift basket was won by Joshua Stevens, and this most recent, St. Patrick’s Day / Spring basket went to Corine Miller.  Congratulations to both!


We’d like to send a special thank you to Gini Hayes of Forget-Me-Not, Flowers & Gifts, on Main St., for her generous $50 gift certificate donation to our Valentine’s Day basket.


With the monies from the raffles, we are able to give extra support to the library and its programs.  The “Lego-Maker” after-school program, has been a big hit with children of all ages.  Most recently, we voted to purchase additional Lego pieces for this program, which will allow more children to participate.


The library and the Friends are happy to announce an upcoming presentation by NH author, Dan Szczesny, on April 5, 2016 at Pittsfield Middle High School.  This event is open to the public. He will be discussing his recent book, “The Nepal Chronicles: Marriage, Mountains, Momos in the Highest Place on Earth.”   The Friends will be raffling off a basket of Nepalese style items.  All proceeds from this raffle will go to an orphanage in Nepal that Mr. Szczesny has taken under his wing, since the major earthquake of April 2015.  You may purchase tickets for this raffle beginning March 21, 2016, at the Josiah Carpenter Library.   Please help us support this worthy cause.  More information regarding this event will be in following issues of The Sun.


Thank you again for your support !



Pittsfield Historical Society Honors Ruth Strickhart

On February 25, The Pittsfield Historical Society and her family honored Ruth Strickhart for 10 years of volunteer service to the society. The event also served as a celebration of her 96th birthday. Ruth has been an incredible asset working on the cataloging and archiving of material into the museum to help preserve the historical significance of our town. Her family and the Society directors made a donation in her name of a presentation display system that will serve as a lasting reminder of her service. The display system will be used to promote the society and its programs and will be especially useful when the historical society is on the road. We are indebted to Ruth for her commitment to the society and thankful for her service.



VA Expands Hepatitis C Drug Treatment

Expanded funding now allows VA to provide increased drug therapy at VA facilities nationwide  

Submitted Via Merrill Vaughan


WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it is now able to fund care for all Veterans with hepatitis C for Fiscal Year 2016 regardless of the stage of the patient’s liver disease. The move follows increased funding from Congress along with reduced drug prices.


“We’re honored to be able to expand treatment for Veterans who are afflicted with hepatitis C,” says VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. David Shulkin.  “To manage limited resources previously, we established treatment priority for the sickest patients.  Additionally, if Veterans are currently waiting on an appointment for community care through the Choice Program, they can now turn to their local VA facility for this treatment or can elect to continue to receive treatment through the Choice Program.”


VA has long led the country in screening for and treating hepatitis C. VA has treated over 76,000 Veterans infected with hepatitis C and approximately 60,000 have been cured. In addition, since the beginning of 2014, more than 42,000 patients have been treated with the new highly effective antivirals.  In fiscal year 2015, VA allocated $696 million for new hepatitis C drugs (17 percent of the VA’s total pharmacy budget) and in fiscal year 2016, VA anticipates spending approximately $1 billion on hepatitis C drugs. VA expects that with the expansion, many more Veterans will be started on hepatitis C treatment every week this fiscal year.


In addition to furnishing clinical care to Veterans with hepatitis C, VA Research continues to expand the knowledge base regarding the disease through scientific studies focused on effective care, screening, and healthcare delivery including to female Veterans and Veterans with complicated medical conditions in addition to hepatitis C.


For additional information on Hepatitis C treatments Veterans can log onto



Letter To The Editor

Thank You Pittsfield


I want to thank the many voters who showed up at the polls last Tuesday in support of Larry, Carole and myself, and to congratulate Larry and Carole on their wins of the other two seats on the Selectboard.


I doubt there were any voters who supported us that did not know exactly what we stand for, and what direction the Selectboard would head in, if we were elected. There were alternatives on the ballot that would have continued to take Pittsfield down a path of no return- bloated budgets, waste, fat, excess, and crippling taxes, however, there is now a clear mandate for the board to do a 180 degree turn.


I know I have heard many, many concerns and complaints from residents on the street that echo my own and am personally committed to addressing every one of them as quickly and as firmly as the office of Selectman will allow. There’s no shortage of anger, frustration, and disgust out there, and come hell or high water, I’m going to help change whatever I can.


I’ve also been made well aware of the hesitancy many residents have to express these feelings in public. I’ve assured them I understand, and will have no such hesitancy myself. Whatever needs to be said, will be said. I look forward to wide open, honest, and blunt discussions that should bring back the town the majority of the residents want.


No more secrets, no more cozy cliques. The Selectboard must return to overseeing the business of the town and stop the tail from wagging the dog. I plan to write a brief synopsis after each of the public meetings in an effort to keep those who cannot attend the meetings up to speed on what’s going on.


I know what is expected of me and I will live up to those expectations. Thanks again, and I can’t wait to get started.


Carl Anderson



Rave Reviews For The Game’s Afoot


The latest play to hit Pittsfield’s Scenic Theatre stage is being hailed as a masterpiece! Recent attendees had nothing but good things to say about the Pittsfield Players’ performance of Ken Ludwig’s award-winning play, “The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays.” Directed by Mike Hobson and produced by Jon Martin, the mystery/farce has three remaining show dates: Friday and Saturday March 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 20 at 2 p.m.


The time is December 1936 and William Gillette, who plays Sherlock Holmes on Broadway, has invited his friends to his Connecticut castle for a weekend of fun beginning on Christmas Eve. When one of the guests is stabbed, things quickly turn serious. Then it’s up to Gillette, assuming the identity of Holmes, to track down the killer. Hilarity and hijinks abound -- this play has everything you love about live theater.


“I never laughed so much,” one attendee said, “and the plot twists and turns kept me guessing!” She added that the actors are fantastic, the set lovely and the costumes gorgeous. She intends to go a second time. “It’s just amazing what they can do at the Scenic!”


Reserve your tickets now for one of the remaining show dates. You can get tickets online at, by calling the theater at 435-8852, or at the door; tickets are $15. The theater is located at 6 Depot, Pittsfield.



Local Funeral Director Designated Certified Funeral Service Practitioner


David J. Pollard, CFSP, a funeral director with Waters Funeral Home in Concord, New Hampshire, has recently qualified for recertification of the designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP), by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice.


A number of professions grant special recognition to members upon completion of specified academic and professional programs and “CFSP” is funeral service’s national individual recognition.


A select few have distinguished themselves among their peers within the funeral service profession as they continue their education to exceed the highest standards of care. This achievement is especially notable because Dave has voluntarily elected to participate in quality educational and service opportunities that far surpass what the funeral service licensing board in New Hampshire requires. Dave has committed to a program of lifelong learning to serve you and families in your community with the level of excellence expected of a CFSP.


The Board of Trustees of the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice commends you for choosing to put your trust in the hands of a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner.


Since its 1976 founding, the Academy has had as its goals: 1) to recognize those practitioners who have voluntarily entered into a program of personal and professional growth, 2) to raise and improve the standards of funeral service and 3) to encourage practitioners to make continuing education a life-long process in their own self-interest, the interest of the families they serve, and the community in which they serve.


To initially receive this award, the practitioner must complete a 180 hour program of continuing education activities and events. In addition, the practitioner is required to accumulate 20 hours per year to recertify. Credits are awarded by the Academy for work leading to personal and/or professional growth in four areas:


• Academic Activities


• Professional Activities


• Career Review (for retroactive credit)


• Community and Civic Activities



A Bicycle Ride With Harmony Mccall

By Shawn M. Smith


Down meandering hills

And still, quiet roads

The silence disturbed only by gentle breezes

And the occasional bird and his song

If he so obliges

It is impossible to perceive

The bravery and the sadness here

If you are not moved by this place

You have not taken the time to ponder...

What stories be told

beneath the marble and granite stones

And blankets of sod

By they in the land of nod

The air moves slowly past my face

Rustling the cut grass that ripples

Like wind upon the waters


That it’s time for me to go


I thank my most gracious hosts

And chuckle at their reply

Visit us soon when you’re a ghost

We’ll see you when you die.








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