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Pittsfield NH News

April 27, 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.


The Pittsfield Post Office is now accepting passport applications. Hours aer 8-11 AM and 1-3 PM, Monday through Friday.



The Greater Pittsfield Chamber of Commerce would like to THANK Mr. Joe Darrah for changing the Banners that hang from the utility poles around town.  It is a tremendous amount of work to change the banners and he has VOLUNTEERED his time throughout the year putting the Holiday banners up in November and now changing them to the Spring/Summer and Historic Pittsfield Banners.  We appreciate Joe’s support and help with this project! Thank you!!



The internment of Robert Wesson will be held May 21, 2016 at 11 AM at the family cemetery on 217 Governor’s Rd., Pittsfield.


Family and friends are invited. A celebration of life will be held at the Pittsfield Community Center immediately following.



Save The Bees

Submitted By Lauren Martin


Lauren Martin is a senior at Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield. Lauren is earning a Biology credit based on research and experiments with the bee population through the Extended Learning Opportunity Program and amateur beekeeper Kate Dockham.


This is the second in a series of five articles that will focus on how to combat this problem locally. Resources used, shared by request.


As discussed in the previous article, CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) has a debilitating effect on honey bees. Scientists, beekeepers, and many others are doing their best to try to discover the root causes that have created CCD- and for good reason.


The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) is a program run through the Pollinator Partnership with its own “honeybee task force” in order to work on this cause. This includes grants, research, and educational resources on honey bees to raise support for them. Honey bees important role has begun to be recognized outside of the beekeepers and farmers that work closely with them for the fact that they impact so much of the food we eat. Even companies seemingly unrelated to bees entirely, like the ice cream company Häagen-Dazs, has put forth some effort after realizing the plants used in their recipes would be jeopardized without honey bees.


Currently, the fear for the security is not unfounded. The loss in Ohio of about 2.5 million bees or 25 of their 75 hives is one an example of many of what could happen to more beekeepers in the future, and what has been happening already. In discussing how CCD effects New Hampshire bee populations Chris Rallis, a N.H. Department of Agriculture entomologist, said, “Because Colony Collapse Disorder is such a mystery, it’s too hard to say what exactly will happen,” (Fosters). Though stated about nine years ago, the sentiment is holding true. Connections between CCD to common ailments of pesticides, mites, poor practices, and more has caused caution in New Hampshire beekeepers. Once CCD began to be a reported problem, rates of 40-60% loss became more widely spread as well, which includes a number of devastated hives that have no chance to recover.


Native bees and domestic honey bees have been affected by CCD. At least, native bees are assumed to be declining in populations- assessing their numbers is difficult because in contrast to domestic honey bees, they do not have beekeepers that monitor them. Native honey bee’s healthiest hives are often set up in hard to discover locations, far away from easy human inspection. Many species of bees prefer to stay relatively local, and do not compete over food sources, so the main issue presented is having diverse and healthy plants to feed from. Diversity poses a problem with the increase in single crop planting, creating entire fields of just one type of plant. Additionally, the measures taken by beekeepers to help their captive hives survive may not be enough to help the bees.


Domestic honey bees take time to become more resilient towards illnesses, and simply waiting it out while hoping for the best will not speed up the lengthy process. Due to how vital bees are to the economy, especially to New Hampshire’s local farmers, a more proactive approach could determine the difference between recovery and too far gone to recover from. The next two articles will cover ways to accomplish this.



Pittsfield Beautification Committee

Submitted By Carol Lambert, Secretary


You will soon see the Pittsfield Beautification Committee members tending the gardens around town and also finishing up the design and planting of the Aranosian Lot  (next to Jack’s Pizza).  We would like to address some of the questions we had over the winter months concerning the pine boughs that were in the garden.  Because the bushes are planted on berms it was important that the roots were protected from the harsh conditions of winter freezes, thaws and winds. Pines boughs were placed at the base of the plants, and some small pine trunks were placed over some of them so they would not blow away; it is referred to as winter mulch.   Unfortunately, someone took many of the boughs and placed them within the bushes, which made the garden unsightly.  We have removed the mulch and it does not appear at this time that the bushes were damaged.


We have had some reports of children riding their bicycles over the berms at the Aranosian Lot and pet owners walking their dogs in the Washington House garden at the intersection of Main/Chestnut/Oak streets.


We would like to gently remind the parents and childcare providers in town to please ask your children to not walk through or play in the gardens, and please do not allow your pets to use the plants/bushes in the gardens.


In anyone would like to make a donation to the Beautification Committee, please send a check payable The Pittsfield Beautification Committee, c/o Tina Fife 1394 Upper City Rd, Pittsfield NH 03263. Collection boxes can also be found at Town Hall, Bell Brothers, Jack’s Pizza, Town Pizza and Danis Markets. 


If you would like to join our Committee, our next meeting will be on Monday May 2nd at 6:30 pm at Town Hall.


We are anxious and excited about this upcoming gardening season and as always thank the communit  for your help and support.



Happy Anniversary Paige Agency!

By Meggin Dail

Today, April 27, marks the 146th anniversary of The Paige Agency. It’s not too hard to believe the company has been in business for that long when you look at some of the individuals who have run it, been associated with it and worked there, all for many years.


While the Paige Insurance Agency has gone through its number of owners and therefore names, one thing remains, it is a small town based company with service you can trust. It is a community oriented company with some deep historical roots. Longevity of this kind is not a result of merely sticking it out, it’s about being the best at what you do and doing it with a knowledge of your customers that compares to none.


A little history of the company gleaned from the pages of  “The Valley  Times” and “The Pittsfield News” (predecessors to The Suncook Valley Sun), reveals The Paige Agency had its own share of predecessors.


In 1870 S.G. Kelley is credited with receiving an appointment as agent for the New Hampshire Fire Insurance Company. Kelley ran the company until George Berry purchased it around 1880 and ran it until his death in 1897. Known as the Berry Winslow Agency, Sherburne Winslow operated it until April 1919 at which point Isaac Harriman took over and changed the name to Berry and Harriman Agency. At this time Pearl Osgood joined the ranks, first as a part-time secretary, later to become a much more valuable member of the firm until her retirement 46 years later. In August of 1919 George Freese returned from WWI and partnered up with Harriman, thus the company underwent another name change to the Harriman and Freese Agency in January of 1922. Carroll Paige also joined the ranks in 1919 and in December of 1924 the agency underwent yet another name change of Harriman, Freese and Paige. 1934 saw Freese selling his interest in the agency and the company dropped a name, becoming Harriman and Paige.


Upon the death of Isaac Harriman in November of 1939, Carroll Paige ran the company until his own death in January, 1944. The business was then owned and operated by his widow, Grace Paige. In the meanwhile, Courtland Paige, Carroll’s brother had become affiliated with the agency and operated it as an assistant manager until his death in February of 1967.


Carroll and Grace’s son, Gilbert Paige, joined the company in 1948, after returning from his service in WWII and became a manager in 1950. The Harriman & Paige Agency purchased the Mayland Foss Insurance Agency of Pittsfield in 1954 and in 1963 they bought the Harry Silvers Agency of Gossville. In 1965, the name was changed to the company we are now familiar with as The Paige Agency In 1970 The Pittsfield News dedicated most of its April 23, Volume 11, No. 29 issue to celebrating The Paige Agency’s century of service, to Pittsfield and to New Hampshire.


In 1986 Gilbert Paige sold the Agency to Scott Brown and Andy Chalifour who Brown says helped him learn the insurance ropes. Gilbert Paige stayed involved in the agency  for another 5 or 6 years through the modernization of the company upgrading through the use of computers. Janice Tuttle joined the firm shortly after this purchase in 1987 and has remained an important fixture much like Pearl Osgood with the exception that now everyone who works at Paige are licensed agents.


So, why the longevity? First of all The Paige Agency was one of a kind when it first started back in the late 1800s. There was no such thing as fire insurance yet in the state of New Hampshire yet there was a desperate need. It used to be that the insurance man rode the fire engines down the street right alongside the volunteer firemen. Secondly, right from the start The Paige Agency, even under different names, gave you the ability to speak with your agent face to face. There were no long distance phone calls to make, you just walked up to the corner storefront and were able to discuss business face to face, with someone you knew. You still can.


After its run of successors, The Paige Agency name stuck. Why? Why not Paige, Chalifour and Brown? After all Gilbert Paige continued on at the agency after it was purchased by Brown and Chalifour for another five or six years. The answer is; by then the company had experienced three generations of the Paige family. The agency was an established name in an established place with employees, like Mary Davis and Roberta Elkins, who were known to have worked at Paige “forever.” Relationships had been developed with its clients and the decision was made to hang onto that trusted name.


Trust. The word conjures strong feelings for most. Trusted names, companies, people, are hard to come by but Scott Brown and The Paige Agency has been working hard to maintain that personal relationship with their clients. At Paige, Scott Brown, Jan Tuttle, Alice Young and Sarah Fifield, know your name just as well as you know theirs. When you call you can speak to the same agent every time. You can stop by with your payment. You can discuss your particular needs with them because they know you because you have history with them. That knowledge is key to maintaining Paige’s small town atmosphere while providing you with the best coverage available. It ‘s that knowledge of the policies and the fact that each agent, Scott, Jan, Alice or Sarah, are  licensed insurance counselors and care about your needs. It’s personalized service that is hard to come by in the days of automation and internet.


Personalized service means that Paige is going to give you a fair shake when pairing you with an insurance plan. It means they’re going to be in your corner as your insurance liaison when you do have that third accident or decisions are being made with other companies based on actuarial data and credit scores. It means a real person answers the phone when you call and that person knows how to help you. Once again, longevity of a company goes hand in hand with that company’s customer service and work ethics. After all, how else do you stay in business for 146 years?



Songs And Stories From The War Years Presented By Richard Kruppa

People of all ages love the music from the World War II era, 1939-1945. On Thursday, April 28th pm the Josiah Carpenter Library and The Pittsfield Senior Center will host Songs and Stories from the War Years presented by Richard Kruppa.  This entertaining and informative program, which begins at 1:00 pm, focuses on some of the most beloved songs from that era. Songs like “Bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover,” “Sentimental Journey,” “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition” and “ Harbor Lights.” Richard not only sings the songs, accompanying himself on guitar, 5-string banjo, and baritone ukulele, but he tells their fascinating and unfamiliar stories as well; their meaning, how they came to be, and their significance.


Richard asks interesting and thought-provoking questions, such as “What popular song was written in response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor?” “What song was popular world-wide and thought to be from each country where it was popular?” and “What WW II-era song was a top hit written and recorded by a state governor?”


Richard Kruppa, known musically as “Ramblin’ Richard,” is a member of the New England Foundation for the Arts, and a retired professor from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.


The event will be free and open to the public and will be held at The Pittsfield Community Senior Center at 68 Main Street in Pittsfield.  For more information call Beverly Pietlicki at the Library at 435-8406 or Carol Schiferle at the Senior Center at 435- 8482



VA Convenes Leaders In Brain Health To Advance Solutions For mTBI And PTSD At Brain Trust Summit

Submitted Via Merrill Vaughan


WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is leading a groundbreaking two-day event focused on brain health, Brain Trust: Pathways to InnoVAtion. The first annual public-private partnership event will take place this week at the National Press Club and the IBM Institute for Electronic Government in Washington, DC.


Building on the extraordinary leadership and trailblazing efforts of a number of distinguished VA brain researchers, VA is convening many of the most influential voices in the field of brain health – to include the Department of Defense, the sports industry, private sector, federal government, Veterans and community partners - to identify and advance solutions for mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


Issues related to brain health and head trauma transcend the Veteran and military community, impacting all Americans. By highlighting the themes of collaborative research, medical technology, and sports innovation for player safety, Brain Trust participants will discuss the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration of Veterans, athletes, and Americans in general - suffering from head trauma related injuries. The event will also serve as a showcase for many of the advancements that VA is pioneering to improve brain health for Veterans, the military and for the American public at large.


In addition to many of the world’s most accomplished brain research scientists, other confirmed participants in the summit include sports commentator Bob Costas, Gen. Peter Chiarelli (CEO of One Mind, and the former Vice Chief of Staff of the Army), Briana Scurry (former U.S. Women’s Soccer Player), Jeanne Marie Laskas (author of the GQ article that inspired the movie Concussion), Terry O’Neil (16-time Emmy award winner), representatives from the NFL Players Association, the NFL, the NCAA, DARPA, DOD, NIH, CDC, and many more.


During the summit a special announcement will be made by Chris Nowinski co-founder of the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) and former WWE professional wrestler. Joining Chris will be a former Super Bowl champion and an Olympic gold medalist, each of whom will be using this Summit to announce that they will be donating their brains to the CLF for the purposes of advancing brain health.  CLF has partnered with VA and Boston University to establish the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, directed by VA’s own Dr. Ann McKee, now the largest sports mTBI and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) repository in the world with over 325 brains donated, and over a thousand more pledged.


“VA is uniquely positioned to contribute to the care of Veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI),” said VA Secretary McDonald. “The work we do produces results and life changing improvements in care for Veterans — as well as for all Americans, and for people around the world who suffer from these brain related injuries.”


The following organizations are teaming up with VA as event partners: Amazon, Booz Allen Hamilton, Comcast, GE Healthcare, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Optum Health, and Philips.


To learn more about Brain Trust: Pathways to InnoVAtion, please visit:  #VABrainTrust



VA Secretary And Deputy Secretary Tell Commission On Care: Transformation Is Underway And Already Delivering Measurable Results For Veterans

Submitted Via Merrill Vaughan


WASHINGTON – Today Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald and Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson updated the Commission on Care laying out the current state of VA and the transformation that is underway to deliver better customer service and results for America’s Veterans.


In laying out the key pieces of the transformation underway – MyVA – Secretary McDonald said, “MyVA is our framework for modernizing our culture, processes, and capabilities – combining functions, simplifying operations, providing Veterans a world-class, customer-focused, Veteran-centered enterprise. I know transformational change is not easy but it is our commitment to the Veterans we serve in order to bring them the customer service and the care and benefits they have earned.”


Secretary McDonald outlined the five MyVA strategies focused on customer-service excellence: improve the Veteran experience, improve the employee experience, improve internal support services, establish a culture of continuous improvement, and expand strategic partnerships. He also provided updates on progress made to date of VA’s 12 breakthrough priorities.


“We have challenges in VA and we own them, but the transformation that Bob talked about is well underway and already delivering measurable results for improving access to care and improving the Veterans experience,” said Deputy Secretary Gibson.


Deputy Secretary Gibson laid out the roadmap for VA to transform from a loose federation of regional systems to a highly integrated enterprise and integrated provider and payer model and presented the following metrics showing that transformation is underway and having positive impact on Veterans care.


In a nationwide, one-day Access Stand Down VHA staff reviewed the records of more than 80,000 Veterans to get those waiting for urgent care off of wait lists and into clinics. They identified just over 3,300 patients waiting for more than seven days on the Electronic Wait List (EWL) for an appointment in a Level One clinic. By the end of the day, 80 percent were given an appointment immediately, and 83 percent were given an appointment within two-and-a-half weeks.


Real-time customer-satisfaction feedback collected in our medical centers through VetLink—our kiosk-based software—tells us that about 90 percent of Veterans are either “completely satisfied” or “satisfied” getting the appointment when they wanted it.


Annual clinical work has increased among VA providers seeing Veterans by almost 18 percent in the last three years; 20 percent when VA and non-VA providers are calculated together.


With changes already underway to leverage our scale and build a world class end-to-end supply chain, we have already redirected $24 million back towards activities providing better Veteran outcomes.


These results build on the elements of excellence already in place in VA’s health care system that must be maintained and, in many cases, expanded upon.


According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, VA has outperformed the private sector in customer service for a decade.


According to a February article in the Journal of American Medicine, 30-day risk-standardized mortality rates are lower in VA than those of non-VA hospitals for acute myocardial infarction and heart failure.


The American Journal of Infection Control found that in five years methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections declined 69 percent in VA acute care facilities and 81 percent in spinal cord injury units thanks to VA’s aggressive MRSA prevention plan.


The Independent Assessment found that VA performed the same or significantly better than non-VA providers on 12 of 14 effectiveness measures in the inpatient setting.


The Independent Assessment also found that VA performed significantly better on 16 outpatient HEDIS measures compared with commercial HMOs and significantly better on 15 outpatient HEDIS measures compared with Medicare HMOs.


A 2015 study found that VA mental health care was better than private-sector care by at least 30 percent on all seven performance measures, with VA patients with depression more than twice as likely as private-sector patients to get effective long-term treatment.


Another 2015 study found that outcomes for VA patients compared favorably to patients with non-VA health insurance, with VA patients more likely to receive recommended evidence-based treatment.


Secretary McDonald and Deputy Secretary Gibson were joined by VHA’s Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Community Care, Dr. Baligh Yehia, who outlined the history and evolution of VA’s partnering with medical providers in the community to include the Department of Defense, Indian Health Service, several academic medical partner hospitals, and a growing number of private sector providers. He outlined the path forward for the Veterans Health Administration to become an integrated payer and provider, much of which depends on a legislative proposal currently working through Congress.


VA offered demonstrations of three management tools showcasing new technology to improve the way Veterans schedule appointments and how VA health care practitioners can see and interact with patient data, all of which improve outcomes for Veterans and take into account feedback from Veterans and employees. This includes a cell phone app currently in development that will allow Veterans to schedule their own appointments as well as a program that has existed in all VA medical centers for a year-and-a-half that allows VA physicians to view a patient record that integrates information from VA, the Department of Defense and community health partners in one screen.


Today’s presentation to the Commission on Care follows a presentation less than a month ago from VA’s Under Secretary for Health, Dr. David Shulkin who laid out actions already underway at the Veterans Health Administration and the vision to move it into the future that embraces an integrated community care model.


Key Resources:

Readout of Under Secretary for Health Meeting with the Commission on Care on March 23, 2016 Secretary McDonald addresses suggestions to “shut down VA health care altogether” in a speech to the United Veterans Committee of Colorado last week Under Secretary for Health, Dr. David Shulkin’s vision for an integrated payer and provider system in the New England Journal of Medicine: Beyond the VA Crisis — Becoming a High-Performance Network The announced launch of MyVA Access outlining systemic improvements and results for Veterans wanting increased access to care Secretary McDonald makes the case for the importance of VA health care to American Medicine in the Baltimore Sun



New Members Appointed To VA Advisory Committee On Women Veterans

Submitted Via Merrill Vaughan


WASHINGTON – Five new members were recently appointed to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Advisory Committee on Women Veterans (Committee), an expert panel that advises VA’s Secretary on issues and programs impacting women Veterans.  Established in 1983, the Committee makes recommendations to the Secretary for policy and legislative changes.


“The Committee’s guidance is instrumental in shaping VA policy for women Veterans, and providing insight on their diverse needs,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald. “VA anticipates the important contributions and fresh perspectives the newest members will offer to this invaluable Committee."


 New Members VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans Kailyn Bobb, Plumas Lake, CA.  A U.S. Air Force Veteran; currently pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University.


Keith Howard-Streicher, Alexandria, VA.  A Veteran of the U.S. Army; currently serves as Assistant Director, Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division, at The American Legion.


Edna Boyd Jones, Norcross, GA. A retired U.S. Army Colonel, with service in the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom; currently serves as the Assistant Professor of Nursing at Albany State University.


Leslie N. Smith, King George, VA.  A retired U.S. Army Captain; currently serves as co-founder and spokesperson for Fatigues to Fabulous, a non-profit women Veterans organization.


Janet M. West, Jacksonville, FL. An active duty U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander, with service in Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom; currently serves as senior medical officer at Jacksonville Naval Air Station Branch Health Clinic.


Mary Westmoreland (Retired U.S. Army Colonel), who has diligently served on the Committee since 2012, was appointed as the Committee’s new chair.  Committee members Sara McVicker (U.S. Navy Veteran) Washington, DC, and Tia Christopher (U.S. Navy Veteran), Dallas, TX were reappointed for an additional term.


For information about VA’s benefits and services for women Veterans, visit or contact the Women Veterans Call Center at 1-855-829-6636.  The Women Veterans Call Center is available to address concerns of women Veterans, their families and caregivers, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., ET, and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., ET.



2016 Multi-Town Yardsale


The Annual Multi-Town Yardsale will take place June 3rd, 4th and 5th this year. The now three day event will have advertised hours of 8am- 2pm for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


Participants choose if they participate one, two or all three days. We do our best to designate this in the Yardsale listings.


Those wishing to hold yardsales/ barn sales/ garage sales at their home or business may register the address of their sale to be included in an online map and printable address list. Individual registration is a modest $5 to help cover advertising costs. Group or Multifamily locations pay a $10 registration fee, and have an enhanced listing. As always, the registration fee is waived for non profits. Donations to the Banner project (in Pittsfield) are always welcome for those wishing to add a few dollars to their registration.


New this year is a community yardsale location at Dustin Park on Saturday June 4th, 8am-2pm. You must register to set up in Dustin Park, the same $5 registration fee applies. Anyone may register for the Dustin Park location regardless of their hometown. Set up will begin at 6:30am, and all items must be cleared from your designated space by 3pm. Restrooms will be available for those registered.


Any address in the seven member towns of the Greater Pittsfield Chamber of Commerce may register to help advertise their yardsale. These towns are: Barnstead; Chichester; Epsom; Gilmanton; Loudon; Northwood and Pittsfield. Registration forms will be available in the Suncook Valley Sun and online at and mailed to the Chamber at GPCOC, PO Box 234, Pittsfield, NH 03234.


Questions can be directed to [email protected]



Selectman’s Update

Submitted By Carl Anderson

Selectboard Meeting 4/19/2016


This meeting included the second Public Hearing regarding the sale of three town-owned parcels of land, which were auctioned last fall without going through the proper channels.


Public hearings are now behind us, and the Conservation and Planning Boards have given their input to the BOS as well. Because this is raw land, requiring no town services, the Board is taking a long term look at what we do with these lots. When they’re gone, they’re gone. Once we are assured of where we stand legally, we will make a decision that has the town’s best interests at heart.


Proposals and offers continue to be presented by private individuals as well as the EDC regarding 11 Watson St. Sometimes it seems painfully slow to go through the ‘process,’ but we have no choice, and we don’t want to regret a decision in hindsight. We spoke with the EDC about their desire to get a constructive project underway that will be a real benefit to the town, including their consideration of other town owned ‘high exposure’ properties that could really showcase what the EDC can do. We expect more collaborative efforts in that regard.


The Barnstead building inspector was approved as Pittsfield’s deputy inspector. He has plenty of credentials and was approved easily.


Both the Fire Dept. command vehicle and the 2010 police cruiser will be going to auction as their useful life here is over. The newly donated Fire Command vehicle and Police canine vehicle are being readied for use.


EDC and Conservation commission appointments were made.


Town website policies were discussed with Clayton Wood and it was decided that a website committee would be established.


A wetlands permit by notification was reviewed regarding a 6’x20’ dock for canoes and kayaks along the riverbank east of the Barnstead bridge by a waterfront abutter. No action was called for, nor did we see any reason to object to it. State paving projects were reviewed for Rt. 107, South Main St., and Loudon Rd. Again, these were notifications, not requests, and we had no reason for action. Residents expressed concern that the paving is too little and leaves the downtown still untouched, however, our control over State paving projects is virtually zero.


Next week, April 26, we will hold interviews with the six selectboard applicants during the public portion of the meeting.


This week another meeting nearly 4 hr. with progress made.



Death Café Comes To Pittsfield

Death is a part of life.  There is no escaping it.  Yet often people are reluctant to talk about it. They don’t even want to think about it or prepare for it.   A death café is when people gather together to eat cake, drink tea, and discuss death.


Death cafés were founded by Jon Underwood based on the work of Bernard Crettaz. The first Death Café was held in London in 2011. Lizzy Miles offered the first Death Café in the United States in 2012. Since then, there have been more than 3,000 death cafés in many different countries.  All over the world, people are coming together, to eat, drink and talk death.


Now you too can meet with strangers to talk about death, right here in Pittsfield. 


The objective of a death café is to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.


A death café has no agenda; it is an open conversation about death.  There is no religious or business affiliations. There is no fee to attend.  A death café is not for the recently bereaved and is not an appropriate place for children.


The Pittsfield Death Café is being hosted by Rondi Boyer and Victoria Marcotte. 


For Rondi Boyer, a hospice nursing assistant and former volunteer coordinator at the Hyder Family Hospice House in Dover, NH, death is part of life’s natural cycle. She sees death and talks about it frequently in her line of work. But Boyer knows this is something of an exception among most people. “We are so removed from death,” Boyer says. “As a culture, we are afraid to talk about death, and therefore, lots of us don’t know what to do when we are faced with death in our own lives.”  [email protected] Victoria Marcotte is a life and death coach, yoga teacher and perpetual student of life. She recognizes that those areas of life that we least want to acknowledge are the areas that can make the most difference in healing our lives.  When we face our fears we can live more fully.  Exploring our thoughts on death is one way to be find more peace in our everyday lives. [email protected] The Pittsfield Death Café is being held at Journey to Peace Yoga and Wellness at 1 Lyford Hill Rd on May 11 from 6 to 7:30 pm.  There is no fee to attend but donations are accepted to cover the cost of refreshments. Please call 603-435-0637 or email to let us know you’re coming as space will be limited.


For more information visit the website at








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