June 14, 2011

The Unrefined Art of Raw Food

If you are what you eat, then eat something full of life, 
says raw foodie Mary-Ellen Hedrick, of Derry.

Eating in the raw: Mary-Ellen Hedrick has discovered the benefits of a raw food diet, and is ready to teach others. Here she whips up a batch of watermelon soup using fresh fruit, agave nectar and cardamom, an aromatic spice.

DERRY -- It's encouraging to those in the local "raw food" trenches that First Lady Michelle Obama is talking about what Americans are putting on their dinner plates.
Last week the familiar USDA food pyramid was dismantled in an effort to adjust our bad eating habits. The push targets childhood obesity, but is meant to teach everyone some new ways of thinking about how we eat, and how what we eat affects our health.
On June 2 the First Lady introduced "My Plate," a straightforward approach to eating -- a dinner plate with four color-coded sections. Half is designated for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Mary-Ellen Hedrick, a dedicated raw foodie, would say that's about half right.
Hedrick truly believes that we are what we eat. Food that is eaten "raw," or without processing, additives or cooking beyond 112 degrees Fahrenheit, provides all the live nutrients a body needs to thrive.
Raw ingredients will become a no-cook
marinara sauce in minutes.
"I realized sugary sweets were impacting me. I had no energy. I felt like I needed to take naps in the middle of the day," said Hedrick, who began seriously exploring the world of raw food about a year ago. "It's been a natural progression. In spite of myself, my palate has changed. And I can't argue with how I feel -- I have this mental clarity, and my energy is back."
What she's learned is that cooking food destroys enzymes which makes it harder for the body to digest. She says the process of digesting cooked food actually depletes our own enzymatic reserves, diminishing the natural energy and antioxidants in living food.
"And that depletion is what causes aging and disease," Hedrick said.
She is a middle school social studies teacher by day and now a certified raw food chef, by choice. Combining those two skill sets, Hedrick has launched a new business, Raw Kitchen, and is looking forward to spending her summer teaching others the benefits of raw food. 
During a recent cooking demonstration Hedrick whipped up a summer meal within minutes, using only fresh ingredients and a food processor, including watermelon soup, summer squash "linguine," macadamia nut and raw cashew Alfredo sauce, zucchini angel hair "pasta," and chilled marinara sauce, using tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, olive oil, dates, fresh parsley, garlic and cayenne pepper.
Raw food, as a movement, is growing, not only here, but across the globe, Hedrick said. With more attention being focused on what we eat, how our food is produced and the health risks associated with certain foods, she expects more people to explore the benefits of a raw food diet.
Which is not to say that she's a purist.
She has occasional lapses that may include pizza night or meat off the grill, especially when eating away from home. But Hedrick one deterrent has been the resulting "food hangovers," which leave her feeling sluggish and cloudy. She considers her current diet about 80 percent raw.
Zucchini angel hair "pasta" with marinara sauce.
"When you think about how much Americans rely on Fryolators and food that comes in boxes, you can really understand why eating raw can make you feel so much better," said Hedrick. "Sometimes I think about what was considered 'normal' eating when I was a kid -- a bologna sandwich on two pieces of Wonderbread covered in mayonnaise, and a glass of soda -- the thought of feeding that to my daughter, given how much more we know now about good nutrition, isn't an option," Hedrick said.
Despite its expanded raw food factor, reaction from hardcore food experts to the new USDA dinner plate quadrants have been mixed.
Vegan proponent Dr. Neal Barnard, who is president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, remarked that with all due respect, isolating a quarter of the plate for protein is not necessary, since many whole grains and vegetables have sufficient amounts of protein.
Hedrick agrees.
She has found that raw nuts are no more expensive than meat, and way more versatile. She has learned to sprout wheat berries and lentils, which she uses to create a slew of recipes high in protein and enzymes.
When it comes to food prep, she relies heavily on her food processor, spiral slicer, and dehydrator. Her microwave is obsolete. Her oven, mostly in the way.
The greatest health benefit has been boundless energy,
said Mary-Ellen Hedrick, a raw food enthusiast.
"My next step toward 100 percent raw will be changing over from coffee to this," said Hedrick, reading off the ingredients from a bag of organic coffee substitute that included carob, barley, chicory, dates, almonds and figs.
"For me, the journey began because I have such a sweet tooth. I couldn't resist sugary desserts. But then I learned that there really are so many dessert options that are free of caloric impact, using nuts and fruits and agave nectar. From there, I just started to expand my raw food list," Hedrick said.
Her urge to change her eating habits coincided with the awareness that what she ate was affecting how she felt, for better or worse.
"Even before raw food, I was already becoming more aware of things like consumption of animals and animal byproducts. I was trying to opt for free range chicken and eggs, striving to be more considerate of the animals and buy those raised sustainably, rather than in cages," Hedrick said.
"At first, people who change over to a raw diet actually experience degrees of detox -- anything from rashes to nausea -- our bodies have accumulated so much stuff in the way of additives and chemicals. Once you get over that, you feel the difference, every day. Even starting off slow and eating raw for one or two meals, you feel a difference," Hedrick said.
"After that, your body tells you what it wants you to eat -- whether it's going to be a fruit kind of day, or maybe you are craving a handful of nuts. You let that drive you, and really start listening to your body, and there's no doubt you'll naturally start to change your eating habits," Hedrick said.
For more information or to schedule a cooking lesson, contact Hedrick: mehedrick@live.com or  603-732-2425.

June 7, 2011

Doctors: Keep an eye on those moles

Dr. John Mallen, a Salem-based plastic and reconstructive surgeon, points to some suspicious skin blemishes on the hand of James Garvey of Londonderry, Garvey took advantage of a recent free skin cancer screening at the Nutfield Professional Building.


Dr. Mallen advised James Garvey to have these "precancerous"
lesions checked out by a dermatologist.
DERRY -- You’ve probably heard that skin cancer — or melanoma — is the most deadly form of cancer, although you may not have considered why that is.
Doctors say it’s because most of the time people don’t recognize skin cancer for what it is. Often skin cancer is easy to mistake for a mole or it’s hidden on some patch of skin that’s difficult to see for yourself, unless you have the headspinning capabilities of an owl.
That’s why James Garvey of Londonderry decided to take advantage of a recent free skin cancer screening at Nutfield Medical Center.
“I try to use sunscreen when I’m going to be out in the sun, but I’ve got this light skin and freckles, and blue eyes. I know my skin is susceptible to burning,” said Garvey, who said when he heard about the screening he decided to come in. He had a few spots on his hands that had him worried.
Dr. John Mallen, a plastic and reconstruc­
tive surgeon with a practice in Salem, took a closer look. 

“These look like pre-skin cancer,” said Mallen. “They’re red and scaly. You should probably have these looked at by a seasoned dermatologist.” 
Although Mallen didn’t believe Garvey’s lesions were anything to worry about right now, he felt that given Garvey’s fair skin and ruddy complexion, he should be in the habit of slathering on the sunscreen every two hours, any good lotion with moisturizer. 
“Honestly, it’s not so much about the product you use, but the frequency with which you apply it, and for most people, they just don’t apply it often enough,” Mallen said. 
Mallen asked Garvey to show him his back, which looked fine. 
“Often people will have suspicious moles or marks in places they can’t readily see. I usually recommend that, especially if you’re married, have your partner check on your moles every birthday, to see if there are any changes in size or appearance, or ulcerations. It’s the best way,” Mallen said. 
According to the National Skin Cancer Foundation, Garvey, 57, is in the highest risk group when it comes to annual skin cancer diagnoses — the majority of those who discover skin cancer each year are white males over the age of 50. Currently, 1 in 39 men will be diagnosed annually with skin cancer; for women, it’s 1 in every 58. 
Prevention is always the best approach, said Mallen. Unfortunately, the sun is always shining, even when you can’t feel it, and sunburns often happen inadvertently. “I was out on my boat last weekend, and I normally use sunscreen. But it was chilly, so I had a long-sleeved shirt on when I went out. Then it got hotter, so I took off the shirt, but I forgot to use sunscreen,” said Garvey, holding out both of his arms which were bright pink, from his elbows to his wrists. “I have to be more careful.” 
Another round of free skin cancer screening will be held at the Nutfield Medical Center, 44 Birch St., in Derry on June 6 from 1 to 4 p.m. and June 7 from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Adults and children are welcome. Preregistration is required. For more information or to register, contact Consult A Nurse at 1-877-642-2362 or visit parklandmedicalcenter. com. 

With Love, Moms

Laura McEntee became a stepmom last week to Leah St. John, 6.Given her expanded understanding of what it means to be a mom, McEntee is more than ready for whatever comes next.
Bride Laura McEntee, right, relaxes before her wedding day, while her birth mom, center, in robe, and adoptive mom, left, in green, get hair and makeup done. 
Carylyn McEntee, left, with her adopted daughter, Laura.
Laura McEntee, center, with her two moms — Carylyn McEntee, left, her adoptive mother, and Michele Dupras, right, who gave Laura up at birth. Since reuniting with her birth mom, she has found
more unconditional love than she could have ever imagined, Laura McEntee said.
Michele Dupras gets her hair done while biological daughter,
Laura McEntee, assists. 
In a unique love story, birth mom performed marriage ceremony for the daughter she reunited with after 19 years 

ours before her wedding, Laura McEntee looked like any other bride-to-be — hair swept up to one side, makeup applied, snuggled under a comforter on her mother’s bed, updating her Facebook status to something like, “Today I’m marrying my best friend.”
But the circumstances that brought the Lyndeborough woman to this moment were anything but typical.
Seated near a window Carylyn McEntee, Laura’s adoptive mother, was getting her makeup done. Across the
 room Michele Dupras, Laura’s birth mother, was drying her hair. 

Together, Laura’s two moms had made this day possible. 
In 1987 Dupras, just 16, knew the best thing for the baby she hadn’t planned on was to give her up to parents who were ready for parenthood. McEntee, who had three sons in various stages of adolescence, was unable to conceive with her second husband. 
She was more than ready to pick up where Dupras had to let go. 
“I made a promise to Laura on the day she was born, that I’d do everything in my power to reunite her with her mother one day, the only way I could ever thank her for giving me the most precious gift of my life,” said McEntee. 
After Laura’s birth, Dupras went back to being a teenager. She finished her senior year of high school, and graduated from college. 
She married in 2000 started a family and settled in Hudson, raising two young sons. But over all the years, not a day went by that she didn’t wonder about the daughter she’d never known. 
“As soon as Laura turned 15, I posted all my information on the adoption boards. 
I wanted her to be able to find me if she wanted to. 
But then they changed the age you could get your birth records in New Hampshire, to 18. All my information was removed. I had to do it all again when Laura turned 18,” Dupras said. 
In the meantime, Carylyn and her husband had divorced, when Laura was 10. 
“Laura and I have always had this incredible relationship — we’ve never gone through the difficulties some mothers and daughters go through. We are so much alike, it’s really amazing,” McEntee said. 
Since her 18th birthday fell on a Saturday, Laura had to wait until that Monday to go to Concord for her birth certificate. She went with McEntee, who had planned the trip as one of Laura’s birthday gifts. 
That same day, Dupras went to Nashua District Court, where she was told she had to send the paperwork to Concord. 
“So all she could get was my name. By the time all my information made it to Concord, it was too late,” Dupras said. 
For the next year and a half, Laura carried her birth mother’s name with her everywhere she went.
“I didn’t have the nerve to look her up. I guess I was afraid of rejection or something. I had no idea she wanted me to find her,” said Laura. “But all my life I always felt like there was something I didn’t understand about myself. Once I finally found Michele, it all made sense. It was like we knew each other our whole lives.” 
That day came randomly — Laura had abruptly quit a job she didn’t really like. She was home during the day. Something came over her, so she Googled the name that was seared into her memory. 
“It came right up, once I spelled it right,” said Laura. 
“I found out that I grew up about an hour from where she was living.” 
Since then, Laura has also reunited with her birth father, Sean Morrison of Massachusetts. He and Dupras had only dated for a short time, so he never knew that he’d fathered a child. 
“After Laura contacted me I wrote him a letter, and as soon as he read it, he wanted to meet her, too. He’s very much a part of her life now. I have sons and he has a son. 
Laura is our only daughter,” said Dupras. 
In fact, in the four years since finding her birth parents, Laura’s extended family has grown exponentially — including half-siblings, step-parents, aunts, uncles and the rest of the story behind her big brown eyes and dimples. 
For Dupras, there was one puzzle yet to be solved as Laura’s wedding day grew closer. 
“I felt so lucky that Carylyn accepted me the way she did. 
I am so grateful for all she’s done for Laura and I didn’t want to take anything away from her. She is rightfully the mother of the bride,” Dupras said. 
Her solution was to become a justice of the peace, so that she could perform the ceremony. Nobody could have scripted a happier, more perfect ending, said Laura. 
“My whole life I knew I’d find my birth mother. I always knew somehow that we’d all be together, and it would be wonderful. I just can’t believe it’s really happened,” said Laura, who had wisely tucked a box of tissues next to her on the bed. 
Tear prevention was futile. 
“It’s just too perfect. Michele gave me away once; now she’s giving me away again,” said Laura, dabbing at the corners of her eyes. 
“These are happy tears.” 
Dupras said she always knew that adoption was the right choice. 
“I assure you that Laura would have had a wonderful life if I’d kept her, but only because my parents would have made it that way. No 16-yearold is ready to raise a child, period,” Dupras said. 
It’s unfortunate that so many girls believe abortion is the “easy” way out, she said. 
“With all these shows on television about teen moms, you see these girls with a warped sense of reality. They think if they keep their baby they will be able to hang onto the baby’s father forever, or that giving up their child for adoption means they’re giving a child away. What they don’t realize is there are so many wonderful couples out there who can’t have children of their own,” Dupras said. 
McEntee said she, too, always knew that this was meant to be. 
“We told Laura the truth from the time she was little, and she’d often say, ‘Tell me the story, Mommy.’ And so I would tell her that, once upon a time, she had another mommy who cared for her very much, but who let us take her for a time, and love her, and raise her, and that someday we’d all get back together. And maybe that’s part of it,” McEntee said. “Maybe that’s why Laura always knew, in her heart, that her life would have this fairytale ending.” 

May 29, 2011

A wake-up Call for 4-H lovers

Participants in a shooting sport training weekend raise their hands to signify they’re ready
 to aim and fire arrows at balloon targets. The training, at Pointer Fish & Game Club in Bedford, was held in conjunction with 4-H Youth Development.
BEDFORD -- Learning how to properly load, shoot and clean a firearm is only part of what young people can gain from 4-H shooting sport training.
Take Daniel Turner of Derry, for example.
After years of instruction through Chester Rod & Gun Club’s 4-H youth program, he has also mastered the fine art of how to lead. Even more important, he said, is that he’s learned how to translate his innate love of the sport into a language that others can easily understand, now that he has the skills to teach.
“It’s been so much more than learning how to shoot a gun. It’s taught me life skills, and responsibility, it’s built character, all while stressing the importance of being safe around guns,” said Daniel who, at 16, is skilled enough to be a junior instructor.
Last weekend he was joined by 45 fellow “students” of all ages from across
 New England at the Pointer Fish & Game Club in Bedford for an intensive training program that required 18 hours of course work over two days. In the end, Turner and the others earned their certification as junior shooting instructors in one of several disciplines: rifle, black powder, pistol, archery and shot gun. 

Daniel Turner, left, of Derry gives some instruction to
Linda Cody of Swanzey, during a 4H Shooting Sports
training weekend atPointer Fish & Game Club in
Bedford. Daniel was there to become
certified as a junior rifle instructor.
Strafford County 
According to Pointer gun club member Dan Ruppel, who coordinates youth events, sports shooting is booming among younger kids — their youth events draw upward of 75 young people. He attributes that, in large part, to the cohesive programming provided by 4-H through UNH Cooperative Extension, which is the designated parent organization for 4-H across all 10 counties in the state. 
Actually, make that nine. 
Fallout from a tough budget year has forced at least one county to pull the plug on its 4-H programming. 
In March, the Strafford County legislative delegation voted to cut $725,326 from the county budget, effectively defunding UNH Cooperative Extension, which shut its doors and laid off all its employees. 
“The Cooperative Extension has never been defunded in its 100-year history. It’s unprecedented,” said Cooperative Extension Director, John Pike. 
He said the pervasive misunderstanding about 4-H is that, somehow, a legion of volunteers will rise up from the ashes and take over programming. But that can’t be, said Pike. 
“4-H can’t exist without the Cooperative Extension, it’s the only entity authorized by the state to develop and administrate programming,” Pike said. 
He believes the dismantling of 4-H programs was an unintended consequence of cutting the funding. 
Hope for 2012 
Earlier this week, one of the county delegation, Rep. Fred Leonard, R-Rochester, who originally favored the funding cut, tried to get the Executive Council to revisit that decision, after realizing the 4-H programming would cease to exist. 
Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen, at least not this year. Hopefully Strafford will get refunded for 2012,” Pike said. 
He said he was frankly a little baffled at the volume of public outcry, given how hard he tried to sound the warning. 
“I tried to be transparent and open and honest and tried to say to people what would happen if we lost funding. Now I’m left scratching my head, wondering what they didn’t get about the consequences of defunding,” Pike said. 
5,000 volunteers 
Strafford is so far the only county to defund UNH Cooperative Extension. There are still three counties that have until July 1 to settle their budgets — Sullivan, Grafton and Hillsboro. And while Pike said he does not realistically fear the worst, there is no assurance that next year’s budget process will be any easier. 
“We’re talking about a program that includes 5,000 volunteers and reaches more than a quarter of a million people, statewide,” Pike said. “Perhaps it’s a bit of a wake-up call.” 
So much more 
Alden Dill of Northwood, who was volunteering for the weekend sport shooting training session in Bedford, could not be more certain of the importance of supporting 4-H programming. 
Yes, there is a perception among those who don’t know any better that it is somehow only about raising goats to show at the county fair. 
It’s so much more than that, said Dill, who is the proud son of two former 4-H members, and who admits, without hesitation, that he married a girl he met in 4-H — whose parents were also both 4-H members. Together, they’re raising a mob of next generation 4-H kids, for as long as there is funding. 
“It’s so far beyond what it used to be. You can see we have the shooting sports going on here today, but there are also many programs in the sciences, including robotics — and the theme that runs through it all is youth development,” Dill said. “It brings families out to participate in activities together. It keeps kids engaged and involved, and many of them continue into adulthood, as volunteers. 
A ripple effect 
He said unlike other youth organizations, 4-H includes boys and girls together and provides an array of opportunities across many disciplines, no matter what your interest. It promotes cooperation and community at every level, Dill said. 
“And then there’s the trickle- down effect. This group of 45 here today will go out into their communities across New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, and they will directly impact 300 or 400 people — at least — in their individual clubs, and from there, it just keeps going,” Dill said. “It’s a ripple effect.” 


Maureen Melius of Hampstead has been on both sides of the ADA. She was a nurse practitioner before a
stroke in February of 2010 left her partially paralyzed.
Union Leader Correspondent
It has been six months since the town of Wolfeboro settled a lawsuit with the federal government over the town’s lack of accessibility. 
Under the 2010 ADA health clubs and gyms are among
public buildings required to upgrade their accessibility.
It was an expensive lesson that Wolfeboro Town Manager Dave Owen said other towns should heed, given recent changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Municipalities need to be aware that there is a potential liability of many hundreds of thousands of dollars, at least in our instance, to make sure parking lots, bathroom counter heights — all sorts of details you wouldn’t normally think of — are accessible,” Owen said.

In 2006, a resident of Wolfeboro filed a
 complaint against the town with the Department of Justice, prompting a complete audit of town buildings, Owen said.
“They gave us a big, thick document listing page after page of deficiencies, and we’ve been systematically upgrading ever since,” Owen said. “We’ve had to do a lot of work over the past four years — we installed a new ADA accessible bathroom in our public safety building. That was a
 $90,000 project. Then we put a new accessible bathroom in our town ice arena — that was another $100,000. This year we did a warrant article for $150,000 to repave all our public parking lots. You can’t have cross-gradients of more than 2 percent in handicapped parking spots. These are things people don’t think about, and the list goes on.”

The settlement requires other upgrades and changes over the next few years, Owen said.
Enacted in 1991

Making the world more accessible for individuals with various disabilities is what recent updates to the ADA are all about. Originally enacted in 1991, the Department of Justice
 last year revised the law; changes officially went into effect in March.
Town officials, builders, contractors and business owners now have until March 2012 to bring public buildings into compliance, said Kathy Gips, director of training at New England ADA.
She has been fielding questions about the changes in the ADA that range from what the deadlines are for major upgrades such as installing elevators, to fine details over the “wiggles and squiggles” of the law, such as height requirements for light switches and thermostats.
“Now is the time to be thinking about the changes that need to be made,” said Gips. “It’s all about harmonizing of
 the various building codes that currently exist. A public bathroom in Arkansas shouldn’t be any different than a public bathroom in New Hampshire.”
Knowing the law

One approach is to have someone come and detail what the changes mean to municipalities, said Michelle Bonsteel, an accessibility specialist for the state Governor’s Commission on Disability. For example, she’s been invited to make a presentation in Windham on June 8, to go over how the ADA changes affect landlords, public and recreational facilities and historic sites, what is grandfathered and what applies to future construction.
“It’s a process,” said Bonsteel. “For example, if you have
 a building in town that’s just changing occupancy, from one retail establishment to another, it doesn’t affect you at all. But if you own a building and are contemplating renovations, you will want to make sure you meet all requirements for accessibility — public buildings, trails, health clubs, amusement parks. Accessibility helps everyone,” Bonsteel said.
In the workplace

Broadening the scope of accessibility goes beyond providing access to public spaces or uniformity issues. It also should help create opportunities in the workplace for those with disabilities, said Clyde Terry, CEO of Granite State Independent Living, a statewide advocacy organization
 that promotes independence among the elderly and disabled.
“There still needs to be a lot done in the area of educating employers about the provisions of the law and that qualified workers with disabilities can perform the essential functions of a job and are a good investment of time and talent. Also, that most accommodations are inexpensive and enhance the workplace,” Terry said.

One woman’s story

Ultimately, change is good — if it helps make the world a more accessible place, said Joe Melius. After his wife suffered a stroke in February 2010, everything changed for the Hampstead
 couple. “I don’t think a lot of business places understand how much more business they’d have with just the addition of a ramp,” Melius said
Maureen Melius, 64, was on her way to work as a nurse’s assistant when she had to pull over.
“I knew something was wrong. They didn’t expect me to live,” said Maureen Melius, who was hospitalized for seven months following her stroke. Now that she’s home, getting around by wheelchair has its challenges. She appreciates supplemental services through Granite State Independent Living.
But she misses her independence, and going to church.
“Updating the ADA is a step in the right direction,” said her husband. “


Under the direction of Jake Webb, right, John Noe kneels to read the inscription on a gravestone while Devon Sullivan and Josh Noe look on. The Boy Scouts were placing flags on the gravestones of veterans at Forest Hills Cemetery in Derry on Saturday, May 28.

Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- Decoration Day used to be a fixed holiday, May 30, so named in 1868 as a day to break from the routine of life and honor our Civil War dead by decorating their graves.Much about how we celebrate this day has changed over time, including its name, said Dot Goldman, a volunteer caretaker of Forest Hills Cemetery.
Twin brothers John and Josh Noe discover
the gravestone of a veteran who died
eight days after they were born in August 1999.
A pair of Boy Scouts search for the graves of veterans.
She would go so far as to say that modern Memorial Day has lost its meaning.
“It’s always been important to me and my family. We always went and decorated graves together on Memorial Day, something that’s just not done so much anymore by families,” said Goldman.
 “Go to any of the town’s Memorial Day services. It’s just a three-day weekend when people have fun. Maybe they have a moment of silence. Unfortunately, most people don’t take time to honor or respect those who’ve served. It’s all been lost, and that’s sad.” 

Goldman has a particular passion for honoring the dead. For years, she has volunteered her services at the town cemetery. Sunday at 3 p.m. she will be 

there, along with members of the Salem-
based Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War, to commemorate one of Derry’s own, Gen. George Thom, who served in the Civil War. 
The public is welcome 
Although all of General Thom’s direct descendants have died, Goldman said the town’s historical society found a distant relative, Robert Marsh of Bethesda, Md., who grew up summering in New Hampshire.
His daughter, Henrietta Luneau of Hopkinton, is a Sullivan County court judge. 
“I won’t be able to make Sunday’s ceremony, but I am proud of our family’s Derry roots. I’m definitely going to visit General Thom’s grave site this summer,” said Marsh, 82. 
Thom was his grandfather’s uncle. “Until they contacted me, I had no idea he was buried in Derry. I’m proud of his contribution to history and to this country. It means a lot that he is still remembered.” 
Goldman believes that remembering the roots of this holiday is the best way to perpetuate pure patriotism. 
That’s why, for as long as she has dedicated herself to the upkeep of Forest Hills, she has been inviting and recruiting various community groups to join her, not only in the painstaking process of restoring old and damaged stones but also in decorating graves each Memorial Day. That’s what brought a small brigade of ground troops to the cemetery Saturday, with armloads of U.S. flags — many in uniform — Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Venture Scouts. Others, including members of the local Veterans of Foreign War Ladies Auxiliary, joined the troops on the annual scavenger hunt to find the graves of war veterans. Brothers Colin and Ian Dudgeon of Boy Scout Troop 98 had done this before. 
“Everyone helps to contribute to remembering Memorial Day in their own say. Families of those who died go to vigils and assemblies; this is our way,” said Colin Dudgeon. 
They walked together along one of the pathways cutting through the cemetery. It was Ian’s turn to plant a flag. 
“I like going around and seeing that New Hampshire residents have served in the different branches of the military,” said Ian Dudgeon, finding a military marking and poking the wooden flag post into the dirt. 
Fellow Scout Michael Agresti said he just learned in school that Memorial Day used to be Decoration Day, during Trivia Friday at Gilbert Hood Middle School. 
“One of the questions was: When did Memorial Day start, and what was it called? I had no idea, and nobody else knew the answer in my grade,” he said. “Now I know. Being here today, to do this for someone who protected our freedom, feels good to me; it feels right.” 
Besides the volunteers recruited to decorate the cemetery in advance of Memorial Day, Angel and Ray Fontaine were there on a family Memorial Day outing with 5-year-old son Samuel. They strolled together with a small collection of flags, looking for a grave in need of decoration. 
As they walked, Samuel stretched his right arm into the breeze, and the fabric of the small flag clenched in his fist fluttered in the breeze. 
“Don’t let it touch the ground,” said his father, providing just one of many important lessons to be learned as they made their way toward a small granite headstone in the grass. 
“OK, right there,” said his mother, directing him to the right spot. 
“I’m planting a flag,” said the boy, using two hands to poke Old Glory into the dirt. “Yippee. America the beautiful.” 

May 25, 2011

Sometimes the years fall away

Kathleen Felch, left, of Hampstead, works on Jackie Elsmore’s nails during a day of pampering.
 Felch was one of eight student volunteers who participated in the Day of Caring.
Union Leader Correspondent
Rae-Ann Iacuzio of Derry puts some finishing
 touches on the elegant fingernails of
Norma Helbig of Derry during Monday’s
Day of Caring, organized by Pinkerton
 Academy and The Upper Room.
DERRY -- OVER COFFEE AND SCONES, Joyce Diemer and Caitlin Harper were just a couple of girls who’d lived in Chester with a mutual love for Siamese cats and well-manicured nails.
The 65-year gap between them was nothing more than time and space.

“I lost my husband a year ago, and I miss him every day. But I’m glad we did so much together,” Diemer said to Harper, 17, a student at Pinkerton Academy. The two were paired up for a Day of Caring through Greater Derry Community Caregivers.

Diemer had some advice for Harper: Make the best of everything and cherish every moment with those you love.

“Just before my husband died we went on a cruise to the Maritimes, in 2009. The weather was perfection and the sea was like 

Lois Gibbs, right, compares manicure notes
 with Dianne Burkinshaw. Both women were treated
to a day of pampering thanks to a group of
 volunteers from Pinkerton Academy.
glass. That would be my best advice to you: Go on some cruises and enjoy your life,” Diemer said.
Monday morning was planned as a day of pampering and girl talk across the generations, as seven Pinkerton Academy students were matched with seven seasoned citizens for manicures and a movie. They met at Journey Church, a newly renovated factory-turned-contemporary house of worship on Tinkham
Seated at tables set up like a coffee house, the multi-generational meet-up began with light refreshments and coffee.

The students were asked to bring along nail polish and lotions, which provided their manicure partners with plenty of colors to choose from.

Shana McKinnon was working on Elaine Duke’s nails.

“It’s called Hot Sexy Pink,” said McKinnon, who mentioned that it was the color Duke had requested by name.

“Yup, I sure did,” said Duke, who had already won McKinnon
 over by mentioning that she’d often regarded her husband of 39 years as “a bit of a pain.”
“I love that,” said McKinnon, sharing another laugh with Duke, between brush strokes.

“We were double dating when we met. He was going out with my friend, but he kept looking in the rearview mirror and winking at me,” said Duke. “He promised me we’d be married at least 57 years, but we didn’t make it.

He didn’t make it.”

Duke met her husband when she was just 17 — the same age McKinnon is now.

“I guess I think about having a family and a husband someday, but right now I’m focused on college and a career,” said McKinnon.

Cindee Tanuma, executive director of the Greater Derry Community Caregivers, had a feeling this event would be a hit for everyone involved.

She said she looks forward to the annual Day of Caring because it gives her a chance to orchestrate important moments, like this one.

“After we do the nails we’re going in to watch an old movie, ‘The Bells of St. Mary’s,’ and then we’re going to have tea sandwiches together,” Tanuma said. “I guess you’d say the real mission of this is for intergenerational learning. Sometimes older individuals have a perception about teen girls today, that maybe they’re not so sweet or innocent. But they quickly learn that there’s something universal about being 16 or 17 — there really is no difference, except their life experiences.”

For the past 13 years, Pinkerton Academy instructor Roger Konstant has been putting out the call each spring for student volunteers who’d like to get involved in their
 community. He connects students with various agencies who assign tasks, including the Caregivers, The Upper Room, Vintage Grace, Meals on Wheels, Camp Carpenter and the Nutfield YMCA.
“I was just thinking about this today while I was driving home, thinking about why we do this every year. It occurred to me that kids in our community get a lot of help through various groups while growing up, like Scouts or Little League or church. A lot of people have helped them along the way, and so this is really just a chance for them to begin to give back,” Konstant said. “I don’t know if they realize how much support they have as kids growing up here, but they come away from this experience really having a great time and learning something in the process.”

Jackie Elsmore was fanning her nails, admiring the handiwork of her hand stylist, Kathleen Felch, 17. Waiting for the movie to start, they’d moved on to small talk.

“Jackie was telling me how she has always loved singing and dancing, and was an entertainer in the USO, and how she beat 10 men swimming once at Lynn Beach,” said Felch. “Oh, and, how she was a goalie for her high school’s hockey team when she was about my age, and lost two teeth when she got hit with the puck.”

“Yeah,” said Elsmore. “I stopped it with my mouth.

I was a bit of a tomboy back then, but thinking about it now, it doesn’t seem so long ago.”

May 24, 2011

With a push from Sarah, she rides

Elizabeth Kester will test the limits of her endurance, in honor of her niece,
Sarah Heath, during this year's Pan-Mass Challenge.
Union Leader Correspondent
Elizabeth Kester with her niece, Sarah Heath, during a
Pedal Partner gathering at Fenway Park.
LONDONDERRY -- As uncomfortably familiar as we are with the ravages of cancer, there is something about the stories of inspiration that rise up from the depths of cancer’s despair that help heal the soul.
Elizabeth Kester of Londonderry has been inspired by her 14-year-old niece,
 Sarah Heath, a cancer survivor.
While Kester is no athlete, she knew she had to do something to match Sarah’s will to live when she fought her way back from acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2007. Kester wanted to find a way to push her own body to the edge of her comfort zone, a symbolic nod to all that Sarah had endured.
 Kester asked her husband, Eric, for a bike for Christmas. Her goal was to ride in this year’s Pan-Massachusetts Challenge Bike-a-Thon, which benefits the Jimmy Fund of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

A snowy winter and wobbly legs have made training tougher than expected, but her plan is to pedal the route that covers 84 grueling miles, raising $3,000 for cancer research.
“I don’t know what possessed me. I’m not an avid cyclist. I hadn’t ridden a bike in years. But I decided a few years ago to choose one big effort and do something that was bigger than me, in my life,” said Kester.
She’s sort of worked her way up to being ready for the bike marathon that will take her from Wellesley to Bourne. While her niece was still recovering from chemo, Kester and her sister Melissa Heath — Sarah’s mom — did the Susan G. Komen Three-Day for a Cure walk. “Torturous but awesome, to be caught up in the energy,” Kester said of the 60-mile bonding experience.
The next year they did a Dana Farber fundraising marathon.
“Sarah taught us to never give up, to never give in and to always do something good, despite the difficulties that may surround you,” said Kester, a registered nurse who works in labor and delivery at The Mom’s Place at Catholic Medical Center.
In the context of her work she is confounded daily by the miracle of birth and the joys of motherhood. Another reason her niece’s cancer diagnosis at the age of 10 made no sense in her world.
“It was one of those moments that truly does change your life. Melissa is my only sister. Sarah is my sister’s oldest child — she was pregnant with Sarah when my husband and I first met. Sarah was our flower girl when we got married. She was the closest to a daughter that we could have had, until we had a daughter of our own. She’s always been an intimate part of our lives. When you hear the word ‘cancer,’ it’s like someone reaches into your chest and pulls something out,” Kester said.
She was still in nursing school when Sarah was diagnosed. But she put her own life on the back burner, making sure she was on call so that whenever her sister needed someone to lean on, she 
was there.
“Elizabeth was my rock,” said Heath, who said it was Kester who updated the Internet-based CarePages that let everyone know Sarah’s progress during treatment at Children’s Hospital in Boston.
“I was overwhelmed with everything that was going on with Sarah, and so Elizabeth took care of a lot of the day-today stuff. And she was in her last year of nursing school at the time, something I can really appreciate now,” said Heath, who since then, gave up her day job for nursing school, following in her sister’s footsteps. “Cancer changes your perspective on what’s important. Honestly, some kids we met through Sarah’s journey, unfortunately, their outcome wasn’t as good. You learn that for some, the only enjoyment they get to have while they’re struggling through cancer treatment is the chance to go to camp, or Make-A-Wish, before they are gone — all things that are made possible through fundraisers, like the Pan-Mass,” Heath said. “I vowed that if I could be there to help another parent through the difficult times, I would — and
 that’s something I hope I can do, as a nurse.”
Heath said many family members of cancer survivors not only want to participate in fundraisers but almost feel they have to, as a way of working through the stress and turmoil wrought by the disease.
“What my sister is doing — what we’re all doing — is part of the healing process. By learning how to give back, you learn how to pay it forward,” Heath said.
Kester and her husband, Eric, are hosting a fundraising Retro Rock the ‘80s Party June 3 at 7 p.m. at Jillian’s in Manchester to help reach the $3,000 fundraising goal.
“The one thing I really feel good about is that 100 percent of the money raised for the Pan-Mass Challenge goes to the Jimmy Fund, not administrative costs or race jerseys. I like being able to tell people that, and I think it’s part of why it’s so successful,” Kester said. “Their goal this year is to raise $34 million, and I’m just really happy to be part of it.”
For those not quite ready to publicly revisit the 1980s, donations to sponsor Kester can also be made online at www.pmc.org/egifts/EK0062.

History is everywhere -- you just have to look

North School fourth graders Jordan Bergeron, left, and Nathan Cripe, look for history scavenger hunt answers on the New Castle Bunker Hill Revolutionary War monument at the town common.

 By CAROL ROBIDOUX                                                                                                               
Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY --  A pack of kids swarmed the town common Wednesday like a mob of fourth-grade scavengers on the hunt for history. 
North School students search the artillery for a clue
about when it was made.
Mostly because they were a mob of fourth graders, from North School, wrapping up day one of their school-sanctioned historical scavenger hunt.
“Look, look — there! It’s a ‘V.’ That must stand for Vietnam,” said one of the students, rubbing her index finger over the worn gun metal gray paint of a bygone relic.
“Wait. No, wait! It says 1907. Was that Vietnam?” asked a classmate, standing 

nearby. The group of about eight students, all holding clipboards and pencils, huddled closer to the faded inscription on the heavy metal artillery parked in the center of town.
North School teacher Regan Deignan, second from right
helps her students unravel their town history.
Fourth-grade teacher Liz Anderson to the rescue.
“Actually, if you think about that date — 1907 — what would that tell you?” Anderson said, in that leading teachery-type voice that tells you the answer is just within reach, if you just think a little harder.
“If that gun was made in 1907, which war do you think it might have been used in?” Anderson asked the group.
“World War One?” came a quizzical voice from the crowd, and with that, a series of invisible light bulbs clicked on over top eight
 heads. They all began writing simultaneously on clipboards before dashing off toward the next historical monument.
There really is no better way to engage students in their communities than to introduce them to the pieces of history scattered, like unmarked treasure for all to see, in plain view, said teacher Regan Deignan, who joined Anderson for the team-teacher take on history.
Of course, what fourth-grade field trip would be complete without a stop at the old town tavern — White’s Tavern, that is, famous for its Presidential pedigree, including stopovers by Presidents Andrew Jackson, Franklin Pierce, James Polk and storied statesman Daniel Webster, among others.
“White’s Tavern was a popular pit stop for travelers between Concord and Boston. They’d change out their horses there,” said Deignan. “It’s really hard for the kids to picture how things used to be. These kinds of trips, where we can tell stories and bring history to life for them, really help.”
Next week the students will head to Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth for a glimpse into Colonial life, said Deignan.
“Today we also drove by Frost Farm, and we visited the Morrison House,” Deignan said, of the pre-revolutionary home-turned-museum on Pillsbury Road. “We have had a great trip so far. Even the bus driver learned something today.”
From behind the wheel of the idling school bus Sherrie Bolding, of New Boston, nodded
 in the affirmative. “Really a fun trip. There are a lot of things I didn’t know about Derry and Londonderry,” she said.
She wasn’t the only one who scored big on the scavenger
 “I learned there are a lot of people in Londonderry who are famous but don’t get spoken about,” said Sarah Duarte.
“And a lot of places in Londonderry that a lot of people don’t get to see,” added Jenna Sullivan.

Endangered Leaders

Pinkerton Academy seniors Hayden Hicks, left, and Matt Shumway collaborated on creating CrutchEZ, an easily adjustable crutch mechanism for people who otherwise struggle going up and down stairs. The assignment was part of their Project Lead the Way curriculum, designed to make math and science learning relevant in students' lives.
Union Leader Correspondent
A bicycle hand brake is the key to
the CrutchEZ design.
DERRY -- It’s a quiet afternoon in Mr. Cunningham’s Engineering Design and Development class. That means students Hayden Hicks and Matt Shumway can take some time out from thinking about how to make stuff happen to show off how they have actually made stuff happen.
Theirs is a thought-provoked project that has been a school year in the making.

“They’re designed to go up stairs,” said Shumway, pointing the end of an aluminum crutch into the air. “We call them Crutch-EZ.

You can say it ‘Crutch E-Z,’ or just ‘crutches.’ It works either way.”
 Hicks, a home-schooled student who attends Pinkerton solely for the hands-on engineering program, borrowed a hand-brake from his little sister’s bicycle to create a convenient grasp handle inside the crutch. When squeezed, the bike cable that is threaded through the hollow leg of the crutch engages the pin locking device, allowing the user to easily adjust the length of the crutches.

In researching a problem to solve by way of invention, Hicks and Shumway came across a study about mobility problems among children and adolescents who use crutches for leg injuries.
“We learned that every year there are several thousand injuries in kids who use crutches, and one of the problem areas was injuries in trying to go up and down stairs with crutches,” Hayden said.
The two senior students have spent the year working out the bugs of their invention, a successful project which is the capstone of Pinkerton Academy’s Project Lead the Way curriculum, part of the school’s Center for Career and Technical Education, or CTE, program.
Project Lead the Way, a national
 incentive program, aims to make math and science more relevant for students, regardless of their ability level. It is centered around projectbased learning. At Pinketon, students can begin freshman year and build, course by course, until they end up in Cunningham’s engineering/ design class.
Pinkerton Academy is one
 of 3,000 high schools nationally that offer a Project Lead the Way. Hicks and Shumway have each earned nine college credits through the program, which gives them a good jump on their chosen college majors.
For Hicks, that means going on to the University of New Hampshire for mechanical engineering. Shumway will attend Boston University for computer science.
“I was really impressed with the projects that came out of the class this year,” said Joe Cunningham, who is a master teacher for Project Lead the Way, which means he invests some of his summer in training other teachers to teach the rigorous courses.
Shumway, who got his start building with LEGOs as a kid, said it was important to be able to focus on a project like this during school hours.
“I probably wouldn’t like school as much without CTE.
I really like the hands-on learning,” Shumway said.
For Hayden, more of a K’NEX kid, leaving the home school environment to collaborate with other students, under the influence of a teacher of Cunningham’s caliber, is inspiring.
“I don’t know where I’ll be in 15 years, but I’m better off for having had this course,” Hayden said.
Despite the obvious advantages of having such programs in place, said Jack Grube, director of Pinkerton’s CTE program, right now the future of CTE education here — and across the country — is threatened by local and
 federal education cuts.
Grube explained that when New Hampshire lawmakers voted to cut $1.5 million in CTE funding, known as Perkins Act funding, they also put $7 million in federal allocations tied to that $1.5 million on the chopping block.
A requirement of the Perkins Act, which underwrites vocational education, says that if states pull back on their percentage of administrative funding, it disqualifies them from the rest of the federal dollars that follow, Grube said.
There is even more at stake than the money, said Lisa Danley, director of Career and Technical Education for the state Department of Education.
The Carl B. Perkins Act of 2006, which goes to every state, was designed to improve the caliber of vocational training, thus boosting the economy by making sure training courses were up to industry standards and graduates
 left voc-ed programs job ready, Danley said.
Without funding, many vocational training centers around the country will be devastated, said Grube. Here in New Hampshire, schools that serve as magnets for students from surrounding towns, like Manchester School of Technology and Concord High School, will be hardest hit.
“Manchester School of Technology and Concord High School rely heavily on out-of-district students, and they will be most impacted by these cuts. But every CTE center in the U.S. will be affected, even Pinkerton,” said Grube.
Part of the federal funding model provides for biennial renovation of two state-certified CTE centers. Pinkerton and the Huot Technical Center in Laconia were due to receive renovations and upgrades this year, Grube said.
“At this point, we’ll have to wait and see. Everything hangs in the balance,” Grube