News & Notes 22/01/06

Covid-19 update As of Dec 27 As of Jan 3
Total cases statewide 194,470 203,749
Total current infections statewide 8,026 8,785
Total deaths statewide 1,907 1,973
New cases 7,792 (Dec. 21 to Dec. 27) 9,279 (Dec. 28 to Jan. 3)
Current infections: Hillsborough County 2,408 2,953
Current infections: Merrimack County 790 863
Current infections: Rockingham County 1,728 1,863
Information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

Covid-19 news

On Dec. 27, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention issued a statement updating its recommended isolation period for certain populations that have been infected with or exposed to Covid-19. According to the statement, the recommended time has been cut from 10 days to five days, a change the CDC says was “motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of … transmission occurs early in the course of illness.” Additionally, the CDC is now recommending those who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second vaccine dose and not yet boosted to quarantine for five days, followed by strict mask use for another five days.

The New Hampshire Hospital Association is now issuing its own daily Covid-19 update, according to a Dec. 28 report from WMUR. The data shows that about two-thirds of all Covid-related hospitalizations in the state are in unvaccinated patients, but the Association notes that the actual proportion could be higher. According to the report, booster doses are not taken into account, so it is unknown how many patients may have received that extra shot.

A total of 658 licenses were issued to nurses in New Hampshire between Dec. 1 and Dec. 20, according to a Dec. 29 press release from Gov. Chris Sununu’s office, following an executive order that was issued a month before to address surging Covid hospitalizations. “We are breaking down barriers to ensure our health care system has the staffing needed to respond to this winter surge,” Sununu said in a statement announcing the new licensees.

Also on Dec. 29, Sununu and Department of Health & Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette announced that the state has received confirmation from FEMA to receive three teams dedicated to administering monoclonal antibodies. The teams were scheduled to be deployed on Jan. 3 to Concord Hospital, Elliot Hospital in Manchester and Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital in Lebanon. But due to an overwhelming demand across the country, Sununu announced in another statement that day that their arrival has been delayed until next week.

On Dec. 30, Sununu announced that New Hampshire would be receiving a 17-person team of active-duty service members from the federal Department of Defense. On Jan. 3, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration authorized booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, according to a press release. Additionally, the recommended time between the completion of the primary vaccination series and the administration of the booster dose has been shortened to five months for the Pfizer vaccine. In New Hampshire, signups are now available for the state’s second “booster blitz” event on Jan. 8. Go to to make an appointment at a fixed vaccination site.

SOS retires

On Jan. 3, longtime Secretary of State William Gardner announced that he will be retiring in the coming days, after arrangements are made for Deputy David Scanlan to assume the office. In his announcement, Gardner wrote that he took his first oath as a New Hampshire Constitutional officer as a state representative on the same day in 1973 at age 24. “I have worked inside this Statehouse building during each of the past 50 years … [and] have served with 11 governors, 17 Senate presidents, 13 speakers, 14 attorney generals [and] 7 treasurers,” Gardner wrote. He said he is stepping down at a time that allows for the smoothest transition for the office.

Laurie List

A list of the names of police officers throughout the state who have possible credibility issues was released by the attorney general’s office last week. According to a report from WMUR, the “Laurie List” tracks current and former police officers whose credibility might be questioned during trial because of previous conduct, and it was made public because of a new state law that was put in effect after media outlets and the ACLU sued to get access to the list in 2018. “This legislation was a result of a 2020 Supreme Court decision ruling that the Exculpatory Evidence Schedule was not categorically exempt from disclosure under the State’s transparency laws,” the New Hampshire Association of Police Chiefs wrote in a press release. The list released last week includes 80 names, the officers’ departments and the reason for the credibility issues, which include truthfulness, criminal conduct and falsifying records. There are more than 20 people not on the list who are contesting the release of their names, and another group of names is expected to be released in the coming months, according to WMUR. “The members of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police will continue to support the highest levels of transparency and accountability for the policing profession,” the association wrote in its press release.

Mental health help

The state’s new Rapid Response Access Point is now operational. As of Jan. 1, anyone having a mental health or substance abuse crisis can call or text 833-710-6477 to access immediate help and will be connected to local mental health crisis teams. According to a report from NHPR, the access point is an effort to reduce the number of people who go to emergency rooms for mental health crises. As of Dec. 30, two children and 23 adults were waiting for emergency room beds for psychiatric treatment, the report said. The unit teams are still looking for more staff, and Jay Couture, president and CEO of Seacoast Mental Health Center, told NHPR that because these mental health centers are launching crisis response units at the same time, they’re often competing for staff. “[I’m] a little daunted about the reality of trying to fill these spots and wanting to make sure that we continue to have the best services possible so that nobody falls through the cracks,” she told NHPR. More information and resources are available at

Abortion law

A provision prohibiting abortion after 24 weeks of gestation, with exceptions for the mother’s life or physical health, that was part of the budget passed in June by Gov. Chris Sununu took effect Jan. 1, and, according to a report from WMUR, Democrats have already drafted legislation that would repeal the new restrictions and establish state-level protection for abortion access. “Effective Jan. 1, the State of New Hampshire will be denying a woman the dignity to make personal, private decisions and instead inserting government into medical choices,” Rep. Marjorie Smith, D-Durham, said at a December news conference, according to WMUR.

Tyler Shaw’s Law

Also going into effect Jan. 1 was Tyler Shaw’s Law, which will allow judges to hand down longer prison sentences to repeat drunken drivers who kill or cause harm to others. The law was named for a 20-year-old Concord man who died in 2018 after a repeat drunken driver sped off Exit 1 on Interstate 89 South, went through a stop sign and hit Shaw’s truck, according to a report from WMUR. Now someone with one previous drunken driving conviction who kills or seriously injures another person in a car crash can be sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison, and those with two or more previous convictions can be sentenced to 15 to 30 years, the report said.

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig was scheduled to take her third oath of office at The Palace Theatre on Jan. 4. According to a press release, the ceremony also included the swearing-in of aldermen and members of the Board of School Committee, and following the ceremony Craig was scheduled to preside over meetings of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Board of School Committee.

Toll collection at the Exit 10 northbound and southbound ramp of the Everett Turnpike in Merrimack officially ended at 9 p.m. on Dec. 31. According to a press release, the toll elimination is part of the 2021 budget, and the plazas will be removed at a later date this year. Motorists are being guided to the far right lane and are advised to proceed slowly through the toll plaza area.

Though its fundraising events were canceled this year, the Nashua Garden Club was still able to donate to several local charities during the holiday season. According to a press release, the Humane Society of Greater Nashua, 68 Hours of Hunger, the PLUS Company and the educational association Regenerative Roots each received $125.

This Week 21/12/30

Big Events December 30, 2021 and beyond

Thursday, Dec. 30

Looking to get outside? Check out the Educational Farm at Joppa Hill (174 Joppa Hill Road in Bedford;, 472-4724), which is open daily from dawn to dusk. Find trail information online. When the weather is cold enough, the farm’s rink will be open for ice skating. The cost is $5.

Or head to one of New Hampshire Audubon’s 39 sanctuaries for hiking (or snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, weather permitting). Find trails for the sanctuaries, which are open from dawn to dusk and located throughout the state, at

Thursday, Dec. 30

The light shows continue through this weekend: The Gift of Lights at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (1122 Route 106 North, Loudon), runs daily through Sunday, Jan. 2. The 2½-mile drive-thru light show features a variety of scenes making up more than 500 different light displays along the track. It’s open from 4:30 to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 4:30 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, depending on weather conditions. The cost ranges from $30 to $35 per carload, and is $60 per limo or bus. See

LaBelle Lights also continues at LaBelle Winery’s Derry location (14 Route 111) now through Feb. 26. See page 26 for details.

Friday, Dec. 31

Rock in the new year with The Apathetics (playing the Boston Billiard Club in Nashua) or get in a last laugh at 2021 with Bob Marley (who has three shows tonight at the Flying Monkey in Plymouth) or head to the Derryfield in Manchester for the music of Chad LaMarsh and a Champagne toast at midnight. Find a rundown of the live music slated at area restaurants in this week’s Music This Week listing, which starts on page 60; find comedians in the Comedy This Week listing on page 58. For a more detailed rundown of New Year’s Eve events, look for Michael Witthaus’ stories in the Dec. 23 issue about comedy (page 36) and music (page 38). You can find the e-edition of the issue at

Saturday, Jan. 1

Start 2022 off with some opera. The Metropolitan Opera’s live broadcast of Cinderella will screen at Bank of NH Stage (16 S. Main St., Concord; today at 12:55 p.m. Tickets cost $26 for adults, $22 for seniors and $15 for students (plus fees).

Sunday, Jan. 2

Keep the New Year’s celebration going with Hogmanay, an event by NHSCOT (presenters of New Hampshire’s annual Highland Games), today from 3 to 7 p.m. at Derryfield Country Club in Manchester. The evening features indoor and outdoor events; tickets are $42 for adults (buffet-style meal included) and $20 for kids (includes chicken and french fries). See and check out Meghan Siegler’s story about the plans, including Scottish country dancing and music by The Rebel Collective on page 10 of the Dec. 23 issue of the Hippo.

Save the date! Jan. 28, 2022

The end of January heats up at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St. in Manchester; 668-5588, with the presentation of The Full Monty, the Broadway musical based on the 1997 film of the same name. The show’s opening night is Jan. 28 and it runs through Sunday, Feb. 20, with shows Fridays through Sundays (as well as on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 7:30 p.m.) Tickets cost $46 for adults.

Featured photo: The Full Monty. Courtesy photo.

Quality of Life 21/12/30

Messy roads for Christmas

Hundreds of crashes and several major road closures on Christmas morning put a damper on some people’s holiday plans. According to a report from WMUR, portions of Interstates 93 and 89 were closed, and there was a 15-car crash on the Everett Turnpike. Plow crews worked around the clock, mainly salting and sanding, but the air temperature, the road temperatures and the rain that was freezing on contact made it difficult to keep the roads clear until temperatures warmed up somewhat mid-day, according to the report.

Score: -1

Comment: Being involved in a car crash on Christmas Day is a bummer, but at least no major injuries were reported. Here’s hoping for safer travels on New Year’s Eve!

Money for mental health and more

The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, which was Millennium Running’s “Official Charity of 2021,” will receive $16,943 from the $126,760 in proceeds and fundraising that Millennium’s events raised this year, while the remaining funds will go to more than 50 other organizations, according to a press release. “Mental health has never been more important than over the past year and a half,” Millennium Running owner and founder John Mortimer said in the release. “We are so happy that our running community was able to support the mission of The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester.” Millennium raised more money for local charities this year than ever before.

Score: +1

Comment: Some of Millennium Running’s signature events had specific charitable partners; the CMC Manchester City Marathon, for example, raised $11,446 for Veterans Count while the BASC Santa Claus Shuffle raised $6,199 for the Safe Sports Network.

Local art students represent

Students from the National Junior Art Honor Society at Rundlett Middle School in Concord were chosen to create ornaments for New Hampshire’s Christmas tree at the Presidents’ Park in Washington, D.C. According to a report from NHPR, it’s an annual tradition for decorated trees representing all U.S. states and territories to be placed in the space in front of the White House, and Rundlett’s students drew ornament-sized illustrations that answered the question “What makes your state beautiful?”

Score: +1

Comment: Some of the illustrations included a covered bridge with mountains in the background and a fall tree with colorful leaves, the report said. Way to represent New Hampshire!

Thousands of toys

The Front Door Agency’s annual Holiday Program provided toys, warm clothing and groceries for nearly 500 children in need, thanks to the support of hundreds of individuals and local businesses and organizations. According to a press release, thousands of gifts filled the ballroom of the Courtyard by Marriott in Nashua.

Score: +1

Comment: “It’s sad that so many kids need help this year, but I’m happy I can help even in a small way,” 12-year-old Jack Murphy, who volunteered to move donated gifts into the ballroom so they could be organized by family, said in the release.

QOL score at the end of 2020: 76

QOL score at the end of 2021: 88

Net change: +12

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire? Let us know at

Biggest stories of 2021

In a year of weird and wild sports stories here are the top ones as I see it.

Covid-19: It’s still here nearly two years after the then-president said, “it’ll just go away,” and now thanks to the omicron variant it’s surging to cause havoc for teams and games in all sports. As cases ebbed after vaccinations started, fans came back to capacity as if they were saying enough is enough, I want my life back!

Tiger Woods car accident: The “great” part of Tiger’s scary accident is it didn’t end the life of an athlete it seemed we knew, like Kobe Bryant, his daughter and the others in the helicopter. But this still shook up the golf world, even though it’s not the first time Tiger has made headlines behind the wheel. But, while the injuries were catastrophic, there he was on the course with son Charlie playing last week at the PNC Championship. While his time at the top has mostly been over since the first time he was knocked unconscious behind the wheel, it was a nice sight to see that he and his family will have more of these moments.
Tom Brady wins after leaving New England: Tom Brady winning another Super Bowl isn’t the biggest part of the story. It’s the way he’s pushing back at Father Time to play at 44. I knew he could still win in the right situation (which New England wasn’t in 2020) because of his giant brain. But I didn’t see a second best in his career 40 TD passes coming, which he’ll likely repeat this year. And when you compare it to how TB’s great rival Peyton Manning was in his final year it seems even more remarkable.

Phil Mickelson oldest to win a major: This story overlaps with the last two as it offers a debate over which is the greater old geezer achievement, along with the irony of Phil hitting an all-time career height in the same year his rival saw his chances for a career revival ended. Not sure if winning the PGA at 50 years, 11 months and three days was the most satisfying of his six majors, but it did take him past 48-years-old-but-looked-68 Julius Boros for the record. A final reminder of how great a career PM has had.
Money lust in college football: The players are better and games still exciting. But the lust for money is bigger than ever. Texas and Oklahoma are hardly the first schools to do it, but they screwed their Big 12 partners by announcing they’ll soon join the geographically incorrect South-EAST Conference. All of which requires much more time away from class for their, ah, student-athletes. They’ll do it for the lucrative benefits of course, as college football careens toward being just one big football conference. It ended with slimy ex-Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly walking out on a team and his players for a second time before a season-ending bowl game to get a jump on recruiting at LSU. Of course, be careful what you wish for, as he replaces Ed Orgeron less than two years after he won a national title for the Tigers. Ditto for Les Miles before him.

Summer Olympics: I generally have little interest in the “hey, look at me” marketing fest now known as the Olympics. Though I’m in the minority. But with Covid infections rising in Japan as the games approached it seemed more irrelevant than usual. Especially when the biggest newsmaker was gymnast Simone Biles pulling out to deal with mental health issues. Which of course ignited a massive social media commentary in support and from the “are you kidding me” crowd.

Jon Gruden email scandal: You know it’s bad when you get fired because of an investigation you had nothing to do with. That was Jon Gruden’s world when his emails turned up in the investigation of the WFT. You could hear Arnold saying “hasta la vista, baby” to the career and last six years on his 10-year $100 million contract.

Urban warfare: To (somehow) outpace Gruden as our first winner of the Bobby Petrino Bonehead Coach of the Year award you’d have to do every on- and off-field stupid thing a coach could do, and amazingly Urban Meyer did it, all during a disastrous 13-game stint in Jacksonville. 

Tampa Bay sports capital: Brady led the usually moribund Bucs to win a SB title, and the Lightning are two-time Stanley Cups champs. So if the D-Rays stat geeks hadn’t yanked unhittable Blake Snell with a 1-hit, 12-K shutout in progress in Game 6 of the 2020 World Series vs. L.A. because the analytics said to, TB would have had reigning champs in three sports all year.

Shohei Ohtani takes on The Babe: He was the first full-time pitcher and hitter since the Babe in 1919. The big difference was Shohei pitched and DH’d, while Babe had to throw from the outfield. But the numbers were eerily similar. Ohtani had more homers (46-29) and was 9-2 to Babe’s 9-5. Babe had more RBI (113-100), outhit him .322 to .257 and took the ERA battle 2.93 to 3.13. It made Ohtani Player of the Year.

Giannis Antetokounmpo game for the ages: I drooled over this enough when it happened. So I’ll just add that seeing the Big Fella go for 51 points and 17 rebounds while battling a significant knee injury was the best “climb on my back and I’ll take you home” effort of the year. That their final was against the Suns, who also entered the NBA in 1968, and it was the Bucks’ first title in 52 years made it cooler.

Life on the lam

Manchester author chronicles his years as fugitive

Jorge William Nayor of Manchester discusses his memoir, Dinosaur in the Park: Adventure Behind the Walls and Inside the Criminal Mind.

What is Dinosaur in the Park about?

It’s about my life growing up and the things I went through, good times and bad times, good places and bad places. It covers my time in the military, the times when I used to build race cars, my problems with drug possession and drug dealing and my time spent behind bars. Then, it’s about how, later on in life, I came out to New England, where I [lived as] a fugitive for 20 years. … I turned my life around and got on the straight and narrow. … I turned myself in and served out the rest of my term … [which was] one year … then came back to New Hampshire and went into video production and had my own remote television production company.

What were the circumstances that led to you being a fugitive?

I was in prison for a parole violation, so when my time [served] for that was up, they were ready to release me, but they didn’t know that there was actually another warrant out for me. They let me out by mistake. … I was in California at that time. I contacted some people I knew who knew a lady in New England … I could stay with … so I took off to New England.

Why did you turn yourself in?

When my mother was dying, it was her dying wish that I turn myself in, so I did, gladly, for her. … Nobody was looking for me, and there was no active warrant out for me in New Hampshire, but it was the right thing to do. … I only had one year left on my sentence, so I was hoping the judge would just say, ‘Time served,’ especially because for the 20 years that I was gone, I didn’t get in any kind of trouble, not even a traffic ticket. However, the judge had other ideas, and I had to go back for a year.

Why did you return to New Hampshire after your release?

The woman I stayed with when I moved here … didn’t know about my shady past [at first]. We eventually became boyfriend and girlfriend. … When I had to go back [to prison], she stuck with me the whole time. She stayed in contact with me every day. After I was released legitimately, I came back to New Hampshire for her, and we got married. … She was an English teacher, so she helped me a lot with my writing. She passed away in June of 2020, and I’m still grieving over that.

Why did you decide to write a memoir?

There are a lot of books and movies about life behind bars that are all about violence and gangs and stabbings and prison breaks. My story is unique, because it wasn’t like that for me. … I feel that I’m a good person on the inside, and a lot of people get the idea that people who are in prison are not [good people], so I wanted to show people that the atmosphere in prison isn’t always violent. … I didn’t have to keep one eye open and be looking over my shoulder all the time. The people [in prison] like me — the older people and people who are [incarcerated] for nonviolent crimes — were just regular guys.

What is the meaning behind the book’s title?

I called it Dinosaur in the Park because I’m an old dinosaur — it’s my birthday today — I’m 74. … I would often ride my bicycle over to Livingston Park [in Manchester] and do some of my writing there, so Dinosaur in the Park just clicked.

What are you up to these days?

I’m starting to write a second book that will take off from the middle of [Dinosaur in the Park]. It’s fiction … and shows an alternate path — what would happen if the main character, me, hadn’t come to New Hampshire, hadn’t gotten on the right foot, and had kept on his trail of criminal activity?

Featured photo: Jorge William Nayor. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 21/12/30

Covid-19 update As of Dec 20 As of Dec 27
Total cases statewide 186,678 194,470
Total current infections statewide 8,504 8,026
Total deaths statewide 1,843 1,907
New cases 8,579 (Dec. 14 to Dec. 20) 7,792 (Dec. 21 to Dec. 27)
Current infections: Hillsborough County 2,492 2,408
Current infections: Merrimack County 1,032 790
Current infections: Rockingham County 1,756 1,728
Information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

Covid-19 news

During the state’s weekly public health update on Dec. 22, state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan reported that, while hospitalization rates due to Covid-19 have declined slightly in recent weeks, New Hampshire is still seeing just over 1,000 new infections per day on average. “We are watching very closely what’s happening with the omicron variant … but the vast majority of infections that we are seeing through New Hampshire continue to be with the delta variant,” Chan said. The following day, Dec. 23, the number of hospitalizations dipped below 400 for the first time in more than three weeks. As of Dec. 27 there were 8,026 active infections. Gov. Chris Sununu also announced during the Dec. 22 press conference the state Executive Council’s vote earlier that day to approve six additional fixed vaccination sites, in Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Keene, Salem and Exeter. Each site will administer booster doses on a walk-in basis, but if you prefer to make an appointment, you can sign up for the state’s second “booster blitz” event on Jan. 8. Registrations will open online on Jan. 3 at Find fixed vaccination sites as well as the location of the state’s mobile vaccination van (which has stops scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 30) at

Rooms and meals tax

The recently enacted state budget means New Hampshire municipalities are receiving a 45-percent increase in revenue from the Meals and Rentals Tax, according to a press release. In the new budget, the local share of revenues from the state’s tax on restaurants, hotels and car rentals increased to 30 percent, compared to 22 percent in the last budget. “Together with strong growth in New Hampshire’s hospitality industry, this results in more than $100 million going directly to local coffers to help keep local property tax rates down,” the release said. The state Treasury was set to transfer $100,143,752 to cities and towns by the end of the day Dec. 27; that’s an increase of about $32 million from Fiscal Year 2021. “We cut the rooms and meals tax to its lowest level in over a decade and yet we still sent even more money back to cities and towns,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement. “Instead of downshifting costs, we downshifted cash, giving cities and towns extra flexibility — a win for our citizens.” Sen. Denise Ricciardi (Bedford) spearheaded the legislation, which was incorporated into the state budget package in June. “I made it my goal this past session to protect local property taxpayers by making certain the state kept its promise to share more of the revenues that our M&R tax generates. … Today, our cities and towns will finally receive the amount they’ve been promised for so long,” Ricciardi said in the release. The budget also lowered businesses’ taxes and cut $100 million from the Statewide Property Tax, according to the release.

Jury trials on hold

All jury trials in the New Hampshire Superior Court system are on hold through the end of January. According to a report from WMUR, Chief Justice Tina L. Nadeau said the increasing number of Covid cases prompted the decision. “[Jurors are] all very good at following protocols, but we are noticing that some are becoming a little bit more nervous about serving,” Nadeau told WMUR. “We’ve had a couple of cases where a juror has had close contact with someone who tested positive so they need to stay home.” She said there is concern that might lead to mistrials. Grand juries and 40 to 50 jury trials across the state planned for January are now on hold, though courts will stay open for other services, according to the report.

Health service concerns

A one-day survey of a sample of hospitals, home care agencies and nursing homes conducted in the Granite State on Nov. 4 found at least 200 individuals were unable to access the right level of care. According to a press release, the survey was conducted by the New Hampshire Hospital Association, Home Care, Hospice & Palliative Care Alliance of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Health Care Association to figure out what is preventing patients from getting appropriate care in a timely manner, and it found that many factors impact their transition to other health care settings. Most of these patients had been medically cleared to leave the hospital but couldn’t because they were waiting for placement in a nursing home; on the day of the survey the 102 patients in 15 hospitals who were waiting to leave had been in a hospital bed anywhere from one to 276 days after being medically cleared. Barriers include lack of available nursing homes beds or home caregivers, patients waiting for Medicaid eligibility to be finalized and behavioral issues, the release said. More than 200 nursing home and home care agency referrals from hospitals were made that day, and most could not be accommodated due to lack of staff, with shortages of Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Nurse Assistants. The state has implemented several short-term initiatives, like expediting licensing and guaranteeing Medicaid payments to open more nursing home beds, according to the release, and several of the report’s recommendations seek the adoption of these short-term measures into long-term change, along with additional investments in health care staffing and Medicaid coverage.

Kathryn Routhier of Somersworth, a senior at the University of New Hampshire, received a $2,500 check to help with college expenses from the Orphans of Veterans. According to a press release from the New Hampshire Department of Education, Routhier’s mother served in the Army during the war on terrorism and died from a service-related illness in 2018. Routhier is majoring in justice studies with a minor in forensic science.

For the second week in a row, the state Division of Historical Resources has installed a new Historical Highway Marker, this one in Newfields. According to a press release, this marker commemorates members of the Hilton family who first lived in Newfields nearly 400 years ago after establishing a fishing settlement in what is now Dover Point.

The Nashua Public Library is challenging kids, teens and adults to work together to read for 550,000 minutes in eight weeks during Mayor Jim Donchess’s Winter Reading Challenge. According to a press release, all ages can read anything of their choosing — with challenges to read books of different genres — from Jan. 3 through Feb. 28 and keep track of the time they spend reading to help Nashua reach its goal. Sign up at

This Week 21/12/23

Big Events December 23, 2021 and beyond

Thursday, Dec. 23

Need to do a little last-minute shopping? Two Villages Art Society’s (46 Main St. in Contoocook, Holiday Art Show and Sale,featuring handmade gifts by more than 30 local artists, including paintings, pottery, mixed media, photography, fabric art and more, is open today from noon to 4 p.m. The Craftworkers’ Guild’s Holiday Fair 3A Meetinghouse Road, behind the library, in Bedford;, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through today. The Artisan’s Market at the Cider Mill Gallery (24 Francestown Road, Route 136, in New Boston, 487-5522) is open Friday, Dec. 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 24

Looking for some holiday eats? While deadlines for special orders have probably passed, a pie or cookie plate may be available for last-minute pickup and there are restaurants with special meals or limited hours for today and tomorrow. Check out Matt Ingersoll’s listing of food-related gifts, holiday eats to bring home and places to dine out in the Dec. 9 issue of the Hippo at, where you can find the e-edition. The stories start on page 22.

Sunday, Dec. 26

Get in one last dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy when the New Hampshire School of Ballet presents The Nutcracker Suite at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St. in Manchester,, 668-5588) today at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $22.

Monday, Dec. 27

New England’s own Recycled Percussion kicks off a string of more than a dozen shows at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St. in Manchester, 668-5588, today with a show at 7:30 p.m. Future dates include Tuesday, Dec. 28, through Saturday, Jan. 1, at 4 and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 2, at 4 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 8, at 4 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $35 through $45.

Tuesday, Dec. 28

See Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney (aunt of George) in White Christmas (1954) at the Rex Theatre (23 Amherst St. in Manchester, 668-5588, today at 10 a.m., part of the Senior Movie Mornings Series. Tickets cost $10.

Wednesday, Dec. 29

Looking for something interesting to pour at your New Year’s Eve gathering? WineNot Boutique (25 Main St. in Nashua;, 204-5569) has some opportunities for trying new beverages this week. Today it’s a sake tasting, starting at 5 p.m. Tomorrow, Dec. 30, it’s a tasting of exotic sparkling wines. Both events are free but online pre-registration for a specific time slot is required.

Save the date: Thursday, Jan. 27

Tickets are on sale now for the 18th annual Winter Wine Spectacular to benefit Easterseals, scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 27, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Manchester. Tickets cost $65 for the grand tasting (the room featuring wine and restaurant vendors serving hundreds of different bottles for tasting) and $145 for “full access,” which includes access to the Bellman’s Cellar Select Room (which opens at 5:30 p.m. and features a selection of $200 high-end wines). See

Featured photo: Recycled Percussion. Courtesy photo.

Quality of Life 21/12/23

Preserving New Hampshire

The Land and Community Heritage Investment Program has awarded more than $4.7 million in matching grants for 40 projects throughout New Hampshire that support historic preservation and land conservation. According to a press release, these grants will bolster outdoor recreation, food-producing farmland and working forests and will help preserve old buildings. For example, several old towns halls have received grants: Salem’s, built in 1738, and Wilmot’s, built in 1906, are the oldest and newest buildings to get grants, while the Mont Vernon Town Hall has received a $25,000 grant to support the restoration of its windows and sashes. Other building projects are at historic churches, like the First Church of Nashua, which got a $60,000 grant to support the restoration of its bell tower, the release said.

Score: +1

Comment: Grant recipients have to raise a minimum of $1 for each dollar provided by LCHIP, the release said, and this year’s awards will be matched by $19 million that the projects’ sponsors will raise on their own.

Winter optimism

More than 3 million visitors are expected to travel to New Hampshire and spend about $1.2 billion this winter season, the state Division of Travel and Tourism Development announced last week. According to a press release, the department will launch its winter ad campaign in January, including in Quebec and Ontario, now that the Canadian border is open to non-essential travel again. The campaign will mainly promote winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing, plus some non-outdoor activities like shopping and dining.

Score: +1

Comment: “We know the outdoor recreation assets in New Hampshire like our ski resorts and winter trail networks are among the largest drivers of our state’s economy,” Taylor Caswell, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs, said in the release. “They bring tourists to spend a weekend but also increasingly more new residents seeking to restore their work/life balance.”

Make the most of matching donations

For every dollar raised by the New Hampshire Food Bank by the end of the year, an anonymous private foundation will match the donation, up to $100,000, potentially providing a total of $200,000 in funding. That would equate to about 400,000 meals, according to a press release. This is the seventh year in a row that this foundation has provided matching donations, which, in conjunction with public support, has resulted in more than $4 million raised and 80 million meals given to those in need.

Score: +1

Comment:The pandemic has increased the need for food assistance throughout the country, and in New Hampshire one in nine people face food insecurity, the release said. Donations can be made at

Unlikely elves

New Hampshire State Prison residents created more than 400 hand-drawn cards and more than 200 hand-drawn coloring books for kids at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth this holiday season. According to a press release, Cards for Kids and Coloring Books for Kids originated through the Resident Communication Committee’s Lifer & Long-term Incarceration Subcommittee, which also made a treasure chest so CHaD staff can hand out prizes when they play games with the kids.

Score: +1

Comment: The items were recently delivered to CHaD by a state prison lieutenant.

QOL score last week: 82

Net change: +4

QOL this week: 86

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire? Let us know at

The naughty and nice

With Christmas arriving on Saturday it’s time to review who’s been naughty and nice as we hand our annual presents for folks in sports during 2021.   

Chip Kelly: A top 10 recruiting class to get him over the hump in Year 4 on the job because the big seat is going to get hotter at UCLA in the year ahead if he doesn’t.   

Tiger Woods: A return to good health after the horrific car accident to let him pursue what he wants to in golf, as it would be sad to see one of the greatest careers in golf end in such a terrible way.   

Chris Sale: Ditto for you, lefty, as it would be nice to see you regain form and pitch injury-free for the first time since spring of 2018.

Steph Curry: A little perspective. As those water works after you did it show, you and many others in basketball way, way, way over-value the three-point shot. It’s a nice career record you set and I do marvel at your incredible range and accuracy, but give me a break, buddy; in the end it’s just a long shot, not like passing Bill Russell’s record 11 NBA titles.

Ben Simmons: A lump of coal and a DVD of the game where fans in Philly booed Santa Claus on Christmas Day to show him it’s a tough place to play and he shouldn’t be such a crybaby. Of course it would help if he weren’t terrified to shoot in big moments.      

Mac Jones: A Super Bowl title in the very near future to stop the yapping of the haters out there who are doing it to fabricate a weakness of yours because starting the career in Brady-like fashion drives those who hate that Coach B pulls rabbits out of his hat more than anyone even crazier than they usually are.

Donald Parham: A swift and complete recovery for the L.A. Chargers tight end after his scary neck/head injury on Thursday Night Football last week. 

Brandon Staley: A place to hide out in L.A. after blowing that just-mentioned TNF game for first place in the AFC West, a game his Chargers should have won vs. KC, by going for TD’s over the field goal three times inside the five-yard line on fourth downs when they were stopped twice and fumbled on the other one, when one FG would have prevented it from going into OT, where KC won it. Also a copy of the soon to be best seller It’s OK To Admit You’re Wrong When You Screw Up for him saying after the game he was “comfortable” with those decisions despite the disastrous results. Talk about delusional thinking for the holidays! 

Red Sox Nation: Two quality starters, two quality relievers (at least) and a return from whatever world Matt Barnes lived in during the second half of 2021 after being lights out in the first half.

Jackie Bradley Jr: That his return home to Fenway sparks a return to his hitting form of 2018 when he was ALCS MVP and hit a huge homer in the clinching game in the World Series that followed. Why? Because we like JBJR.   

Sox owner John Henry: The perspective to know there’s a fine line between not allowing yourself to be strangled/penalized by an overindulgent payroll and rebuilding the farm system and that you are a major market team financially and shouldn’t be cheaping out to save a few bucks.  

Chaim Bloom: The good sense to know the $20 million per for just three years Kyle Schwarber is looking for is exactly the kind of short-term deal he should be looking for. It’s a bargain, buddy, so as Kramer would say, Go!

USA Men’s Soccer: A nice showing (for once) in the upcoming World Cup this summer.

Danny Ainge: A good luck wish for the new job in Utah and a ceremony to raise 44 to the rafters, as two titles as a player and one as the GM over 20 years of service to the Celtics warrants that. 

MLB and the Players Association: Not that this has a chance of happening. But to have the common sense and wisdom to know that the best deals are the ones when both sides win. 

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds: Election to the Hall of Fame. Because while using ’roids was kinda sorta illegal, with a number of highly suspected users already in it’s murky to prove. Plus with the grand enabler Bud Selig breezing in, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Ditto for Mark McGwire and Andy Pettitte.

Urban Meyer: A new job where he’ll go back to being the BMOC on a college campus because after his catastrophic 13-game reign in Jacksonville when the trouble started less than a month into his tenure he’ll never work in the NFL again. Hard to screw something up as badly and quickly as he did this one. 

The Patriots Special Teams: A refresher course from the time when the other guys made the big mistakes on special teams, because after seeing three punts blocked punts in their first 14 games, they seem like the good old days now.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: A framed print of Yogi Berra’s quote “It ain’t over till it’s over” to remind him to always play through the buzzer, as everyone in the joint thought OKC and New Orleans were headed to OT after SGA drained a 38-footer to tie it at 110 apiece with 1.8 seconds left. 

Devonte Graham: Nothing we can give the Pelican point guard could top what he got when Christmas came early last week when his desperation 70-foot heave after that dagger from Gilgeous-Alexander banked in at the buzzer to give New Orleans a stunning 113-110 win over OKC instead.  

To all of us, an end to the Covid nightmare so we can all get back to a normal life sometime in the year ahead. 

Get a lift

A look at the upcoming ski season

Alexandra Moore, marketing director at McIntyre Ski Area in Manchester, talked about what to expect during this winter’s ski season and how to stay safe and enjoy your time on the slopes.

What Covid safety measures should people be practicing at the ski area?

Right now, we’re following all of the CDC guidelines. We require people to wear masks while indoors, and all of our employees are masked while indoors. We certainly recommend that people wear masks outdoors, as well. We also just ask that everybody [practice] social distancing … and try to limit their time indoors. We have a ton of outside seating, picnic tables and these beautiful fire pits that people can sit around so that they can really enjoy the outdoors. … Consider using your car as a base lodge. … When you get on the lift chair, go with the crew that you came in with, versus catching a chair with somebody you don’t know. … The biggest thing we ask is that everybody just be aware of what’s going on, and, of course, if you’re not feeling well, stay home.

Aside from Covid protocol, what else should people know about staying safe?

Dressing properly is definitely the big one. I would recommend that people check the elements and dress for the elements; a good coat, snow pants, snow boots, a hat and gloves are really key to enjoying your time outside during winter in New England.

Are you expecting a good season, snow-wise?

Yes. We just listened to weather forecasts that said it’s going to be a good winter for skiing and riding, so we’re anticipating a wonderful year of being outside, enjoying the winter in the ways that New Englanders love the most. … Plus, it’s always a good winter for skiing or riding here, because we have the ability to make our own snow, and our snowmakers are out there diligently working every chance that they can.

Where do you get your forecast info? How accurate is it, usually?

We get it through Manchester City weather forecasting. We are usually pretty spot-on. We were hoping for 8 inches during this last storm, and we got about 4, but weather, as we all know, is unpredictable in many ways.

Do you offer any special programs or lessons?

We have a lot [of learning opportunities] for people who are out [on the slopes] for the first time or want to get into the sport [of skiing]. We offer group lessons, private lessons, and semi-private lessons here … to teach people the love of skiing and riding. We have an incredible … program for the younger [kids]. We have a lot of school programs with local schools. We have a parent-and-me class. We have a women-in-winter class.

What about special events?

Yes, the events that go on here are so cool. Santa was just at the ski area today. We have a Tuesday night race league. We have a neon race coming up [on Jan. 4], and we have the Vertical Challenge coming in February.

Why should people hit the slopes this winter?

Winter in New England is long. This is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family, and [to do so] safely, because you’re outside, in the open air. It brings generations together; we have people who are over 80 years old who are still enjoying us. It’s something I think everyone should try at least once in their lifetime. … If you don’t want to ski, we have snow tubing, with eight tubing lanes … and we have a wonderful cafe and bar area. There are really no limits; there’s something here for everybody.

Local ski areas

Crotched Mountain (615 Francestown Road, Bennington, 588-3668, Opening date TBD.
Gunstock Mountain Resort (719 Cherry Valley Road, Gilford, 293-4341, Open now for day skiing, with night skiing starting on Dec. 28.
McIntyre Ski Area (50 Chalet Ct., Manchester, 622-6159, Open Thursday, Dec. 23, from noon to 8 p.m., and Friday, Dec. 24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; day and night skiing offered daily starting on Dec. 26.
Pats Peak Ski Area (686 Flanders Road, Henniker, 428-3245, Open now for day skiing, with night skiing starting Dec. 26.

Featured photo: Alexandra Moore. Anne Skidmore Photography.

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