The week that was

The Big Story: It’s that time of year again, when the NCAA Tournament sticks its head out of the gopher hole to say spring is on the way. With brackets busted all over America it’s a very familiar sight. But with Duke, Kentucky and Kansas out already and North Carolina not even invited, it’s not your mother’s tournament.

The biggest story of course was Fairleigh Dickinson becoming the second 16-seed to knock off a 1-seed with a 62-58 upset of Purdue on Friday. But, alas, that Cinderella story (17th at Augusta) was ended on Sunday by Florida Atlantic. The fun starts again on Thursday.

Sports101: Five players have been named Most Outstanding Player multiple times at the Final Four. Name them.

Thumbs Down: To the NCAA for banning former NE-10 member Merrimack from the tournament even though they earned it because they hadn’t been in Division I long enough since moving from D-II.

Thumbs Up: To the NCAA for banning Merrimack from the tournament because that let undeserving FDU in before it knocked off 1-seed Purdue.

News Item – Pats Free Agency Creates Local Buzz: The natives were pretty restless as one desirable name after another came off the board amid news Miami had traded for All-Pro DB Jalen Ramsey and the Jets were close to trading for Aaron Rodgers to fill their gaping hole at quarterback, as the Pats were letting their leading receiver Jakobi Meyers walk away to play for Josh McDaniels in Vegas. But things picked up later in the week with two solid signings of JuJu Smith-Schuster to step in as the new slot receiver and ex-Miami tight end Mike Gesicki. Smith-Schuster is an upgrade over the reliable Meyers because he is a much better runner after the catch, which is something they need improvement on. Gesicki gives a solid receiving second tight end who caught 71 passes in 2021 before taking a back seat after Tyreek Hill joined the offense last year.

Also added was a tackle few have heard of or were enthused about, Riley Reiff, an 11-year vet who came over from the porous Chicago Bears 2022 line. The good news is he’s been pretty durable and an upgrade over the penalty-plagued black hole right tackle was last year. Plus it will let them not have to force feed the tackle they’ll likely take in the draft. I’m not as enthused as most over the signing of running back James Robinson because I think letting Damien Harris leave is a mistake.

The best re-sign was keeping top corner Jonathan Jones at reasonable money. The best addition by subtraction was saying so long to Nelson Agholor and mercifully trading away Jonnu Smith.

News Item – Herrion Out As UNH Hoop Coach: After a hard-to-believe 18 years as head man Bill Herrion is out as basketball coach at the U. He leaves with a 227-303 career mark, which makes him the winningest coach in school history and the coach with the second most losses.

ESPN First Take Argument of the Week – Should the Jets give up the 13th overall pick for Aaron Rodgers? Stephen A. Blowhard says yes because the NYJ haven’t been to the postseason since 2010 or to the SB since 1968 and are on the doorstep, so go for it. Bart Scott says no because first-round picks are to be with a team through two contracts. I’m with Stephen A. because while I’m not a big fan of Rodgers and it doesn’t guarantee anything, they are basically in the same spot Tampa Bay was in three years ago. They had the pieces in place but were killed by their play at QB. Enter Tom Brady. The Jets were even worse at QB last year than TB. Plus a SB win is worth losing a first-round pick. Just ask the Rams, who gave up a lot more to get Matthew Stafford.

The Numbers

9 – hard to believe number of years UConn had not gotten to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 until it got there with two wins over the weekend.

37 – billboards posted around New England by Devin McCourty to say thanks to fans upon his retirement in an exhibition of his class to the end.

Unsolicited Opinion of the Week: Here’s my suggestion for who UNH could consider for their basketball vacancy: one time-SNHU coach on the floor/star Bino Ranson. He has 10 years experience recruiting in the Big 10 and ACC, with strong ties to mid-Atlantic talent and in the Midwest while an assistant at Maryland and now DePaul. Great kid, solid guy and knows New Hampshire, having lived while playing at SNHU in college.

Do you suppose any of the $33 million Meyers got from Las Vegas was a bonus for the crazy lateral he threw that handed the Raiders the win vs. the Pats in Vegas last year?

How self-involved do you have to be to think your husband got traded because his head coach wasn’t invited to his wedding? That’s what WNBA’er Kelsey Plum claims is why Vegas HC Josh McDaniels sent her new husband Darren Waller to the G-Men for a third-round pick less than a month after the pair got married. Couldn’t be because he’s gone from 107 catches in 2020 to 55 to 28 last year while making $17 million per, could it?

Sport 101 Answer: Bob Kurland, Oklahoma State (185, 46); Alex Groza, Kentucky (48, 49); Jerry Lucas, Ohio State (60, 61); Lew Alcindor, UCLA (67, 68, 69); Bill Walton, UCLA (72, 73).

A Little History; After playing in the NBA for two seasons when he was Rookie of the Year in 1949-50, Groza was banned for life after being implicated in a point-shaving scandal during his senior season at Kentucky.

Email Dave Long at

More dancers

New program seeks to help dancers get on stage

Joan Brodsky, founder of New Hampshire Dance Collaborative, talked about a new program to expand opportunities for New Hampshire dancers.

What is New Hampshire Dance Collaborative?

I’m a former dancer, and when I retired I opened a Pilates studio in Bedford. I’ve always felt that dance is a very vital part of the human condition, and it was always a really important part of how I did my Pilates work. As time went by, I became increasingly worried about the fact that, although we have some nice dancers in the state, we have no real vehicle for them to dance — not a big audience, and not a lot of financial support. … I ended up doing this really fun pop-up art show with [other artists]. We had photography and sculpture and music, and I brought in dancers. I saw the audience really tune in [to the dance performance], and I found that exciting. I thought that maybe this is the ingredient that has been needed — a small dose of dance in a social setting, where it’s intimate and real. I went on to form a nonprofit, New Hampshire Dance Collaborative. … We bring dance to artistic venues and cultural and educational institutions … [like] the Currier {Museum of Art], the gallery at SNHU and Canterbury Shaker Village … with the goal of providing fun, creative gigs for dancers, and exposing people who would otherwise be pretty limited [in exposure to dance] to all ranges of dance, from contemporary to ballet to hip-hop.

What is the New Hampshire Dance Accelerator program, and how did you come up with the idea?

In August I started thinking that I really needed a more developed, concrete product to strengthen and formulate my goals … and [facilitate] marketing and donations, because the arts can feel very esoteric to many people. That’s how I decided to do this accelerator. … For the accelerator, New Hampshire Dance Collaborative will invest up to $10,000 directly in accelerating [dancers]. … I’m also going to be providing dancers with artistic coaching and mentorship, help with grant writing, help with ticket sales and things like that.

What kinds of costs will the Accelerator help to offset?

These dancers have so much energy to create dance [and can] pay for the studio and rehearsal time; they just can’t afford the theater rentals, and paying dancers is very expensive. Up until now, I’ve been assuming some of those costs. … You could pay, like, $2,500 to rent a [performance] space. Then you have to pay the dancers; many of these dancers are so hungry for an opportunity that they will dance for very little [compensation]. They should be paid for rehearsals, but if they aren’t paid for rehearsals, then at the very least they should be paid $500 for their performance. If you have 12 dancers, and you’re paying $500 per dancer, plus the $2,500 for the theater, plus the costs of having social media and marketing done, you can see how cost-prohibitive it is.

Are there any other programs like this for dancers?

I did some looking around and Googled “dance accelerators,” and as far as I know, no, there’s nothing, at least not in New England.

Who is a candidate for the program?

I’m working on developing the eligibility requirements and creating an application now. … It could be dance companies or solo artists. They should be based in New Hampshire; all dance companies travel, so I will help to support that a little bit, but my main focus, because I have limited resources, is to build the dance environment in New Hampshire. … They should have an established product that’s ready for market — for a dance company, that means having a repertory of original choreography and a group of dancers who know the work well, and for a solo artist, that means having an established style of dance and a target audience — and a rudimentary business plan.

What is your long-term vision for the program?

New Hampshire is still ripe grounds for dance; there are few opportunities for dancers here. I used to look at that as a bummer, but now I look at it as an opportunity to create a really unique ecosystem of dance here. I want [to accelerate] dancers who are doing interesting and transformative things. Some are using dance for political or social activism work. Some are bringing dance into schools. Those are the dancers I want to work with. I’m interested in fostering innovative ideas. We have many new Americans throughout the state … who have cultural dance forms. … In 10 years from now, if I had my dream, there would be more dance in New Hampshire on all kinds of levels: dance supported by the state, dance in schools, therapeutic use of dance, dance companies having regular seasons at theaters.

To make a donation to support the New Hampshire Dance Accelerator program, or if you are a dancer who is interested in applying, visit

Featured photo: Joan Brodsky. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 23/03/23

A wrap on ski season?

This weekend may be your final chance to hit the slopes as many southern New Hampshire ski resorts are projected to close for the season. Sunday, March 26, is the last day to ski at McIntyre Ski Area (50 Chalet Way, Manchester, 622- 6159,, Crotched Mountain Resort (615 Francestown Road, Bennington, 588-3668, and Pats Peak Ski Area (686 Flanders Road, Henniker, 428-3245,, according to the ski areas’ websites. You may get few more weeks on the slopes if you head up north; Gunstock Mountain Resort (719 Cherry Valley Road, Gilford, 293-4341, closes on Sunday, April 2; Mount Sunapee (1398 Route 103, Newbury, 763-3500, and Bretton Woods (99 Ski Area Road, Bretton Woods, 278-3320, close on Sunday, April 9, and Loon Mountain (60 Loon Mountain Road, Lincoln, 745-8111, expects to stay open through Sunday, April 16.

Heating help

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP) has been approved to receive an additional $4.2 million in federal funding, the New Hampshire Congressional delegation announced in a press release. LIHEAP funds New Hampshire’s Fuel Assistance Program and helps low-income households pay their home heating and energy bills to prevent energy shutoffs, restore service following energy shutoffs, make minor energy-related home repairs and weatherize their homes to make them more energy-efficient. “Throughout this winter, LIHEAP has played a critical role in helping vulnerable Granite Staters lower their utility bills,” U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds LIHEAP, said in the release. “I’m thrilled to see these additional funds headed to New Hampshire, ensuring those in need of heating assistance have the resources they need to cut heating costs and stay warm.”

Excellence in NH

The New Hampshire Department of Safety, Division of Emergency Services and Communications (DESC) has received its sixth recognition as an Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) for emergency medical dispatching. According to a press release, the accreditation, issued by The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch, is the highest distinction given to emergency communication centers, certifying that the center is performing at or above the established standards for the industry and demonstrates strong local oversight, rigorous quality processes and a commitment to data-driven continuous improvement. In 2022, DESC answered 468,809 emergency calls throughout the state, 98.83 percent of which were answered within the first 10 seconds of the caller dialing. “The Division of Emergency Services and Communications takes pride in offering one of the finest Enhanced 911 systems in the nation,” Mark Doyle, Director of the Division of Emergency Services and Communications, said in the release. “Our re-accreditation from the IAED is a testament to the hard work and dedication from everyone in our 911 call centers.”

Future of health care

Concord Hospital health system’s Concord Hospital Trust is accepting applications from nursing and allied health care students to receive scholarships through the Concord Hospital Trust Scholarship Fund. According to a press release, the Trust awards approximately $45,000 annually, with scholarships in amounts ranging from $500 to $3,000. Eligible applicants must have lived within Concord Hospital health system’s primary service area for more than one year, graduated from a high school within the service area within the past five years, or been employed by Concord Hospital health system. Recipients are selected based on financial need, academic merit, personal character and other criteria. Applications must be received or postmarked by April 23, and award decisions will be announced in June. Download an application at and call 227-7000, ext. 3082, with questions.

History with purpose

The American Independence Museum in Exeter announces the launch of “We Are One,” a new initiative that will serve as the museum’s guiding principle for the next three years. According to a press release, “We Are One” consists of four tenets: bringing history to life, educating children and youth, engaging older adults and building community. The museum, which is home to a collection of 3,000 historic artifacts, is developing a variety of new programming, events and exhibits centered around the “We Are One” tenets, with an organizational emphasis on inclusive and diverse perspectives. “We’ve always been a country full of people with big ideas, sometimes wildly different ideas, which I think makes us stronger,” Alena Shellenbean, events and marketing manager, said in the release. “‘We Are One’ is an idea that can hold us together and make our differences into a strength.” Visit to learn more.

The 2023 New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival’s wrap party and final in-person film event will be held at Red River Theatres in Concord (11 S. Main St.) on Sunday, March 26, at 3:30 p.m. The theater will screen Dedication, a film based on Roger Peltzman’s one-man play of the same name that follows the true story of his family’s escape from Berlin to Brussels in 1933. A discussion with Peltzman will follow the screening. Tickets cost $12 at To learn more about this year’s New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival and to access virtual screenings of films, which will be available through April 16, visit

The NCAA DI Men’s Ice Hockey Manchester Regional Championship will take place at the SNHU Arena in Manchester (555 Elm St.), with the first session on Thursday, March 23, featuring Boston University vs. Western Michigan at 2 p.m. and Denver vs. Cornell at 5:30 p.m., and the second session on Saturday, March 25, when the winning teams of the two first-session games will go head to head at 4 p.m. Get tickets at

The New Hampshire Audubon’s Massabesic Audubon Center in Auburn (26 Audubon Way) is holding a NestWatch Volunteer Training session on Saturday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., for people who want to learn about the Eastern Bluebird and/or volunteer an hour or two a week from April to August to record data about the Eastern Bluebird. The nature center has nearly 100 monitored nest boxes, according to the NH Audubon website. The session costs $5, and registration by March 30 is required. Call 668-2045 or visit to learn more.

This Week 23/03/16

Big Events March 16, 2023 and beyond

Thursday, March 16

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the Intown Concord St. Patrick’s Day Celebration today at the Bank of NH Stage (16 S. Main St., Concord) beginning at 5:30 p.m. The show will have performances from step-dancer group In the Field Irish Dancers and folk-rock Irish pub band The Penniless Jacks. There will also be a pot-of-gold raffle, and the ticket includes an Irish-themed dinner at Twelve 31 Café. Tickets cost $45, or $40 for Intown Concord supporters. Visit Looking for more St. Pat’s happenings? See the March 9 issuse of the Hippo for a rundown of special meals (page 25). In this week’s issue, find some upcoming Irish music performances listed on page 19 and find live music at area pubs, restaurants and more on Friday, March 17, in the Music This Week on page 36.

Friday, March 17

The Black Ice Pond Hockey Championship begins today at 9 a.m. and continues Saturday, March 18, at 7 a.m. The matches will rotate between six different brackets and 56 teams in total competing to see who is the best in each group. Matches will be at White Park (1 White St., Concord) and Everett Arena (15 Loudon Road, Concord). Visit

Saturday, March 18

Today at 1 p.m. is the Battle of the Badges, a hockey tournament between police officers and firefighters to benefit Dartmouth Health Children’s, at the SNHU Arena in Manchester. General admission costs $16, kids ages 5 and younger are free. To purchase tickets, visit

Saturday, March 18

Head to McIntyre Ski Area (50 Chalet Way, Manchester) for their end-of-the-season Pond Skim and Hawaiian Festival today. The competition starts at 1 p.m. with awards going out to people with the best skim, biggest splash and best costume. Entry is included in half-day or season pass for the lift. Visit for more information or to reserve a lift time.

Sunday, March 19

Today is the last chance to see Little Womenat the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester). The show follows the lives of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March and their Marmee as they grow into independent women in post-Civil War America. Tickets start at $25 and the curtain goes up at 2 p.m. Visit palacetheatre.orgn.

Wednesday, March 22

See Composer Amy Beach, a documentary film by John Gfoerer, at the Concord City Auditorium (2 Prince St.) at 7:30 p.m., followed by a discussion with Gfoerer. Beach was commissioned to write a choral piece for the opening of the Women’s Pavilion at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago when she was 25 years old. Four years later, her Gaelic Symphony was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the first symphony composed and published by an American woman. Visit

Save the Date! Saturday, April 1
It’s the first day of the annual Capital City Craft Festival at the Everett Arena (15 Loudon Road, Concord). There will be more than 125 vendors selling everything from soy candles and handmade soap to iron works and hand-carved wooden utensils. Tickets cost $8 and customers 14 and younger get in free. Tickets are good for both days. The show will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 2. Visit

Featured photo. In the Field Irish Dancers

Quality of Life 23/03/16


This week’s Hippo highlights events happening as the calendar turns to spring, which officially begins Monday, March 20. Last weekend we all did the “spring forward” of daylight saving time. Brightly colored Peeps and jelly beans fill the candy aisles — so naturally that means in New Hampshire it’s time for a Nor’easter! With big weather bearing down on the state, many towns postponed their town meetings (originally slated for March 14) to March 28. See your town clerk’s office for information. By mid morning on March 14, with big fluffy heavy flakes falling steadily, WMUR was reporting that tens of thousands of New Hampshire customers had lost power so far.

QOL score: -1 (hey, complaining about March weather is a New Hampshire spring activity)

Comments: The kids, meanwhile, may be rejoicing. More snow to play with now and, if this is how your town does this, another day off on March 28.

Yes, coach!

NHTI, Concord’s Community College’s Lynx men’s basketball coach Irvin Harris (pictured above) has been named the Yankee Small College Conference Coach of the Year in his first season as head coach. Yankee Small College Conference is a United States Collegiate Athletic Association Division II conference that includes two- and four-year schools from New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and New York State. According to a press release, Harris led the Lynx to an 11-3 conference record, with which they are now tied for first. The team also came out on top in highest-scoring offense, with an average of 86.2 points per game; rebounds, with 45.2 per game; and steals, with nearly 12 per game, under Harris’s leadership.

QOL score: +1

Comment: Harris hails from Omaha, Nebraska, according to the release.

Ukuleles for the kids

The Dover Rotary Club presented a $1,000 donation to the Ukulele Kids Club, an initiative of the Southern New Hampshire Ukulele Group, to support its mission of bringing music and instruments to hospitalized children. According to a press release, the Ukulele Kids Club operates in more than 200 hospitals and has donated more than 14,000 instruments in conjunction with music therapy sessions. “I have witnessed first-hand how music therapy soothes patients,” June Pinkham, one of the organizers of the Southern NH Ukulele Group, said in the release. “I’ve seen how it relaxes them and makes them more receptive to treatment. It’s amazing. We are honored to accept this generous donation on behalf of the UKC.”

QOL score: +1

Comment:Southern NH Ukulele Group has raised over $90,000 for the Ukulele Kids Club to date, with a goal of reaching $100,000 in 2023, according to the release.

QOL score: 60

Net change: +1

QOL this week: 61

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

The week that was

The Big Story – NFL Free Agency Begins: The quest to fill the holes the Patriots have for 2023 began yesterday (Wednesday) at 4 p.m. when the NFL’s new year began. It came a few days after Devin McCourty announced his retirement. Which, looking on the bright side, saved them around $9 million in cap space to leave them with around $32 million to $35 million to spend.

The need to score with that became acute following news that All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey had been traded to Miami and Aaron Rodgers could be/was traded to the Jets already.

The following are things to consider as free agency unfolds.

Ways To Add Cap Space: The biggest no-brainer way would be to cut wideout Nelson Agholor. Losing him would not hurt in any way and it would save $4 million. A little dicier would be moving out left tackle Trent Brown, who was a disappointment in 2022. If they can find a taker in need of offensive line help, a trade would give them $10.5 million more, which would give them $14.1 million to spend all or part of on a younger upgrade to replace Brown.

Biggest Needs: To reiterate what I wrote two weeks ago: (1) A ready-on-Day 1 dynamic receiver that teams must game plan for. Pay what they must in draft capital and cap space to get one for their young QB, as the Dolphins and Eagles did to catapult their questionable young quarterbacks ahead a year ago. (2) Fix the offensive line. Specifically, two tackles. The best case scenario would be one coming from free agency and the other from the draft.

Players to Re-Sign: Most important would be to pay their top CB, Jonathan Jones, because if they don’t they’ll have to draft one and a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

A Worthy Experiment: From the first Super Bowl team to the last when Julian Edelman was the MVP, slot receiver was the bread and butter of the offense. And while I’m fine with Jakobi Meyers as the third wideout (at the right free agent price) he does not give them much after the catch and lacks the quickness in space that Troy Brown, Wes Welker, Danny Amendola and Edelman gave Tom Brady.

They need a dynamic player in that role, as it’s a weapon on first down to get ahead of the sticks on down and distance, and as a target to get 7 yards or less on third down to keep drives alive.

So I’m all in on moving Marcus Jones from DB to slot receiver. While it’s not a lock he can do it, he would bring two things to the offense, dynamic speed and an ability to run with the ball when he gets his hands on it. And before you say he can’t do it: He played there some in college and historically it’s a position of misfit players who found success there as Edelman was a wishbone QB in college, Amendola and Welker were undrafted free agents and Brown was overlooked because of his size. Plus all were very good punt returners, which requires the most vital skill needed by a slot receiver, quickness to operate in tight spaces — something Jones demonstrated last year.

And trying him there also means you don’t have to use a draft pick or free agent money to fill that hole as well. Not to mention that since Coach B hasn’t hit on a wide receiver of any note since Deion Branch in 2002 it’s doubtful he’ll hit on one in this draft.

Check those boxes with trades and FA’s; it’s then on to the draft for a tackle and depth.

Thumbs Up – Devin McCourty: Thanks for the memories at the retirement after 13 years for as solid, reliable and durable a player as the Pats have had in the SB years. Bravo.

Sports 101: Detroit Mercy senior Antoine Davis fell just three points short of Pete Maravich’s all-time college record of scoring 3,667 points. Who held the career college scoring mark before Maravich?

Sports 101 Answer: With 2,973 points in 88 games (33.8 per game) Oscar Robertson was the all-time college scoring leader before Maravich.

Email Dave Long at

Stay in the loop!

Get FREE weekly briefs on local food, music,

arts, and more across southern New Hampshire!