Quality of Life 22/04/21

Uke lovers rejoice

After two and a half years with no performances, The Ukestra with Mike Loce will be performing for the residents of the Huntington at Nashua on April 28. According to Ukestra Music Director Mike Loce, the group has about 30 active members and has been rehearsing regularly at Nashua Public Library. Prior to the pandemic, their last performance was a holiday show in 2019 at the Nashua Community Music School; their next planned gig scheduled for March 15, 2020, was, of course, canceled. “Having this group shut down (with everything else) was one of the hardest things I had to get through as an independent, self-employed musician/educator,” Loce said in an email.

Score: +1 (for being back in action!)

Comment: You can check out the genesis of this uke enthusiasts’ group and more at ukestra.org.

Reverse raffle for the win

The Queen City Rotary Club’s first ever Pot of Gold Reverse Raffle was a success, bringing in more than $40,000 to support Manchester’s youth. According to a press release, club members sold tickets and sought sponsorships, and on March 17 the winning ticket was drawn at the Manchester Millyard Museum. The big winner’s name was chosen last — hence the “reverse raffle” — and they got half the winnings, with the other half going to charities that support youth in the Queen City.

Score: +1

Comment: “This was a true grass roots event,” MonicaLabonville, president of the Queen City Rotary Club, said in the release. “Our club is united in our cause, and we have a lot of fun raising money.”

Too soon, ticks!

Since mid-March there’s been an increase in the number of emergency room visits for tick bites in New Hampshire, according to a report from WMUR. “We’re seeing a gamut of patients coming in with various stages of tick bites — some where the ticks are still embedded,” Dr. James Martin, medical director of Urgent Care at Milford Medical Center, told WMUR. “We have occasional patients who are actually ill from their tick bites, and they have headaches and fevers and maybe the rash, muscle aches and that type of thing.” Health officials are encouraging people to wear repellent with DEET, wear long pants and sleeves, keep grass short, get rid of standing water, do regular tick checks on people and pets, and put clothes worn outside in the dryer to kill any ticks.

Score: -2

Comment: It seems a little unfair that we already have to worry about ticks when we’ve barely had any warm, sunny days yet.

SleepOut success

Waypoint’s SleepOut 2022, held remotely on March 25, raised more than $313,000, with 270 people from across the state sleeping in their own backyards and coming together online for a livestream event. According to a press release, proceeds from the event support Waypoint’s mission to help youth who are experiencing homelessness through street outreach, basic needs relief, crisis care, case management, the Youth Resource Center in Manchester, and rapid and transitional housing throughout the state. Gov. Chris Sununu attended the livestream and told a story of a young person who is receiving help from Waypoint and will soon have his first apartment, the release said.

Score: +1

Comment: Waypoint also has plans for expansion of services in three areas of the state, including outreach and drop-in centers in Rochester and Concord, and New Hampshire’s first overnight shelter for young people, in Manchester, the release said.

QOL score: 71

Net change: +1

QOL this week: 72

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire? Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

Pats on clock in 7 days

The NFL draft is one week away, so the Pats are now on the clock in deciding how they should proceed.

Given how many holes they have to fill, the question is what will they prioritize since they likely can’t get immediate help for all of them?

Last time we saw them they were getting blown out 47-17 by Buffalo in the playoffs when the D did not stop the Bills from scoring even once all day, and with the offense stifled most of the day as well, it’s fair to say both units need an infusion of talent.

However, since then they’ve lost their best defender as J.C. Jackson left for a giant free agent contract, along with two very reliable but on-the-back-nine linebackers in Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy. On O they lost both starting guards though Michael Onwenu takes over one slot.

They did lure Malcolm Butler out of retirement to (hopefully) replace Jackson at DB, along with adding the latest Alabama import, Mack Wilson, and safety Jabrill Peppers as acquisitions on D. Of course since last we saw Butler was being mysteriously benched during the SB loss to the Eagles, the trade price for Wilson was just Portsmouth-loving LB disappointment Chase Winovich, and with Peppers coming off ACL surgery you wonder how much help they’ll provide.

Meanwhile, in between stupidly firing their coach Brian Flores and having an alleged NFL illegal plot to steal Tom Brady from Tampa Bay that was undone by Flores’ subsequent lawsuit, the Dolphins added RB Chase Edmonds, wideout Cedric Wilson and the electric Tyreek Hill to juice their offense, and Buffalo made wideout Stefon Diggs happy with a big extension and added edge rusher Von Miller to its already very good defense.

So it appears they’ve taken a step back in the AFC East as Coach B fiddles away with Rome burning.

Thus they need to come out of this draft (via picks or trades) as productively as last year in getting Mac Jones, Christian Barmore and all-name-teamer Rhamondre Stevenson.

The so-called experts tell us they need help on D at cornerback, a big run-stopper on the line and probably two mobile linebackers. On O, it’s a starting guard and a tackle for depth. I’ll add, even with the acquisition of the solid DeVante Parker, an A-level receiving target.

They’re not likely to get all that next weekend. So what should they do?

Prevailing wisdom says take the best available player regardless of position to improve wherever they can. But if they do that, it’ll likely get some improvement, but not make them great on either side of the ball.

To my way of thinking it’s better to have one dynamic unit than two mediocre ones because the dynamic one gives you a better chance to control the game than mediocre units do.

I’d focus the draft on just offense for these reasons, to get more out of their young QB and solid runners by putting better pieces around them.

In Year 1 without Josh McDaniels, it’s more likely Coach B can coach up the D better than they’ll be able to do on O.

In Butler, Jackson, Van Noy, Rob Ninkovich and others they’ve always been able to take undrafted free agents or guys off the scrap heap and find productive roles on defense more than on offense.

In Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings and Ronnie Perkins they’ve invested in three linebackers from the top three rounds the last two drafts, while red shirt LB Cameron McGrone supposedly only fell to Round 4 because of his late 2021 ACL surgery. So time to find out if they can play.

With offense the focus, my top priority is an A+-level receiver. They’ll be reluctant to do that. But just look at the difference Ja’Marr Chase made for worst-to-best Cincy as they went from scoring 311 points in 2020 to 463 after he arrived. Ditto for Stefon Diggs in Buffalo and look what Cooper Kupp means to the Rams. And to those who point to the acquisition of Parker, I’ll ask, if he was that good why did Miami need to get Hill? He’ll make the overall receiving better but he’s an injury-prone two.

How do they get that guy? Given their abysmal record for drafting receivers, they need to trade for one.

Like in 2007 when they used picks at the top of the draft to trade for Wes Welker (a 2) and Randy Moss (3). All that did was deliver 210 new catches, 2,600-plus receiving yards and 31 TD’s to turn Tom Brady into TOM BRADY and a defense-first team to offense-first that averaged 12 wins a year and five SB appearances over the next 12 years as the D went from in decline to downright awful before the arrival of Darrelle Revis in 2014.

They won’t get something that incredible this time, but that’s what they should do. Of course they’ll have to be willing to part with their top pick for sure and another high one (at least) preferably in the future.

I’m fine with either of the two biggest names rumored to be on the move in advance of big 2023 contract demands, DK Metcalf and Deebo Samuel. Patriots rarely do that, but Moss was at the top of the market and so was Gronk eventually, so their history shows it works. A trade now for either in the last year of their rookie contract makes them affordable now and with $29 million from Jonnu Smith and Nelson Agholor coming off the books after 2022, their big number extension goes into their slot.

Then with their second and third pick (if they still have them) go for O-line help unless they can trade picks for immediate help there as well. Then next if need be go all D.

There you have it. That’s my plan.

Connected cause

A look at a local effort to help Ukraine

Following “An Evening for Ukraine: Art Exhibition & Conversation,” an event she organized that was held on April 11 in Bedford, Ukrainian-American artist Katya Roberts of Bedford talked about her ongoing efforts to raise awareness and funds to help people affected by the war in Ukraine.

What’s your personal connection to Ukraine?

I was born and raised in Kyiv, which is the capital of Ukraine. My family immigrated to San Francisco, California, when I was 12.

What was going through your mind during the invasion of Ukraine in February?

When I went to bed the night of Feb. 23, knowing armed forces from Russia were … beginning to cross over [into Ukraine] and bombings were starting to happen, I was just devastated. I cried myself to sleep. I fully expected I’d check the news in the morning and it’d say Ukraine is back to what it used to be, when it was part of the U.S.S.R. and under Russia’s control. I thought, ‘This is it. I’ll never be able to go back to my home country. I’ll never be able to take my kids there.’ I grieved. It’s hard to explain the feeling your homeland is as good as gone … but it’s been amazing and miraculous to see how Ukrainians have defended their homeland and are fighting for the future of their children. … I’ve gone from feeling absolute despair to feeling really proud of the Ukrainian people.

What are your main efforts?

The realization there could be no Ukraine one day terrified me, and I thought, ‘No. That’s not an option. I can’t stand still. We have to do something.’ First, I wanted to get information out there so people know what’s actually happening. … I can speak and understand Ukrainian and Russian. … There’s an online message board internal to Ukraine … and I’m translating and sharing that information … and stories from the ground on social media. … Secondly, I wanted that information to empower people here in the U.S. who want to help … so I’ve been sharing specific things people can do … like reaching out to our government representatives, voicing what the Ukrainians are dealing with, what they’re asking for and what we want to be done. The third thing I’m doing is helping raise funds for refugees. … I’ve been in contact with Inna Sovsun … who’s a Ukrainian parliament member in Kyiv … [to find out] how we can donate so [funds go] directly to people who are actually on the ground.

What’s next for you?

Combining art with a call to action is going to continue being my formula going forward. I have something in the works [to take place] probably in June. Another thing I’m working on is the idea of an ‘adopt-a-family.’ My family members in Ukraine have identified families whose stories they know intimately who are struggling. Their homes are gone, and even if they returned to the areas they came from, there’s nothing there; they have to start over. Some have family members who passed away due to war or illness because they were no longer able to receive [medical] treatment. Financial hardship is a story we’re hearing over and over; someone’s line of work is no longer viable, or they’re living in another country now that has a much higher cost of living, and they can’t find a job. … I want to take [donated funds] and send them over for [struggling families] to access directly so they can pay for food and lodging. … I’m testing this on a small scale with trusted individuals in my life … and I’ve found someone in my neighborhood … who’s also interested in doing this, so I’m going to partner with them … and pull our efforts together with other people who are thinking along the same lines so we can do this on a larger scale.

How can people join your efforts?

I’ve created a website … which I’ll be constantly updating with my current efforts and ways people can contribute. In the coming days, for example, there’ll be information on there about how to contact members of Congress, along with some sample letters. … It’ll be a great resource for people. … I’m going to limit it, though, and keep it really simple. I want to make things as easy as possible for busy people who mean well and want to help. … There’s so much being thrown at us all the time, and it’s overwhelming. Part of my work is sorting through everything and taking out a few things to bring to people’s attention. I think that’s more effective than trying to include everything.

To follow Katya Roberts and her local efforts to help Ukraine, visit katyaroberts.com/ukraine.

Featured photo: Katya Roberts

News & Notes 22/04/21

Covid-19 update As of April 11 As of April 18
Total cases statewide 304,365 304,365
Total current infections statewide 1,544 1,544
Total deaths statewide 2,459 2,459
New cases 1,355 (April 5 to April 11) 1,828 (April 12 to April 18)
Current infections: Hillsborough County 421 572
Current infections: Merrimack County 112 157
Current infections: Rockingham County 284 435
Information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

Covid-19 news

On April 13, at the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Transportation Security Administration extended its federal mask mandate on all areas of public transportation for an additional 15 days through May 3. In a statement, the TSA cited the recent increase in Covid-19 numbers across the country over the past several weeks, due in part to the highly transmissible omicron BA.2 subvariant, which now makes up more than 85 percent of all cases nationwide. But on April 18 a federal judge in Florida voided the mandate, saying the CDC “improperly failed to justify its decision” to extend it, according to an AP report.

On April 14 the U.S. Food & Drug Administration authorized the first Covid-19 diagnostic test using breath samples, which provide results in under three minutes. According to a press release, testing can be done in most places where the specimen can be collected and analyzed, such as doctor’s offices, hospitals and mobile Covid testing sites, using an instrument about the size of a piece of carry-on luggage. The InspectIR Covid-19 Breathalyzer uses a technique called gas chromatography gas mass-spectrometry to separate and identify chemical mixtures, according to the release. A study of 2,409 individuals conducted to validate the test’s performance found that it had a negative predictive value of 99.6 percent, meaning that people who receive a negative test result are likely truly negative in areas of low disease prevalence. InspectIR expects to be able to produce about 100 instruments per week, and testing capacity is expected to increase soon by about 64,000 samples per month.

In New Hampshire, 143 new cases of Covid-19 were reported on April 18, according to health officials. As of April 18 there were 2,102 active cases and 18 hospitalizations statewide.

LPN program funding

Last week, the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee voted to accept and expend a $2.6 million ARPA-funded expansion of the Community College System of New Hampshire’s licensed practical nurse training program, according to a press release. “To make investments into our economy, we must make necessary investments into our workforce, and doubling our LPN nursing program is the right move,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement following the vote. The funds will expand the state’s LPN workforce programming to meet critical needs in health care settings, the release said. The Community College System of New Hampshire LPN training program, which was launched in 2020, can be completed within one year and offers immediate entry into the LPN level of nursing workforce. Graduates can also choose to continue their education and progress to the RN level, the release said.

Involuntary admissions

Last week the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee also voted to accept and expend $2 million to centralize Involuntary Emergency Admission processes by creating a statewide mental health docket, an effort to reduce the number of patients waiting for mental health care in hospital emergency rooms. According to a press release, the funding will cover a centralized filing system, two circuit court judges, staff and counsel for patients who are subject to an involuntary emergency admission, plus technology for hospitals to allow patients to remotely attend court hearings. “We believe this approach will ensure the rights of patients are protected and will help provide a permanent and sustainable solution to the longstanding emergency room boarding issue,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Gordon MacDonald said in the release. “We are prepared to move forward as quickly as possible on its implementation.”

InvestNH Housing

In another vote last week, the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee approved the expenditure of the $100 million InvestNH Housing Fund, according to a press release. “As a result of our InvestNH Fund, more housing will get built and our workforce will grow — a once-in-a-generation, historic investment,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement following the vote. “Our focus remains on building as many units as quickly as possible, and this $100 million investment will transform New Hampshire’s housing market, providing better outcomes for our citizens.” The investment will increase affordable rental units for lower and middle income workers, such as health care and child care providers, machinists and teachers, the release said.

Holocaust awareness

The state Board of Education has approved the new Holocaust and Genocide education rules for the state. According to a press release, “clearly understanding how the Holocaust and other genocides occurred may be key to preventing similar violence in the future, which is why education on this sensitive topic is vitally important to promote peace among future generations.” According to the education rules, “Each district shall incorporate instruction in Holocaust and genocide education into at least one existing social studies, world history, global studies, or U.S. history course required as a condition of high school graduation for all students,” among other specific guidelines pertaining to the teaching of the subject. The rules can be found at education.nh.gov.

Urgency to hire

The Nashua School District is now offering signing bonuses to candidates for positions that are critical to operations, as there is “an urgency to hire qualified talent,” according to a press release from the district. “We’re hiring from paras to plumbers,” Garth McKinney, Superintendent of Schools said in the release. “The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated the national teacher shortage and other education-related and school operations-related fields. Our needs are real and we look to rebuild a full complement of staff.” This incentive is being offered to teachers on the NH Department of Education Critical Shortage List and nurses ($1,000 sign-on bonus) as well as food service employees ($300) and security monitors, lunch monitors, crossing guards and 21st Century Extended Day Program staff ($300). According to an April 18 report from WMUR, the Manchester School District is also in need of staff members for nearly every department and is also offering sign-on bonuses, as well as retention checks after six months of employment.

YES!

The Yes, Every Student (YES!) scholarship program is back for a second year to help kids whose education was negatively impacted by the pandemic by providing $1,000 tutoring scholarships to New Hampshire students. According to a press release, the New Hampshire Department of Education is offering scholarships to public, non-public, home-educated and Education Freedom Account students. The scholarships can be used for tutoring provided by certified New Hampshire educators, certified New Hampshire special education teachers or licensed therapists. About $2.3 million in funding from the federal Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund under the CARES Act will be used; last year, nearly $1.9 million was awarded to almost 500 recipients for tutoring and other needs, the release said. This year’s round of funding is available to any school-age student who resides in the state, regardless of their family’s income level. To apply for a Yes! scholarship, visit yeseducation.nh.gov.

Voices of Wildlife in NH held a fur trapping protest outside New Hampshire Fish and Game’s annual Discover Wild NH Day on April 16 in Concord. According to a press release from the group, the protest of the annual event will continue as long as Fish and Game sanctions fur trapping.

Earth Day Neighborhood Clean-Ups will be held at several spots in Manchester on Saturday, April 23. According to a press release, the city’s Department of Public Works will be stationed at four schools from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to provide clean-up materials, including trash bags and gloves, and each site will be used as a drop-off location for the collected trash. The four schools are Jewett Street School, Northwest Elementary, Smyth Road School and Beech Street School. Manchester Urban Ponds will be hosting a clean-up that day as well, from 9 to 11 a.m. at Black Brook/Blodget Park.

United Way of Greater Nashua is hosting an electronic waste recycling event at its office on Broad Street April 22 through April 29 from 3 to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends. According to a press release, United (w)E-Recycle is an opportunity for the public to drop off used laptops, desktop computers, tablets, printers, mobile phones, fax machines and many other types of electronic waste. Donations are requested; on April 23 the proceeds of those donations will benefit the Humane Society of Nashua while the proceeds from all other days will support the United Way of Greater Nashua’s School Supply Pantry. Working laptops will be distributed to students through the School Supplies Pantry, the release said.

This Week 22/04/14

Big Events April 14, 2022 and beyond

Thursday, April 14

See Jake Shimabukuro at the Tupelo Music Hall (10 A St. in Derry; tupelomusichall.com) tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $30 to $50. Chelsea Spear talked to Shimabukuro in last week’s issue of the Hippo; find that story and more about ukulele culture in New Hampshire in the story that starts on page 10 of the April 7 issue of the Hippo at hippopress.com. For more concerts this weekend and beyond, find the concert listings in the Nite section.

Thursday, April 14

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats continue their season opening slate of games at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in downtown Manchester with a game tonight at 6:35 p.m. The Fisher Cats faces off against the Hartford Yard Goats in games through Sunday, April 17. Game times are at 6:35 p.m. daily through Saturday and 1:35 p.m. Sunday. Special events include a magnet schedule giveaway tonight, fireworks and 90s night on Saturday night and kids run the bases on Sunday. See milb.com/new-hampshire for individual or season tickets. The season kicked off on April 8 with games in Portland; April 12 was the first scheduled home game.

Thursday, April 14

Get in the mood for the weekend and help support Girls Inc. of New Hampshire at the Fuel Her Fire Cocktail Party and Auction at the Rex Theatre (23 Amherst St. in Manchester; palacetheatre.org, 668-5588) tonight starting at 6 p.m. A $95 ticket gets you two drinks, food, live music and access to the silent and live auction. See girlsincnewhampshire.org.

Thursday, April 14

A new exhibit of works by artist Arghavan Khosravi, described by the Currier as surrealist paintings, opens today at the Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St. in Manchester; currier.org). The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; admission costs $15 for adults, $13 for 65+, $10 for students, $5 for teens, and children under 13 get in free. From 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays everybody gets in for free as part of Art After Work, which today also features music by Ramez Gurung.

Saturday, April 16

Assumption Greek Orthodox Church (111 Island Pond Road, Manchester, 623-2045, assumptionnh.org) is holding a walk-in Easter Bake Sale today from 9 a.m. to noon where you can find spinach and cheese petas, Easter bread and Greek cookies and pastries like baklava, kourabiedes, finikia and koulourakia. Look for more ideas for Easter treats and eats — both for takeout and dine in — in our list of Easter eats in last week’s (April 7) issue of the Hippo. The list starts on page 24; find the e-edition of the paper at hippopress.com.

Saturday, April 16

Catch the duo Eyes of Age tonight starting at 6 p.m. at Liquid Therapy (14 Court St. in Nashua; 402-9391, liquidtherapynh.com). Find more live music at area bars and restaurants in our Music This Week listing, which starts on page 36.

Wednesday, April 20

And don’t call me Shirley … catch Airplane! (1980, rated PG, but like a 1980 PG so…) today at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St. in Manchester; palacetheatre.org, 668-5588) at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $12 with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire.

Save the Date! April 21
Thursday, April 21, is the first day to pick up molds for the Andres Institute of Art’s (106 Brookline Road in Hollis; andresinstitute.org, 673-7441) spring iron melt and membership drive. Register online by Saturday, April 30, at 2 p.m. and pick up molds April 21, April 23, April 28 or April 30. Then drop off the carved molds and iron casts will be ready in early May. The molds cost $40 with discount for members; memberships cost $50 for a single and $75 for a family.

Featured photo. Andres Institute of Art’s Iron Melt. Courtesy photo.

Quality of Life 22/04/14

The right Recipe

The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation has granted accreditation to the New Hampshire Food Bank’s Recipe for Success – Culinary Job Training Program. According to a press release, it’s the first culinary training program in New Hampshire to receive this distinction, and only the eighth in the country. The program helps people with financial hardships learn new skills so they can be more self-sufficient and ultimately find employment in the food service industry. Recipe for Success provides more than 500 meals per day to five Boys & Girls Clubs in the surrounding areas and produces meals in bulk to be frozen for use by 31 other agencies, the release said.

Score: +1

Comment: “With this accreditation, we will be able to increase our program’s marketability, while ensuring participants are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to seek employment in the food service industry,” Bradley Labarre, the Recipe for Success executive chef and program manager, said in the release.

Financially literate

New Hampshire is the fifth most financially literate state in the country, according to WalletHub’s 2022’s Most & Least Financially Literate States report. The report analyzed financial-education programs and consumer habits, according to a press release. The Granite State came in first for WalletHub’s WalletLiteracy Survey score and for financial knowledge and education. It also has the lowest share of unbanked households, and it ranked eighth for percentage of adults who compare credit cards before applying and 12th for the percentage of adults who only pay the minimum on credit cards, the report said.

Score: +1

Comment: The only other state to make the Top 10 was Maine, which ranked seventh. Nebraska, Utah, Virginia and Colorado beat out New Hampshire for the Top 4 spots.

Humanitarian efforts

The New Hampshire business and nonprofit community has banded together to create the Ukraine Relief Fund. According to a press release, the fund launched last week, and 100 percent of donations will be directed to relief efforts in Ukraine through a partnership between Granite United Way and the Walesa Institute. “This effort showcases how New Hampshire often uniquely addresses things,” Patrick Tufts, president and CEO of Granite United Way, said in the release. “While we recognize that no single entity can solve one of the world’s most complex issues, we do know that together we can create true impact.”

Score: +1

Comment: Donations for the New Hampshire Ukraine Relief Fund can be made at graniteuw.org or by texting NH4UKRAINE to 41444. There will also be a collection drive for specific items that are immediately needed, Thursday, April 14, through Saturday, April 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at the DEKA warehouse at 540 Commercial St. in Manchester. Common Man restaurants throughout the state will also serve as drop-off locations now through April 17. Visit graniteuw.org for a list of needed items.

Pay attention!

From 2014 through 2020, there have been 42 fatal crashes with distraction or inattention as the primary cause, and in 2020 distracted driving accounted for as much as 30 percent of all crashes throughout the state, according to the New Hampshire Office of Highway Safety. April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the state is taking the opportunity to remind residents that distracted driving, including the use of electronic devices, is dangerous and illegal.

Score: -1

Comment: New Hampshire law prohibits the use of “any hand-held mobile electronic device capable of providing voice or data communication” while driving or stopped in traffic (the emphasis is for those of us who might think red-light texting is OK…).

QOL score: 69

Net change: +2

QOL this week: 71

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire? Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

C’s earn playoff 2-seed

The NBA regular season is a wrap and the playoffs come your way starting Sunday for the Celtics, likely vs. Brooklyn, pending the result of Tuesday’s play-in game with Cleveland that happened after this column was filed.

Thanks to having Kevin Durant, most feel it will be the Nets. Which has a lot of people making a big deal about having to play them so early. But if they are as formidable as most think (besides me), sooner or later you usually see them, so who cares if it’s in Round 1, 2 or 3? Though admittedly it would’ve been preferable to have Rob Williams on board when/if he’s able to come back from knee surgery.

The sooner or later theory eluded Bucks Coach Mike Budenholzer, however; he took the chicken’s way out by tanking on Sunday to set up a more favorable match-up with the fading Bulls, a move that could turn out to be a strategic blunder if they face the C’s in Round 2, as it gift-wrapped the second seed and home court advantage that came with it to his opponent. On the plus side, however, the chicken’s way out does eliminate the prospect of having to face both Boston and New Jersey, er, Brooklyn, because one will knock off the other. Of course it’s also bulletin board material, because it says chicken man Budenholzer thinks the Nets are gonna win, so they’ll get home court anyway.

So now Celtics Nation has another person to hate sports in the 2022 playoffs, which will (likely) be focused on dastardly Kyrie Irving in Round 1 and chicken man in Round 2 if they get that far. Though Cleveland upsetting NJ, er, Brooklyn would unravel that plan faster than the Brian Flores lawsuit vs. the NFL deep-sixed Tom Brady’s alleged plot to stab folks in Tampa Bay in the back via a QB coup to install himself as the guy under center in Miami.

So boo to Kyrie. Boo to the new NBA chicken man. And if true, boo especially to the increasingly duplicitous Brady. But I digress on that one.

With all that laid out, here are some more Celtics and non-Celtics playoff thoughts.

Bravo for Ime Udoka for going for the win on Sunday vs. Memphis to get home court in Round 2 over an easier Round 1 match-up. Then again he didn’t have much of a choice, ’cause if they tanked and Philly won (which they did) they would have fallen to the 4-seed. That would have meant a series vs. Toronto, where the allegedly unvaxxed Jaylen Brown would have missed all the games in Canada.

I’m taking Toronto over Philly, by the way, for two reasons. The Sixers’ valuable sixth man Matisse Thybulle is unvaxxed, so he can’t play north of the border. Plus while he whines more during games than anyone beside Bills coach Sean McDermott, Nick Nurse is a much better game coach than Doc Rivers, who has eight first-round knock-outs in 22 years.

I’ve also got Memphis coming out of the West, because I like their team D, which leads the NBA in steals and blocked shots, relentless offensive rebounding, and given his own unimpressive playoff history, I see Ja Morant winning head to head over Chris Paul.

Aside from the fact his head isn’t square, am I the only one who thinks Nikola Jokic is a dead ringer for Rocky Balboa’s nemesis Ivan Drago?

Joke of the Week: A priest walks into a bar — no, that’s not it. It was the talk show guy somewhere who asked after Kyrie’s recent 60-point game if he and KD were the greatest 1-2 punch in NBA history.

Cut to the laugh track.

Guess he missed KI not even being named to ESPN’s recent Top 75 Players List. On that list alone were Jordan and Pippen, Shaq and Kobe, Stockton and Malone, Bird and McHale, West and Baylor, Magic and Kareem, Kareem and Oscar, Oscar and Jerry Lucas, Cousy and Russell, Havlicek and Cowens, LeBron and Dwayne Wade or AD, Wilt and his next-door neighbor, let alone Hal Greer or Billy Cunningham. Heck, he’s not even in KD’s best two 1-2 punches with Steph Curry or Russell Westbrook.

So yank that guy’s press pass because he’s a historical doofus and basketball nitwit.

In 2009 we heard KG would be back for the playoffs. Ditto in 2011 with Shaq and it was the same for Bill Walton in 1987. None made it back. So they have to carry on as if Lob it to Rob is not coming back until they see him in a game.

Also, no hero ball. This guy’s legs are his game, so they should err on the side of caution no matter what.

Here’s my pick for Round 1 depending on who the Celtics play.

Cleveland vs. Boston: Tougher than you think. I love Darius Garland and rookie Evan Mobley. But if their center Jared Allen’s broken finger isn’t OK to go, his loss is more damaging to them than Lob it to Rob is to Boston. C’s in five.

Brooklyn vs. Boston: KD is one of the few guys who can win a series on his own. So beware of him. Kyrie will do what he always does — have two games where most will say, “Wow, that guy is good.” Three more will be routine low in the 20’s games where he’ll get killed on D, and he’ll totally choke in two more. So the series comes down to this: Tatum has to play Durant even and Jaylen has to be better than Kyrie. I’ll bet on JB and the Celtics far superior team defense. C’s in six.

Likable Celtics cheerleader Brian Scalabrine has said several times of late, Tatum is a Top 10 player. But sorry, he can’t be considered that until he dominates in the playoffs.

So the chance to make that statement is at hand.

Enjoy.

Completing the story

NH author edits posthumous memoir of addiction

Seacoast-based author, editor and writing coach Jeff Deck discussed his latest project, We Got This, Kids: A real-time and raw glimpse of alcoholism, depression, and loss during a search for more sunrises.

What is your literary background?

I collaborate with writers to help them get their books done. Though my new service is focused on fantasy novels, I’ve worked with authors of both fiction and nonfiction. My own works include several novels, a nonfiction book called The Great Typo Hunt that I co-wrote with Benjamin D. Herson and holiday romances under a pen name.

What is We Got This, Kids about?

We Got This, Kids is the story of one ordinary person, Andy Marsjanik, and his lifelong struggle with addiction, recovery and depression. It’s based on the half-finished memoir that Andy left behind when he died by suicide and filled in with the voices of those closest to him, his family and friends. Andy wanted to live —he makes that very clear in his writing — but he lived and worked alone and undertook his struggles alone, and, during a temporary low point, he made a decision he couldn’t take back.

How did you first hear of Andy’s story?

A friend connected me with Andy’s sister, Amy Marsjanik Law, just a couple of months after Andy died. Amy was living in Newmarket at the time, and we were able to meet in person; this was shortly before the pandemic. She was intensely grieving, but had a powerful determination to carry on her brother’s story, as well as his mission to help people going through similar struggles.

What compelled you to take on this project?

Normally, fiction projects call to me the strongest, both in terms of collaboration with clients and for my own work, but when I started reading the document that Andy had left behind, I could immediately see two things that drew me in: first, his sharp, acidly humorous voice reminded me of George Carlin or Dennis Miller in his prime and absolutely needed to be shared with the world, and, second, this was someone describing his mental health and addiction battles in real time, which I thought could be of immense help to others.

What was the process like?

Collaborating with Amy to honor Andy’s words was the heart of the process for this book. Amy saw her brother’s original vision and knew how to bring it to fruition, as well as whose other voices would be necessary to bring into the story. I did my best to preserve what Andy had written, tweaking only for clarity and organization, moving fragments around to best convey the picture that Andy had originally intended. To minimize my intrusion into this family and their story, I saw my primary role as an editor rather than a co-author or ghostwriter. That also literally became my ‘character’ in the book — ‘The Editor,’ who steps into the footnotes to explain and elucidate the many obscure references that Andy included. The Editor also comments on any significant additions, deletions or rearrangements of the text in the footnotes to make the process we went through as transparent as possible. I interviewed Amy and other family members and friends not just to fill in the pieces that Andy never got to write, but to show the resonance of his life on the people around him. Everyone speaks in the first person, as close to their original words when I talked with them as possible, and mirroring Andy’s intimate narrative.

How does Andy’s writing connect with you personally?

I could feel his heart directly communicating with mine through his words. He’s blunt and funny and painfully self-aware. That’s the power of his writing and why it’s an incredible loss that we won’t get to see any more books from him. Andy is speaking in minute detail about his own experience as one individual working as a real-estate appraiser in upstate New York, but his struggles are universal. I’ve felt the darkness of depression, too, though, thankfully, to a much lesser degree, and my own life has been affected by a close relative in the grip of alcoholism.

In what way do you believe this book could help people?

It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t had to deal with mental health issues or addiction, either themselves or in the case of a loved one. Unfortunately, these struggles are nearly universal now, but most of the memoirs about these issues that are published today are from a celebrity’s point of view. I think people need the opportunity to see themselves reflected in a story of addiction, recovery and profound mental trials. Andy wasn’t famous or wealthy; he was an extraordinary person, but he was living an ordinary life much like so many other Americans, so when an average person picks up We Got This, Kids and recognizes themselves in Andy, my hope and Amy’s hope is that they immediately seek out the help they need. Remember that Andy’s action during that terrible night came from temporary desperation, but its consequences were irreversible. We Got This, Kids urges its readers to hold on for the next sunrise, and the one after that too.

Angie Sykeny

We Got This, Kids is currently available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Featured photo: We Got This, Kids. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 22/04/14

Covid-19 update As of April 4 As of April 11
Total cases statewide 303,010 304,365
Total current infections statewide 1,033 1,544
Total deaths statewide 2,452 2,459
New cases 829 (March 29 to April 4) 1,355 (April 5 to April 11)
Current infections: Hillsborough County 281 (as of Thurs., March 31) 421
Current infections: Merrimack County 87 (as of Thurs., March 31) 112
Current infections: Rockingham County 218 (as of Thurs., March 31) 284
Information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

Covid-19 news

State health officials reported 108 new cases of Covid-19 on April 11. The state averaged 200 new cases per day over the most recent seven-day period, a 49 percent increase compared to the week before. As of April 11 there were 10 people being treated for Covid in hospitals statewide.

New commission

Gov. Chris Sununu has signed an Executive Order establishing the Governor’s Commission on Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking. According to a press release, the commission was a recommendation from the Task Force on Domestic Violence Cases in the New Hampshire Judicial Branch. It had previously stopped meeting in 2013. “We must keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable,” Sununu said in the release. “Combatting and preventing domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking remains a priority for my administration and I am looking forward to working with this group so that we can develop, support and implement initiatives that address the needs of victims and survivors.” The Commission consists of members of the state’s justice department, health and human services, law enforcement and other departments and organizations.

New laws

Gov. Chris Sununu signed seven bills into law on April 11. Among them are HB 1441, establishing a commission to organize the observance of the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence; HB 589, requiring workers’ compensation to cover prophylactic treatment for critical exposure; and HB 102, establishing a commission to “study worldwide combined reporting method for unitary businesses under the business profits tax, and relative to the treatment of water or sewerage disposal utilities under the business profits tax.”

Youth literacy

The New Hampshire Department of Education has launched the Leaning Into Literacy initiative to help children advance their reading skills. According to a press release, the Granite State ranks high among students in the country for reading proficiency on the Nation’s Report Card, but there are still about 51 percent of fourth-grade students in the state who are not reading proficiently. “Encouraging children to have a healthy passion for reading will help them excel in school, support other areas of their learning and set them up for future success,” Frank Edelblut, commissioner of education, said in the release. “Strong literacy skills are vital for children, and are skills that are applicable throughout their entire lifetimes.” NHDOE’s Division of Learner Support is looking for proposals for capacity building literacy training for adults engaged in raising, working with or teaching New Hampshire children to be successful readers, including parents, guardians, certified educators, literacy coaches, curriculum coordinators, school administrators and reading and writing specialists. The trainings would aim to increase capacity for providing and overseeing reading instruction and structured literacy based on the science of how children learn to read. “A primary goal of the Leaning Into Literacy initiative is to train 4,500 individuals in the first year and 4,500 more individuals in the second year to help expand literacy training and boost the level of literacy support throughout the Granite State,” Edelblut said.

Child advocate

Cassandra Sanchez is the state’s new child advocate, replacing Moira O’Neill, who served as the state’s first ever child advocate since the Office of the Child Advocate began operating in January 2018. According to a press release, Sanchez comes from the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families as a supervisor in the Kinship unit. “The strategic planning process we undertook this past year with focus groups and stakeholder interviews taught us one important lesson,” O’Neill said in the release. “The Office belongs to the community. Their views and hopes for what the Office will achieve are aligned with statutory intent. They have identified strengths, articulated areas for improvement and agreed upon priorities. Cassandra Sanchez will be greeted with an exceptional staff and a committed, guiding and expectant constituency.”

Good Friday

The Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire’s Digital Mission will offer a walking Stations of the Cross in Manchester on Good Friday, April 15. According to a press release, the Stations of the Cross was created for pilgrims to Jerusalem to relive the suffering of Jesus Christ from his condemnation to his crucifixion and burial. The Manchester adaptation was created by Rev. Deacon Chris Potter, who is also a Manchester school board member. He will lead a procession to 14 stations representing suffering in the Manchester community and hope for its future, the release said. The event will begin at Grace Episcopal Church (106 Lowell St., Manchester) at 3 p.m., with the first stop at International Institute of New England (“Jesus is condemned”) and the last stop at Hartnett Lot (“Jesus is laid in the tomb”). Other stops include Central High School, Veterans Park and City Hall.

The owners of Woods Without Gile in Wilmot have been named New Hampshire’s 2022 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year. According to a press release, Ann and Marc Davis’s working forest implements the four pillars of the Tree Farm program: wood, water, wildlife and recreation. It is open to the public for cross-country skiing, fishing, hiking, hunting, horseback riding, snowshoeing and more, the release said.

New England activists held a Healing Ceremony at the Merrimack Station in Bow, the last coal plant in the region. According to a press release, nine activists decorated the fence with flowers and posters and performed the “Elm Dance,” a Latvian ceremony originally created for the healing of Chernobyl. The activists are a part of the No Coal No Gas campaign to close the Merrimack Station, the release said.

The University of New Hampshire at Manchester has a new scholarship for students enrolled in its psychology and neuropsychology programs, with awards up to $5,000 annually for full-time students. According to a press release, the university has partnered with Network4Health to provide the scholarship, an effort to address the workforce shortage in behavioral health fields that has “become increasingly dire.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that between 2020 and 2030 the number of behavioral health jobs will increase by 23 percent, the release said.

This Week 22/04/07

Big Events April 7, 2022 and beyond

Thursday, April 7

Bob Marley, recently voted Best of the Best in the Best Local (-ish) Comedian category of Hippo’s Best of 2022 readers’ poll, will kick off a run of performances at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St. in Manchester; palacetheatre.org, 668-5588) starting today with a show at 7:30 p.m. Marley will also perform Friday, April 8, at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 9, at 6 and 8 p.m. Tickets cost $39.50.

Find out who and what else were awarded the “best” label by readers in last week’s issue (March 31). See hippopress.com to find the e-edition.

Thursday, April 7

The Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St. in Concord; ccanh.com) has several local favorites on the calendar for this weekend. Tonight, catch Béla Fleck with his album My Bluegrass Heart at 7:30 p.m.; tickets cost $39 to $69, plus fees.

Tomorrow, Friday, April 8, catch Colin Hay (known for his work as lead vocalist of Men at Work and as a solo artist) at 8 p.m. (Tickets cost $43 through $63, plus fees.)

On the Bank of NH Stage (16 S. Main St. in Concord), see Dueling Pianos on Friday, April 8, at 8 p.m. (tickets cost $24 plus fees) and Adam Ezra Group on Saturday, April 9, at 8 p.m. (tickets cost $28 and $38, plus fees).

Find more concerts this weekend in our concert listings on page 42.

Friday, April 8

Catch Love, Sex and the IRS, a farce described as “like a cross between I Love Lucy and Some Like it Hot,” this weekend presented by the Majestic Studio Theatre (880 Page St. in Manchester; majestictheatre.net). The show runs tonight and Saturday, April 9, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 10, at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students. Find more theatrical productions this week and into the future in the Arts section, which starts on page 10.

Friday, April 8

It’s another Tupelo Night of Comedy tonight at 8 p.m. at the Tupelo Music Hall (10 A St. in Derry; tupelomusichall.com). Tickets cost $22 and the lineup includes Brad Mastrangelo, Francis Birch and Matt McArthur. Find more funny in our Comedy This Week listings on page 36.

Saturday, April 9

Millyard Brewery (125 E. Otterson St. in Nashua; millyardbrewery.com, 722-0104) will celebrate its 6th anniversary today from noon to 7 p.m. with 12 beers on tap, music, a food truck and games, according to a press release. Catch Dan Carter performing from 1 to 6 p.m. and Charlie Chronopoulos from 4 to 6 p.m.

Saturday, April 9

Today is the monthly free admission Saturday at the Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St. in Manchester; currier.org) for all New Hampshire residents from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum will also host a Creative Studio event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., when participants of this family-friendly event can take inspiration from the new exhibition “Warhol Screen Test” to paint some pop art style works, according to the website.

The museum kicks off Membership Appreciation Week on Sunday, April 10, when members can receive special perks and discounts and get a preview tour of the Arghavan Khosravi exhibit that will open Thursday, April 14.

Wednesday, April 13

Discuss and watch the silent films of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Mack Sennett at a presentation by the Walker Lecture Series tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Concord City Auditorium (2 Prince St. in Concord; theaudi.org). The event is free.

Save the Date! Saturday, May 7
The Monster Jam comes to the SNHU Arena (555 Elm St. in Manchester; snhuarena.com, 644-5000) for shows on Saturday, May 7, at 1 and 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 8, at 1 p.m. Tickets cost $18 through $68.

Featured photo. Comedian Bob Marley. Courtesy photo.

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