Quality of Life 23/02/16

Test for lead

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health Services has released some concerning data about the rates of testing lead levels in young children in the state. Its latest annual report, 2021 Lead Exposure in New Hampshire Data Brief, revealed that between 2019 and 2021 the number of children who had their lead levels tested at the ages of 1 and 2 as required by New Hampshire’s Universal Testing Law had dropped by 25 percent, likely due to the pandemic. “Childhood lead exposure is a significant issue in New Hampshire because of the large number of older homes that contain lead-based paint, the main source of exposure in children,” Dr. Jonathan Ballard, chief medical officer NH DHHS, said in a press release. “Now is the time for parents to play catch-up if their children missed important doctor’s visits. Parents with children under 6 years of age who have not had two lead level tests in their lifetime should schedule an appointment to be tested.”

QOL score: -1

Comment: Lead in the blood, even at low levels, has been shown to negatively affect a child’s ability to think, learn and behave and could result in permanent effects if the poisoning is not caught and stopped early, the release said. Visit dhhs.nh.gov/programs-services/environmental-health-and-you/lead-poisoning-prevention-program.

Helping the loons

Biologists from the Loon Preservation Committee carried out a successful rescue mission on Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 for seven loons that became trapped on Newfound Lake and Lake Winnipesaukee when extreme cold temperatures caused the lakes to ice over. According to a press release, adult loons typically migrate to the ocean for the winter, at which point they molt their feathers, which leaves them flightless for four to six weeks while their new feathers grow in. Some loons, however, become flightless before making it to the ocean and end up stranded on the frozen lakes, where they may starve or become prey.

Tuftonboro Fire Department assisted the biologists, providing an airboat and three firefighters to help with the rescue mission. The loons were treated and rehabilitated at VCA Capital Area Veterinary Emergency and Specialty and Wings of the Dawn Wildlife Rehabilitation for a couple of days, then released at the ocean off the New Hampshire coast.

QOL score: +1

Comment: The biologists attached colored bands to the rescued loons’ legs for possible tracking. Six of the ten banded loons that were rescued in a rescue mission in January 2022 were later identified on New Hampshire lakes, and four of those six were in breeding pairs.

What is “cheer on the local student?”

Caleb Richmond, a Georgetown University student from Bedford and Jeopardy! Teen Tournament semifinalist in 2018, will return to Jeopardy! for the “High School Reunion Tournament,” a 14-day event that airs Monday, Feb. 20, through Thursday, March 9, according to a press release from the show. Caleb is slated to make his first appearance in this tournament on Thursday, March 2.

QOL score: +1

Comment: Jeopardy! airs weekdays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. on WBZ-TV CBS, according to jeopardy.com where you can also find the 2018 episodes (see Caleb in episodes labeled “Game #2” and “Game #7”).

QOL score: 50

Net change: +1

QOL this week: 51

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

The week that was

The Big Story: It wasn’t quite the Patriots coming back in dramatic fashion to beat Atlanta in SB 51. But given that it ended with a game-winning field goal kicked in the waning seconds after a frenetic second-half comeback led by a gritty, bloody sock-like star (for the second straight game), it’s fair to say SB 57 goes into the books as one of the Top 10 Super Bowl games. Though Kansas City’s 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles does not make the Mahomes Chiefs a dynasty, as the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin said they were on Monday. At least not yet. To be that they need to win two or three more times and hang around the top of the league’s contenders for another 10 years. For now let’s just celebrate the two-time champs’ admirable win and give a shout out to Philadelphia for fighting the good fight and just coming up short in a great game.

Thumbs Up: To LeBron James for breaking Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s all-time NBA scoring record of 38,387 set in 1984. Say what you want about LeBron, and my only issue is how he unethically got around tampering rules to get Anthony Davis to quit on his teammates in mid-season to make him a Laker. Beyond that he always puts the team first, plays hard and almost always shows up to play. Along with talent, durability and effort are the prime factors for someone to break a record that takes as long as it does to become the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. Well done, young man.

Thumbs Down: To the bloated monstrosity the Super Bowl has become. Born simply as the NFL/AFL championship game, it has become an “all things to every possible aspect of society” attempt to cram as many eyeballs in as possible to maximize TV ratings. It leaves us with ridiculous sights like jamming what seemed like 110,000 people around the mid-field coin toss, including kids from NFL PR/marketing programs no one ever heard of or cares about; worthy people being used in transparent “Hey Aren’t We Great, Guys?” PR ploys, and a 40-minute half-time distraction with a person wearing a bright red outfit that made it look like one of those high-flying objects the Air Force shot down last week had avoided detection and landed on the half-time show stage, followed by about 200 people filling in divots kicked in by said show on a field that already had people slipping far more than players should for a game of this magnitude. All of which makes the actual purpose for the massive production (the game) a sideshow. Sorry to those insulted by this “get off my lawn” rant, but I’m a frustrated guy who just wants to watch the freaking AFL/NFL championship game devoid of all the other crap.

Sports 101: How many of the seven other people who at one time held the all-time NBA scoring record can you name? Hints: One guy’s son later played in the league and another played for the Celtics before he took over the lead for a short time.

News Item – NBA Trading Deadline a Doozy: Can’t remember as active a trade deadline as last week. The dual big stories were the Nets scrapping the plan that almost everyone (except me) said would lead to multiple championships in Brooklyn and their star Kevin Durant landing in Phoenix. It makes them more dangerous for sure, but it did strip a weak bench of its best guy (Cam Johnson). Though the pick-up of Terrence Ross after a buyout in Orlando was a nice helpful addition. The two other biggest winners were, with LeBron leaving the GM-ing to the brass for once, the Lakers coming away with three nice additions to their bench while dumping ill-fitted Russell Westbrook’s gargantuan contract (and ego) and the Nets, who’ll be better than you think, starting over with a zillion unprotected first-round picks, a better team-oriented point guard and three more solid wing players to give trade flexibility this summer. Finally Jae Crowder going to Milwaukee makes them tougher vs the Celtics because he’s a lot better than Grayson Allen.

And then there’s the they’ll-never-learn chatter that teaming Kyrie Irving with Luka Doncic will make Dallas a legit contender. SPOILER ALERT: That’s what they said about the KD-KI pairing, which ended in disaster, just like it will in Dallas.

Do The Math: in case you are interested in the final Durant/Irving Tally in Brooklyn, it went like this: Durant played in 114 games out of 300 they played when he was a Net, while for Kyrie it was 143 in 300 as they went 159 and 141 (53 percent) while going one and done in the playoffs twice and losing in Round II the other time.

Not to mention Brooklyn let two inmates run the asylum, leading to the firing of three coaches in three years, Kenny Atkinson (totally undeserved), Jacque Vaughn (the first time when he was passed over ’cause Durant and Irving didn’t approve) and the disrespected all-timer Steve Nash (deserved). All for the bargain basement price of $22.9 million.

Sports 101 Answer: The NBA all-time leading scorer parade started with Piston George Yardley, followed byGeorge Mikan, the traded-for-Bill Russell Easy Ed Macauley, Dolph Schayes, whose son Danny was an NBA’er, first 20,000 point career scorer Bob Pettit, Wilt Chamberlain and Jabbar.

Finally, Greg Olsen doesn’t have the star power of future No. 1 Tom Brady, but Fox hit a homer with its new-for-now lead analyst. He was on all year with useful insights and thinking ahead strategies, like saying two plays before it happened KC runners should get down before the end zone to run out the clock before kicking the winning field goal. Not sure I agree, but it gave viewers something to consider, which is what a good analyst should do. And since Harrison Butker hit the FG the strategy worked too.

Email Dave Long at dlong@hippopress.com.

Card members

Merrimack Cribbage League moves to larger venue

For more than two decades, the Merrimack Cribbage League has provided opportunities for local cribbage enthusiasts to get together and play four-person and partner cribbage. The group, which currently has about 40 members, moved its weekly games to a larger venue last month and is looking for new players to join the fun. Co-organizer Scott Mortimer answered some questions about the card game and the league.

What kind of game is cribbage?

Cribbage is a game that combines both skill and luck, yet requires more skill than other card games. Luck is needed for the cards you are dealt; skill is needed for the cards you discard and the order they are played. All that is needed to play is a deck of cards and a cribbage board with four pegs. The object of the game is to score 121 points before your opponents. Without getting into detail, points are scored two ways: pegging and counting.

How does the new venue accommodate the league?

In January, we moved to the American Legion in Merrimack. The new location will allow us to increase our membership. We now have the capacity to grow well beyond 50 players.

How does a league game night work?

Game night has each team playing 10 games. Games move along efficiently, and each game lasts about 15 minutes. Winning teams for the evening are determined by the total score after completing 10 games.

Describe the atmosphere at a league game night.

We are a casual cribbage league. The word “league” is not meant to be intimidating. There can be a little nervousness starting out, but our newest members will tell you it is a relaxed environment.

What is your membership demographic?

We are a very diverse group. People ages 22 to 92 have played in our league. Teams are made up of family members, friends or random players we pair up. The game has a mass appeal because of the strategy, excitement and the stroke of luck with each hand.

Is the league casual or competitive? Or are there opportunities for both kinds of play?

Can I call it casually competitive? We do award small weekly cash prizes for top-scoring teams, yet it is encouraged to assist opponents when it comes to mentioning missed points when scoring.

Is cribbage growing in popularity?

We like to think so! There are a few leagues in the area, as well as some local microbreweries that have monthly cribbage tournaments. With some practice, cribbage can be a challenging and fun card game for all ages and abilities while having lots of fun playing. Cribbage is an excellent game for grade-school children to learn as it combines simple math, guessing the odds and predicting outcomes. In fact, there is a fifth-grade teacher in the Merrimack School District who teaches cribbage to his students.

Why should cribbage players consider joining a league?

If you are someone who has played in the past with family or friends and you want to get out and meet new people … or if you are someone who plays online or on a smartphone app and you want something a little more challenging, then our league is a good fit.

Merrimack Cribbage League
Who: The league is open to all. Interested players who are unable to commit to a full season or just want to try it out are welcome to play as a substitute. League organizers help to pair up players without partners.
Where: Second floor of the American Legion, 43 Baboosic Lake Road, Merrimack
When: Weekly, on Wednesday, starting around 5 p.m.
Cost: $5 per weekly play, with payouts for top-scoring teams, and a “quarter cup” awarded for any hand that scores zero points.
More info: Find the group on Facebook at facebook.com/merrimackcribbage, or email co-organizer Scott Mortimer at merrimackcribbage@gmail.com.

Featured photo: Scott Mortimer. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 23/02/16

First in the nation

The New Hampshire Senate voted to approve various bills on Feb. 9, including SCR 1, which affirms the General Court’s support for New Hampshire to remain the first-in-the-nation primary state. “The first-in-the-nation primary has been a tradition and a responsibility that our residents have always treated with the respect and seriousness it requires,” the Senate Democratic Caucus wrote in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with our colleagues from across the aisle to protect our status of going first and ultimately protect the diverse array of candidates, from across the nation and the political spectrum, the New Hampshire primary creates and welcomes.” The Senate also voted to approve SB 114-FN, which permanently codifies the state’s responsibility of contributing 7.5 percent to the New Hampshire retirement system for teachers, firefighters and law enforcement; and SB206, which prohibits corporal punishment in child daycare agencies. Corporal punishment now meets the definition of abuse in New Hampshire’s child care regulations and statutes. “Previous standards were not keeping children safe, allowing individuals to violate the boundaries of the children within their care,” state Sen. Sharon Carson said in a press release. “Granite State children will no longer fall victim to this abuse, and parents can take comfort in knowing that justice will be delivered if/when it does.”

Airport bomb threat

The Manchester-Boston Regional Airport Communications Center received a phone call on Saturday, Feb. 11, about 10:50 a.m., reporting an alleged bomb threat aboard Spirit Airlines Flight 2025 destined for Tampa, Florida. According to a press release, investigators from the Londonderry Police Department led the investigation, with assistance from resources from the Division of State Police, including the Bomb Squad, which responded to the threat, and from the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, which actively monitored the situation while it was ongoing. Law enforcement searched the flight, re-screening all passengers and baggage and having K9 units sweep the aircraft and terminal building, and determined that there was no security risk. Airport roads reopened and normal operations resumed by afternoon, and no injuries related to the threat were reported. Manchester-Boston Regional Airport released the following statement: “Safety is always our top priority. MHT would like to thank our passengers and guests for their patience and understanding during this incident. The Airport also extends its deep appreciation to law enforcement, airline and mutual aid partners for their assistance in bringing a safe resolution to this incident.”

Walmart bomb threat

On Wednesday, Feb. 8, the New Hampshire Department of Safety announced that it was actively monitoring multiple bomb threats reported in a number of phone calls placed to Walmart stores throughout the state. According to a press release, multiple state agencies assisted local law enforcement agencies in responding to and investigating the calls. The New Hampshire Information and Analysis Center shared information with local, state and federal agencies, and the investigation revealed that other Walmart stores across the country had also received bomb threats. All threats are believed to have been a hoax.

Student protest

Hundreds of students at Milford High School staged a walkout on Friday, Feb. 10, in protest of a new bathroom policy, WMUR reported. The school board voted on Monday to start enforcing a limit on the number of people allowed in a restroom that is equivalent to the number of available stalls in the restroom. Protesting students, who were joined by some teachers and administrators, argued that the policy makes it difficult for students to use the bathrooms in an efficient and timely manner, particularly the students using the male restrooms, in which the urinals have reportedly been covered up with trash bags. The policy was drafted in response to a proposal recently presented to the board to change the school district’s current bathroom policy in regard to gender, from permitting students to use whichever bathroom aligns with their gender identity, to requiring students to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender assigned at birth. The next school board meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 20.

Grant for arts group

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation has awarded a $1,620 grant to the Manchester-based community organization Queerlective. According to a press release, the funds will be used to kick-start community events and programming centered around Queerlective’s mission to create and promote inclusive environments for the queer, BIPOC and underserved communities in New Hampshire with a focus on utilizing art for personal and community growth. “With support like this, Queerlective can continue to support the community in bigger and better ways than before,” the group stated in the release. “By closely working with the community and partner organizations, Queerlective is able to respond to community needs and provide opportunities for more impactful gatherings.” The grant follows a recent announcement by Kimball Jenkins, a community arts and cultural center in Concord, that it had partnered with Queerlective as a fiscal sponsor. Visit queerlective.com.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation will host a public informational meeting on Wednesday, March 1, at 6 p.m. at the Meredith Community Center (1 Circle Drive, Meredith) to discuss a culvert replacement project in Meredith. According to a press release, the proposed project would involve a stone culvert with causeway replacement on Meredith Neck Road, a crossing that is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ Manchester District Office, on Perimeter Road in Manchester, has reopened after being closed for repairs following water damage caused by burst pipes earlier this month.

Holman Stadium, home of the Nashua Silver Knights collegiate baseball team, will soon be a stop on the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire. According to a press release, a plaque will be unveiled at the stadium this spring to honor African American baseball players Roy Campanella, a Hall of Fame catcher, and Don Newcombe, a Cy Young Award-winning pitcher, who were signed to play with the Nashua Dodgers in 1946.

This Week 23/02/09

Big Events February 9, 2023 and beyond

Friday, Feb. 10

If you’re in the mood for flowers, check out the New Hampshire Orchid Society’s show and sale, which starts today (1 to 5 p.m.) and runs tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 11, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriott (2200 Southwood Drive in Nashua). The show will feature speakers, exhibits, vendors, tours and displays, according to nhorchids.org, where you can find the lineup of programming and purchase tickets. A one-day ticket costs $10 for adults and $8 for age 65+ (admission is free for students with a current college ID and children under 12), according to the website. A three-day pass costs $20. Tickets will also be for sale at the door.

Friday, Feb. 10

LaBelle Winery (14 Route 111, Derry; labellewinery.com) is hosting a Valentine’s Day Disco today with Booty Vortex Band. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $35 per person.

Friday, Feb. 10

Almost, Maineopens at the Epping Playhouse (38c Ladd’s Lane in Epping; eppingtheater.org) today at 7 p.m. The show follows the town’s residents as they fall in and out of love in the strangest of ways, according to the website. Tickets start at $15.

Saturday, Feb. 11

The Rex Theatre (23 Amherst St. in Manchester; palacetheatre.org) is welcoming April Cushman to its stage tonight at 7:30 p.m. Charlie Chronopoulos will guest star. Tickets cost $29.

Saturday, Feb. 11

The Southern New Hampshire University Penmen men’s and women’s basketball teams will have games today against The College of Saint Rose at Stan Spirou Field House (2500 N. River Road in Manchester). The women’s game, their annual Pink Day game to raise breast cancer awareness, starts at 1:30 p.m. and the men’s game starts at 3:30 p.m. Admission is free. A fair in the lobby starts at 12:30 p.m. and includes silent raffles, face painting, a balloon aritst and more. See snhupenmen.com.

Saturday, Feb. 11

McIntyre Ski Area (50 Chalet Way in Manchester; mcintyreskiarea.com, 622-6159) is participating in the Vertical Challenge race today. The race is a series of casual competitions for skiers and snowboarders at different resorts across New England, according to the website. The race is free to participate in, with competitors only needing to buy lift time, according to the website, where you can sign up for the competition.

Saturday, Feb. 11

The New Hampshire Audubon is inviting Granite Staters to join in the annual Backyard Winter Bird Survey starting today at 8 a.m. and ending Sunday, Feb. 12, at 5 p.m. Count up how many birds and species visit your yard, and visit nhbirdrecords.org to report the findings. See nhaudubon.org.

Wednesday, Feb 15

Gibson’s Bookstore (45 S. Main St. in Concord; gibsonsbookstore.com, 224-0562) is hosting the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and Amanda Russell, who will be doing a poetry reading today at 4:30 p.m. Russell will read from her debut chapbook, Barren Years.

Save the Date! Saturday May 13
Monster Jam will come to the SNHU Arena (555 Elm St. in Manchester) Saturday, May 13, at 1 and 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 14, at 1 p.m. See the “mechanical beasts” competing against each other to determine which monster truck is the best, according to snhuarena.com, where tickets are listed at ranging from $18 to $73.

Featured photo. orchids.

The week that was

The Big Story – Super Bowl: If I make it to Sunday I will have seen all 57 of them. Regarding this one, not exactly sure what to make of the Eagles-Chiefs match-up. But I do know a lot will be made about their being Andy Reid’s last two teams. Wonder if they’ll mention that since Andy got pushed out in Philly they have done what he couldn’t do there: win the Super Bowl, with a chance for another on Sunday. Of course KC has won one and been to two more in the Reid era there as well.

And then there’s the overdoing it on the Kelce brothers, KC tight end Travis and Philly center Jason.

Sports 101: In the wake of Denver trading for Sean Payton to be their new head coach last week, how many Super Bowls were won by the last four teams to trade their head coach to another team during the reign of Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick and Jon Gruden in their new location and how many SBs were won by their new team with them as coach?

Thumbs Up – Tom Brady Retires: Congrats on an All-World career and thanks for all the great memories.

Thumbs Down – Tom Brady Retires Again: Now, unlike after the first retirement, be a man and thank Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick and the entire organization properly for what they did for your time in New England.

Random Thoughts Regarding Said Retirement: To ever pompous ex-WFAN guy Mike Francesa’s declaration on First Takethat Peyton Manning was a better “regular season” QB than Brady, as my father used to say, hokum.

The numbers say the following.

On Manning’s side, he had five MVP Awards to Brady’s three. He also was the QB on the 2000-09 All Decade team and had the record-setting 55 TD pass season of 2013.

On Brady’s side, he was the QB for the 2010-19 All Decade team, he has more wins as a starting QB (243 to 186), and despite playing 68 more games he has fewer losses than Manning (73 to 79). That means he has a far better winning percentage (78.2 to 70.1). Brady, also, oh by the way, has the record for most TD passes, passing yards and completions in league history. And despite playing those 68 more games Brady threw 41 fewer interceptions (211 to 252). And if Manning had played the same 333 games and maintained his one-pick-per-game average Manning would have 111 more interceptions. Given how important a factor turnovers are in winning and losing, that edge probably accounts for much of Brady’s W/L percentage edge.

And most importantly, Brady also has the better head-to-head record at 11-6.

Case closed – slam dunk.

As for Joe Montana being the better Super Bowl QB, maybe, but which would you rather have, seven rings and three near misses or four rings and no losses? And in a final category: By winning 10 Conference championships to the paltry four won by Montana and Manning he is by far the best overall QB in the playoffs of them all.

Mark It Down: On the day Kyrie Irving got traded/dumped by the Nets to Dallas, the Mavs were 28-26 and the sixth seed out West. I’m betting they finish below .500 and land in the play-in round by year’s end.

Passing of the Guard: In the “stars always get the big call” NBA, was it bad officiating to miss Jayson Tatum clearly whacking LeBron on his miss that let the Celtics-Lakers game go to overtime two Saturdays ago? Or a sign that Tatum’s stature is now such that he’s going to get those calls going forward? Especially in light of Lebron’s falling on the floor begging act that made him look like his fortune just got wiped out by an evil computer genius in a Mission Impossible movie.

Do I Care About – The NFL Pro Bowl? No. Now no longer content with being the worst of the All-Star games and dumbest to play in because of the injury risks, it’s fallen farther into irrelevance because of these factors: (1) It’s been “re-imagined” as a flag football game. (2) And that makes it so embarrassing to play in they had to go down the QB list to Ravens backup Tyler Huntley,who threw two TD passes all year, before they could find a QB who wasn’t faking an injury to get out of playing in it. Bailey Zappe was probably next behind Huntley. I give it three years until it’s re-imagined to the dumpster of dumb ideas.

I Disagree With:Ben Volin. Sorry, Ben, you saying in the Boston Globe that ticky-tack calls by the zebras interfered with or ruined the 49ers in their drubbing by the Eagles in the NFC title game is wrong. It happened because the SF defenders played like undisciplined boneheads with late hits and running into the punter to hand Philly a gift score at the end of the first half to make it 21-7 instead of the one-score 14-7 game it should have been. And Kyle Shanahan looked like a whiner constantly yelling at officials instead of at his own guys for hitting guys after they went out of bounds.

Sports 101 Answer: Among the Colts, Jets, Pats and Raiders, only the Baltimore Colts won a SB (in the year after trading Shula). Meanwhile the Patriots (after getting Coach B), Miami and Tampa Bay won a combined nine SBs after trading for their new HC. So history says Denver will likely win the deal getting Payton, even for a first- and second-round pick.

Prediction: The game will come down to how the best QB in football deals with arguably the greatest sacking defense in history. I suspect those quick hitters over the middle to Travis Kelce will be even more important than usual. As will their screen game, which is always among the best in the NFL. Philly 23-21.

Email Dave Long at dlong@hippopress.com.

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