Treasure Hunt 20/12/24

Dear Donna,
I am wondering if you can give me information and perhaps a value on this stove. It belonged to my husband’s grandmother, who passed away in 1992 at the age of 93, and we inherited it. We used it to cook with for several years and decided it would be safer to replace it. We have been using it as a decorative piece in our old farmhouse, but now we would like to sell it. Thank you for any information you can provide.

Dear Gayle,
Antique gas or wood cooking stoves are really not in my field of appraisals, but I have had experience with them that I can share.

Enamel gas cook stoves like yours have been around for more than 100 years, and it’s not uncommon to still see them around in older homes today, though most have been retired to a basement and are not used any more. But some are and not just for cooking but for heating as well. Your apartment-size stove is sweet because of its size, and it appears to be in good condition. One of the markets for these might be camps around New England. Also, if you do a search online you can find companies that fully restore them and even can convert to electric. The value depends on how you market it, so doing more research could pay off for selling it.

As far as an appraisal value I would say it should be in the $500+ range for insurance purposes. Finding a new home for it at that price might be tough, though. Remember, someone has to put the work in to make sure it is safe again to use. So anywhere from $200 to $500 should be a safe place to start.

Kiddie Pool 20/12/24

Family fun for the weekend

Just plane fun

The Aviation Museum of New Hampshire (27 Navigator Road, Londonderry, 669-4820, is hosting a Festival of Planes, a walk-through exhibit that includes aviation-themed toys, models and puzzles, plus vintage aircraft piloted by celebrities like Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse. According to a press release, the toys span the 20th century, from custom-made cast iron planes to today’s mass-produced Hello Kitty airplane toys. In addition, hundreds of collectible model aircrafts will be displayed on a new Wall of Planes in the museum’s learning center. The museum will be open during the holiday vacation week, on Saturday, Dec. 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 27, from 1 to 7 p.m., and Monday, Dec. 28, through Wednesday, Dec. 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum will reopen Saturday, Jan. 2, and throughout January will be open Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 7 p.m. — later hours than normal to allow more families to see the Festival of Planes. The exhibit is included with museum admission of $10 per person; $5 for seniors 65+, veterans/active military and students under 13. Members and children under age 5 get in free.

Christmas Eve at the movies

Catch The Polar Express (G, 2004) Thursday, Dec. 24, at 10 a.m. at Cinemagic theaters (38 Cinemagic Way in Hooksett; 11 Executive Park Drive in Merrimack; 2454 Lafayette Road in Portsmouth; Tickets cost $6.50.

Or watch Elf (PG, 2003), also playing Christmas Eve day, at 2 p.m. at the Flying Monkey (39 Main St., Plymouth, 536-2551, Tickets cost $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and students.

Last chance for lights

The Gift of Lights is open now through Jan. 3 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (1122 Route 106 North, Loudon). The drive-thru Christmas light park spans 2.5 miles and features 80 holiday scenes and 520 light displays. It’s open Sunday through Thursday from 4:30 to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Purchase tickets online or at the gate. The cost is $25 per car. Visit

The Southern New Hampshire Tour of Lights will run through Dec. 27. A list of addresses featuring holiday light displays at homes throughout Amherst, Antrim, Fitzwilliam, Jaffrey, Merrimack, Milford, Peterborough and Rindge is available, so families can plan a driving tour to see as many of the houses as they’d like. Contact any of those towns’ rec departments for the master list of addresses.

Winter chores

Still a few things left to do in the garden

Our gardens are put to bed for the winter: Veggie stalks are pulled and composted, perennials are cut back, weeds pulled, leaves raked. But I’m not done quite yet — and you might have a few chores left to do, too.
Young trees, especially young fruit trees, are often targeted by voles in winter. If they chew all the way around a tree, removing bark and the cambium layer beneath it, the tree will die. This is called girdling and happens most often in winters with deep snow because rodents live beneath the snow and are less likely to be caught by owls or other predators.
To prevent girdling, you need only surround young trees with a protective shield of “hardware cloth” made with quarter-inch wire mesh. It is sold at hardware stores and comes in rolls of various widths. I use 24-inch-wide hardware cloth and cut it with tin snips. It is too tough to cut with scissors. I cut pieces that will go around the trunk and overlap a little, and tie it with wire or string. I squeeze the top after encircling the trunk so that no ambitious mice can drop down from the opening.
Another rodent-related task is to protect my riding lawn mower from mice that want to spend the winter inside the air filter. They have done that in the past, causing problems. Now? I just put a few moth balls in a sock, lift the hood, and lay it inside. It keeps away the mice.
I have already winterized my mower. This means I added something to prevent the gas from going flat during the months of non-use. I use a product called Sta-Bil. Add it to the gas, then run the engine for five minutes. Come spring, my mower starts right up.
If your garden isn’t covered in two feet of snow, it might be useful to go outside with a clipboard and pencil to draw this year’s vegetable garden. Right now I still know where everything was. Come spring I might not remember exactly where the leeks or beans were.
I use wide raised beds for my veggies and leave them in place from year to year. It is good to pick a new spot each year to plant the regulars — tomatoes, potatoes, squash, etc. I like to rotate plantings so that insects and diseases are less likely to find their favorites. Rotation doesn’t stop diseases or pests, but it makes sense to minimize them by moving crops from year to year. In small gardens this is almost a futile effort and even in large gardens you will have tomato diseases each year no matter what you do.
I don’t believe in pampering my plants. They have to make it on their own, without too much fussing from me. So I have never been one to build shelters over shrubs to shelter them from cold winds or ice falling off the roof. I don’t plant shrubs beneath the drip line of the house.
This year I got a small cutleaf Japanese red maple and planted it about 10 feet from the dripline of my house. It was a perfect planting spot except for one thing: When the relatively flat roof of the house is shoveled after a foot or more of snow, the ice and snow could land on it — after a 30-foot drop. Yikes. I decided to build a simple shelter for it, as I had spent $125 on the tree and don’t want it broken.
Here is what I did: I got four five-foot-long wooden grade stakes and a piece of half-inch plywood. I had a scrap of plywood 60 inches by 40 inches, and cut it in half to create two pieces 30 by 40 inches. I painted the plywood to keep it from delaminating, and then screwed the plywood to the stakes. I left two inches of each stake clear at the top before attaching the plywood, and drilled holes sideways through them.
To set up the shelter, I pushed the bottom of the stakes into the soil at an angle, meeting in the middle over the small tree. Then I tied them together with a strand of copper wire going through the holes I had drilled in the stakes. It seems sturdy and strong enough to deflect any snow pushed off the roof.
I have a number of hand tools with wooden handles that are 50 to 75 years old, tools that my parents and grandfather used and that were passed on to me. I treasure them. To keep them in good condition, I clean and oil those wooden handles and recommend you do yours, too. First, I wipe off any soil from handles and blades. Blades get brushed with a wire brush if needed. Handles get a quick touch-up with fine steel wool or sandpaper if there are rough spots. Then everything gets wiped down with a rag moistened with boiled linseed oil. That oil is available at hardware stores. The oil on metal parts will minimize rusting. Motor oil would work, but I don’t want it going in the soil next spring.
An old saying goes, “A woman’s work is never done.” That’s true for gardeners regardless of gender. I’m sure I will find something else to do that is not on my list. Meanwhile, I can dream of finding time to read good books by the woodstove.

Featured Photo: Wire the 2 sides of the A-frame together. Courtesy photo.

The Art Roundup 20/12/24

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

Holiday vignettes at Canterbury Shaker Village. Courtesy photo.

Currier closed for now: The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester announced in a press release that it has temporarily closed in light of the recent spike in Covid-19 cases. It will evaluate in mid-January whether conditions are safe enough to reopen. “The Currier Museum is doing all it can to contain the spread of Covid-19 and avoid burdening local health resources,” the press release said. “Many museums in Massachusetts and Maine have also temporarily shut their doors as a precaution.” The museum will continue to offer virtual content and programming, including its popular “Noon Year’s Eve” family-friendly New Year’s Eve event, which will be held online on Dec. 31. Visit

Santa books: During the pandemic, New Hampshire Writers’ Project member Yvonne Vissing created The Santa Series, which includes five books about Santa Claus. The Santa Spirit is a children’s picture book that provides a history of Santa Claus and explains how to share the “Santa Spirit” of happiness and generosity with everyone. Reimagine Santa: The social construction and transformation of Santa Claus yesterday, today and tomorrow is a comprehensive look at the social, psychological and political aspects of Santa Claus as a symbol for adults. The ABCs of the Santa Spirit for Adults is an A-to-Z book to help adults rediscover the joy and kindness of Santa Claus and share it with the children around them. The Legend of the Santa Stocking is a family-focused fiction book that tells the story of a family in financial struggle that replaces store-bought gifts with stockings full of reminders about why they are special to each other. A Santa Spirit Advent Calendar Book: COVID Edition includes 24 days of fun activities and readings for families to do together leading up to Christmas. “Re-imagining Santa to be a spirit of loving-kindness that anyone, and everyone, can deliver to each other takes away pressures of spending money and refocuses our attention on what matters most — having positive relationships with others and feeling we matter,” Vissing said in a press release. Books in The Santa Series are available through local independent bookstores as well as Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Walmart and other retail stores.

Shaker Christmas: Canterbury Shaker Village (228 Shaker Road, Canterbury) will continue its Magic Journey through the North Shop Barn from Sunday, Dec. 27, through Wednesday, Dec. 30, daily from 1 to 5 p.m. The North Shop Barn, which has been transformed into a winter wonderland, features art vignettes like a Shaker Christmas, a dollhouse, a skating panorama and snowy forest scenes; a Find-the-Elf treasure hunt; hot cocoa and cider; and shopping at the Village Store. Admission costs $10 for adults and is free for youth. Visit or call 783-9511.

Postcard poetry: Write an original poem on a postcard and mail it to Peterborough Poetry Project, P.O. Box 247, Peterborough, NH 03458 before Dec. 31. The poem does not have to be related to the imagery on the accompanying postcard and can be any length as long as it fits on the postcard and is legible. Entrants can submit up to two postcards. Several dozen poems will be selected for publication in the anthology, and cash prizes will be awarded to the three top poems. The Peterborough Poetry Project is also looking for short personal essays under 200 words about people’s experiences with postcards for inclusion in its spring anthology about postcard poetry. Visit



• “SMALL WORKS – BIG IMPACT” Creative Ventures Gallery’s annual holiday exhibit featuring small works of art in various media, priced affordably for gift buying. Virtual. On display now through Dec. 31. Visit or call 672-2500.

• “THE VIEW THROUGH MY EYES” The New Hampshire Art Association presents works by pastel artist Chris Reid. Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce Gallery, 49 S. Main St., Concord. On display now through March 18. Visit or call 431-4230.

Fairs and markets

HOLIDAZE BIZAARE Alternative craft fair features art, apparel, jewelry, ceramics, stuffies, candles, candy and more by dozens of emerging local artists. Wrong Brain (55 Third St., Dover). Now through Dec. 30, with fair hours Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. Virtual shopping with curbside pickup will also be available. Call 834-9454 or visit



A CHRISTMAS CAROL A one-man adaptation performed by Christopher Savage. Virtually. Available starting Dec. 11. Tickets cost $24 for adults, $20 for students and seniors and $15 for kids under age 12. Visit or call 436-8123.

THE NUTCRACKER Safe Haven Ballet presents. Sat., Jan. 2, 2 and 6 p.m., and Sun., Jan. 3, 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. The Music Hall Historic Theater, 28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth. Tickets cost $50 for adults and $45 for seniors and children. Visit

Will paint for smiles

Nashua students create uplifting art for the community

Nashua high school students are using art to spread messages of hope and positivity amid the pandemic.

A new public art exhibition, “Brave New World: Resilience in the Time of Covid,” features paintings by about 80 student artists and is attached to the chain link fence at Amherst Street Elementary School. It will remain up through Feb. 14.

“Brave New World” is a collaboration between three Nashua public high schools, organized by art teachers Stephanie Sewhuk-Thomas of Brentwood Academy, Robin Peringer of Nashua High School South and Rodney Coffin of Nashua High School North.

The students started on the project in the fall in various art classes and programs that were utilizing “Choose Love,” a social-emotional curriculum developed by Scarlett Lewis, whose son was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The curriculum teaches strategies for turning negative thoughts into positive ones through courage, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion.

“The lessons talk about how, for the average person, 60 to 80 percent of the singular thoughts they have in a day are negative, and because most of our thoughts are repetitive, there’s a lot of power in changing even one negative thought to a positive thought,” Sewhuk-Thomas said. “We really zeroed in on that.”

With “Choose Love” as the basis for the project, the students also learned about the history and style of street art and techniques for using color, design and typography to create impactful images with a message.

Then, the students and teachers worked together to compile a list of short uplifting phrases to incorporate into their artwork, either literally with text or symbolically with imagery. “You are loved,” “Apart, but still together,” “Be someone’s reason to smile,” “Only good vibes” and “Be the best version of yourself” are some of the phrases they came up with, Sewhuk-Thomas said.

“The objective was simply to give someone passing by a positive thought for their day,” she said.

“I think the installation will be a lovely addition to Nashua, as a reminder that togetherness and a sense of community is possible even in separation and isolation,” added student artist Sarah Hinds, a senior at Nashua High School South.

Sewhuk-Thomas said the project has been just as uplifting for the students themselves.

“It’s been really important for them to be able to do something to make a positive difference, especially on a community level like this, at a time when their contact with other people is so limited,” she said.

“[It’s] been a wonderful opportunity for young artists … to really showcase their talents while spreading positivity in a time where most people could really use a reminder that things will be OK,” added student artist Ben Almeida, a senior at Nashua High School North.

“Brave New World” is dedicated to the memory of Tyler Almeida, a senior at Nashua High School North and student artist for the exhibit who died in November.

“Brave New World: Resilience in the Time of Covid”
: Chain link fence outside Amherst Street Elementary School, 71 Amherst St., Nashua
When: Now through Feb. 14
More info:

Artists & their “Brave New World” creations

Mariah Rodriguez Costa, junior at Nashua High School South
“I wanted my artwork to be simple, bold and easy to understand. I wrote ‘Save Our Planet’ on a plain black background to really highlight the words. The most important, and personally my favorite, part of the piece was my handprint overlapping the Earth. I thought that this tied the piece together and it shows that we have to do whatever we can to save our home. During these hard times, it is crucial that we take care of ourselves, our loved ones, and our planet. … I want people to look at my art and want to make a change to how they treat our planet, whether it be recycling, going zero waste or even picking up trash on the ground. … I truly believe that we can save our planet and provide a better future for the next generation.”

Andre Dabney, freshman at Brentwood Academy High School
“I used the classic smiley face emoji as my inspiration [and] as the focal point of [the] piece and decided to add rays coming from the sun. I used a cloudy sky as the backdrop and wanted to make it [so] that the sun was clearing away the clouds. I added goggles to show that he was having fun and his tongue sticking out to represent that he was silly. … In the times that we are all facing in today’s world, it’s important that we all keep each other smiling and laughing together through this pandemic.”

Ben Almeida, senior at Nashua High School North
“My piece features my demon character Smudge next to the words ‘You Are Loved’ in big rainbow letters. My inspiration was from some of my personal struggles with feeling loved. I find that on my darkest days some of the simplest things can really make me feel better, and being reminded that you are loved … can lift one’s mood. [Smudge] is a symbol of positivity for me. … I’ve had a lot of people tell me that they find him to be very cute so I thought he would be a pleasant addition to my positive message. When people see my piece I want them to smile … [and know] that no matter how dark things may be in their life currently there is someone out there rooting for them now and always.”

Sarah Hinds, senior at Nashua High School South
“My inspiration for the piece was my reconnection with nature during the Covid-19 pandemic. I have been so focused on school and work before quarantine, but as soon as I was forced to isolate myself, I felt an urge to go out and rediscover nature. I started hiking and just tried to spend more time outside, and my increased immersion in nature allowed me to finally feel at peace again. … The hand extending from the [top] right corner was inspired by ‘The Creation of Adam’ by Michelangelo, but instead of the arm of God extending from the opposite corner, I included a bunch of wildflowers. This was meant to represent Mother Nature, and to encourage the audience themselves to reconnect with nature and immerse themselves in it as I had done.”

Featured photo: Mariah Rodriguez Costa, junior at Nashua High School South

Quality of Life 20/12/24

More shelters in state’s biggest cities

The Concord Coalition to End Homelessness announced last week that it has purchased the First Congregational Church of Concord at 177 N. Main St. with CARES Act funding, and it has temporarily moved its Winter Shelter and Resource Center to the larger space. According to a message on the nonprofit’s website, this will allow the shelter to go back to being able to safely accommodate up to 40 people in the Emergency Winter Shelter and about 50 people at a time at the daytime Resource Center — the same numbers as before the pandemic. In Manchester, the Board of Aldermen has approved the use of the old police department building at 351 Chestnut St. as a temporary homeless shelter for the winter, according to a report from WMUR. The City is leasing two floors, which will be able to house 50 people, the report said. And in Nashua, the city’s Soup Kitchen and Shelter will open its new emergency shelter on Spring Street about six months earlier than the anticipated Summer 2021 completion date, according to a story in the Union Leader. The renovation project was fast-tracked because of the pandemic and the need for more space due to social distancing protocols.

Score: +1

Comment: With all three cities finding ways to create more emergency shelter space, it’s a positive step toward ensuring that all New Hampshire residents have a warm place to stay this winter.

Honoring Christa McAuliffe

A commemorative coin in honor of Christa McAuliffe that supports STEM education was unveiled last week. According to a press release, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan led the effort to create the coin to honor McAuliffe, the Concord teacher who died aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1986. Proceeds will support science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. “Christa was driven by a passion for teaching and scientific discovery, and this … coin will help continue her legacy,” Hassan said in the release.

Score: +1

Comment: In the release, Shaheen and Hassan thanked local inventor and engineer Dean Kamen for the efforts he contributed to making the coin a reality, and for all the work he does to help engage young people in the STEM fields.

So much snow, so little parking

After the state saw more than two feet of snow in many areas during last Thursday’s storm, clearing roads and parking lots seemed to take significantly longer than usual. Some schools that were holding in-person classes were closed both Thursday and Friday to allow for extra time for clean-up. And on Sunday, three days after the storm ended, downtown Concord still had little to no on-street parking.

Score: -1

Comment: While road crews were likely overwhelmed with the sheer amount of snow and did the best they could, local shop owners may have been a bit dismayed too — the lack of parking along Main Street in Concord, at least, certainly made it frustrating for QOL to do some last-minute Christmas shopping.

Bike repairs on the go

There’s a new way for the public to make minor repairs to their bikes in Manchester — a Fixit bike repair station in Bronstein Park, funded through a grant from the Granite State Wheelers, opened during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 18. According to a press release, Queen City Bicycle Collective worked with the City of Manchester Parks and Recreation Division to implement the Fixit station, which includes basic tools and an air pump that will help bicyclists make small repairs on the go. It’s the first one in Manchester, and the QC Bike Collective plans to have more stations installed at various locations in the city.

Score: +1

Comment: QC Bike Collective’s goal is to make biking safer and more convenient for people in Manchester, according to the release.

QOL score: 73

Net change: +2

QOL this week: 75

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

NBA blasts off

The NBA season kicked off yesterday and goes into high gear on Christmas Day. With a late start, Covid concerns, no fans and a shorter schedule it’s not a typical year filled with holiday cheer. But with the Celtics re-mixed, drama impending in Brooklyn, many exciting young players and much movement among players and coaches there are a lot of stories to keep an eye as it unfolds and here are a few of them.

The Schedule:It weirdly will be announced at two separate times. The first 40 games leading to the All-Star break in early March are out. The second half of the 72-game schedule will be announced in late February to allow for a reset to make up games lost to Covid-19 postponements. It’ll also be more like baseball with teams playing many back-to-back games in the same building two days apart. That happens for the Celtics seven times — five on the road and two at home. So the question is, will that make home court advantage no big deal with fans either not there or in lesser numbers and travel fatigue less of an issue in the back end game?

The Big Trade That Wasn’t Really a Trade:The biggest off-season trade was Milwaukee sending a whopping three first-round picks along with guards Eric Bledsoe, who can probably be flipped for a fourth and George Hill to New Orleans for point guard Jrue Holiday. While I like Holiday a lot, that’s what you call wildly overpaying. So why did they do it? Because at least two of the first-round picks were surrendered in desperation to make sure Giannis Antetokounmpo felt good enough about the Bucks to re-sign this off-season. And since he just did so in a record-breaking deal, mission accomplished. However, if the Freak wasn’t on the line, they probably get Holiday for Bledsoe and just one first, or pass on the deal if that doesn’t get it done.

Will Warriors Return to a Golden State? Good question. Depends what they get out of Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre. But with Klay Thompson out for the year again, I don’t see it, as it seems like the magic they once had is gone. Maybe for good.

Are The Celtics Better or Did They Regress? The X-factor is Kemba Walker. If he’s not healthy, no. If he is, yes, because (1) they lost the skilled Gordon Hayward, but since they got virtually nothing from him in the playoffs and still went three rounds deep it’s survivable; (2) if you added Tristan Thompson’s size, rebounding and interior defense to the 2020 playoff team would it have helped? I say yes; (3) the Jeff Teague (more polished offensively) for Brad Wanamaker (more physical defender) swap is a wash. Overall, it makes them bigger, tougher and better. Though so are Milwaukee, Brooklyn, maybe Philly and even Atlanta, so the battle isn’t easier. Plus with the massive trade exception available they’re still under construction.

Next Step for Luka: With the hype machine on full throttle expectations for Dallas star Luka Doncic couldn’t be higher. So will the amped up pressure hinder the ascension of his Larry Bird like game into a spot in the NBA’s Top 5 players?

Full Year of Zion: Thanks to a knee injury we got just a glimpse of the exciting Zion Williamson last year. I hope this year we’ll get to see him play the whole season, which will be fun.

Another Full Year of Ja Ja: Zion got all the pub but Ja Morant dazzled all year after being taken second overall by Memphis. I missed him last year, so I want to see for myself when he faces the C’s on Wednesday, Dec. 30.

James Harden Saga:His wanting to be traded has dominated the news of late, but who cares? The aforementioned Holiday deal complicates what Houston is asking on the “if Nola got that for Holiday we should get double that for Harden.” Stat Man’s not worth whatever they’re asking but I’m with Charles Barkley — if the Nets will give up Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and a first-round pick as rumored, I take it.

ESPN’s Surprises Top 100 Ranking: I wasn’t surprised seeing Jayson Tatum ranked 11th overall. But I was by Marcus Smart (34) ranked above Kemba (42), which I agree with. Throw in Jaylen Brown at 26 and it gives the C’s four in the Top 50.

Big Expectations in Brooklyn: With him appearing healthy I don’t know how you bet against Kevin Durant. But I wonder about the following. (1) With Durant becoming more thin-skinned in recent years, if things don’t go swimmingly how will he act when those New York writers turn on the team in a flash? (2) Will Steve Nash be the next great player to become a solid coach or will he join a long list who got by on previous playing deeds? (3) How long will it take Kyrie to under- mine Nash as he tried to do with Brad Stevens and did do with Kenny Atkinson?

Something I Wish the Celtics Had Done:They need a real point guard to let Kemba slide over and be a Ray Allen-like off-the-ball sniper. So instead of going for the huge trade exception in the Hayward deal with Charlotte I wish they had brought back Terry Rozier and a smaller exception. His final year in Boston wasn’t a good one. But when he started in place of Kyrie he ran the offense, played solid D and was a contributor on the boards. He’d have made them deeper and more versatile.

The Prediction: Despite losing Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard, the Lakers probably got better by adding Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell. So I hate to say it, but with LeBron and AD leading, they’re the favorites to win and go (gulp) past Boston for most titles won by a franchise with 18.

Happy holidays to all.

Finding a way home

An update on homelessness in NH

The New Hampshire Coalition to End Homelessness released its annual State of Homelessness in New Hampshire report Dec. 17. It includes data generated between 2019 and early 2020, pre-pandemic, as well as a special report on The Intersection of Unsheltered Homelessness and Covid-19 in NH, based on semi-structured interviews with homelessness services across the state. Stephanie Allain Savard, LICSW, director of the New Hampshire Coalition to End Homelessness, discussed some of the key points in the report.

What immediate effects has the pandemic had on homelessness in New Hampshire?

The report showed that even pre-pandemic the homeless population had risen since last year. The pandemic layered on top of that has really exacerbated the issue. … Many people who were living in shelters decided to leave because they were concerned about social distancing and didn’t feel that it was safe to be in a congregate setting. Then, there are people who were couch-surfing, jumping from one place to the next at the graces of family and friends who were willing to let them stay with them temporarily; now, they have nowhere to go because people need to isolate.

What long-term effects might it have?

When the eviction moratorium is lifted and rental assistance is no longer granted, there is going to be a wave of mass evictions. We may be able to work around the evictions if we can come up with a solution to get rental assistance … for property owners and tenants so that they can get back on track, but there are so many other aspects of the pandemic that have impacted folks, too, especially those who were already living in poverty. Stress, mental health, physical health, [challenges with] students’ academic success these are all ripple effects for families and individuals that are going to be lingering for a long time.

There has been a lot of concern about homeless camps, a.k.a. ‘tent cities,’ popping up in New Hampshire cities. What’s happening with those?

Because the pandemic limited [homeless people’s] options for affordable housing and shelters, it was a solution they came up with to keep themselves safe. … Many people in those camps experience mental health and substance use disorders which can affect their cognitive thinking and judgment. … It’s been a bit of a tug of war, because there’s pressure from the community on law enforcement to [eliminate] these camps, and [law enforcement] understands the community’s concerns, but they also understand the situation for those who are homeless. … They’re trying to figure out what should be enforced with a humanitarian understanding that we need to support [homeless people] where they are the best that we can.

Has anything good come out of the pandemic in regards to homelessness?

It’s been wonderful to see so many partnerships get stronger or new partnerships form. Suddenly, city welfare departments, substance abuse [services], homelessness services, community mental health organizations and fire departments were all collaborating to respond to the crisis in the best way possible.

What’s the report’s Call to Action?

We’re always looking at how we can increase the production of affordable housing, and one way to continue doing that is to maintain and increase investment in the New Hampshire Affordable Housing Fund. There’s the New Hampshire Governor’s Council on Housing Stability that was just established … as a short-term action plan, and we’re working to make sure that any policies, legislations and other recommendations that come out of that are supported. [And we’re advocating for] the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Housing Support’s request for an additional $9 million a year to support emergency shelters across the state.

What can people who have stable housing do to help those who don’t?

You can volunteer. There are plenty of homeless services that could use the hands-on support, or you can find out what items they need donated, like hats and mittens and food, or make a monetary donation. … You can advocate for your legislators to address homelessness. … Also, just talking about it is really important. The more we talk about homelessness and educate ourselves about what’s happening with the homeless population, the more we can break the stigma and the cycle that we’re currently in.

State of Homelessness in New Hampshire
The state’s most recent stats, pre-pandemic. To read the full report, visit
• The number of people experiencing homelessness increased 21 percent.
• The number of chronically homeless people (who have been homeless for a significant length of time) increased by 112 percent.
• Homelessness among students decreased by 19 percent.
• Sixty percent of the state’s homeless population resides outside of Manchester, and 43.5 percent resides in rural communities.
• Black/African-American and multi-racial people make up only 2.7 percent of the state’s general population but 10.2 percent of the homeless population. Hispanic/Latinx people make up 2.8 percent of the general population, 10.6 percent of the homeless population.

Featured photo: Stephanie Allain Savard, LICSW

News & Notes 20/12/24

Covid-19 updateAs of December 14As of December 21
Total cases statewide31,87537,388
Total current infections statewide6,7526,688
Total deaths statewide604656
New cases6,059 (Dec. 8 to Dec. 14)5,513 (Dec. 15 to Dec. 21)
Current infections: Hillsborough County2,4532,290
Current infections: Merrimack County872929
Current infections: Rockingham County1,7221,580
Information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

Covid-19 news

On Dec. 15, the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine were administered in New Hampshire to front-line health care workers, according to a press release. The state received 12,675 doses of the vaccine in the first shipment, according to the release, with more expected to continue to arrive on a weekly basis. The state is also expected to receive more than 24,000 doses of Moderna’s vaccine this week, according to a Dec. 19 report from WMUR, and the doses will be received in batches throughout the week. Vaccinations from both Pfizer and Moderna will be distributed to long-term care facilities this week, according to the report.

Dr. Beth Daly, Chief of the Bureau of Infectious Disease Control of the New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services, reported during a Dec. 17 press conference that the state has averaged around 800 to 900 new cases of Covid-19 per day from the previous week. The day before, on Dec. 16, state health officials reported 21 deaths due to the virus, the highest single-day number of deaths in New Hampshire since the beginning of the pandemic.

Later during the same press conference, Gov. Chris Sununu provided an update on the final allotments of federal CARES act funding, which the state is required to spend in full by Dec. 31. An additional $7 million will be allocated directly to hospitals in the state, specifically those that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. “We know that a lot of hospitals have had to give up certain elective procedures, elective surgeries … to make sure that the beds are there,” Sununu said. “That $7 million, combined with additional over $70 million that the federal government is also allocating … creates a lot of economic opportunity for hospitals and doctors that have really been hard hit by this.” Sununu also said an additional $4 million will be allocated to the state’s university system to offset some unanticipated testing capacity costs, as well as $12 million allocated to nonprofit organizations. “We’ve spent it down almost to the penny, frankly,” he said of the federal funds. “The team at GOFERR did a great job of making sure that we had emergency funds available all the way to the end of the year.”

Speaker nomination

Last week, the House Republican Caucus voted to nominate Acting House Speaker Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry) as its nominee for Speaker of the House, to succeed the late Speaker Richard “Dick” Hinch, according to a press release. The nomination will be decided on Jan. 6. “Losing Speaker Hinch has been difficult for all of us, and this is not my first choice of how I wanted this session to go,” Packard said in a statement following the vote. “However, we must continue our work, we must continue his work, and I promise that I will continue to further Dick’s vision of how he would have run the House.”

Money for vets

The City of Manchester is encouraging veterans who have needs that are directly related to Covid-19 to reach out to Easterseals, which still has CARES Act funds remaining for military veterans. All funds must be spent by the end of December, according to a press release, and veterans who need assistance because of Covid-19, including help with mortgage and rental arrearages, car repairs, back car payments, utilities, food, gas, childcare arrangements, heating costs and more, can contact Easterseals at 315-4354 or

Low unemployment

Last week’s release of the November unemployment rates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that New Hampshire ranked as the fifth lowest state in the nation, with an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent, according to a press release. “Balancing public health and economic success has been a priority of my administration from the onset of this pandemic,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in the release. “This latest economic news affirms that New Hampshire has taken the right approach and that our economy will come back stronger than ever as we near the end of this pandemic.”

Housing stability plan

The state’s new Council on Housing Stability finalized its initial report and action plan and sent it to Gov. Chris Sununu on Dec. 11, according to a press release. Sununu said in a statement that the council has created “an excellent foundation” for the state to begin updating its homelessness plan. He instructed state agencies to move forward with all recommendations that can be taken immediately through executive action, which includes applying for a federal waiver to support services that assist individuals and families in obtaining housing by May 1.

Changes at SNHU

Southern New Hampshire University announced last week new plans for its campus-based programs that it says will be more flexible, accessible and affordable — including a more than 50-percent reduction from its current tuition rate. According to a press release, SNHU will launch new and updated campus academic programs next fall, with greater emphasis on experiential and project-based learning. It will also move from merit-based to need-based financial aid awards, and a tiered tuition rate of just $15,000 or $10,000 per year. Starting in the fall of 2021, there will be more than 50 on-campus programs available. The $15,000 programs will feature face-to-face instruction, with flexibility to explore electives, internships, project-based courses, service learning, study abroad, and other experiential learning elements. The $10,000 programs will include at least 36 credits earned through required experiential learning components such as studio work, lab work, project-based courses, internships or certifications, and the remaining credits will be delivered in a mix of face-to-face classroom settings and online formats. There will be less time in traditional classroom settings, and faculty will be engaging with students in new ways, including as project leads, internship advisors and coaches. These programs are open to new, first-year students and rising sophomores. “This effort is the culmination of years of hard work to fundamentally reimagine a broken model that too often leaves students behind,” President and CEO Paul LeBlanc said in the release. “When we set out to radically reduce the cost of place-based higher education, we knew that it would require a holistic approach, and we are proud of the work our teams have done tirelessly during the pandemic to rethink the cost and delivery of our campus model to put higher education within reach for more learners.” SNHU is also aiming to increase campus enrollment from 3,000 students to 4,500 students by 2025, according to the release.

The First Congregational Church in Manchester is leaving its lights on from dusk to dawn, now through Sunday, Dec. 27, to showcase the recent renovation of its stained glass windows. According to a press release, the windows of the 1880 church are the culmination of a year-long restoration project, and the public is welcome to drive by and see them lit up. The church is located on the corner of Hanover and Union streets.

Rivier University in Nashua has been ranked as a top 100 school for nursing in the nation and as the top private nursing school in New Hampshire, according to a press release. The rankings come from the Nursing School Almanac, which evaluated more than 3,000 U.S. nursing schools.

Work has begun on a new 6,900-square-foot testing and engineering range at the Sig Sauer Academy in Epping. According to a press release from North Branch Construction, construction of the pre-engineered steel building is expected to be completed in late spring.

Giving thanks in a tough year

2020 is not going silently into the night. It’s going out kicking and screaming. And let’s not be nice about this: 2020 has been a brutal year for everyone. More than 500 Granite Staters have passed away from Covid, people have lost their livelihoods, whole industries have been torn apart, families have been separated, kids have been unschooled, and to top it all off we went through one of the most divisive elections in modern times with federal agencies actually warning about possible election-related civil unrest. I mean, come on. It’s no wonder people are drinking a bit more. Yes, beer, wine and liquor sales are up in New Hampshire.

But even in these challenging times there are things to be thankful for.

As fraught as the election was (and could still be, I guess) there wasn’t any violence. The day after most signs were down and people here were back to their daily lives. Is everyone happy? No. But most have moved on to their lives.

As bad as Covid has been, it could have been worse. New Hampshire has largely been successful in tamping down outbreaks, keeping the number of hospitalizations low and balancing the needs of people to move about with the needs of our medical system to combat the virus. Any loss of life is horrific.

While many local businesses (including us) and nonprofits have seen revenues plunge, many other businesses have seen surging demand. Everything from ATVs to swimming pools to builders to takeout pizza has seen strong revenue in 2020.

Unemployment rates have continued to fall. New Hampshire’s rate is now under 5 percent from a high of almost 17 percent in April. That does reflect some people leaving the workforce but it also reflects other jobs in other industries picking up the slack.

New Hampshire showed the country it was truly bipartisan by splitting results with Republicans dominating statewide races and Democrats dominating federal races. More than that, 75 percent of eligible voters voted — a modern record level of voting. And yes, folks, we do live in a democracy. We should also be thankful for that.

There is less traffic — just saying.

Folks in New Hampshire continue to be generous with their time and money in assisting and donating to local nonprofits. While many nonprofits that rely on in-person services have seen revenues decline others have seen people be more generous. It made the news recently that MacKenzie Scott (author, philanthropist and former wife of Jeff Bezos) gave more than $6 million to New Hampshire nonprofits.

Hundreds of Hippo readers have sent in financial contributions this year to support Hippo. We can’t say thank you enough.

As much as we want 2021 to be better than 2020, and I’m hopeful it will be, the road back to normal will be slower than we want. But there is a road back and for that I’m very thankful.

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