Finally, the NFL swan song

It’s weird that in the worst Patriots season in two decades, this football season/off-season has seemed to last longer than any of the previous 20. It’s mid-May and I’m still writing about legitimate, current Patriots news. Another example of how public interest for the NFL off season has overrun baseball and its once beguiling hot stove league. Also due I guess to my meager pre-season expectations for the surprising 2021 Red Sox, the sad, embarrassing disintegration of the Celtics’ once promising future and not even knowing if the Bruins are still playing because my streaming service has kicked NESN off its platform.

So football reigns. At least for one final week until we finally get to the Red Sox next week. That is, unless Coach B surprises everyone by pulling off the until now non-rumored Mac Jones for Tom Brady swap. Until that happens, though, here are our final thoughts on the draft and news around it until September.

Regardless of what I hear about draft and Patriots “steals” like Christian Barmore (a first-round talent), Ronnie Perkins (could be a great edge rusher) (which is what they said about Chase Winovich) orall-name teamer Rhamondre Stevenson (the next LeGarrette Blount),I don’t believe anything till I see guys play in real games.

Incidentally, when I hear the draft’s top-rated D-lineman (Barmore) fell to the Pats in the second round over maturity issues, I think Dominique Easley or Josh Gordon at best and Aaron Hernandez at worst. Not making any statement about a specific kid, just saying when I hear “slide” coupled with “maturity issues” that’s what pops into my head.

Football 101: Only five players in NFL history have been named first team All Pro in their first three years in the league. One is currently active. Name them.

When the latest Aaron Rodgers snit/pout comes to light, what word comes to mind first — self-centered, diva or crybaby?

But if you were SF would you have done the pre-draft rumored Rodgers-to-SF deal for the third overall pick and Jimmy G? Yes for me.

Albert Einstein Award: In my informal tracking of the most well-known mockers, only ESPN’s Todd McShay hit the Patriots’ draft day trifecta of being right that the 49er’s would take Trey Lance and not Jones at third overall, the Pats would stay home, not trade up, to get Jones at 15 and Jimmy G would not be traded.

Cosmo Kramer Hipster Doofus Award: Goes to “hey look at me” NBC contrarian Chris Simms, who always makes outlandish picks to look like the smartest, hippest dude in the room if they come out right. Then he’ll mention the one that only he got right, and neglect to mention the 30 others he got wrong. This year it was saying QB-needy New England would shock all by trading up to 11 for Alabama speedster Jaylen Waddle over taking a QB. Nope — they got Jones at 15, while Waddle went sixth to Miami and a QB, Justin Fields, did go at 11 to Chicago. Simms had Fields sliding to 32. Nice call, dude.

A Little History: With Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Lance going 1-2-3 it was the third time quarterbacks were taken with the first three picks, and the history is not great. The last time was 1999 when top pick Tim Couch and third pick Akili Smith both busted and, while second pick Donovan McNabb had a long career, I never warmed to him. The other was 1971 with Jim Plunkett (Stanford), dad of Peyton and Eli, Archie Manning (Mississippi) and Dan Pastorini (Santa Clara). All had long careers, but none are Hall of Famers and only Plunkett won Super Bowls (1980 and 1983). But only after he was beaten to a pulp after being taken first overall by the moribund Patriots and traded for the boatload of draft picks that laid the foundation for the good Chuck Fairbanks teams in the mid-1970’s.

Since history suggests at least two taken in Round 1 will bust, my picks are Fields and Wilson. Have nothing to back that up beyond history and my gut feeling. Gut— haven’t trusted an Ohio State QB since the Baltimore Colts gambled on Art Schlichter in 1982, with the most recent examples being Dwayne Haskins and Troy Smith. History — if anyone can screw it up it’s the Jets. I’ve been hearing since Al Woodall replaced Joe Namath how good the next QB will be. Al wasn’t, and not just because he was a dead ringer for Jethro on The Beverly Hillbillies.

I’ve got nothing against the likable Wilson. But from a small town in Utah to NYC seems like a bad combo. The ravenous NYC media is already making him out to be the second coming of Gandhi after also doing the same to Sam Darnold and Mark “Sanchize.” But in being better-looking than Brady and Jimmy G combined he’ll make a fortune in endorsements playing there.

By the way, after seeing the damage Waddle’s electrifying speed did in those ESPN video clips, I’d say the last piece Coach B needs is a No. 1/speed receiver. So I’m all in for a post-June 1 trade with cap-strapped Atlanta for Julio Jones.

I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that when/if Jones is ready, we could see a two-headed QB monster at some point, with Jones as the starter and Cam having a third and short/ goal line runner and change-of-pace passer wildcat QB role.

Football 110 Answer: The five who were All-Pros in their first three NFL seasons are Earl Campbell, Lawrence Taylor, 1990s Eagles tight end Keith Jackson, Barry Sanders, and the current one, Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson.

Finally, for the record, I’m not holding my breath on that rumored Mac-for-Tom swap started here today. But don’t forget to pass it on. And what’s the bet that if it happens the hipster dude Simms says he had it first?

From the ground up

UNH students send a biology experiment to space

A student team from University of New Hampshire Manchester is one of five student teams selected by NASA to send a project to the International Space Station in 2022. The NoMADS project — Novel Methods of Antibiotic Discovery in Space — will examine the mutation of soil bacteria in space and its potential for developing new antibiotics. Sydney Rollins ’20, ’22G and Raymond Miller ’21 co-lead the team, advised by Biology faculty member Suzanne Cooke.

What are your roles on the team?

Raymond: I head the science side of the project, so I’m in charge of developing the science background knowledge and leading the lab technicians and the overall laboratory execution of the process.

Sydney: I head the outreach part of it. As part of NASA’s requirements [for the program], we need to do a lot of outreach with our community and [include] involvement from schools, from kindergarten through high school.

How did you get involved in NoMADS?

S: We were both taking a class called “Small Microbial World” with Dr. Sue Cooke … and the aim of that class is to discover novel antibiotics from soil bacteria. … We both loved the class and asked Dr. Cooke if we could do research with her, and she agreed. Then, she saw this [NASA] opportunity in a science newsletter and thought it would be good experience for us to write a project proposal. We ended up getting accepted.

What kind of data are you looking to get from this experiment?

R: We want to look at how bacteria mutate in space. …We’ll be sending a soil sample and using a device called an AI chip to collect bacteria. … We’re hoping that, based on the microgravity effects and electromagnetic radiation effects [in space], we’ll be able to collect bacteria that can’t normally be collected in a laboratory [on Earth].

What is the ultimate goal?

S: Space travel is really growing right now, especially with commercial and civilian experiences and opportunities for space travel. … Inevitably, people going to space are going to get infections, and we need to know if we can treat them and how to treat them, because our current antibiotics don’t work very well in space. …There has been some research coming out recently about bacteria mutating at a different rate in space than on Earth, so we want to see if we can produce antibiotics through those mutations. … We could possibly find new antibiotic compounds that affect bacteria on Earth as well.

What are you working on right now, specifically?

R: We’re still in the beginning stages. Our launch window is tentatively [scheduled for] the spring of 2022, so we have some time. Right now we’re concentrating on background knowledge, figuring out what biological components we’re actually going to send up to space, and going through troubleshooting to make sure that our project will succeed once it’s on the ISS and out of our hands.

S: We’re also in the beginning stages of outreach. We’re developing a curriculum for … presentations that we’ll be [bringing to] schools starting in September, and we’re reaching out to schools now.

What do you expect will be the biggest challenge?

R: Figuring out how to get these bacteria back from space and keep them safe while we work through them on Earth.

What are you doing for the community engagement element?

S: We’ll visit schools, K through 12, and do an interactive presentation where students will learn about bacteria, antibiotic resistance and our experiment in space. There will also be a … competition [for] middle schoolers; they’ll assemble in teams … and submit proposals to us to select the location for [collecting] the soil that will go into space. … We’ll pick the winner, and [those students] will get to come with us to collect the soil and … come to our lab to do microbiology experiments on the soil sample with us. … After our experiment is over, the curriculum we’re developing will still be available [to schools], and [students] will be able to use it to meet their common core science standards.

What are you most excited about?

S: Involving the students and seeing them get excited about STEM.

R: Learning how to lead a team while developing science, and then teaching that science to my team.

Follow NoMADS
Visit or email The NoMADS team will be documenting its progress on social media (@unhm.spocs on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, and @unhm_spocs on Twitter).

Featured photo: The UNH Manchester NoMADS team. Left to right: Irma Vrevic, Ben Beane, Sydney Rollins, Dr. Sue Cooke, Raymond Miller, Nela Klonowski, Dianne Moschitta and Thomas Gerton. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 21/05/13

Covid-19 updateAs of May 3As of May 10
Total cases statewide95,50696,801
Total current infections statewide1,9791,492
Total deaths statewide1,3051,315
New cases1,571 (April 27 to May 3)1,295 (May 4 to May 10)
Current infections: Hillsborough County558474
Current infections: Merrimack County168114
Current infections: Rockingham County386304
Information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

Covid-19 news

During the state’s weekly public health update on May 6, state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan reported that New Hampshire has averaged between 200 and 250 new infections of Covid-19 per day in the last week, a decrease from the week prior. The number of active infections has also been on a slight decline, while the number of hospitalizations has been steady.

According to Dr. Beth Daly, Chief of the Bureau of Infectious Disease Control of the New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services, more than 1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have now been administered in the state, including to 725,000 people who have received their first dose. Of those, 505,000 people (just over a third of the state’s population) have now been fully vaccinated.

The state’s “Safer at Home” advisory, in place since June 2020, expired at midnight on May 7. In its place as of that date are now “universal best practices” guidance documents for state businesses. They can be viewed online at “There are no further requirements that we are going to be instituting for large gatherings,” Sununu said later during the press conference when asked about the new guidance documents. “[The best practices guidelines are] all-encompassing and just reminding folks of how they can keep themselves, their employees and their customers safe without the actual statewide-driven mandate.”

Also on May 7, Sununu issued Executive Order 2021-8, extending the state of emergency in New Hampshire due to the pandemic for another three weeks through at least May 28. It’s the 20th extension he has issued since declaring a state of emergency in March 2020.

Queen City ARP funds

Last week Mayor Joyce Craig released the results of a survey that asked Manchester residents how they want the city’s American Rescue Plan funds — about $44 million — to be spent. According to a press release, of the 159 residents who responded, nearly 32 percent want to spend the money on improving roads, connecting the rail trail, and promoting a more walkable and livable city. Approximately 28 percent said their top priority was affordable housing and assisting those in Manchester experiencing homelessness. Ten percent want to see education improvements, 10 percent want the money spent on downtown improvements and local businesses, and 7 percent want the funds to go to public health. As part of the survey, most respondents noted the social isolation, anxiety and financial impacts brought on by the pandemic, but nearly 24 percent also talked about the positive impact that the past year has brought: “It has slowed us down in a way where we value our local community and realize the dependencies we have on each other. We’ve learned to love our neighbors more and to support ALL the businesses and people that are working hard each day,” one resident wrote, according to the press release.

“The results of our community feedback survey show that our residents are ready to bounce back from this Covid-19 pandemic and address important issues like infrastructure, housing and education,” Craig said in the release.

Property tax relief

The New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration is once again offering low- and moderate-income homeowners the opportunity to apply for property tax relief, according to a press release. The Low and Moderate Income Homeowners Property Tax Relief program is now accepting applications through June 30. Eligible applicants are either single with adjusted gross income less than or equal to $20,000 or married or head of New Hampshire household with adjusted gross income less than or equal to $40,000, and have owned and resided in a home that is subject to the State Education Property Tax and resided in as of April 1, 2020. The application is available at or by calling 230-5001. Individual income tax returns must be submitted with the application.

Tax exemptions

On May 5, Mayor Joyce Craig and the Board of Assessors announced a change to tax exemptions that expands the eligibility requirements for elderly and disabled Manchester residents. According to a press release, income limits for this population are increasing from $37,000 to $41,000 for single individuals, and from $50,000 to $55,000 for married individuals. Asset limits are increasing from $90,000 to $100,000 for single individuals and $115,000 to $130,000 for married individuals. Elderly residents must be 65 or older as of April 1, must have been a resident of New Hampshire for three consecutive years on or before April 1, and must be the owner of record of the property in question. Disabled residents must be eligible for payments under Title II or Title XVI of the federal Social Security Act, must have been a New Hampshire resident for at least five years as of April 1, and must be the owner of record as of April 1. Residents who now qualify based on the expanded exemption have until Friday, June 18, to file an application and can call 624-6520 or visit

Education funding

Last week the Oyster River Cooperative and the Grantham school districts announced that they will join the school districts of Claremont, Fall Mountain, Hillsboro-Deering, Mascenic, Monadnock, Newport and Winchester as co-plaintiffs in ConVal School District’s lawsuit against the state over equitable education funding. According to a press release, the plaintiffs argue that the state does not meet its constitutional obligation to provide adequate funding for all students, saying that base adequacy — which provided $3,636 per student in all districts in 2019 — is not sufficient. In March, the Supreme Court of New Hampshire rejected the state’s request to dismiss the lawsuit. The case now goes back to Superior Court Judge David Ruoff, who will hold hearings allowing the plaintiffs to present evidence that the state underfunds education; an evidentiary hearing isn’t expected until the summer of 2022, according to the release.

The Centennial Hotel in Concord has been nominated for the annual Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, according to a press release, along with 30 other hotels and ski resorts in the state, most of which are in the White Mountains. The cities of Manchester and Concord were also nominated and will go up against the best in class for special recognition in the magazine’s November issue, the release said.

The historical Stone House in Hooksett will stay standing, the Hooksett Heritage Commission announced in a press release. RCA Holdings is not moving forward with plans to demolish the building and replace it with a storage facility, and the property is on the market again, for $675,000, the release said.

UpReach Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Goffstown is hosting a Community Horse Drive Thru on Saturday, May 15, from 10 to 11 a.m., according to a press release. Meet the nonprofit’s horses and horse handlers, whom you’ll be able to visit with right at your car window. To RSVP visit or call 497-2343.

Several properties have been added to the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places, including the Morrison House, circa 1760, in Londonderry, one of the oldest standing capes in town and the only surviving building from one of its earliest settled areas, according to a press release. Other properties include the Association Hall in Derry, Andover Town Hall and the Keene Unitarian Universalist Church.

Quality child care is critical

Imagine a world where parents go off to work and then know their kids are well cared for and safe. That’s my world. We’ve been lucky enough to find quality day care and have the means to pay for it. But not everyone is so fortunate.

Child care many times gets shunted aside as an afterthought in trying to build a more competitive country. But it’s critical.

One of the main issues that employers grapple with now is hiring parents who lack good and affordable child care. This is a double whammy. It prevents parents from getting the best jobs they can and prevents companies from hiring them. That’s one of the main problems the economy is facing now. As kids are stuck at home with a parent, that parent can’t go out and work. The labor market needs to expand and for that to happen there needs to be access to good quality childcare.

President Joe Biden’s recently proposed infrastructure plan tackles this child care issue by trying to expand the number of facilities, increasing pay to increase quality and helping parents pay for it with subsidies. Critics of the plan suggest that it should be more targeted to lower-income families and that the market should set the wages for day care providers. They may be right on some of those but at least we’re talking about child care as a key component of our country’s ability to compete internationally and make our economy stronger.

The key to any successful plan will be to use the existing private and nonprofit day care already out there and help them expand and help others enter the market with the necessary licensing. That’s also a key part of easing parents back into the workforce. We should be supporting professional child care providers who can demonstrate that they create a safe environment for our children.

New Hampshire already has a program that provides subsidies to low-income families. The hope is that, if Biden’s plan passes, it can supplement this program and get additional funding out to those who need it most quickly.

Some have complained that Americans aren’t starting enough small businesses. I agree. But it isn’t that people are suddenly not entrepreneurs. Look at all the people who have a side hustle. We’re surrounded by entrepreneurs. The problem is that these people need health insurance and child care and that’s hard to afford when you’re starting a business. Want to increase the number of entrepreneurs? Increase affordable health insurance and child care. That’s the real solution. It doesn’t need to be a hand out. It’s a hand up. And with the cost of health care and child care today, Granite Staters need a hand up to take that chance and be that entrepreneur.

Quality and affordable child care is vital to our national interests.

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