Quality of Life 21/09/16

All for the orangutans

A 10-year-old Manchester resident has been named a 2021 International Young Eco-Hero, one of 25 from around the world honored by international nonprofit Action for Nature for the steps they’re taking to solve environmental issues. According to a press release, Jack Dalton received a Notable Mention in the 8- to 14-year-old category for his project, Kid Conservationist, which aims to get orangutans off the endangered species list. Jack’s efforts include raising awareness about palm oil and the destruction of orangutan habitats, as well as raising funds for orangutan rehabilitation and rainforest restoration.

Score: +1

Comment: For his project, Jack contacts corporations to advocate for reduced use of palm oil, and he educates the public through his YouTube channel and through presentations to schools, zoos and museums across the globe, the release said.

First batch of West Nile-infected mosquitoes

A batch of mosquitoes collected Aug. 30 in Manchester tested positive for West Nile virus, the first in the state this year, according to a press release sent last week from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. This is not unusual, the release said, as some activity is expected each season. The department will continue testing mosquitoes until after the first frost or freeze of the season.

Score: -2 (-1 for West Nile and -1 for making us think about the first freeze)

Comment: At least there’s one good thing about the colder weather that’s on its way.

Drunk drivers on NH roads

From Aug. 18 through Sept. 6, local and state police arrested 65 people and charged them with driving while intoxicated. According to a press release, the enhanced efforts were part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over initiative, which targeted impaired drivers through education and enforcement. Police made nearly 8,000 motor vehicle stops, which resulted in the 65 DWI arrests, plus more than 3,000 citations and more than 4,750 warnings, the release said.

Score: -1

Comment: “That’s sixty-five people that could have seriously injured or killed themselves or someone else all because of the bad decision to get behind the wheel while impaired,” New Hampshire Department of Safety Commissioner Robert Quinn said in the release. “The right decision is to find alternative transportation and never drive impaired.”

Retiring farmers concerned for the future

A new study from Land For Good, a New Hampshire-based organization that addresses farm access, tenure and transfer, found that older farmers in New Hampshire are concerned about retirement and need help navigating the process of farm business succession. According to a press release, farmers 65 and older operate 30 percent of the state’s farms, managing 158,000 acres and owning a collective $628 million in land and agricultural infrastructure. Farmers who responded to the survey said they worry about the future of their farms due to factors like complicated family dynamics and issues around financial security and farm viability, as well as a lack of young operators working alongside the seniors.

Score: -1

Comment: Land For Good is hosting a two-day Farm Succession Training for Legal & Financial Professionals on Sept. 21 and Sept. 23 via Zoom. The cost is $225, but according to the release cost should not be a barrier to attending, and there are discounts and scholarships available. Visit landforgood.org/professional-training.

QOL score: 87

Net change: -3

QOL this week: 84

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

NFL storylines for 2021

We got a glimpse of what the 2021 football season will be like on TV all through Thursday’s season opener when Cris Collinsworth slobbered over Tom Brady from the opening kickoff to after Ryan Succop’s game-winning FG. Not that he doesn’t deserve high praise for playing like he’s still 27, but enough already. Because if the usually solid Collinsworth continues like this unabated through the entire season the Bucs kicker ain’t gonna be the only answering to the name suck-up.  

It continued ad nauseam on CBS Sunday from the pregame show to game’s end when all involved did everything but nominate Mac Jones for the Nobel prize. Again, a very encouraging Game 1 for Big Mac, but let’s pump the brakes a bit, please. That let us know that right behind Brady/Tampa Bay in the news caravan will be his former team/coach and their QB heir apparent. After that are a host of interesting stories that trail the first two by about the distance the runner-up finished behind Secretariat as he finished off his Triple Crown win at the Belmont in 1973.

Here are a few random observations on some of them as we head to Week 2. 

By the way, sorry, Cam, forget “Mac and Cheese.” I nominate Big Mac as a better nickname. More descriptive and the endorsement possibilities are endless.

I think the biggest Patriots story is not the kid, it’s can Coach B pull all the new pieces together quickly enough to reclaim the AFC East?

Brady’s bunch of stories: First, got to say that Crypto FTX commercial with Tom and Yoko was pretty good. From the local barkeep — “I wouldn’t take you back.” Brady — “yes you would.” Funny.

TB is now in Babe Ruth territory. Meaning when the Babe passed Roger Connor’s home run record in 1922 every time he hit one after that broke his own record. With No. 2 man Drew Brees now retired, it’ll be the same for Brady every time he throws a TD pass. With active leader Aaron Rodgers 173 behind Brady’s 585 he’ll break his own record every time he throws one for the rest of his career.
Brady will soon go by Brees’ 80,358 yards to become the all-time leader in career passing yards. And it’s possible that (gulp) the record could fall in Game 4 at Gillette. Fitting I suppose. But just don’t make it happen on a TD pass to win the game!     

To the ceaseless “what’s Mac’s ceiling?” chatter from the yakers. First tell us what you had for Brady’s ceiling in 2000. If you got his right I might listen. But no one got it right. Ditto for Joe Montana, Johnny UnitasBart Starr, Drew Brees, Brett Favre and Russell Wilson.

Just an idle thought watching Dak Prescott having a 400-yard passing day as he came back from an injury just as gruesome as the one suffered by Gordon Hayward a couple of years ago in the Celtics 2016 opener. It’s like he didn’t even remember it happened while it took Hayward a full playing season to mentally recover. Does that say something about football players vs. hoopsters or Zach’s mental toughness vs. Hayward’s lack of it? 

Tampa Bay is just the 6th SB winner to bring its entire team back for the next year. However, given that the 1992 Redskins were the last to do it, their feat is much harder to pull off having been the lone one done in the salary cap era.  

It’s more obvious by the game thatGronk needed that year off to rehab/refresh his body. He looked old and slow in 2018, but he was the nearly unstoppable real Gronk again on Thursday night. It makes me sadder to see him in a different uniform than Brady.  

An amazing unreported story is the QB turnover around the NFL where an astonishing 15 of the 32 teams will have a new Game 1 starter from 2020.  

Sorry, I’ll never get used to them being called the Las Vegas Raiders.    

Talk all you want about the five QB’s who got drafted but the Chargers QB Justin Herbert is likely to be the biggest breakout story among all the young QB’s.    

The saddest news of the week was the death of David Patten in a South Carolina motorcycle accident. He was a big contributor in the first three SB wins and huge in the run to the first title with TD catches vs. Pitt in the AFC title games and vs. the Rams in the SB. Gone too soon at 47. RIP.   

Predicted division winners: NFC: Washington, Minnesota, SF and TB. Wild card qualifiers:L.A., GB, Seattle. AFC:Buffalo, Tennessee, Cleveland, KC. Wild card qualifiers: NE, Pitt and Baltimore.      

MVP: Josh Allen. I’ll pat myself on the back for being the earliest guy I know of to say this guy has “it” when everyone else was saying he doesn’t after an uneven first year. Now among the league’s best.

Biggest wish for the season: Tampa Bay vs. New England in the Super Bowl. That would be the most anticipated SB since the first one.   

Bet of the year: With gambling now OK’d by the NFL, I’ll bet anyone out there that unless he gets injured and misses time Jones will surpass what Brady did statistically in 2001 when he threw for 2,843 yards and 18 TD’s in 2001 and I think the 86.3 QB rating is possible too.     

Back to Big Mac’s ceiling for a second. Here’s my take: See what I said about Josh Allen. Different game. Same result.

Turning the tables

New job app addresses restaurant hiring challenges

Kassandra Pike is the founder of Fliptable, a Vermont-based mobile app launched in New Hampshire last month that matches hiring restaurants with qualified job candidates.

How did you come up with the idea for Fliptable?

The concept came to fruition probably about two and a half years ago, just before Covid hit. I had a lot of restaurant experience growing up —that’s how I paid for my college tuition and books — and I had friends and family who owned inns and restaurants. … It was a natural segue … when I started traveling around the country as a business consultant, helping startup companies enter the market, I would always hear from restaurants that they had a problem finding qualified [workers] in a way that was also conducive to their very busy schedules.

How does it work?

The app has two interfaces: one for job seekers and one for restaurants. … If you’re a restaurant, you download the Fliptable app, available on the Apple store and Google Play Store, and let the app know that you’re hiring. … You create your profile … with the name of your restaurant and its geographic location. You [indicate] what roles you’re looking for by selecting tags, like ‘bartender,’ ‘dishwasher,’ ‘front-of-house manager,’ ‘back-of-house manager.’ Then, job seekers who match those tags get matched with you, and you get to determine if you like that candidate, or if you want to pass on them. The restaurant also has the ability to do an ‘instant interview,’ which means if they find a candidate who they really like, that candidate gets an instant notification on their phone, letting them know that a restaurant is interested in interviewing them. From there, the restaurant and job seeker can coordinate a scheduled time to conduct an interview or for that candidate to come in and start working right away.

How does it appeal to restaurants?

Restaurant hiring managers are often so busy that getting them to stop and read resumes or interview a candidate is really challenging, even when they really need the help. I’ve witnessed and experienced this myself time and time again. … When you post a job on Craigslist or Indeed or Ziprecruiter … you pay for clicks and views and people to apply. … You could get 100 resumes and not a single one of them is a good fit, so you just spent all this time and money and you still don’t have a qualified candidate. Restaurants that download the Fliptable app spend less than a tenth of the cost and a tenth of the time [on hiring] because they … have complete control over the hiring process. … They can communicate and [schedule] interviews with job seekers from within the app … so they know what kind of qualified candidates are coming through the door.

How does it appeal to job seekers?

Anyone who has ever tried to get a job at a restaurant knows that getting a hold of the manager or assistant manager is pretty challenging, because oftentimes that person is wearing so many hats, and they’re not at their desk. … If they … walk into the restaurant and … speak to the manager, the manager tells them, ‘Here are the roles that are open; send us your resume.’ The job seeker creates their resume and goes back to the restaurant … and nine times out of 10 the manager isn’t there, so [the job seeker] is just kind of leaving their resume on the bar and hoping that someone gets it and reads it. There’s no meaningful connection [regarding] whether they could get a job. … Fliptable [helps them] create that connection.

Was there a need for an app like Fliptable even before the pandemic?

Attrition and hiring in the restaurant industry has always been a challenge; it just so happened that we also had this pandemic hit during the early development of the app, and now restaurants and job seekers, specifically in the food and beverage industry, need a product like this more than ever.

How does it address the needs of the restaurant industry in New Hampshire specifically?

The Granite State [values] local … and [the app] is very much local. … If [a restaurant] has a question, they get a response right away from their designated account specialist … who is a local. … They like that there’s a restaurant hiring tool with local reps who care … and who know their name, know where they’re located and likely have met them. That’s something that Indeed and Ziprecruiter won’t be able to touch.

What would you like to accomplish with Fliptable in the long term?

I would like it to be the No. 1 [hiring] solution that restaurants across the state of New Hampshire are using. We’re getting closer and closer to that every day. … In just one month’s time, we have more than 55 restaurants [using it] throughout the state of New Hampshire, and about 160 restaurants throughout the country. … We’re doing the best we can to be creative, to really rebuild this restaurant community from where it is now. … I’m very optimistic about restaurants making it through this [pandemic era]. I think the ones that do make it are going to be the ones that are using creative hiring solutions, and Fliptable is that creative hiring solution.

Featured photo: Kassandra Pike. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 21/09/16

Covid-19 update As of Sept. 3 As of Sept. 13
Total cases statewide 108,713 112,326
Total current infections statewide 3,120 3,437
Total deaths statewide 1,426 1,443
New cases 1,239 (Aug. 31 to Sept. 3) 3,613 (Sept. 4 to Sept. 13)
Current infections: Hillsborough County 847 879
Current infections: Merrimack County 304 415
Current infections: Rockingham County 700 762
Information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

Covid-19 news

As of Sept. 13, there were 3,437 active infections of Covid-19 in New Hampshire and 154 current hospitalizations. All 10 counties still showed substantial transmission levels.

In an effort to combat the surging delta variant, President Joe Biden on Sept. 9 announced a mandate that employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or get tested for the virus weekly. Gov. Chris Sununu was critical of the mandate, calling it “overreaching” in a statement issued Sept. 13. “I am working directly with my fellow governors to see how best we can push back against this federal overreach,” Sununu said. “I am as pro-vaccine as it gets, but I do not support this mandate from Washington as it is not the answer.”

The recent pandemic surge has already affected high school football in New Hampshire, forcing the postponements of at least three games in the state just two weeks into the season, according to WMUR. Manchester Central High School has suspended all football activities for 10 days after several players tested positive for the virus, while Newfound Regional High School in Bristol and Kearsarge High School in North Sutton also had to cancel. Cases have all the while continued to climb in young people — according to a Sept. 13 report from WMUR, nearly a quarter of all 337 new cases reported on Sept. 10 were in children younger than 18 years of age.

Economic development

The City of Manchester announced last week that it is going to hire a Director of Economic Development, a new position that the community and business leaders have been asking for, Mayor Joyce Craig said in a press release. “The Economic Development Director will oversee Manchester’s overall economic development by not only supporting our existing business community, but by working to bring more employers into the city, and bolstering our community’s economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said in the release. The director will work with the city, the business community and local stakeholders to create and implement an economic development strategy for Manchester. The new position, along with a Business Liaison, was funded through federal American Rescue Plan funds, and the salary ranges from $72,061.70 to $102,742.87, depending on experience, plus benefits.

Expenses relief

A Covid-19 Expenses Relief Program was launched last week by the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery to assist New Hampshire for-profit Main Street businesses with Covid-related expenses in 2020 and 2021, according to a press release. “Thousands of New Hampshire small businesses have been helped through our state programs to address the economic impacts of Covid-19,” Commissioner Taylor Caswell, executive director of GOFERR, said in the release. “We realize, however, that as many small businesses have continued to adapt their operations throughout the pandemic many remain in need of financial assistance.” Reimbursement applications will be accepted until Oct. 1 on the GOFERR website. Eligible expenses include costs incurred while closed due to Covid, like prorated rent, mortgage payments and utilities; costs incurred as a result of reopening, such as PPE and installation of physical safety measures, and increased costs of doing business as a result of Covid, like HVAC improvements, creation or addition of indoor or outdoor space for social distancing and increased costs due to supply chain disruptions or increased demand, the release said.

Eviction services

The New Hampshire Circuit Court has expanded its collaboration with the New Hampshire Emergency Rental Assistance Program following the end of the CDC eviction moratorium.

According to a press release, the federally funded rental assistance program can pay for up to 15 months of back and future rent, utilities and other housing-related expenses for eligible tenants. At the courthouse, landlords and tenants will be able to start applications for rental assistance, provide documents necessary to complete existing applications, get updates on application status, and ask questions about the program. Those who bring all the required documentation to court may be able to get approved for assistance on the spot. To apply online, landlords and tenants in Rockingham and Hillsborough counties can go to snhs.org, while those in other counties can go to capnh.org or call 2-1-1.

VLACS in demand

New Hampshire’s Virtual Learning Academy Charter School is struggling to keep up with the demand for its online learning services this fall, according to a report from NHPR. The program grew last year in response to the number of students who wanted to stay fully remote but had limited options through their local public school, the report said. But despite public schools fully reopening this fall, enrollment at VLACS has continued to rise. VLACS CEO Steve Kossakoski told NHPR that enrollment has increased nearly 50 percent from this time last year, with more than 7,300 students in grades K-12. That demand, plus glitches with software upgrades, has caused problems for families who are still waiting to fully enroll or start classes, and they’re struggling to access classes and customer service, NHPR reported. Kossakoski told NHPR that the school has increased personnel, but it may take a few more weeks to resolve the issues. VLACS is free to students and gets its funding from the state, which pays about $6,000 per student or about $500 per half-credit class, according to the report.

Be prepared

With September being National Preparedness Month, the New Hampshire Department of Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has been promoting one area of preparedness each week. This week its emphasis is on winter storms, while Sept. 19 through Sept. 25 will be on hurricanes and tornadoes, and Sept. 16 through Sept. 30 will focus on power outages. To prepare for all such instances, the department urges residents to stay informed by signing up for NH Alerts or downloading the NH Alerts mobile app to receive free emergency notifications, including weather alerts from the National Weather Service; having a family emergency plan so everyone knows where to go and what to do; making an emergency kit with supplies for the entire family; and getting involved in preparedness efforts in your community. Visit ReadyNH.gov.

The New Hampshire Highland Games returns to Loon Mountain in Lincoln this weekend with heavy athletics competitions, entertainment, food and activities celebrating Scottish culture. The three-day event, which normally attracts around 35,000 attendees, limited its capacity this year as a Covid safety precaution, and tickets are now completely sold out, according to the event’s Facebook page.

Who couldn’t use a SNHUG? The Southern New Hampshire Ukulele Group is holding its 6th annual SNHUGFEST on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 11 a.m. on the River Stage at Henry Law Park in Dover. According to a press release, the free festival features ukulele performances, food vendors, raffle prizes and more.

Take a Water Walk at Greeley Park in Nashua on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. According to a press release, the walk will benefit the Thank You Project, which builds wells in Nigeria and offers scholarships to students. Walkers who pledge $25 or more will get a Water Walk T-shirt. Visit thankyouproject.org.

ThinkGym, a new after-school enrichment program in Windham, is opening soon and will be offering science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) enrichment for children in kindergarten to grade 8. According to a press release, there will be open houses Wednesday, Sept. 22, from 7 to 8 p.m., and Friday, Sept. 24, from 5 to 6 p.m. Visit mythinkgym.com.

A taller woodpile

Over the years we were colleagues, my friend was a gifted and visionary leader in his field. To whatever task he put his hand, he always promised “to leave the woodpile a little higher than [he] found it.” He succeeded admirably and his retirement was well-deserved. To retirement as well he set the same goal, namely to take full advantage of the time and, in the words of Robert Kennedy, “to make gentle the life of this world.” That, too, he did when he published a book of reflections on life in the region in which he and his wife had settled.

It was a shock, then, when the news came that my friend had entered a memory care facility. I knew then that our long conversations about the books we were reading, the events of the day, and the state of things generally, and especially the ways of Mother Nature at this critically changing time, were to be no more.

Not able now to hear his voice, I turned instead to his printed words, and these spoke even more forcefully and compellingly that when first I had read them, though at the time of that reading, many of his observations were underlined, to wit:

“It is in weathering that knowledge comes to the heart.”

“Love is a long gift in a hard season.”

“We are either solitary by nature and search for community, or are inherently communal and long for solitude.”

“Then, too, I am among that last generation that will have lived a full lifetime with the printed page. Everything is in electronic form today. My bookcase of old friends is already a museum of obsolete technology.”

“That memory fades is a blessing the moving sun bestows that otherwise would trap all we know in shadow and a single sounding of the bell.”

My mornings, like those of friends I know, begin with a quiet time. “Meditation” would be too grand a term. That half hour serves, as my late mother-in-law was fond of describing, as “the rudder of the day.” It is now my friend’s little book of reflections that gives the jump-start to my musings. He would approve of that, most certainly. I wish I could tell him so.

Ultimately, my friend puts it all in context: “Only that nature harms and heals alike — self serene, and without regret or praise.” He has truly accomplished his mission: the woodpile is taller.

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