Brady returns to Gillette

The Brady Bowl finally arrives Sunday night at the razor, though with a little bit of the luster gone after twin disasters last Sunday. The media is making a big deal of it as usual, but for me given all the Super Bowl wins, big games to get to those SB’s, the Manning-vs.-Brady games and even a few with the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets, it’s hard to rank what the most anticipated game has been since the Patriots became worth following every Sunday over the last three decades.   

If it’s for being driven by off-field drama like this, the Brady Bowl doesn’t top Bill Parcells’ first visit to Foxboro after defecting to be the HC of the NYJ’s microseconds after the Pats got creamed by the Packers in SB 31. Thanks to his one foot out the door, ah, effort during SB week everyone in the stadium was out for blood that night because Tuna was viewed as the villain who had ignited the border. Sunday will be the exact opposite where TB-12 will be treated like a hero coming home from war. And after he does the aw-shucks routine, even those on the Coach B side of the “Was it Brady or Belichick?” debate will be happy to see him. And, after all the thrills he gave us, why wouldn’t they? So there won’t be any sports hate Sunday and that’s a vital ingredient for great drama.

So what we actually have to all but the anti-Bill crowd is more like a college homecoming game with people on hand looking to see old friends like Brady and the great Rob Gronkowski. Here’s the skinny on that.

The basics: After respective bad games last Sunday the Bucs enter at 2-1, with the local 11 coming in 1-2 and the natives getting restless.

Big Mac: The big yack coming in from those looking to knock his early-season play is about not throwing the ball down field. Really? Then consider this Rookie Tom vs. Rookie Mac comparison. In the first five games Brady started in 2001 he threw for 167, 86, 334, 202, 206 with no TD passes or picks. In the first two he threw for 253 to Big Mac’s 476 while completing 59 percent of his passes to Mac’s 73 percent. Both were 1-1 with each losing to Miami. Brady by 20 (30-10), Mac by 1 and only after he’d gotten them inside the 10 with three minutes left before a fumble killed it. Thanks to awful protection and two drops that turned into picks, Sunday was a rough one for Mac, which was similar to Brady’s 4-picks loss to Denver in Week 5. But he’s being brought along exactly like Brady, and how’d that turn out?    

Gronk: Before getting drilled in the ribs on Sunday he looked like vintage Gronk scoring 2 TD’s in each of his previous three games. I’m not sure why, but it makes me sadder to see him in another uniform than Brady. And not just because the Hunter Henry-Jonnu Smith combo has hardly resembled the dynamic Gronk-Hernandez double tight end duo.

Brady: Even with Sunday’s loss he’s already thrown for 10 TD passes and over 1,000 yards, 432 of which came against the Rams’ stingy defense. So beware because at 44 he looks as good as he did when he was 27.

Coach B: I wish this game came closer to the end of November after all the new guys had played together in the system a little more, as it’s obvious everyone is not quite on the same page as yet. Even so, I can’t wait to see what the game plan is. Forget what Bill does to rookie QB’s; we get to see the plan against a guy he’s seen play over 200 times. If that hasn’t shown him where to attack nothing will.

Outside noise: The Brady camp was heard from in the lead-up. I don’t know about you but I’m a little tired of old man Brady. Yapping about his son’s vindication is a little like a guy barking before halftime arrives when he should be waiting until the game is over. On the other hand business partner Alex Guerrero is dead right about why the split happened in saying “Bill never evolved” because even though you want everyone to be treated alike you just can’t treat a 44-year-old 20-year veteran the same as a 24-year-old kid — it just doesn’t work. That’s definitely on Bill. Alex must read this column because that’s exactly what I said when the relationship started to rupture during the summer of 2017. 


Defense game plan: The two teams that had the greatest success against TB-12 while here were, as you know, the (gulp) G-Men under Tom Coughlin and the Ravens when Tex Rex Ryan was there. Both ran pressure up the middle to try and push the pocket in his face with the DB’s pressing on the short routes to make him hold it longer. I expect something similar, though since he/the Bucs probably expect that, only time will tell whether it works.

Offense game plan: Unless they fix the protection issues they’ve had all year on the offensive line it won’t matter. But I think they’re going to play action pass early to attack TB’s injury-riddled secondary and try to slow down its very good front seven.   

Key to the game: (1) Pressure on Brady. (2) Protect Jones — so it would be a good idea for all you Catholics out there to say an extra novena for the return of Trent Brown from his injured calf muscle. (3) Hit some shots down the field to Nelson Agholor. (4) Win the turnover battle — short fields help struggling teams and Brady eats them alive.

Outcome: After last week both teams need to win, though the Pats need it worse. Heart says Pats 18-16. Head says TB 31-16.

Reviving the river

Work begins on whitewater park in Franklin

After six years of planning, construction on New England’s first whitewater park is underway on the Winnipesaukee River in Franklin, with the first of three water features expected to be completed in December. The new park also includes a land-based portion, Mill City Park at Franklin Falls, which opened to the public in June. Marty Parichand, founder and executive director of Mill City Park at Franklin Falls, discussed the project, including the park’s features and what makes it unique.

What is the historic and geographic significance of the park?

The mills gave Franklin a reason to exist. They were churning out products and [provided] jobs and opportunity for people. … The river drains Lake Winnipesaukee, which is a ton of water … and it drops pretty steeply into downtown, so as a mill town Franklin relied on that river. … When the mills ended, [the town] turned their back on the river [because] it was no longer the economic engine of the town. … What’s interesting about Mill City Park is the juxtaposition between nature and [the mills] that used to be there. … New Hampshire does a really good job with preserving natural beauty — places like the White Mountains and Bear Brook State Park — but in Mill City Park, you have nature taking that site back.

What activities will people be able to do on the water?

It’s not like a place with water slides or an infinity pool or anything like that. The whitewater features aren’t built for running whitewater rapids; they’re built for playing and surfing inside of the river. Because the water comes down the river from Lake Winnipesaukee, we don’t have to wait for water from other places, so you’ll be able to surf inside the river 365 days a year. … We’ve engineered three different whitewater features: two for people on boogie boards and whitewater kayaks to sit in one location, and [one] that’s a wave feature for people on surfboards.

What can people do at Mill City Park?

Mill City Park was based on an idea for a free 13-acre adventure park. It includes a parking lot, about three quarters of a mile of trails and historic viewing spots of [mill] ruins, the trestle bridge, the upside-down covered bridge and the graffiti wall. … We’re still planning to build a bathhouse and a timber-frame pavilion in the upcoming year.

Is there anything else like this in New Hampshire?

No. There are 300 whitewater parks across the country, but not one in New England.

How will the park benefit the city of Franklin?

It’s free outdoor recreation, a place where the public can interact with the river. … It’s a fun place to sit down, watch [water sports], play or have lunch. … It gives people [a reason] to come here and [patronize[ the downtown businesses. It’s increasing the value of our town, attracting more businesses [and] developers here. … [The park] isn’t even fully built yet, and there’s already been a positive impact on the community.

What inspired you to start this project?

I had a good-paying job as an engineer … but I wasn’t around much for my kids, and I was always preoccupied or thinking about work. One day I woke up and realized I wasn’t doing the things in life that I really cared about. I [thought] about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and decided that I wanted to really prioritize having fun while making a positive impact. I love spending time on the water. I’ve been around whitewater since 2000, and I’ve seen how it brings people together. I’ve seen how vibrant towns and cities that have this free outdoor amenity can be. … Now I live in Franklin, and I really wanted to see that in my town.

What’s the next step?

This year we’re building a pedestrian walkway, an amphitheatre and one of the whitewater features. We’re hoping to have construction on those done in December.

Featured photo: Marty Parichand. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 21/09/30

Covid-19 update As of Sept. 20 As of Sept 27
Total cases statewide 115,401 118,706
Total current infections statewide 3,769 3,595
Total deaths statewide 1,458 1,476
New cases 3,075 (Sept. 14 to Sept. 20) 3,305 (Sept. 21 to Sept. 27)
Current infections: Hillsborough County 932 1,038
Current infections: Merrimack County 431 447
Current infections: Rockingham County 719 715
Information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

Covid-19 news

As of Sept. 27 there were 3,595 active infections of Covid-19 statewide and 143 current hospitalizations. All 10 counties remain at substantial levels of community transmission.

On Sept. 22 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized single booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for certain populations, including for people over 65, as well as for those with underlying health conditions and who are regularly exposed to the virus, according to a press release. Booster doses can now be administered at least six months after receiving the second shot. “This pandemic is dynamic and evolving, with new data about vaccine safety and effectiveness becoming available every day,” Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement. “As we learn more about the safety and effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines … we will continue to evaluate the rapidly changing science and keep the public informed.”

With steadily climbing infection and hospitalization rates in the state, the New Hampshire Hospital Association issued a press release on Sept. 24 signed by dozens of health care professionals renewing their calls to get vaccinated, to wear a mask in indoor settings where social distancing is not possible, and to stay home when you are not feeling well. “There is no one solution that can completely eliminate the risk of spreading Covid-19, but when layered together, these interventions will have a significant impact,” the press release read in part.

Motion denied

On Sept. 27, the Hillsborough County Southern District Superior Court denied a motion to require that New Hampshire reinstate the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program and dismissed the case. According to a press release from the Office of the Governor, the state had announced it would be ending participation in the enhanced federal unemployment benefits over four months ago and gave citizens over a month’s notice to prepare for the termination as was required by the United States Department of Labor. According to the release, the court noted that “the plaintiffs have not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their claims because neither of the statutes on which they rely require the defendants to act. … Moreover, because all of the plaintiffs’ claims for relief are premised on flawed interpretations of RSA 282-A:127, I and 15 U.S.C. § 9021(c), the Court further finds that the plaintiffs cannot succeed on the merits of their claims as a matter of law. In other words, the plaintiffs have failed to state claims for which relief may be granted.” Gov. Chris Sununu thanked the court in a statement following the decision and said that “The New Hampshire Department of Employment Security has done a phenomenal job throughout the pandemic assisting out-of-work Granite Staters receive benefits and find work, and this ruling will allow them to continue helping our citizens unobstructed as we move forward.”

Economic support

The first two of the four planned Collaborative Economic Development Regions in New Hampshire have been established to promote economic expansion post-pandemic, according to a press release from the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs. The regions were created as part of the state’s Economic Recovery and Expansion Strategy and will help facilitate collaboration among economic development partners with business retention and attraction; workforce development; entrepreneurship; infrastructure and business advocacy. “While the pandemic has taken a significant toll on the Granite State, New Hampshire has proven resilient,” BEA Commissioner Taylor Caswell said in the release. “CEDRs are an intentional approach that builds an infrastructure for the state’s entities to work together and deliver on our collective missions to support those employers.”

$10 million, found

Between November 2016 and July 2021 more than $10 million was located for New Hampshire residents who used the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Life Policy Locator tool, according to a press release from the New Hampshire Insurance Department. More than 1,000 consumers in the state searched for deceased relatives’ policies. Christopher Nicolopoulos, commissioner of the New Hampshire Insurance Department, said in the release that finding life insurance policies can be a challenge. “The Lost Policy Locator Tool is a powerful resource that has helped New Hampshire residents settle important details of the estates of deceased friends and family members,” he said.

Associated Grocers of New England’s distribution facility in Pembroke was scheduled to cut the ribbon on a new 1,292-kilowatt solar array on Sept. 29. According to a press release, the 3,400 solar panels are expected to generate more than 1,450,000 kilowatt-hours of clean energy every year, which is the equivalent of planting 17,000 trees or removing 224 cars from the road each year.

Granite United Way coordinated a Volunteer Day at two camps in Bedford last week. According to a press release, on Sept. 23 volunteers from several local companies, including Geneia, Enterprise and McLane Middleton, spent time at Camp Kettleford and Camp Allen working on end-of-season projects like landscaping and painting.

Members of the Manchester Garden Club recently planted fall flowers at several locations around the city: the Manchester Historic Association, the Manchester City Library and the Mary Gale Apartments. According to a press release, the club was established in 1933.

The Nashua Regional Planning Commission is holding a Household Hazardous Waste Collection on Saturday, Oct. 2, from 8 a.m. to noon at the Nashua City Park & Ride at 25 Crown St., according to a press release. Residents of Amherst, Brookline, Hollis, Hudson, Litchfield, Merrimack, Milford, Mont Vernon, Nashua, Pelham and Windham. There is a $15 user fee per vehicle, with additional charges for waste that exceeds 10 gallons or 20 pounds. Visit for a complete list of accepted items.

Homelessness in Manchester

I have written on several occasions in this column about my work with Fellowship Housing Opportunities in Concord. This nonprofit provides safe, affordable housing and services to people suffering from long-term mental health issues. I am proud to serve as its Board President, and I am a strong advocate of the role that it plays in the Concord community, recognizing that without this nonprofit there would likely be 63 additional people in Concord classified as “homeless.”

I also wear a business owner’s hat as a property owner in downtown Manchester. Our corporate offices are in a commercial office building in the center of downtown, just a block off Elm Street. Since employees returned to the office from a work-at-home environment, they are faced with finding trash, used needles, human waste, stolen bicycles and other items left behind. It is not uncommon to see a homeless person use the property’s gardens as a personal restroom in broad daylight. Repeated calls have been made to the Manchester Health Department, the police, and directly to Mayor Craig’s office. To date, little has happened to resolve the impact on our property.

The city and state have been regularly evicting the homeless from various camps throughout Manchester. With each eviction, this population relocates. While services are offered, and a majority of the homeless do reside in shelters provided by several nonprofits, many choose not to. Homelessness is a complex issue that requires a multi-faceted solution. Some homeless people have temporarily fallen on hard times, and with a little assistance will get back on their feet. Some have addiction and mental health issues and require a broader spectrum of support in addition to housing and financial.

I am dedicated to the mission of Fellowship Housing. I recognize we are but a cog in the wheel in dealing with a worsening situation. As a business and property owner there is also recognition that this burden is too big for nonprofits to bear alone. It is time for Manchester to develop a comprehensive plan to ensure that this population is properly cared for. Shuffling homeless people from property to property is not a solution and is negatively impacting those in need as well as the quality of life for those who call Manchester home, including business and property owners.

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