The week that was

The Big Story: It’s that time of year again, when the NCAA Tournament sticks its head out of the gopher hole to say spring is on the way. With brackets busted all over America it’s a very familiar sight. But with Duke, Kentucky and Kansas out already and North Carolina not even invited, it’s not your mother’s tournament.

The biggest story of course was Fairleigh Dickinson becoming the second 16-seed to knock off a 1-seed with a 62-58 upset of Purdue on Friday. But, alas, that Cinderella story (17th at Augusta) was ended on Sunday by Florida Atlantic. The fun starts again on Thursday.

Sports101: Five players have been named Most Outstanding Player multiple times at the Final Four. Name them.

Thumbs Down: To the NCAA for banning former NE-10 member Merrimack from the tournament even though they earned it because they hadn’t been in Division I long enough since moving from D-II.

Thumbs Up: To the NCAA for banning Merrimack from the tournament because that let undeserving FDU in before it knocked off 1-seed Purdue.

News Item – Pats Free Agency Creates Local Buzz: The natives were pretty restless as one desirable name after another came off the board amid news Miami had traded for All-Pro DB Jalen Ramsey and the Jets were close to trading for Aaron Rodgers to fill their gaping hole at quarterback, as the Pats were letting their leading receiver Jakobi Meyers walk away to play for Josh McDaniels in Vegas. But things picked up later in the week with two solid signings of JuJu Smith-Schuster to step in as the new slot receiver and ex-Miami tight end Mike Gesicki. Smith-Schuster is an upgrade over the reliable Meyers because he is a much better runner after the catch, which is something they need improvement on. Gesicki gives a solid receiving second tight end who caught 71 passes in 2021 before taking a back seat after Tyreek Hill joined the offense last year.

Also added was a tackle few have heard of or were enthused about, Riley Reiff, an 11-year vet who came over from the porous Chicago Bears 2022 line. The good news is he’s been pretty durable and an upgrade over the penalty-plagued black hole right tackle was last year. Plus it will let them not have to force feed the tackle they’ll likely take in the draft. I’m not as enthused as most over the signing of running back James Robinson because I think letting Damien Harris leave is a mistake.

The best re-sign was keeping top corner Jonathan Jones at reasonable money. The best addition by subtraction was saying so long to Nelson Agholor and mercifully trading away Jonnu Smith.

News Item – Herrion Out As UNH Hoop Coach: After a hard-to-believe 18 years as head man Bill Herrion is out as basketball coach at the U. He leaves with a 227-303 career mark, which makes him the winningest coach in school history and the coach with the second most losses.

ESPN First Take Argument of the Week – Should the Jets give up the 13th overall pick for Aaron Rodgers? Stephen A. Blowhard says yes because the NYJ haven’t been to the postseason since 2010 or to the SB since 1968 and are on the doorstep, so go for it. Bart Scott says no because first-round picks are to be with a team through two contracts. I’m with Stephen A. because while I’m not a big fan of Rodgers and it doesn’t guarantee anything, they are basically in the same spot Tampa Bay was in three years ago. They had the pieces in place but were killed by their play at QB. Enter Tom Brady. The Jets were even worse at QB last year than TB. Plus a SB win is worth losing a first-round pick. Just ask the Rams, who gave up a lot more to get Matthew Stafford.

The Numbers

9 – hard to believe number of years UConn had not gotten to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 until it got there with two wins over the weekend.

37 – billboards posted around New England by Devin McCourty to say thanks to fans upon his retirement in an exhibition of his class to the end.

Unsolicited Opinion of the Week: Here’s my suggestion for who UNH could consider for their basketball vacancy: one time-SNHU coach on the floor/star Bino Ranson. He has 10 years experience recruiting in the Big 10 and ACC, with strong ties to mid-Atlantic talent and in the Midwest while an assistant at Maryland and now DePaul. Great kid, solid guy and knows New Hampshire, having lived while playing at SNHU in college.

Do you suppose any of the $33 million Meyers got from Las Vegas was a bonus for the crazy lateral he threw that handed the Raiders the win vs. the Pats in Vegas last year?

How self-involved do you have to be to think your husband got traded because his head coach wasn’t invited to his wedding? That’s what WNBA’er Kelsey Plum claims is why Vegas HC Josh McDaniels sent her new husband Darren Waller to the G-Men for a third-round pick less than a month after the pair got married. Couldn’t be because he’s gone from 107 catches in 2020 to 55 to 28 last year while making $17 million per, could it?

Sport 101 Answer: Bob Kurland, Oklahoma State (185, 46); Alex Groza, Kentucky (48, 49); Jerry Lucas, Ohio State (60, 61); Lew Alcindor, UCLA (67, 68, 69); Bill Walton, UCLA (72, 73).

A Little History; After playing in the NBA for two seasons when he was Rookie of the Year in 1949-50, Groza was banned for life after being implicated in a point-shaving scandal during his senior season at Kentucky.

Email Dave Long at

More dancers

New program seeks to help dancers get on stage

Joan Brodsky, founder of New Hampshire Dance Collaborative, talked about a new program to expand opportunities for New Hampshire dancers.

What is New Hampshire Dance Collaborative?

I’m a former dancer, and when I retired I opened a Pilates studio in Bedford. I’ve always felt that dance is a very vital part of the human condition, and it was always a really important part of how I did my Pilates work. As time went by, I became increasingly worried about the fact that, although we have some nice dancers in the state, we have no real vehicle for them to dance — not a big audience, and not a lot of financial support. … I ended up doing this really fun pop-up art show with [other artists]. We had photography and sculpture and music, and I brought in dancers. I saw the audience really tune in [to the dance performance], and I found that exciting. I thought that maybe this is the ingredient that has been needed — a small dose of dance in a social setting, where it’s intimate and real. I went on to form a nonprofit, New Hampshire Dance Collaborative. … We bring dance to artistic venues and cultural and educational institutions … [like] the Currier {Museum of Art], the gallery at SNHU and Canterbury Shaker Village … with the goal of providing fun, creative gigs for dancers, and exposing people who would otherwise be pretty limited [in exposure to dance] to all ranges of dance, from contemporary to ballet to hip-hop.

What is the New Hampshire Dance Accelerator program, and how did you come up with the idea?

In August I started thinking that I really needed a more developed, concrete product to strengthen and formulate my goals … and [facilitate] marketing and donations, because the arts can feel very esoteric to many people. That’s how I decided to do this accelerator. … For the accelerator, New Hampshire Dance Collaborative will invest up to $10,000 directly in accelerating [dancers]. … I’m also going to be providing dancers with artistic coaching and mentorship, help with grant writing, help with ticket sales and things like that.

What kinds of costs will the Accelerator help to offset?

These dancers have so much energy to create dance [and can] pay for the studio and rehearsal time; they just can’t afford the theater rentals, and paying dancers is very expensive. Up until now, I’ve been assuming some of those costs. … You could pay, like, $2,500 to rent a [performance] space. Then you have to pay the dancers; many of these dancers are so hungry for an opportunity that they will dance for very little [compensation]. They should be paid for rehearsals, but if they aren’t paid for rehearsals, then at the very least they should be paid $500 for their performance. If you have 12 dancers, and you’re paying $500 per dancer, plus the $2,500 for the theater, plus the costs of having social media and marketing done, you can see how cost-prohibitive it is.

Are there any other programs like this for dancers?

I did some looking around and Googled “dance accelerators,” and as far as I know, no, there’s nothing, at least not in New England.

Who is a candidate for the program?

I’m working on developing the eligibility requirements and creating an application now. … It could be dance companies or solo artists. They should be based in New Hampshire; all dance companies travel, so I will help to support that a little bit, but my main focus, because I have limited resources, is to build the dance environment in New Hampshire. … They should have an established product that’s ready for market — for a dance company, that means having a repertory of original choreography and a group of dancers who know the work well, and for a solo artist, that means having an established style of dance and a target audience — and a rudimentary business plan.

What is your long-term vision for the program?

New Hampshire is still ripe grounds for dance; there are few opportunities for dancers here. I used to look at that as a bummer, but now I look at it as an opportunity to create a really unique ecosystem of dance here. I want [to accelerate] dancers who are doing interesting and transformative things. Some are using dance for political or social activism work. Some are bringing dance into schools. Those are the dancers I want to work with. I’m interested in fostering innovative ideas. We have many new Americans throughout the state … who have cultural dance forms. … In 10 years from now, if I had my dream, there would be more dance in New Hampshire on all kinds of levels: dance supported by the state, dance in schools, therapeutic use of dance, dance companies having regular seasons at theaters.

To make a donation to support the New Hampshire Dance Accelerator program, or if you are a dancer who is interested in applying, visit

Featured photo: Joan Brodsky. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 23/03/23

A wrap on ski season?

This weekend may be your final chance to hit the slopes as many southern New Hampshire ski resorts are projected to close for the season. Sunday, March 26, is the last day to ski at McIntyre Ski Area (50 Chalet Way, Manchester, 622- 6159,, Crotched Mountain Resort (615 Francestown Road, Bennington, 588-3668, and Pats Peak Ski Area (686 Flanders Road, Henniker, 428-3245,, according to the ski areas’ websites. You may get few more weeks on the slopes if you head up north; Gunstock Mountain Resort (719 Cherry Valley Road, Gilford, 293-4341, closes on Sunday, April 2; Mount Sunapee (1398 Route 103, Newbury, 763-3500, and Bretton Woods (99 Ski Area Road, Bretton Woods, 278-3320, close on Sunday, April 9, and Loon Mountain (60 Loon Mountain Road, Lincoln, 745-8111, expects to stay open through Sunday, April 16.

Heating help

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP) has been approved to receive an additional $4.2 million in federal funding, the New Hampshire Congressional delegation announced in a press release. LIHEAP funds New Hampshire’s Fuel Assistance Program and helps low-income households pay their home heating and energy bills to prevent energy shutoffs, restore service following energy shutoffs, make minor energy-related home repairs and weatherize their homes to make them more energy-efficient. “Throughout this winter, LIHEAP has played a critical role in helping vulnerable Granite Staters lower their utility bills,” U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds LIHEAP, said in the release. “I’m thrilled to see these additional funds headed to New Hampshire, ensuring those in need of heating assistance have the resources they need to cut heating costs and stay warm.”

Excellence in NH

The New Hampshire Department of Safety, Division of Emergency Services and Communications (DESC) has received its sixth recognition as an Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) for emergency medical dispatching. According to a press release, the accreditation, issued by The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch, is the highest distinction given to emergency communication centers, certifying that the center is performing at or above the established standards for the industry and demonstrates strong local oversight, rigorous quality processes and a commitment to data-driven continuous improvement. In 2022, DESC answered 468,809 emergency calls throughout the state, 98.83 percent of which were answered within the first 10 seconds of the caller dialing. “The Division of Emergency Services and Communications takes pride in offering one of the finest Enhanced 911 systems in the nation,” Mark Doyle, Director of the Division of Emergency Services and Communications, said in the release. “Our re-accreditation from the IAED is a testament to the hard work and dedication from everyone in our 911 call centers.”

Future of health care

Concord Hospital health system’s Concord Hospital Trust is accepting applications from nursing and allied health care students to receive scholarships through the Concord Hospital Trust Scholarship Fund. According to a press release, the Trust awards approximately $45,000 annually, with scholarships in amounts ranging from $500 to $3,000. Eligible applicants must have lived within Concord Hospital health system’s primary service area for more than one year, graduated from a high school within the service area within the past five years, or been employed by Concord Hospital health system. Recipients are selected based on financial need, academic merit, personal character and other criteria. Applications must be received or postmarked by April 23, and award decisions will be announced in June. Download an application at and call 227-7000, ext. 3082, with questions.

History with purpose

The American Independence Museum in Exeter announces the launch of “We Are One,” a new initiative that will serve as the museum’s guiding principle for the next three years. According to a press release, “We Are One” consists of four tenets: bringing history to life, educating children and youth, engaging older adults and building community. The museum, which is home to a collection of 3,000 historic artifacts, is developing a variety of new programming, events and exhibits centered around the “We Are One” tenets, with an organizational emphasis on inclusive and diverse perspectives. “We’ve always been a country full of people with big ideas, sometimes wildly different ideas, which I think makes us stronger,” Alena Shellenbean, events and marketing manager, said in the release. “‘We Are One’ is an idea that can hold us together and make our differences into a strength.” Visit to learn more.

The 2023 New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival’s wrap party and final in-person film event will be held at Red River Theatres in Concord (11 S. Main St.) on Sunday, March 26, at 3:30 p.m. The theater will screen Dedication, a film based on Roger Peltzman’s one-man play of the same name that follows the true story of his family’s escape from Berlin to Brussels in 1933. A discussion with Peltzman will follow the screening. Tickets cost $12 at To learn more about this year’s New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival and to access virtual screenings of films, which will be available through April 16, visit

The NCAA DI Men’s Ice Hockey Manchester Regional Championship will take place at the SNHU Arena in Manchester (555 Elm St.), with the first session on Thursday, March 23, featuring Boston University vs. Western Michigan at 2 p.m. and Denver vs. Cornell at 5:30 p.m., and the second session on Saturday, March 25, when the winning teams of the two first-session games will go head to head at 4 p.m. Get tickets at

The New Hampshire Audubon’s Massabesic Audubon Center in Auburn (26 Audubon Way) is holding a NestWatch Volunteer Training session on Saturday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., for people who want to learn about the Eastern Bluebird and/or volunteer an hour or two a week from April to August to record data about the Eastern Bluebird. The nature center has nearly 100 monitored nest boxes, according to the NH Audubon website. The session costs $5, and registration by March 30 is required. Call 668-2045 or visit to learn more.

A sacred place

Growing up in a small town in California, I learned early on there were two places where I was to be on my best behavior. One was our parish church and the other was the town library. Both were somewhat monumental structures in terms of their outward appearance: the former a red brick Gothic with a very tall steeple, and the other a granite classical Greek style building. Both were presided over by equally imposing and formidable people: the former by Monsignor Jacobs, and the latter by Miss Emily Richardson. In their own distinctive ways, these two exercised considerable influence over me and my contemporaries. In church, we learned religious teachings, ritual, music and a good smattering of Latin. At the library, we learned that information, and eventually knowledge, is acquired by hard work, persistence and curiosity.

Miss Richardson was a strict teacher, but one whose love for her profession came to the fore when she saw the expression of discovery on our faces after helping us find a reference or a book that took us to new places. Of course, we had to obey the rules: no unnecessary talking, never reshelve a book yourself, and never write on or in, other otherwise deface, any library materials. During our pre-teens, when the hormones were stirring, she would carefully monitor our visits to those stacks where there were to be found graphic anatomical illustrations, asking if there were a specific research paper we might be doing that required such materials. Shamefaced, we’d slide back to our chairs.

At the regular library board meetings, however, Miss Richardson was a completely different person. A passionate advocate for her collection to be as up-to-date as possible, she would forcefully rebut the objection of the occasional patron who expressed the view that Peyton Place or Lady Chatterley’s Lover should not be in our stacks. “Our library should be a place where the judgment of the librarian to select and the judgment of the reader to read can both be accommodated without conflict.” She once affirmed. That value stayed with me, and I’ll never forget how embarrassed I was when Miss Richardson, having read a book report I’d written for my freshman high school English class, commented, “Stephen. You should be reading better literature than this.”

My story harks back to a time when professional judgment was valued, and its exercise respected. That is in sharp contrast with the challenges of librarians today. A friend recently told me she had resigned from her town’s library board because she could not find a way to mediate the good-faith efforts of her librarian and the protests of concerned parents and even local legislators demanding the removal of certain books.

As I reflect on my early years, I appreciate the complementary of the First Amendment right to read and the First Amendment right to religion. It is a balance we must work harder to maintain.

You can contact Steve Reno at

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