All things agriculture

Farm, Forest & Garden Expo celebrates its 40th year

By Mya Blanchard

With spring in full swing, it’s officially the season for all things outdoors. Just in time is the New Hampshire Farm, Forest & Garden Expo, returning for its 40th year to the Deerfield Fairgrounds on Friday, May 5, and Saturday, May 6.

The event will include demonstrations, classes and workshops held by exhibitors on countless agriculture-related topics, such as tapping maple trees, growing flowers, starting a garden, pruning trees and how to safely operate a chainsaw.

“This [is a] place to learn about agriculture and forestry for all, [from] the avid farmer to the backyard enthusiast,” said Jayson McCarter, chairman of the expo’s board. “History being very important, you could always learn from the experts on how things ought to be done.”

Farm animals will be present and contests will be held, like the Future Farmers of America Floral Design Competition and a grilling contest sponsored by 4-H, an international youth development program.

While there has been a kids zone for many years, 4-H is now responsible for organizing what is now dubbed the “Ag Discovery Zone.”

“This year we kind of have a farm-to-table theme going,” said Michelle Bersaw-Robblee, the program coordinator for 4-H. “I think it’s a great opportunity to engage our future decision-makers and consumers around agriculture.”

Traditionally having been held in Manchester, and usually during the month of February, the expo is now taking place at the fairgrounds.

“We just outgrew it, and it being in the winter was tough,” expo manager Kelly Bryer said. “The spring just seemed like a better fit and the Deerfield Fairgrounds is already an agricultural venue and it just gave us lots of room to grow, bring in more partners [and] expand those partnerships.”

The expansion allows the event to be used as a platform for organizations to showcase themselves. One such organization is Bedrock Gardens, a 37-acre public garden in Lee.

“[Formal gardens] … have formal beds where roses are planted and you walk from one bed to another bed of formal flowers. This is not that kind of garden,” said Nanci Taylor, the organization’s community outreach coordinator. “It’s more like meandering on a trail. Part of the time you will be in a forest and you will see plants and bushes that grow in shade, and then you’ll be in sunshine. … There’s a different feeling to each of these areas as you walk along.”

According to McCarter, the farming community is at risk due to economic hardships, regulatory issues and urban development.
“While our farmers are as committed as ever to keep our fields, forest and natural resources viable for future generations, the duty to preserve just doesn’t get any easier,” he said. “That’s where our expo comes in. Not only is it a great ‘old home day’ for all those who are currently protecting our precious commodities, it’s a chance to educate and inspire those who will take over these efforts some day.”

NH Farm, Forest & Garden Expo
Where: Deerfield Fairgrounds, 34 Stage Road, Deerfield
When: Friday, May 5, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, May 6, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $10 per person; includes one-day admission to the expo and additional entry for its door prize drawings (free for kids ages 12 and under)
More info:

No Mow May

An idea for more pollination and less pollution

In 2019 a British nonprofit called Plantlife coined the term “No Mow May.” They proposed that gardeners leave their mowers in storage for the month of May in order to let wildflowers and weeds bloom and provide pollen and nectar for pollinators. And of course the caterpillars of many pollinators feed all our baby birds, so the ramifications are vast.

Early spring is a tough time for pollinators, especially here in New England as there are not many flowers to visit. I like the idea of a simple action that can have positive effects on so many species of wildlife.

The most obvious advantage to you is that you have a few extra hours to do other things in your garden. Next, you are not spending any money on gas or electricity. Most gas-powered mowers do not have the emission controls that are required for cars. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one hour operating a new gasoline lawn mower emits the same amount of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxide as driving a new car 45 miles.

According to the EPA, lawn mowers and other garden machines like leaf blowers, string trimmers, etc., contribute as much pollution as our cars and homes. The statistics on lawns are deceiving; two percent of the land mass in America is lawn. But that is more square miles of land than all the corn grown here. Roughly 80 percent of homes have at least some lawn.

If we mow our lawns from May to the end of October, that’s six months of mowing. Eliminating one month of mowing reduces those emissions by 17 percent. Good for the environment, good for the wallet.

For the last two years I have been installing trees in what was a 5-acre lawn in Hanover, N.H. So far we have planted about 150 of them — and we largely stopped the mowing, just leaving pathways throughout. The owners now have their field mowed everywhere just once every two years to control growth of unwanted woody plants like poplars, which spread by root.

We were delighted last spring to see the field come alive in spring. At least a dozen species of flowers bloomed, probably more. And the bees and other pollinators just loved it.

What happened when we just stopped mowing? Grass grew, and largely flopped over as it got taller. It was nothing like the unruly 2- or 3-foot-tall mess that the mowing guys predicted. We were always able to walk anywhere in the field even though it was not mowed. Of course, when the mowing crew shows up soon, they have big, industrial-scale mowers that will chew up anything.

For your home lawn you may want to pay attention to how tall the grass gets in May. Presumably your push mower or electric mower will not mow tall grasses as easily as the riding mowers used on the field described above. If you can only avoid mowing for two or three weeks, it’s still better than mowing it short every week in May.

Another advantage to No Mow May is that you will probably end up with a better, more resilient lawn in times of drought. The longer your grass, the more food it produces for the roots, allowing them to grow longer and deeper.

Your lawn might complain about being mowed short on June 1. So put the blades up as high as they go. The lower parts of blades of grass may be a little pale in color as they were shaded out by the taller parts. Leave your lawn a little longer this year — it doesn’t have to look like the infield of Fenway Park.

What about bare spots on the lawn? These are often filled in with crabgrass, an annual weed. For large areas, you will need to plant new lawn seed — the sooner the better. Filling in empty spots can be done in May by scratching the soil with a short-tined rake to loosen the surface. Add half an inch of compost and mix it in with the soil. Then spread seed over it — just broadcast it with your hand in small areas. I use a lawn/leaf rake to mix the seed in with the soil: I flip over the rake and drag it lightly over the area, which mixes in the seed well. If you have a metal tamper, use it to press down the planted area. If not, use a small board and step on it.

I never fertilize my lawn, and it looks fine to me. If your lawn is a little feeble, check the soil pH. If it is too acidic, you can spread some limestone. Lawn grass prefers nearly neutral pH.

So take a break from mowing this May.

Featured photo: Drumstick primroses. Photo by Henry Homeyer.

The Art Roundup 23/05/04

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

The Hunchback of Notre Dame:Actorsingers ( will present the musical The Hunchbakc of Notre Dame this weekend — Friday, May 5, and Saturday, May 6, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 7, at 2 p.m. — at Keefe Center for the Arts (117 Elm St. in Nashua). Tickets cost $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and students. “The production features a cast of 49 including a 27-person choir and a live orchestra,” according to the organizers.

Spring ballet: Northeastern Ballet Theatre will present The Sleeping Beauty on Sunday, May 7, at 4 p.m. at the Capitol Center for the Arts (Chubb Theatre, 44 S. Main St. in Concord; Doors open at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $35.75; $23.75 for seniors and under 12.

Jazz jam: The Ted Herbert Music School will host an open mic jazz jam on Sunday, May 7, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. open to students and musicians of all ages and abilities, according to a press release. The cost to participate is a suggested donation of $5 (free for Ted Herbert students) and the event will take place at the Majestic Theatre Studios (880 Page St. in Manchester), the release said. No sign-up is needed; just show up with your instrument (drums, piano and guitar amp will be provided), the release said. See or call 669-7469.

Calling young performers: The Palace Theatre’s Youth Ensemble will hold auditions for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat on Saturday, May 6, at 2, 3 and 4 p.m. for students in grades 2 to 12, according to a press release. Bring a headshot and resume, prepare a short section of a song to sing a cappella and expect to stay for the one-hour slot, the release said. There is a production fee of $75 for performers who are cast. Rehearsals will take place in May for this Professional Production in June. Auditions will be held at Forever Emma Studios (516 Pine St. in Manchester). Email with the performer’s name, age and preferred audition time, the release said.

Not A Word
The Community Players of Concord will close out their 95th season with the original comedy Not A Word, written and directed by Wallace J. Pineault, according to a press release. The nine-character comedy is called “a valentine to his love of Hollywood history, set in 1920 at the peak of silent movies’ popularity,” the release said. The show runs Friday, May 5, and Saturday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m and Sunday, May 7, at 2 p.m. at the Concord City Auditorium (2 Prince St. in Concord). Tickets cost $20 for adults and $18 for 17 and under and 65+. See

Finding a Nemo: The Children’s Theatre Project of the Community Players of Concord will hold auditions for Finding Nemo Jr. on Saturday June 3, and Sunday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Players’ Studio (435 Josiah Bartlett Road in Concord) with rehearsals to start after Labor Day for performances in October, according to a press release. The auditions are open to actors ages 8 to 18, the release said. Secure an audition spot by contacting director Karen Braz at Auditioners should prepare one verse and one chorus of a song and bring a recent photo, the release said. There is a participation fee of $100 per cast member, with a family cap of $150, the release said. Kids age 12 and older can also register to work as stage managers, set builders or in other tech positions, the release said. See

35-year retrospective: New Hampshire Theatre Project’s (959 Islington St. in Portsmouth;, 431-6644) founder Genevieve Aichele is stepping down as executive director and the company will finish up its 2022-2023 season with a retrospective honoring the productions she has directed, acted in or written over the last 35 years, according to a press release. Gen-erations! will run Friday, May 5, through Sunday, May 21, with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $30 general admission, $26 for students, seniors and veterans.

Singing through the years

NH Gay Men’s Chorus celebrates its 25th anniversary

The New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus. will celebrate its 25th anniversary by kicking off its spring concert series this weekend.

“I’m very excited about what we’re doing,” chorus executive director John McGeehan said. “I feel like it was yesterday that it was Jan. 10 and we were just first getting together for the year to start getting the concert together.”

Luc Andre Roberge has been the artistic director for 23 years at the chorus and a member since it was created. He said that he, along with other founding members, had seen the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus perform and thought that the representation and the message of the organization was one they could bring to the Granite State.

“We decided that we could do this in New Hampshire, and in the beginning of ’98, we put a call out, had about 50, 60 people at the first rehearsal, and only a dozen came back,” Roberge said. “Also, this was a time where you didn’t want to be open to the public, you didn’t want to be out of the closet in any way.”

Roberge said that it was hard for members to openly claim their identity as gay men at that time. When the organization was first formed, he said, Jim Bretz, a huge figure in New Hampshire’s LGBTQ community, told them there was a good chance the organization wouldn’t last longer than three years and that making it to five years would be incredible.

“None of us at the time thought it would make it to 25 years,” Roberge said. “Those that are not with us who started us up, I’m sure they’re smiling down and saying, ‘We’re so happy.’ We persist and we have persevered.”

Roberge designed the music for the concert to celebrate the last quarter of a century of music. There will be songs from musicals, including Rent, as well as more traditional choral pieces and covers of popular music.

McGeehan, who has been a part of the chorus since he first moved to New Hampshire in 2017, said that it’s important for people to realize they aren’t a group of professional musicians, just people who spread love and positivity through music. He added that just because they aren’t professionals doesn’t mean they don’t strive to make wonderful music — it’s just not the chorus’s only goal.

“One of the missions is not just to put on the best concert that we can, and I think we succeed every season, but be a community and social organization,” McGeehan said. “We give concerts every year at various town pride events, but also free concerts at local assisted facilities, singing the national anthem at New Hampshire Special Olympics, as well as at the Boston Red Sox in June for Pride Night.”

While the chorus sings at pride events throughout New Hampshire, McGeehan said the ones that were most important to him were when the chorus sang at several towns’ first pride parades. He said it allowed for the chorus to show other people in the LGBTQ community that they aren’t alone, that they have a space for people like them.

“To see how well this has come together, it’s actually incredible,” McGeehan said. “Here’s to 25 years, it’s been a lot of fun. I think with the kind of support we are having, I see someone welcoming us to the 50th anniversary someday.”

Silver Seasons of Love: New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus 25th Anniversary Concert
• Saturday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m., at Plymouth Congregational Church UCC, 4 Post Office Square in Plymouth.
• Sunday, May 7, 4 p.m., at First Baptist Church of Nashua, 121 Manchester St., Nashua.
• Saturday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m., at Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 22 Fox Run Road in Newington.
• Sunday, May 21, at 4 p.m., Derryfield School, 2108 River Road in Manchester.
Tickets: $20 for adults (ages 12 and under admitted free, email for children’s tickets). See the website for links to purchase tickets at each location.

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

Superhero season

Celebrate Free Comic Book Day! Kids get their own Comic Con! Popcorn movies hit the screens!

More than just free comics

Comic shops are going all out for Free Comic Book Day

By Katelyn Sahagian

Those who love Marvel, DC, Star Wars, graphic novels and other pop culture powerhouses should be gearing up to celebrate one of the biggest days in comic book culture: Free Comic Book Day, which returns on Saturday, May 6, at participating venues across the Granite State.

In downtown Rochester, for example, fans can find all sorts of goodies, giveaways, freebies and more across 24 shops.

“At this point, the event has become something the city is known for, and [people] know it as Rochester’s Free Comic Book Day festival,” said Ralph DiBernardo, owner of Jetpack Comics and Games.

This is the 15th year that Jetpack has partnered with the city to put on the festival. The first year, the shop had 800 customers, and the event’s popularity grew each year.

After three years of success, DiBernardo wanted to include the rest of the city for a chance to really let Rochester shine.

“I wanted my customers [to] see what else Rochester had to offer,” he said. “The Main Street Program is super supportive of our store and we got started, wrapped them into [the day] and they help us promote and turn [Free Comic Book Day] into a citywide event.”

DiBernardo said the event is family-friendly. He said it’s important to him to have the day be inclusive. Features range from special collectibles at different locations — including a special Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book cover, created especially for Jetpack Comics and Games — to a costume contest at 4 p.m.

In addition to the events, there will be a beer garden and food truck area set up. After the costume contest, DiBernardo said, visitors can close out the night with an afterparty until 11 p.m.

While Rochester has a citywide con lined up, Double Midnight Comics will have two smaller conventions at each of its locations in Manchester and Concord — both will feature local artists, vendors, writers and representatives from Kids Con New England providing activities for pint-sized comic buffs.

Co-owner Scott Proulx said this year will be bigger than ever before for the Manchester shop, inside The Factory on Willow.

“This year we’re gearing up and we have more space to work with,” he said. “Next to us, at the Factory, we rented out an event space to have artists from all over the area, and a few guest creators that are published writers and artists.”

Double Midnight will also have food trucks and a costume contest with prizes for each of the age groups.

While Double Midnight Comics in Manchester is going all out, the Concord location is a smaller affair. It will still have activities provided by Kids Con New England, but there won’t be a miniature comic convention. The shop will have an open house, with deals and discounts on a lot of their stock, as well as all of the comics that are being released for free by major companies, Proulx said.

Proulx said it was important to him, as someone who grew up reading comics, to connect with kids and younger fans. Having organizers of Kids Con New England there to supply activities not only encourages kids to read, but also reminds them that they have a community in the comic world.

“I remember growing up, I loved comics as a kid, but [they weren’t] mainstream,” Proulx said. “But now … it’s cool to see that there’s something for everybody out there.”

Free Comic Book Day
Saturday, May 6
Find more participating stores as well as a preview of some of the comics at
Double Midnight Comics (252 Willow St., Manchester, 669-9636; 341 Loudon Road, Concord, 715-2683;; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Concord, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Manchester
Jetpack Comics & Games (37 N. Main St., Rochester, 330-9363,; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., costume contest at 4 p.m., after party until 11 p.m.
Merrymac Comics and Games (550 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack, 420-8161,; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Getting into character

A conversation with a local cosplayer

man dressed at comic character Nightwing in spandex suit and black eye mask, leaning against brick wall with pole
J. Jester, as Nightwing. Courtesy photo.

J. Jester, a professional cosplayer based in New Hampshire, will appear at Kids Con New England, at the Douglas N. Everett Arena (15 Loudon Road, Concord) on Saturday, May 13. He will be cosplaying as Nightwing, one of the heroes in the Batman universe. Jester, who chose to go by his stage name for this interview, has been a cosplayer for eight years.

What is cosplaying?

Essentially cosplay is a word of two words: “costume” and “play.” Dressing up as someone is one thing, but a lot of cosplayers will also emanate the character. So it’s almost like a costume party plus theater.

How did you get started with it?

I got into cosplaying to become part of something bigger than myself. I was doing some soul-searching at the time and found cosplay and doing charity work through it. Some people I’ve met have gone into it looking to become well-known. Other people I know have gotten into it because they have a passion for art.

What is your favorite cosplay?

In the beginning I had, for about six years, I had … cosplayed [as] the Joker from Batman: The Animated Series. Over time, though, I retired that character. I’d have to say it would be Joker, just because of the memories I have with that costume.

What is your favorite thing about cosplaying?

My favorite part about cosplaying is just the sheer energy of interacting with kids or the people who aren’t cosplaying or even other people who are cosplaying. There are few better feelings than having kids and adults alike smile and light up seeing one of their favorite characters right in front of them. In a lot of instances, those kids truly believe you are that character.

What advice would you give someone who’s never cosplayed before but wants to try it out?

Advice I would give is to just give it a shot. My first costume was literally just a denim jacket and an Ash Ketchum T-shirt with a giant Pikachu plush. Everybody starts somewhere and you can dress up however you want. Cosplay has no real limitations outside of one’s own imagination, so I would say just go for it. The only thing that can hold you back is yourself at that point. That’s the advice somebody gave me a while back.

What is some etiquette for people meeting cosplayers?

Rule of thumb is that cosplay is not consent. You’ll actually hear or see that a lot at conventions, or at least in the community. The reason being is just because somebody is dressed as a particular character, there’s still a person behind that character. At one point, someone wanted a photo of me [as the Joker] and Harley drinking from the same drink with two different straws. And sometimes those requests will pan out. But other times it is one of those etiquette things — you wouldn’t want somebody coming up and interrupting you while you’re trying to just sit down and eat as a normal person. So it’s always good to ask.

Just for kids

Kids Con New England celebrates comic books & literacy

By Katelyn Sahagian

With the last decade came the rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the widespread acceptance of comic books, superheroes and other more niche genres of movies and reading materials.

What didn’t come with all that popularity was a lot of spaces for kids, said Emily Drouin, the creator of Kids Con New England.

“When I was tabling at events in 2013, I felt the need for there to be more kids’ activities and a family-friendly space,” Drouin said. “Lots of times at cons, not everything is for kids. You might [have] more mature and adult-themed comics. Being a kids’ creator, I wanted to gather more kids’ creators. I thought it would be fun to help and have a kids’ focus.”

4 kids dressed as star wars and zelda characters, posing together in room at event
Photo courtesy of Kids Con New England.

Drouin, who works as an illustrator, writer and comic creator for the children’s genre, set out to build a convention that would put an emphasis on children first. She gathered together fellow children’s book writers and illustrators to build an event where kids would be at the center.

In 2016 she hosted the first Kids Con, which was extremely well-received. This year’s convention will have more than 100 vendors and creators. Some of the creators will be nationally celebrated children’s creators like Will Murray, creator of Squirrel Girl; Jeff Kline, who produced G.I. Joe and Dragon Tales; and anime and video game voice actress Christina Costello.

“It’s pretty awesome getting to meet creators up close,” Drouin said. “Now you can meet them [and] get autographs. We encourage kids to bring sketchbooks for tips and advice and to share work with others. It’s a great way to make friends too, through workshops and kids playing.”

In addition to the usual convention activities, like meet-and-greets with creators and cosplayers, the event has workshops for kids to learn everything from how to fight like a Jedi to getting started making their own comics. A local Boy Scouts troop will have an area set up for visitors to play video games and learn other outdoor activities. There will also be a few food trucks.

To Drouin, Kids Con New England is a way to encourage kids to have pride in owning the things they like, whether it’s princesses, superheroes or video games.

“It’s exciting to live out my own childhood as an adult again,” she said. “You feel like you’re a kid again when you come to these things. It’s great too for parents passing down the geekdom to their kids, and the kids living out their fantasies in the superhero world and meeting them.”

Kids Con New England
Where: Douglas N. Everett Arena, 15 Loudon Road, Concord
When: Saturday, May 13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $12 for visitors ages 5 and older, $10 for seniors ages 65 and older and for veterans, and free for kids ages 5 and under

Roll the film

Local movie theaters looking forward to a strong summer

By Matt Ingersoll

A schedule filled with major film releases in the coming months has local movie theaters optimistic that it will be a strong summer, as the industry continues to recover post-pandemic.

Global box office numbers have already bounced back in a big way so far this year, driven in part by the success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie — that’s according to data from London-based film tech company Gower Street Analytics, which announced on April 23 it has increased its 2023 projections to $32 billion, up from a $29 billion estimate in December.

The announcement came on the eve of CinemaCon, an annual four-day movie theater industry convention in Las Vegas. Regional operations manager Jessica Robitaille of Apple Cinemas, which has two theaters, in Merrimack and Hooksett, attended this year’s convention.

“This summer is jam packed with a lot of really great movies that are coming out this year,” Robitaille said. “Pretty much every week this summer we’re going to have a fairly decent title … and a lot of these are strictly theatrical releases with lots of people wanting to see them. … I’ve noticed too that children’s movies do very well for us, and I think that’s because there’s not quite as many that get released in theaters as there maybe once was. In the summer, of course, we do tend to see an uptick in families on a day-to-day basis instead of just on the weekends.”

Apple Cinemas took over two of the three former Cinemagic locations in the Granite State in the summer of 2021, just months after that chain announced it was shutting them down permanently.

“We took 2022 as an opportunity to really develop [our locations in] Hooksett and Merrimack, to give them a more modernized look,” said Robitaille, who had previously worked at Cinemagic. “They’ve got full recliners now in Merrimack, and a beautiful self-serve lobby with new floors, new paint and all of that, and there’s plans as well for a bar in the future. … It’s got to be an experience these days. It can’t just be the hour-and-a-half, two hours to see a movie. People really need to feel like they are having a nice time out and getting that experience.”

Chunky’s Cinema Pub, with locations in Manchester, Nashua and Pelham, has similarly transformed their theaters into hubs for all kinds of special events over the last few years, from comedy nights and drag shows to scratch ticket bingo nights and even farm-to-table dinners.

“If we just think of our rooms as a room with four walls, comfortable seating and big-screen capabilities, any idea is on the table,” Chunky’s marketing director Mike Mannetta said.

Even though many of Chunky’s non-movie event ideas came out of the pandemic and will continue this summer, Mannetta said the upcoming schedule of film releases looks to be a solid one. He expects The Super Mario Bros. Movie, already out for a month, to stay on their lineup of featured films for much if not all of the summer, and also predicts the June 30 release of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny as among those to perform the best.

“The inventory is getting better and better, and the quality is getting better and better also,” Mannetta said. “I think that studios are learning that cinema is still the best format for movie releases, and I mean, for Mario, you have people coming back multiple times. They’re seeing it in 2D but then they are coming back to check out how it looks in 3D.”

Caitlin Piper is the director of public relations for Cinemark Theatres, which operates 320 locations nationwide, including one next to The Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem. She said the sheer number of slated theatrical-only films has been on a steady increase year over year since 2020, with this year’s scheduled films already surpassing the overall number seen in 2022.

“It’s still about 20 percent off, roughly, from a pre-pandemic year, but we’re still feeling incredibly strong about it,” Piper said. “It’s really those production cycles that just need to catch up again. … A typical movie production cycle is about two to four years, depending on the scale of the movie, and that’s the reason why the industry is still in a bit of a transition, is because of all of those pauses in the production cycles that had to happen during Covid.”

Beginning June 19, Cinemark is bringing back its Summer Movie Clubhouse program, featuring an eight-week schedule of previously released children’s and family-friendly films for $1.50 per ticket in addition to some discounts on snacks and drinks.

“It’s all of those more fun, recent animated family films, so we’ve got Minions: The Rise of Gru, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mummies [and] The Bad Guys,” Piper said. “[They are] films that aren’t still in theaters but maybe not everyone got to see them, or they did and loved them and mom and dad are thrilled to bring them back to the theaters for a few hours to watch them again.”

O’neil Cinemas in Epping is also bringing back its summer kids’ series, which will run every Monday and Wednesday throughout July and August. That lineup of films is expected to be finalized by the end of this month, according to marketing manager Loni Dirksen.

“They are all mostly animated, some that were just in theaters within the past 12 months and then some that we had a few years ago, but all previous releases,” Dirksen said. “We get a lot of summer camps that bring a field trip group in to go see these movies, and it’s a great way to spend a rainy day in the summer to just get out of the house and still have some fun.”

The Milford Drive-In reopened for the season the weekend of April 15. It’s currently open on Fridays and Saturdays only but will expand to seven days a week by the start of the summer, said Barry Scharmett, whose family has run the venue since 1969.

“If all the movies that are coming out do the business that we think they’re going to do, then I think it’s going to be an excellent season for us,” Scharmett said. “The thing is, people are out, and they are coming out more and more, which is a great sign.”

In Concord, the independent nonprofit Red River Theatres has a full schedule of its own special screenings this summer, according to executive director Angie Lane. Their “Fan Favorites” series kicks off with a showing of Star Wars: A New Hope on Thursday, May 4, for Star Wars Day, and costumes are encouraged. It will be followed by a sing-along of Little Shop of Horrors on May 13, a quote-along of The Princess Bride on June 10 and a special “fan night” of The Big Lebowski on June 15. Beginning with a showing of 50 First Dates during Intown Concord’s Market Days Festival on June 22, Red River Theatres will also hold a series of free outdoor screenings — others on the schedule will take place at area parks, including The Explorers at Memorial Field on July 12, The Rescuers Down Under at Rollins Park on Aug. 9 and The Nightmare Before Christmas at Keach Park on Oct. 20.

Red River Theatres did receive crucial funding in 2021 from the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, but continues to be open only Thursday through Sunday. Lane said the goal is to eventually get the theater back open and showing films seven days a week.

“I would say for the first time in the last three or four years we’ve actually been able to foresee a future where we’re going to be expanding operations once we are able to staff up, because that’s the other side of it, is the hiring,” Lane said. “I’m very optimistic about the future, but I’m definitely very realistic in that it’s going to take a lot of work, and a lot of investment on the part of our community to make sure that it happens.”

Visit the movie theater

Catch a movie this summer at one of these local theaters, several of which are also holding special events, exclusive kid-friendly or 21+ screenings and more.

AMC Theatres
16 Orchard View Drive, Londonderry, 434-8715; 440 Middlesex Road, Tyngsborough, Mass., 978-649-4158;
One of the largest movie theater chains in the world, AMC Theatres has more than 600 locations across the country, including one in Londonderry and another just over the state line, in Tyngsborough, Mass.

Apple Cinemas
11 Executive Park Drive, Merrimack, 696-3200; 38 Cinemagic Way, Hooksett, 868-6200;
Just months after Cinemagic permanently closed all its theaters in February 2021, Apple Cinemas took over the shuttered chain’s Merrimack and Hooksett locations. Both underwent renovations in 2022, and films at the Hooksett theater are also available to view in IMAX.

Chunky’s Cinema Pub
707 Huse Road, Manchester, 206-3888; 151 Coliseum Ave., Nashua, 880-8055; 150 Bridge St., Pelham, 635-7499;
The local movie theater chain is unique for also featuring a full dinner menu and bar, as well as maintaining a regular schedule of events from comedy nights and drag shows to scratch ticket bingo nights, exclusive 21+ film screenings and more.

Cinemark Theatres
15 Mall Road, Salem, 890-7111,
Cinemark operates about 320 theaters nationwide, including one a stone’s throw away from The Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem that opened in late 2019. Beginning June 19, Cinemark will run its Summer Movie Clubhouse program, featuring an eight-week schedule of previously released children’s and family-friendly films for $1.50 per ticket. See the website for the full list of films, which includes Sonic the Hedgehog (2020, PG), The Bad Guys (2022, PG) and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022, PG), among others.

Milford Drive-In
531 Elm St., Milford, 673-4090,
Owned and operated by the Scharmett family since 1969, the Milford Drive-In is the only remaining drive-in movie theater in southern New Hampshire. The drive-in reopened for the season on April 14 and is currently open on Fridays and Saturdays only, but will be open seven days a week by the start of the summer.

O’neil Cinemas
24 Calef Hwy., Epping, 679-3529,
O’neil Cinemas owns two movie theaters, one of which is in Epping’s Brickyard Square. On Mondays and Wednesdays in July and August, O’neil Cinemas hosts its annual summer kids series, featuring a schedule of previously released children’s and family-friendly films for $3 per ticket. According to marketing manager Loni Dirksen, that lineup of films is expected to be finalized by the end of May.

Red River Theatres
11 S. Main St., Concord, 224-4600,
A nonprofit independent cinema, Red River Theatres opened its doors in 2007 and operates three screens in the lower level of downtown Concord’s Capital Commons. Beginning with a screening of 50 First Dates (2004, PG-13) on Thursday, June 22, during Intown Concord’s Market Days Festival, Red River Theatres will present a schedule of free outdoor movies at area parks that start at dusk. They will also hold a “Fan Favorites” series in May and June, starting with a showing of Star Wars: A New Hope (1977, PG) on Thursday, May 4, at 7 p.m., for Star Wars Day. Costumes are encouraged and prizes will be awarded for the best.

Regal Cinemas
100 Technology Drive, Hooksett; 282 Loudon Road, Concord; 45 Gosling Road, Newington; 844-462-7342,
Regal Cinemas operates more than 500 theaters in 42 states nationwide, according to its website — three are in the Granite State, in Hooksett, Concord and Newington.

Smitty’s Cinema
630 W. Main St., Tilton, 286-3275,
The Maine-based Smitty’s Cinema operates one New Hampshire location in Tilton, where a full dinner menu and bar are also available.

Wilton Town Hall Theatre
40 Main St., Wilton, 654-3456,
Originally a silent movie house that also showed dramatic presentations and vaudeville productions, the Wilton Town Hall Theatre has been in operation almost every year since 1912. Several upcoming construction projects for the Wilton Town Hall make the immediate future of the theater’s programming uncertain, according to longtime owner and town native Dennis Markaverich, although he does plan to continue holding its silent film series on Sunday afternoons featuring live music from silent film accompanist (and Hippo co-founder and associate publisher) Jeff Rapsis.

From Guardians to Equalizer

A look at the summer movie schedule

By Amy Diaz

As it so often has, summer begins with Marvel.

The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, has the Friday, May 5, release slot, which has become the start of the movie’s summer season (which ends, more or less, with Labor Day weekend). The last few years, of course, have not had normal summers at the movies — almost no movies were released in the summer of 2020 and there were weeks in 2021 and even last year where in-theater-only new releases were slim pickings. This summer’s calendar has filled out with lots of franchise films and a few original-idea movies with potential. With all the usual notes about schedules (as gleaned from IMDb, along with cast details) being subject to change, here are some of the films hoping to entice you to the theater this summer:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5) There’s a real “last ride” vibe to the trailers, not that that means anything in this world of immortal IP but I hope that the movie puts story over franchise a bit and gives a nice sense of closure to this fun, knockabout corner of the MCU.

Book Club: The Next Chapter (May 12) Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen return for this sequel, which you gotta respect for that foursome if nothing else.

Fast X (May 19) Allegedly, this will be the second to last of what Wikipedia calls the series’ main installment (could we still get another Hobbs & Shaw someday? Please?). The most important facts: Jason Momoa is some kind of villain, and in the trailers his styling is delightfully bonkers. Helen Mirren returns and I love everything about her character. Rita Moreno plays Vin Diesel’s character’s grandmother and I love that Moreno is in this goofy franchise.

The Little Mermaid (May 26) These live-action Disney situations are settling in to a real “meh” place, but the casting here — Halle Bailey, Melissa McCarthy, Javier Bardem, Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina — offers something. Plus, it’s Memorial Day weekend and it offers more than two hours of kid-friendly air-conditioned entertainment.

You Hurt My Feelings (May 26) Nicole Holofcener wrote and directed this movie starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus — a chef’s kiss combination (see also Enough Said).

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse (June 2) The Spider-verse we’re returning to here is the animated, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (and Dave Callaham)-penned version featuring Miles Morales at its center.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (June 9) According to IMDb, one of the humans of this live action deal is played by Anthony Ramos and the movie is set in 1994 .

The Flash (June 16) Look, I’m not going to lie — reading the “DCEU morphs into the DCU” stuff on Wikipedia does not make me look forward to this bit of leftover Snyderverse-ness. However. Michael Keaton does show up as an alternate-universe Batman.

Elemental (June 16) Pixar’s latest animated feature has fun visuals, based on its trailers, that make clever use of its fire, water and earth characters.

Asteroid City (June 23) Wes Anderson directs and Anderson and Roman Coppola wrote this movie with a packed cast (Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton) and visuals, based on the trailer, that call to mind not just Anderson’s usual jewel-box symmetry but also a mid-century postcard.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (June 30) The trailer and general existence of this movie fill me with a cold dread. Starring Harrison Ford.

Harold and the Purple Crayon (June 30) For the “air-conditioned thing do do” aspect if nothing else, I’m, always excited for a mid-summer kid movie.

Joy Ride (July 7) Just go watch the trailer and then try to tell me that this comedy about 20-somethings on a road trip isn’t a welcome palate-cleanser from the franchise movie schedule.

Insidious: The Red Door (July 7) According to Wikipedia this is the fifth movie in the Insidious franchise and a direct sequel to the second movie with the Lambert family (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne). Fun fact: the fourth movie was released two centuries ago in 2017.

Mission Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One (July 14) The pandemic-filmed Tom Cruise movie (No. 7 in this series, apparently) finally sees the light of day. I can’t personally tell one Mission Impossible from another and have no emotional connection to any of the characters (except maybe Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames) and yet I always have fun.

Barbie (July 21) Directed and co-written by Greta Gerwig! Greta! Gerwig! Like, tell me nothing else and I’m in! The trailers, with Margot Robbie as a Barbie Prime, are pretty great too.

Oppenheimer (July 21) In a, like, matter/anti-matter bit of movie scheduling, this Christopher Nolan movie about Robert Oppenheimer (he of the “I am become death etc.” atomic bomb development) opens the same weekend as the candy-colored Barbie.

Haunted Mansion (July 28) The Disney ride gets another movie adaptation, written by Katie Dippold (writer of the totally fun 2016 Ghostbusters and the Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy buddy cop comedy The Heat), and with a cast list that includes Rosario Dawson, LaKeith Stanfield, Owen Wilson, Winona Ryder, Tiffany Haddish, Jamie Lee Curtis, Hasan Minhaj and Danny DeVito.

The Meg 2: The Trench (Aug. 4) Looking back at my review of the first giant-shark movie The Meg, which apparently came out in 2018 (though it feels so much longer ago than that), I was apparently disappointed that it wasn’t as dumb-fun as I’d hoped. But I feel that the ensuing everything has dramatically lowered my standards (see my review of this year’s Plane) and so I have some optimism for this movie, which once again stars Jason Statham.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (Aug. 4) The Dover-born turtles get an animated outing with a fun line-up of voices: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Paul Rudd, John Cena, Maya Rudolph, Ice Cube, Hannibal Buress and Jackie Chan, among others.

Blue Beetle (Aug. 18) Here’s a DC property I’m genuinely looking forward to. Xolo Maridueña, who does some solid goofball work on Cobra Kai, is the young adult kid person being surprise-superheroed here, with Susan Sarandon playing what the trailers suggest is the villain.

The Equalizer 3 (Sept. 1) Director Antoine Fuqua and actor Denzel Washington reteam for Part 3 of the adventures of (movie) Robert McCall. I have enjoyed the past two outings and, should you be looking for low-impact stuff to watch at home this summer, I am also a fan of TV’s (Robin) McCall, as played by Queen Latifah in CBS’s current TV show The Equalizer.

Featured photo: from Kids Con New England 2016 by Neil Young Photography

This Week 23/05/04

Big Events May 4, 2023 and beyond

Thursday, May 4

Get ready for tacos! Taco Tour Manchester returns to Elm Street downtown today from 4 to 8 p.m., featuring more than 90 participating restaurants, food trucks and other businesses selling all-you-can-eat creative takes on tacos for $3 apiece (cash only). Visit to download the recently released Taco Tour map, and be sure to vote on your favorite taco by the end of the event.

Thursday, May 4

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats continue their home stand tonight at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium (1 Line Drive, Manchester) against the Harrisburg Senators — first pitch is at 6:35 p.m., and a special Atlas Fireworks show will immediately follow the conclusion of the game. The team has other games scheduled from Friday, May 5, through Sunday, May 7, before they hit the road next week to take on the Reading Fightin Phils. See for the full schedule and to purchase tickets.

Saturday, May 6

Join the Nashua Historical Society in welcoming author Andrew Noone, who will present his book Bathsheba Spooner: A Revolutionary Murder, today at 3 p.m. at the Florence H. Speare Museum (5 Abbott St., Nashua). The talk will explore the saga of New England’s most notorious crime of the American Revolution, according to a press release. Admission is free and open to the public. See for more details.

Saturday, May 6

Registration is now open for the second annual Run the Rail Trail 5-Miler road race, taking off from the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire (27 Navigator Road, Londonderry) today at 9 a.m. The course includes a 1-mile forested path through undeveloped land and a scenic stretch of the newest portion of the Londonderry Rail Trail, according to a press release. Race day registration is $35, with proceeds benefiting the museum’s youth education programs. Visit to register.

Sunday, May 7

The New Hampshire Fiddle Ensemble makes a stop at the Derryfield School (2108 River Road, Manchester) today at 2 p.m. — the community orchestra of fiddles, guitars, banjos, mandolins, basses, harps, cellos and even some horns is backed by professionals delivering “a heartwarming and energetic performance,” according to a press release. Advance tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and students and free for kids ages 8 and under. Tickets are $2 extra on the day of the event. See

Wednesday, May 10

New Hampshire Humanities presents Storytelling on Film: A Screening of Lost Boundaries, tonight at Red River Theatres (11 S. Main St., Concord) from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Based on the true story of Dr. Albert Johnston, a Black man and his family who passed as white in early 20th-century Keene, Lost Boundaries “illustrates New Hampshire’s complicated history of racial passing,” according to a press release. Lawrence Benaquist, Professor Emeritus of Keene State College, is a featured presenter at the screening. Admission is free, but registration is required. Register online at

Save the Date! Saturday, May 20
Grease up those bike gears and get ready to pedal through the back roads of Francestown and nearby towns on Saturday, May 20. The Tour de Francestown is a recreational bike ride that offers 25-mile and 50-mile options of mostly gravel roads. The online registration deadline is 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, and there is a total registration limit of 200 riders. The registration fee — $45 for the 25-mile, $60 for the 50-mile — covers entry, beverage stops, and post-ride eats; extra family and friend meal tickets are available for $5 or $10. Proceeds will go toward preserving the Francestown Old Meeting House. Helmets are required. For more information and to register, visit

Featured photo. 2022 Taco Tour. Photo courtesy of Ethos & Able Creative.

Quality of Life 23/05/04

Girls work

Girls at Work, a Manchester-based nonprofit that empowers girls through teaching them to build and use tools, was slated to hold its second job fair for high school girls on Tuesday, May 2, and Wednesday, May 3. According to a press release, the first job fair, held last November, was organized by two local high school girls following their experience at a construction job fair where they felt they were not taken seriously. The second fair was expanded from one day to two days and featured twice as many businesses, with indoor and outdoor booths. Girls from Manchester, Goffstown and some area charter schools were invited to attend.

QOL score: +1

Comment:In January, following the inaugural job fair, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan recognized the young organizers, Kaylee Richard of Manchester and Samantha Grenier of Goffstown, as Granite Staters of the Month. “I admire Kaylee and Samantha for taking the initiative to make a difference in their community and empower women to explore their career options,” Hassan said in a statement for the Congressional Record. “It’s important that young Granite State women were able to see themselves in the women professionals they talked to and envision their career paths accordingly. Their courage in tackling the issue and making New Hampshire a more inclusive place is emblematic of the Granite State spirit.”

New to the field and winning

NHTI community college in Concord made history at the 2023 United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Invitational, held on April 29 in Springfield, Mass. In the women’s events, Natalie Riley won second place in the discus, setting a new school record with a throw of 34.41 meters and placing fifth in the shot put with a 9.72-meter throw, making her the first Track and Field conference champion in school history. Hannah Edgerly also set a new school record in the 1,500-meter race with a time of 6:09.12 and a 14th-place finish. In the men’s events, Jahlen Buckmire set a new school record in triple jump, finishing eighth with 11.54 meters.

QOL score: +1

Comment: The Track and Field program at NHTI is in its second season. “Our athletes put in an incredible effort and showcased their talents against tough competition,” Ed Winters, NHTI’s athletics director, said in the release. “The records and medal won by our athletes are a testament to their dedication and hard work.”

Hold on to your e-wallets

A recent analysis conducted by Secure Data Recovery showed that New Hampshire is the state most affected by shopping scams. Using Google search trend data from all 50 states, the study revealed that the rate of internet searches about scams among New Hampshire residents was 43 percent higher than the national average. Facebook emerged as the brand most frequently associated with scams in the state.

QOL score: -1

Comment: The study also noted that the top three states affected by shopping scams — New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont — all have higher median incomes than the national average and suggests that scammers may be targeting individuals with disposable income.

QOL score: 71

Net change: +1

QOL this week: 72

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

Featured photo: NHTI athletes at the 2023 USCAA Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Invitational. Courtesy photo.

The week that was

The Big Story: There are actually three. (1) The shocking end to the Bruins’ magical season. (2) The Celtics moving on to Round 2 of the NBA playoffs after barely surviving a major scare from the 41-41 Atlanta Hawks in a series that wasn’t supposed to be that tough. (3) The Patriots’ choices in the NFL draft, showing more evidence Bill Belichick has slipped from his perch as the smartest guy in football.

Sports 101: Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1966 the Patriots have had the first overall pick in the NFL draft four times. Name the players they selected.

News Item – Celtics Up and Down vs. Atlanta: There were highs in the series to be sure. Most notably how dominant they were in the first halves of games 1 and 2, and most importantly the poise showed in the face of a raucous, hostile crowd over the final four minutes to close out a sensational series in Game 6 on the road in Atlanta. But their infuriating inability to stay focused with big leads also returned in games 1 and 2 and when they were overrun by Trae Young while blowing the lead with mistakes in the final minutes of their Game 5 loss.

But two games into their Round 2 playoff series with the 76ers let’s hope they’ve cleaned up their appalling lack of boxing out and woeful weak side 3-point defense that Atlanta murdered them with in the last three games.

News Item – Panthers Shock Bruins: Short of a ball going through your first baseman’s legs at the moment of truth, it’s hard to imagine a worse way to be eliminated from the playoffs than how the Bruins were on Sunday night by Florida.

One minute away from looking like they had survived blowing a 3-1 series lead to an 8-seed they coughed up the game-tying goal by Brandon Montour to send it to OT tied 3-3. And with karma gone the magical season somehow ended 8:56 into OT when Carter Verhaeghe sent the SRO crowd into the night crushed and wondering what might have been.

News Item – Coach B On The Slide: They say the worst thing you can do is chase needs by reaching for players at position of need ahead of more talented players on your draft board. Normally I agree, especially for the dynasty Patriots, who rarely had immediate holes to fill.

But not this year. They went into this draft with one need above all else: to find out whether Mac Jones is or is not the QB of the future. And to do that they needed to give him help to improve 2022’s fourth-worst offense in football. Specifically that meant getting a solid left tackle to improve his protection and a game-changing wideout to open things up on offense.

Yet the ever stubborn, now-living-in-a-2004-time-bubble Bill Belichick used his picks in the first three rounds, where impact players most often come from, on defense. To, I guess, combat the AFC East now having three dynamic passing attacks. While not taking even one guy who was a full-time tackle in college among his 12 picks and no wide receiver until Round 6.

I get that reaching is bad and those two big needs are hard to come by. But if he hadn’t cheaped out on Orlando Brown in free agency, when the Bengals added him to protect the blind side of their young QB, they could have given up the top of their draft to get the game changer. Or he could have traded up to get ahead of the run on tackles they liked.

All of which shows that Coach B is living in the defense-dominates NFL past, which is what got all the great coaches I’ve seen (Shula, Landry, Noll) at their end.

Thumbs Up – Malcolm Brogdon: Being named NBA 6th Man of the Year after finally giving the Celtics a game-changer off their bench is a well earned honor.

Word of the Week – ‘Ironic’: Hard to come up with a better word for Joe Dumars, who played on the dirtiest team in NBA history, being the guy handing out the punishment for Draymond Green. Not that Joe played like that, but most of his teammates with the ’80s-’90s Pistons did and the league let them get away with it. And now he’s the warden.

Random Playoff Thoughts:

Love the old-school NBA every-other-day schedule for the first six games of the Philly series.

You’d think Charles Barkley would learn after being almost always wrong making predictions. But there he was again guaranteeing Sacramento would “whomp” defending champ Golden State in Game 5 of their playoff series. Then after they lost Game 5 he doubled down for Game 7. But sorry, Charles, wrong again. They lost by 20.

I’d call the Mavericks passing on reasonable money for their own guy Jalen Brunson last summer in lieu of having to now give Kyrie Irving a bigger amount this summer, along with their only two good defenders and a future first-round pick, a colossal mistake.

Brunson was a key to finally lifting the Knicks to a new level, while the Mavs went from the 5-seed out West when he arrived, to missing the playoffs entirely in just 23 games.

The Numbers:

50 – all-time NBA record for points scored in a deciding Game 7 playoff series by Steph Curry Sunday when the Warriors eliminated Sacramento with a decisive 120-100 win.

Sports 101 Answer: The Patriots’ four first overall picks were Jim Plunkett (1971), Kenneth Sims (82), Irving Fryar (84) and Drew Bledsoe (93).

Final Thought – Round 2 Picks: Denver over Phoenix in 7, Golden State over L.A. in 6, Celtics over Philly in 7, Miami over N.Y. in 6.

Email Dave Long at

Erasing the stigma

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Dr. Will Torrey, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Dartmouth Health, discusses Mental Health Awareness Month, efforts to reduce stigma surrounding mental health and resources available to individuals dealing with mental health issues in New Hampshire.

What is the purpose of Mental Health Awareness Month?

The idea is to increase knowledge and understanding of mental health disorders so that the general public can know more about these common illnesses and get increasingly engaged in helping us to help people get timely access to high-quality care. About 20 percent of us in the United States will have a psychiatric illness in any given year, and half of us will at some point during our lifetime. The point of Mental Health Awareness Month is to help engage people so that they’re more knowledgeable about their illnesses, can seek help when needed, and to broaden the coalition of people who are seeking to turn toward psychiatric and addictive difficulties with the same seriousness of purpose as we treat other illnesses, like cancer.

What initiatives is Dartmouth Health doing for Mental Health Awareness Month?

We’re excited to be hosting an exhibit at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center called “Deconstructing Stigma.” It aims to help people understand more about mental illness and to help people start or continue to deepen conversations about mental illness and its treatment. We also have a series called “Heads Up” that started last May and is ending this May and has included monthly articles on different facets of mental health and webinars on those topics. Our last webinar is coming out in May for Mental Health Awareness Month. These efforts aim to educate and foster discussions so that people can start to suffer less and do more together to make treatment more available.

What are the current strengths and weaknesses of mental health care in New Hampshire?

Across the nation, the big challenge is timely access to high-quality care. Covid-19 was a perfect storm in terms of stressors that bring out psychiatric illness. People had health worries, economic challenges, loss to death, social isolation, trouble with child care — all kinds of things that lead people to be more likely to exhibit signs and symptoms of psychiatric illness. At the same time, the health care system has been stressed because of worker shortages, and some of the core supports that had typically been available are less available. New Hampshire has struggled to meet the growing demand for mental health and substance use disorder care despite efforts to address the issues. It has excellent structure in its community mental health systems, but those are somewhat overwhelmed by the need for those services at this time. This is true for inpatient hospitalization needs for children and adults and for general outpatient care. At all levels of the continuum of care, the need for services outstrips capacity.

What can be done to help reduce stigma around mental health and encourage more people to get help when they need it?

When I was growing up, breast cancer was highly stigmatized, and people wouldn’t talk about it. … It wasn’t something that you looked to get support from others for. Nowadays, people get support from their friends and family, and I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be in the same position with mental health care. That’s what we’re working toward: if someone develops depression, psychosis or posttraumatic stress disorder, they should be able to talk to their friends and family and have straightforward, well-organized pathways into care and support. … A lot of it has to do with creating community, advocating together and encouraging these conversations and having these conversations.

What can friends and family members do to support someone struggling with mental health issues?

The core messages are the same as we would give to anyone with any kind of illness — just be clear that you care about them and will be with them through this. Give the message of caring, support and hope. Family members can also get more education through organizations such as the National Alliance for Mental Illness. They offer support groups and courses so that people can learn more about psychiatric illness and be more helpful to their loved ones or friends living with these illnesses.

What resources are available to people struggling with mental health issues in New Hampshire?

First and foremost, if you’re in crisis, you can call the national number 988, which can guide you to the appropriate care. Additionally, New Hampshire has mobile crisis units that can help resolve a crisis situation directly, often without [resulting in] hospitalization. Emergency rooms are always open for real crisis times. You can access mental health care through your community mental health system, or you can go to the Psychology Today website … and it will tell you which providers in your local area accept your type of insurance. Finally, if you’re employed, your employer may have an employee assistance program that can provide you with information about resources and support that are available to you.

Featured photo: Dr. Will Torrey. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 23/05/04

Tuition help for preschool teachers

The Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) and Granite State College (GSC) have partnered with the state’s Preschool Development Grant program to provide tuition reimbursement for qualifying students enrolled in Early Childhood Education (ECE) courses through 2023. According to a press release, the initiative aims to address workforce demands in the ECE field by covering full tuition for up to two classes per term for students enrolled in ECE courses at the state’s seven community colleges. The $500,000 award builds on an existing program at GSC, and grants are available to individuals working in licensed child care or out-of-school child care facilities in New Hampshire. Interested students can apply for the funds via the Preschool Development Tuition Assistance website,, which includes eligibility requirements, application timelines, eligible course lists and award specifications.

Help for school nurses

The Manchester School District has announced a new partnership with the Manchester Fire Department to help address the shortage of school nurses. According to a press release, the agreement, which is in effect from now until June 30, will allow Manchester Fire Department paramedics, advanced-EMTs and EMTs to volunteer as substitute school nurses when needed. Filling nursing positions has been a persistent issue for the School District, resulting in the use of external staffing agencies to fill the gaps. “We are grateful for this continued partnership with the Manchester Fire Department,” Superintendent of Schools Jennifer Gillis said in the release. “While this agreement does not solve our long-term staffing concerns, it gives us flexibility and puts less of a strain on our staff nurses.” The agreement does not allow the substitutes to provide one-to-one nursing services to students with special needs.

Historic sites

The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources has selected three state-owned historic sites to spotlight during May as Historic Preservation Month. According to a press release, the sites are Endicott Rock in Laconia, which features inscriptions dated 1652 and is possibly the oldest public monument in New England; Fort Dearborn at Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, part of a chain of coastal defenses that protected Portsmouth Harbor and the Naval Shipyard during World War II; and Nansen Ski Jump in Milan, the largest ski jump in the eastern U.S. for more than 50 years and the site of the first U.S. ski jump Olympic trials in 1938. Visitors are encouraged to explore the sites on a self-guided basis, with accompanying activity sheets for each site available for download on the DHR’s website, which each feature a short crossword puzzle, suggested activities and facts about the sites.

The Division of Historical Resources has also installed a New Hampshire Historical Highway Marker honoring Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, “a well-known labor, women’s rights and civil liberties activist,” according to a press release. The marker is at the corner of Court and Montgomery Streets in downtown Concord, which is near the site of her birthplace in 1890, and identifies her as “The Rebel Girl.”

Propose a highway marker for significant New Hampshire places, people or events by submitting a petition of support signed by at least 20 state residents, a draft text of the marker with footnotes and supporting documentation and a location suggestion, the release said.

Visit for an interative map of all the state’s historical highway markers, the release said.

5K for Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels of Hillsborough County is holding its 4th annual Step up 5K Run-Walk on Saturday, May 27, at 9:30 a.m. at Mine Falls Park in Nashua to support its programs and services. According to a press release, Meals on Wheels of Hillsborough County has served more than 14.8 million meals since opening its doors in 1977 and currently provides an average of 7,000 meals a week to older and homebound adults throughout Hillsborough County. “Chances are pretty good that older adults in your community — maybe even someone in your neighborhood — is food insecure,” Jon Eriquezzo, president of Meals on Wheels of Hillsborough County, said in the release. “Beyond the delivery of healthy meals, our drivers provide vital wellness checks and social connection for our participants. For about 59 percent of those we serve, the driver is the only visitor they have in a given week.” Participants in the 5K will have the option to run or walk the course or do a shorter route. There is also an opportunity to do a virtual race. To register, visit

Interstate 93 road work

Starting on the evening of Sunday, May 7, there will be temporary lane and ramp closures on Interstate 93 southbound between Exit 10 in Hooksett and Exit 6 in Manchester for pavement rehabilitation. According to a press release from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, overnight detours will be required for traffic daily, between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., for the duration of the construction period, which is expected to last for three weeks. Real-time traffic news can be found at, and travelers can sign up for “My511” alerts to stay informed about incidents and construction work.

The Sacred Ally Quilt exhibition, a collection of quilts that display the last words of George Floyd, will be on view at First Parish Church in Dover (218 Central Ave.) from Wednesday, May 10, through Saturday, May 13. The exhibition was created by a coalition of nine New Hampshire United Church of Christ ministries to serve as “a visible symbol and a graphic reminder of the need for racial justice,” according to a press release. Viewing hours are 2 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday; 6 to 7 p.m., on Thursday; and 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. An accompanying documentary by New Hampshire filmmaker Chris Owen, Stitch, Breathe, Speak: The George Floyd Quilts, will be screened on Thursday, May 11, at 7 p.m. Call 742-5664 or visit

The Hooksett Chamber of Commerce announced in a newsletter that it will host an inaugural Cornhole Tournament on Saturday, June 10, to raise funds for its scholarship program. More information and registration will be announced soon, according to the newsletter. Visit or watch the Chamber’s Facebook page for updates.

Riley’s Place in Milford (29 Mount Vernon St.) will host a fundraiser in honor of Bob Dylan’s 82nd birthday on Wednesday, May 24, at 7 p.m., to benefit the Hidden Battles Foundation, a nonprofit that provides mental health support to military, veterans and first responders. According to a press release, the event will feature a number of local musicians, with Jeff Lawrence of Boston’s WMEX 1510 serving as Master of Ceremonies. Funds will be raised through a suggested donation at the door and throughout the evening. Email for more information.

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