North Country Public Safety Foundation celebrates 5 years

FRANCONIA -- North Country Public Safety Foundation (NCPSF) celebrated their fifth anniversary helping first responders in the North Country. The organization has been helping public safety officers and their families in Coos and Grafton County since its inception in 2007. The group was formed by community members who came together to support Jose Pequeno, the former Police Chief in Sugar Hill. Their important work continues today supporting public safety officers and their families in times of need by providing expertise and structure to community relief efforts and fundraising.
The foundation's most recent project was assisting a committee of citizens headed by Chief Brad Kennedy of the Woodsville Fire Department. The committee was formed to help the family of the young Woodsville volunteer firefighter, Dan Jock, a 25-year-old with a young family, who learned he had a serious illness. Mr. Jock passed away on April 4, and was remembered with a ceremonial procession and a memorial service in Woodsville on April 7. Under the umbrella of the foundation, significant money was raised through many fundraisers in his community to assist with the family's living expenses. In remembrance of Mr. Jock, the Foundation has established a scholarship fund and is accepting donations.
Through the foundation's expertise and support like this, the organization has helped community efforts by lending credibility and fiduciary oversight. The group accounts for all funds as well as expenses incurred raising those funds. They provide access to their 501(c)3 status to insure optimal benefit to recipient and donor. One hundred percent of funds raised goes to the intended individual or family. Fundraising expertise, assistance with event planning and marketing, as well as public relations assistance, is also part of the support they provide.
The foundation requests support of individuals, families, corporations, and municipalities to become a member. From member dues, a revolving emergency loan fund is setup which provides immediate assistance to the families of Public Safety Officers. Volunteering in fundraising initiatives as well as assisting those they serve in legal, financial planning, public relations, and family services is another way to get involved. Most importantly, supporting community fundraising efforts ensures the success of the event for the individuals the foundation serves.
The North Country Public Safety Foundation is a private 501(c)3 established to benefit Public Safety Officers and their families in times of need. To get involved and learn more visit them at www.psofoundation.org or call (603) 823.5748. They can be reached at North Country Public Safety Officer Benevolent Foundation, P.O. Box 239, Franconia, NH 03580, or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Music in the Great North Woods presents a season of concerts and a new scholarship

Expanding on the previous years' well-supported seasons, a fourth series of concerts under the banner of Music GNW brings new collaborations, new venues, and new artists, looks for new audiences, establishes a scholarship program, and returns some all-time favorites.
Highly sought-after Amsterdam musicians, Mimi Mitchell and Richard Egarr, who recently triumphed in Boston, will make their only appearance in N. America on the summer series. In addition to playing, they will also teach and give master classes on Baroque violin and early keyboards. Violinist, Timothy Bell, returns from Germany to play the beautifully romantic music of Joseph Rheinberger in celebration of the Gorham UCC church's 150 anniversary. Christa Rakich and David Westfall, who consistently bring audiences to their feet, return for solo concerts. Music GNW partners with St. Kieran's Cultural Arts Center in presenting Christa Rakich, organist, in a benefit for RESPONSE, as well as the always entertaining keyboard player, RP Hale, who presents an interactive program. The Big Moose Bach Fest expands as well with counter-tenor, Michael Hawn, and the return of baritone, David Grogan, among others, including local musicians, soprano, Miranda Bergmeier, and tenor, Christian Labnon.
Concerts will be added in Conway, collaborating with the Historical Society at Salyards Centerfor the Arts and in Jackson at a private residence. As usual, the series returns to churches inBerlin and Gorham, as well as to the Town Halls of Randolph and Gorham. Many of the concerts will serve as benefits for the needs of the North Country, and all of the concerts remain open to all, with donations accepted.
Angela Brown has organized and directs the scholarship program which honors the memory of organist, Donald W. Norton. Following auditions on April 14, two Berlin area musicians were awarded the first Norton Scholarships to study the pipe organ. Keenan Wood, 15, of Berlin, a sophomore at Berlin High School, was awarded a full scholarship to be used for a minimum of six lessons on a pipe organ. Paul Salek, 9, of Milan, was awarded a Pipe Organ Encounter. A third candidate will audition in October.
For more information: www.musicgnw.org, facebook (open page), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
290 Gorham Hill Road, Gorham, NH 03581, 466-2865
Music GNW Board of Directors: Betsy Hess, President, Angela Brown, Archivist, Kathy Baublis, Treasurer, Fran Gardner-Smith, Web site, Gail Scott, PR, Michie Akin, Programming, Susan Ferre, Director
Advisors: Heywood Alexander, Andre Belanger, Patti and Jack Dunn, Charles Lang, Ben Mayerson, Eleanor McLaughlin, Tim Sappington, David Smith, Lewis Steele
Music in the Great North WoodsSchedule of concerts for Summer 2012
Sunday, June 10, 4:00 pm, RP Hale, Organist/Harpsichordist, Master Organ Series, St. Kieran's historic Hook and Hastings organ, Mexican music, Interactive Concert, St. Kieran Arts Center, Berlin
Thursday, July 12, 7:00 pm, Christa Rakich, Master Organ Series, Compositions by Women, a benefit for RESPONSE, at St. Kieran Arts Center, Berlin
Tuesday, July 24, 7:30 pm, Mimi Mitchell and Richard Egarr, Baroque violin and harpsichord duo from Amsterdam, Salyards Center for the Arts, Conway Village, Co-sponsored by the Conway Historical Society, Conway
Thursday, July 26, 7:30 pm, Mimi Mitchell and Richard Egarr, Baroque violin and harpsichord duo from Amsterdam, Medallion Opera House, Gorham Town Hall, Gorham
[Randolph Church event, Sunday, July 29, 4:00 pm, Heywood Alexander, with Ernie Drown and Beth Hilgartner, harpsichords and recorder, Randolph Church, Randolph]
Friday, August 10, 7:30 pm, 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Founding of the Gorham Congregational Church, Timothy Bell, violin, with Susan Ferré, organ, works by Rheinberger, Brahms and others from the time of the church's founding, Gorham Congregational Church, Gorham
BIG MOOSE BACH FEST IV - August 31- September 2, Labor Day Weekend
Friday, August 31, 7:30 pm - from The Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, by Miranda Bergmeier, soprano, and Susan Ferré, harpsichord, followed by the screening of the historic film with the late Gustav Leonhardt, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Berlin
Saturday, September 1, 10:00 am - Quentin Faulkner, Lecturer and Bach Scholar, recent publication of Adlung, with audio-visuals from Bach's homeland, Randolph Town Hall, Randolph.

Town of Gorham 4th of July Farmers, Craft and Flea Market

GORHAM -- Applications are now available for the Annual 4th of July, Farmers, Craft and Flea Market on the Gorham Common. Available spaces are located from the information booth along Main Street to Park Street and continuiing along Main Street to Glen Road. Multiple day discounts are available. Limited spaces are available with electrical hook ups and are based on first come first serve.
Please contact Amy St. Cyr at 915-3331 or Linda Dupont at 723-3907 for applications.

A powerful speaker on abolishing the death penalty is heard in Berlin

BERLIN -- On Tuesday evening, May 1, Dale Recinella, JD, M.T.S., Chaplain to the men on Death Row in the State Prisons of Florida, spoke at St. Barnabas Church as part of a series of appearances throughout the state. His sponsors were the New Hampshire Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, NH, and the United Church of Christ Peace with Justice Advocates.
His powerful personal story, a journey from high-powered lawyer to death row Chaplain, set the stage for a riveting talk, attended by 15 people from around the state of NH, several having driven from Concord and Manchester. Briefly summarized, Dale graduated into the world of a fast paced law firm, reaching the top of his profession as a legal liaison connecting state and local government projects with financing, managing smooth closings of international mega-deals. He and his family lived in what he called a Big House in a power neighborhood, with Scotch in one hand and coffee in the other. His life style was accompanied by two failed marriages.

One fancy dinner too many became the cause of a life-changing event, during which he came near to death, the result of having eaten a bad oyster. Doctors did not expect him to survive. He did awaken, having encountered a startlingly real vision of Jesus asking him, "What have you done with My Gifts?!" So Dale, his wife, Susan, together with their five children, decided to give up their Big House, sell everything and move into a 2 bedroom apartment, within walking distance of the worst neighborhoods, in order to take up a ministry with whomever was most in need. One more painful, but important step led him to the state's Big House to become chaplain to death row inmates. He is uniquely qualified to speak on the subject of the death penalty, the subject of the rest of the evening, summarized here:

Because most of the citizenry have no contact with the determination and administration of capital punishment, people have an unreal set of beliefs about the death penalty. As long as the death penalty exists, we don‚t have to think about real solutions to serious crime and violence in our society.

The cost to taxpayers of execution is 3 to 6 times the cost of life imprisonment without parole...the original trial (not counting appeals) can cost in the neighborhood of $6,000,000; a trial for life imprisonment, a mere fraction of that amount; and a guilty plea in exchange for life, $25,000. If California abolishes the death penalty next year, for instance, the state will save $150,000,000, the chief advocates of abolition being a conservative taxpayers union. If NH were to decide to execute the first man since 1939, at the outset it would probably cost at least $3 million to build a death chamber, death house, witness rooms, and it is likely that Concord would want it out of the public eye...in Berlin, or a place like it!

The death penalty is presumed by the public to be about justice or revenge. It is actually a symbol of the absolute power of the State to kill its citizens. In Florida they throw a huge state financed banquet on the day of executions. Statistics on executions of innocents since the introduction of DNA evidence increasingly undermines the argument from Justice, for with every innocent executed, a guilty person has "gotten away with it." If there were no death penalty, at least 2,000 state supported lawyers would need to find another job. They represent a powerful lobby in the death penalty industry.

Racial bias in the administration of the death penalty raises questions about its constitutionality. 85% of all executions since 1976 happen in the states of the old Confederacy or border slave-holding states. Fourteen states account for 91% of all executions in the USA. It is far more likely that the death penalty will be invoked if the victim is white and the perpetrator is African-American. (The opposite is also true, as in the Rayvon Martin case in Florida, with an alleged white perpetrator and an unarmed black victim, with no arrest until there was a national outcry.)

Families of the victims of murder are misled in the claim, „You will have closure.‰ Revenge does not bring peace of mind nor mend the loss. Increasing numbers of families of victims of murder are publically opposed to the death penalty. There is also a brutalizing effect of the death penalty on the death squads, those who carry out the order. Per capita, more police are killed and more murders are committed in death penalty states. The death penalty destroys the staff of prisons and the credibility of our government as a moral force upholding the standards of human decency and justice. In those states with laws which compensate victims of violent crimes, if the family opposes the death penalty, the family is usually not entitled to be compensated or given support.

Who is served by the death penalty? Not the perpetrator, nor the victim, nor the family of the victim, and nor does it reduce the violence in the broader society. For a variety of reasons, there is still a portion of the public, though a declining proportion, in the 40% range, which politicians think will vote for them if they say they are "tough on crime." This is based on fear and misinformation

Concerning religion and the death penalty, the Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church, and many other Protestant churches are explicit in their opposition to the death penalty. [See Dale Recinella‚s well reviewed book, The Biblical Truth about America‚s Death Penalty, Northeastern University Press, 2004.] It is significant that the religious complexion of the 11 states in which 85% of the executions are taking place is overwhelmingly Baptist. The eight most predominantly Roman Catholic states have held only 2 executions in the last 35 years. In the Catechism of the Council of Trent (1545-1563, intermittently), it was a primary duty of the priests to teach laypeople to forgive for murder.

Why did Dale Recinella take valuable and rare time away from Florida's death row to come to New Hampshire at all? "New Hampshire," he responded, "still maintains the death penalty as a possibility within its statutes. If NH moves to remove the death penalty, which has not been used in more than 40 years, we will be that much closer to a majority of states (now at 17) which forbid it. When a plurality of states has abolished the death penalty, the Supreme Court may then acknowledge and rule that this act of state violence is unconstitutional, seeing the trend to abolish, viewing it as 'cruel and unusual punishment.'‰ Thus NH could negate Texas. That is why he came.

Those in attendance went away with the belief that in NH we have a chance to make a difference, influencing federal law. Dale Recinella‚s personal journey can be found in his book: Now I Walk on Death Row: A Wall Street Finance Lawyer Stumbles into the Arms of a Loving God, Chosen Books, 2011. The NH Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty can be found at www.nodeathpenaltynh.org, or PO Box 632, Concord, NH 03301.

New Hampshire Seniors recognized for volunteer service

CONCORD – New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas and Governor John Lynch joined with the State Committee on Aging (SCOA) and EngAGING NH to recognize this year's recipients of the Vaughan Awards. The Joseph D. Vaughan Awards are presented annually to a couple or individual from each county who are 60 or older and have demonstrated outstanding leadership and volunteer service on behalf of senior citizens across New Hampshire.New Hampshire Seniors recognized for volunteer service
This year's Vaughan Award recipient for Coos County was Tony Urban of Berlin.
"Joseph Vaughan was a tremendous individual who cared about and fought for our elder citizens. The recipients of this year's Vaughan Awards carry on his legacy," Gov. John Lynch said. "The people who volunteer their time, energy and talents to make a positive impact in the lives of others deserve our thanks. They help make New Hampshire the great state that it is, and I want to thank them for all of their efforts."
The Joseph D. Vaughan Award was initiated in 1962 to memorialize the Honorable Joseph D. Vaughan, a New Hampshire legislator. Vaughan was an early advocate for older residents of the state and was instrumental in creating a state agency dedicated to the well being of senior citizens.
"It's so important that we recognize, honor and thank those here today and all our volunteers," said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. "It is their commitment and dedication to helping others that not only improves the quality of life, but strengthens the communities where we live."