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Gilmanton Cub Scouts First to Achieve New Health Patch

GILMANTON — Cameron Hamel, a Committee Chair for Cub Scout 242 in Gilmanton, is making a difference in the health of her Cub Scouts. Last fall, thanks to funding support from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, Hamel was invited to attend a training given by Healthy Kids Out of School, an initiative of ChildObesity180 at Tufts University, working with out-of-school-time programs to promote healthy snacks and physical activity. Since that training, Cameron has been working with her Cub Scouts to achieve the Healthy Unit Patch - a patch created by Healthy Kids Out of School to reward Scouts for having water, healthy snacks, and physical activity during their meetings.

In New Hampshire more than 25% of school age children are overweight or obese, and a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that as a result of this epidemic, children today may have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

Cameron Hamel's story is just one example of how Healthy Kids Out of School is combating childhood obesity across New Hampshire. And, her efforts are paying off - Hamel's Pack recently became the first in New England to complete the Healthy Unit Patch – and she hopes her Pack will be an inspiration for others.

Hamel started by selecting fun and engaging games that would allow the Scouts to be both physically and mentally active. A guessing game called Zero In, where the kids use body movements to accelerate gameplay, was a rampant success with her den. Not only did the game fill the Scouts with excitement, but it had the additional benefit of helping them focus the Scout's attention during the rest of the meeting. She now begins each meeting with Zero In as part of their warm up routine.

Hamel also served fresh fruits such as grapes, blueberries and apples, to get the kids excited about eating them together. "It's very important that children are exposed to new and healthy foods," says Hamel. "Oftentimes, a child may be resistant to trying something new, and that's why Cub Scouts is such a powerful platform for making these introductions. Children are much more likely to try something new when they're surrounded by friends who are also participating. The more we can expose them to these experiences now, the more receptive they'll be to making healthy choices in the future."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 April 2014 06:53

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LHS Concert Choir, Symphonic Band earn high marks at music festival

LACONIA — The Laconia High School Music Department's Concert Choir and Symphonic Band received high marks at the in the NH Music Educators Association Large Group Festival held at Plymouth Regional High School.

The students prepared three pieces of music that were adjudicated by national judges. After they were graded they then entered another level of the competition by sight reading a piece of music they had not prepared.

The Chorus received a rating of excellence with two A’s and two B’s. The Band received a rating of superior with three A’s and one B. Congratulations to both groups. They will be taking these selections to Toronto, Canada in April to participate in the Festivals of Music in Toronto.

Last Updated on Monday, 31 March 2014 10:42

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New Hampshire Needs $3 Billion in Water Related Infrastructure in Next Decade

PLYMOUTH — New Hampshire needs to revitalize its water system infrastructure over the next decade or it faces a crisis affecting the state's economy. That according to John Gilbert, chairman of the N.H. Water Council, who spoke at Plymouth State University's New Hampshire Water and Watershed Conference March 21. Gilbert reported that it will cost $2.9 billion over ten years to repair the state's aging and overburdened waste and storm water treatment plants, potable water utilities and underground piping. He believes inaction will create major problems.

"It is difficult to predict what would precipitate a water crisis," Gilbert said. "Maybe the southeast corner of the state could stop development because there is not enough water, or the Boston Metro area may need more water than the Quabbin Reservoir can provide and propose a big pipeline to get their water from the North Country. We don't want to say the sky is falling, but we're already seeing problems and they will get much worse within ten years. We need to start chipping away at this."

Gilbert is also a member of New Hampshire Lives on Water Project, a group of volunteers that is trying to build a coalition of citizens to advocate for maintaining long term sustainability of the water resources. Gilbert believes citizen advocates are crucial in moving the state toward sustained attention to addressing the problem, because of the short-term focus of the political system.

"I think it's unlikely the legislature will embrace this in the first instance, which is why we talk about needing develop a very broad based constituency that keeps pushing the legislature forward," Gilbert said. "I like the idea of trusting the public because they've shown remarkably sophisticated understanding when they've been given the background information; the public is going to have to lead the legislature on this."

Gilbert also said recent changes in severe weather show New Hampshire's storm water systems need upgrading, and doing so could actually save money because it could prevent costly property damage, like road and bridge washouts.

The New Hampshire Water Infrastructure Funding Commission recently released a report with suggestions on funding water related projects.

Dr. Joseph Boyer, Director of Plymouth State's Center for the Environment, said the institution will work with state officials in finding solutions to water concerns.

"We expect the Center for the Environment will continue to act as a resource in facilitating future public policy development and water issues," Boyer said. "We would like to thank all of the conference participants for their continued commitment to this important topic."

The day-long conference at PSU featured more than 40 talks addressing current water related research as well as effective strategies at the local, regional, state, and federal levels about changing environmental and societal conditions and their effects on New Hampshire's water resources and aquatic environment. Specific topics included watershed planning, restoration, and management; education and outreach; ecosystem services of lakes, rivers, and watersheds; coordinating a response to climate change; and water quality and quantity.

Last Updated on Monday, 31 March 2014 10:27

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Delfeayo Marsalis to Perform at Sant Bani School April 4

SANBORNTON — Jazz trombonist, bandleader, composer, arranger and producer Delfeayo Marsalis will take the stage at Sant Bani School's Studio Theater Friday, April 4 at 7 p.m.

Known for his "technical excellence, inventive mind and frequent touches of humor..." (Leonard Feather, Los Angeles Times), Marsalis is "...one of the best, most imaginative and musical of the trombonists of his generation." (Philip Elwood, San Francisco Examiner.) In 2011, Delfeayo and the Marsalis family (father Ellis and brothers Branford, Wynton and Jason) earned the nationʼs highest jazz honor – a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award.

Marsalis has produced over 100 recordings for major artists including Harry Connick, Jr, Marcus Roberts, Spike Lee, Terence Blanchard, Adam Makowicz, Nicholas Payton, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and the projects of Ellis, Branford and Wynton Marsalis.

For this performance Marsalis will lead a quintet consisting of fellow New Orleanian Raymond Weber, Jr. on drums; along with some familiar names from the New Hampshire jazz scene: Jonathan Lorentz on tenor saxophone, Nate Therrien on bass, and Sant Bani School Performing Arts Department Chair Craig Jaster on piano.

Jaster, who organized the event, says this is the first jazz concert open to the public at Sant Bani, which is well known for its commitment to arts education and to an outstanding and long-running chamber music series. "Some years ago, Michael Cogswell, Executive Director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens, NY, came up and gave an outstanding lecture on Armstrong, which was extremely well received by the public. In fact, one enthusiastic audience member piped up that he would contribute if we would hold a jazz concert at the school. That enthusiasm was the spirit that got this started, and now a number of generous local underwriters, including White Park Dental PLLC of Concord and Eurasian Auto Works Ltd of Tilton have stepped forward to make it possible for our students and the community to hear--up close in an intimate venue--some jazz they are not going to forget."

Jaster, who has played with Marsalis on several past New Hampshire appearances, says, "not only is Delfeayo one of the finest trombone players out there; he is also a great entertainer who I guarantee will bring some New Orleans charm and humor, and plenty of warmth–and heat–to the bandstand, and if you ask me, we could use a little of that heat up here right about now!"

Marsalis will be giving a performance for the students in the morning before returning to the stage for the 7 p.m. performance. Tickets are $15, free to students 18 and under, and may be purchased in advance by calling the School at 603-934-4240 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Last Updated on Monday, 31 March 2014 10:19

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