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Free Workshop Shows How Comics Can Bring History to Life

LACONIA — Are you a member of a historical society that would like to connect better with young people? Or an educator looking for a new approach to teaching local history? Comics are part of a long tradition of engaging readers through pictures— and they could be the answer to both of these needs.

Learn how creating comics can offer a great way to explore, interpret and share history during a daylong workshop on Wednesday, January 14, at Laconia Public Library.

Teachers, members of local historical societies and everyone who loves comics or history are invited to attend "Drawing from the Past: Using Local History Sources to Inspire Learning," presented by the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire and the Laconia Public Library. The workshop will be led by comics artist and educator Marek Bennett and historian Sophia Woodley.

The 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. workshop is free. A pizza lunch will be provided, and professional development credits are offered for teachers. No arts experience is necessary. Participants are encouraged to bring primary sources from their historical society or that they use for teaching, and to attend as a community team if possible (e.g., teachers from different subject areas, local historians, artists, etc.).

Workshop topics include the history and key techniques of sequential art (comics), illustrating local history by synthesizing and interpreting primary sources, and designing engaging comics-based history lessons that will appeal to a diverse audience and address the Common Core standards.

"Comics are a great way to engage educators and youngsters in using the amazing resources in our local museums and historical societies," says Frumie Selchen, Executive Director of the Arts Alliance.

A New Hampshire native and faculty member at the Center for Cartoon Studies, Bennett actually got the idea for his "Live Free and Draw" program while traveling and teaching in Slovakia. "I was researching and drawing comics about my family's roots there," he says. "In Central and Eastern Europe, centuries of cultural change have left layers upon layers of images and stories. I found myself looking at graveyards and churches, museums and schools, even the streets and paths people walk every day, as clues to the stories of these places and the people who live there. I thought to myself, 'Why don't we have this kind of history back in New Hampshire?' Then it hit me — we DO have it!

"I decided when I returned to New Hampshire I would start paying closer attention to the stories and artifacts all around us, and that I would draw comics from those stories. Sharing them on my LifeFreeandDraw.com website was the next step. Now we're reaching out to get other Granite Staters involved."

Bennett notes, "It's amazing to see the energy and excitement unleashed through the act of drawing comics out of our state's stories. Through teachers and historical societies, we can reach the next generation and really get them involved in the work of exploring and shaping our collective identity!"

Bennett and Sophia Woodley, a Laconia native who has a doctorate in history from Oxford, make a great teaching team, Selchen says. "Marek has worked with students of all ages and conveys his excitement to everyone he encounters. And we are so lucky to have Sophia to help us understand the historical resources that exist in our towns, schools — and, sometimes, in our own homes — and how we can draw great stories from them."

"This hands-on process represents a truly fresh and innovative approach," says Susan Hatem, Community Grants Coordinator for the New Hampshire Humanities Council, which is providing funding for the January 14 workshop. "Marek Bennett's use of comics as a tool for learning can be a real benefit to anyone interested in exploring our history."

Enrollment in the workshop is limited. Online registration is open at www.aannh.org, or call 323-7302 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 December 2014 10:58

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NH Wind Watch applauds Groton

BRISTOL — NH Wind Watch applauds Groton for its stand against additional industrial wind turbines in its town, with 70% of the town's registered voters taking part, and 145 of 234 votes being cast against additional wind turbines. Groton already has Groton Wind, a 24 industrial wind turbine complex for which there had been no vote, nor a process in place to notify area residents, and it deforested/destroyed miles of Cardigan/Newfound region ridgelines.

NH Wind Watch was formed two years ago as a grass roots organization to bring awareness and provide facts about industrial wind turbines; since then, not a single town in the Cardigan/Newfound region has voted to support industrial wind complexes.

The Groton vote was in response to reports that Portuguese company Energias de Portugal (EDP) is planning on seeking NH Site Evaluation Committee (NHSEC) approval for its Spruce Ridge Industrial Wind Project located in Canaan, Orange, Dorchester, Alexandria and Groton, and will be moving forward with town meetings as now required by law. The Spruce Ridge project will contain 29 495 foot industrial wind turbines, approximately 100 feet taller than the industrial wind turbines at nearby Groton Wind which can be seen from Mount Cardigan as well as Newfound Lake and other locations within a 50-mile radius of the Groton wind turbines.

The Groton Planning Board created a ballot to determine if residents support future industrial wind projects in their town. The ballot was sent to registered voters along with a stamped return envelope addressed to the Planning Board. All ballots were serially numbered to ensure polling integrity. To guarantee voter anonymity, the ballots were randomly inserted into the envelopes. Based on this vote, the Groton Planning Board will send a letter to the NHSEC stating Groton's position. The Select Board also stated they will send a similar letter to the NHSEC with the same purpose.

States Lori Lerner, President of NH Wind Watch, "A few years ago, Energias de Portugal met with Groton town officials to notify them of EDP's intent to develop a massive turbine complex across the region. Last night, the citizens of Groton joined like-minded residents of Alexandria, Hebron, Grafton, Danbury, Bridgewater and Bristol in voting with huge turnouts and resounding margins to reject yet another industrial wind complex in the Cardigan/Newfound Region. Industrial wind has been vigorously rejected by every town in the region. Energias de Portugal has repeatedly stated that they want local community support. They have no support here. Not now. Not ever. Industrial wind developers take notice..... you are not wanted here. We have one huge turbine complex here already. One is one too many. Stick to your word EDP and move on."


Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 December 2014 10:35

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Enterprise Center offers workshop to ‘supersize your sales’ on January 8

LACONIA — Join the Enterprise Center at Plymouth for a workshop to learn how to grow your business by supersizing your sales. On Thursday, January 8, from 8:00-10:00 am at the Taylor Community in Laconia, Robert Nadeau, Director of the Professional Sales Program at Plymouth State University, will share his decades of sales experience at a Fortune 100 company offering inside strategies to grow a business.

Learn the eight parts of a proven sales process and how to measure your effectiveness, because, "Everything in business should be a measurable and scalable process." said Professor Nadeau.

Discover the connective value of LinkedIn and how to leverage those all-important second level connections. According to Professor Nadeau, "70% of consumers do their shopping before making direct contact with you. How can you leverage LinkedIn to start the relationship and be ready with a solid process to make the sale once you have that all important first meeting?"

This workshop is offered at no cost to attendees, but seating is limited, so reserve your spot today by contacting the Center office at 535-3222.

Robert Nadeau is the Director of the Professional Sales Program at Plymouth State University teaching marketing, sales, and sales management, empowering students with leadership mechanisms to select, develop, and lead organizations. His career as a Senior Manager for a Fortune 100 company earned him multiple awards, keynote speaking engagements, and a reputation as a results-driven consultant. In his spare time, Bob teaches motorcycle safety courses for Harley-Davidson

As part of their ongoing commitment to business growth and development, the Enterprise Center at Plymouth brings educational seminars and professional skills training to Grafton and Belknap Counties. The ECP is an incubator/accelerator that provides a one-stop shop of services and referrals to assist business owners and entrepreneurs through all aspects of business acumen. For more information, contact the ECP at 535-3222.

These programs are supported by the NH Community Development Finance Authority, Plymouth State University, and the Economic Development Councils of Grafton and Belknap Counties.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 December 2014 11:59

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PSU students volunteer at youth center



PLYMOUTH — Mid-December is usually when college students are hard at work studying for exams and preparing for winter break, but a group of Plymouth State University marketing majors volunteered their time December 10 to decorate gingerbread houses with a group of Plymouth-area children.

More than a dozen members of the student organization Marketing Association of Plymouth State (MAPS) volunteered for the gingerbread project at the Pemi Youth Center, an after-school destination serving youth ages 10-17 of Plymouth and surrounding communities.

"Thanks to MAPS, youth participants enjoyed a magical afternoon decorating gingerbread houses," said Jessica Dutille '03, '04G, the Center's Executive Director. "We are sincerely grateful for all the incredible support that MAPS extends to the Pemi Youth Center."

"The simple goal behind something like this is to make the kids happy, it's all about them," noted Justin Hurd, MAPS Chapter Co-President. "We love performing community service, it's something that is built into the MAPS culture and we consider it a vital and rewarding aspect of chapter operations. We wanted to do more at the center and the idea to do gingerbread houses just popped up as something we thought would be a fun and interactive activity for the kids."

"We value service because it's embedded into the core of our organization's existence," said Jim Hundrieser '90G, PSU's Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. "To serve with distinction is a Plymouth State hallmark. Each year our students give more and more, enhancing our community and serving those in need. This project at the Pemi Youth Center is just one of many examples where PSU students make a meaningful difference to our greater community."

MAPS is PSU's student chapter of the American Marketing Association. The organization serves the campus and local community through fundraising and community service projects that also provide student members with real-world marketing, management, financial, and advertising experiences.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 December 2014 11:38

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