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Registration open for Poetry Out Loud program

CONCORD — Registration is open for New Hampshire high schools wishing to participate in the 2013-2014 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud program. The deadline to register is November 1, 2013 and is limited to 40 high schools. Home-schooled students are also welcome to join through their local school or by creating a regional group.

Poetry Out Loud is a nationwide contest sponsored by the National Endowment of the Arts in partnership with the Poetry Foundation. The program encourages youth to learn about the beauty and power of language through memorization and performance of great poems. Participation in the program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.

Students in the Poetry Out Loud program are invited to select several poems to memorize and recite from an anthology, compiled by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, that represents the breadth of great poetry. Contestants are judged on several criteria, including physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, level of complexity, evidence of understanding and overall performance.

Poetry Out Loud curriculum materials include the online poetry anthology, a comprehensive teacher's guide, a DVD of national finals performances, lesson plans, and promotional and media guides. Aspects of the program align with the new Common Core educational standards and therefore allow educators to tie into broad educational objectives.

In New Hampshire, the competitions begin at the high school level. Champions represent their high school at regional competitions; those winners participate in the state championship, which will be held in March 2014. The program provides support for the champions from each state travel to Washington, D.C., to compete in the National Finals, where a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded.

Funds for Poetry Out Loud are provided by the National Endowment for the Arts to state arts agencies around the country. The N.H. State Council on the Arts manages New Hampshire's program in partnership with the New Hampshire Writers' Project. Other partners include the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire and the Frost Place.

For more information or to register, go to: www.nh.gov/nharts and click on the "Poetry Out Loud" button on the right. If you have additional questions, contact Catherine O'Brian at (603) 271-0795, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Jennifer Andrews, Poetry Out Loud executive assistant, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 10:17

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Annual Chili Challenge to be held in Waterville Valley next weekend

WATERVILLE VALLEY — The nights may be cooler, but the heat will be cranked up in Waterville Valley for the 15th Annual Chili Challenge on Saturday, September 28 beginning at noon in Town Square. Area restaurants are putting visitors to the test, challenging eager tasters to decide who will take home the 2013 "Champion of Chili" award.

Adult entry is $7 and children under 12, $5. This year's contestants are Legends Restaurant, Blue Moon Cafe, Coyote Grill, Potbellies and Waterville Valley Resort Conference Center with additions coming in daily. A free outdoor concert and beer tent featuring fall brews from local breweries will accompany the Chili Challenge.

For more information, call 1-800-GO-VALLEY, visit www.visitwatervillevalley.com or www.waterville.com.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 10:15

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Distracted driving talk Sept. 26 at Boys & Girls Club

LACONIA — On Thursday, September 26 nationally-recognized Distracted Driving Speaker Jennifer Smith will lead a discussion on the risks of talking or texting while driving. The discussion will begin at 7 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club in Laconia (719 North Main Street).

Jennifer Smith has been an advocate against distracted driving since 2008 when her mother was killed by a preoccupied driver talking on his cell phone. She now travels the country speaking at schools and giving public presentations on the dangers of cell phone use and driving.

Smith has worked closely with Oprah Winfrey on her No Phone Zone Campaign – appearing on her first episode 'American's New Deadly Obsession' in January, 2009. She has become one of the nation's experts on the dangers of distracted driving, also appearing on Fox News, CNN, Larry King Live, 20/20, and Rock Center. Smith also works with families who have lost a loved one by helping them to turn their senseless tragedies into constructive action.

Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams and Dr. Jean Petterson of the Laconia Clinic have collaborated to bring this important program to the Lakes Region.

"As a Pediatrician safety education is a very important focus. If we can make the public aware of how dangerous distracted driving is, we can save lives," explains Petterson. "No conversation is worth losing your life, or taking the life of another. Let your voicemail pick up your call, or pull over to talk. We hope Jennifer Smith's message will resonate to help keep everyone safe on the road."

"The evening with Jennifer Smith will be an opportunity to open a dialogue on talking and texting while driving," states Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams. "Distracted driving is a national epidemic that kills thousands each year. Our hope is to educate our friends and neighbors, encouraging them to hang up and drive, in order to save lives on our roadways."

For more information on the Hang Up & Drive presentation please call the Office of Public Relations & Marketing at LRGHealthcare at 527-2895 or visit www.jennifersmith-distracteddriving.com.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 10:11

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Meredith Library Celebrates Banned Books Week 2013

MEREDITH — Did you know that since the year 2000, there have been 5,450 official attempts to remove books from school and public libraries across the United States? Over the past year alone, there were over 450 attempts in the U.S. to control what books and information you and your family have access to. From classics like "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Great Gatsby," to contemporary favorites like "Harry Potter" and "Captain Underpants," few titles have been immune to the effects of attempted censorship.
The Meredith Public Library's mission statement and core values lay out how the library and its staff are here "to provide fair and equal access for all... to knowledge in various media formats." And it was with similar intent that Banned Books Week was founded in 1982, when public libraries, along with educators and book sellers from all over the country, began uniting during the final week of September to mount informative displays and host free-speech events in order to raise awareness for censorship in our country, both attempted and successful. Banned Books Week serves as a reminder for all Americans that reading is not something that we should take for granted, and that censorship in any form is a dangerous act along the edge of a slippery slope.
This year, the Meredith Public Library is excited to have a variety of programs planned for Banned Books Week 2013, which takes place over the week of September 22-28.

The library will be kicking off the week by hosting a "Read-Out!" on Tuesday, September 24 from 3-4 p.m., when the public is invited to come in and read a passage from their favorite banned or challenged book. If you'd like, we'll even be equipped to record your reading, and then upload it to the Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out page on Youtube.com, where your video might get posted alongside anti-censorship messages from authors like Judy Bloom, James Patterson, and Lauren Myracle.
Patrons of all ages are invited to participate in Banned Books Week events at the Meredith Public Library. More information on these and many other library events can be found on our website at Meredithlibrary.org, or by calling 279-4303.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 10:07

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