Susan Bruce: Nipples and Nonsense

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Susan Bruce: Nipples and Nonsense

It’s the start of the new year, and that means that the Legislature will be back in session! The fun has already begun, with some of our N.H. Republicans covering our state with glory in the national media.
You may read that a couple of male legislators made boobs of themselves over the horrifying thought of being subjected to the view of a female nipple. It seems that State Rep. Josh Moore was so incensed at the idea, that he told a female state rep that any woman who was putting her nipple on view deserved to have it stared at or grabbed. This is especially fun because Josh is Ted Cruz’s “faith-based outreach” director in New Hampshire. (Be sure to ask Josh or Ted whose nipple Jesus would grab.) The other offender was Rep. Al Baldasaro, who also made crude remarks, but stopped short of justifying assault.
This all came about because last summer some women staged a “free the nipple” topless protest at Hampton Beach. This apparently was too much for the Patriarchal Police, so a trio of male legislators filed a bill (HB 1525) to define the circumstances that comprise indecent exposure and lewdness.
New Hampshire has some serious problems. We have the 11th worst infrastructure in the United States. Our roads, bridges, dams, and water systems are in serious need of repair. We need telecommunications infrastructure. Young people are leaving the state in droves, because there are no jobs and no affordable housing. New Hampshire invests less than any other state does in higher education, so our college students have a tremendous debt load. We’re unwilling to raise sufficient funds to run the state as if it were a going concern, so all state agencies are insufficiently funded and don’t run properly. Our property taxes are some of the highest in the nation, and prevent young people from buying houses, and force old people to sell theirs.
The response of our Legislature to the very serious problems our state faces? Nipples. Nonsense.
There are eight bills attempting to eliminate abortion. Republican men may not know diddly about planning for the future, but one thing they do know is that women can’t be trusted with their own bodies. There are 11 gun bills. There’s a constitutional amendment to try to ensure college students can’t vote here. There’s a bill to require TANF recipients to be drug tested, another to dictate where SNAP benefits can be spent, and a resolution to encourage the governor and executive council to open their meetings with a prayer. Yeah, that’ll help. The Legislature opens every session with a prayer, then they go on to do the best they can to ensure that the state’s poverty rate continues to rise.
Some of the bills are very familiar. Our legislators are not deterred by bills that fail to pass for decades – they just keep filing. There’s the usual attempt at defining “domicile” in ways that are aimed at preventing voting as opposed to encouraging it, this time in the form of a proposed amendment to our state Constitution. Another constitutional amendment would require a 3/5 vote in the House to override any veto. We’ve heard these before.
HB 1629 would disqualify members of foreign terrorist groups from receiving public assistance. Is there a box that folks check off (yes or no) to notify the state that they’re members of a terrorist organization?
HB 1542 would require drug testing of people receiving TANF benefits. This is one of Rep. Don Leeman’s favorite hobbyhorses, brought back again. Kansas spent $40,000 on drug testing TANF recipients and got 11 positive test results. Mississippi spent $5,290 and got two positive test results. In a state that can’t afford to fix bridges, this seems like a bizarre use of funds, but hey, those poor folks aren’t going to demonize themselves.
HB 1115 stipulates that New Hampshire residents would only be required to obey our own state and federal laws. The laws of other states wouldn’t apply to us. This bill is sponsored by Rep. Frank Edelblut, a Republican who wants to be our governor.
HB 1128 would designate the second week of September as Patriot Week. Because legislating patriotism makes it happen!
House Majority Leader Jack Flanagan is the lead sponsor of HB 1668, a bill that would create a registry for people convicted of heroin-related offenses and require the registration of those offenders. New Hampshire offers very little in the way of treatment for addicts. The GOP is determined to eliminate the N.H. Health Protection Program, (aka expanded Medicaid) which enables 40,000 low wage New Hampshire workers to access health insurance that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Insurance that covers treatment for addiction. Offering young people a future might be more helpful, (affordable education, good jobs, home ownership) but we’re not about to do that — so the only thing left is trying to prosecute our way out of a heroin epidemic. That it hasn’t worked yet is not a consideration.
Coming to us from the small gummint crowd is HB 1596, a bill aimed at changing the paperwork requirements for marriage. Reps. Daniel Itse, J.R. Hoell, Gregory Hill, and Paul Ingbretson do not believe that the state should license anything, so they want to go forward into the past to the way things used to be, with couples filing a certificate of intent to marry, and then a certificate of marriage, which gives interested parties the opportunity to object to the marriage. I’m not making that up. It’s in the text. The text also only refers to couples that are comprised of a bride and a groom. It’s nice to see the same guys who moan and wail about gummint interference working hard to interfere in the personal lives of New Hampshire residents. Bravo, libetea dudes!
You can check out all 812 potential bills filed thus far at www.gencourt.state.nh.us . On the right side of the page, you’ll see the section labeled “State Legislation Dashboard” where you can find all bills — the good, the bad, and the peculiar. Presidential primaries generate a lot of heat and noise, but what happens on the state level has the greatest impact on our lives. Make it your New Year’s resolution to pay more attention.

Susan Bruce is a writer and activist who lives in the Mount Washington Valley. Visit her blog at susanthebruce.blogspot.com.

Ithaca Bound: A program for the New Year

For the past several years now, I have been invited to speak to the Men’s Breakfast Meeting at the Gorham Congregational Church. The Breakfast group meets monthly, and every month there is a guest speaker. Think of any subject, and it would be a good bet that the Breakfast group has probably had a speaker on it.
Preparing a program for this group has always been a great joy for me, for always my programs have been graciously received. This year’s program, which will take place this coming Friday, Jan. 15, has been many years in the making, for over the years, I have been invited to present programs on the New Year many times in many places. This year’s program at the Gorham Congregational Church is a collection of my favorites from among those many programs.
The program will begin with an Elizabethan Yuletide song called “Drive the Cold Winter Away.” It is a little known gem that ends with a reference to the coming of a new year. This will be followed by a reading from my own 2001 article called “The Untrod Track of Snow.”
Robert W. Service is best known for his many popular poems on the Yukon. But a poem he wrote titled “The Passing of the Year” recently came to my attention, and it will be a part of this week’s program.This will be followed by a beautifully crafted piece by Fra Giovanni written in 1513. Some of you may know this. It begins, “There is nothing I can give you which you do not have . . . “
Some of you - perhaps all of you - may know that there are New Year’s words that are sung to the tune of “Greensleeves.” That song will be a part of my program.
I am always on the lookout for hidden little gems that few ever get to know. Such a gem is a wonderfully appropriate prayer that all of us older folk, in particular, should know and maybe even memorize. Regrettably, as with so many such gems, its author is unknown. Far more well known is Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Ring out, wild bells,” which is part of his justly praised poem “In Memoriam.”
T. S. Eliot’s classic poem “Journey of the Magi,” will be followed by a singing of Melchior’s aria from Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” which used to be an annual staple on television. Some years ago, while singing with a community opera group, I was given the honor of singing the role of Melchior in the group’s production of this chamber opera masterpiece.
The final song on my program will be Leslie Bricusse’s “I’ll Begin Again,” which was written for his musical theatre production of “Scrooge,”which later became a motion picture. It is one of my favorites and very appropriate for a New Year’s program. Concluding my program will be the reading of a beautiful Old Gaelic Rune, each phrase of which begins with the words “Deep peace.”
There will be a few other pieces on the program, of course, including a most tantalizing piece entitled “Inscription on a Monument to the Star Explorer,” and perhaps something that will catch my attention before the day of the actual speaking. But, by and large, that is it.
The Gorham Congregational Church’s Men’s Breakfast is open to all who choose to come. The breakfast begins at 7 a.m., and my program begins around 7:30 a.m. Perhaps you will hear something that will bring more meaning to your life in 2016.
Ithaca Bound writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Ithaca Bound is the pen name of Dick Conway. His email address is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Poof Tardiff: 1975 V

Hello fellow Berlinites. In September of 1975, the Berlin Police Department implemented a new program. This program that was put into place on August 31, 1975 and was intended to prove public relations and the internal divisiveness of the force.

The new plan had the sergeants learning how to supervise and assist their men during routine emergency calls. They took over the beat of an officer, checked up on the patrolman at unscheduled intervals and reported directly to the deputy marshal.

These sergeants had a list of other duties to include: the procedure when making arrests, the technique of answering complaints, the method of handling an accident and the thoroughness of his desk dispatchers and desk work. Many other programs came on board during this year.

The accompanying police picture shows Sergeant. Anthony Migetz and seven-month officer Timothy Hayes. Migetz has since passed on and Hayes went on to retire from the state police.

On September 21, 1975 Top Furniture celebrated their 25th anniversary and the owner “Top” Tourangeau reminisced about how it all got started. During 1945, after World War II, “Top” left the Brown company where he was a cost accountant and started his own business. He bought two buildings on Hutchins Street near the old Morris company building parking lot and peddled his wares out of these two buildings for about five years before deciding to locate downtown.

In 1950, he leased a store in the old Buber Block and put in his small Top Furniture store. This same building is a parking area for Northway Bank employees next to the old Princess Theater today (2016).

For 10 years, he and his wife and Margaret, along with four clerks, kept pace with their customers' needs until he decided to do something else. With a little cooperation between Top, Emmett Kelly and Public Service, Mr. Tourangeau was able to get some land near the old Globe Shopping Center and build a new store in 1961.

When it was decided to build the Super Walmart store a almost fifty years later, Top Furniture made another move and built a more modern establishment nearly opposite the new superstore. It has been at least 70 years since his business got its inception on Hutchins Street and 54 years since they left Main Street. They have certainly grown.

For “Hockey-town USA”, two boys by the name of Roy were on the move by the fall of 1975. Their names Frank and Ray “Weasel” Roy. The Berlin Maroons, who were playing by now, were missing these two key performers the on their club. The reason that they left the Maroons was because these local hockey stars had moved on to bigger and better brand of this game.

On September 9 of this year, “Weasel” signed a two year contract to play for the Sherbrooke Beavers, a Canadian Junior A club. This club, which had existed for about seven years, had already sent some of its players to the NHL.

For Frank Roy this year was the start of a great college career at the University of New Hampshire where he starred in division 1 hockey for 4 years.

Remember the great statue called “Vicissitudes” that stood across the street from the old Woolworth's. Well, it was in this year of 1975 that it was unveiled in the little area on Main Street called Public Service Park. A large crowd was on hand October 9, 1975 to view the unveiling of this sculpture built by Jean Bartoli.

The contribution of this resident sculpture's work was under written by the Community Action Program and was a cultural first of the for this community. There was music by a the Berlin High School Band, speeches by dignitaries and joy in the heart of Mr. Bartoli, as many people gathered around the object and praise the great work that had been done.

I believe that this great creation was also vandalized and his head was broken off and stolen. Today, it stands with others at the entrance into Berlin, just after the Aubuchon Hardware store on the “Square”.

How many people remember of the store on the Berlin-Gorham Road called Prescott Farms. It was situated in the Globe Shopping Center and had its grand opening on Sunday, October 19, 1975. Thousands of people were hoping to find opening bargains, as they waited to get inside this new store.

A spokesman for Prescott Farms, Vice President “Doc” Noel reported 3,800 North Country residents stood in waiting lines from 10 AM to 5 PM outside this new discount food store. This was a very successful start and the company's expectations were realized. “ It was very gratifying to see the reception given to this store by the public”, said Mr. Noel.

Once inside, customers received carnations, plastic handbags, lollipops for kids and cigars for the menfolk. They also had a chance to win a door prize. A side of beef, 10 turkeys and 50 $5 gift certificates were also offered as prizes.

The decor was reminiscent of the old days of logging on the Androscoggin River and there were several enlarged black and white photos of loggers on the Prescott Farms' walls. Next to the meat counter were plaques upon which were nailed woods men's tools.

Nearly 60 people from the Berlin area were hired by Prescott Farms, which helped local people find jobs. Of course, today there no longer is a Prescott Farms store and I do not remember when this outlet closed its doors. It certainly has been quite a while ago.

Finally, the great TEPCO (aluminum reduction plant) issue was in the paper again as the Berlin citizens group formed to spearhead a drive of putting this subject on the ballot. The group, which included a number of community leaders, circulated a petition which read as follows:

“We the undersigned citizens, respectively request that the matter of the city of Berlin engaging in the generation and distribution of electricity through municipal ownership, be sent back to the people for a new the YES or NO referendum.

In connection with the original referendum representations that were made to the voters that if a a yes vote carried, Berlin would have an aluminum plant and an atomic generation complex assuring the community of 1,500 new jobs”.

The TEPCO issue did not make it in Berlin, but it never did get to a popular vote. Years later we lost all of all of paper industry in this city. Would a plan like this have hurt or helped Berlin. One will never know.

I will continue with the history of Berlin in the year 1975 with my next writing.

Poof Tardiff writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Questions or comments e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also, join the many fans of “Once upon a Berlin Time”on Facebook and guests at the weekly mystery picture.

Ray Weasel RoyRay Weasel Roy

Migetz HayesMigetz Hayes

Frank RoyFrank Roy

Alfed Top TourangeauAlfed Top Tourangeau

Ithaca Bound: On New Year's Eve

The last day of 2015 found my wife and me at sea in the Antarctic. A cruise during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays was something that we had never done before. And the three week South American cruise that included three days in the Antarctic was available at a remarkably low price. So off we went.
The Antarctic has a lure all of its own. We had been there before, back in 2006, when we had actually been taken to several of the Antarctic’s islands on Zodiacs and allowed to spend some time among the penguins. We also visited one or two of the many manned research stations that provide such vital information to the nations of the world, especially in this age of climate change. Cooperation among the nations is commonplace here. A shining example of this is the Antarctic Treaty, first worked out in 1961 and first signed by twelve nations. It has now been signed by dozens more, and still holds firm. We all could learn some lessons in cooperative efforts in this regard.
On the 2006 expedition cruise, most of the evening’s talks by members of the expedition team, talks given in English, French, and German because of the multinational makeup of the passengers on board, dealt mostly with the history of the Antarctic’s early explorers. This year’s cruise featured an expedition team of scientists and naturalists, all of whom had spent most of their adult lives working in the whiteness of this icy Eden. The stories of their own personal experiences in this beautiful, but always dangerous and potentially deadly, land of white were endlessly fascinating.
The men and women who work here, many of whom return year after year to continue their research and add to the world’s knowledge of the importance of the Antarctic to the future of this planet are far more worthy of our praise than many of hose we choose to call “heroes.” Many of their projects are carried out at great risk to their own lives, but the furtherance of human knowledge is an inner drive that cannot be denied, and so they take the risks and write their reports and hope that the world takes heed.
Listening to the talks by the men and women who have actually experienced the adventures about which they speak, to read the books that they recommend for our further understanding, and then to personally experience the place, albeit from the relative safety of a modern day vessel is an experience never to be forgotten.
As I am finishing writing this article, on the second day of January, our ship is very slowly and very carefully navigating its way through a heavy fog and ice bergs on all sides. We had to turn back from this morning’s intended destination, Hope Bay, because of the day’s weather conditions and are now navigating solely by radar. In short, we are getting a small taste of what the explorers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had to deal with using navigational instruments far less sophisticated than what our modern day ship has.
But those of us who took this cruise to learn, and judging by the numbers who came to hear the expedition team’s talks, we are many, are entering the new year with a far deeper respect for and understanding of the importance of this Icy Eden to the future of this planet we call home.
Ithaca Bound writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Ithaca Bound is the pen name of Dick Conway. His email address is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Poof Tardiff: 1975 IV

Hello Fellow Berlinites. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the retirement of Berlin's Fire Chief Lucien Lamontagne. In July of 1975, the City Manager, James S. Smith announced Lamontagne's replacement. The new chief was Norman LaCroix.

LaCroix joined the fire department when unemployment was high and it was a chance for him to try something completely different in his life. He had been the operator of a Mobil gas station on Pleasant Street, in back of Day's Jewelry and Appliances. The station was eventually torn down and made into a parking area.

Since becoming a firefighter in March of 1956, Mr. LaCroix moved through the ranks of the tail board private and engine operator, into the captain's position under a Deputy Chief and as of July 7, 1975, he became the chief.

LaCroix was on vacation when he received the news, but knew that he had a chance for this position. So, on July 14, 1975, Norman assumed his duties as this city's top firemen. After 19 years experience, LaCroix was deserving of the job.

In 1965, he took the fire service training program to become a state instructor for the fire service. He also took special courses in Concord that included all phases of firefighting. These were pump, aerial ladders, ground ladders, hose operations, fire prevention, pre planning and fire administration. He then passed all all the examinations with flying colors. So, he was certainly qualified.

The biggest fire that LaCroix recalled was the East Side fire in 1972 on the corner of Champlain and East Mason Streets. Four structures burned down with about 26 apartments in all and 60 people living in these tenements.

Since 1969, LaCroix had been a senior fire instructor and a member of the board of trustees of the New Hampshire Firemen's Retirement System. He was also a past president of local 1088, the Berlin Firefighters Union. Mr. LaCroix surely made a great fire chief.

During the beginning of August 1975, Berlin had a great heat wave. According to the U.S. Weather Bureau office in Concord, on Friday, August 1, 1975 it was 97° and Saturday it was 101°.

Though no weather records were broken in Berlin, the temperature reached 101°. As the heat started to inch up to 100, people needed a cool place and they started spending their savings on fans and air conditioners. I have even read about hotter days here in the late 1800's. Global warming?

Another change of command took place in a Berlin department when Alex Dumesnil decided to retire from his post as chief of police. In a letter to the City Council Dumesnil expressed his regret at having to announce the termination of his 29 year career with the Berlin Police Department. He said that a police officer's job was for a young man and that he was now 60 years old.

When he joined the police force they used to just walk beats and check doors, but now (1975), they ran the ambulance service and more. He joined the police force in 1946 and was a patrolman for 10 years before becoming a sergeant. In 1960, he was promoted to Deputy Chief, a post which he held until his selection as City Marshal in 1972.

A tragedy occurred in Berlin during early August, when local police Sgt. Paul G. Brodeur 46, passed away unexpectedly at the Androscoggin Valley Hospital. Although Dr. Danais, who treated the officer, had not received the results of the autopsy before the news was printed, he believed Brodeur had died of a heart attack.

The sergeant left work early Tuesday night about one hour before the 11 p.m. shift ended. He had been assisting Albert Provencher on Goebel Street up some stairs and shortly there after complained of chest pains. He signed he out at as “sick” and went into the hospital for a checkup.

Brodeur was given a shot of nitro glycerin which helped for a while, then about midnight, his pain started again, so he received another injection. Then, at 4 a.m., the sergeant had a cardiac arrest and passed away one hour later.

Acting Marshall Carl Giordono said that all the men on the force were shocked, as Paul was well liked. A close friend to Brodeur, Detective O'Neal Plummer, said that it was an awful blow to the department and a great loss for his wife and nine children. Brodeur joined the force in 1956 and was promoted to sergeant in 1973. His wife was left with the children and did a magnificent job raising them as many local citizens can attest to.

During the summer, the new Berlin Park was dedicated on Monday, August 25, 1975, as Congressman James C. Cleveland addressed the audience that was assembled. Jericho Park and the unveiling of its new plaque, which was called Dead River Watershed was the subject of the dedication.

The unveiling was done by former Recreation and Parks Director Robert Lowe. The project to end the flooding of Lower Main, Pleasant, York and Mechanic Streets and build recreational facilities became a part of Berlin's rich history, as the areas flooded many times in the life of this city until the Jericho damn was built.

This dedication was held at 1:30 p.m. on a slope beneath the newly constructed bathhouse. The master of ceremonies was Mitchell A. Berkowitz. Other local participants in the dedication were Paul Doherty, Mayor Sylvio Croteau and Woodland Manager for Brown Company John Bork.

Between June 31, 1975 and the end of August over 8,700 people had used this park and the capacity per season was set for 16,000.

Finally, the milk man was headed in the same direction as the iceman in Berlin. Years ago, we had many different dairies delivering milk. In 1960, there were 15 dairies serving the Berlin area and bringing milk to out front doors.

The sale of Doucette's dairy and the Berlin Dairy to Don Bisson and Ray Michaud created the White Mountain All-Star Dairy. Also, still delivering milk was the Paul R. Bisson Dairy on Cates Hill. These were the only two left in Berlin 40 years ago. Sadly these great milk deliveries no longer exist. How many people remember these dairies and some of the earlier ones?

I will continue with Berlin's history of 40 years ago and my next writing.

Poof Tardiff writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Questions or comments email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also join the many fans of “Once upon a Berlin Time” on Facebook and guess at the weekly mystery pictures.

Park Dedicatrion Bob LowePark Dedication with Bob Lowe

LaCroix NormanNorman LaCroix

Dumesnil AlexAlex Dumesnil

1975 Heat1975 Heat