9/11 Observance a solemn occasion

The date was September 11th 2001. On a crystal clear morning, employees and others filled the offices of the twin World Trade Center towers in New York. But at 8:46 a.m. that morning, the first of two terrorist controlled passenger aircraft crashed into the first tower. Minutes later, it became clear that it was no accident. Ultimately, some 2800 people lost their lives in that one incident. Another plane struck the Pentagon, damaging it and killing more Americans. On the anniversary of the terrorism act, many communities across the nation memorialized those who both died in the act or were part of the attempted rescue of the victims. One such ceremony took place in front of the Portsmouth NH Police station. It was presided over by Chief Stephen Dubois. I spoke to him after the brief ceremony.

Listen to interview with police chief Stephen Dubois

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It was a tragic day for all Americans.  At 8:46 a.m. on a clear and sunny September morning, the first of two passenger planes rammed into the World Trade Center in New York, leading to the collapse of the two towers and the deaths of nearly three thousand people.  Since then, the buildings have been reconstructed, but the memory of the terrorism remains.  Many communities around the nation have held remembrances to mark the tragedy.

Portsmouth Police Chief Stephen Dubois at 9/11 ceremony – Roger Wood photo

One such commemoration took place in front of the police station in Portsmouth, New Hampshire,  Police Chief Stephen Dubois led a brief ceremony attended by over 100 people.  You can listen to a podcast report by clicking on the listen arrow above or the download link below.  There is also a video you can view below on the ceremony.

 

 

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Aging Interstate Bridge Gets Federal Funding

It’s been there for 70 years, but the Sarah Long Bridge connecting Maine and new Hampshire is in dire need of repair.  More on my podcast on the arrow below.

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Sarah Long Middle Bridge between Maine and New Hampshire – Roger Wood photo

It already has weight limits posted for heavy vehicles, and Jersey Barriers erected to prevent vehicles from colliding with rusting side rails.  Members of the Maine and New Hampshire Congressional delegations agree that the bridge is in immediate need of replacement to “to insure public safety and continuation of interstate commerce.  The bridge also serves as a vital link for supplying the nearby Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery Maine.  Together the two states applied for funding under the so-alled TIGER grant program.  That stands for Transportation Investment Generation Economic Recovery.  The bridge was visited by Federal Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox.  Since then the delegation has lobbied for the replacement through letters, hearings, and meetings with the U.S. Department of Transportation officials.

Sarah Long Bridge showing Jersey Barriers – Roger Wood Photo

I spoke to Ted Talbot of the Maine DOT about the federal funds and the logistics of replacing the aging structure.  You can listen to my report by clicking on the podcast listen arrow above or download link below, depending on your operating system.

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Tree Box Filter Can Reduce Pollution

by Roger Wood

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Earth Day is celebrated in nearly 200 countries.  It was established in 1970, to mark the beginning of a new era of concern and action to preserve the environment of our planet.  In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the day was marked by the planting of a tree.

Planting a sapling in a tree box filter – Roger Wood photo

Not a big deal, you say?  Well, this particular sapling is part of a pollution control system.  You can hear more about it by clicking on the listen arrow above or download link below.

 

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African American Burial Groundbreaking and Consecration

by Roger Wood

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In 2003, while public works crews were working on a city street, they unearthed an unexpected find….the remnants of coffins that were identified as African Americans.

African American Burial Ground ceremony – Roger Wood photo

They were slaves who lived and worked in the city of Portsmouth in the 18th. century.  Subsequently, the grounds were deemed sacred, and a committee was formed to explore the possibility of erecting a permanent memorial to the 13 people who were buried there and forgotten.  It’s been 11 years, and much debate over the form such a memorial would take.  Now, 11 years later, and a series of meetings behind them, ground has been broken for a permanent memorial.  It’s cost will be over a million dollars, and is scheduled to be complete by November.  Hundreds of residents and visitors flocked to the site of the project to listen to music and hear speakers recite the names of dozens of former slaves who served their masters in this New England city.  I attended the ceremony.  You can listen to a report by clicking on the podcast arrow above or download link below.  There is also a video featuring some of the ceremony and participants.

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Market Basket Rally Draws Thousands

by Roger Wood

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Fired Market Basket C.E.O. Arthur T. Demoulas was the beneficiary of a rousing rally.  An estimated crowd of some 12 thousand people, employees, customers and politicians turned out at a parking lot in Tewksbury, Massachuetts.

Truck parked with Demoulas’ photos – Roger Wood photo

They were there to condemn the company’s board of directors for firing him and his executive staff.  He and his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas and family have been feuding for decades over control of the 71 store chain that operates in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts.  That led to his final ouster several weeks ago.  It also sparked a walkout by some employees, and a halt to deliveries of groceries, especially perishable food.  Now, shoppers, dwindling rapidly, have started boycotting the stores, leading to steep declines in sales at all the stores.

Poster honoring Arthur T. Demoulas – Elaine Wood photo

Many joined in the protest, which drew over twice as many participants as the first rally in July.  I covered the event, and you can hear a report by clicking on the listen arrow above or download link below.

 

Here is a video clip showing the speakers and crowd in action.

 

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Schoonerfest Should Attract Thousands to Portsmouth, New Hampshire

by Roger Wood

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It may be only a city of some 22 thousand people, but Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has been extremely successful in attracting tall ship visits.  This summer is no exception, as the Piscataqua Maritime Commission hosts two schooners, the Privateer Lynx and the Schooner Mystic.  They are due at the city’s commercial fish pier starting on Friday, August 1st.

The Schooner Lynx – Courtesy photo from Portsmouth Maritime Commission

For three decades, sailing replicas from older times have called on the Port of Portsmouth, giving visitors and residents an opportunity to tour or sail aboard the magnificent vessels.

Larry Job, Vice Chair, Piscataqua Maritime Commission – Roger Wood photo

Last year, the U.S. Coast Guard vessel Eagle made a stop.  As you will hear in my report, the commission is also actively fundraising and sponsoring teens who are identified as at risk for a week-long sail, with educational aspects.  Please click on the listen arrow above or the download link below.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a video of the Privateer Lynx

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Jim Splaine – Overcoming Personal Tragedy and His Plans for the future – A Profile, part 3

by Roger Wood

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In this third part of a three-part interview with Jim Splaine, we talk about his personal family tragedy, his championing of gay rights, and how that may have influenced his decision to not seek higher office.

In the following video clip, Jim Splaine testifies in favor of equal rights legislation.

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Jim Splaine, Champion of New Hampshire’s First Presidential Primary – A profile – Part 2

by Roger Wood

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Jim Splaine has served several terms on the Portsmouth, New Hampshire City Council, twice as assistant Mayor.  He is serving in that role again.  But his political life wasn’t limited to local government.

Jim Splaine – AP Photo

Jim went on to win terms in the New Hampshire House and State Senate.  It was in the Legislature that his ideals were transformed into laws that have had far-reaching effects beyond his native state.  One of those bills has resulted in his small state getting the attention of most major and minor Presidential candidates every four years.

NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner, left and Jim Splaine – Photo by Tony Schinella

To listen to part two of my interview, click on the arrow above or the download link below.

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Jim Splaine, Friend and Public Servant – A profile, Part 1

by Roger Wood

Listen:  11:00

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Jim Splaine has been my friend for over 40 years.  When I broke into radio news broadcasting, he was already the youngest member of the Portsmouth City Council.  I watched and reported on his career in public service, as he advanced into the New Hampshire Legislature, first as a member of the 400 member House, then as a Democrat in the 24 person State Senate.

Jim Splaine, with City Hall as a backdrop – Photo by Roger Wood

He lives modestly in his native city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  But, he has had a huge impact on the state, politically, economically and socially.  He is now back in the city council, elected assistant mayor, only losing the top spot by a little over a 100 votes.  I recently had the opportunity to interview him in depth about his early life, family tragedies and his ability to rise above all of the adversity life has presented to him.  In this three part series, I hope to provide some insight into the mind of a truly great, yet under-rated individual.  You can listen by clicking on the arrow above or the download link below.

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1876 Built Church a Hidden Gem along the Atlantic Coast

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St. Andrews by the Sea is a hidden gem tucked away among a mix of new and old stately homes in a neighborhood in Rye, New Hampshire.

St. Andrews by the Sea – Roger Wood photo

Built back in 1876, it predates many of the more modern structures, and is home to an Episcopal Congregation.  Actually, church Senior Wardens who oversee it,  say that the seasonal  summertime place of worship is not membership oriented, but attracts some 175 people to the two services held every Sunday.  Like the minister, most of those who serve at St. Andrews are unpaid volunteers, with the exception of the sextant, who keeps the sanctuary spotless and just as new appearing as when it was originally built.  Originally, the two services were held, first for the wealthy summer visitors, and second, for their servants, naturally a tradition long abandoned in the modern age.

Altar

Altar and stained glass windows – Roger Wood photo

The stone church has stood the test of time, even strong winds and hurricanes.  It is a constant draw for potential weddings, and derives much of its strong endowment from some events.

Historically, the land for the new church came about as a gift from the Philbrick family, under the proviso that the family could be buried there.  John Colby Philbrick named his “Farragut” Hotel after Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, the civil war hero of Mobile Bay. The hoteliers even built a boardwalk over to the church to keep the worshipers dry.

One unique feature of the church is the Lich-gate, a covered gateway to the church used to protect coffins awaiting a priest before a funeral.  There are said to be only three such structures in the state.

Right now, the church door is locked during the week, but opened for those who wish to tour it.  I had an opportunity to sit down with two past Senior Wardens, Max Smith and Carol O’Leary, to talk about the building, its history and its present goals.

Past Senior Wardens Carol O’Leary and Max Smith – Roger Wood photo

You can listen to the interview by clicking on the podcast arrow above or download link below.

 

 

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