31 August 2011

Volunteer Fire Companies Offer Hot Showers (and Coffee)

One example of the post-Tropical Storm Irene services being provided by the region’s fire, rescue, and emergency medical services are the hot showers (and coffee) being made available at both the Salem Volunteer Fire Company and the Gardner Lake Volunteer Fire Company in Salem, CT, from 9:00 AM until 9:00 PM daily.  Residents are requested to bring a towel and their own toiletries.

Background information:

Salem Volunteer Fire Company

Town of Salem

Wikipedia: Salem, CT

Reflection Starter from Deuteronomy

"Be strong and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them, for it is the LORD, your God, who marches with you; he will never fail you or forsake you." - Deuteronomy 31:6

TJL Note

After being without power since approximately 10:45 AM on Sunday, it was restored about 8:15 last night. Consequently there have been no updates on this blog. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused, and, grateful for the return of electric power, we offer our appreciation for the fine work being done by the government (local, state, and federal), utility, and other workers (paid and volunteer) throughout the region and beyond who are striving to serve the residents and visitors and to bring things back to a sense of normalcy.

28 August 2011

Tropical Storm Irene Update

The National Weather Service reports that, at approximately 9:00 AM, the center of Irene - now weakened to a tropical storm - moved over New York City (at latitude 40.7 north...longitude 74.0 west). The storm's estimated intensity at landfall was 65 miles per hour. Irene is moving toward the north northeast (20 degrees) at 26 miles per hour.

For the latest advisories from the National Hurricane Center, please visit:

National Hurricane Center: Hurricane Irene

Additional information:

National Weather Service: Northeast River Forecast Center

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New England District: Hurricane Readiness

Previous posts related to Hurricane Irene:

Lop Notes: Hurricane Irene Update  (28 AUG 11)

Lop Notes: President Declares Emergencies in Four New England States (27 AUG 11)

Lop Notes: Preparations for Irene (27 AUG 11)

Lop Notes: Hurricane Irene Update (26 AUG 11)

Lop Notes: Hurricane Irene Update (25 AUG 11)

Lop Notes:Hurricane Irene (24 AUG 11)

Hurricane Irene Update

The National Weather Service reports that, at 5:00 AM, the center of Hurricane Irene was located near latitude 39.2 north...longitude 74.5 west. Irene is moving toward the north northeast at close to 18 miles per hour, and this motion accompanied by a gradual increase in forward speed is expected during the next day or so. On the forecast track, the center of Irene will move near or over the coast of New Jersey and over western Long Island this morning and move inland over southern New England by this afternoon. Landfall is forecast to be in the vicinity of Norwalk, CT – around the time of high tide.

Irene is a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 125 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 320 miles.

National Weather Service offices responsible for this region (or portions thereof):

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Caribou, ME

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Gray/Portland, ME

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Taunton/Boston, MA

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Burlington, VT

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Albany, NY

National Weather Service: Weather Forecast Office, Upton/New York City, NY

Media reports:

CT: Irene's bullseye: Between Stamford and Bridgeport (Connecticut Post)

CT: Town after town tells residents to evacuate as Irene approaches (Connecticut Post)

CT: Coastal sewer systems will be taxed in hurricane (Connecticut Post)

ME: State faces major threat from wind and flooding (Portland Press Herald)

MA: Valuable lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina (Cape Cod Times)

MA: Shelters ready for evacuees; region takes steps to minimize damage (Standard Times)

NH: Utility companies gird to react to power outages (New Hampshire Sunday News)

RI: R.I. coastal communities better prepared but still vulnerable in hurricanes (Providence Journal)

RI: Special registry allows R.I. to assist the most vulnerable (Providence Journal)

VT: Shumlin declares state of emergency (Burlington Free Press)

VT: Local ambulance team deployed to NYC (Bennington Banner)

Background information:

Cape Cod Medical Reserve Corps

Previous posts related to Hurricane Irene:

Lop Notes: President Declares Emergencies in Four New England States (27 AUG 11)

Lop Notes: Preparations for Irene (27 AUG 11)

Lop Notes: Hurricane Irene Update (26 AUG 11)

Lop Notes: Hurricane Irene Update (25 AUG 11)

Lop Notes:Hurricane Irene (24 AUG 11)

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Jeremiah 20:7-9, Romans 12:1-2, and Matthew 16:21-27. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 63 (Psalm 63:2-6, 8-9).

Today’s Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, "God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you."

He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct."

Reflections related to these readings:

The Deacon's Bench: Homily for August 28, 2011: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (27 AUG 11)

Msgr. Charles Pope: Every Round Goes Higher, Higher. A Meditation on the Gospel for the 22nd Sunday of the Year

Dr. Scott Hahn: For Your Life (August 28th, 2011 - 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time)

The Word Embodied: Not Conforming to the Age

Friar Blog: Sirius XM Radio, August 26th, 2011

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your kind and loving Providence.

Catholic Shrines: An Opportunity to Encounter Our Lord

In a recent article, the Rhode Island Catholic (diocesan newspaper for the Diocese of Providence) reminds us that Catholic shrines have a role in spreading the Gospel message by giving visitors a special opportunity to encounter our Lord.

As a local example, the article refers to the Shrine of the Little Flower in Nasonville, a village in Burrillville RI. (On a personal note, the article refers to Sister Grace Coffey [who operates the shrine’s museum and small gift shop]. For many of the years I taught at Saint Patrick School in Providence, Sister Grace was the religion teacher for Grades K-8.)

To access this Rhode Island Catholic article, please visit:

RI Catholic: Vatican official calls Catholic shrines an effective way to evangelize (18 AUG 11)

Background information:

Shrine of the Little Flower, Nasonville, RI

Catholic News Agency: Vatican official calls Catholic shrines an effective way to evangelize (16 AUG 11)

Reflection Starter from Saint Francis de Sales

"Walk always near to God, for the gentleness of His shadow is more wonderful than the brightness of the sun." - Saint Francis de Sales

27 August 2011

President Declares Emergencies in Four New England States

In addition to President Obama declaring an emergency for Massachusetts (which was mentioned in a previous post, President Obama has now declared emergencies in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. These declarations, due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Irene,  authorize federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's emergency disaster declarations.

For more information about these declarations, please visit:

FEMA: President Declares Emergency For Connecticut

FEMA: Federal Aid Programs For Connecticut Emergency

FEMA: Federal Aid Programs For Commonwealth Of Massachusetts Emergency

FEMA: President Declares Emergency For New Hampshire

FEMA: Federal Aid Programs For New Hampshire Emergency

FEMA: President Declares Emergency For Rhode Island

FEMA: Federal Aid Programs For Rhode Island Emergency

A Look at the Negative Image of Public Employees

“The lack of appreciation employees feel they receive from the public is echoed across the nation, at all levels of government - and the bitter feelings trickle down from the highest level to local government. Recent polls show that only about 20 percent of the public approves of the job that Congress is doing. Unions representing public employees are routinely called ‘bullies’ and ‘thugs.’ . . .

“As a result, local government leaders, their consultants and watchful academics are sorting out how to meet the challenge to their operations, at a time of diminishing resources and increased demands. While some believe that maintaining services is the best way to regain the public’s trust, others are rethinking the role of local government and are encouraging employee participation in that process.”

In a recent article in American City & County, writer Robert Barkin explored how the public’s disdain for the public sector is leading to retirements, layoffs, and discussions about the future role of government.

To access this American City & County article, please visit:

American City & County: Getting squeezed (August 2011)

Background information:

American City & County

Olneyville New York System Wieners, RI

One of the treasures of New England is the rich variety of foods that are part of its culture, including traditional New England cuisine and a variety of foods that have been introduced over the years.

One treat that makes up this treasure are the New York System wieners (hot dogs) found in Rhode Island. There are a number of restaurants/diners that offer these. Over the years I've enjoyed the ones from Olneyville New York System (always going to the Olneyville location).

For more information about Olneyville New York System, please visit:

Olneyville New York System

Facebook: Olneyville New York System

Quahog.org: Olneyville New York System

HollyEats: Olneyville New York System

Wikipedia: Hot wiener

Melrose, MA, Fire Department Now Providing Ambulance Service

The Melrose, MA, Fire Department recently took over the responsibility of providing ambulance service for nonlife-threatening emergencies in the city.

The department had previously provided ambulance service, but, as a cost-saving measure, it stopped doing so in 1989. Now, the City anticipates that the service will help provide revenue to meet the fire department’s budget needs.

Media report:

Boston Globe: Rushing to your aid - and helping pay the bills (21 AUG 11)

Background information:

Melrose Fire Department

Cataldo Ambulance Service

City of Melrose

Wikipedia: Melrose, Massachusetts

New Vermont State Law Addresses Concussion in Youth Sports

A recently enacted state statute in Vermont directs the Vermont Department of Education to develop guidelines designed to assist schools in taking reasonable steps to prevent, and to minimize the effects of, school athletic team-related concussions.

The law, a K-12 requirement, requires that schools educate their coaches, their youth athletes, and the youth athletes’ parents and guardians regarding the prevention and mitigation of concussion-related injuries. It takes effect with the beginning in the autumn 2011 sports season.

Media report:

Brattleboro Reformer: New state law takes concussions head-on (26 AUG 11)

Background information and resources:

Vermont Department of Education: Concussion Guidelines

CDC: Heads Up: Concussion in High School Sports

CDC: Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports

CDC: Training Course: Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports

CDC: Concussion in Youth Sports: Fact Sheet for Athletes

CDC: Concussion in Youth Sports: Fact Sheet for Parents

Vermont Principals' Association

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

In the midst of the various preparations as Hurricane Irene approaches, the day-to-day business of municipal government continues to go on.

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England (and issues being faced on the local level) include these articles:

CT: School takeover case goes to Supreme Court (Connecticut Post)

ME: Maine police, fire, drug enforcement agencies increasing use of Facebook (Bangor Daily News)

MA: Busing part of plan for Princeton school

NH: Dealership dredging wetlands despite order to cease, says city (Portsmouth Herald)

RI: City to impose new terms on teachers (Providence Journal)

VT: Hyde Park Sidewalk Project Hits Delay (News & Citizen)

Background information:

Bridgeport, CT, Public Schools

City of Bridgeport, CT

Ellsworth, ME, Police Department

Facebook: Ellsworth, ME, Police Department

Facebook: Portland Maine Police Department

Facebook: Bangor Maine Police Department

Facebook: Auburn (Maine) Police Department

Wachusett Regional School District, MA

City of Portsmouth, NH

City of Central Falls, RI

Town of Hyde Park, VT

Preparations for Irene

Preparations continue throughout the region as Hurricane Irene approaches. At this writing, Irene is a Category 1 hurricane (although at the upper limit of this category) – still a large and powerful storm.

For the latest advisories from the National Hurricane Center, please visit:

National Hurricane Center: Hurricane Irene

Media reports:

CT: Flooding threatens region (The Day)

CT: Irene on the way (Bristol Press)

High-tech gadgets may be put to the test (The Day)

ME: Maine mobilizes, and waits, for Irene (Portland Press Herald)

MA: Storm preparations reach fevered pitch (Cape Cod Times)

MA: Storm-seasoned coastal residents not taking any chances (Standard-Times)

MA: False alarms build false sense of security (Cape Cod Times)

NH: New Hampshire braces for Irene (Concord Monitor)

NH/ME: Seacoast prepares for Irene's worst (Portsmouth Herald)

RI: Hurricane Irene: R.I. officials urge vigilance (Providence Journal)

RI: In R.I. preparations for Irene under way (Providence Journal)

VT: Burlington braces for Irene's torrent (Burlington Free Press)

VT: Officials prep sandbags, shelter for storm (Bennington Banner)

VT: Vermont utilities to get storm help from Midwest, Canada (Burlington Free Press)


Connecticut Governor Launches Website to Keep Residents Up-to-date on Hurricane Irene, State Preparedness

Maine Preparations Intensify, Governor Declares State of Emergency

Massachusetts Governor Declares State of Emergency

New Hampshire Governor Declares State of Emergency

Rhode Island Governor Issues Declaration of Disaster Emergency

Vermont Governor: Vermonters Urged to Prepare for Effects of Hurricane Irene

FEMA: President Declares Emergency For Massachusetts


NWS: Tropical Cyclones: A Preparedness Guide (March 2011)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for your glorious Resurrection and all that it means.

World Youth Day Follow Up

Here are some additional media reports and commentaries related to the recent World Youth Day observance:

National Catholic Register: Father Barron: The Mainstream Media Missed the Point of World Youth Day (25 AUG 11)

MercatorNet: 7 reasons for good cheer after Madrid (22 AUG 11)

Zenit: Holy Father's Words to University Professors (19 AUG 11)

Chiesa: After Madrid. How Benedict XVI Has Innovated the WYD (24 AUG 11)

Reflection Starter from Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

"The nation . . . doesn't simply need what we have. It needs what we are." - Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

26 August 2011

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England (and issues being faced on the local level) include these articles:

CT: More unions reject Stewart’s concessions package, layoffs loom (New Britain Herald)

ME: City approves sewage clean-up (Kennebec Journal)

MA: Cutbacks may scuttle dial-a-ride (Boston Globe)

NH:  North Hampton selectmen wrestle with communications policy (Hampton Union)

RI: Pawtucket seeks tally of truck fines (Providence Journal)

VT: Ferrisburgh signs deal to sell land (Addison County Independent)

Background information:

City of New Britain, CT

City of Augusta, ME

Town of Acton, MA

Town of North Hampton, NH

City of Pawtucket, RI

Town of Ferrisburgh, VT

Hurricane Irene Update

As Hurricane Irene continues its approach in the direction of New England, a hurricane watch has been posted for the Southern New England coastline from the Connecticut-New York border to the mouth of the Merrimack River in Massachusetts (including all of the islands in between).

The latest storm track projection is:

Hurricane Irene Track

Media reports:

Connecticut Post: Fairfield County could be in eye of Hurricane Irene (26 AUG 11)

Hartford Courant: Malloy Signs Declaration Of Emergency As Hurricane Irene Approaches (26 AUG 11)

Boston Globe: With Irene looming, region gets ready (26 AUG 11)

Concord Monitor: New Hampshire braces for Irene (26 AUG 11)

Bountiful Brookline Initiative Encourages Teen Vegetable Gardening

The treasures of New England include the many efforts to teach, support, and encourage the young people of this region.

One example of such an effort is in Brookline, MA, where several local teenagers have cultivated vegetable gardens in public housing yards and at the Brookline Community Foundation offices during the summer. The teenagers were paid for the work, which included building, planting, weeding, and harvesting at the three sites.

The eight-week program, now in its second year, is sponsored by Bountiful Brookline. It is funded by the community foundation, the Brookline Housing Authority, and the Park School Foundation. Produce from the gardens was made available to the Brookline Food Pantry and to local restaurants.

For more information about this initiative, please visit:

Bountiful Brookline

Brookline Housing Authority

Brookline Community Foundation

Town of Brookline

Wikipedia: Brookline, Massachusetts

GAO Reports on EPA’s Hazardous Waste Corrective Action Program

As people throughout New England are aware, years of industrial development have generated hazardous waste that, when improperly disposed of, poses risks to human health and the environment. Some years ago, Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) in order to mitigate these risks.

Subtitle C of RCRA, as amended, requires owners or operators to take corrective actions to clean up contamination at facilities that treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste. The corrective action program is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or states authorized by EPA.

To focus and streamline the RCRA corrective action program, EPA has (over the past decade) set a series of progressively more ambitious performance goals and identified which facilities must meet them. Its first set of performance goals, for example (to be achieved in fiscal year 2005), were to control human exposures to contamination and migration of contaminated groundwater at 95 percent of 1,714 “high-risk” facilities. EPA also established a long-range vision for the program, going beyond controlling contamination to cleaning it up. Hence, it targeted 2020 as the year by which 95 percent of 3,747 facilities (expanded from 1,714 to include low- and medium-risk facilities) would have completed construction of all cleanup remedies. EPA also established a process for its regions and authorized states to follow in determining whether facilities undergoing cleanup have met major milestones toward controlling human exposure and preventing the spread of contaminated groundwater and issued guidance to assist in streamlining the corrective action process, maximize program flexibility, and expedite cleanup.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office was asked to assess this program, and GAO has recently released a report of its assessment. This report discusses (1) actions EPA has taken to establish goals for the program and expedite cleanup; (2) the progress EPA, states, and facilities have made in meeting these goals; and (3) the challenges EPA, states, and facilities face, if any, in meeting future cleanup goals. During the process, GAO reviewed and analyzed EPA documents and data and interviewed EPA and state agency officials and stakeholder groups.

In its report, GAO recommends that EPA assess the remaining corrective action workload, determine the extent to which the program has resources needed to meet 2020 goals, and take steps to either reallocate its resources or revise its goals. EPA agreed with the recommendation.

To access this GAO report, please visit:

GAO: Hazardous Waste:  Early Goals Have Been Met in EPA's Corrective Action Program, but Resource and Technical Challenges Will Constrain Future Progress. (July 2011)

Elizabeth Scalia on No Invitations for First Responders or Clergy to New York City 9-11 Anniversary Observance

In a recent commentary, writer Elizabeth Scalia reflected on the decision by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg not to invite any first responders or clergy to the upcoming 9-11 tenth anniversary observance at Ground Zero.

To access Ms. Scalia's complete post, please visit:

The Anchoress: Bloomberg: No Clergy, No FDNY (25 AUG 11)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for taking upon Yourself, through Your passion and death, my sins and the sins of each of us.

Elizabeth Scalia on Spending Time in Eucharistic Adoration

"Just about two years ago, I had occasion to make a monastic retreat that included the gift and privilege of perpetual adoration. The community of Dominican nuns kept constant vigil, one-by-one with our lord, present in the Eucharist, and they invited me to do the same in their public chapel, throughout the night, if I liked."

In a recent commentary in First Things, Elizabeth Scalia reflected on a powerful experience she underwent when spending some time in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament (at Our Lady of Grace Monastery, Guilford, CT). This experience is still affecting her today.

To access Ms. Scalia's complete post, please visit:

First Things: On the Square: A Love Supreme (23 AUG 11)

Background information:

The Anchoress (Elizabeth Scalia's Blog)

Our Lady of Grace Monastery

Reflection Starter from Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The days come and go like muffled and veiled figures sent from a distant friendly party, but they say nothing, and if we do not use the gifts they bring, they carry them as silently away." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

25 August 2011

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England (and issues being faced on the local level) include these articles:

CT: Wallingford native creates "Green" Website for town (Record-Journal)

ME: Biddeford 'disorderly housing' ordinance in effect (Portland Press Herald)

MA: Crash death leads to call for Secure Communities (Milford Daily News)

NH: Reelected Warren police chief won’t get reinstated (New Hampshire Union Leader)

RI: Federal grant to advance Station District plans in Warwick (Providence Journal)

VT: Vermont poised to seek waiver from education law (Burlington Free Press)

Background information:

Town of Wallingford, CT

City of Biddeford, ME

Town of Milford, MA

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: Secure Communities

New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council

City of Warwick, RI

Vermont State Board of Education

U.S. Dept. of Education Releases Final Application for Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge

The U.S. Department of Education has released the final application for the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC), which is designed provide $500 million in state-level competitive grants to improve early learning and development programs.

The goal of the RTT-ELC is to better prepare more children with high needs for kindergarten because children from birth to age five, including those from low-income families, need a strong foundation for success in school and beyond.

In its introduction to this initiative, the Education Dept. notes that “Robust research shows that high-quality early learning programs improve children's health, social-emotional development, cognitive ability, and school success. High-quality programs also help close the wide school readiness gap that exists between children with high needs and their peers. Yet, the U.S. lacks a coordinated system for improving and evaluating early learning and development programs as well as sharing best practices across programs and State.”

RTT-ELC is designed to set a high bar and reward states with the strongest plans to improve the quality of early learning and development programs. In their applications, states are required to demonstrate a commitment to building coordinated systems, aligning resources and policies, and increasing access to high-quality early learning and development programs for children who need them most.

RTT-ELC is designed to focus on five key areas of reform:

  • establishing successful state systems by building on the state's existing strengths, ambitiously moving forward the state's early learning and development agenda, and carefully coordinating programs across agencies to ensure consistency and sustainability beyond the grant;
  • defining high-quality, accountable programs by creating a common tiered quality rating and improvement system that is used across the state to evaluate and improve program performance and to inform families about program quality;
  • promoting early learning and development outcomes for children to develop common standards within the state and assessments that measure child outcomes, address behavioral and health needs, as well as inform, engage, and support families;
  • supporting a great early childhood education workforce by providing professional development, career advancement opportunities, appropriate compensation, and a common set of standards for workforce knowledge and competencies; and
  • measuring outcomes and progress so that data can be used to inform early learning instruction and services and to assess whether children are entering kindergarten ready to succeed in elementary school.

For more information about the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge, please visit:

U.S. Dept. of Education: Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge


U.S. Dept. of Education Blog: Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge Application Released (23 AUG 11)

Education Week Blog: Newest Race to the Top Stresses Early Ed. Rating Systems (23 AUG 11)

Hurricane Irene Update

A number of preparations are underway throughout New England in anticipation of the potential strike by Hurricane Irene.

National Hurricane Center animated link to Hurricane Irene’ track and anticipated track:

National Hurricane Center: IRENE Graphics Archive

Media reports:

NECN: New Englanders prepare for Hurricane Irene (25 AUG 11)

Boston Globe: Hurricane forces a change in plans (25 AUG 11)

NECN: Hurricane Irene: High impact quite possible in NE (25 AUG 11)

"God of Grace and God of Glory"

Today's reflection starter contained a quote from Harry E. Fosdick. Among his many other accomplishments, Rev. Fosdick wrote the hymn, "God of Grace and God of Glory":

The Ipswich Dinner Bell, Ipswich, MA

The treasures of New England include the many ways the people of this region, as individuals or as part of an organized effort, reach out to assist those in need. These initiatives often become more than originally envisioned.

One such example is the Ipswich Dinner Bell, a free meal program operated by a collaboration of churches and community groups in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

For more information about the Ipswich Dinner Bell, please visit:

Salem News: Dinner Bell a ringing success (24 AUG 11)

Ipswich Chronicle: Ipswich Dinner bell to ring (27 SEP 10)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your mercy.

Fr. Robert Barron on Keeping the Sabbath

In a commentary written earlier this year, Father Robert Barron reflected on the importance of keeping the Sabbath as a way for us, as a nation, to remind ourselves of the Lordship of God.

To access Father Barron's complete post, please visit:

Word on Fire: A Nation Under God; a Nation That Keeps the Sabbath (24 JUN 11)

Reflection Starter by Harry E. Fosdick

"No stream or gas drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined." - Rev. Harry E. Fosdick

24 August 2011

Hurricane Irene

Although a lot may change between now and Sunday, it appears that (based on the current National Weather Service projection) Hurricane Irene is focusing on the New England region.

Here is the current NWS Coastal Watches/Warnings and 5-Day Forecast Cone for Hurricane Irene:

Hriicane Irene Forecast Map

Throughout the region, emergency management personnel, as well as other municipal, county, state, and federal personnel, have been making preparations.

Background and resource information:

National Hurricane Center

National Hurricane Center: Hurricane Irene

National Hurricane Center: Hurricane Preparedness

Ready.gov: Hurricanes

FEMA: Hurricane Hazards

FEMA: Avoiding Hurricane Damage

FEMA: During a Hurricane

Emergency Management Division, Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security

Maine Emergency Management Agency: Maine Prepares

Maine Emergency Management Agency

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

Homeland Security and Emergency Management, New Hampshire Department of Safety

Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency

Vermont Emergency Management

Wellesley, MA, Emergency Preparedness Checklist

Peeptoad Coffeehouse, North Scituate, RI

Included in the treasure trove of the rich variety of music throughout this region is the Peeptoad Coffeehouse.This venue, operating at the North Scituate Baptist Church, 619 West Greenville Road, North Scituate, RI, strives to to offer the best in folk and traditional music.

For more information about the Peeptoad Coffeehouse, please visit:

Peeptoad Coffeehouse

Wounded Warriors “Hit the Beach” Event in Hampton, NH

In a recent Wounded Warriors “Hit the Beach” event organized by Hampton, NH, American Legion Post 35 commander (and surfing enthusiast) Ralph Fatello, approximately twenty military veterans (including some from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital) with a variety of injuries “hit the beach” and learned how to ride some East Coast waves.The event was held at North Beach in Hampton.

Media reports:

Portsmouth Herald: Disabled veterans surf as a way to heal in Hampton (20 APR 11)

New Hampshire Union Leader: Wounded warriors hit the beach for a day of surfing (19 AUG 11)

Background information:

Wounded Warrior Project

American Legion Post 35, Hampton, NH

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England (and issues being faced on the local level) include these articles:

CT:  Communications Tower Replacement Approved (Hartford Courant)

ME: Half of high-hazard dams lack state inspection (Bangor Daily News)

MA: School bus buy raises concerns for some councilors (The Recorder)

NH: Police make use of social media (Nashua Telegraph)

RI: Providence School Board endorses mayoral academy (Providence Journal)

VT: Colchester residents tour lake-front camp (Burlington Free Press)

Background information:

Town of Simsbury, CT

Maine Emergency Management Agency

Town of Greenfield, MA

Pelham, NH, Police Department

Town of Pelham, NH

City of Providence, RI

City of Cranston, RI

Town of Colchester, VT

IACP Releases Report on Juvenile Justice Training Needs of Law Enforcement

The International Association of Chiefs of Police recently published Juvenile Justice Training Needs Assessment: A Survey of Law Enforcement. This survey of law enforcement around the nation was designed to identify challenges and training needs facing law enforcement in addressing juvenile crime, delinquency, and victimization.

The survey identified a number of challenges that law enforcement officials face within their departments and the broader criminal justice system that are barriers to effectively addressing juvenile crime, delinquency, and victimization.

The survey identified the most pressing issues and concerns facing law enforcement agencies relating to juvenile crime, delinquency, and victimization as:

  • substance abuse,
  • abuse (physical, sexual, and/or emotional),
  • juvenile repeat offenders,
  • bullying/cyberbullying,
  • gangs,
  • Internet crimes involving juveniles/youth (as perpetrator/victim),
  • runaways, and
  • school safety.

To access this IACP report, please visit:

IACP: Summary: Juvenile Justice Training Needs Assessment: A Survey of Law Enforcement (July 2011)

IACP: Full Report: Juvenile Justice Training Needs Assessment: A Survey of Law Enforcement (July 2011)

Virginia Earthquake Felt in New England

Yesterday’s earthquake in Virginia was felt in New England and resulted in a number of evacuations and building inspections.

Media reports:

Boston Globe: Quake sets the Northeast aquiver

Hartford Courant: Virginia Earthquake Shakes Connecticut

Connecticut Post: Earthquake causes Twitter frenzy in Connecticut

Portland Press Herald: Mainers report feeling tremors and wondering what's shaking

Boston Globe: In region, small temblors common, larger ones rare

Background information:

FEMA: Quake in D.C. Serves As Reminder To Get Prepared

New England City & Town News Notes: Earthquakes in New England (23 JUN 10)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your compassion.

Dr. Randall Smith on Using Our Intellect to Enhance Our Faith

"A good friend was bemoaning the other day that, after a wonderful presentation by the assistant pastor of her parish on the Theology of the Body, she heard a fellow parishioners say: 'I didn’t know I'd have to put my thinking cap on in church.' A beautiful talk, on a substantive issue, and all this guy can say is: 'Too much thinking.'"

In a recent commentary, Dr. Randall Smith (associate professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas, Houston) wrote about the importance of Catholics using their intellects to increase their understanding of their faith.

To access Dr. Smith's complete post, please visit:

The Catholic Thing: Thinking in Church and with the Church (20 AUG 11)

Background information:

University of St. Thomas: Faculty: Dr. Randall Smith

University of St. Thomas, Houston

Reflection Starter from George Washington

"It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn." - George Washington (in a letter to the Legislature of Pennsylvania, 1789)

23 August 2011

Whoopie Pies

One of the treasures of New England is the rich variety of foods that are part of its culture, including traditional New England cuisine and a variety of foods that have been introduced over the years.

One treat that makes up this treasure is the state treat of Maine – the whoopie pie (composed of made of two round mound-shaped pieces of chocolate cake, or perhaps pumpkin or gingerbread cake, with a creamy filling or frosting between them).

For more information about whoopie pies, please visit:

Wikipedia: Whoopie pie

NPR: Food Fight: Maine Legislature Takes Up Whoopie Pies (3 FEB 11)

What’s Cooking America: Whoopie Pie - History of Whoopie Pies

Grit: Maine Whoopie Pie Recipe (Nov-Dec 2010)

Facebook: The Maine Whoopie Pie

Facebook: Maine Whoopie Pie Festival

Hurricane Bob 20th Anniversary

The National Weather Service office in Taunton, MA, recently issued a public information statement about Hurricane Bob:

The last time New England took a direct hit from a hurricane was twenty years ago, on 19 August 1991, when Hurricane Bob hit Southeastern New England. As bad as Bob was, it was only a Category Two hurricane at landfall. The last time that New England was hit by a major hurricane – Category 3 – was 57 years ago, in 1954.

Hurricane Bob developed in the central Bahamas on 16 August 1991. It steadily intensified and reached hurricane status on the evening of 17 August. Bob strengthened and accelerated northeastward. The eye of Hurricane Bob passed over Block Island, RI, at approximately 1:30 PM on 19 August and made landfall over Newport, RI, shortly before 2:00 PM.


Hurricane Bob brought sustained hurricane force winds to the immediate coastal communities of Rhode Island and most of southeastern Massachusetts. Strong tropical storm force winds blew across the remainder of the region, with many areas east of the Connecticut River receiving gusts to hurricane force. Wind damage to trees and utility poles was common and resulted in 60 percent of residents in southeast Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts losing power. Apple and peach orchards there were extensively damaged.

Coastal communities bore the brunt of the storm with sustained winds between 75 and 100 miles per hour. Gusts to 125 MPH were recorded in Brewster and North Truro on Cape Cod and also in Wethersfield, Connecticut. The highest sustained wind – of 100 MPH – was recorded in North Truro. Block Island reported sustained winds of 90 MPH, with gusts in excess of 105 MPH (which was the maximum speed of that equipment). There were four reports of tornadoes as Bob came ashore. The lowest barometric pressure was recorded by the USS Valdez while in the East passage of Narragansett Bay – a reading of 28.47.

Hurricane Bob caused a storm surge of five to eight feet along the Rhode Island shore, but drove a surge of ten to fifteen feet into Buzzards Bay. The highest surges – twelve to fifteen feet – were observed in Onset, Bourne, Mashpee, and Wareham at the head of Buzzards Bay. Cove Road, in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, had 29 of 37 homes destroyed, while Angelica Point, also in Mattapoisett, lost 32 of 35 homes along the shore. Boat damage was significant, with many boats torn from their moorings. Some south facing beaches on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket lost up to fifty feet of beach due to erosion.

As is typically the case with New England hurricanes, heavy rain was focused to the west of the track of the storm. Three to seven inches of rain occurred across all of Rhode Island except the southeast portion, with the highest reading of 7.01 inches in Foster. Less than an inch of rain fell on Cape Cod to the east of the track, but that is where the highest winds and storm surge occurred.

Bob was responsible for six deaths in the region – all in Connecticut. Total damage in Southern New England was approximately 680 million dollars.

Note: This information was taken from Southern New England Tropical Storms and Hurricanes, A Ninety-eight Year Summary 1909-1997, by David R. Vallee and Michael R. Dion, National Weather Service, Taunton, MA.

Background information:

Stormpulse: Hurricane Bob, 1991

Boston Globe: 20 years after, remembering Hurricane Bob (19 AUG 11)

WCVB-TV: Images: Hurricane Bob Hits Cape Cod 20 Years Ago

Standard-Times: 20 years after Hurricane Bob, area's preparedness hasn't been put to test (19 AUG 11)

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England (and issues being faced on the local level) include these articles:

CT: Town unveils plans for temporary fire station in Horseneck lot (Greenwich Time)

ME: Historic Orono mill torn asunder as town makes way for condo project (Bangor Daily News)

MA: Brockton Councilor Brophy seeking answers about desalination plant (The Enterprise)

NH: Seeking answers on Great Bay, Exeter to help fund river study (Portsmouth Herald)

RI: Schools opt to have just one booster (Woonsocket Call)

VT: Consultants will lead RED study (Bennington Banner)

Background information:

Town of Greenwich, CT

Town of Orono, ME

City of Brockton, MA

Town of Exeter, NH

North Smithfield, RI, School Department

Town of North Smithfield, RI

Vermont Department of Education: Act 150

This Week’s New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch

To access this week’s issue of New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch, please visit":

New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch - 23 August 2011

AASA to Focus on Educating the Total Child

The American Association of School Administrators has announced that it believes it’s time to get back to the basics of supporting the total child - from physical and mental health to the development of fundamental, lifelong learning skills.

Through the association’s Educating the Total Child advocacy campaign, AASA members have committed to creating the conditions necessary for all students to become successful, lifelong learners. The campaign is designed to address three factors that determine children’s academic achievement:

  • the impact of poverty on students,
  • the lack of universal early childhood education, and
  • the need for organizations to work with public education to coordinate the delivery of health and child development services.

For more information about AASA’s Educating the Total Child campaign, please visit:

AASA: Educating the Total Child

More Notes from World Youth Day

The recent World Youth Day observance in Madrid, Spain, has come to an end, and it appears to have been a truly blessed event.

While praying the Angelus in Madrid, Pope Benedict announced that the next World Youth Day event will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2013.

As a follow-up to WYD, I offer the following reports and  commentaries: 

Rome Reports: Pope during Vigil: “Your strength is stronger than the rain” (21 AUG 11)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the teaching You gave and example You set during Your public life.

Archbisop Dolan on the External Markers of Catholics

"It caused somewhat of a stir . . .

"A few months back, you might have heard, the bishops of England reintroduced the discipline of abstinence from meat on Fridays.

"Every Catholic mid-fifties and older can recall how abstinence from meat on all Fridays was a constant of our lives.  In 1967, Pope Paul VI relaxed this discipline, decreeing it no longer obligatory, but voluntary, while highly encouraged, on Fridays (except during Lent, when it remained binding)."

In a recent commentary, Archbishop Timothy Dolan (Archdiocese of New York) reflects on the absence of many of the external markers that, at one time, served to (among other things) identify Catholics, and he asks "what makes us different as Catholics?"

To access Archbishop Dolan's Complete post, please visit:

The Gospel in the Digital Age: External Markers of Our Faith (16 AUG 11)

Reflection Starter from James Madison

“The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it.” - James Madison, (in a letter to Fredrick Beasley, 1825)

James Madison was the fourth President of the United States.

Background information:

The White House: Presidents:James Madison

Wikipedia: James Madison

22 August 2011

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today the Church celebrates the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. With that in mind, I offer the Basilica Choir and Friends at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe, in Orlando, FL, singing "Hail Holy Queen":

Granddaughter's Baptism

Granddaughter Adalynn Lucy Lopatosky was baptized yesterday at Saint Adalbert's Church in Providence (RI). I always appreciate witnessing a baptism, but it is a bit more special this time.

May the Lord shower Adalynn and her parents, Adam and E-Lynn, with an outpouring of choice blessings, and may He keep the family close to His Sacred Heart.

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England (and issues being faced on the local level) include these articles:

CT: Griswold parents form group to support freshman sports (Norwich Bulletin)

ME: Topsham housing group eyes properties (Times Record)

MA: 'Pay-as-you-throw' called success (Lowell Sun)

NH: SAU 16 families may qualify for computer, Internet access (Exeter News-Letter)

RI: Providence police, hospitals at odds in medical privacy debate (Providence Journal)

VT: Developing strong, successful downtowns (Brattleboro Reformer)

Background information:

Griswold, CT, Public Schools

Town of Griswold, CT

Town of Topsham, ME

Town of Littleton, MA

New Hampshire School Administrative Unit 16

City of Providence, RI

Maine Fiddlecamp

New England is a treasure house filled with many different types of spiritual, cultural, historical, and other resources. Included in this treasure trove is a rich mixture of music of many different genres, including (but not limited to) religious, classical, folk, Celtic, sea shanties, rock, country and western, bluegrass, and the list goes on and on.

Included in the mix are a number opportunities for students to learn skills related to specific instruments. One such opportunity is the Maine Fiddlecamp, which focuses on playing music and learning tunes, as well as being able to play and enjoy those tunes with other people whatever one's level of experience or ability.

For more information about the Maine Fiddlecamp, please visit:

Times Record: Maine Fiddle Camp promotes ‘communal music’ (19 AUG 11)

Maine Fiddlecamp

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for sending the Redeemer into world in such a marvelous way as You did at Bethlehem so many years ago.

Father Dan St. Laurent and His Ministry to Undocumented Immigrants

The Nashua Telegraph recently ran a profile of Father Daniel St. Laurent, who, among his other pastoral duties, ministers to undocumented immigrants in the Nashua area. Father St. Laurent is pastor of Nashua's Saint Aloysius of Gonzaga Parish.

To access the Nashua Telegraph profile, please visit:

Nashua Telegraph: Leading Latinos: Nashua's Father Dan caters to the undocumented (16 AUG 11)

Background information:

St. Aloysius of Gonzaga Parish

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Migration Policy

Reflection Starter from Thomas J. Watson

"“If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work." – Thomas J. Watson

Thomas J. Watson (1874-1956) was president of IBM (International Business Machines) from 1914 to 1956.

Background information:

IBM Archives: Thomas J. Watson

Wikipedia: Thomas J. Watson

21 August 2011

Mormon Tabernacle Choir: "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer the Mormom Tabernacle Choir singing "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty" at West Ridge Academy in West Jordan, Utah (April 2010):

New England’s Fire Service Heritage: Connecticut Fire Museum, East Windsor, CT

Throughout New England, there are a number of fire museums that offer a look into the history of the fire service in a local community, a state, or beyond.

One such museum is the Connecticut Fire Museum, located at the Connecticut Trolley Museum, 55 North Road, East Windsor, Connecticut. Its exhibits include a 1923 REO pumper (from the Lost Acres Fire Department in Granby), a 1927 Mack pumper (that served both Willimantic and West Willington), a 1934 Seagrave 85' aerial ladder (from Springfield, MA), a 1934 Pirsh 60' aerial ladder truck (that served Thompsonville and Enfield), and a 1967 Walter airport crash truck (from Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, East Hartford).

For more information about the Connecticut Fire Museum, please visit:

Connecticut Trolley Museum: Fire Museum

Sherry Smyth on the Beauty of New England

One of the treasures of New England is the beauty of the region - a beauty composed of a variety of natural and man-made features. In this post written almost two years ago, Sherry Smyth commented on the beauty of the region:

Everyday Possibilities: The Beauty of New England... (25 NOV 11)

Senior Citizen Test

The DeerLake Weekly Letter recently shared their "annual senior citizen test." As they note, "Exercise of the brain is as important as exercise of the muscles."

To access this test, please visit:

Hugs and Smiles: Senior Citizen Test

Christian Music in New England: Tifton Carver Worship Band (from New Britain, CT)

A number of people throughout the six New England states participate in activities involving Christian music. Many of these are musicians or other artists who primarily serve their local church community. Other artists play at a variety of different venues and special events (as well as possibly playing at their local church).

One such artist is the Tifton Carver Worship Band from New Britain, Connecticut. This group is a four-piece, contemporary Christian praise/worship band.

For more information about the Tifton Carver Worship Band (including a schedule of upcoming performances), please visit:

Tifton Carver Worship Band

YouTube Video:

YouTube: Tifton Carver Worship Band

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Isaiah 22:19-23, Romans 11:33-36, and Matthew 16:13-20. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 138 (Psalm 138:1-3, 6, 8).

Today’s Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"

They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

Reflections related to these readings:

A Concord Pastor Comments: Keys of the Kingdom (21 AUG 11)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: Peter, the Pope and the Bible

Dr. Scott Hahn: ‘Oh, the Depths!’ (August 21st, 2011 - 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time)

The Word Embodied: Rock of Ages

The New Theological Movement: If Christ is the rock, can Peter also be the rock? (20 AUG 11)

And, in today’s Daily Ignatian Reflection from the Magis Institute, Father Michael W. Maher, S.J., writes:

“Around the base of the inner dome of St. Peter's in Rome, a section of today's reading is boldly proclaimed in Latin in 15 foot letters, set against a background of a glittering gold mosaic. This magnificent portrayal of the words, "you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church," seem slightly incongruous to the track record of the man himself.

“By corporate standards, Peter would not even make a paper cut, much less an interview, for the position of running an organization which we know as the Roman Catholic Church. Yet in spite of Peter's weaknesses, God's grace prevails and continues to prevail within his, and our human frailties.

“Today's reading reflects a common theme within the Gospels of how God works through the small and insignificant to advance the Kingdom. Recall the mustard seed, the small amount of leaven, and the light on a lamp stand, all small in themselves but vehicles for transformation.

We may not be called to be a pope, but we are called to advance the kingdom of God using our gifts and God's grace. In that we all are like Peter on whom Christ built his church; weak but willing with the help of God to do what we can.

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for not abandoning us when we fell away from You by sin. Thank you for Your promise of a Redeemer.

Matt Emerson on the Importance of Catholic Education

"In a few days, I am going to a place I know well and not at all. It's a place that brings forth joy and grief, genius and ignorance, calm and chaos, a place that makes me put on my tie in the morning with a mixture of hope and excitement for the day that lies ahead.

"I am a teacher. At about this time, in the waning days of August, where every ray of sun seems to set the air on fire, I feel like I did when, as a kid, my brother and I pulled out boogie boards and oversized towels for a pilgrimage to the beach. . . . Despite these happy days, the summer also brings with it another round of reflection on the state of education - on curriculum, on technology, on the continued deterioration of good writing, but especially on the forces and factors that threaten the model I love. . . .

"Catholic education is more important now than it has ever been. Below, I want to note a few reasons why teachers in Catholic schools, but especially those at the K-8 and high school levels, serve indispensable roles for students, their families, and the Church.

In a recent commentary, Matt Emerson, who teaches Theology at Xavier College Preparatory in Palm Desert, CA, reflected on the importance of Catholic education.

To access Mr. Emerson's complete post, please visit:

After Manresa: Catholic Education Matters (18 AUG 11)

Reflection Starter from Blessed Pope John Paul II

"To deny oneself is to give up one's own plans that are often small and petty in order to accept God's plan. This is the path of conversion . . . . Jesus does not ask us to give up living, but to accept a newness and fullness of life that only he can give." - Blessed Pope John Paul II

20 August 2011

Sha Na Na: "Papa ooo Mow Mow"

It's time for a little Sha Na Na (singing "Papa ooo Mow Mow"):

Notes from World Youth Day

A note from World Youth Day's "Festival of Forgiveness", which was held in Madrid's Retiro Park: Pope Benedict XVI stepped into one of the confessionals to hear a few confessions. Image being one of those young penitents.

In addition, at a Mass for Seminarians in the Almudena cathedral, Pope Benedict declared Saint John of Avila to be a Doctor of the Church, the 34th member of this group of the Church's great teachers.

For more information about these events and to access other news and reflections related to World Youth Day, please visit:, please visit:

Whispers in the Loggia: Pope in the Box (20 AUG 11)

Rome Reports: World Youth Day Madrid 2011: Benedict XVI celebrates Mass with seminarians (20 AUG 11)

Rome Reports: New Doctor of the Church: San Juan de Ávila (20 AUG 11)

Catholic Herald: WYD 2011: As I sang the Gospel in front of the Pope and half a million youth I saw that the Church is alive (19 AUG 11)

Rome Reports: WYD Madrid: Pope participates in the Stations of the Cross (19 AUG 11)

CBS News: Archbishop: New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, MSNBC Not ‘Trustworthy’ on Religion (19 AUG 11)

Rome Reports: Pope during Vigil: "Your strength is stronger than the rain" (20 AUG 11)

Catholic News Agency: Indian Catholics experience majority status at WYD (19 AUG 11)

Catholic Vote: Photos of Martyrdom: Anti-Catholic Protestors Taunt Pilgrims in Madrid (19 AUG 11)

Catholic Online: Jennifer Hartline: Papa, the Young Catholics, and Amanda Marcotte: Hope in Madrid (20 AUG 11) 

A Reaction Test

A correspondent sent me a link to this BBC Science website, a site designed to test one's reflexes. The directions call for player to click the tranquilizer button when he/she sees a sheep leaving the flock and running for freedom.

 BBC: Science: How fast are your reactions?

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England (and issues being faced on the local level) include these articles:

CT: Torrington School board revamps Upward Bound Academy (Register Citizen)

ME: Regional high school idea a tough sell, board says (York County Coast Star)

MA: 100 Medway residents could lose water service (Milford Daily News)

NH: Consultant ponders future of retired schools (Concord Monitor)

RI: Westerly considers enterprise zone tax-break concept (Westerly Sun)

VT: Vermont, Quebec plan flooding prevention (Burlington Free Press)

Background information:

Torrington, CT, Public Schools

City of Torrington, CT

Wells-Ogunquit Community School District, ME

Town of Kennebunk, ME

Town of Ogunquit, ME

Town of Wells, ME

Town of Medway, MA

City of Concord, NH

Town of Westerly, RI

Lake Champlain Basin Program

Manchester, NH, Officials Request Residents’ Assistance Against Arson

Officials from a number of Manchester, NH, city departments recently collaborated to request the assistance of residents in helping stop arsonists.

The police chief reported that there have been 42 arson fires since the beginning of the year, including 28 debris fires, seven vehicle fires, and seven structural fires. Most of these fires were in a small area of the city – a place where tenants often discard unwanted items, including furniture, in the alleys.

Media report:

New Hampshire Union Leader: Appeal to residents to help stop arsonists (19 AUG 11)

Background information:

U.S. Fire Administration: Focus on Fire Safety: Communities United Against Arson

U.S. Fire Administration: Arson Curriculum: Establishing a Community Arson Watch Program

Manchester Fire Department

Manchester Police Department

City of Manchester

Wikipedia: Manchester, New Hampshire

Cookout and Gospel Ministry Outreach in Keene, NH

In a recent outreach initiative to young people at the Keene, NH, Skate Park, members of the Christian Life Fellowship Church, Swanzey, NH, held a cookout combined with some sharing of the Gospel message.

Media report:

Keene Sentinel: NOT YOUR AVERAGE BARBECUE: Food and ministry (18 AUG 11)

Background information:

Christian Life Fellowship

Driftwood Art by Sybille Leary of Fitzwilliam, NH

One of the treasures of New England is the variety of art that is created by the artists of the region. An example of such artwork is the driftwood art created by Sybille Leary of Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire.

For more information about Sybille Leary and her art, please visit:

Keene Sentinel: Local artist works with driftwood, love of nature (18 AUG 11)

Fitzwilliam Town Library: Sybille Leary Art Show

Facebook: Fitzwilliam Town Library

Background information:

eHow: How to Make Driftwood Art

New England Home Blog: Patrick J. Hamilton: Suddenly, Driftwood (21 JUN 11)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of free will You have given us humans and the angels.

Dr. Peter Kreeft on Angels

In this recent post, Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., (professor of philosophy at Boston College) offered some thoughts about angels:

The Integrated Catholic Life: The Twelve Most Important Things to Know about Angels (16 AUG 11)

Reflection Starter from Woodrow Wilson

"I not only use all the brains that I have but all that I can borrow." - Woodrow Wilson

19 August 2011

South County Museum, Narragansett, RI

One of the treasures of New England is its variety of fine museums. Some of these museums cover historical subjects, other museums focus on art or science, and still others deal with a variety of other subjects.

One such museum is South County Museum, in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Located within Canonchet Farm, a public park owned by the town of Narragansett, this museum contains exhibits related to Rhode Island's rural, village, and maritime heritage.

For more information about the South County Museum, please visit:

South County Museum

Narragansett Patch: South County Museum

YouTube: Narragansett RI " South County Museum " - Canonchet Farm

YouTube: South County Museum Model T

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England (and issues being faced on the local level) include these articles:

 CT: ‘Protection for educational budgets’ (Bristol Press)

ME: Cony High loses on-site doctor (Kennebec Journal)

MA: Town administrator starting double duty (Sentinel and Enterprise)

NH: Town administrator resigns, expects 'less stress' in new town (Concord Monitor)

RI: Smithfield eyes "Pay-As-You-Throw" trash collection, $340,000 savings possible

VT:  Bike trail could boost economy (Addison Independent)

Background information:

City of Bristol, CT

City of Augusta, ME

Town of Ashburnham, MA

Town of Ashby, MA

Town of Henniker, NH

Town of New Boston, NH

Town of Smithfield, RI

Library of Congress Rolling Exhibition Visits New England

The Library of Congress has a rolling exhibition "Gateway to Knowledge" – a specially-fitted 18-wheel truck carrying a number of items and information from the library’s collections – that is visiting this region.

The exhibit includes programming especially for teachers and students, and it is designed to provide relevant and engaging learning experiences for lifelong learners. The truck is staffed and driven by two docents who are well-versed in the Library and its collections, and it parks at universities, libraries, community centers, and other public venues.

The trailer expands to three times its road width, and visitors enter from a central staircase to find several areas of museum-style exhibits including a welcoming multimedia display, computer terminals displaying Library of Congress websites including the main site and other library websites including the Center for the Book/Literacy Programs site as well as sites pertaining to U.S. collections, exhibitions, and a special site for use by teachers.

The exhibition also includes facsimiles of the 1507 Waldseemüller Map (the first document to use the word "America"); the 1455 Gutenberg Bible; the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, in Thomas Jefferson’s hand with edits by Benjamin Franklin and John Adams; the 1962 drawings for the comic book that introduced Spider-Man to the world; the handwritten manuscript to jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton’s "Frog-i-More Rag"; and Walt Whitman’s poem "Leaves of Grass."

The exhibit and its national tour are being funded by the support of the Rapoport family (two of whom are founding members of the James Madison Council, the Library’s private-sector advisory group).

Scheduled New England stops for the "Gateway to Knowledge" exhibit include:

  • 18-20 August: Park Square, Bank Row, Pittsfield, Massachusetts (5:00-9:00 PM – Thursday, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM - Friday-Saturday);
  • 26-27 August: Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, Vermont (10:00 AM-6:00 PM);
  • 30-31 August: New Hampshire State House, Concord, New Hampshire (10:00 AM-6:00 PM);
  • 2-3 September: Monument Square, Portland, Maine (12:00 Noon-8:00 PM); and
  • 6-7 September: Newport Public Library, Newport, Rhode Island (10:00 AM-6:00 PM).

For more information about the "Gateway to Knowledge" exhibition, please visit:

Library of Congress: Gateway to Knowledge