Friends of the South End
N EI G H B O R H O O D A SS O CI AT I O N N E W S L E T T ER
FOSE Annual Meeting Report BY RUTH MARON
W I N T ER 2016
Mayor Blalock said that we have a very diverse Council that includes young and older members, newcomers and those who grew up here. He noted that he was born and bred in Portsmouth, attended local schools and previously served on the City Council in 2008-09 as Assistant Mayor. “My goal is to have open, honest and transparent meetings,” he said.
Mayor Blalock also urged residents to get involved in City committees listed on the City website, including the Peirce Island committee, which he called “one of the Treasurer’s Report best in Portsmouth.” Martin Hanssmann reported that 2015 Responding to a queswas again a very successful year finantion about the Waste Water Treatment Plant, cially for FOSE. In total, the Fairy Allen Nelson and Karen Bouffard enjoy Puddle Dock Pond before the Mayor Blalock said that House Tour and membership dues resulted in almost $62,000 raised. Of that Annual Meeting, thanks to the “free skate hour” offered to FOSE members the plans are drawn up total, we gave over $41,000 to nonprofit and they are waiting organizations in the greater Portsmouth It was a bright sunny afternoon on for a construction schedule. He noted area. Both monies raised and disburseJanuary 31 when FOSE members gaththat it will take longer to complete in ments were record amounts for FOSE. ered at the Tyco Center at Strawbery order to minimize the impact on the “With over $18,000 on the balance sheet, Banke for the Annual Meeting. We exSouth End and not operate 24/7. continued on page 2 tend special thanks to Larry Yerdon and his staff for again hosting the event and offering FOSE members a ‘free skate VIEWPOINT hour’ prior to the meeting. We were happy to spot several FOSE members out there on the ice. The message from all speakers at the State Representative, Portsmouth, Ward 5 meeting was clear. GET INVOLVED. After an informal social gathering, the There is a saying that When asked to consider running as session began with an interesting talk by if you live in NH, you Portsmouth’s Ward 5 representative, I Mayor Jack Blalock who urged people have either served in was hesitant. I had never run for public to participate more in City government. the State Legislature, office. My political experience was One of his goals is to strengthen the are currently serving, limited to hosting neighborhood coffees Neighborhood Associations and to creor will serve someday. for school board candidates and making ate a citywide Neighborhood Steering This statement reflects phone calls for others running for office. Committee. Each ward would have the fact that there are My decision to run was not based on a person assigned as a liaison to the Pamela Gordon 400 NH citizens curthe rate of pay that I would receive. NH Steering Committee. He encouraged the rently serving in the state legislature, representatives are paid $200 for their South End, Ward 5, to participate in the and every two years there is a turnover two year term. I decided to run based Committee. His plan calls for a citywide of approximately 30 percent. That’s one on a commitment to civic duty and a session in spring 2016 to discuss how to representative for about every 3,000 sense of just maybe being able to make address the issues and concerns of each NH residents. We certainly are a “citia positive difference in people’s lives. In neighborhood and the city as a whole. continued on page 7 zens” legislature.
FOSE newsletter • Winter 2016
FOSE Annual Meeting from page 1
FOSE has an exceptionally strong balance sheet for a local neighborhood association,” Martin said. “We welcome members and officers to help us provide programs and direction for the future.”
Report from Co-Presidents
Friends of the South End Neighborhood Association OFFICERS CO - P R ESI D EN T S
Hilary O’Neil Tom Hindle TREASURER
Martin Hanssmann SECR E TA RY
Mary Thomas SUB-COMMITTEE CHAIRS NEWSLET TER EDITOR
Ruth Maron firstname.lastname@example.org MEMBERSHIP
Alan Gordon NEIGHBORHOOD A SSO CI AT I O N L I A ISO N S
CIT Y LIAISON
Esther Kennedy GREEN SPACES
John McVay BOARD MEMBERS
Dave Anderson Jamie Baker Robin Lurie-Meyerkopf Kristin Ward
Finishing their second term in office, Co-Presidents Hilary O’Neil and Tom Hindle both noted that FOSE is actively looking for the next generation of officers and board members. “We need more robust participation from all FOSE members,” they said. Tom Hindle and Hilary O’Neil Hilary pointed out that the coming year will continue to offer opportunities for South End residents to get involved. Board member John McVay, Green Spaces, needs helping hands at Spring Cleanup in late April or early May. Sue Shea needs volunteers to pitch in at ‘National Night Out’ scheduled for August 2; and at the Lobster Bake in October. And the Fairy House Tour, to be held September 24-25, would not be the success it is without the enthusiasm, creativity and hard work of neighborhood volunteers. “Caroline Amport has been doing a great job as organizer of the Fairy House Tour and we are very pleased that we have renewed her contract for this year,” Hilary said. “We also need someone who can launch our new website that was designed by board member, Kristin Ward.” After the meeting, Hilary got an immediate response from Sookie Lassen who offered to help find someone to fill this need. The FOSE Board has also reinstituted the nominating committee. “Anyone interested in serving on the
Martin Hanssmann, Mayor Jack Blalock, and Judy Nerbonne st the FOSE Annual Meeting
board should contact the co-presidents at email@example.com to arrange a meeting. They noted that it is up to the members to help decide what we are going to do and who we are. “If there is something you are interested in seeing happen here in the South End, please speak up and step up,” Hilary said. After the meeting, Gates Street resident Karen Whelan suggested a FOSE Book Club. You will be hearing more about that in the weeks ahead. “In some ways, we are a victim of our own success,” Tom Hindle said. “With strong financials, we have been able to hire Caroline Amport to run the Fairy House Tour and the Leaf Busters to help with the neighborhood cleanups. But that doesn’t mean we should sit back and let someone else do the work.” The meeting concluded with an historical perspective from former president, Dave Anderson. “FOSE has changed and matured over the years,” Dave said. “We are now a 501c4 nonprofit organization, enabling us to take on a broader role. At this point, we need the community to step up at all levels. We need people who have the time and the inclination to be out in the neighborhood and to take on a leadership role in the organization. Come forward. Join the Board. Participate in shaping FOSE’s future.”
CO N TAC T
firstname.lastname@example.org SOUTH END EXCHANGE email@example.com
(for FOSE members)
A special thank you to our friends at MinutemanMan Press for discounted printing services. 95 Brewery Lane, Portsmouth, NH 603-431-8989 • mmpdigital.com
Newsletter design by Eleanor Bradshaw
FOSE newsletter • Winter 2016
South End Author Debuts ‘The Penny Poet of Portsmouth’ Katie Towler Writes a Book about Poetry, Place and the Writer’s Life BY RUTH MARON
Katie Towler and ‘The Penny Poet of Portsmouth’
He was known as the ‘Penny Poet of Portsmouth’. Robert Dunn gave his poems to passersby for just one penny – he wouldn’t take a cent more. A fine poet and a true eccentric, Robert served as the second poet laureate of this city from 1999 – 2001. His terse poems can still be found around town through a program he created called ‘Poetry in Public Places’ – at the end of the Prescott Park Pier and in the parking garage. He also started the Poetry Hoot at Café Espresso, an event that continues to draw poetry lovers and writers. And when he died in 2008 of COPD at the age of 65, the entire city mourned. In her new book, The Penny Poet of Portsmouth, South Ender Katherine (Katie) Towler writes about her friendship with Robert Dunn. Launching in March 2016, the book has already received high praise from Publisher’s Weekly. “Her vivid descriptions of pre-gentrification Portsmouth make a beautiful elegy to a place where originality was cherished….With eloquent prose, Towler crafts a beautiful portrait of friendship and writing and tenderly, insightfully expresses the lessons she learns through her journey at Dunn’s side.” We recently sat down with Katie to learn more about the book and
about its author. When Katie moved to Portsmouth with her husband in 1991, they lived next door to Robert on Whidden Street where he rented a room. The room was Spartan, with only one lightbulb and no electric outlets. “He never owned a car, a telephone or a computer,” Katie said. “A well-known fixture around town, he walked everywhere, knew all the shopkeepers and was beloved by so many.” Katie explains that she got to know Robert as a fellow writer. “He was brilliant, well-read and a wonderful poet,” she said. “He lived such a unique life – not encumbered by possessions. He put writing before everything.” When Robert became ill, Katie helped take care of him along with so many others in the community,
including his friends at the Athenaeum where he worked. Later, Athenaeum board members arranged for him to move to the Feaster Apartments. The Penny Poet of Portsmouth is a book that is written on many levels, making it difficult to categorize. “As a memoir, it is a book about my friendship with Robert, but it’s not a biography,” she explained. ”I have threaded the story of our friendship through meditations on what it means to be a writer and what I learned from Robert.” Much of the book is set in the South End. “It is also about place,” she continued. “There is something unique about Portsmouth. He fit the city and the city fit him. Robert took pleasure in life every day and in the work he did as a writer. Robert was free in a way so few people are.” The Penny Poet of Portsmouth book launch will be held on March 22 at 7:00 pm at 3S Artspace. There will also be a book signing at the Athenaeum on March 24, open to the public. The Penny Poet of Portsmouth will be available at RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, Amazon and in local bookstores nationally.
Broiled Breaded Scallops JIM & GAIL SANDERS
This is one of our favorite scallop recipes that can easily be halved or multiplied. It can also be made ahead (even frozen, uncooked) for holidays, parties, or weeknight dinners. 2 lbs. scallops, side muscle removed, cut into uniform size 2 eggs beaten with 4 tsp. water, in a small bowl 2 cups seasoned “4C” or Panko bread crumbs, in another bowl *
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted 4 Tbsp. (1/4 cup) good sherry (not “cooking sherry”) 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Dip scallops, one at a time, in egg, then in bread crumbs. Arrange scallops in single layer in scallop shells, au gratin dishes, or 1 large casserole. Whisk together remaining ingredients, and pour over scallops. Broil about 12 minutes, or until crumbs are deeply browned. (Rotate often, and watch carefully.) * Tips for gluten-free: Instead of using bread crumbs, I pour Rice Chex into my food processor and make rice crumbs. (It should be noted that Rice Krispies are not glutenfree.) Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce is gluten-free; most others are not.
South Street & Vine recommends a dry French rosé, such as Chinon. Or, if someone prefers red, try a light pinot noir. Les Hexagonales would be a good choice.
WIN E PAI RIN G:
Stop by and meet the new proprietors, Robin and Rick Meyerkopf. Our friend and former proprietor, Win Roades, remains as a consultant, holding wine tastings on Sunday afternoons.
FOSE newsletter • Winter 2016
s Invitatio 2015 Artist rt Light Zechel’s Hea
It takes a community, and fairies of all ages, to build a fairy village on Peirce Island
Ahoy Fairies by Pip er Boatwork s was an audience favorite.
Ambosia Gardens won second place for Ambrosia Delight
The fairy houses built on Peirce Island during the event were some of the most picturesque
2015 FAIRY HOUSE TOU R
Connecting People, Creating Magic and Building Community BY CAROLINE PIPER Canoe Harbor Consulting,, 2015 Fairy House Tour Coordinator
The Friends of the South End Fairy House Tour means many things to many people. To the 8,000 people who attended this year, it was a magical day filled with more than 300 fairy houses and thousands of fairy wings. For the 12 sponsors, it is an opportunity to support a worthwhile charitable community event and to gain a bit of exposure. To the nonprofit organizations, the schools and the community organizations who partner to put on the event, it is a chance to collaborate and as well as a source of income that supports their other activities.
FOSE newsletter • Winter 2016
For the ten professional artists who competed in the Artists Invitational, it is a chance to express their creativity in a new way. To the volunteers who return each year, it’s a chance to support a neighborhood event and to feel the magic of a feel-good family event. However, the time and energy that goes into producing an event of this size and scope suggests that there is more that motivates people to plan, participate and grow this event year after year. To get a better sense of what the Fairy House Tour means to those closest to it, we asked a few of our partners to tell us why they continue to choose to be involved.
Connecting Mission, Place and People “Historic New England’s mission is ‘to serve the public by preserving and presenting New England heritage,’ so Fairy House Tour is a great way for many people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit with their families, to access the Langdon House property and to enjoy what it has to offer,” noted Linda Marshall, Regional Site Manager, Historic New England. “This is especially true of the beautiful woods area along Washington St. that was part of a larger garden designed in the early 20th c. by Elizabeth Langdon, the great-great grand-daughter of Governor John Langdon, and the person responsible for the property’s ultimate preservation.” More than that, Marshall continued, “We’re proud to be part of the cultural heritage of the South End, and when the partners’ properties are intentionally connected through this program, it creates this amazing campus that really
N EW DE P T. O F PU BLIC WO R KS IN ITIATIVE
‘Click and Fix’ BY K AT H L EEN B O D U CH
If you see something, say something. That now applies to non-emergency issues that you might need to report to the Public Works Department in the city of Portsmouth. A new initiative called CLICK AND FIX is available online in Portsmouth. You can report trees down, blocked roadways, blocked sewer issues, potholes, nonfunctioning street lights, roads and/or sidewalks that need to be plowed or fixed, any general issues that might cause danger or inconvenience to yourself or the public. Go online to cityofportsmouth.org, click on Department of Public Works. Click on
School Villages in Prescott Park Gardens
‘Click and Fix’. Open an account by filling in the blanks on the page and report your issue, being sure to indicate the address where the repair is needed. You are also able to download a photo of the location to clarify your description. Once you log on, a case file will be established, and a number will be assigned to the issue. The report will be handled, depending on its urgency as well as when personnel specific to the problem are available. Online you can trace the work being done on your reported problem as well as others. You will be able to see the issues that have been reported and how soon they are addressed, and you will receive updates on the work being done on your report.
Theresa Labreque's Warm Willow Fairy House
Creating Opportunities for Fun & Whimsy in a Serious World comes alive! I like that visitors can move seamlessly between the properties for this one weekend.”
Building Community Over the years, the Fairy House Tour has become now part of the elementary schools’ fall curriculum. For the past two years, every classroom at Dondero Elementary School has built a collaborative fairy house for the event. “The fairy house tour has been such an amazing experience for the students and families of Dondero,” said Shannon Harrison, Dondero parent and Fairy House Tour School Planning Committee Member. “It's a wonderful community event that brings all the students and teachers together through collaboration, creativity, and nature. I've been lucky enough to help with the builds over the last 5 years and this one was especially memorable. I saw some unbelievable brainstorming, communication, compromise and creativity with each class I visited.”
more fun out of life. I must have spent 200 hours on my last fairy house for the This year, Pickwick’s Mercantile joined event, but I knew people would enjoy it, and that it could come back home afthe Fairy House Tour as the lead financial sponsor and as a creative con- ter the event and adorn my fairy shop.” Ben Anderson, President of the tributor, transforming their Pickwick’s Prescott Park Arts Festival believes at the Banke location on Atkinson Street into a fairy bazaar complete with the Fairy House Tour is about pure imagination, joy, and fun. “I think it Glinda the Good Witch and a life size is a wonderful and important event Queen Mab’s carriage. “We believe that sparks the creativity of our youth wholeheartedly in the magic that the weekend brings to Portsmouth. It is an in such a magical and engaging way. honor for us to support and participate It matches the mission of the Prescott Park Arts Festival, and whether we’ll in an event so thoroughly devoted to fun and imagination,” affirmed Thistle participate each year isn’t even something we bother asking ourselves.” Jones, Director of Marketing for Pickwick’s Mercantile. Save the Date Of course, what inspires creativity As one year concludes, another begins. and tickles the imagination of those And so we are pleased to announce who attend are the 300+ fairy houses that the 2016 Fairy House Tour will on display. Raising the bar each year, take place on September 24 & 25 from are the 10 creative professionals who 11-3pm. Details will be posted at www. participate in the Artists Invitational competition and whose houses serve as portsmouthfairyhousetour.com as they become available. If you are interested the backbone of the Tour. “I love to express myself in whimsy,” in helping to plan the event, please noted artist Theresa Labreque. “I used contact Caroline Piper at caroline@ canoeharbor.com to take life too seriously, but working my art in the whimsy has helped me get
FOSE newsletter • Winter 2016
Looking to the Future
MEET OUR NEIGHBORS
The Mark Wentworth Home
BY RUTH MARON
On a cold winter day, we strolled down Pleasant Street to visit the Mark Wentworth Home, a not-for-profit senior living community in the heart of the South End. We were greeted by Gretchen Knight, vice president of community development. The lobby was warm and welcoming with a small bistro in the corner where residents could gather for coffee/tea or a snack. A television screen at one end scrolled the day’s activities. Gretchen took us on a tour of the community and told us about the illustrious history of its original building, the mansion on Pleasant Street. The mansion was originally built in 1763 by Mark H. Wentworth as a wedding gift for his daughter. His son John later become the last Royal Governor of New Hampshire, and was a tenant of the house during his tenure, until 1775. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building is considered to be one of the finest architecturally built 18th-century homes in the region. Tourists often visit the “Museum Room” to see the red-flocked wallpaper the Governor imported for the parlor in 1774; or the evidence of bullets that remain lodged in the fireplace mantle from a skirmish at the house in 1775. Following its release from government confiscation after the Revolutionary War, the mansion changed hands among several prominent Portsmouth
FOSE newsletter • Winter 2016
families. The governor’s own descendants, 16th-generation Wentworth siblings Susan and Charles, acquired the house in the 1900s and soon began using it to care for chronically ill children and seniors. In 1911 the Mark H. Wentworth Home was founded. Today, the Home occupies three seamlessly connected buildings: the Governor’s Mansion on Pleasant Street, the 1927 brick Manor, and the modern 1987 Wentworth Building, all of which were renovated in 2007 to accommodate modern apartments and hotel-like common spaces.
Preserving the Past Bill Henson, President and CEO, is proud to tell us about the historic restoration of the 1763 house exterior. Coordinated by Steve Bedard of Bedard Preservation, this major undertaking took place over a two-year period beginning in 2013. “It was an interesting process that required taking down each clapboard and putting it back up again in just the right order,” Bill Henson said. “The stone foundation was also repaired. In the process of restoring the front entryway, the steps were moved to reveal old glass marbles and bits of newspaper. We also provided Steve with some old photographs so he could restore the widow’s walk on the roof — the final piece of the restoration that was completed in the fall of 2015.”
Gretchen describes the Mark Wentworth as a senior living community dedicated to supporting seniors’ health, independence, relationships, and interests. “We focus on enabling seniors to continue — and maybe discover new — hobbies, relationships, and routines that are meaningful to them. We’ve designed our building to feel like a place you’d want to call home: personal, intimate, and comfortable.” The Mark Wentworth is especially proud of its adaptability as a senior health services provider. “With registered nurses on staff round the clock and licensed nursing assistants to provide personal care services, we remain vigilant for any warning signs or changes in a resident’s health and well-being,” Gretchen said. “We offer care services as residents need them to remain happy and healthy — rather than it being the focus of their day.” Residents benefit from being part of a vibrant community. “We have an elementary school pen pal program and local high school students will soon begin to mentor residents with computer skills, email and surfing the Internet through the Cyber-Senior program,” Gretchen said. The Home also welcomes volunteers to run book groups, form knitting circles, facilitate discussion groups, assist with indoor gardening activities or accompany residents on trips. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Volunteer Coordinator Kelsey Dumont at 603-436-0169. The Mark Wentworth also provides important services to the community. Partnering with the City of Portsmouth, the Home runs the Senior Transportation program. The familiar Mark Wentworth buses provide curbto-curb service for shopping, doctor’s appointments or errands for qualified Portsmouth seniors. The Home also sponsors a luncheon series for seniors each month at the Senior Activities Center, located at the Community Campus. More information about the Mark Wentworth Home’s programs, services, and rich history can be found on the Home’s website: markwentworth.org.
Pamela Gordon from page 1
addition I hoped to serve as a positive role model for my children and grandchildren. My work history was in various human service organizations, so I saw this as an extension of that work. As a first term State Representative for Portsmouth’s Ward 5, I spent the first year of my term learning how our state government works. Most representatives serve in Concord from the beginning of January to the end of June and are assigned to a committee that meets 1-3 days a week. I was pleased to be placed on the Health Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee. We meet every Tuesday and Thursday to hear testimony on bills. Every bill introduced into the state legislature is entitled to a hearing. Our committee heard testimony on over 80 bills in the 2015 session. So far in the 2016 session, we have been presented with over 45 bills and that number is sure to grow. Our committee day begins at 10:00 and ends around 4:00. There are 21 people on our committee from both political parties and from nearly every county in the state. Some of the more controversial bills heard have addressed mandatory immunizations, tanning parlors, Planned Parenthood, the NH Health Protection Plan, the use of medical cannabis, nursing home regulations, telemedicine and several bills addressing the statewide opioid crisis. Sitting
in committee and listening to people directly affected by these issues is often difficult and always humbling. In the coming months, the entire state legislature will be voting on many bills directly affecting the city of Portsmouth. Some of these bills address the Rooms and Meals Tax, short term rentals, transportation network companies, State Aid Grant Funding, Right to Know laws, election law and Municipal Government. All in all, the state legislature has over fifty bills pending that the city of Portsmouth is keeping an eye on. Each Wednesday is set aside for House Sessions when we vote on the bills referred from the 25 standing committees. All 400 representatives take our seats and vote on as many as 40-50 bills per day. We rely on our own research as well as reports coming out of the committees when casting our votes. We have assigned seats and political parties are not separated. It is difficult to dislike someone when you know about their grandchildren! By the end of the session in June, we will have voted on more than 2,000 bills! So if you ask me about a particular bill, I may have to do a little leg work. As I begin the second year of my first term, I have become more confident and comfortable in my role. I’ve made friends and enjoyed lunch with many representatives with varied and opposing political views. I’ve learned
M E M B E R SH I P
One year membership: $15 per household
some important lessons. However confident I may be that a particular bill will benefit a particular group of people, I realize that there are always those that will be adversely affected by that same bill. I’ve learned that compromise is not a dirty word. And most importantly, I’ve learned that it is possible for one person to make a difference. When I walk into the beautiful and awe inspiring Representative’s Hall with the life-size portraits of Daniel Webster, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln John Hale and Franklin Pierce almost directly over my head, I am reminded of the importance of what I’ve been elected to do. And in that split second before I press the green or the red button to vote, I’m reminded that it matters. Within the next couple of months, I will have to decide if I’d like to run again. There are days when I long for more time to devote to my five grandchildren, catch up on my quilting, or hop on a plane with my husband to anywhere warm and free of snow! But this job is getting under my skin. I just may ask the voters for another term. For those of you wanting to keep an eye on current bills, learn how your legislators are voting, or information on current state laws, please go to http:// www.gencourt.state.nh.us I welcome your questions and input at any time. 603-319-8398 Pamela.Gordon@leg.state.nh.us
FO R M
Five year membership: $75 per household
Please complete this form, make check out to FOSE and mail to: Friends of the South End, PO Box 443, Portsmouth, NH 03802 N A M E : _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
A DDR E S S : _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
P H ON E : _______________________________________________________________
EM A I L : ____________________________________________________________________
Not yet a member? You can fill out and mail in this form to join. If you are due for renewal, you will receive a reminder letter later this summer.
FOSE newsletter • Winter 2016
Friends of the South End P.O. Box 443 Portsmouth, NH 03802-0443
Last winter on Gates Street, by Jan Marx.
FOSE newsletter â€¢ Winter 2016
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Friends of the South End, Portsmouth, NH - newsletter