Hudson - Litchfield News 10 - September 2, 2011
Garden Sledding: A Day Well Spent
by Zachary Spaulding Many said it could never be done, some said it made absolutely no sense, and others went as far as thinking that it was a joke, but on August 20 the naysayers were forced to eat their words and stand in awe of the monumental achievement that is Garden Sledding. The sport, invented by Hudson residents James Gillum and Scott Bernstein on July 5, combines two of our nation’s most favored pastimes, horticulture and downhill racing. The rules are simple: plant a garden in a sled and race it down a hill. Although this pairing of two entirely unrelated hobbies may seem a little odd, many residents of Hudson and its surrounding towns took to it wholeheartedly. Such enthusiasm directly resulted in the first annual Garden
Sledding tournament. The event was held at the home of Stuart and Sue Bernstein in Hudson. Tarps were laid down, sprayed with water, and covered in soap so as to promote proper downhill propulsion. The competition began at noon and ended shortly before three o’clock, with 10 racers participating and a multitude of energetic spectators cheering them on. All races were one-on-one matches, and a double-elimination method of competition ensured that all participants got to race at least twice. Winners for each heat were selected based upon a point system, with five points being awarded to the Garden Sledder who reached the bottom of the hill first and up to ten points being awarded for each Garden Sled’s aesthetic appeal. Ronnie Falcone of Hudson was given the honor of being the event’s aesthetical judge, saying that “… the sleds and their racers were all phenomenal,” and “I wish Garden Sledding happened more than once a year.” Following a major upset in the third round,
in which the top-seeded co-founders of the sport tied and were mutually eliminated, Matt Barry, Hudson native and captain of Team Barry Sledding, came from behind to take the win and ultimately solidify his place as the first ever King of Garden Sledding. Two other awards, one for the fastest overall racer and one for the most
Garden Sledders with their sleds. From left to right, Tom Roark, Zachary Spaulding, Eric Vieira, Matt Barry, James Gillum, Scott Bernstein, Ben Piche, Jon Adams, Tyler Spooner, Andre Rautenbach, Sage Ricci
beautiful sled, were handed out to Gillum and Zachary Spaulding respectively. Although they were exhausted and soapy and
covered in abrasions, everyone was saddened when the event finally came to a close. “I’m sad the event is finally coming to a close,” said Benjamin Piche of Nashua, Garden Sledding’s first officially eliminated racer, “this has been one of
the most enjoyable days of my life.” And so it was for all involved.
“I feel like a proud parent,” stated Gillum
the day following the event. “We’ve brought something we don’t completely understand into the world, but we love it and we want the world to love it the way we do.”
Governor Asks Homeowners to Report Damage to 2-1-1, Local Emergency Officials
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Governor John Lynch is asking residents to report any damage to their homes to 2-1-1, as well as to their local emergency management officials. This is important to help ensure all damage is accounted for as Federal Emergency Management Agency teams conduct assessments over the next few days.
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FEMA teams are expected to begin a preliminary damage assessment of the state tomorrow, which will help determine New Hampshire’s eligibility for public, individual and small business assistance in the wake of the storm. FEMA must conduct a
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preliminary damage assessment to ensure that federal damage guidelines are met before federal assistance is granted to the state. The state as a whole must meet federal thresholds in order to qualify for assistance. Individual counties, as well, must meet certain damage thresholds in order to qualify for assistance. FEMA offers two primary types of assistance, public assistance - which helps the state and communities cover emergency operations, debris removal and repair costs;
and individual assistance - which provides some emergency assistance to individuals and will cover some - but not usually all - costs of damage to property. Homeowners should collect and retain estimates from contractors, bills for actual expenditures, photographs - any records that may be used to establish the amount of losses. Reporting losses to 2-1-1 will help the state determine the extent of damage to private property and will assist state officials in applying for federal disaster assistance. It will not qualify anyone for assistance. There is no guarantee that New Hampshire will qualify for federal assistance for private property damage. However, if assistance is granted, property owners would then file more detailed property damage reports directly with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Portions of 10 state roads remained closed on
Tuesday, including parts of Routes 302 and 112 (Kancamagus Highway). State Transportation officials continue to assess the damage to determine when roads can be repaired or what alternatives can be put in place to open those roads as soon as possible. DOT officials worked with local officials to establish a detour to allow access again for Route 49 in the Waterville Valley and Thornton area. On Route 302 in Hart’s Location, an emergency route has opened to local traffic. New Hampshire Emergency Management
officials today again urged citizens impacted by the storm to use caution when removing downed trees and other debris from their homes and property, and to seek assistance if necessary. The State Fire Marshal’s Office issued the
following tips for damage assessment and debris removal: • Trying to cut a tree that has fallen on your house can create dangerous situations which could cause the tree to fall on you or cause more damage to your home
• If a tree falls on your house, call your local fire department to have them check for damage to utilities such as electric power and gas lines.
• Remember that trees can become entangled in power lines. Treat every downed wire as if it were energized. Some utility wires are quite strong and will suspend trees and branches aloft. Do not attempt to disentangle the trees or branches. If a wire snaps suddenly, it could send the wire, tree, or branch down on top of you.
• Contact a professional tree company to remove the tree. They have special equipment to remove the tree safely from your building.
• Do not attempt permanent repairs until a professional has a chance to examine for underlying structural damage
For further information concerning home fire or building safety, contact your local fire department, building official, or the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 223-4289.
BBB Advises Homeowners to be on the Lookout for Fly-By-Night ‘Storm Chasers’
submitted by Better Business Bureau Your home and wallet may take a serious beating when a big storm like Hurricane Irene hits and Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers to be wary of fly-by-night “storm chasers,” as well as fraudulent charities promising to provide relief. Storm chasers and other door-to-door salespeople often peddle dubious deals that may cost homeowners thousands of dollars and create serious headaches. BBB recommends doing your research to avoid getting taken advantage of by untrustworthy home contractors and the like. For those who seek to aid in relief, BBB Wise
Give Alliance urges donors to check trustworthy charities before making any donations. “Not only do Americans need to be concerned
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about avoiding fraud, they need to know that their home contractors and charity relief efforts are legitimate and honorable,” said Paula Fleming, vice president of communications and marketing for the local BBB. “It’s imperative to find a home contractor and charity that you can trust.”
When looking for a
contractor you can trust and when seeking to aid to relief efforts, BBB recommends that homeowners and donors do the following: Start Your Search with
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BBB. In addition to offering Business Reviews on tens of thousands of contractors - good and bad - across the U.S., you can also rely on BBB’s Accredited Business Locator to find trustworthy contractors in your area. BBB accreditation standards require that accredited businesses make a good faith effort to resolve disputes. Find trustworthy charities
when aiding to relief. BBB Wise Giving Alliance urges donors to make sure their donations will go to legitimate
and reputable charities and relief efforts that have the capability to help those in need. Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers or other Websites, as they might not have fully researched the listed relief organizations. Interested donors should visit www.bbb.org/charity
to research charities and relief organizations to verify that they are accredited by the BBB and meet the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. Recognize the red flags. Beware of any
contractor who uses high-pressure sales tactics or requires full payment upfront. Also avoid contractors who require you to get the necessary permits. When looking to make a donation, be cautious about online giving, especially in response to spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. In response to the previous natural disasters, there were concerns raised about many Web sites and new organizations that were created overnight allegedly to help victims. Vet the contractor carefully. Verify the business meets all state and local requirements including being licensed, insured and bonded. Also ask the business for references from recent jobs. Confirm whether or not the contractor will be subcontracting the job or relying on their own employees. Beware of storm chasers. In the wake of a storm, fly-by-night repair businesses will solicit work, often door-to-door, in unmarked trucks. They might require advance payment and make big promises on which they won’t be able to deliver.
Seek at least three bids. Beware of low-ball estimates that may potentially balloon over time or foreshadow shoddy work to come. Make sure everything is in writing. Make sure that the full scope of the work is explained in the contract including cleanup and disposal of waste. All verbal agreements need to be included in the written agreement. Pay close attention to the payment terms, estimated price of materials and labor and any warranties or guarantees. For more advice on hiring home professionals and for finding a charity you can trust, visit us online at bbb.org
and BBB Wise Give Alliance at bbb.org/charity
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