A Time for Gratitude and Especially, Love!
‘Jay and Karen with warm wishes and love in our hearts for the New Year!’
There is a special power when you approach the world with love in your heart. There is an instantaneous feeling of warmth and good will. A connection and spirit that is transmitted to others. A magical connection that makes good things possible. So, as we make the transition from 2020, into a New Year, let’s do so with love in our hearts. Let’s blend a spirit of optimism for the future, with an understanding and empathy for so many who have had a difficult year. Never fully knowing what challenges others may be experiencing, let’s be particularly understanding, supportive and kind.
This year, the words ‘Happy New Year’ will carry a much deeper significance for each of us who have lived through 2020. While it has undoubtedly been a difficult year, in many of my conversations with folks who have endured hardship this year, there has been incredible optimism in their outlook. Where there has been loss, there’s also been discovery. Many have expressed a renewed sense of gratitude for the things they once took for granted prior to the pandemic, while also being able to identify those elements that weren’t truly serving them or bringing them joy. This is just one of the silver-lining’s this past year has brought.
It has also been gratifying to see the many random acts of love and kindness over the past twelve months that have taken place in communities across our great country. While we may not have seen these items in the news every day, so many people have gone above and beyond in their own special ways to show us how, when we act with love and kindness towards others, great things happen even in the most difficult of times. There will be much healing to do in this new year. Each individual we encounter will be enduring their own battles as we work towards a return to normalcy in the months ahead. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that with some cautious optimism and, most importantly, with love and kindness in our hearts, we can help our communities get back on their feet and make this new year one of positive action and positive change. Wishing you all a very happy New Year, wherever you may be!
Franklin, New Hampshire – A Community on the Move!
Exciting progress in small towns throughout New Hampshire – and the sun is especially shining on Franklin! Thanks to the leadership of my wonderful friend Mayor Tony Giunta and local entrepreneurs, Franklin is in the midst of a transformational rebirth. Like so many other New England towns, Franklin’s history is that of an old industrial mill town that had gone through a long period of economic decline as jobs left and the main street had largely emptied out. But, how things are changing!
Today, Franklin, the ‘old mill town,’ is being transformed into ‘Franklin Falls.’ As a centerpiece, located right in the heart of downtown, Mill City Park will be the first whitewater park and outdoor recreation area in all of the Northeast. Encompassing 11 acres this beautiful development will be a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts and spectators from miles around, including a whitewater rafting course, a community garden, pavilion, picnic areas, educational areas, hiking trails, a parking area, a climbing wall and a mountain bike pump track system. Hats off to local entrepreneur, Marty Parichand, who has been a driving force on this initiative, along with Mayor Giunta.
Meanwhile, there are several major projects underway, including the Stevens Mill renovation, a $35 million initiative, led by my friend, Eric Chinberg at Chinberg Builders. A large-scale undertaking, restoring a beautiful old downtown mill and transforming the property into a mixed commercial/residential location totally in keeping with the historic flavor and charm of the community. As well, the restoration of the historic Peabody House, a 100,000 sq. ft. project, as an assisted living center with access to the downtown.
And just to mention, a couple of other gems. The great new craft brew pub on Main Street, Vulgar Brewing Company, as well as the exciting news that Franklin has been selected to be the location of the largest and most modern Cumberland Farms in all of New England!
I love to see the entrepreneurial spirit and drive – and especially when it involves a community coming together in such a magnificent way – and on the path to a transformational rebirth. Congratulations to Mayor Tony Giunta and the wonderful community of Franklin!
Talk of the Town: Our Restaurants - Our Community
Throughout this past year, I’ve often shared thoughts about our local restaurants. They’re what I believe to be the ‘lifeblood’ as well as ‘nerve center’ for so many towns across America. Fostering a sense of camaraderie and community, adding a tempo and normalcy to our daily lives. Unfortunately, 2020 has been an extremely tough year for the restaurant industry – with so many family owned restaurants going out of business. And as we wrap the year, I am excited by one positive ray of sunshine. I’m seeing signs that many restaurant owners have not given up hope and continue to find innovative solutions to meet the challenges posed by Covid.
Some are taking the approach of ‘hibernating,’ a practice that was highlighted in a recent Seacoast Online article. Karen and I have seen some of our favorite restaurants temporarily closing for the winter, planning to pick back up when the weather gets warmer and we’ve begun to see the end of this pandemic. Restaurants like Blue Moon in Exeter, Jumpin Jay’s, Moxy, Poco and Franklin in Portsmouth, Makris Lobster Pound in Concord, and Kelley’s Row in Somersworth are just a few who have decided to take to hibernating this winter. While this is a difficult decision for these restaurant owners, I love to see that they are making plans to stay the course and be in it for the long term.
Meanwhile, I recently learned about another endeavor in Manchester. Mint Owner and Former Ward 3 Alderman Tim Baines, along with a couple of fellow restaurant owners and businessmen are bringing back a classic Manchester Staple, Elm Street Pizza. Housed at the old Theo’s restaurant on south Elm Street in Manchester. This well-known restaurant will bring a touch of history and flair to the Queen City. I commend Tim and his partners for taking the chance and defying the odds. It’s inspiring to see.
Similarly, hats off to Joe Faro, who has moved forward opening a new restaurant in Portsmouth this past month – despite the pandemic. Toscana Italian Chophouse & Wine Bar. Karen and I were among the early supporters, visiting the restaurant a couple times over the past two weeks and must say, what a terrific experience! So very proud to see entrepreneurial initiative even in these difficult times.
So, with ‘good things right around the corner,’ as we enter the New Year, let’s do all we can to support our local restaurants - by buying gift cards, ordering take out, or even dining in when possible – and help our local establishments continue to be the lifeblood and nerve centers of our communities.
Positive Profile of the Week - Senator Ruth Ward
One of my favorite parts of this weekly newsletter is the joy of penning the profile of the week. Every week I get to highlight an individual who is making great strides and making a difference for our community. This week, I’m delighted to profile my dear friend and wonderful small-town advocate, New Hampshire State Senator Ruth Ward.
Ruth and her husband Fred reside in the small town of Stoddard, New Hampshire. I first got to know the good Senator during the launch of the Newport Sunshine Initiative. Ruth has supported our cause, been a vocal advocate, and even participated in our Guinness World Record Sunflower Festival event held in the fall of 2019. She is a tireless community supporter and she reminds me so much of the late Ray Burton, the north country executive councilor. You could find Ray everywhere, and while the void left by his passing has been difficult to fill, Ruth Ward has done an incredible job in doing so. That's probably why the people of State Senate District 8 have elected her 3 times and her margin of victory gets larger with each election.
Ruth is truly inspirational. A mother of three, a devoted wife, and nurse practitioner, Ruth is always there to give guidance and support. She immigrated to the United States from Sweden in 1959. In fact, during her exchange student program that brought her to the U.S., Ruth worked at the Children’s Hospital in Boston. Her passion to help children still holds strong as a member of the Education Committee in the State Senate and a constant supporter of the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth.
In addition to her devotion to public service and her community, Ruth is an avid enthusiast of the outdoors. Both a hiker and a skier, Ruth’s passions have resulted in her playing pivotal roles as a member of the NH Rivers Advisory Council and a Land Steward for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.
The commitment Ruth and her husband Fred have to giving back is truly amazing, and the positive impact they are making on the Granite State is an inspiration to us all!
Quotes of the Week: Love In Your Heart
“A simple ‘I love you’ means more than money.”
“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.”
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.”
“There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.”