Note from Nan Stearns (25 Jul 2014)

Dear WMD,

You have probably forgotten all about the wonderful 4th of July in Amherst, NH, but here is just a bit to ice your memories.

Professor Lessig did indeed come to Amherst on the 4th, together with his NH Rebellion head man, Jeff McLean. Lessig brought his lovely wife, Betina, his three children, Tess, Teo and Willam.  Mom and the two younger ones were on the Amherst Dem’s Float (winning best over all), while Dad and Willam (that’s right, not William) marched with quite a few others.  I joined the Rebellion at the top of the hill, thanks to Rick Katzenberg, who let me park in his drive.  Gail Denemark gave me her arm, and we made it the whole way. Joining in from WMD were Kathy Boyer and her husband Bob Wood, Vanessa Foley and her daughter Claire, and probably others I’m going to sadly forget to mention.  The response from the parade watchers was wonderful – – made our hearts happy!

On the following day Pete and I joined the Rebels at Fort Constitution, at the end of the 16 mile sea-coast walk which many completed.  If you click on “photos” below, and go up and down patiently, you may find Kathy Boyer, Rosemary Carlsmith, Pete and Nan and others whose faces you recognize.  Lessig gave an inspiring talk up on the wall, leading us to believe that anything is possible – – even getting money out of politics.

If all goes as we hope it will, there will be a walk you will all want to join on Saturday, October 4th.  My dream involves people making The Milford Oval the destination and walking on every road leading to The Oval. Brookline, Wilton, Lindeborough, Mont Vernon, New Boston, Amherst, Merrimack, etc.  Can you see the web we will weave with people anxious to get BIG MONEY out of politics.

This is just the beginning – – will you join us?  Nothing has been confirmed regarding the October walk.  But watch this space.  Jeanne Ludt is back from Maine, our communication channels are open and there is mischief to make.

Hugs to all,

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Note from Nan Stearns (14 Jun 2014)

Hi WMD Members,

Yesterday was Friday the 13th – – plus a full moon – – so here comes a wish and a request:

Wish: I wish we could get all of the money out of politics. Granny D wished the same wish and marched from “Sea to Shining Sea” to try to do just that.

Request: Please join us as “GD Walkers” in Amherst on July 4th. We’ll participate in the Amherst Parade. We don’t plan on walking under the WMD Banner, but rather under the new banner, NHR – – New Hampshire Rebellion. And, should you have some hesitation, GD Walkers stands for Granny D Walkers.

The New Hampshire Rebellion was founded by Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law Professor, who walked from Dixville Notch to Nashua in the cold of January. His movement is taking hold. To investigate further, please Google NHRebellion, Lawrence Lessig, or some such. You will find much to inspire you.

This is just a first notice – – there will be more information to come. Should you wish to sign up for July 4th, give me a call at 673 3730, or respond by email to

On July 5th, the New Hampshire Rebellion will be walking the New Hampshire Sea Coast of approximately 16 miles. We’ll join in for a portion of the distance. We’ll hope to see you there. You will find more about this too when you look into the New Hampshire Rebellion.

You might want to wear a Granny D hat, wear a NHR T shirt, carry a sign about campaign finance reform, or make a bold statement about systemic corruption in the nation’s capitol. We will have no dress code. We will walk and talk because we care and because we think we just might be able to do something about this problem.

Thanks for making time to read this!


PS This year’s theme for the Amherst Parade is: “From Sea to Shining Sea” – – what could be more perfect?

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Note from Nan Stearns (21 Jun 2014)

Dear WMD Members, Friends and Family,

I am aquiver!  That’s the best way to put it!  Lawrence Lessig, the Harvard Law Professor who is the fearless founder of The New Hampshire Rebellion, will be in Amherst on the 4th of July to march/walk in the Amherst Parade. How cool is that?

So, having had a weak response to my last request, I am on my knees begging you to join us on the 4th at Wilkins School between 9:00 and 10:00 in the morning to walk with others who have already signed up with the rebellion.  It promises to be a wonderful experience.  You will have a chance to meet Professor Lessig and hear for yourselves his inspiring message.

You can order T shirts, if you wish, by going to the New Hampshire Rebellion’s Zazzle Store.  The important thing is not what to wear – – it’s to participate.  A Granny D straw hat would also be most appropriate. (See picture of the late Granny D below)

Also, Jack Conaway, who is again “doing” the Amherst Dems float for the second year in a row, needs more marchers.  Walk with them; walk with us.  Stand up!  Speak out!  You will have a happy experience – – I guarantee it!!

There will be a table on the Village Green where Lessig will be after the parade – – make a point of coming to meet him.

Thank you for making time to read this fervent request.  Thank you most of all for joining us on the 4th.

For now, Happy Summer!


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Note from Nan Stearns

Dear WMD,

     I accept the challenge from Jeanne, who suggested there would be a summary coming after last evening’s meeting.  We were eight, so we comprised a perfect group for discussion.  At our luncheon a couple of weeks ago we were eight.  However, we were not the same eight yesterday.  Three attended both meetings; five joined us yesterday, two of whom were new to WMD.  Adding that all up my way, we were a total of 13 people who had civil discussions on two different occasions.  That number is so important.
     It was on March 13th in 2005 that WMD made its public debut, when a group of us attended a meeting in Milford with Charles Bass, then New Hampshire member of the House of Representatives.  He was trying to convince our citizenry to privatize Social Security.  When nearly all of the women in the Town Hall room stood with our group, we made an impression.  It was “wicked cool”.  It is an anniversary worth remembering, which is certainly why 13 people joined our interesting discussions.  Is it a sign?
     As Jeanne noted, Shannon Chandley, one of our original 25 members, now an excellent State Representative from Amherst, gave us food for thought regarding legislation in Concord.  We discussed some new ideas, including the New Hampshire Rebellion and Overpass Light Brigade.  Another topic of discussion was whether it would be beneficial to rename our group so that it was not exclusively an organization for women. The majority felt that having an organization where women could share their voices should remain.  Actually, it was one of the reasons your Fearless Founder founded WMD in the first place.  There were many men who often dominated political discussions when we first began.  It is wonderful to add that few women in our group are fearful of standing up and speaking out. We will continue to do that.  (Men have been and will continue to be welcome when we have special events or speakers and are part of our email distribution list.)
     We agreed that we need to be especially active this year and again in 2016, and certainly all weighed in on the Presidential Election of 2016.  It was interesting to observe that we were not all in agreement that Hillary would run.  It was suggested that we invite legislators to speak to us who might not be like-minded.  Kelly Ayotte was suggested as a possibility.  We agreed that we would like to grow our numbers and try to attract some young women.  However, Jeanne let us know that our e-mail list numbers 180 some.
     I had announced that Annie Kuster would be coming to The Fells in April, but that announcement has changed.  Annie will be in our home, which she preferred to do, on Sunday, April 6, 2014, at 4:30 in the afternoon.  So the only change is the address.  We are at #31.  And, the event will be a “fund raiser”.  We may not hold fund raisers at our Condo Club House.  Annie suggests certain amounts for donations on the invitation which I will forward later.  However, her organizer, Emily Brown, has made it clear to us that $25.00 donations are perfectly wonderful.  Should you wish to attend that event, please be so kind as to give me a call so that your name will be on the list.  We are at 673-3730.  It is important that we know who is coming, as our capacity is less than that of the Club House.  Yet, we don’t at all mind being cozy.  We will be serving wine and something soft, but we would never say “no” should WMD members wish to bring a wee something to share.
     So we are coming out of hibernation.  We agree to continue to “make mischief”.  We hope to have monthly meetings or events.  We will not be hyperactive, but we’re moving in that direction.
     Most importantly, we discussed tomorrow’s election.  We agreed that it is imperative to re-elect Jeanne Ludt as Supervisor of the Checklist in Amherst.  And if there is a petition warrant article on your town ballot calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, please be sure to vote in favor of it.  (see additional info. about that below)
Best to each of you,
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Profile of Hedrick Smith

Smith is author of the best-sellers The Russians and The Power Game: How Washington Works. He spent 26 years with The New York Times, receiving a Pulitzer Prize for his international reporting from Russia and Eastern Europe, and he was a member of the Pulitzer winning team that produced the Pentagon Papers. Smith received two Emmys and numerous other accolades for his work as a producer and correspondent for PBS.

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Note from Nan Stearns (08 Oct 2013)

Dear Hearts, WMDers,

You have probably concluded that WMD has dissolved – – retired – – given up. The Kitchen Cabinet has found a better kitchen table? Sassy voices have been silenced by Ted Cruz and Company? Men have taken controls? OMG Au contraire, we have simply been hiding out, keeping a low profile, dusting, weeding, traveling, reading, singing, etc. Time has passed; little has changed. We are in about the same mess we were in when last we made comment or had an event. But, we are about to resurface. It’s time!

My goals for the year 2014 are to increase Democrats’ lead in the US Senate, to take back the House of Representatives, to elect more women in New Hampshire, to have a large presence in the 2014 4th of July Parade in Amherst, to do the same in the Labor Day Parade in Milford, and to save the world. I will need your help.

After a lengthy and traumatic exercise, involving two men (which complicated everything), WMD is pleased and proud to announce our first event. You will be SO excited! We invite you to join us, at the Club House at The Fells in Amherst, on Thursday, October 24th, at 4:00 in the afternoon, to meet Hedrick Smith. His profile is included at the end of this email. He is on a book tour in New Hampshire, organized by Ed Helm, and he will speak to us, take our questions and tell us about his latest book, “Who Stole The American Dream?” We will have Mr. Smith with us for only an hour and a half, so come prepared with your thoughts and questions.

Pete and I know Hedrick Smith best from hearing him on Washington Week. For us then, he was the one who knew everything about Russia. We are thrilled that, finally, we are able to “book” him with WMD.

This same day, in the evening beginning at 6:00, the Milford Democrats are having their big fund raiser at the UU Church in Milford. You will want to put that on your calendars as well. We should have just enough time to drive from the club house to the church after we have sent Mr. Smith on his way to his evening meeting.

Note the date: October 24th Note the time: 4:00 in the afternoon Note the venue: Club House at The Fells Note the speaker: Hedrick Smith Put it on your calendar, in INK!

Best to each of you,

Nan Stearns

PS Pete suggests that I beg for a big turnout. FYI, this was originally scheduled at St. Anselm College, but that fell through. Then he was to come to the Milford Dem’s “do” at the UU Church. Because that is a “fund raiser”, he could not. So, we have him and we are excited. Ed Helm, his “organizer” has attended at least one of our events, that being when we had Elizabeth Edwards and a turnout of around 120. The Club House has a limit of 60. Yes! Let’s try to fill the house and start our efforts off with a big bang.

Sending love,


Profile of Hedrick Smith
Smith is author of the best-sellers The Russians and The Power Game: How Washington Works. He spent 26 years with The New York Times, receiving a Pulitzer Prize for his international reporting from Russia and Eastern Europe, and he was a member of the Pulitzer winning team that produced the Pentagon Papers. Smith received two Emmys and numerous other accolades for his work as a producer and correspondent for PBS.
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Note from Nan Stearns (16 Jan 2013)

Dear WMD,

Pete and I have just made donations to both Gabby Gifford’s PAC and The Brady Campaign – – we simply used the email Jeanne sent yesterday, where we found so much to give us a nudge.  We had turned on the President’s event just at noon; how many moments we found ourselves with tears in our eyes or goose bumps on our arms.  Why has it taken us SO long to act?  Was it that we simply could never imagine sending a first grader to school and never seeing them alive again.  
Our baby, our Heidi, celebrated her 49th birthday this week, just a day before Michelle Obama celebrated her birthday.  Michelle, we believe, is just about the same age as our Heidi.  Heidi started first grade in Fairbanks, Alaska.  I would drop her off at the elementary school on base at Fort Wainwright, then drive the 20 some miles to North Pole, Alaska, where my first grade class of around 30 youngsters kept me “on my toes”.  To even imagine someone harming a hair on any of those little heads never was a part of my thinking.  How glorious it was to grow up and to raise a child never worried about gun violence or school shootings.
Thanks, Jeanne, for sending so much good information.  Thanks, Christy, for taking a stand and reminding us of our standing up and speaking out on Friday afternnons – – and any other time we have an opporknockity to do so.  It is obvious we have an issue for 2013!  
Please join us on Monday to celebrate the Inauguration of Barack Obama.  Let us please be a part of the solution he seeks.  Let’s use our heads, donate our funds and help our President get something done this time.  Our voices need to be heard.
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Note from Nan Stearns (02 Jan 2013)

Dear WMD,
Happy New Year to ALL!
How blessed we feel on this second day of January, 2013!  Obama has four more years in the White House, we have avoided the fiscal cliff, and our Grandson has been accepted to a school that is probably his first choice.  Now we realize that these things are not connected, but they are things we are thrilled about today.  We hope you too feel blessed, happy and looking forward to 2013.  We hope our good feelings find a connection with our Jeanne Ludt, who had a third surgery today.  Please join us in sending loving thoughts to Jeanne and her dear family.  She will be sending this out when she feels up to it, so we’ll be optimistic regarding her recovery.
To celebrate the re-election of Obama and Biden, we are staying home on Inauguration Day and inviting WMD members to an Inauguration Brunch on Monday, January 21, 2013.  We have reserved the Club House at The Fells for that day, so please put this event on your calendars in ink.  Please plan to bring something brunchy; we did the same thing four years and it was great fun.  There is a large TV so that we can watch it all as it is happening in DC, while saving on gas, hotel, food, etc., in the Nation’s Capitol.  This is also the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, so take the day off and celebrate with us.  We’ll have something appropriate to drink to include coffee, orange juice and champaign (combines the words campaign and champagne).  We look forward to seeing you there.  To let us plan logistics, please let us know if you are coming.  Give me a call at 673-3730, or send an email to
And now what shall we do?  What issues shall we work on, or shall we cease to be?   A number of suggestions are simmering here and there.  Ruth Heden is asking us to be on the Oval on Fridays speaking out for gun control following the tragedy in Connecticut.  How can we help those who have lost everything in New Jersey and vicinity from Hurricane Sandy?  Who will be running for office in 2014?  It is doubtful we will be bored in this new year.
Please let us hear from you; please join us on the 21st.  For now, warmest new year’s greetings to each of you.
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I AM – Wilton Town Hall Theatre

Sunday, February 19 at 4:30 pm: The local premiere of “I AM”; Wilton Town Hall Theater, Main Street, Wilton
Directed by renowned director of several Hollywood blockbuster films, Tom Shadyac, after his near-death experience – a truly inspiring, “must-see” film for our time. 
There is no charge for admission. Co-sponsored by The NH Green Coalition, Granite State Guardians, and Women Making a Difference.
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Message from Nan Stearns

Dear WMDers,

Thank you SO! On Saturday, January 14th, I was elected to be a delegate at the National Democratic Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, in September. There were so many friends at the Caucus; it is impossible to thank each of you who supported me, and I know someone would be left out if we listed you. You know who you are, and I appreciate your help more than I can attempt to say. It was such a joy to look around and see encouraging faces – – many of whom I would never have known had it not been for WMD – Women Making a Difference. I also had the advantage of sage advice from friends who helped me with a strategy. My handouts were done by our web mistress, and they were dandy. Pete and I are thrilled at the prospect of attending the convention, and we are also thrilled with the diversity of the delegation elected. There will be more delegates added in April, so those not selected this time still have another opportunity.

Something went unsaid on Saturday, but now I can add it to my thanks. It was Heidi’s birthday on Saturday. Our Heidi was 48 years old, which seems quite impossible. Tomorrow, the 17th, is Michelle Obama’s birthday. She will be 48 years old. Heidi was in high school at Punahou in Hawaii for two years, her freshman and sophomore years. Though she knew him not, Barack Obama was a junior and senior at the same time. So we can honestly say,”Oh yeah, didn’t you know, Heidi was in school with Barack.”



And, a different matter. Our second candidate for Governor will be speaking to WMD on Sunday, January 29th, at 4:30 in the afternoon, at The Fells Club House.
More to come – – but save the date! Maggie Hassan has been booked and the club house reserved. Hope to see you there.

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Message from Nan Stearns – 6 Jan 2012

Dear WMDers,

When I read this request from Graham Smith something happened – – it must have been something we ate or drank over the holidays. We said, wicked cool!

Yesterday Pete and I drove to Concord to drop off my papers in the office of the NHDP. I too have filed to become a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, which will be held the week of September 3rd. It just so happens we will be on our way to Oregon for Pete’s high school reunion, so it would be fun to drop south to North Carolina.

To ask for your vote is gutsy, as you will first have to vote for President Obama on the 10th and then attend the caucus in Concord on the 14th. Please do just that. That would be so nice of you. It has never occurred to either of us that we might have such an opporknockity, but we do. If elected, I will be the delegate; Pete, as always, will be my political advisor. We would do our very best.

It occurs to me now that it should have been Pete who filed, as they will elect five men and only four women in Congressional District 2.

Here are a few points that will, we hope, give you reasons to turn out and vote for me in the delegate caucus:

Fearless Founder, WMD – Women Making a Difference
Homemaker for 54 years, married to the same man
Homes made – – 32, as Pete was in the Army Corps of Engineers for 30 years and we lived in strange and wonderful places
Mother of 1 Heidi is an OB/GYN Physician and delivered Drew Bledsoes three sons
Grandmother of 1 – Christopher plays saxophone in the Wellesley High School 2 o’clock Jazz Band which competed twice in New York City in 2011
Elected member of the Souhegan High School Community Council
Activist, empowered by Howard – – Howard Dean
Proud supporter of Barack Obama

Thanks to each of you willing to perform this greatest act of kindness and friendship. Pete and I join in wishing each of you a splendid 2012; we have great expectations for the new year!!


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Message from Nan Stearns – 12 Jan 2012

Dear WMD – – All of you Women Making a Difference,

As I announced earlier, Saturday is the day to present myself before the caucus goers in Concord. I am running to be a delegate to the National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, in September. My opposition is worthy and overwhelming! I NEED YOUR HELP.

The doors open at 9:00 in the morning for registration. You must be a registered Democrat, a resident of New Hampshire, and you must have voted in the Primary for Barack Obama in order to participate in the caucus. In CD2 (Congressional District 2) you may vote for as many as five men and four women. In CD1 it is just the opposite: four men and five women.

Pete and I intend to get to Concord by 9:00 to pass out the “flyers” prepared by our Web Master, Susan Fischer. We are so pleased with them. If anyone would like to join us in that operation, we would be delighted.

Nancy Iannuzzelli is bringing our banner. If anyone would like to volunteer to help her move through the group with the banner, we would be grateful.

The only way I can win a seat at the delegation is to have your help. A number of my opponents have names far better recognized than mine.

The address is the IBEW Building at 48 Airport Road, in Concord. The time is 9:00 registration and 10:00 caucus on Saturday, Jan. 14. If you can come, it will be a joy to see you.



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Two Chances to Hear Jackie Cilley

Two chances to hear Jackie Cilley — former District 6 senate rep. and potential gubernatorial candidate. WMD has invited her to meet with us and others at The Fells on Sunday, Nov. 6. (details to follow in a future email) and she will be a guest speaker at the next potluck supper of the Amherst Democrats. See details below:

Subject: Jackie Cilley to Speak at Potluck on Oct 26, 2011

Jackie Cilley to Speak in Milford, October 26th

Jackie Cilley, who represented District 6 in the NH Senate from 2006 – 2010, will be the guest speaker at a potluck supper meeting hosted by The Amherst Democrats, on Wednesday evening, October 26th, at The Unitarian-Universalist Congregation in Milford, 20 Elm Street, just west of the Milford Oval. The potluck supper begins at 6 PM, and speaker program starts at 7 PM.

A native of Berlin, NH, Jackie graduated from Berlin High School and entered The University of New Hampshire, completing a BA in Psychology. She then went on to earn a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at UNH, where she also taught for 20 years. She served one term as a State Representative, prior to winning her Senate seat, where she served on the Commerce, Labor and Consumer Protection, and Energy, Environment and Economic Development committees, and was Chair of the Executive Departments and Administration committee. She also operated a marketing research firm for 15 years and now conducts marketing for a family-owned small business. Jackie and her husband Bruce have lived in Barrington for 19 years. They have five sons, twelve grandchildren, and two dogs.

Please join us for a report on Jackie’s experience serving in the NH Senate and on today’s issues in the NH Legislature, followed by a lively discussion period. There will also be plenty of good food for those who arrive at 6 PM.

RSVP is not required, but questions about the programs of The Amherst Democrats or about the meeting on October 26th, contact Graham Smith at 603-673-6629, or via email at

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Message from Nan Stearns – 04 Oct 2011

Dear WMDers,

I wrote a report about our meeting right after we met, and our computer has hidden it somewhere in cyberspace. However, it was too long and too wordy, and you won’t need to worry about it. When we opened our inbox yesterday, there was Jeanne’s latest offering, plus the final notice about the upcoming film series which begins this coming Sunday. It was a thought jog.

Our meeting on September 25th, was a delicious time for the 10 WMD members plus two husbands who attended. In the living room of the club house, we made a complete and tight circle of like-minded friends. Our discussion was civil, snappy, interesting, and amazingly long-lasting. Booked for 5:00 in the late afternoon, many lingered longer; Pete and I got home just at 8:00. Everyone brought good things to eat, the wine and cider were both enjoyed and we came home with happy hearts feeling it had been oh so worth while.

Just for the joy of it I’m going to list those who attended: Betty Hall, Nan Stearns and husband Pete, Ruth Heden, Nancy Iannuzzeli, Kathy Boyer and husband Bob, Liz Morgan, Barbara Warner, Mary Beth Ayvazian, Shannon Chandley and Vanessa Foley. Yes, that’s the tight circle. We discussed supporting Obama as our first priority, and most were in agreement. We talked about supporting Anne Kuster, Debora Pignatelli and Shannon Chandley as they prepare to run for office. We discussed continuing to have events with candidates; all were in agreement. We discussed peace, redistricting, 13 year old daughters, Granny D., Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic Convention, potential candidates for Governor, etc. I know much has been left out; forgive me. Weigh in if you want to add something forgotten.

After our formal discussion, many stayed to chat and exchange more thoughts. We said nothing about hair and nails. Liz Morgan slipped quietly into the kitchen, and suddenly everything was picked up, put away and we all went home. Thanks, Liz! The final word is, we shall continue to make mischief!

Best to each of you,


PS A potential candidate for Governor, Jackie Cilley, is coming to speak to WMD on Sunday, November 6th at 4:30 in the afternoon. Save the date!!

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Message from Nan Stearns

Dear WMD,

Belated greetings! We have taken time off; we hope you have too. Pete and I have puttered through the summer: we have gotten rid of stuff, we’ve gotten started on our family’s genealogy, we’ve read some good books and we have been watching too much political TV. As we enjoy this weekend we are reminded of a Labor-Day Weekend a few years ago. It was 2007. Pete walked in the Milford Parade with people for Paul Hodes, and I joined a small but sassy group of WMD members. Pete got to meet Barack Obama, who impressed many by remembering their names and the names of their children as well. That evening we had a call from Ali, the Obama organizer in our area. He invited us to attend a House Party the next day at the home of the president of Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester. We accepted the invitation.

The following morning we arrived in good time, ran into one or two we knew, enjoyed seeing the lovely home of the president and seated ourselves on the sun porch, just beyond the kitchen/dining room. As luck would have it, Barack Obama was introduced and spoke on the step just above us. We were close enough to see the whites of his eyes. I checked him out up one side and down the other to find him well put together. To my great surprise and pleasure, he made eye contact with me and with probably every other person in the room. He spoke quietly and thoughtfully; we found nothing with which to disagree. When he finished speaking and taking questions, I used my ski-lift-line skills to slip around his body guard and stuck out my hand. I said to him, “This morning we have found the magic we were looking for.” He took my hand and replied, “Please tell your friends.” Pete refers to this as my “Goldilocks Moment”. To my great distress we have had emails using the term Tar Baby. A dear friend in Portland, Oregon, told us of using the term “brown eggs” in a derogatory manner. And it was at a reunion of ours in Prineville, Oregon, that a classmate of yesteryear referred to Obama as the “dark complected one”. But of course there is no thought that any of these “good Christians” could be ever so slightly prejudiced against Barack Obama. A bumper sticker we saw yesterday read “Impeach Hussein”.

So here we are four years later with a young president who is graying quickly, getting no support from the republicans and being lambasted from all sides. We have dear friends who proclaim “We didn’t drink the Kool Aid!” Some are looking for an independent candidate to support. Others are considering supporting one of the many republican candidates. Another option we’ve heard voiced is simply not to vote in the 2012 election. Horrors!!! As for us, we shall work for and support Barack Obama and also try to elect people who will make it possible for him to move forward.

WMD was my idea, and it is hard to let go. But I have decided to do my best to reelect Obama and then let someone younger step up to the plate. Jeanne Ludt continues to get so much information out to our e-mail list, and we feel this has been a boon to people who receive it. We had a small Kitchen Cabinet meeting recently, a meeting of those who have really been with us from the beginning. Ruth Heden is our Milford member. Nancy Iannuzzelli is the one responsible for our learning about depleted uranium. Liz Morgan is a new member of the KC, and she brings a thoughtful manner and good advice to our group. Jeanne and I filled up the kitchen table. Missing that day were Judy Gilliland, Susan Fischer and Barbara Smith, but we believe they would agree with the decisions we made. Our top priority from now until November 2012 is to reelect our president, Barack Obama. Our next priorities will be to elect Ann Kuster, to reelect Debora Pignatelli and to reelect Shannon Chandley, if she decides to run. We have spoken to Annie Kuster at a recent house party in our home, and she is “fired up and ready to go”. I gave Debora a call; she confirmed that she will again run for the seat she held on the Executive Council. Shannon is thinking about her decision, but has yet to make it. These three ladies are superb candidates, and we will do everything in our power to elect them.

WMD is also one of the three sponsoring groups working to bring you a fabulous Film Series beginning this fall. In coalition with Granite State Guardians and New Hampshire Green, we will strive to show documentaries which confront the issues, as we did years ago when Nancy White did our first Film Series. Dear Dennis, at the Wilton Town Hall Theater, has agreed to let us show these films on Sunday afternoons. We so hope you will make every effort to attend.

In late September, on the 25th, at 5:00 in the late afternoon, we invite you to join us at the Fells Club House for our annual, when we get around to it, chat about where we are going and how we hope to get there. We will ask you to bring a wee something to share, so that we can nibble while we express our ideas and offer our suggestions. We so hope you will come and do just that. It is how we began in March of 2005. As Howard Dean used to tell us, “When women are empowered, good things happen!” We could use some good things happening, couldn’t we. Wine and cider will be available.

Another idea on our horizon is to sponsor a candidate forum next year before the election. Think on all of these things.

We SO hope you survived Irene and recharged your batteries over the last few summer months. We look forward to making mischief in the days, weeks and months ahead.



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Message from Nan Stearns on 08 May 2011

Dear WMD – Women Making a Difference,

A few years ago I wrote a little piece about Three Wise Men – as Pete and I had amazingly crossed paths, near the Christmas season, with David Broder, journalist extrordinaire, Ted Sorensen, JFK’s counselor, and Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church. It’s interesting how such serendipitous “bumpings into” make an impression that sticks with us. So yesterday was such a day – – and an early Mother’s Day gift for the two of us.

We started off for Hookset to attend the “summit” chaired by Mary Beth Ayvazian – – without a map. It took too long, and we arrived an hour late – too late to hear Jackie Cilley. But when we got out of the car, there was Jackie Cilley, whom we had not met, on the front porch as if to greet us. What a lovely lady! What an amazingly “smart cookie”. She could be our next Governor, and she will be happy to speak to WMD another day. We enjoyed the activites of the next hour, though we must admit to being totally lost during the discussion of using Face Book and Twitter as essential tools of communication. Mary Beth does a great job of leading the Granite State Guardians. Nancy Iannuzzelli was there, as was Silvia Gale (sp?) who told me she has been on the WMD e-mail list for years. Too she relies on our list to get out information. Kudos to our extraordinary Jeanne Ludt for taking care of that list for years. What would we do without her?

Earlier in the day we had taken a big leap of faith and called a restaurant in Center Barnstead, NH, and they had room for two at 6:30. So from Hookset we drove without a hitch directly to The Crystal Quail on Pitman Road. Annie Kuster had given us her book, The Last Dance, Facing Alzheimer’s with Love and Laughter, when we were helping with her campaign. The foreword was written by David Broder, who wrote: “It also has been our custom to pick an evening during the pre-primary weeks and drive off with a few others for dinner at the Crystal Quail, the tiny, world-class restaurant hidden off in the woods north of Concord on a road that only Malcom (Annie’s father) can reliably find.” To tell you about the Crystal Quail is not my purpose, but suffice it to say we dined royally and will go again on very special occasions. The owners, operators, chefs, waitress, bottle washers, garden tenders, host and hostess are Harold and Cynthia Huckaby. The only other sign of staff was the fat, happy, black cat who hung out in the kitchen, near the stove.

We had such interesting first chats with Cynthia, our server, and with Harold, the chef, as we left, and also asked Cynthia if she knew Gail Darrell, our Democracy School lady who lives in Barnstead. “Of course,” Cynthia lit up even more when Pete asked this question. She confirmed, as Gail had told us, that this lovely lady (Gail) had recently become very “active” in their community. She said, “Oh yes, she’s in the neighborhood.”

So here’s the deal from our point of view: Had we never been “active” (thanks to WMD), we would never have crossed paths with David Broder, we would never have met Annie Kuster, we would never have known Mary Beth Ayvazian, we would have missed Jackie Cilley, we would never have had Democracy School with Gail, we would never have visited the Crystal Quail, we would never have chatted with the Huckabys, and life would be the poorer for all of that. We count ourselves so fortunate; personally I feel so blessed to have had these lovely encounters near Mother’s Day.

We will see our own dear daughter this next week in New York City, when she and her husband and the grandparents attend the Essential Ellington Competition at Lincoln Center – Jazz at Lincoln Center – and cheer for the 2 o’clock Jazz Band from Wellesley High School. The tall, alto sax player, only a sophomore, is our grandson, Christopher. His is one of 15 jazz bands from all over the USA to have been selected to compete. It won’t matter who wins – – simply participating will be a thrill for each young budding musician. Our cups runneth over!

So, with that said – – Happy Mother’s Day.

Sending love and peace,


PS Both David Broder and Ted Sorensen have passed away. We were so lucky to have crossed paths with them. We look forward to bumping into all of the ladies who filled up our yesterday many more times. There were many more than three wise women.

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Message from Nan Stearns – 4/11/11

Dear WMD Members,

It’s time for full disclosure: A WMD sponsored Democracy School was held in late March. After the joint hosting plans with DFNH fell through, DFNH went ahead with their own Democracy School, with a focus on election integrity. Our Kitchen Cabinet met and went ahead with planning one without specific focus. As we learned more about the expenses associated with hosting Democracy School, we realized the importance of experiencing it firsthand before we could recommend it wholeheartedly to the entire WMD membership. As we began talking about attendees, we made a tentative list of people we thought would be interested guinea pigs to fill a class limited in size to no more than 20. In a heart beat we had more than 25 on our list, including educators, environmentalists, peace activists and those who have been active in WMD since its inception. Rather than send out an announcement to everyone on our email list, we called those on the tentative list. And so it happened! We ended up a group of 21 women and men: 17 students, 3 presenters and one chef/gofer. Though many were WMD members, we also had a DFNH activist, a Milford High School teacher, a student originally from Brazil, a home builder, a young corporate entrepreneur, environmental activists with New Hampshire Green and members of the peace movement. It was an interested and interesting group.

Our three presenters were Gail Darrell form Barnsted, NH, Ben Price from Carlisle, PA and Chad Nicholson who has moved to Maine in order to assist Gail Darrell in her community organizing for CELDF, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. The total cost of the school was approximately $2,500.

The chef/gofer was my own dear husband, Pete, who was in charge of logistics and food preparation. We ate well!

This was an experiment. It was a very intense, enlightening experience for most —- I am still gathering feedback from those who participated as we speak. There may be many of you who wanted to attend; we hope there will be many who want to come next time. It is very possible we will try to put on another DS next year, after we have had an opportunity to sit quietly, contemplate what we have learned, think deeply and move on.

To give you an idea of the level of commitment involved — the Friday session was from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. On Saturday we met from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. It is a powerful experience, and the material is mind boggling. As I wrote on my evaluation form, “Democracy School is not for wimps!” Too, it is not inexpensive. Our fee to attend was $100.00. There were three active members who paid $150.00 in order to reach our goal, and all of the food and snacks were donated by Kathy Boyer, Susan Fischer, Judy Gilliland, Ruth Heden, Jeanne Ludt, Pete and Nan – the extraordinary committee. Many thanks!

Please let me/us know by responding to this email if you would be interested in attending DS next time. I intend to speak to each one who attended and follow up with our presenters, then pass thoughts on to the ladies on our list.

Thanks in advance for your understanding.

Nan Stearns


If you’d like to attend a free forum conducted by two of the same people that conducted Democracy School —- here’s your chance!! See below:

Community Rights Forum

Protecting our Health, Safety, and Welfare
Lewiston, ME, Sunday, April 17
B Street Community Center
57 Birch Street

Portsmouth, NH, Sunday, May 1
South Church – Unitarian Universalist
292 State Street

Bangor, ME, Sunday, May 15
Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine
96 Harlow Street, Suite 100

2:00 – 4:00pm

Presented by:
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF)

In Partnership With:
Advocates for Community Empowerment (ACE)
Citizens of Barnstead for a Living Democracy (COBALD)
Nottingham Water Alliance
Protecting our Water and Wilderness Resources (POWWR)

For More Information:
Gail Darrell Chad Nicholson
603.269.8542 207.541.3649

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Message from Nan Stears (1/4/2011)

Dear WMD Members and Friends,

In the 46 years since our Heidi was born, this is the first time she has not been with us for Christmas; to our utter astonishment, we have survived. That little family – – our daughter, her husband and their son – – were able to fly to Spain on Christmas eve, and they had a wonderful European holiday. It has been a wonderfully quiet time for us. We needed to think about a lot of things and begin to make plans for the next two years. WMD figures prominently in those plans as we want to continue making mischief until after the 2012 election, then look at the rest of life. We both want to try our best to make a positive difference.

Because of many interesting conversations since the November 2nd election, we realize the discontent and worry about the state of our nation. But with the flurry of activity by the congress just before it adjourned for the Christmas holiday, we are personally pleased with what was accomplished by our president and the democratic party. When the balance tilts toward the republican party in 2011, we are worried. What will they be up to then? We decided two years ago that we hoped our grandson, Christopher, would be able to finish high school and nearly finish college while Obama was in the White House. We believed that strongly in him; not everyone does, but we still do. Christopher is in his sophomore year and will be in his senior year in 2012. We hoped he would be able to get through these vitally important years with a positive role model. Well, so far so good.

As I wrote in late November or early December, our plans for Democracy School fell apart when we failed to reach an agreement with all of the people in on the planning. I accept full responsibility for the decision to cancel the February intensive two days. Those representing DFNH have gone ahead with their plans. A chance meeting with Susan Carr at Souhegan High School made me aware that she has found an excellent venue for them. In the meantime, I have invited Gail Darrell to meet with us in January, around our kitchen table, as she prefers. Gail is the authority on Democracy School and can give us the information we need in order to plan our own DS. I would like to invite any of you who are interested in attending, organizing, funding, a WMD DS to give me a call letting me know you would like to meet with Gail on Tuesday, January 18th, here at our home in Amherst. There are a few with whom I’ve spoken who are interested. Please don’t be shy. Our plan is to have a morning meeting beginning about 10:30, followed by a simple pot-luck lunch. Please consider this opporknockity..

The next evening, at the library in Amherst, Ruth Heden and I invite interested people to attend a “conversation” about taxes in New Hampshire. We are both members of the Granite State Fair Tax Coallition, though Ruth has been a much more active member. (For those of you unfamiliar with the GSFTC, it’s an organization created to get folks in NH to start thinking about multiple ways to raise revenue rather than focusing solely on property tax.) This in not a WMD event, but we certainly hope many of you will be interested in having this conversation. Do you know what percentage of your income you pay in property taxes? We hope people will attend with an open mind ready to have a civil discussion about HOW we tax in New Hampshire. We have no agenda other than to make people more aware of the fairness or lack thereof of New Hampshire taxes. Please consider attending. That is Wednesday evening, January 19th, at 6:30 in the evening.

And to really start our year with a bang, we have invited Arnie Arnesen to come to a WMD event, also at the Library in Amherst , on January 30th – – a 5th Sunday. Few have anything scheduled on 5th Sundays, so we hope to attract a good number. Those of you who heard Arnie at the “summit” in December know how she can ignite a crowd. She truly speaks truth to power. We are using the library because we can advertise the event, which we cannot if we use the clubhouse at The Fells. The room in the basement of the library holds 50 – – come early. More information to follow.

December 29th was a special anniversary for me personally. It was 15 years ago that I fell skiing at Pat’s Peak and broke my left leg. A bad outcome left me with an injured right leg and a well-repaired left leg. That’s the bad news. The good news is that perhaps I would never have gotten involved politically had it not been for that accident. It is oh so possible that the world would be going by without our even noticing. One never knows what’s coming around the next corner. When we rounded that corner, back in 1995, life took on a different perspective. When we bumped into Howard Dean in 2004, life became really interesting. And as we look around the corner into 2011, we can hardly wait. Away we go!

May we take this opportunity to wish each of you an especially bright new year. Let us make mischief together and see what comes of it. We promise to eventually have a real list of members, to do a real phone tree, to establish a real letter-writing committee and to have fun doing so. Let me know how you would like to help and what you would most like to do. We need help, feed back and your commitment to make WMD a functional operation. Give us a call; we are at 603 673-3730.

Our warmest wishes to each of you, hoping you have had a peaceful holiday season and knowing you look forward to the year 2011.

Sending love,

Pete and Nan

PS Pete reminds me of all we need to address locally and at the state level. He has agreed to write down his concerns which will follow shortly. Without his support, there would never have been a wild-eyed, liberal organization called WMD. I’m going to keep him.

Posted in WMD Meetings/Events, WMD Updates. Comments Off on Message from Nan Stears (1/4/2011)

Message from Nan Stearns – 11/11/10

Dear WMD – Women Making a Difference,

On Tuesday I attempted to send off a belated note, but our computer ate my homework. It made me realize that it takes a while to recover from heartbreak – – and that if you run into a blockade, you need time to deal with it. Here then is my second attempt.

Of course we were terribly saddened on Tuesday night, when the results in Amherst/Milford were published on the Nashua Telegraph web site. None of the wonderful women for whom we had voted were elected. What a tragedy – – what a shame. BUMMER!

That said, it’s time to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and start all over again. Hum along. A small meeting of people we love gathered around our kitchen table to talk about the future. The main topic was Democracy School. What, you may ask? Well, here is an opporknockity extrordinaire. Democracy School is an intense, two-day experience which makes citizens aware of what they CAN do, thanks to our constitution. Preparation is vital; there is much to read ahead of these two days. It requires a commitment to prepare and to attend. It is our hope that those of you who are interested will take advantage of this event. When: February 26 and 27. Where: the Fells Clubhouse. To participate, you’ll need to sign up by Nov. 30. The details are located below this email.

Also, the Granite State Fair Tax Coalition is fresh in our minds, thanks to the excellent presentation given by Mark Fernald in late October. We hope to schedule another similar event at the Amherst Library soon – – date and time to be determined. We want to invite an equal number of democrats and republicans to see if we can have an informative and civil conversation about finding better, fairer ways to raise revenue so that we don’t rely solely on the property tax in our state of New Hampshire. Please check out the chart at the website. It shows that currently under our system of relying on property tax alone the folks in NH with the lowest income pay 8.2% of their total income in taxes while the 1% at the top income level only pay 2% of their income in taxes.

Think on these things! What interests you? Your participation makes it – – or not.

And one more thing, as Rachel Maddow often says, it was a joy to put name to face on a number of occasions during the campaign. Lisa Sasser, Mary Beth Ayvazian, Bev Edwards – – it was lovely to meet you. And thanks for helping so much.

To Jeanne Ludt, Judy Gilliland, Susan Fischer and Ruth Heden – – warmest thanks for gathering around the table to get us moving once again. We have work to do before 2012! Don’t forget to take a look at the WMD website —- Susan Fisher is constantly updating — she’s even revised our mission statement — take a look!


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Message from Nan Stearns – Oct. 17

Dear WMD – Women Making a Difference,

It has been too long since you’ve heard from your Fearless Founder! In August/September Pete and I drove across these United States and back, then spent a glorious week with dear friends in Wellfleet on Cape Cod. When we returned home we were stunned to learn that Cynthia Dokmo had been defeated in the primary; we had always supported Cynthia as well as Peter Bergin. We began to gather sources from The Citizen, The Cabinet, and word-of-mouth filling us in on the venom that had been spewing through our community. Then we read the destructive letter about our own Shannon Chandley, published in both The Cabinet and The Citizen this past week. We don’t doubt that there will be more poison poured into circulation before November 2nd bad-mouthing other candidates in our district.

Just before we left for California, and my brother’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration in Eureka, California, our book group had done Hamlet – – at my suggestion. I was the facilitator, worried that the reaction from our group would be negative. Much to my delight, we had a good discussion, and I was encouraged to reread more Shakespeare. So it was a thrill to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production of Hamlet while on the west coast. It was an amazing version, with the Ghost of Hamlet telling Prince Hamlet about his being poisoned “in the porches of my ear” using American Sign Language. The Ghost was mute. It was great fun then to read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, also mute, with Hamlet-linked characters and poison galore, in the bottle and in the verbiage. There was innuendo; there was the blatant lie. It reminded me of the suggestion that Obama was not really born in Hawaii. You have certainly heard the lie that he is Muslim And Cynthia, what of her? Shannon voted to allow men in a women’s bathroom. Horrors! Poison, Venom, Fear, Lies, Hate, Misinformation! I’d give anything for TRUTH, CIVILITY and KINDNESS! Pete adds, “Good government should never be ugly.”

Earlier this year we attended a town meeting of Carol Shea Porter’s. In attendance were “tea party” members whose soul purpose was to disrupt. It was the first time we had seen this toxic form of incivility. A very similar air blew into the School Board Meeting we attended when adults called for the resignation of the superintendent and school board members. It makes me wonder what people are eating or drinking or smoking. From our perspective there is too much poison in the air; we are going to concentrate on antitoxins.

An aside: My father was the village pharmacist in a little town in central Oregon. In the spring there was the potential for snake bites, so Dad sold snake-bite kits. I wonder if those kits might be just the thing for Amherst. Antitoxins? Let’s order some.

SO I have made an executive decision to ignore all of the toxicity and to formally announce our strong, positive and personal support for a few candidates. We have never done this before; we doubt you will be surprised or mind.

Starting from the top, we support Peggo Hodes’ husband Paul. They are a great team worthy of our support. If Carol Shea Porter is in your district, that is a no-brainer. We are making calls for Annie Kuster and know she will make a positive difference in the US Congress. Debora Pignatelli attended our founding meeting in February of 2005; she must be reelected to the Executive Council. Deb and Mike are also a great team. Our two local ladies, Shannon Chandley from Amherst and Ruth Heden from Milford are simply the best. They need and deserve our support. And we intend to write in Cynthia Dokmo. Cynthia has always had the interest of our community at heart, and we shall happily add her name to our ballot. We must be certain to spell her name correctly, to also fill in the circle by her written-in name and to vote for not more than eight candidates total. We know we’ve not touched all races, but this is our super-seven list.

One of our favorite songs has always been “Accentuate the Positive”. Do that! And as Flower said to Bambi, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” Trite you say? You betcha! But it has always been good advice.

I hope to refine this messy epistle and send it to both the Amherst and Milford papers. If you have any suggestions, please send me an email or give me a call this weekend. We are at home. Our email is and our phone is 673-3730.

Many thanks for making the time to read something sent from the heart.


P.S. Betty Hall, who is running for state representative in Hollis, Mason and Brookline, is on the ballot as an independent moderate. How fabulous it would be to find Shannon, Ruth, Betty and Cynthia together in Concord, working for the people for whom they care. We hope to make that possible. What great ladies they are – – wonderful women making a difference.

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