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.

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Granite State Fair Tax Coalition Discussion Group – October 24th

Please join WMD for wine and cheese and to learn about the state budget and your taxes from representatives from the GRANITE STATE FAIR TAX COALITION (

Sunday, October 24, 2010
4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
The Fells Clubhouse
1 Fells Drive
Amherst, NH 03031

Please RSVP to Nan Stearns at (603) 673-3730 or by email at

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WMD Hosts Ann McLane Kuster – Sunday, July 27, 2010

On Sunday, July 25th, our guest will be Ann McLane Kuster, one of the two women running for the seat Paul Hodes will vacate in the U.S. House of Representatives. You may remember we hosted Katrina Swett, the other lady running for this seat, last year. We look forward to seeing you from 5 to 7 pm at the The Fells Clubhouse. Please RSVP to Nan Stearns at (603) 673-3730 or email her at

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WMD Brunch with Peggo Hodes – Sunday, June 27, 2010

Reminder about the Sunday, June 27 WMD Brunch with Peggo Hodes (wife of current Congressman Paul Hodes) —- it will be at the Club House of The Fells in Amherst at 11:00 a.m. —— members and their husbands – – or best friends, or significant others are invited. Please think of something to bring in the brunch category and plan to attend. You’ll love Peggo —- she’s truly charming. Hopefully, she’ll let us know how we can help support her husband’s run for the US Senate.

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SAVE THE DATE – APRIL 11 AT 2 PM – WMD Film Series Continues

CAFO’s, GMO’s, food policy and production. What are these terms and how do they affect your choices at the grocery store? Join Women Making a Difference for the film “FOOD, INC” at the Amherst Town Library at 2:00 p.m. A discussion will follow, lead by WMD member and health coach, Katie Walsh. Join us for healthy snacks and food for thought.

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“Soldiers of Peace”

Important WMD sponsored film coming up on November 29 at 2:30 at the Amherst Town Library. Please come and bring a friend.

WMD will be showing the film, Soldiers of Peace, the story of 14 countries around the world where “peace is breaking out”. Soldiers of Peace gives us an uplifting look at the current geopolitical state of the world: contrary to popular belief, there are actually less armed conflicts in the world today than ever before. The world is changing fast and humankind is being confronted with rapid climate change, lack of fresh drinking water, ever decreasing bio-diversity, diminishing oil reserves and an ever-growing population.

These global challenges call for global solutions and these solutions will require cooperation on a global scale unprecedented in human history. Peace is the essential prerequisite because without peace we will be unable to achieve the levels of cooperation, inclusiveness and social equity necessary to solve these challenges. We would also have the vast amounts of resources required to tackle these issues.

This documentary closely examines the different ways in which governments and individuals can face these problems: they can deal with them through war or peace. There is a genuine wave occurring in all corners of the world right now, showing us that peace is not a utopia, but rather at arm’s length. Through numerous and beautiful examples, the film illustrates the many ways in which people and communities are making a positive change, today. Even though we may instinctively know that this change is greatly needed to survive this 21st century, to see it unfold is truly exciting – and you can play a part.

Kathy Boyer, one of the founding members of WMD, will be the facilitator and will lead the discussion following the film. Kathy has worked tirelessly over the last few years for peace and the establishment of a Department of Peace. Come ready to listen, learn, and participate in an interesting discussion.

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View Film “Rethink Afghanastan”

Women Making a Difference is sponsoring a program at the Amherst Public Library at 2:30 pm on October 25th in the community room opposite the children’s library to view a DVD called Rethink Afghanistan, which is a ground-breaking documentary by filmmaker Robert Greenwald.  He and his crew made several visits to Afghanistan, most recently in March of 2009, and interviewed many Afghan civilians and refugees as well as journalists who have been in the country, Afghan political and social leaders, and U.S. foreign policy experts.  Rethink Afghanistan raises critical questions about the consequences of U.S. policy and the recent troop escalation that all Americans need to consider.  The film is about 45 minutes long.  There will be a discussion following the DVD showing led by Will Hopkins, the current Director of New Hampshire Peace Action, who spent 11 months on the ground as an infantryman in Iraq, where he was decorated for valor.   He is also the chair of New Hampshire Iraq Veterans against the War.

Women Making a Difference would like to invite everyone to join us, along with Congressman Paul Hodes,  in the community room in the Amherst  library to participate in this important program.  It is open to the public and is free of charge.

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WMD 2009/2010 Kickoff Meeting

Dear Women Making a Difference,

Here we are again!  It’s the last day of summer; it’s time to reactivate!!  Put next Sunday on your calendar, September 27, 2009, in RED LETTERS.  We kick off our year with a representative conversation with real representatives.  Hope to see you then.  Do you have a friend who likes to make mischief?  Bring her along.  We so look forward to seeing you all for a time to visit, ask hard questions, meet new like-minded friends and have meaningful conversations.  The particulars follow:


  • Representative Shannon Chandley, first term rep with long-term goals answering any questions you may have about her job and its challenges
  • Past Representative Betty Hall, coming in her new capacity as lobbyist for a Bottle Bill in New Hampshire   
  •  Members of WMD – Women Making a Difference, old and new

WHAT:  Our kick-off event for the 2009-2010 year

WHEN:  Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 2:30 in the afternoon

WHERE:  The Amherst Town Library, basement room

WHY:  Because it’s time to get together 

If you have any questions or comments, please call Nan Stearns at 673-3730, or send me an email at

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