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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March with WMD in the Amherst’s Fourth of July Parade

Amherst is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year and WMD will be recognizing great woman who are no longer with us but who made a difference in Amherst when they were alive. Join us by marching with WMD in the parade!!

Contact Nan Stearns at (603) 673-3730 or Nancy Iannuzzelli at (603) 672-2701 for more information.

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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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We will welcome Debora Pignatelli, currently serving on the NH Executive Council, on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m, April 25th, at The Fells Club House in Amherst. WMD members are asked to bring a wee something to share; the Stearns will bring water and wine. Deb will inform us about her work on the Executive Council and answer questions.

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Message from Nan Stearns – Mar. 30, 2010

Dear WMD – Women Making a Difference,

Only a few days ago, we received a mailing from Governor Howard Dean’s Office with an enclosed bumper sticker: You Have The Power! How well we remember those first times in 2004 when we had the privilege of hearing Governor Dean at events all over our area. And when he looked at me and said, “You Have the Power!” – – oh yes, I believed him. This past month two others have said the same thing – – they thought he was speaking directly to them. And that is the only reason WMD came to be; he expected us to do something, and it never occured to us that we couldn’t, because we had the power. Such a powerful message. An e-mail invitation has been sent to the office of Governor Dean in the hope he will come to the Amherst area in August for a splendid event.

How many others have inspired you in New Hampshire? There was, of course, Granny D, who is gone, but certainly never forgotten. A fitting tribute to her was written by the young man who was inspired by Granny D, Dan Weeks, who spoke to WMD last year about campaign finance reform. He has picked up where she left off and has found the issue that may become the passion of his life. Arnie Arneson ran for Governor a number of years ago, but inspired so many with her pluck, savvy and boundless energy. She is still going strong on Iowa Public Radio, and she is planning to come to speak to WMD. Debora Pignatelli, first a legislator and then a member of the Executive Council, will be our next guest. She is again a candidate for Executive Council and will be here to inspire and empower women who would like to make a difference. Also on the docket in one the of early months to come is Peggo Hodes, who in her own right is a woman making a difference and the soul mate of her husband Paul. And there are still two ladies who are running for the seat Paul Hodes will vacate when he is elected to the United States Senate. We hope to invite both Ann McLane Kuster and Katrina Swett before the primary in September.

Our focus this year, by “executive order”, is Empowering Women. How often we heard Howard Dean say, “When women are empowered, good things happen.” It seems to take an eternity to make anything happen, but would Health Care Reform, chapter one, have passed without Nancy Pelosi? I heard on the Diane Rehm program that Speaker Pelosi gave a little credit too to chocolate – – very dark chocolate. If we can empower another woman to run for office, take on a hard job, stand up and speak out, then that will make all of our hearts happy.

In our own organization, let me offer warmest thanks, which I failed to do Sunday, to Nancy Iannuzzelli and her husband Ray. Nancy made all of the arrangements for the showing of Coal Country, and Ray took care of the video equipment. Nancy invited Catherine Corkery, chapter director of the New Hampshire Sierra Club, to facilitate the discussion following the film. Having seen an earlier documentary of Mountain Top Removal in Appalachia, we weren’t as shocked as we were the first time. But it is truly devastating to see what has happened to the people living in the hollows in West Virginia and Kentucky particularly. Our discussion led us to ask,” What can we do?” And, “Will anything that we do make a difference?” A note of interest was a phone call Gail Denemark had made to NHPR last week when she asked a gentleman on the Laura Knoy program why they weren’t concentrating on the Bow Power Plant, largest emitter of pollution in New Hampshire. She was told at first she could not ask the question, but later did and received a limp response. Who at NHPR is going to make the time to have a program about that plant and ask the hard questions. Whom do we ask? Is there a chain of command? Who decides? Thrilled are we to see the announcement of tomorrow’s meeting in Concord that Jeanne sent out this morning. Let’s show up.

Jeanne Ludt is taking a much-needed holiday to celebrate a special birthday, so she’ll be gone for about 10 days. Susan Fischer, who is now our web master and has made it possible for others to send out emails, will do just that in Jeanne’s absence. Jeanne and Judy Gilliland have been inspirational in their willingness to handle this most important task.

As we move forward through this next year, thanks to each one of you who has given of her time and energy to help us try to make a difference. You have all enriched my life so very much; let us continue to make mischief together.


PS Save the date for the film, Food, Inc., on April 11th at 2:00 at the Amherst Town Library – – and thanks for Katie for stepping up and saying I’ll make the arrangements. And save the date of April 25, Sunday afternoon at probably 3:00, when Debora Pignatelli will be our guest at The Fells Club House. Bring a little something to share; we’ll bring water and wine.

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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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View “Coal Country” – March 28, 2010 – Amherst Town Library

Women Making a Difference and NH Sierra Club are sponsoring a viewing of COAL COUNTRY, the truthful documentary about mountaintop removal coal mining in rural Appalachia, on March 28, 2010 at the Amherst Town Library, 14 Main Street, Amherst, NH. Doors to the Johnson Room downstairs in the library will be open at 1:30 pm with the DVD to be promptly shown at 2:00 with a discussion to follow.

COAL COUNTRY is the celebrated documentary about impacts of mountain top removal coal mining in Appalachia. Nan Stearns from Women Making a Difference and Catherine Corkery, the New Hampshire Sierra Club Director, will lead the discussion following the DVD which will feature the impacts of mountaintop removal mining and the ripple effects seen in NH. Mountaintop removal mining is the highly controversial practice of mining where large machinery is used to remove the layers of earth from the peaks of hills and mountains to expose and extract veins of coal deposits. Not only has the act of leveling mountains and hills caused alarm, but the act of filling valleys with the earth from the peaks has created many problems such as: contaminated drinking water; destroyed streams and rivers; endangered communities due to exposure to dangerous chemicals; degraded air quality; and ruined habitat for aquatic life.

Please join us for an exploration of this important issue. This program is free and open to the public. However, donations will be accepted at the door. Refreshments will be served. If you have questions, please contact Catherine Corkery at or 603-224-8222. Questions can also be directed to Nancy Iannuzzelli at or 603-672-2701, the Women Making a Difference contact.

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Granny D’s Response to Supreme Court’s Campaign Finance Decision

January 21, 2010 statement from Doris “Granny D” Haddock in response to the Supreme Court’s decision today to kill campaign finance reform.

Ten years ago, I walked from California to Washington, D.C. to help gather support for campaign finance reform. I used the novelty of my age (I was 90), to garner attention to the fact that our democracy, for which so many people have given their lives, is being subverted to the needs of wealthy interests, and that we must do something about it. I talked to thousands of people and gave hundreds of speeches and interviews, and, in every section of the nation, I was deeply moved by how heartsick Americans are by the current state of our politics.

Well, we got some reform bills passed, but things seem worse now than ever. Our good government reform groups are trying to staunch the flow of special-interest money into our political campaigns, but they are mostly whistling in a wind that has become a gale force of corrupting cash. Conditions are so bad that people now assume that nothing useful can pass Congress due to the vote-buying power of powerful financial interests. The health care reform debacle is but the most recent example.

The Supreme Court, representing a radical fringe that does not share the despair of the grand majority of Americans, has today made things considerably worse by undoing the modest reforms I walked for and went to jail for, and that tens of thousands of other Americans fought very hard to see enacted. So now, thanks to this Court, corporations can fund their candidates without limits and they can run mudslinging campaigns against everyone else, right up to and including election day.

The Supreme Court now opens the floodgates to usher in a new tsunami of corporate money into politics. If we are to retain our democracy, we must go a new direction until a more reasonable Supreme Court is in place. I would propose a one-two punch of the following nature:

A few states have adopted programs where candidates who agree to not accept special-interest donations receive, instead, advertising funds from their state. The programs work, and I would guess that they save their states more money than they cost by reducing corruption. Moving these reforms in the states has been very slow and difficult, but we must keep at it.

But we also need a new approach–something of a roundhouse punch. I would like to propose a flanking move that will help such reforms move faster: We need to dramatically expand the definition of what constitutes an illegal conflict of interest in politics.
If your brother-in-law has a road paving company, it is clear that you, as an elected official, must not vote to give him a contract, as you have a conflict of interest. Do you have any less of an ethical conflict if you are voting for that contract not because he is a brother-in-law, but because he is a major donor to your campaign? Should you ethically vote on health issues if health companies fund a large chunk of your campaign? The success of your campaign, after all, determines your future career and financial condition. You have a conflict.
Let us say, through the enactment of new laws, that a politician can no longer take any action, or arrange any action by another official, if the action, in the opinion of that legislative body’s civil service ethics officer, would cause special gain to a major donor of that official’s campaign. The details of such a program will be daunting, but we need to figure them out and get them into law.

Remarkably, many better corporations have an ethical review process to prevent their executives from making political contributions to officials who decide issues critical to that corporation. Should corporations have a higher standard than the United States Congress? And many state governments have tighter standards, too. Should not Congress be the flagship of our ethical standards? Where is the leadership to make this happen this year?

This kind of reform should also be pushed in the 14 states where citizens have full power to place proposed statutes on the ballot and enact them into law. About 70% of voters would go for a ballot measure to “toughen our conflict of interest law,” I estimate. In the scramble that would follow, either free campaign advertising would be required as a condition of every community’s contract with cable providers (long overdue), or else there would be a mad dash for public campaign financing programs on the model of Maine, Arizona, and Connecticut. Maybe both things would happen, which would be good.

I urge the large reform organizations to consider this strategy. They have never listened to me in the past, but they also have not gotten the job done and need to come alive or now get out of the way.

And to the Supreme Court, you force us to defend our democracy–a democracy of people and not corporations–by going in breathtaking new directions. And so we shall.

Doris “Granny D” Haddock
Dublin, New Hampshire

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Message from Nan Stearns – Jan. 27, 2010

Dear Members of WMD – – or shall we say those who are still on the email list,

It has been a long time since I’ve sent a “billet-doux” – – but today is a good day to do so. It has occured to us that the mood of the country is so very different than it was a year ago, when we were euphoric following the inauguration of Barck Obama. I remember with such joy gathering for a delicious brunch and togetherness that morning. We sat so quietly with such respect for Obama and for each other. The past Saturday we attended a Town Hall Meeting with Carol Shea Porter, who was interrupted by an angry group of people we would now describe as “tea baggers”. The incivility and rudeness bothered me terribly; would we have acted the same way had it been George Bush two years ago? I hope not, but we too were angry. There now seems to be an over abundance of anger, fear, hatred, insult and injury. Where is the change we hoped for and believed in? Well, we are not going to despair one little bit. We are proud of our new President. We are going to support him when we think he is correct and try to help him find a better direction when we think he is not. Too, we are going to lead with civility, kindness and love – – it seems a much better way.

In other words, let us accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative and latch on to the affirmative – – don’t mess with Mr. Inbetween. And to start, let’s hear it for the lady of the hour, inspiration to all who know and love her, groovy Granny D, Doris Haddock. January 24th, 2010, was her 100th birthday. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Doris – – – Happy Birthday to you! Jeanne has already sent out an announcement of her birthday celebration, which will be held on Thursday, January 28th, in the State House in Concord. I have spoken with her dear friend and helper Ruth, and she assures me that all are welcome to attend. They hope to fill the Governor’s chamber, so come. Even if you have never met or heard her, you have a treat in store. She is an amazing lady who still writes her own speeches and statements. I hope you will have had an opportunity to read her statement regarding last week’s Supreme Court Decision. Is it time for all of us to march across the country in support of campaign finance reform? I had a dream a few days ago of starting a few in Portsmouth and handing off the baton to women stretched from sea to shiny sea. What a great time that would be, in Granny D’s name. You do remember that she walked across the nation 10 years ago, starting in California and marching to Washington DC, celebrating two birthdays on her journey.

And cheers out for another inspiration, Betty Hall. Betty recently confessed to me that she had flunked her driver’s test – – the driving portion. Of course, she is only 87, and is not yet ready to give up her independence. Saturday Betty called with the joyful news that she passed with flying colors on the retest. Congratulation, Betty.

Another who has cheered us recently is Nancy Tobi, candidate for the Ballot Law Commission – – which would be an “only perfect” appointment for the Governor to make. We might remind him of that on Thursday, if we have such an opporknockity. Nancy has also just published her essays, written over the past couple of years, which I have been fortunate enough to have seen via email. You will SO want to read these essays; you will be enriched by doing so.

Shannon Chandley, one of our original 25, sent us an email telling us of two bills she is working on. We will have more information about this later, and we’ll let you know how we all can help Shannon. As a junior legislator, Shannon is loving her job and is obviously good at it. There is no question that we must reelect her.

We have our work cut out for us, and it is about time to get organized, fired up and ready to go. This has been the good news; we also have the bad news. Two members of the Kitchen Cabinet have lost their mothers very recently – – Jeanne Ludt and Susan Fischer. We send our love, sympathy and caring to each of them. And our dear friend, Elise DeMichael, who always shows up for events, parades, vigils, lost her beloved husband who had been ill for some time. The cycle of life is a wondrous thing; Elise’s daughter is expecting. Our love too to the DeMichael family.

The tragic events in Haiti leave us simply not knowing how best to help. We are great believers in Partners for Health, Doctors Without Boarders and of course the Red Cross, but we so wish for a wand to wave. We wish too that we could have waved a wand over Massachusetts and the Supreme Court. Let us carry on, and let us do so in a positive way.

Happy New Year to ALL!


PS Carol Shea Porter let us know that in the ladies restroom in the Capitol, used by both parties, the women often roll their eyes at each other, knowing full well how much could be accomplished if they had fewer men and more women in office. Pete applauded with me! Let’s work on this as well. We have women to elect!

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Support Obama at Nashua North – Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010

Organizing for America, a democratic national committee organization, would like for as many people as possible to go to Nashua High School North anytime between 10:00 and 2:00 pm to show New Hampshire’s support for Obama. If you have positive, supportive signs, please bring them. Organizing for American will have some to give out as well. The group will be standing just outside of the driveway that goes into the school. Only people with tickets to see Obama will be allowed up the driveway. Let’s all of use show our support! any questions, please e-mail Dave O’Connor. His e-mail address is as follows: o’

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“No Impact Man” – Sunday, December 6, 2009

WHAT: “No Impact Man” Screenings and Film Discussion

WHEN: Sunday, December 6th
1:30pm – 1st Showing
3:00 – Discussion
4:00 – 2nd Showing

WHERE: (the NEW) Amherst Yoga Studio (behind Walmart – call for directions)
10 Northern Blvd., Suite 15, Amherst, New Hampshire

Learn how you can simplify your life while helping the planet and discuss living simply with your friends, family, and neighbors.

Please call to reserve a spot as there is limited seating: 603 673-7661

Amherst, NH – With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season upon us, it is a great time to think of ways to simplify our lives. Amherst Yoga Studio would like to help Granite Staters find ways to do just that while helping the planet, too. The studio will host two showings of “No Impact Man,” a documentary of a New York man who decides to completely eliminate his personal impact on the environment for one year, on Sunday, December 6th.

“Amherst Yoga is thrilled to host this event to bring a new sense of awareness of how we all can simplify our lives at this hectic time of year,” said Ginny Jackson, of Amherst Yoga. “We hope to share ideas during a short discussion and we’ll l have a lovely basket filled with ‘earth-friendly’ products from Earthward, as well as the ‘No Impact Man’ book, to be raffled away,” she said.

Join others from the Souhegan Valley and beyond to watch and discuss the film and its theme of simplifying our lives. The first showing is at 1:30pm and will be followed by a discussion at 3:00pm. The second showing will be at 4:00pm, and attendees of both showings are invited to the community discussion. The cost is $5 per person, which will cover entrance to the showing and one chance for the raffle.

The showings are part of a larger campaign to increase awareness of sustainability and community health issues in the Souhegan Valley. Members of the campaign include members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Milford and the Granite State Organizing Project.

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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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Message from Nan Stearns

Dear Members of WMD – Women Making a Difference,

Yesterday I had a meeting of our book-selection committee here at home, so it was perfect to take a day to do something else and to think of other things – – and to reflect on the events of this past weekend.  So many of you attended one or both of the two “happenings”, and this morning it was your faces that awakened me.  It was your voices that made my heart happy; it was you who have made the mischief we’ve made so worthwhile.  As always happens, when I try to list people, someone is left out.  So please try to understand that I simply want to thank you for coming on Saturday and/or on Sunday.  If you were not able to attend an event, you might want to know a little of what happened.
On Saturday morning, it rained.  As Gail said on Sunday, we should have traded days.  The gorgeous day that dawned on Sunday was much more conducive to marching around the Oval in support of 350 Day.  But, that rainy morning did not dampen the spirits of the wonderful group that filled the sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Milford.  Young and old spoke out, sang out and rapped in honor of our support for this planet and the difficult work ahead in trying to reduce carbon emissions to 350 parts per million.  After the inter-faith service, many of us donned our rain gear and started for the Oval, but then the rains really came and we had to turn back to the church.  There, a warm and wonderful autumn soup awaited us, complemented by local greens and delicious desserts.  It was a perfect time for many conversations with those who have worked on the climate issue.  Tables of information gave us an opportunity to learn more about ways to help.  Gail Denemark gave a lovely welcome to all participants and read a letter from Bill McKibben whose initiative inspired more than 5000350 actions around the world.
Sunday was such a different time, but again we had a great turn out and a completely different subject.  Nancy Iannuzzelli had made all of the arrangements with the Amherst Library and had enlisted her husband’s help in setting up the DVD equipment so that we had no technical glitches.  The public was invited, and there were many gentlemen who came with or without WMD wives.  I was thrilled to see Joan Jones and her husband Nolan, who has recently had a stroke.  Joan let us know that this was Nolan’s first outing; we so hope we didn’t set back his recovery process.  Also, coming in just as we began, was Barbara Stromsted and her husband Erik, whom Pete and I have known forever – – since our daughters were in school together at Applewild in Fitchburg.  Erik has recently had a mass removed from his brain, and though this was not his first outing, we again hope we did not slow his recovery.  Two gentlemen introduced the Documentary, Rethinking Afghanistan, by letting us know it definitely had a point of view and was not “fair and balanced”.  For 45 minutes our crowd of 40 some, perhaps as many as 50, who had filled the basement meeting room, were stilled.  I was sitting just behind Christy Day, and certainly our “body language” was observable.  We were riveted!  We were saddened!  We confirmed to ourselves, and perhaps others, that we ought to be out of Afghanistan.
When discussion began, a gentleman sitting behind me made a comment about our body language and the slant of the film, and we were underway.  Dave let us know, in no uncertain terms, that he had spent lots of time in Afghanistan, that he was returning for the 4th time, and that he knew more about the situation there than any of the rest of us in the room.  This was really the first time, at a WMD event, we have had someone who has deliberatively tried to take over the discussion, dismiss other points of view and burst in at every possible moment.  This is my opinion.
And this is where I must use the term “learning experience”, for I hope it was for me.  I felt it necessary after only a little time , to point out to all that this was an organization of women founded so that women’s voices, often crowded out by “gentlemen’s”, could be heard.  I asked that the “gentlemen” give the women a chance to speak before taking over the discussion.  My sweet husband let Dave know that he, Pete, wanted too to hear from the ladies.  Well, HELP! We wanted to hear from Will, the young man showing the film, who has taken the job of Director of New Hampshire Peace Action.  Will served in Afghanistan and has a very different point of view from Dave’s.  Nancy Iannuzzelli, in her best teacher’s manner, asked Dave a few questions that gave us a little more information about Dave.  What we do not know is if he served four different assignments as a military man, if he works for a contractor, if he drives supply trucks, or if he is in charge of some other responsibility.  My husband suggested that he may be “A Soldier of Fortune”. Needless to say, the Sunday event at the library has heated my under collar.  Nancy Iannuzzelli, an unflappable teacher, was thrilled to have a different point of view and to give us an opportunity to grow from the experience.  She suggests that we monitor opinions only by allowing people a specific amount of time to speak and make sure everyone has an opportunity to weigh in on whatever subject we are discussing. 
I am writing as little as possible, and it is already too long, but it is impossible to keep from venting.  It would be so wonderful to hear from those of you who want to let us know how you reacted.  Too, it has been suggested that we do it again.  We could invite Will again, show the documentary again, and attempt to continue the conversation that was cut off too soon.  Certainly there is no shortage of passion on the subject.
And, one more thing, thanks to those who provided cider and cookies on Sunday.  We all look forward to the next time we make mischief.
Thank you for enduring my tirade.
P.S.  Fondest and warmest thanks to Gail Denemark and the Saturday committee and to Nancy Iannuzzelli and her husband for making each event possible.   Special fond and warm thanks to Christy Day and Betty Hall for their kind words of encouragement and support.  And heartiest thanks to all of you whose beautiful faces I remember in attendance at both functions.
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Souhegan Valley 350 Day, a day of action against climate change


You are invited to the Souhegan Valley 350 Day, a day of action against climate change. 

This is an invitation to build a movement—to take one day and use it to stop the climate crisis. is a group of people from around the planet—young and old, scientists and writers and activists—who have one thing in common. We know the most important number on earth: 350. And we know how to use that number to finally get global action on the worst crisis humans have ever faced. But we can only do it with your help.

A year ago, our greatest climatologist—NASA’s James Hansen—and his team produced a landmark series of studies. They showed that if we let the amount of carbon in the atmosphere top 350 parts per million, we can’t have a planet “similar to the one on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted.”

The bad news is we’re already past that number—we’re at 390 parts per million, which is why the Arctic is melting, why drought is spreading across the planet, why people are already dying from diseases like dengue fever and malaria occurring in places where they’ve never been seen before.

The good news: that number gives us a target to aim for. When the world’s leaders meet in Copenhagen in December to reach agreement on a new climate treaty, we need them to go farther than they’ve planned to go: we need to make sure they’ll pay attention to the latest science and put forward a plan that gets us back to safety.

So here’s the plan. On October 24, join us in Milford, NH, to celebrate 350 Day.  People in more than 1750 communities around the globe have already announced plans—they’ll be school children planting 350 trees in Bangladesh, scientists hanging banners saying 350 on the statues on Easter Island, 350 scuba divers diving underwater at the Great Barrier Reef, and a thousand more creative actions like these. 

So far more than 140 nations are taking part—it’s shaping up to be to be the biggest day of grassroots action on global warming ever.  Don’t miss out on this international day of action!

Join us on Saturday, October 24th, from 10:00am to 1:00pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Milford to celebrate the Souhegan Valley’s 350 Day! 

WHAT:  Souhegan Valley 350 Day – multi-faith service,  with clergy & congregations from area churches/temples, music provided by local musicians, singing, a procession, information tables, children’s activities, a community harvest lunch.  The entire community is encouraged to join in – church/temple goers and non.

WHEN:  Saturday, October 24th, 2009    10:00am – 1:00pm

WHERE:  Unitarian Universalist Church of Milford, 20 Elm Street, Milford, NH

WHY:  To learn about climate change and sustainable living, to celebrate community and enjoy local food, and to take action to stop climate change

            For more information, please contact the Unitarian Universalist Church of Milford at (603) 673-1870, x5.

Please forward this to friends and family and encourage them to join us!

If you play an instrument or sing, and would like to play in our community rendition of the 350 Anthem* contact Gail for details.  (* Click here to listen to English audiofile and here for Download the lyrics and chords)  

If you would like to volunteer to help us get this off the ground, let me know as well! 

 Look forward to seeing you on the 24! Gail Denemark  672-1747

Posted in Events, Global Warming. Comments Off on Souhegan Valley 350 Day, a day of action against climate change

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.

Posted in WMD Meetings/Events. Comments Off on View Film “Rethink Afghanastan”

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

Posted in WMD Meetings/Events. Comments Off on WMD 2009/2010 Kickoff Meeting

WMD Update from Nan Stearns

Dear WMD – Women Making a Difference,

Your summer was lovely, we hope.  Yes, there was a little too much rain, but the last few weeks have been so lovely that we’ve forgotten all about that.  And remember what a beautiful day we had on the 4th of July – – and on Labor Day.  I should have gotten off a report on the former and a regret on the latter, but the days have evaporated and it has been easy to be lazy.  Today is the last day of summer, so it seems a perfect time to send a word of greeting and a wee report.

Back to the 4th of July, we had just a small turnout for the parade.  Nancy Iannuzzelli once again provided her automobile and husband,  so some rode and the others marched.  Judy Gilliland, Elise DeMichael, Barbara Smith and Nancy I made a small statement with our banner and signs made by Mary Ann Conaway.  Gail Denemark and One Sky came right behind us with environmental signs.    Carolyn Coleman joined us in the car.  But there were many a WMD member in the area – – making a difference in a different way.  Carol Mannarino again took care of our table, greeting friends and signing up a few new members.  After leaving the parade, I ran immediately into Vanessa Foley and her activist daughter, who is really up on the issues.  We decided together that it might be a good idea to march next year with our daughters.  Food for thought.  Katey Hoose was on the green in her capacity of band member, and we had a good visit catching up on her family.  Ruth Heden and Lee Kass were gathering signatures for a Health-Care Reform petition.  Shannon Chandley and Debora Pignatelli marched with the “dignataries” in their roles of representative and member of executive council.  Laurie Biggers was also on the green with her husband, and she has recently made a difference in our lives with her counsel and advice as Pete and I chose colors for our fairly new condo.  You know full well I have already forgotten some, but thanks to all who participated in one way or the other when Amherst celebrated the nation’s birthday.

Ruth Heden has organized a “visibility” on the Milford Oval – – honk for health care – – which will continue through September.  Join Ruth and other hearty activists on Thursday evenings from 5:00 to 6:00.  You will be rewarded by many thumbs up and a symphony of horn honking.  You will be glad you came!

The Kitchen Cabinet recently met to talk about the coming year, and I would like to introduce these ladies to you should you not be aware of them.  Judy Gilliland is our great communicator, but Jeanne Ludt had the job earlier and is back again when Judy is away.  Susan Fischer, our web master, has reactivated our web site and has helped Judy and Jeanne coordinate our email list.  Susan offered her services; she is a wizard and knows what she is doing.  If all goes well we may become more organized and less dysfunctional.  Nancy Iannuzzelli will continue to be our parade person, though we decided to not join the Milford March on Labor Day.  Nancy also brings much expertise on environmental issues.  I promised not to call Gail Denemark our green elf ever again, but guess she will always be that to me.  Gail has worked so hard to get all of us going, and we can only hope she will continue to work on us in the future.  Barbara Smith, whom you may have seen tooting around on her motorized machine (scooter?) is involved in many causes to include keeping the Chair of the Amherst Democrats in top form.  Kathy Boyer continues to make great strides in her Dept. of Peace movement . She also alerted us to some important pending legislation called the “Youth Promise Act” to address the growing problems associated with juvenile delinquency. Our newest KC member, together with Susan Fischer, is Liz Morgan who is very involved with the arts.  We welcome her input.  Betty Hall is our sometimes advisor, and our never-ending inspiration.  

WMD has been making mischief since February of 2005, and it seems to be our intention to carry on.  Please join us when you can, send your emails when you are inspired, and continue to make a difference wherever you are and whatever to choose to do.  

I send best wishes for joy, peace, love, justice and all good things.


“Who Is Barack Obama?” Presentation by Richard Wolffe

When:  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 7 pm

Where:  St. Anselm’s College, Manchester, NH; New Hampshire Institute of Politics Auditorium

Richard Wolffe traveled for 18 months with Obama for Newsweek and wrote a best seller about it entitled Renagade.

Troubled Alaska health programs face federal restriction

IN-HOME CARE: Lawsuits, huge case backlog prompt  moratorium on applications.


Published: July 14th, 2009 10:11 PM

State programs intended to help disabled and elderly Alaskans with daily life — taking a bath, eating dinner, getting to the bathroom — are so poorly managed, the state cannot assure the health and well-being of the people they are supposed to serve, a new federal review found.

The situation is so bad the federal government has forbidden the state to sign up new people until the state makes necessary improvements. 
No other state in the nation is under such a moratorium, according to a spokeswoman for the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

In the meantime, frail and vulnerable Alaskans who desperately need the help are struggling. One elderly woman is stuck in a nursing home, for lack of care at home. Another woman, suffering from chronic pain and fatigue, said she’s so weak, she often can’t even pop dinner into the microwave. 

The moratorium is expected to last four or five months. State officials estimate about 1,000 Alaskans will be affected. 
A particularly alarming finding concerns deaths of adults in the programs. In one 2 1/2 year stretch, 227 adults already getting services died while waiting for a nurse to reassess their needs. Another 27 died waiting for their initial assessment, to see if they qualified for help….