Pops, crackles and whistles

Robot’ battles light up a Marlow farm

By Casey Farrar
Sentinel Staff
Published: Sunday, October 19, 2008
MARLOW — From the cloud of smoke emerged two gleaming robots — dented, dinged and singed in spots from the firestorm of shots they’d just bombarded each other with.
“When I was a kid there were lots of shows on TV about giant, futuristic robots fighting each other,” Willey said. “I was shocked when I found out, at 30-something, that they still hadn’t come up with giant robots that could fight in real life. So I started this competition.”
The robots are suits of armor fashioned from duct tape-wrapped cardboard, silver insulation, sheet metal and other fire-proof materials.
Contestants — called pilots — dress in armor, under which they wear fire-retardant protective suits used by military pilots, and face off in a 20 foot by 80 foot rectangle.

Each battle consists of two rounds. In the long-range round, pilots are separated by the full 80-foot course, and in the medium-range round they fire at each other from 10 feet apart.

Whoever hits his or her opponent the most times moves on through a single-elimination bracket, working up to the final. Continue reading


75 years ago, things were far worse

Published Oct. 4, 2008 in the Keene Sentinel
Sentinel Staff
The scene paints a haunting picture of a failed financial system — a young boy standing with his father in a Fitchburg, Mass., soup line among scores of hungry people.

During the years that followed, her family, like thousands of others across the country still reeling from the loss of security felt during the Roaring Twenties, struggled to get by. Continue reading

Workers, housing, charity

A local look at the ailing economy

Published Oct. 4, 2008 in the Keene Sentinel
Sentinel Staff
In Dublin, welfare administrator Kathy M. Merrick says, “… We’ve been bracing ourselves.”

In the local real-estate market, Keene property appraiser Robert F. Irwin says, “People are not buying.”
Richard H. Thackston 3rd, president of Keene-based Century 21 Thackston & Co., recently wrote in a weekly newspaper advertisement that this is an “extra-ordinarily good time to buy or sell a home” for people who want to live and raise families in the region.
And as the nation faces hard economic times, he cited Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famed Depression-era speech: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
But 75 years after Roosevelt spoke those words, 65-year-old Peterborough resident Richard M. Monahon Jr. says he’s “gone into total panic mode.”

Here’s a glimpse at how some of the region’s many residents are faring: Continue reading