Making a joyful sound

Music gives voice to students with disabilities

By Casey Farrar
Sentinel Staff
Published December 14, 2009
Inside a third-floor office above Keene’s Central Square Sunday morning a group of students made music.

The rattle of maracas, thumping of drums and jangle of bells on a tambourine blended with laughs, shouts, claps and the sound of an orchestra pouring from a stereo.

For more than an hour, the music swelled and ebbed, switching from upbeat rhythms to soothing lullabies.

As they played, the students didn’t communicate with words, but a grin, clap or the squeeze of the hand said more than any sentence ever could — they were happy. Continue reading

A new landscape for foresters, landowners

By Casey Farrar
Sentinel Staff
Published Friday, December 11, 2009
JAFFREY — Loss is part of nature’s cycle.

But the damage natural disasters, such as last winter’s ice storm, do to forests is often one of the most strikingly visible reminders that part of the cycle means losing something familiar and beloved.

The silver lining, however, is that nature’s loss always brings gain — such as the creation of new habitats for animals and a stronger ecosystem, according to Steven S. Roberge, the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension’s Cheshire County forester.

Roberge, who works with landowners to promote responsible forest and natural resource management and conservation, has gone out about once a week since last winter’s storm, visiting lots in some of the most heavily damaged areas, such as Fitzwilliam, Jaffrey, Rindge and Troy. Continue reading

Ice storm one year later: Riding out the storm

Compassion, generosity marked region

By Casey Farrar
Sentinel Staff
Published Wednesday, December 09, 2009
For many residents of the Monadnock Region, the sounds of crackling ice and trees crashing through the pitch-black night were the first indication of last December’s ice storm.

The storm swept through the night of Dec. 11, and as the morning light spread over the landscape, residents were greeted by Mother Nature’s combination of delicate, crystalline beauty and massive damage.

Homes in a broad swath of the region were without power — some people wouldn’t be able to switch on the lights for more than two weeks.

Emergency shelters opened for residents without heat, an army of utility workers from near and far rolled in and National Guard members joined local emergency crews and residents in clearing the thousands of downed trees.

A year later, The Sentinel has caught up with a few of the people featured in stories about the aftermath to find out how they fared and whether they’re doing anything different this winter. Continue reading