Welcome to my attempt at keeping the masses up to date

Please note: my blog is full of my thoughts, opinions (which are not always "right"), random things relating to my family and friends and the occasional Cut and Paste news.... whatever is important to me. I ramble on from time to time (that's the St. Sauveur in me) and at the end of whatever I wrote you may question what on earth I was thinking or it may not even make sense to you.....sorry....I warned you. You may not always like what you read (I do have an insane case of "Potty Mouth" which I try to hide on here, but it won't always happen) or what you see, but we all have our own opinions on things. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments. I do ask that you please leave your name so I know who I'm responding to. If you want to email me privately you may do so at Thanks

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The best place on earth

It was punk day for miss Taylor...she finally has some hair...I felt the need to show it by putting it in a mohawk

The girls and I went to Shriners Hospital yesterday to get Taylor's new arm. Every time I go there I love it more and more. We got there ridiculously early but it never really matters, there's so many people to see and talk to and wonderful things to look at and things to do. Ashtyn and I had a quick lunch outside since Taylor was sleeping when we pulled in and then I grabbed the gigantic trash bag of soda tabs

(this is only a portion of what I brought in....and yes that is a 5 gallon bucket... Many thanks to the Ladies Auxiliary in Charlestown.....we love you)

and Taylor and in we went. We weren't even there 5 minutes and Ashtyn was ready to live there forever. Her big thrill for the day was getting to see Sulley (from Monsters, Inc)....well that "big" adventure was tossed out to see Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird, Sylvester and Pepere LePew who were visiting Shriners Hospital from Six Flags. Tweety was in love with Taylor, Ashtyn was in love with all of them, and Taylor was kind of like, why are these "little" animals bigger than me?

I thought Ashtyn might have a break down when the characters left but luckily there were some volunteers with a playdough station set up....crisis avoided...yay. Someone didn't show for their appointment, so we had ours early.... We got her new arm and then Rob (her prosthetist) showed me how to change the hand.....6 months of having this thing, I would have thought I would have figured that one out on my own....duh.... so she has 2 hands or her prosthetic now.... the new one is a bit larger than the old one and her real hand...its Ashtyn's size...or maybe a little bigger...but its the only size they make that hand in...she'll grow into it. And I know Kristy (her therapist) will work her magic teaching skill wand and Taylor will be a pro at using it and picking things up with it in no time. After our visit in O&P we went out to the lobby area and hung out there for at least an hour. Seriously this place is just awesome. I know I'm a pretty boring individual, but SHC rocks! We hung out with the receptionists and Ashtyn and Taylor played with the ball machine thingy.... and a Shriner from Pyramid Shrine in CT, Robert "Bob" Harriman and his wonderful wife..... I'm so sorry I forgot your name..... they played with the kids and spoke with me... it was a wonderful time. Bob put his Fez on Taylor, it was so cute. And of cource as usual my pictures are super limited.....I need to drag someone with me on visits just to take pictures for me. The publicity crew did take a bunch of pics of me and the girls with the characters and when I get the email, I post those pics too.

Bob and Taylor

The ball machine thingy....and Ashtyn's favorite seat

A good sign :)

It was a great time and a great day...even with the over tiredness..... I'll post some pics of Taylor's new arm today hopefully...she wasn't very interested in any more photos being taken last night.

These are the pics they took of us...

Can't tell I'm embarrased....

Monday, July 27, 2009

Busy, busy, busy....As always

Last Wednesday we went to the petting zoo again and went blueberry picking since the strawberries are done. Jessi and her kids joined us as did Amie and her son. As usual, the kids ate more berries than they picked. But they all had a blast with the animals again. This time they all managed to find peacock feathers on the ground so they got some souvenirs. We had a little PB&J picnic there too which was nice. Thursday morning I drove out to Springfield to pick up the new-to-us brush hog Sue bought for the tractor. I wish I took before pics of it..... bright red, a hint of surface rust, but in all around good shape. Saturday the thing kicked my butt. I grinded and sanded and painted and now my arms feel like they're going to fall off. It now has not even a speck of rust and is Kubota orange (to match the tractor...and the backhoe)...who says you can't be a hick and fashionable at the same time. Then on Sunday....Jeremy, the kids and I made the 2 1/2 hour trek up to Winnipesaukee and surprised my Mom, Dave, Ryan and Julie for Julie's birthday. We surprised everyone else that showed up too. The last time we were up there was 387 days ago...(July 4, 2008)...this was Taylor's first trip to Alton. We all had a great time. Ashtyn had a tea party with Grand Ma Ma and Papa...which no one else was allowed to join in.... And both kids just loved every ounce of never ending attention. The ride home they weren't so happy about but...that's expected. Tomorrow, its going to be almost 90 degrees out and SUNNY!!!!!!!!!!!! So we are planning a swimming adventure. Scary stuff right white bum in a bathing suit....and in public. Yikes.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The quarter century mark

Happy Birthday to my "baby" sister...... We love you Julie!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

What is wrong with people?!

I'm in a pretty crud mood and since I'm super cool and have nothing to do I have turned to my newest best friends in the blogging world for a dose of cheer-me-up. Well, not so much. I've just recently found out about google's blog search engine ( yes I know I'm slow) and so I typed in "daycare" to see if I could find any ideas of stuff to do with my kids (mine and the "borrowed ones") and this was what popped up:48 babies killed and 2 dozen more severely burned, Daycare Lawsuit filed over 2 year old found in back seat of van, Daycare operator Charged.... this one titled Daycare Disputes kills me. Not the statement of the original source, but the woman who responded to her question...... her kid was taken from the daycare center by some random guy!!!!!!!!!! What the hell?!??!?!? This is why my kids are not in daycare. This is why I stay home, why I take others kids in, even when days like today make me want to throw in the towel. I can't even imagine what that mother is going through. I'd kill. There would not be a chance for sorry. I don't care if the kid was returned safe, I would kill. Flat out. Death. Oh my god! I'm by no means Mother of the Year or Caregiver of the year but I make damn sure the kids are safe. I fear everyday that the estranged parent of one of my kids might show up and want to take him/her...or that some random psycho might show up..... I know that my life would be put on the line for any of the kids.... if my dog doesn't kill them, hopefully I could at least stop them.... I'd at least give it my all. Wow. I'm so saddened by those stories. I wonder all the time if I'm really doing what's best for my girls, staying home with them instead of sending them off to a daycare center with other kids...... I'm probably never going to question myself again. I hope the parents of the kids I watch realize how good they've apparently got it too. If some person shows up at my door asking for a kid, they have to show me ID and be on the kids list of emergency release people. And I'd still call the parent (depending on the circumstance) to ask them and/or chew them out for not letting me know the person was coming. And this one Daycare operator charged um...hello..... why are there not more stay at home parents? And who is licensing these idiots?

Gary Martineau obit

Courtesy of

Gary Leo Martineau, 53 of Hudson, NH, died suddenly on Monday, July 13, 2009 at his home of heart failure.

He was born on July 31, 1956 in Claremont, NH to the late Rudolph and Rita (St. Sauveur) Martineau.

Gary began his career with the Army where he very proudly earned the distinction of SP/5 and a good conduct medal, serving his country twice including a tour in Germany. After serving in the military, Gary's career continued to flourish in companies in Southern, NH including Lockheed Sanders and BAE Systems, installing and maintaining radar and other systems that facilitates the national security that we all enjoy and keeps us all safe.

Gary loved and spent every minute he could outdoors. He spent most of his life kayaking, camping, rock climbing, mountain biking, and hiking. He was an avid whitewater kayaker. He belonged to and was active in many organizations to protect our rivers and streams.

He is survived by his only daughter Anna Martineau of Surprise, AZ; his sister and brother-in-law Diane (Martineau) and Roger Bruce of Enfield, NH; his sister and brother-in-law Lucille (Martineau) and David Proulx of San Jose, CA. He is also survived by several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.

A graveside service will be held Saturday July 25th at eleven O’clock in St. Mary Cemetery with Rev. Donna Leslie pastor of the First Congregational Church of Croydon Flat, officiating.

In his memory, we ask that you take the time to help someone out and live your life to the fullest. Donations can be made to The Nature Conservancy, Attn: Treasury, 4245 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203, USA.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

3 years ago today....

......I woke up and said, "Happy 3 month birthday" to my baby girl, Ashtyn

......Jeremy disapeared shortly after coffee

........I burned a CD of music for the DJ to play

........and then forced my sister and friends who were at my house to listen to it

........My sister started "dolling" me up

.......and I fought back tears as it started to rain

......I drove to my soon-to-be aunt and unlce's house

.......fought back more tears as the rain didn't stop

......put on a beautiful white gown and tried to calm myself

.......realized I forgot to pick flowers for my brides maids

..........and forgot/lost my leg garter thingy

.......argued with everyone about how I was going barefoot

........I was talked into wearing shoes

.....they were sneakers......white, with fake diamonds along the tops (super wedding shoes)

......the music played and I watched my friends start their journey to the field

.....then my song came on and my father had to practically carry me

.......I, shaking the entire way, finally made it to my final location as a "single" person

....I choked and stumbled over whatever it was I said at that archway

.....I know at the end of it I said "I do" and he " I do'd" too

....and we left that arch together

..... to face the crazy crowd of family and friends

.....and forever

......and so far we've managed to not kill each other........

More info and request for stories and tributes for Gary Martineau's funeral service

Hello Dear Family and Friends,

The Minister officiating at Gary's Memorial Serive has requested that we send her any stories and or tributes we'd like to tell, good, positive, and funny ones, I hope. Even if you cannot attend, if there is a memory of Gary you'd like to share, please send it along to the address below. If you know of persons who will not be in attendance (especially our more elderly relatives or those who live far away) but would like to share a memory, if you would please gather and send the information for them, I'd greatly appreciate it.

The Minister is:
the Reverend Leslie, Pastor
The First Congregational Church of Croydon
email address is:
phone number is (Email me for it)

Also, if you have photos you'd like to bring along to share, we will have a place to put those for everyone to see.

Yesterday, as we sat with Anna, Gary's daughter, it seemed like the more we talked about funny, silly things we'd done as kids, the more memories came up--some of them I'm surprised that our parents didn't spank our bottoms off for doing; but then, we were just kids back then. Nearly all the memories I have of Gary have one or more of you in them: the visits to Canada, Merrimack, Nashua, Manchester, the big family dinners at Memere & Pepere's house or at your mom and dads' houses, and the wonderful days spend at the beach with a BBQ and picnic. I can still see him loading up his "Stingray" bike with fishing basket and pole and heading up to Red Water Brook in hopes of landing a nice Trout, or scooting around in Uncle Normand's driveway with Alan on Alan's little dirt bike, or making a snow fort in the back yard. Ah . . . a life taken too soon, for sure.

The Reception/Gathering after the Memorial Service will be held at Ramuntos, 71 Broad St., Claremont, following the service. The web site is: You and your family are cordially invited to join us there. If you have not already done so, please RSVP to me ( if you plan to attend.

Cousin Lucy (Martineu) Proulx

Monday, July 20, 2009

Gary Martineau funeral service

I got this email from my cousin Lucy..... I thought I should share it......

Hello family and friends,

I wanted you to know that there will be a graveside Memorial Service for my brother, your cousin/friend Gary Martineau this coming Saturday, July 25, at 11 am, at our mother's gravesite in St. Mary's Cemetery in Claremont, NH. I would greatly appreciate it if you could let your remaining parents and our elder relatives who do not have email know what's going on so that they may attend if they'd like to, especially Aunt Giselle, Aunt Claire, Aunt Rena and Uncle Roland, Uncle Normand, Aunt Irene and Uncle Leon. I'll get hold of our step-family. Also, if any of you know how to get hold of some of his high school/Claremont buddies like the Fluette and Rousseau boys I'd appreciate it if you'd pass the information along.

I would like to invite all of you and your family to an informal luncheon reception to follow the Memorial Service. I will be sending out another announcement as to where we will be holding that or have that information for you at the service, as I don't know where we will be holding the reception at the moment. I am working with Gary's daughter Anna and some of our Claremont cousins to work out those details.

If you think you will be able to attend the reception, could you please RSVP to me either by email or phone (***** email me for her phone number****) so that we can get a "head count" for the facility?

I believe the Obituary has been placed in the "Manchester Union Leader" and the "Valley News" and is probably posted today. He died at his home in Hudson, NH, last Monday of heart failure. The Obit that's in the newspapers is probably very short because of newspaper requirements--if you'd like more information as to who's where, let me know and I'll try my best to provide that to you.

If you would like to send a card or condolensces to Gary's daughter, she is:

Ms. Anna Martineau
13914 W. Mauna Loa Lane
Surprize, AZ 85379
cell: (*****email for this too)

Also, if you would like to make a donation in his memory or honor, please call The Nature Conservancy Member Care team at (800) 628-6860. Please be prepared to provide the names and addresses for anyone you'd like to be notified about your gift, as well as the name of the person being honored. Or, you can donate on-line at:

Thank you.
Cousin Lucy (Martineau) Proulx

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Eagle's replacement???

If you live in my area and are like probably miss the one newspaper we had...... here is the Eagle's replacement .........

So the last 10 days flew right by......

Friday the 10th, was the beginning of it all..... I got the go-ahead from all my kids' parents to take the kiddo's strawberry picking and to the petting zoo (both are conveniently located at the same place). Jessi, Maebel and Charlie were originally going to be joining us but at the last minute Jessi got an invite to the ocean, so we got ditched..... I do not blame her one bit.... I would have ditched to go to the ocean too. Especially since her "invitor" was doing all the driving......So I packed up the 5 kids and myself and off we went for a day of animals and berries. I have never seen these kids have so much fun as they did that day at Wellwood. Oodles of fun, oodles of poop on shoes ( thank goodness I asked the parents for 2 sets of shoes) and oodles of berries in their tummies. A full day of fun for about 6 bucks for the 7 of us. You almost can't beat that.

Once 5:15 pm came around and my last "borrowed" child went home, Jeremy and I along with Ashtyn and Taylor made our 2 1/2 hour trek up to Brownington for 9 days of just us and nature. (and a little bit of tv thanks to the generator). We got there around 9-9:30 (we had to stop for gas and pee breaks etc), unpacked and went to bed. The next day was the annual pig roast (which turned out to be not a pig roast this year....we had beef instead.... I pigged out on the chili I made and the huge fruit salad someone else had brought) over at the Glodgett's. As usual the food was awesome and the fireworks were great. Ashtyn and Taylor both had a blast. Ashtyn fell in love with a little boy named Thomas and Taylor was infatuated with Joe and Rita's little girl.... I forgot her name again....sorry...... And everyone there was awesome. They are all really great at involving the kids in practically everything. The fireworks ended around 10 and at that point it was definitely time for the kiddos to be in bed so we went back to camp. Jeremy and the other guys decided it wasn't their bed times yet so they went out with the ATVs or whatever they had to ride on. I went to bed with the girls and woke up around 4am to : "just so you know when you get up, my atv's done for the summer" WTF? He is ok and all is fine, but his atv.......definitely out of commission for at least most of the remainder of 2009. Apparently he stood it up on a crazy steep hill and instead of it finishing its ascent up the hill, it decided to fall on its face and roll down the hill. Lucky for my death defying mad man of a husband he is really (sadly) good at ditching the crash and so he ditched and only has a little bruise on him (a big one on his ego) and a huge one on the atv. That day the kids and I went to the park and let Jeremy sleep off his anger about crashing. The rest of the week was less exciting. A lot of clearing "our" land (hopefully it will be ours) and burning brush. We did see tons of wild life, which is the norm up there, but it was better than usual this time. We saw 2 moose, together, just 2 fields down from our cow path (road), a ton of Mommy dears and babies, huge wild rabbits, and tons of random enormous birds that were enjoying something very near by the camp.... there was a sad animal story on the adventure home Sunday morning.... someone was driving south, like us, an apparently their hatch opened up on their car which spilled out a bunch of clothing.... and the family dog.....right onto 91. Needless to say the dog didn't survive the tuck and roll............ Thursday night Ron and Sue showed up. I swear they came up only to scare the life out of me and have a good laugh about it. Ron got this huge GIGANTIC black spider that was at his work and stuck in in the shower. Everyone had a good ha raw about it.....except for Ashtyn. I had to pet the thing to prove to her it was fake. Friday we dubbed around Newport and Derby. Saturday we went to the circus at IROC..... and we decided to not bother once we got there. Instead Ashtyn got a pony ride, cotton candy and some bouncy house action. Then we peeked around inside IROC and then went to the GoKart place down the road for a 3 generation race between Grandpa, Daddy and Ashtyn. Then some lunch and fun at the huge play area at McDonald's. After a full day of running around we went back to camp for our last night of no-extra-kids and packed our stuff. Then unfortunately today arrived and we had to depart. So we drove home, unpacked, made my phone calls, checked my 254 emails!!!!!! and now here I am.

.....oh yeah....and it rained......a lot. and hailed and rained and tsunami and blah. Mother nature doesn't like me. Its only when I have plans in July it rains.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Eagle-Times, 2 other papers close doors

Snagged from

Publisher to declare bankruptcy today

By Susan Smallheer Staff Writer - Published: July 10, 2009
CLAREMONT, N.H. — As one staffer put it, the Eagle ran out of Time Thursday.The Eagle-Times, a daily newspaper that served the city of Claremont and communities on both sides of the Connecticut River, published its last edition today.Harvey Hill, publisher and owner of the paper, told employees Thursday afternoon that he would file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy today. Employees were told to turn in their keys at the end of their shift Thursday."We did our best to continue the operations, but the economy and the changes in the newspaper industry have made it impossible to continue this business. Thank you for your support over the years and the dedication you showed to his newspaper," he wrote in a staffwide e-mail."It's the paradigm shift," said one staffer, referring to the changes affecting the newspaper industry in New England and beyond, from the troubles at the Boston Globe to small-town Claremont."I'm saddened; it's awful close to home," said John Mitchell, president and publisher of the Rutland Herald, which competed head-to-head with the Eagle in many Vermont towns. "I thought smaller papers were doing OK for the most part."Eric Francis of White River Junction, who wrote for The Spectator and the Eagle-Times as a freelancer for several years, said the staff worked to get the final edition completed Thursday afternoon.He said that the closing shocked everyone. "Harvey said it was just economics," Francis said, noting the past year or so had been "rocky," with the papers experiencing a high turnover rate in editors.Staffers said the closing affects not just the Eagle-Times, but Hill's other publications including The Message, a shopper based in Chester, Vt., and the Connecticut Valley Spectator of Lebanon, N.H., both weekly publications. Hill bought the popular Message a few years ago, and started the Spectator in 2002.The news shocked not just the employees, but people who got their daily dose of hometown news and sports from the 7,800-circulation paper. On Thursday, the front page included news about the rebuilding of Aumand's, a furniture store in Walpole, N.H., which burned a year ago, and a story about how Josh the camel from Lempster, N.H., had made the record books being the first camel to make it up Mount Washington in the White Mountains."Holy smokes," said former state Sen. Edgar May of Springfield, who was the subject of a Sunday magazine feature earlier in the week."I have a special affection for American journalism for obvious reasons for having worked in it for many years," said May, who won a Pulitzer Prize for journalism in the 1960s. "It's a very sad time when any newspaper dies because a newspaper has been the centerpiece of changing public policy and improving the lives of so many people," he said."The closing of a newspaper means a little piece of democracy has died," he said. "There are some very important issues that have required skilled, intensive reporting that only newspapers can do."May's comments were typical of people contacted late Thursday, as news of the papers' closure became public.Hill, in an e-mail to employees, said he and his wife Christina could no longer afford subsidizing the paper. Hill bought the Eagle-Times about 15 years ago after a successful career in the paper manufacturing business.Hill said he and his wife had paid for the employees' health insurance through the end of July, and that employees would get their final paycheck, plus vacation pay, next week.He attributed the papers' closing to the economic crisis, as well as the widespread problems in the newspaper industry."It's very sad," said Bob Flint, executive director of the Springfield Regional Development Corp., who had worked with Hill on a variety of projects over the years."On a lot of levels, I appreciate what Harvey and Christina have done. But I know it's been a struggle. The closing will leave a huge void in this region," Flint said.The Eagle-Times was created in the 1960s with the merger of two newspapers: the Claremont Eagle and the Times-Reporter, which was based in Springfield. For years, the paper operated out of an office in downtown Claremont on Sullivan Street, but eventually it built a new plant on the outskirts of the city on River Street – with a wonderful view of Vermont.Matt DeRienzo, now the publisher of the Torrington (Conn.) Register, started at the Eagle in 1999 as a reporter and left in 2003 as managing editor."I think that Harvey and Christina have sunk so much of their personal money and time into the papers, they are not in it for the money. They cared about the community," DeRienzo said.DeRienzo said Hill, a native son of Charlestown, N.H., grew up on a farm just down the road from the paper's location on River Road. He returned to the area after a career in paper manufacturing, got bored with retirement and bought his hometown paper.But in a perfect indication of how news spreads in the 21st century, DeRienzo said he didn't hear about the closing of the Eagle from the Associated Press news wire, or a telephone call from Hill or fellow staffers, or even an e-mail, but from the social networking site Facebook.A friend, a former staffer of the Spectator, now a freelancer in New Hampshire, posted news of the paper's closing on her Facebook page, he

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Another wonderful visit to Shriners Hospital in Springfield

Little miss Taylor has grown out of her arm so Auntie Lisa came down to play with Ashtyn for the day while Taylor and I went to Shriners to see Dr. Wenner and then visit Rob in O&P to get fitted for her new arm. We also dropped off the donations everyone collected for our SHrINE ON SPRINGFIELD fundraiser. They took a few pics (which you can see I did not...unfortunately) but it was a good time and everyone there just loves Taylor. I think we spent an hour just sitting in the middle of the walk way in the lobby with everyone googling over her. It was awesome to see grown men crawling around on the floor with her and replying to her growls with their own rendition. I just love that place so much. Every time I go I love it more. I can't imagine Taylor not being a patient there. It would break my heart to have to go somewhere else. As you'll see below, I'm not the only one who feels this way either. The first two pics are signatures of a petition to keep Springfield's facility open..... I have no idea how many names are on each piece of paper but as you can tell it spans two full walls.

This last pic is just a small taste of the letters received. They are from all sorts of people, families of patients, patients themselves, school children, friends of patients, professionals, Thank you notes, cards of concern, everything. All people who stand behind this wonderful hospital whether they're patients or not. Its a true testament of how much we love and appreciate everything that Springfield has done. To everyone at Springfield....Thank you.

Little miss Mayhem and I will be going back in a few weeks to get her new arm and visit with everyone again..... I can't wait... her new one is "antique-ie dots" and it has a spring loaded'll see soon.

“The underlying message is that we’ve won a victory but could lose the war,”

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Springfield's Shriners Hospital To Remain Open

Delegates vote to keep all Shriners hospitals open

Last updated July 6, 2009 8:06 p.m. PT

Monday, July 6, 2009

Shriners hospitals to remain open

This had better be real!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Article #1:

Six Shriners Hospitals – including Spokane – to remain open
Filed Under (Business, Health, National, News, Washington) by Jason Ford on 06-07-2009 The Shriners Hospital in Spokane will remain open.

The Shriners national board meeting in San Antonio this week, has voted down a proposal to close six Shriners hospitals, including Spokane’s.

The six hospitals faced closure because an endowment that provides money to operate the 22-hospital system has shrunk, from $8.5 bilion to $5 billion.

Delegates will allow the six hospitals to explore partnerships with state-run or for-profit hospitals and other ways to cut costs, including billing insurers and Medicaid for the first time, and calling for budget cuts of 6 to 7 percent across the hospital system.

Other hospitals saved from closure are in Galveston, Tx., Shreveport, La., Greenville, S.C., Erie, Pa., and Springfield, Mass.

The Shriners hospitals in the United States provide free medical care to 125,000 children each year who suffer ailments ranging from clubbed feet to severe burns.

The 170 employees at the Spokane hospital handle 8,500 patient visits a year, and closing the facility would have forced children and their families to travel to Portland or Salt Lake City for care. (Shreveport Times, Spokesman Review, AP)

copied from

Article #2

snagged from

July 6, 2009 in City
Spokane Shriners Hospital expected to stay open
John Stucke

Tags: Shriner’s Hospital
The Shriners Hospital for Children in Spokane has been given a reprieve and will likely stay open .

Delegates to the charity’s annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas, voted Monday to withdraw an agenda item that would close six of the 22 hospitals.

There are few storylines as compelling as healing crippled children, and Shriners from around the country were not ready to bow to recessionary pressures and close hospitals that have spent decades helping children.

The issue could be revisited later this week, but local Shriners indicated last week that there was support for other scenarios, including billing insurers.

Local Shriners spokeswoman Sally Mildren said the Spokane hospital will hasten more intensive talks with Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center regarding possible collaborations.

Shriners weigh hospitals' fate

copied from

Monday, July 06, 2009

Born without lower legs, Gina M. Gilday became a patient at Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield when she was just 2 weeks old.

The hospital provided her free prosthetic legs year after year as she grew; when she turned 16, the hospital staff directed her to a specialized driving school that could teach her how to oper ate a car with hand controls, therapists taught her day-to-day skills and, most important, they taught her parents she could grow up to be a strong, independent woman.

"Everything in my life comes down to that place," said Gilday, an Elms College senior from Hampden. "To think other children will not get the same opportunity is terrible."

The fate of the Springfield hospital and five others across the country is in the hands this week of the about 1,300 trustees for the Shriners corporation. The group begins meeting today in San Antonio, Texas, to discuss how to deal with a financial crisis that could lead the entire organization to bankruptcy in five to seven years. A two-thirds vote of the membership will be required to close any of the hospitals.

The organization, which never charges families or their insurance, operates through interest from an endowment fund. The stock market crisis decimated the fund, dropping it from $8 billion to $5 billion, and forced the hospitals to have to tap into the principal to help pay day-to-day expenses.

The separate Melha Shrine fraternity, which has nearly 200 groups across the country, including one in Springfield, works as the main fund-raisers for the hospitals.

One proposal to save money is to close the five orthopedic hospitals in Springfield, Greenville, S.C., Spokane, Wash., Shreveport, La., and Erie, Pa. Trustees will also decide if they should repair a burn hospital in Galveston, Texas, which has been closed for more than a year after being damaged by a hurricane.

"I think it is probably the most historic convention we will have," said Allen G. Zippin, of Longmeadow, a past chairman and current member of the Springfield hospital's board of governors and one of the voting trustees.

Since the announcement was made about the possibility of the Springfield Shriners Hospital closing, people throughout New England joined Western Massachusetts residents in efforts to save the hospital. They wrote letters, sent e-mails, signed petitions and held a massive rally across the street from the Carew Street hospital.

Zippin said he is hoping the closing of hospitals does not even come to a vote at the annual convention; if it happens, a vote is likely either Tuesday or Wednesday.

"We are feeling a little more optimistic than we were a few months ago because there are a lot of interesting proposals out there," he said.

One is to form a commission to examine the entire organization and scrutinize the financial outlook of all 22 Shriners hospitals. That commission would then submit a report with recommendations on how to turn around financial problems, Zippin said.

Even if the commission comes to the same conclusion that the hospitals must be closed, it will likely have to wait a year because the trustees only hold one annual meeting, he said.

But Ralph W. Semb, president and chief operating officer of Shriners Hospitals for Children, who lives in Erving, questioned the idea of forming a commission.

"That is forming another commission after we have had three already," he said. "They have all come back with the same thing: Close hospitals."

But closing hospitals or forming a commission are not the only two things the trustees will discuss. Officials for Springfield's hospital have submitted a creative plan to revamp the way the hospital runs, which will lower operating costs. Several other hospital have submitted ideas as well.

Semb said he believes Springfield's preliminary plan, which calls for working in a partnership with neighboring Baystate Medical Center, is worth considering and could help keep the facility open.

"I realize there has been some effort and I would like to see that continue," he said. "There are negotiations on going with Baystate."

Zippin said the nine-member Springfield delegation does hope to present the plan to revamp the hospital to trustees.

That plan, submitted to the Shriners Hospitals board in April, calls for the two hospitals to work together to provide pediatric services. One portion favors having some of the most expensive surgical procedures performed at Baystate, which does bill insurance companies, and have children transferred to Shriners to recover, he said.

"Baystate has signed a letter of intent to work with us," Zippin said. "They see advantages in collaboration and coordination of services."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fall Mountain Class of 99 update

This was sent over the weekend to everyone listed on FMRHS class of 99 on facebook... now visible for anyone out there who might be interested......

"Mara Sullivan sent a message to the members of Holy Crap, We're Old. Fall Mountain Class Of 99 Ten Year Reunion.

Subject: Reunion Details + Website

Hey Guys!
Happy July 4th. So I met with the people at the Best Western Sovereign Hotel yesterday. They've "done over" the ball room. Woot! Actually, it still looks the same. :)

So, here's the deal: we will have a buffet dinner, which includes choice of two entrees, a starch, two veggies, salad, bread, tea, and coffee. There will be a cash bar.

For the room, and the food, the tickets will be $35 each. I'll need your $$$ by FRIDAY AUG 14 in order to give the hotel a final count.

As for the music, I think a DJ would be too expensive, and I'd like to keep the cost of the tickets down. We were thinking of doing a playlist and getting some speakers, hooked up to a sound-dock. I did that for a party once and it worked out really well. You can email me songs to add to the playlist if you'd like.

Also, for those people you know who aren't on facebook, I've set up a website. It has all the info I've discussed here, as well as my contact info. You can direct people there. Check it out!;

The next couple of weeks I'll be hunting down our classmates, and I might need your help...I'll be contacting you individually if I need some leads. And Sam Baldasaro (now Aubin) is going to contact the high school and see if they have any addresses/phone numbers.

Ok, I'm getting excited! Looking forward to seeing everybody.


And we're home again

It is amazing how fast time is flying these days. The short story of the week is: I had 5 kids all day every day, with the exception of Friday.....Thursday night at the last possible second we decided to go to camp for the long weekend. Jeremy cleared a bunch of our "spot" and we're going back to hopefully get a lot closer to "finished" on Friday of this week. The weather was decent, beautiful Friday, on and off sun and sprinkles on Saturday and then crazy beautiful Sunday. The bulk of that evil rain garbage was only around at night....and there was a lot of it. But we're home now, safe and sound, to do it all again this week.....I'll be back for more story telling adventures once I get some food into our bellies.

To view the millions of pics I took click here