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‘Game of Thrones’ actor to compete in New Hampshire games

Hafthor Bjornsson, who portrays Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane, in the HBO series "Game of Thrones," gestures during an interview on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, in Concord, N.H. Bjornsson is taking part in the annual New Hampshire Highland Games and Festival this weekend in Lincoln, N.H. (AP Photo/Kathy McCormack)

Hafthor Bjornsson, who portrays Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane in the HBO series “Game of Thrones,” gestures during an interview on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, in Concord, N.H. Bjornsson is taking part in the annual New Hampshire Highland Games and Festival this weekend in Lincoln, N.H. (AP Photo/Kathy McCormack)

I had a witty intro planned for this piece, but it would have contained spoilers for those of you who aren’t caught up with Game of Thrones (I couldn’t tell you about spoilers for the books because I haven’t read them).

So, I’ll tell you this: A hulking actor from the hit HBO series is coming to the Granite State this weekend to compete in the New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival.

The games, held annually, are “one of the largest and most diverse commemorations of Scottish art and culture in North America,” according to the event’s website. The events on tap for this weekend include everything from Scottish fiddle and harp playing to “heavy athletics” and feats of strength. (The Red Hot Chili Peppers also will be performing throughout the festival weekend, fun fact.)

Hafthor “Thor” Bjornsson, who plays notorious Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane on Game of Thrones, will compete in events starting on Saturday. This will be his third time participating in the games, which began on Friday and run through Sunday in Lincoln, N.H.

The 6-foot-9, 400-pound Bjornsson said he will be lifting heavy stones over his head and throwing a 56-pound weight with an attached handle over a horizontal bar with one hand. The Icelandic actor is also planning to lift a car in a strength demonstration event.

As one does.

Read more on Bjornsson and the games here.

Say cheese

Nelson Haley, a harness racer from Shrewsbury, #VT, puts harnesses on Famous Oscar, a #Standardbred, before a race on Thursday at the Tunbridge World's Fair in #TunbridgeVT. Harness racing is an example of what sets the Tunbridge World’s Fair apart from other regional attractions, said Robert Gearwar, whose son was participating. “You know, a lot of fairs don’t have racing anymore. They’ve gone out,” Gearwar said. “I don’t think there’s as many people (who) have the resources anymore.” ➡️ More photos and story at www.vnews.com. Direct link in profile. ⬅️ (Valley News – Charles Hatcher @chaz_e) #uppervalley #upval #vnewsuv #photojournalism #tunbridgefair #vermont #802 #fair #fairground #race #racing #horserace #harness #smile #🐴 #🏇🏽

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Friendly relations between France and Vermont

A car passes the historic French Block building, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, in downtown Montpelier, Vt. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

 

Some jerseys ordered by a professional French soccer team now are headed to Montpelier instead — all because of a spelling mistake.

The French city for which Vermont’s capital is named, Montpellier, decided to pass the jerseys along to its U.S. counterpart after they arrived saying “Montpelier” instead of “Montpellier,” the Associated Press reported on Thursday.

City Manager Bill Fraser said on Thursday that the city in southern France has decided to send (the jerseys) to Montpelier, which is spelled with one L, not two. Montpelier doesn’t know how many jerseys it will get.

 

Read the story here.

#tbt, Tunbridge Fair style

National media pick up on alleged racial attack against 8-year-old in Claremont

Katrina Roberge, 14, of Lebanon, stands with her father John Roberge in silence during a gathering at Broad Street Park in Claremont, N.H., Tuesday, September 12, 2017, to show support for an 8-year-old biracial Claremont boy who was injured while playing with a group of teenagers in his yard last month. (Valley News – James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

 

Hundreds of activists, clergy and concerned residents gathered in Broad Street Park in Claremont on Tuesday to spread a message of tolerance and resilience following the injuries suffered last month by an 8-year-old biracial boy in an episode his family has characterized as a “lynching.”

Click here to read that story, including a series of video-interviews and recordings of speeches from the event.

Here are just two videos of the six in total: an interview with Claremont resident Leona Watt, and a recording of a speech by racial justice activist Olivia Lapierre.

The national spotlight is shining ever more brightly on Claremont in response to the allegations, and how the city is responding to racism in general.

Here’s a selection of some of the national news coverage:

Find links to all of our coverage at our most recent story.

Here are some of the letters to the editor we have run, as well:

A GoFundMe set up for the child’s family continues to surpass its fundraising goals, at $29,000 and counting. The new goal is now $40,000.

Big news roundup: Dartmouth-Hitchcock shooting, former Windsor officer acquitted, and spotlight on Claremont in response to racism

1. Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to First-Degree Murder of Mother at Hospital

A Rhode Island man accused of shooting and killing his 70-year-old mother while she was being treated at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s intensive care unit on Tuesday afternoon was ordered held without bail during a Wednesday appearance in Grafton County Superior Court. Read more.

Travis Frink, of Warwick, Rhode Island, stands with his attorney, Public Defender Rebecca McKinnon, during his arraignment in Grafton County Superior Court in North Haverhill, N.H., on Sept. 13, 2017. Frink, 48, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 70-year-old mother, Pamela Ferriere, on Tuesday in the intensive care unit at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. (AP Photo/Valley News, Jennifer Hauck)

 

2. DHMC Reflects on Response, Repercussions in Wake of Fatal Shooting

“This is a resilient organization,” said John Kacavas, D-H’s chief legal officer and general counsel, in a news conference outside a D-H office building on Wednesday afternoon in Lebanon. “Patient care was always the top priority. Patient care remains the top priority. Patient care will be the top priority. Doctors and nurses are caring for patients. Food preparers are preparing food. Housekeepers are keeping house.” Read more.

Technician Halla Sampito and her co-workers disassemble surgical case carts to clean the instruments in the central sterile reprocessing unit at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., on Sept. 13, 2017. The day before, Sampito was on her way in to work the 3-11 p.m. shift and was delayed when the hospital was locked down due to an active shooter incident. (Valley News – Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

 

3. At Dartmouth-Hitchcock, a Scene of Confusion, Panic

“We heard receptionists screaming to go out of the building; everybody was running all down the hallway,” recalled Alexis Thibault, who was at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for an appointment when a “code silver,” an alert for an active shooter, sounded over the PA system. Read more.

Hanover EMT Jeremy LaBombard helps a patient who was evacuated due to an active-shooter lock down during his treatment at the main entrance to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center campus in Lebanon, N.H., Tuesday, September 12, 2017. (Valley News – James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

 

4. Jury Acquits Former Windsor Police Officer in 2014 Shooting

The panel of nine women and three men deliberated for nearly six hours before returning not guilty verdicts on two charges: aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and reckless endangerment. Read more.

Ryan Palmer hugs two friends, who wished to be unidentified, after a jury finds him not guilty during his trial on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, at Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction, Vt. Palmer was charged with felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor reckless endangerment. (Valley News – Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

 

5. Claremont Reflects on Racism After Biracial Boy Injured

Hundreds of activists, clergy and concerned residents gathered in Broad Street Park on Tuesday to spread a message of tolerance and resilience following the injuries suffered last month by an 8-year-old biracial boy in an episode his family has characterized as a “lynching.” Read more.

A chorus of “We Shall Overcome” rises from a gathering against racism in Broad Street Park in Claremont, N.H., Tuesday, September 12, 2017. The demonstration was inspired by violence last month against an 8-year-old biracial boy that occurred while he played with a group of teenagers outside his home. (Valley News – James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Major update on lonely duck

When I reposted something from the listserve last week titled ‘Lonely duck seeking companionship,’ about a sweet little quacker in search of a duck friend or two, inquiring minds obviously wanted to know: Whatever happened to Lonely Duck?

Lucky you, Lonely Duck’s human companion, Amy Eilertsen, was kind enough to share this update with us when I asked. (The following is all written by Amy; all photographs were shared by Amy, as well.)

***

The lonely duck found friends — and a new identity.

The single white Peking was one of three ducklings hand-raised in the house this spring. We loved them all, but had a hard time differentiating individuals, so they became the Dux: Duk, Duq and Duc.

 

 

Duk and Duq disappeared from the pond two weeks ago, believed to be victims of a fox attack. Duc was in despair. Fowl don’t do well as singletons and Chloe, the chocolate Lab, really wasn’t interested in exploring a friendship.

 

 

In the past two weeks Duc gained three new friends: Wednesday, the Swedish black drake, arrived last weekend from a lovely farm in Norwich. Sisters Fiona and Flora K. Campbell harken from Cornish Flats and were also the survivors of a predator attack. Duc is now The Duchess, and is thrilled to share waddling adventures with her new buddies.  

 

 

The ducks remain free-range during the day, but their two-acre roaming area is surrounded by a newly-erected 4-foot wire fence.

***

So, there you have it. Lonely Duck, aka Duc, aka the Duchess, is lonely no more.

 

p.s. This whole thing has made me miss my former ducks, Dark Duck, Ulysses S. Duck and Bert, who my partner and I had rehomed to a grand life of slug-eating and egg-laying on a Norwich farm when we moved from a rural area to the bustling metropolis of White River Junction. I hope they and their new friends are doing well.

 

Claremont gathering on Tuesday afternoon targets racism in response to alleged attempted hanging of biracial boy

From the Valley News:

Claremont — Concerned citizens are planning a “Time for Reflection” on Tuesday, at 5:20 p.m., at Broad Street Park, as a response to recent violence against a biracial boy.

 

“The purpose of this gathering is a compassionate public witness to support all in our community who are wounded by racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and insular nationalism and to stand up against it,” said an announcement dated Friday from organizer Rebecca MacKenzie.

 

The 8-year-old boy’s family has said that a group of children taunted him with racial epithets, placed a rope around his neck and pushed him off a picnic table near Barnes Park on Aug. 28. The boy was injured and treated at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. He has since returned to school.

 

Police have refused to release additional details about the case, citing an ongoing investigation, which has led activists to raise concerns that the lack of information is stifling a needed conversation about race.

 

Community members said they hoped to get that discussion started on Tuesday.

 

“During the gathering on Tuesday, there will be a time for community and faith leaders to share a reflection or prayer, a time of silent reflection for all attendees, and an opportunity (to) deepen our connection in working for justice and equality.”

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Upper Valley man goes for grape-catching Guinness record … again! … but without the hot air balloon this time

Brent Fraser after setting what he believes is a new world record for catching a grape in his mouth that was launched from the greatest distance on Aug. 30 at Sachem Field in Hanover, N.H. (Photo courtesy – Brent Fraser)

 

Remember Brent Fraser?

 

 

He’s the Lebanon resident who I reported on with photographer Sarah Priestap last fall, when he set a Guinness World Record for using your mouth to catch a grape dropped from the greatest height:

It was a dream years in the making, and all it took was a hot air balloon, walnut-sized fruits shipped specially from Georgia and a crew of Ph.D.-level engineers who gathered at a tiny Vermont airport before the sun rose on Monday morning.

Yep, I wrote that.

 

 

He later got a certificate from Guinness. But the man is insatiable when it comes to catching grapes in his mouth from absurd distances, so he recently made two additional record-setting attempts.

The first time, in mid-August, he tried to double the height record, but it didn’t go so great. From Brent, via email:

The height one was crazy painful. The grapes were getting dropped from around 225 feet and hit terminal velocity of between 74 and 78 miles an hour. I made an attempt at several of the grapes but due to the wind and the speed of the grapes, we called it off.

So last Wednesday, he tried again, this time going for the distance record, which he had missed when Sarah and I were there. A team launched grapes from a wooden catapult designed by engineers that Brent works with at Creare, a Hanover firm.

This time, Brent says, he was successful! Assuming Guinness verifies the record, he will get another certificate in the mail sometime soon.

Brent again:

My official measurement was 356’ 1”. … I couldn’t be more excited to be a two-time Guinness World Record holder now. This distance record stood for eight years and has always been my primary goal to beat one day.

BTW, if you’re into Upper Valley Guinness stories and videos, you might enjoy this one about Strafford kids going for a world-record marble run.

And last but not least, here are more photos from the successful attempt, all courtesy of Brent. Click “more…” at the end to see all of them.

 

Missed grape.

Marking the catch spot.

Checking the damage.

Teamwork makes the dream work.

read more…