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Paul Feely's City Hall: Alderman wants to name Central locker room at JFK Coliseum for Coach Stone

By PAUL FEELY
March 17. 2018 9:16PM
Manchester Central head coach Brian Stone is shown on the bench for a December 2016 game against Trinity at Saint Anselm College. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER FILE)



Brian Stone's life ended last week outside the very building - JFK Coliseum on Beech Street - where he spent a good chunk of his 51 years on earth. This week, an alderman who knew him well will ask the city to name part of that facility in memory of the beloved coach.

Stone played for and coached the Manchester Central boys' hockey team. He skated for the Little Green from 1980-84, winning a state championship. He went on to become a top scorer at New England College, and later was inducted into the New England College Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001, the Queen City Hall of Fame in 2002 and the New Hampshire Legends of Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006.

Stone died of a heart attack after playing in a men's league game last weekend at the coliseum. Ward 10 Alderman Bill Barry will go before the Aldermanic Committee on Lands and Buildings this week with a proposal to name the Central High School locker room at the JFK in honor of his late friend.

"He meant so much to the community," said Barry. "He not only taught kids how to play hockey. He taught them life lessons, the importance of giving back to the community. So many of his players have stayed involved in the city."

Stone played for the Manchester Flames youth program growing up, winning national championships as a member of the Flames' Junior C team in 1985 and 1986.

"Central plays and practices at JFK," said Barry. "The Flames play and practice at JFK. This seemed like a natural way to honor what he meant to so many in Manchester."

Barry said his idea has the support of the Stone family.

"I talked with his brother Stephen, and he gave me his blessing," said Barry. "He spent so much of his hockey life in that building, in that locker room. It just makes sense."

The Committee on Lands and Buildings will take up Barry's proposal Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the aldermanic chambers at City Hall.

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Mayor Joyce Craig will unveil her Fiscal Year 2019 municipal budget proposal - her first budget address of her term in office - on Wednesday, March 28, at 6 p.m. in the aldermanic chambers at City Hall.

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City and school officials have scheduled a 'School Safety Community Forum' for 6 p.m. Monday at the Manchester School of Technology, 530 South Porter St.

Parents, guardians, and community members at large are invited to join Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bolgen Vargas and Craig to hear from members of the district's Emergency Operations Team, including police, fire, and health staff and city emergency management experts.

According to organizers, the forum is being held to "address concerns and questions about how the district prepares for emergency situations to keep students and staff safe" in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 people.

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Vargas said late last week the student-led protests held Wednesday as part of the National School Walkout went "better than anyone could anticipate," telling school board members in an email they "would have been proud of our students' behavior."

"The respectful environment in the schools on Wednesday was rich with our civic values by our students," wrote Vargas in the email, part of his weekly communication to board members. "Although the majority of our students did not participate there was a strong sense of mutual appreciation and support among students."

Vargas thanked students, administrators, staff, teachers and city police for making a "positive experience" for those who chose to participate, while not disrupting instructional time for those who did not.

"My thanks as well to the many families who have had and continue to have constructive conversations with their children on challenging topics, regardless of the position held," wrote Vargas. "I also appreciate the healthy board discussion prior to this event. Everything that I observed would would confirm that the District remained neutral, as it should, at the same time we were able to support our students and ensure that instruction was not compromised."

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Public safety officials are getting the word out early about several events planned in the city next weekend, looking to avoid the "March Madness" gridlock experienced downtown a year ago.

Between March 25 and 26, 2017 the Queen City hosted a downtown expo highlighting New Hampshire-made products, a half-marathon along Elm and nearby streets, and a two-day NCAA regional hockey tournament.

The result was closed streets, full parking lots and traffic gridlock across the city, particularly on Saturday.

There are several events planned for next weekend in the city, which police warn will impact traffic downtown.

Events that may cause traffic delays and increase congestion Saturday and Sunday include the Old House & Barn Expo to be held at the Manchester Downtown Hotel (formerly the Radisson) at 700 Elm Street from 9-5 p.m.

The Millennium Running Shamrock Half Marathon will be held Saturday, March 24 from 9 a.m. until approximately 2 p.m. The race begins and ends at Veterans Park.

Many roads will close intermittently throughout the course as a safety precaution. Police and Millennium Running will have course marshals stationed along the race route to help residents navigate through road closures.

The Manchester Monarchs play a home game against the Adirondack Thunder at SNHU Arena Saturday at 6 p.m., with doors opening at 4:45 p.m.

Sunday will feature day two of the Old House & Barn Expo at the Manchester Downtown Hotel, along with a Reptile Expo at the same location from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Shamrock Shuffle 2-Mile Run/Walk will be Sunday at 11:15 a.m. at Veterans Park. Immediately following the Shamrock Shuffle the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade steps off at noon.

The parade starts on Elm Street at Salmon Street and continues south on Elm Street to Veterans Park. For more detailed information about road closures, visit the city's website at www.manchesternh.gov. For more information about the parade, visit www.saintpatsnh.com.

The final event of the weekend will be the CHaD Battle of the Badges hockey game at 1 p.m. at SNHU Arena.

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The city's elementary schools will begin accepting registrations for kindergarten and new first-grade students next month. Students currently attending pre-school programs in the city don't need to register for kindergarten at their neighborhood school as their records will be transferred.

Dates and times for children and parents to register in person at each school are available at www.mansd.org.

One evening date and time has been scheduled, and students from across the city can register there, regardless of their home school.

Teachers will be on hand during daytime hours to give children a literacy screening, in which children are asked to complete kindergarten and first-grade level tasks.

Paul Feely is the City Hall reporter for the Union Leader and Sunday News. Reach him at pfeely@unionleader.com.


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