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Scene in Manchester: We're getting older, and it's time for NH to talk about it

June 01. 2014 9:58PM

I recently heard some depressing statistics about how old we are getting in New Hampshire. Apparently, getting older isn’t just a pain to us individually, it’s also a pain to us collectively. When everyone in our community is getting older, and there are not enough thriving, successful young people to replace them, it is a huge drain on our economy and social well-being.

So, besides installing a fountain of youth at Veterans Park, what can we do about it? How can we encourage more high school and college graduates to stay and raise families here? How can we bring more businesses, with good jobs, here?

Dick Ober, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, has been spending a lot of time talking about these issues and hopes more people will join the conversation by attending the foundation’s annual meeting on Thursday June 12, at the Radisson.

“Taking care of our own is not just a social obligation; it is an economic imperative,” Ober recently wrote in an open letter. “Businesses will start, locate and expand in states that invest in healthy communities and a future work force.”

I can almost guarantee we will hear some of the depressing statistics I mentioned earlier at the June 12 meeting. But, it’s not Ober’s style to present a problem without offering some solutions. We are also sure to learn about some exciting efforts to reverse this trend and possible outcomes if we all attack this problem together.

Don’t miss this important discussion and tremendous networking opportunity. I’ve been told to expect some surprise performances and powerful guest speakers. Tickets are $50 and available at Registration begins at 4:30 p.m., followed by the program at 5:15 and reception, including cash bar and appetizers, at 6:30 p.m.

Green thumb or not

Whether you have a green thumb or not, members of the Manchester Garden Club would like you to consider joining their mission to help beautify our city. No gardening experience is necessary, just an appreciation for nature and acts of goodwill.

The club supports plantings and the beautifying of local places, including the New Horizons, Valley Street Cemetery, Intown Manchester’s Walkable Neighborhoods, Stark Park, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Manchester, both locations of the Manchester City Library, the YMCA and Gale Apartments.

The group also has regular speakers, hands-on workshops and an annual holiday wreath sale. The annual membership dues are $30; card-holding members can enjoy discounts at several local gardening shops.

For more information, visit, check out the group’s Facebook page, or contact club president Fiona McKenna at

Same coffee, new faces

If you stop into J Dubs Coffee next Monday, you will find the same great coffee served by some new faces. The tiny Brady Sullivan Plaza shop, opened by Jim and Felicia Whitney in 2008, is being sold to Emeran Langmaid of A&E Coffee Roastery & Tea.J Dubs has always served A&E coffee, custom-roasted in Langmaid’s Amherst café, which she opened in 2001 as the first USDA-certified organic coffee roaster in New Hampshire.

“We have been thinking of expansion for some time and we couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity than to take over J Dubs in Manchester,” Langmaid said.

J Dubs will still look the same for the first couple weeks of Langmaid’s ownership as she and her staff meet J Dubs’ regular customers. But the shop will close its doors for renovations before an anticipated grand reopening the week of July 7.

The new A&E Coffee Roastery & Tea café will serve hot and cold coffee and tea beverages as well as smoothies and espresso-based drinks. The shop will also sell coffee beans and whole-leaf teas for customers to enjoy at home. A limited food menu will be available and will focus mostly on pastries.

More information about A&E can be found at

I’m your No. 1 fan

If a celebrity is in town, you can pretty much guarantee that I will go out of my way to see them. I weaseled my way into the Verizon Wireless Arena to see Oprah when she came to support Barack Obama in 2008. During the 2012 presidential primary, I camped out at various restaurants downtown just hoping to bump into Diane Sawyer. I did.

I cannot wait to see Seth Meyers perform in Manchester this Saturday. I loved Seth Meyers on “Saturday Night Live.” His jokes were always clever and his delivery perfect. Now I love him even more for agreeing to come back to his hometown (OK, he’s really from Bedford) to help raise money for the Palace Theatre this Saturday.

I bought tickets for Meyers as soon as they went on sale, and at last check, there were only a handful of seats left to see this stand-up act, which starts at 8 p.m. The show is sure to be a sell-out, so be sure to get your tickets today.

I got to see Sarah Silverman, another former Bedford resident and SNL alum, when she came to raise money for the Majestic Theatre several years ago. I bought tickets to see Meyers the week they were on sale.

NH365.ORG Event of the Week

Even the dogs in your family can join the fun at The Manchester Animal Shelter’s 4th Annual Mutt Strutt and Fair at Livingston Park this Sunday.

The free fair opens at 10 a.m., and features demonstrations by the Manchester Police K9 Unit and Manchester Fire Department arson dog. There will also be contests, agility courses for your dog to try and vendors.

The Mutt Strutt walk around Dorrs Pond starts at 11 a.m. and costs $15 with pre-registration or $20 the day of the event. Children can walk for free. All proceeds will go to the neglected, abused and stray animals that come through the shelter doors every day. Goodie bags will be given to the first 100 dogs registered.

For more information on this and other fun, outdoor activities to enjoy every day this summer, visit

If you have an interesting event for Scene in Manchester, write to

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