Features Writing samples MichelleLiu.Design@gmail.com Michelle Liu It’s Not Just Keene State; It’s Keene, New Hampshire January 24, 2006 KEENE, NH – As students become more advanced in their studies and graduate to new levels of schooling, there’s still one thing local teachers of Black History Month agree on – the education is crucial due to the area we live in. Monica Monyo-Tetteh, an Admissions Counselor at Keene State, works closely with the Multicultural Club at Keene State in order to raise awareness about the importance of diversity. Monyo-Tetteh said the celebration of Black History Month was different at Keene State than any other place she had been before. “At the University of Buffalo we had a Black Student Union and I remember in high school it [Black History Month] was on the calendar. The calendar always had a bunch of activities that we [the students] put on with the help of the principal and counselors,” Monyo-Tetteh said. Currently, the diversity activities held at Keene State are brainstormed and presented by Monyo-Tetteh and the Multicultural Club, but Monyo-Tetteh hopes to change this norm so it is mainly the Multicultural Club and students outside the Club holding the bazaars, with her help when needed. Even though planning diversity activities is not stated in Monyo-Tetteh’s contract with the college, her persistence in diversity awareness has led to an increase in the Multicultural Club’s budget. “I wanted to do diversity programming so the school increased the budget from $2,500 to $6,500,” Monyo-Tetteh said. Monyo-Tetteh said another problem with getting the students educated on all the diversity awareness months, is that the budget is just not big enough to accommodate all of them. “Dr.Y [the past President of Keene State] said in his mission statement that his main objective was diversity but when I got here in 2003, the fund was close to nothing. A lot of students love and enjoy the awareness efforts and if diversity is important to them, the budget should be more than it is,” Monyo-Tetteh said. Outside of the college, Keene Public School teachers are also finding similar problems related to Black History Month. Ann Ayotte, a second grade teacher at Wheelock Elementary School, said she thinks the teachings of black history are critical because of the lack of diversity in the Keene area. “They [elementary school children] hear about African-American singers and they see them [AfricanAmericans] on TV, but they don’t really get to associate with them. So, it’s good for them to learn about because they’re people, too,” Ayotte said. In an incident where the Keene State men’s basketball team came to visit Wheelock Elementary, Ayotte recalled when a young boy in her class pointed at a tall, African-American player and announced, “It’s Michael Jordan!” “So, all tall, African-Americans must look the same to them [the children],” Ayotte added. Ayotte said it is difficult to get elementary students to relate to racism, but the school and teachers find ways to raise the student’s awareness. “Grades 3, 4 and 5 have an activity one of the months where they can only sit in certain places or only drink from certain water fountains, there’s also a monthly assembly when the music teacher sometimes teaches certain songs to the whole school and then they all sing it together,” Ayotte said. Ayotte added that the school gives each grade a different moral quality, such as courage, love, respect, justice and hope, which they have to focus on with their students within that month. “This month the second grade had justice which is a very difficult concept for a second grader to grasp, but the class read books about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks and then we discussed what kids can do to help bring justice to the world,” Ayotte said. Sean O’Mara, an eighth grade teacher and Social Studies Department head at Keene Middle School, said he is displeased with the idea of only having one specified month to celebrate black history. O’Mara added that he teaches all his students the importance of African-American history because “black history is American history.” “Black history should not be confined into a single month. The historical experience of African-Americans is an essential part of all topics, themes, periods, and major events in American history. So, our study of African-American history is ongoing, beginning well before the month of February and continuing through June,” O’Mara said. In order to get his students interested in black history, O’Mara does a number of hands-on learning tactics including taking his classes on field trips to historical places in Keene and acting out the historical event in full, period costumes. Rachael Summi-Leonard, a history teacher and Social Studies Department head at Keene High School, said KHS doesn’t spend a month devoted to black history, but rather the teachers tie it into their curriculums when suitable. “It’s not like the elementary schools where they [the children] celebrate it [black history] for a month and then move onto something else. At a high school level, teachers need to tie in chronological order. So, we cover black history month throughout the whole year when appropriate, and I think the students appreciate this way a great deal,” Summi-Leonard said. Summi-Leonard added that in order for a teacher to instruct his or her class properly, two factors need to be present: the information must fit the curriculum and the information must have relevance to the class. Summi-Leonard said this year hasn’t been a very ideal year for order at Keene High School because the New Hampshire Social Studies (NHSS) Standards have increased their standards. “January’s a hard month to get initiative to do anything to begin with, but now teachers have to deal with changing their whole curriculum because the NHSS made so many changes and new standards,” Summi-Leonard said. Summi-Leonard also added that she thinks Black History Month is a great time for students in the district because Keene, N.H. is not a very diverse area. “It’s a good thing to pretend like we’re normal 22 year-olds” April 4, 2006 KEENE, NH – For this “non-traditional” couple, an engagement ring is all they can promise until their future brings stability. Soaring higher than 6-feet in the air, it’s no wonder he is a well known face on campus. He enjoyed making himself a part in the leadership roles available including being a Resident Assistant for a year, the Music Director of Keene State’s radio station, WKNH, a Student Class Representative, as well as an active Non-Traditional Student on the Student Assembly. She is a goal-oriented student with an unbeatable determination to strive in academics. Graduating this May with a double-major in history and psychology, she is the Vice President of Phi Alpha Theta, Keene State’s History Honors Society, a member of Honors Council and the Co-President of the Foundation for Excellent Schools (FES). At one point, she too was a Resident Assistant, but resigned her position when she gave birth to her son, Ethan Skelly. The father of Ethan, Mike Skelly, said having a child has changed his life drastically. The once active student has now been out of school since the beginning of the spring 2006 semester. His life now involves being a father and going to work, and since the main priority right now is for Ethan’s mother, Clare Hegermiller, to finish school, Mike is the only source of income. Skelly said he would have stayed in school if his other activities, specifically being a Resident Assistant, did not take up all of his free time. “I didn’t have to but it made more sense for me. I have to raise my baby, I’m a daddy,” Skelly said. Skelly added that plans for him to finish school are still “up in the air”, because right now their main concern is money, which is why Skelly applied for a position as a police officer in Connecticut. After experimenting with different jobs, Skelly concluded that being an officer of the law would be the most suiting job for him since he was once a RA. “My experiences with being a RA made me realize how much I enjoy being able to help people, and I would be able to do this if I was a cop,” Skelly said. Although Hegermiller gave a long, distressed sigh when asked about Skelly’s future plans to be a police offer, she said she is supportive in whatever he does. Bills that are the basic survival for independent living (such as rent, water, heat and electricity) as well as the cost of investing in a new, much needed car and supplying it with gas are among the top concerns when their Tisdale lease runs out, Skelly said. According to the Keene State website, housing for the Tisdale apartments are “available to matriculated, full-time students with who are married or domestic partners and are 21 years of age.” Tisdale housing is also available for students who have children that live with them. Currently, both families and Traditional Students occupy the apartments. “We looked at other places off campus but in the end living on campus is just the most convenient. We have one bill and that includes everything,” Skelly said. Hegermiller agreed with Skelly, saying that even though she wasn’t thrilled with the idea of raising a child on a college campus, it was the easiest for their situation. The Keene State website states that the Tisdale Apartments cost $2,867 per semester for Traditional Students, whereas for Non-Traditional Students the price can either be $731 or $812 per month, depending on if the residents occupy a one or two bedroom apartment. According to Hegermiller, qualifications to be a Non-Traditional Student can include being over 24, married, or responsible for children. In this couples situation, Hegermiller’s pregnancy qualified them. Skelly and Hegermiller are debating what to do and where to go after their lease in the Tisdale apartment runs out in August. “Neither one of us wants to live with our in-laws, so we’re going to have to come to some kind of compromise. We’ll probably just get an apartment somewhere,” Skelly said. Even though Keene State provides help for students with children in terms of housing, the college does not help the parents out with college daycare costs. The Child Development Center (CDC) at Keene State College, which provides students who want to be teachers with a hands-on learning experience, is sectioned into four sections: Infant Classroom, Toddler Classroom, Younger Preschool, and Older Preschool. Mary Mayshark-Stavely, director of the CDC, is one of the first to agree that it is not the cheapest daycare around. Depending on the age of the child and how many days the child is enrolled into the daycare, the cost can range anywhere from $259 to $644.40 per month. Mayshark-Stavely says the expensive price is due to the high quality of the daycare. “There’s no sliding fees or scholarships so it’s expensive for students, but we have a very fine program here. The teachers are remarkable and the daycare provides at least one teacher with a master’s degree to each program,” Mayshark-Stavely said. Mayshark-Stavely added that it’s hard for colleges to offer discounts for their daycare programs because it takes money away from other budgets, but it’s doable. “Many colleges are closing down their daycares because they’re too expensive to run. Parents pay money but the college also supports us and that’s why we have good programs and salaries. Providing special discounts is going to take a concerted and organized effort with funding,” Mayshark-Stavely said. Although Skelly and Hegermiller are not concerned with daycare at the moment, their concerns right now are the constant noise of our college campus environment, Skelly said. Skelly added the construction of Pondside III negatively clashes with the next door location of the Tisdale apartments, which forces them to blast Baby Einstein music to drain out the daily construction ruckus. But noise from the neighboring construction is not the only noise the recent parents have been dealing with. According to Skelly, they have been having problems with some students as well. Skelly said one of the neighbors has been creating problems such as smoking outside the baby’s window and being loud when the baby is sleeping. “His [Ethan’s] room is starting to smell like smoke because they smoke outside his window, which I don’t mind if they smoke there when his window is closed but if it’s open they should be more considerate. There were a few times when I had to go out there and ask them to be quiet, too,” Skelly said. Other then these occurrences, Skelly said that he feels raising a child on a college campus is healthy for the child’s social upbringing. “Strangely enough, it’s not a horrible place to bring up a child because the child gets to grow up in society instead of in our home,” Skelly said. Even though Hegermiller did not initially agree with Skelly, she said that after the experience of raising a child on campus, she is glad they did. “Originally I definitely didn’t want Ethan going into the DC or Student Center, but now he practically lives in the Student Center. He’s very popular on campus,” Hegermiller said. Skelly said he’s been happy with the positive and helpful nature of the general student body. According to the couple, finding a babysitter is never a problem. “I can think of at least five people right now who would want to baby sit Ethan. Everyone is always so willing and helping to baby sit and it’s not just friends, sometimes they’re friends of friends. We’ve even had random people stop us and offer to baby sit. It’s nice because we’ve had the privilege of being selective, but we like to stick to people that we know,” Skelly said. Hegermiller added that they don’t have to look for babysitters, because babysitters always find them. “Cashiers, malls, we can be pretty much everywhere,” Hegermiller said. Skelly said he and Hegermiller are very appreciative of their friends because they usually watch Ethan a few times a week. “It’s helpful having people who can help us and get us out of the house. It’s a good thing to pretend like we’re normal 22 year-olds every now and then; keeps us sane,” Skelly said. added. Even though the couple enjoys the luxury of being selective with their babysitters, Skelly said they’ve also been very appreciative of the student’s positive reactions toward Ethan. “We have people to go to and people to come to us, and that’s probably been the single most important factor here,” Skelly said. Yet even though Skelly and Hegermiller enjoy this aspect, Skelly added that one of his newly developed pet peeves is when random students “quiz” him. “It’s always the same questions, what’s his name, when was he born, how big was he; and after so long it just gets repetitive,” Skelly said. Besides the support of fellow students, Skelly and Hegermiller also had support from their parents and teachers. “Our parents were proud we were standing up to the situation. They were really supportive which, without their support, this [Ethan’s birth] probably wouldn’t have happened,” Skelly said. The couple said teachers have also been very supportive of their situation by allowing Clare to bring Ethan to class from time to time when needed, but Clare has only had to bring Ethan to class twice. She added her teachers were very supportive even through her pregnancy. “I had a couple teachers that kept reminding me to get enough rest and then when I did skip class they would help me after,” Hegermiller said. Yet Skelly believes if Ethan wasn’t such a well-behaved baby, raising Ethan would not be as easy as it has been. “Ethan hasn’t been hard to raise. As long as his mind is occupied, he never cries when Clare brings him to class,” Skelly said. The experience of a new child has been a tiring and difficult one but not one that he regrets. “When she first told me that she was pregnant, in a way life ended that day, but not in a bad way. It was sort of a sobering experience, almost literally, but it’s probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me because I had to except more responsibility,” Skelly said. Skelly added that this experience has been teaching him the most about responsibility. “It’s tough juggling everything with someone else and a baby. It’s a lot more responsibility when you have to watch for more people along the way,” Skelly said. Yet even though having children requires much dedication and responsibility, Skelly said he and Hegermiller are already foreseeing more children in their future. Laughing Our Way through the World’s Problems May 2, 2006 KEENE, NH – Laughter is easier said and done then explained and understood. News is a grim topic. Granted, not all news has to be about death or bad misfortune, but would news be looked at the same if it was always coated with sugar? Of course not, there’s no way to sugar coat the death of an infant or the declaration of a war. At least, that’s what most people would think, but where there’s a will, there’s a way, and the will of comedy has sparked a new light into the world of news. According to www.dictionary.com, laughter is “the sound of laughing or the activity of laughing, the manifestation of joy or mirth of scorn”. Yet not all people laugh when they are happy or hear a joke that tickles their funny bone. Media reports, scientific studies and those wellness seminars that teach people the joys of laughing and happiness have turned the human race into laughing robotic machines. Do we even know what we’re laughing at anymore? Do we understand the jokes or are we just laughing because we feel like it’s the best thing to do? According to R.Morgan Griffin, a writer for WebMD, Robert R. Provine, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, most studies of laughter have been small and “problematically conducted”. Provine added that the bias of the researchers is evident, noticeably showing that the researcher wants to prove that laughter has benefits. Provin has conducted many studies dealing with laughter, one of which found on WebMD studied the differences between laughs and when they occurred in a conversation. In order to conduct this experiment properly, Provine and some of his graduate students listened in on conversations in public places (unknown to the people they were listening to) and then noted when they heard laughing and what was the cause of it. During this survey of 1,200 “laugh episodes”, Provine found that only 10 to 20 percent of laughs were caused by jokes, whereas 80 to 90 percent of laughs derived from “dull non-witticisms” such as “I’ll see you guys later” and “It was nice meeting you, too”. The cause of these out-of-place laughs is due to evolution, Provine said. Griffin mentions that there are two types of laughter, spontaneous and nonspontaneous. Besides signifying two different types of laughter, research has found that these two types origin from different parts of the brain as well. The spontaneous laughter comes from the brainstem and is known as the more genuine form of laughter (the kind that comes from jokes). On the other hand, nonspontaneous laughter comes from parts of the brain that developed more recently due to evolution. Nonspontaneous laughter includes fake laughter, nervous laughter and other social laughing that is not connected to humor. So what are we laughing at? When we turn on shows that combine comedy and news, like the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, do most people truly understand what he’s talking about or are we laughing because we know it’s supposed to be funny? In other words, is it spontaneous or nonspontaneous laughter? Perhaps laughter is our way to cope with the horrible reality of life because granted, it’s not always pretty and when those ugly times surface, the news is the first to get it. Yet as humorous as it is to watch Jon Stewart make cracks about the faults in the government, the viewer must also take into account that it is in fact ourselves that we are laughing at when we laugh at the people who we elect to represent us. And that’s one piece of news that’s not so funny. Then maybe the real question is, are shows that combine comedy and news helping by making viewers more aware or are they merely a sign of how ignorant our viewing population is? News Editor of the Keene State student newspaper, Katherine Giambruno, said news shows that combine comedy with the news are helpful and humorous to watch but they should not be used as the only source for news. “Those sorts of shows are good if you already know what’s going on, but people should also be looking at other sources, too,” Giambruno said. Giambruno added that the idea of having humor and news mixed is a good concept especially in shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart because they tend to cover a good majority of things such as democrats verse republicans and national verse international. “Having shows that people can easily watch while helping to make them aware of current issues is a good concept,” Giambruno said. Yet if these shows don’t provide the news to the extent that the viewers should be aware of, why watch it? The answer is obvious – to laugh, whether we understand what we’re laughing at or not. Junior Paul Marlow may not take Giambruno’s advice by watching other news sources besides ones that mix in some comedy, but he says he aware that shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart are not meant to be a real news source. “The only thing I can watch is Jon Stewart or The Colbert Report because they’ll take real news stories and real news events and make fun of them. To a certain extent, first and foremost it’s entertaining and not supposed to be real news,” Marlow said. The popular demand for laughter is noticeable to the President of the Film Society, Dan Ditzler. Ditzler said the Film Society gets the highest amount of film requests for comedies and likewise, the comedies almost always have the highest turnouts. “Besides the movies that are more Hollywood known, our comedy movies get the higher percentage of turnouts and they’re usually the movies that people vote to show again,” Ditzler said. A Life Started In Handcuffs April 10, 2006 KEENE, NH – His life changed from a reckless teenager to a maturing adult the moment he saw red and blue lights circling his house. Slouched over in his favorite chair, circling his thumb over his fore and middle finger, he stars into the soot of charcoal as if trying to piece together the feeling and visual appearance of texture. Yet in his most artistic moments the last thing he’s thinking about is the composition and colors he plans to use. His slumped over body wasn’t the kind you would expect of an artist. Weighing in at less than 150 pounds, his body lacks any kind of gut or excessive fat giggle. His walk hangs his head down and forward and his arms hang like lifeless noodles down his sides, his hands palm-side up, hidden from the world, much like the way he now leads his life. The soft charcoal which started in his fingers has now moved to the rest of his hand. At first gazing at only his left hand and the charcoal which moved throughout it like an avalanche of snow, he opened his right hand and looked at both as if he was about to open his mind up to a higher level of spirituality, but his eyes remained focused and his body remained slouched in grief. He used to look at his hands think he saw a person of accomplishment with a bright future. There was once a time when he held the title of the fastest 400 meter sprinter in the state, but those feelings of accomplishment betrayed him as well as the people who he once thought would never leave his side when he was in time of need. That time of need occurred on the night of Dec. 11, 2004. The people he thought were his friends weren’t there for him then and they weren’t there for him after either. Besides having almost 100 intoxicated people sprawled over his house and lawn, most under age like himself, Charles “Chip” Duggen had bigger problems to worry about. A surprise visit by more than one police squad ended the party that night as well as a large part of Duggen’s life. That night the police found 26 marijuana plants throughout Duggen’s house, charging him with a Class “A” Felony for manufacturing a controlled substance, which could have landed him a life time sentence in prison at its maximum penalty. In a last attempt to preserve the innocence of his criminal record, Duggen thought it would be wise to lock the doors and get whatever illegal substances he could out of the house. Unfortunately for Duggen, the effects of alcohol from a long night of drinking impaired his thinking and the only substances he thought to get out of the house were the four 15 pound Nitrous Oxide “laughing gas” tanks being used for recreation that night. Besides from throwing the four tanks of laughing gas out the window, Duggen also covered the kegs hoping the police wouldn’t want to look for them. The next reminisces of the night were vague and sparse but he clearly recalled waking up sleeping in the woods behind his house. Thinking the unexpected surprise was possibly a nightmare, he stumbled back into his house to greet his roommates. There his roommates told Duggen the facts of the night – the bust of the party, the six hours waiting for the police to leave, their arrests and their parents bailing them out that morning, but the missing appearance of Duggen that night didn’t stop the police from knowing that there was a missing roommate. Knowing that it was only a matter of time before the police found him; Duggen went down to the police station to turn himself in. He said it was the first time in his life that he ever accepted responsibility for his own actions. Duggen referred to this moment in time as his “limital shift” and “psychological threshold.” That night was the last time Duggen has drank alcohol or smoked marijuana, he said. Duggen also said the first thing he did after turning himself in was call the owner of the house, his father. Duggen said he was never close to his father, a teacher of computers and math at his high school, New Found Regional in Bristol, N.H., or mother, a travel agent, but after he was arrested their parent-son relationship bloomed. At first Duggen described his father to be “freaking out” during their conversation, so Duggen was told to call back later. When they talked later, Duggen’s father calmly told him exactly what needed to happen. “We have to get you a good lawyer, you need to finish school, you need to get good grades,” Duggen recalled his father saying to him that night. The lawyer which his father hired to defend his son was Mark Sisti, a well-known name in the court system due to his active participation in the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, also known as “NORML”. According to NORML’s website, NORML “supports the right of adults to use marijuana responsibly, whether for medical or personal purposes”. The group also supports the legalization of hemp, a “non-psychoactive marijuana, for industrial use”. Duggen is very appreciative of Sisti’s efforts in his case but above all, he is thankful for his parents and the support they have given him throughout this transitional phase in his life. Duggen added that if it was not for his parents, he probably would have given up on himself. “I would have no reason to do something good with myself. To me, life is about showing your parents how thankful you are for bringing you into the world, but when you do things like this [the party], it’s disrespectful,” Duggen said. Almost a year later, Duggen found himself sitting in front Judge Shannon of the Superior Court, located on Winter Street, pleading his case with his attorney. The final verdict decided was three days in jail, $1,000 fine and a misdemeanor on his record. His sentence would have been harsher if he had not completely remade his life between the time he experienced his “limital shift” and his court date. The positive new lifestyle that helped Duggen receive a lighter sentence included more than a friendly smile and community service. During the year waiting for his court appearance, Duggen completely became the opposite of the person he once thought himself to be. Not only did he make internal changes, but he also made external changes, completely changing his group of friends and modifying his life’s path. “The only friends I had were connected through drugs. We experienced nothing else so drugs were our only relation, but now I’m connecting with the friends I have. I feel like I can be myself in front of them which is really what I believe to be a true connection,” Duggen said. Duggen first realized his poor connection with his old friends when not one of them attempted to find out what happened to him after he was arrested. “The level of caring in the world I was in was not high. I’m sure they assumed I was in jail and that was it,” Duggen said. He added that he has not spoken to any of his friends from his past, with the exception of three, since the night of his arrest. The three, who he still keeps in contact with, are friends from his hometown, Alexandria, NH. Duggen doesn’t think the friendship bond between the four of them will ever diminish because they have been close friends since “before the drugs”. “They’re the people I like to surround myself with. I have very few friends because I have high expectations,” Duggen said. Yet Duggen wouldn’t be the person he has become today without one friend specifically who took Duggen under his wing when he needed advising. John Doyle, an artist who originated from Keene but currently works and lives in Boston, Mass., is referred to as more than an advisor, but as a best friend. “I can teach myself everything I need to know but he forced me to have an opinion and be an independent thinker,” Duggen said. The two met at Duggen’s place of work, Athen’s Pizza located on Main Street, and instantly hit it off. “He had come home to save money for his next project and as an artist he saw a lot of potential in me because that’s what it’s all about. He was attracted to my energy because I was this different kind of form of myself,” Duggen said. The potential Doyle had seen in Duggen led to the two working closely together to create Doyle’s next project. The project was to create sculptures for the Institution of Contemporary Art (ICA) in order to raise awareness about Lupus. According to the Lupus site, Lupus is when the body attacks its own cells and tissues, causing inflammation, pain, and possible organ damage. This disease can make you feel like you’re literally burning from the inside, Duggen said. The project took them about two months to complete and was ready for presentation in April, about five months after Duggen had arrested. The project included only three sculptures but needed 550 bags of concrete, all hand mixed, and each weighted over ton. For Duggen, this was the first time he had ever experienced himself as an artist. “I need art to make me feel like I’m living. It became a way to deal with life and a way to interpret myself, because art is like a mirror to yourself and where you’re at,” Duggen said. According to Doyle, he knew Duggen would be a good person to work with the day he met him in the kitchen of Athen’s Pizza. “When I first met Chip he was in a sort of transformation state, facing prison. He really needed to see what was important in life other than his mindlessness and immature contemporaries. He has an openness to learn without the ego from keeping him from learning anything,” Doyle said. Even though the first time the two met was working side-by-side, it seemed to be fate for them to eventually meet since Doyle had been at the party that changed Duggen’s life. Hearing about it through a friend, Doyle and his friend went, not knowing Chip at the moment. Since then, Doyle has been by Duggen’s side, helping him whenever and however he can, including talking in Duggen’s behalf of progress at court besides being there for moral support. “He (Duggen) got a chance to see something real. He went from the boy to man phase during this time, and it enabled him to understand consequences based on actions. Now he really is grateful for his freedoms and mental state because he understands how beautiful the amount of freedom we have is,” Doyle said. After the experiences, Duggen feels his path in life and understanding in himself has become clearer. Going from an undeclared film major to an individualized major combining studio art, philosophy and film, Duggen now tries to incorporate art into every aspect of his life, the most prominent and memorable being his car. His beat-up Honda Civic, modeled back to the early 90’s, became one of his self portraits and introduction to his senior project about raising awareness about aesthetics. “We get so caught up in what is normal so my car is a way to transcend a normal person,” Duggen said. Even though Duggen loves getting staring looks on the streets, having a car painted an array of neon colors, which he did last summer, doesn’t keep the law enforcements away. Duggen said he’s had a number of breathalyzer tests and even been patted down a good amount due to the loud appearance displayed on his car. There are many symbols on the car that display Duggen’s feelings toward his life including an Alchemist, World Seal and Infinity symbol. “The Alchemist symbol is about purifying yourself and turning it into gold, just like I had my shitty life but I turned it into something beautiful. The infinity symbols represent trying to transcend myself because that’s what life is about – making yourself better,” Duggen said. Even though Duggen can be seen as a new artist, he does not feel he needs artistic tips on the work he does. “I don’t need someone to tell me how to do art, I’ll teach myself art. I need someone to talk to me about philosophies and principles,” Duggen said. It is because of these views that Duggen has selected his advisors, Sander Lee for philosophy, Henry Freedman for art and Larry Benaquist for film, carefully so that he does not get an advisor that tries to “preach” about his art work. Duggen likes to refer to his art work as a constant perception of himself and hopes that it forces the viewer to ask more questions about their life. “Beauty is a great thing. Even people who worship the devil can be beautiful because we’re people of choice, but our perceptions of people we don’t understand are different because we only know the things within ourselves - outside ourselves we don’t know anything,” Duggen said. In the end, it’s all about perception, Duggen says, as he takes out a smeared piece of paper that once had directions on it. The now wrinkled paper, being left out during a rain shower was now more than half unreadable, with more than one cigarette burn hole present. “This is how life is, unclear and full of holes, but we’ll be fine,” Duggen said with a short chuckle. A Frame Is Worth A Thousand Words, Or About 250 Years February 14, 2006 KEENE, NH – The oldest house in Keene, located at 500 Marlboro St., stands strong and proud as its antique appearances and large plaque easily draw in any curious observer. The first settlers of Keene, NH (then known as Upper Ashuelot) arrived to their destination on September 1734. Seth Heaton, then 24, was one of seven proprietors to venture this unknown land. When he is evicted in 1747, there will only be two of the seven proprietors left in the area. Upon their arrival, the new land owners get to work to make unclaimed areas their own. By the time 1736 came, Seth Heaton had marked his territory by building a log cabin with a small apple orchard on the back side. Upon looking out his window one morning, Heaton noticed an Indian picking the apples off the trees in his orchard. Heaton pointed a gun at the Indian, and it was the last time he saw Indians taking fruit from his trees. He paid for this action greatly when Indians burnt down his log cabin in 1747, leaving nothing left but ashes and reminisces. With no shelter and the harsh weathers of winter rapidly approaching, Seth Heaton had no other choice than to move back to his home town, Wrentham, MA, due to threat of starvation. His journey back to Wrentham turned out only to be temporary in order to wait out the severity of winter. Heaton returned to New Hampshire in 1750. This time, he built a house and located it across the pathway from where the Indians had burnt down his log cabin. Still standing and in good tact today, this living antique marks the oldest house in Keene, NH. Today, people can find this historical element at 500 Marlboro St. The current owner of the house, Jim Bardis, was unable to answer questions due to medications from a recent surgery. His daughter, Linda Nowill, talked about the house’s features in his stead. “The post and beam construction is the most appealing quality about the house; it’s different. The rooms are really big and the original beams are still showing. The plank boards on the floor are really wide and the slanted ceilings are also really interesting,” Nowill said. Nowill said that the most interesting qualities to the historic house are the interior of the walls and the windows. “Some of the walls still have horse hair instead of sheet rock, and the windows have a wavy, distorted look to them,” Nowill said. Nowill added that even though the house has an antique look and feeling, the inside of the house has been redone in order to keep the house preserved as best as possible. “He’s [Jim Bardis] done regular maintenance, but nothing out of the ordinary,” Nowill said. Bardis is the first person to live in the house that is not a descendent of Seth Heaton. He bought the house on Sept. 6, 1962 from Lilian Semple, who inherited the house from her grandmother, Ellen Heaton. Between Seth Heaton’s death in 1787 and Ellen Heaton’s inheritance in 1846, two generations of the Heaton family have lived in the house, but rarely in harmony. According to Seth Heaton’s Will, his youngest son, Samuel Heaton, was to inherit the house, all the land and the entire cattle, horse and sheep stock. When Samuel Heaton died in 1830, he left the house to his oldest son, David Heaton. Instead of David Heaton leaving the house to one of his sons, he left it to both. His Will stated that both his sons, Seth III and Samuel II, shall receive “equal undivided shares” as well as being required to support his widow, Ellen Heaton (their step-mother). Both being appointed “equal undivided shares” by their father, the two brothers could not agree on a half point. So, in 1848 a three man committee was appointed by the Probate Court to divide the property between the brothers. The committee decided that the boundary was to be “passing through the centre of the dwelling house”, so that Seth may obtain “the privilege of passing and repassing at any and all times when necessary to and from the cellar and Chamber across the North part of the kitchen.” This separation of the house lasted until 1856, when Seth III’s widow sold his share to the brother. Today locals will notice the house’s uniqueness by a moderately sized plaque in the front of the house for recognition of the being the oldest house in Keene, NH. The plaque was awarded on November 1906 by the Ashuelot Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). DAR Regent, Bea Record, said it’s an honor to get a plaque because they are not handed out often. “There has to be some sort of historical event that can apply to one of our three missions: historical preservation, education and patriotism. Giving out plaques is more common when the Chapter is first starting,” Record said. The Ashuelot Chapter of DAR has been in existence since May 20, 1896. “DAR started in early 1890, so it’s one of the older Chapters,” Record added. Record also said the society is in the middle of doing projects such as restoring plaques and working to preserve the Cheshire County Courthouse records. “They’re just piled in the cellar. They’re not filed, documented or on acid-free paper,” Record said. Record added that one of the main objectives of DAR is to help preserve the history, which they have been trying to do at the Cheshire County Courthouse for the past three years. “From 1769 to 1900, all the documents have been kept in a non-temperature controlled environment and these records contain information on things like lawsuits, deeds and banks. Our Chapter has donated both time and money to help get these files in their correct environments,” Record said. Record added that societies such as DAR are good for the community because DAR is a well trusted society, and places such as the Courthouse would not want anybody going down into their cellar. Out With the Old, In With the New February 2, 2006 KEENE, NH – As the strive to keep the consumers happy and interested continues, new businesses in Keene are finding themselves using indulging, visually unique tactics to lure in the customer. In less than six months, three new companies have made themselves neighbors in the Keene business community; two of which have already opened their doors, welcoming the highly-rich amount of walkers to browse their merchandise. If you’ve gone down Main Street in the past couple of months, it’d be hard to miss this brightly colored store that stands out like a rain cloud on a clear day. Going from the traditional grey-stone industrious look, which overpopulates most of the downtown stores, to a fully covered lighter shade of plum purple with a vibrant sun as it’s trademark, Cool Jewels sparks an interest of welcoming curiosity to any passing customer. The unique colors of Cool Jewels does not stop when the customer enters the store though, inside the walls are painted luminous glows of sun yellow and aqua blue, with merchandise in an orderly fashion of clutter. There is not an open space larger than a foot left on the walls, tables, display cases, or clothes’ racks. Manager Carol Dominjue said she’s been involved in Cool Jewels’ visual creations since the owners, George Russell and Barb Bradford, decided to expand their locations to Keene, marking it their sixth Cool Jewels. “I helped with painting the outside and decorating the inside. There’s a certain theme to each wall and section and the colors go with those themes. The best quality about the store is the brightness. The colors represent the countries that the merchandise came from. I think the colors also represent the kind of atmosphere that we like to have”, Dominjue said. Cool Jewels, located at 84 Main Street, occupies half of the area where Bannigan’s Bike Shop once resided. The other half of the space is inhabited by Armadillo’s Burritos, which moved from 14 Cypress Street in 2005. Cool Jewels opened their doors to customers in October 2005, right before Keene’s famous annual event, Pumpkin Fest. “We opened the store in time for Pumpkin Fest and we got great business. Since then business has been slow, but I think it’s because of the season since every business is slow right now. It’s just that time of year, but I think people will come back”, Dominjue said. Dominjue said the crowds will return because not only are their representational colors unique, but so is their merchandise since there is no other store like Cool Jewels in Keene. Their merchandise includes a wide range of variations from clothes and jewelry to tables and sculptures. Another store to enter the Keene neighborhood grabs the attention of the consumers with a sneak preview to what could be a taste of sinful elegance. Unbridled Chocolates, which opened their doors on Jan. 28, 2006, is co-owned by Alan Crofut and Maureen Sullivan. Although Crofut and Sullivan have kept Unbridled Chocolates in the wholesale business since the summer of 2004, selling mass amounts of chocolates to different stores located in 23 U.S. states and Canada, the Keene retail store is the first of its kind. The store offers chocolate-loving customers a chance to have as much or as little as they want, whenever they want. So, instead of being required to buy a box of truffles and then going through the hassles of shipping, the customer can go into the Keene store and buy as little as one. Crofut said he knew the store would be successful in Keene due to the mass amount of people who love to walk around Main Street. “It’s right in the middle of a very fine array of restaurants and there’s a lot of ‘foot traffic’ from people walking around Keene”, Crofut said. Unbridled Chocolates, located at 36 Central Square, moved into a space where a florist shop, A Sympthony of Flowers, once flourished. The opening of the store in Keene opens a new chapter of experience for their company and themselves. “It’s been a lot of fun, hasn’t been easy, but it’s been fun. We’re still learning from the experiences but we do know one thing – we know how to make chocolate really well,” Crofut said. The third, and newest, member to the Keene neighborhood is called La Carreta. Locating itself at 222 West St Suite #1, La Carreta specializes in Mexican cuisine. Currently, the restaurant is in the process of remodeling the building that The Rynborn Restaurant and Blues Club once resided. The owners of La Carreta, Juan R. Aguirre and Antonio Aguirre, plan to open April 1, 2006.