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Scene in Manchester: This 45-minute boot camp never gets any easier


May 27. 2012 8:58PM

If you've ever been stopped in mid-day traffic by a large gang of runners on Elm Street or in the Millyard, you've probably had a run-in with the YMCA Boot Camp Class. Dozens of men and women descend on the downtown Y twice a week to be whipped into shape by coaches Lisa Maria-Booth and Danielle Bicknell, the duo behind Fortitude Health and Training.

The 45-minute class is filled with people from all walks of life, including stay-at-home moms like Katie and her friend Sarah Tompkins, corporate-types like Joshua Wright and Walt Milne, small-business owners like Lisa Boucher, and even father/daughter duo Pete and Beth Rouleau.

After our first class we could barely walk. After the second class we had trouble lifting our grocery bags. Most exercise routines get easier after you've done them for a while - not boot camp, which is probably why it's so successful.

Maria-Booth and Bicknell, who have been teaching at the Y for 20 years, offer similar boot camp programs throughout the Greater Manchester area. Visit for more information.

Manicure for the mayor

We shouldn't have been surprised to see Mayor Ted Gatsas at Manchester School of Technology last week for the cosmetology department's Reunion Cut-A-Thon. Event organizer Mollie Chase did a great job getting the word out, and our mayor seems to have the ability to be in several places at one time. Gatsas, who never has a hair out of place, said he attended to show support for the fundraiser, not for a $10 haircut. He has, however, enjoyed one of the student manicures at the school and particularly enjoys the sugar rubs offered as part of the treatment.

Manchester Board of School Committee member Kathy Staub was also there to show support and get her beautiful, long curls trimmed. In all, the event raised $400 to help send four MST cosmetology students to national competition. The event also helped Locks of Love, as Brenda Wilcox had 10 inches cut off to be sent to the organization that provides hairpieces to children suffering from hair loss.

Diggin' Dyn's digs

We're not sure how the crew at Dyn gets any work done. We recently got a tour of their 25,000-square-foot offices at 150 Dow St., including the new climbing wall, ping-pong tables, video games, kitchen with real, working beer taps, and secret speakeasy that appears to be right out of a 'Mad Men' episode.

We'd like to thank Dyn's Media and Content Coordinator Adam Coughlin for inviting us to the company's meet-and-greet for friends and family last week, and making us feel pretty depressed about our own working conditions. It's not that we don't appreciate the unlimited access to tap water at 100 William Loeb Drive. But, after meeting Dyn's new Executive Chef Kevin Donahue (formerly of XO) the week-old egg salad sandwich from the vending machine just won't have the same appeal.

Coughlin said Dyn's office perks actually help them attract and keep big-name clients such as Zappos and Twitter. Having tripled the number of employees in less than two years, the people at Dyn must be doing something right. We're glad they're doing it in Manchester. Who knows? Maybe some of that culture will rub off.

Touch a Truck

If your kiddos like trucks, here is an event not to miss. Dozens of vehicles in all makes, models and sizes are rolling in to the Mall of New Hampshire parking lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday for the fourth annual Touch a Truck event, where children can sit in, climb on and experience amazing trucks.

Among the highlights: a Manchester Fire Department ladder truck, a 142-foot crane from McGuinness Tree Service, New Hampshire Motor Speedway official pace car, the Manchester Police Department SWAT tank and crime scene van, Holly's Kona Ice truck, Five Guys Burgers and Fries giant 4x4 monster truck, a replica 'Ghostbusters' mobile and many others.

The event benefits Noah's Ark Child Care Center and the Mall of New Hampshire's Simon Youth Foundation. You can buy tickets at the Mall of New Hampshire guest services desk through Thursday and get a VIP goody bag full of perks and coupons.

Touch a Truck tickets are $5 per person, with a family of four or more capping at $20. Children under 1 are free. Tickets will also be available at the door, but goody bags are part of the pre-sale only, with a limit of one goody bag per family. event of the week

We were a little early on last week's pick. Just to clarify, Cirque Du Soleil will be at the Verizon Wireless Arena this week. Check out for specifics.

Our pick this week has to be the Community Memorial Day event hosted by Manchester Community Health Center today at Arms Park. The fun starts at 10 a.m. and lasts through the 2 p.m. Elm Street parade until 4 p.m. Entertainment, a Black Hawk helicopter, craft fair, food and a rubber duck race down the river are the highlights of this free event. We hope to see you there!

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