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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Finally, an invitation to the police scholarship ball

Special to The New Hampshire Union Leader

February 03. 2013 9:20PM

I met quite a few Manchester police officers when I used to work as a night-side reporter for this newspaper. But, I was never invited to the annual Manchester Policemen's Wives Association Scholarship Ball, probably because I was a bit of a pest, always bugging them for information they didn't want to share with me.

I have been off the cops beat for more than a decade, so this year I finally got an invitation to the ball from my friend Kristine Cunningham, who serves on the event committee. Just as I was beginning to feel special I found out you don't actually need an invitation to go. Anyone who wants to support the Policemen's Wives Association's scholarship fund can buy a ticket.

This year's ball, with a country-western theme, will be held Saturday, March 9, at the Radisson. Tickets are $35 and include a night of dinner, dancing to the sounds of DJ Ken Dionne, silent auctions and raffles. There will also be the big announcement of Officer of the Year.

The Policemen's Wives Association has awarded more than $1.1 million since it began its scholarship fund in 1972. Each year, any unmarried, dependent child of an active, retired or deceased Manchester police officer can apply. And this is the first scholarship I've heard of that awards money to every single applicant who plans to attend college and meets certain grade criteria. Last year about 30 scholarships were awarded. The dollar amount changes each year depending on how much money is raised at the ball.

With everyone's lives getting busier, I think it's great the members of the Policemen's Wives Association are still going strong to put on events that enhance the quality of life for policemen and their families.

If you are a friend of Manchester police and want to support the Manchester Policemen's Wives Association Scholarship Ball through a ticket purchase or raffle item donation, contact Kristine Cunningham at

Defining downtown

Continuing with the theme of special invitations, I was also excited to get one from Sara Anderson Beaudry to Intown Manchester's Next Step Summit on Feb. 12. The goal of the summit is to build a vision for downtown and discuss what needs to be done to ensure the area will be competitively positioned for the next decade.

As a stay-at-home mom who was once more active in the community, I often fantasize that I am still needed at important city events. And when people start sending me personal invitations that use words like "summit" I get really excited.

Maybe the email's greeting of "Hey, there," and not "Hey, Katie," should have tipped me off sooner. But, it took me a while to realize that it was a mass email and anyone who considers themselves a stakeholder in the future of our downtown is invited to the summit.

While my invitation to the Next Step Summit may not be as special as I thought, this is an important event. Downtown business owners, employees, residents and others interested in our town should visit to register. Participants will get a behind-the-scenes look at what is happening downtown, its needs for infrastructure and capital improvements, how to prepare our workforce to be leaders in the new economy, and what we can do to further enhance downtown Manchester as a "Live, Work, Play" destination.

Central Pride

As an alumna of Central High School, I have always had Central Pride. Now I am even prouder since learning about the Central Pride Foundation, which has been working to enrich the high school experience for Little Green students since 2004.

Central Class of 1982 alumna Claudette Knieriem reached out to me about the foundation after she read last week's Scene, which included a piece about a group of Hillside Middle School parents working to raise money for that school's science and technology program.

Knieriem, who serves as secretary for the Central Pride Foundation, said the non-profit group raises money and provides financial assistance to student groups and organizations that need extra support. Recipients have included the band, robotics team, DECA club and the Maskers theater club.

Central alumni are encouraged to attend the foundation's next fundraiser on Friday, Feb. 15, from 7 to 11 p.m. at Milly's Tavern. A $10 ticket includes entertainment by the band Manchuka, a silent auction (which may include some autographed Adam Sandler memorabilia), light appetizers, and the opportunity to purchase a mug of a special Milly's Tavern "Central Brew."

Once again I am thrilled to hear about a group that is busy making good things happen at our city's public schools. Knieriem is a Hooksett resident who does not have a child at Central yet. She said she hopes Hooksett and Manchester come to some sort of agreement so her middle schooler can attend her alma mater.

"Go green or go home," she wrote in an email. Now, that's Central pride.

NH365.ORG Event of the Week

It is time for "New Hampshire's Greatest Winter Fair." The New Hampshire Farm & Forest Expo takes place at the Radisson this Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I remember attending this event on school field trips as a kid, and I loved it. There are exhibitors and education sessions on things like bee-keeping, chain saw maintenance, backyard maple sugaring, and running farmer's markets. There will also be student demonstrations, animals and more.

Admission is free for attendees 15 and under and $7 for everyone else. Visit for more information on this and other fun things to do in the Queen City and the rest of the state.

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