VOICES. Silent voices. When someone dies, the one thing you wish you could have is to speak to them one more time. Hear their voice. Listen to their tone, influx, and hear the determination. But once they are gone the sound cannot be heard again.

There are two voices I am referring to in this essay. One was a friend and colleague, and one was a person of history and knowledge.

On Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, Denise Robert was shot in the head on Ray Street in Manchester. I cannot temper my words for you. Denise’s death needs to be as blatant as possible because there was absolutely no reason for her to have been murdered.

She and I worked at the Union Leader newspaper as retail salespeople. We sat across from one another. Frankly, I was not in the same category as Denise and her tenacious, indefatigable way she went about selling ad space in the UL as well as our suburban papers. No one could match her joyous intensity. All this energy came from a tiny 62-year-old, 5’2” powerhouse, who could not have weighed more than 100 pounds.

One of my regrets is the countless times Denise would call my cell phone and leave a breathless voice message, and I did not keep those messages. Who could know a harmless and kind person would be targeted for death? I believe she was targeted and killed for reasons we may never know. It was not a random act of violence.

Understand, Denise was warmly known as a pushy, unrelenting salesperson. So, when I would get these calls, admittedly, I did not always pick up. She would have discovered a new business and call me with a breathless “Bev” only it would be more like “Bheeev!” I don’t know why I would not have kept at least one of them.

And so, on this upcoming 5th anniversary of her death and the countless prayers I say on her behalf, I know you are at peace. If only, I could hear you one more time.

Sept. 5, 2020 is the first anniversary of John Milne’s passing at the age of 73. John was a preeminent political journalist working for 40 years in the rough world of politics. When John was 15 years old, he talked his way into a press conference with John Kennedy, who was running for president. A feat unheard of today.

I met John through a book project I’m working on that talks to United Press International journalists, and how they covered important stories in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

I have the unique privilege of having more than two hours of recorded conversations with John. The interview took place in his home in Concord, where he and his wife, Lisa, were packing up all their belongings to move closer to family in Maine. He was in failing health when we talked.

John’s amazing career reporting the news included some of the biggest stories of the day. Milne was on the desk when a news tip came in about an auto accident on Chappaquiddick. John said, “We’re calling around and all of a sudden somebody finds out whose car it was. It was Kennedy’s car. In the quaint vernacular, all hell broke loose.”

He talks about William Loeb and the infamous Union Leader letter to the editor, known as the Canuck letter. He was one of three reporters covering Senator Edmund Muskie’s speech in front of the Manchester Union Leader, and Muskie cried, or did he?

The question was, who wrote the Canuck letter? John shares what he knows. “And it is most likely that it was one of the Nixon dirty tricks. I’m saying it because I don’t know or remember where they were from, either the Committee to Reelect the President or if they were working in the White House. One of Nixon’s guys tells a television reporter in a rather tender moment that he had written the Canuck letter.”

I say to him, “In a tender moment? I love it.”

And he replies, “Would you like another euphemism?”

We talked about Hillary Clinton and what he called “the Benghazi business.” However, some of the most exciting stories were about Meldrim Thomson, Jr., the three-term governor of New Hampshire. Those stories are a book in themselves.

So, it is with as much gratitude I have his voice and his words to listen to in contrast to the few words I wish I had from Denise.

With so much focus on words and their meaning today, we need to listen, remember, and record them.

Beverly Stoddart is a writer, author and speaker. She lives in Windham.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

WHILE THE primaries are a fading image in the rear-view mirror and the chosen candidates are fully immersed in their general election stumping, there are still some interesting lessons to be learned from the results of those primary contests.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Monday, September 14, 2020

I’VE BEEN an activist since I was eight years old. As a kid of Polish descent growing up in Minnesota, other kids would tease me for my funny-sounding name (it’s pronounced My-ka). I could sit there and take it, or I could stand up for myself. I chose the latter and I’ve been doing so ever since.

IN CELEBRATION of the start of hunting season, Andy Schafermeyer devoted his September 6 “Adventures Afield” column to advertising different ways to hunt black bears. Bear hunting season in New Hampshire began Sept. 1.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

AFTER A TOUGH primary, we can only win when we stand united. In New Hampshire with a short general election — seven weeks at most — and an evenly divided electorate, in order for Republicans to win, all candidates and their supporters must come together as soon as possible to support the tic…

THE 2020 legislative session has been unlike anything we’ve faced before as a Legislature. Our work, and the way we fulfill our constitutionally appointed duties, has changed and adapted in response to the coronavirus. Throughout everything, I am proud of the work and dedication of the New H…

Thursday, September 10, 2020

ANTI-ASIAN racism, from the assaults in towns, to the fear of East Asians, to President Donald Trump’s name calling, continues to pervade the country. COVID-19 is being used as the fuel to justify these thoughts and actions. If xenophobia of East Asians continues to spread, the effects could…

WHILE I AM hesitant to borrow the title from Thomas Paine’s famous Revolutionary War pamphlet, I believe this is just what we need now — an injection of some much-needed common sense into the 2020 election debate before it’s too late and Donald Trump somehow gets re-elected.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

WHILE SOME readers of this piece may know me as a state representative, others know that I’m also still a college student. As myself and my classmates begin this school year, please keep in mind that it begins with a grave risk to our health and that of college staff and surrounding communities.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

EACH YEAR on Labor Day, we celebrate and honor the people who do the work in our communities and those in our history who have contributed to the struggle of labor. But this year there are no picnics, parades, or celebrations, as working families hold their breath hoping for the best. Job lo…

Thursday, September 03, 2020

UNTIL RECENTLY, the Executive Council has been a lesser-known institution in New Hampshire, but more and more Granite Staters are recognizing the important role it plays in protecting our fundamental rights and ensuring that the state’s money is wisely spent in a way that benefits all.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020