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Courtesy photo: Stylists Holly Begin (left) and Lauren Caudill (right) hovered over the heads of Mayor Donnalee Lozeau (seated right) and Miles Begin (left) to kick off Hair Cuttery’s Twelfth Annual Share a Haircut Campaign.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Making Nashua’s summer learning a treat

Making summer learning a treat

Building trebuchets and analyzing water samples from Mine Falls Park were among the activities students enrolled in the Nashua School District’s summer school program were treated to over the last few weeks.

Although there are a third fewer students enrolled in the summer school program this year than two years ago, administrators have tried to make the best of what they have available.

This summer, money from the operating budget combined with the last of the district’s federal stimulus funding were used to provide a reworked summer school program to students in the city’s low-income elementary schools.

The intent was to integrate science with math and literacy, said teacher Randy Calhoun, the program’s director.

“It’s authentic learning,” he said. “You see the kids being so much more confident.”

The program was developed for students who had shown signs of becoming disengaged in the learning process.

The program wrapped up Friday, giving the students a few weeks of break before school starts again for all students on Tuesday, Aug. 30.

Selective protest

More than a dozen people protested outside U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s downtown Nashua office Tuesday afternoon.

Affiliated with the nonprofit liberal group MoveOn.org and Democratic causes, the protesters urged Ayotte, a Republican, to not cut Social Security and Medicare and to tax people fairly.

Some also objected to Congress’ debt ceiling bill. Ayotte voted against the measure Tuesday, saying it didn’t make enough spending reductions.

Fellow U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, supported the bill, saying she was concerned about the level of cuts but realized it avoided a debt crisis.

The U.S. would have defaulted on its loans if the debt ceiling hadn’t been raised.

The bill allows Congress to eventually explore making cuts to Medicare.

Asked if they would also picket outside Shaheen’s office, the protesters mostly demurred, but one said perhaps they should.

Social Security hours

Budget cuts mean little to no overtime for Social Security Administration employees, so offices across the state will soon reduce hours of operation by 30 minutes each day.

Starting Aug. 15, the offices, including the one at 175 Amherst St., will operate from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

The 2.5 hours weekly will allow employees to finish meetings with visitors who had arrived before the closing hour without going beyond the end of their shifts at 4 p.m. and thus work overtime, said Social Security spokesman Robert Clark. Agency employees will continue to work regular hours, he said.

Congress provided Social Security with nearly $1 billion less than President Obama requested for the budget this fiscal year, which “makes it impossible for the agency to provide the amount of overtime needed to handle service to the public as we have in the past,” Clark said.

But Clark said that most Social Security services don’t require an office visit. Applying for benefits, signing up for direct deposit, obtaining a Medicare card or proof of income letter, or informing the agency of a change of address or telephone number may be done at www.socialsecurity.gov or by calling a toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213.

Haircuts and suits

Mayor Donnalee Lozeau recently sat in a hairstylist’s chair – although she didn’t get a haircut – and stopped by a clothing outlet to help kick off two charitable causes.

First, Lozeau visited Hair Cuttery for the start of a program that will give disadvantaged children a free trimming.

The 12th annual Share a Haircut campaign will run until Aug. 15 at the national chain Hair Cuttery, which has a location at 2 Cellu Drive. Every time a child 18 or younger gets a haircut from Hair Cuttery, the chain will donate a free haircut to a disadvantaged child in the community.

On Thursday, Lozeau and other political and community figures marked the launch of a suit drive at Men’s Wearhouse at 274 Daniel Webster Highway. The national chain is holding its fourth annual program in which people can donate unwanted business wear for unemployed people in need of professional attire.

Residents meet police

Nashua Police will soon hold its annual Citizens Police Academy, allowing city residents to see how the department operates.

The academy will run Wednesday nights from Sept. 7 through Nov. 2. Each week, police bureau commanders will outline how they operate day to day, and there will be demonstrations by members of the department’s Special Reaction Team, Hazardous Device Unit, Dive Team, K-9 and Crime Scene Unit.

Nashua residents 18 and older can attend. Space is limited, and the deadline for reservations is Thursday, Sept. 1.

For more information, call community policing coordinator Ed Lecius at 594-3544.

Meeting time

Don’t hesitate to get involved in civic affairs. This week, the city will have various meetings, including the Board of Aldermen’s only get-together in August.

For a full list of meetings, go to this column at www.nashuatelegraph.com.

Nashua … From the Inside was compiled by staff writers Albert McKeon and Michael Brindley.