From my very first post I wanted to pay homage to the speech which inspired the title of my blog, Ain't I a Woman? by Sojourner Truth. Such a beautiful speech, such a beautiful name, such a beautiful woman. It is one of my favorite pieces. I strive to emulate this style in my own work. Poetic and powerful. Honest and unafraid. Memorable. And I like brevity. It too is beautiful. This is the standard I wish to be held to as I explore the question with you ~ ain't I a writer?
"Obliged to you for hearing me, and I do have a few things more to say..."

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Published last week in Seacoast Scene with photos;


Community Radio

By Tammi J Truax

     Did you know that you have your own radio station? Yes, it is yours. Portsmouth Community Radio, called WSCA 106.1, on the FM dial.
     Chances are you didn’t know it and haven’t been listening. Most radio listeners still choose commercial radio most of the time, and WSCA is a low power (LP) station that can’t be heard in some places, though anyone can stream it live on the computer by visiting the station’s web site.
     Portsmouth Community Radio got its start in 2000 when signs were posted around town announcing a meeting to discuss applying for a low power FM license due largely to the vision and efforts of Tim Stone who is still involved, and Jay Gardner, who sadly passed away before the station went on air, but to whom the station has been dedicated. WSCA 106.1 FM Portsmouth went on the air on September 12, 2004, after much work and a major “barn-raising”, and has since been broadcasting an eclectic mix of music, public affairs, arts, and cultural programming around the clock. It continues to grow and change, sometimes struggling, sometimes flourishing. Everyone is welcome to participate in whatever way best suits them.
     So what is a community radio station? Yours is a completely volunteer operated, non-profit and listener supported radio station offering diverse programming that is largely locally produced. (In the interest of full disclosure: I am co-producer of a show called Seacoast Journal.) Because the shows are created and carried out by locals who step up to offer them they reflect a wide variety of interests and orientations as does our general population thus it is a mixed format radio station. One listen will not be indicative of what you will always hear. The only thing you can be sure of is that you will not hear what you will always hear on mainstream commercial radio. Sometimes the surprises are amazing. I have heard some fantastic programming coming out of the little studio in an old factory building on Islington Street. Some of the volunteer DJ’s offer music programming of course. There has been everything offered from opera to heavy metal, as well as a nice emphasis on promoting local music. But in an unexpected evolution, many of the shows that have been offered is public affairs programming. That would include all sorts of talk radio from food to politics as well as local news. Station founder Tim Stone says that the locally produced public affairs programming found on WSCA is “the real richness” of the station, and he is proud that the station offers more of it than even NHPR.
     That type of home-grown journalism is not the only benefit to community radio stations. Said Policy Director of the Prometheus Radio Project of Philadelphia, PA, “Low-power stations save lives during emergencies, like WQRZ(LP) in Bay St. Louis, Miss., did in Hurricane Katrina, or KYGT(LP) did during a 2003 snowstorm in Idaho Springs, Colo. They give voice to underserved groups, like the Hmong community programs on KRBS(LP) in Oroville, Calif., or the disability community show on WSCA(LP) in Portsmouth, N.H. And they bring young people to the art of radio, like the “at-risk” youth on KKDS(LP) in Eureka, Calif., or the Radio Palante teen programmers on WCOM(LP) in Carrboro, N.C.”
     A specific example of that would be the recent broadcast on the aforementioned WSCA show called “Don’t Dis my Abilities” created and co-produced by Ronnie Tomanio who reported;
     “I had sent out a request through my network of friends that our show was looking for a poet who could express what it was like living with a disability. On a Tuesday in March 13-year-old Cheyenne Gemma, of Raymond, came to the radio station with her entourage of grandparents and a speech pathologist. We were told ahead of time that she did not like people talking for her, over her and about her. She made it known that she had a voice, even though it came through an electronic communicator, and she knew how to use it — thank you very much!
      Here is Cheyenne in her own words:
Question: How do you feel not being able to speak?
Cheyenne: Who knows what it feels like not to talk? Shut out of the world, and all alone. Not being able to share your thoughts, only listening to others talk about you. I want to cry and tell them how they hurt me. Words are wonderful; they should make me feel alive. I want to tell everyone how they make me feel.”
     That is the heart of a community radio station and yours is one of only about eight hundred in the country. It is participatory, and it gives a voice to the community. As in the above case, literally hours of work goes into producing the few minutes of words (or music) that make it on the air, but are carried out because every voice deserves to be heard. It really is your station. Give it a listen, or better yet get involved.
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Monday, August 15, 2011

The second time I have had to write an obituary;




Dr. Hugh A. Harter, Retired Professor Emeritus, Author and Translator
     Hugh A. Harter, of Portsmouth, NH, died Saturday afternoon August 13, 2011 at his home with the peaceful pull of the Piscataqua River outside his window to lull his passing.
     Professor Harter was born in Columbus Ohio in December of 1922, and raised there by his parents, Anthony and Georgiana (Hayes) Harter.  He received his BA cum laude in 1947 and PhD in 1959 from Ohio State University, an MA cum laude from Mexico City College, the University of the Americas in 1951 and a Doctor of Letters degree from Alma College. The latter honoring his innovations in international education. He began his teaching career while still a student himself.  He was the Andrew Mellon postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh in 1960 and 1961. He also taught at Wesleyan University, Elmira College, Chatham College and Loyola University before becoming a professor at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware where he taught from 1966 until 1984. For many of those years he served as chairman of the department of romance languages. He was also the Robert Hayward professor of modern foreign languages from 1976 to 1984. He found time to teach abroad including at the University Catolica de Santa Maria, Arequipa, Peru in 1969 and as director of academy program in Segovia, Spain from 1969-1998, serving as the director of the International Institute of Spain, where he was named professor emeritus. He lived in Segovia for years and in 1976 was made an Honorary Citizen of the city. He also taught and conducted research in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
     Professor Harter was an author in several genres and several languages and became known internationally as a scholar of Spanish and French literature. He was particularly renowned for his translations of Nobel Prize winning Spanish poets. His bilingual editions of major poetical works, Shadow of Paradise and The Diary of a Newlywed Poet by Nobel Laureate Vicete Aleixandre and Juan Ramon Jimenez are widely recognized as masterful. He translated seven novels from the French. The books he authored include Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda, Tangier and All That, and more recently, Return to Patton's France, 1944's Odyssey Retraced, The Countess, which he called “a satirical novel in verse.” His most recent, a book of poetry called Flying With Nightingales was published in 2009. He co-authored and edited many other books.
     His distinguished career in education and literature was disrupted only once, for his service in World War II with the Military Intelligence 3d Army at Normandy and then the Air Transport Command. He was the recipient of medals of St. Calais, Vendome, Blois, Dombasle, Utah Beach, Avranches, and Ouzouer, as well as the medaille d'Honneur of Confedn. Europeene des Anciens Combattants, and many other awards. Hugh wrote extensively about his war experiences which affected him deeply, and returned to France for the dedication of Avenue Hugh Harter. He was also a business man, a visual artist, and an art collector. He created an original holiday card every year that he sent out to all of his loved ones, and his watercolors illustrated his favorite book, The Countess.

     Hugh would say his greatest achievement was winning the heart of his beloved wife Frances who predeceased him in 2006. Fran and Hugh traveled extensively but lived many years in New York City before retiring in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 2003, where he will be missed by many. He was predeceased by a sister. He is survived by his step-children and their families, and his many dear friends.

     Services will be held Wednesday at 1 PM at Finnerty and Stevens Funeral Home at Great Barrington, Massachusetts, where Hugh will be buried next to Fran. A memorial service will be held in Portsmouth, NH at a later date.


Waves
Here when the wind dies,
The silence grows,
Ponderous and bold,
Like growing old,
As the sunset dims
And the sea turns gold
And the silence drifts
Towards us,
Thunderous and bold,
And the waves come lapping,
Lapping, lapping at the shore.
—HUGH A. HARTER,