EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 17, 2012

Your view: Letters to the editor

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Battistini remembered for his spirit

To the editor:

The YMCA and health community-at-large lost a good friend with the passing of Fred Battistini Nov. 9.

It was only fitting and proper that he chose the eve of Veterans Day for his demise, giving the fact that Fred was a true veteran of the U.S. Navy who would have rendered a hearty salute two days later.

Every day was a blessing for Fred throughout his 89 years. He kept up his YMCA regimen like a true admiral, showing up three times a week with his coterie and enjoying a brisk workout.

It wasn’t so much the elliptical machines that kept his balance as it was the true friendships he incurred for over a half century as one of the last remaining Rudy’s Tigers. There were no strangers in Fred’s life. He was a friend to those he knew — and those waiting to meet his acquaintance.

He cast a gangly presence, given his stature, but his gentle demeanor was always present. He was “one of the boys” because age never entered his life. Those around the YMCA scene called him the city’s “oldest teenager.”

While son Rick racked up a cache of gold medals during a Senior Olympics Meet one year at Harvard University, along went dad for the ride. Fred decided he would take on the competition in his age category — scant as it may have been for octogenarians — and wound up with his own gold medal display.

There was Fred on the medal stand like some ageless Mark Spitz, basking in glory, while Rick was there applauding the loudest.

More than anything, Fred enjoyed the legacy he left behind. He doted over his children and grandchildren. Rick has been coaching the Hillies and Lowell High teams over the past 30 years and readily thanked the freedom his father gave him from the family business to conduct such a passion. Another son, Matt, was an outstanding weightman in high school track and still holds records for the Hillies.

Daughters Risa and Andria are role models of their own when it comes to the world of education and community endeavor. Fred, humble as he was, passed off the credit to his wife, Millie, and their 60 years of marriage. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango.

Fred was the ultimate Rotarian, given his 48 years, always “service above self,” and kept the ambers glowing with his proud Italian ancestry and his efforts with the Bradford Swim Club.

Rest in peace Fred. You’re in good company upstairs.

Tom Vartabedian


Together, we’ll build

New Hampshire’s future

To the editor:

Thank you to the people of New Hampshire for the trust you have placed in me. I am truly grateful. I will work as hard as I can to serve you and to continue to earn that trust. Together, we can build a stronger, more innovative New Hampshire where our businesses can grow, flourish and create good jobs for our people.

I have always known that New Hampshire is a special place, with a community of people who come together to solve our common challenges. My husband, Tom, and I have experienced that first-hand while raising our son, Ben. Ben is a smart, funny Exeter High School graduate who happens to have severe physical disabilities.

Because of advocates who came before us, Ben was able to remain at home and attend public schools in Exeter, where he made friends and grew up to be the wonderful young man he is today. It was the sense of community that we felt in our home town while raising Ben and our daughter, Meg, that helped inspire me to enter public service more than a decade ago.

And it is that same sense of community and coming-together that I intend to bring with me to the Statehouse. New Hampshire faces great challenges in the coming years to ensure we are building a strong and vibrant economic future, and I know that, most of all, the people of our state expect their government to work in order to keep us moving forward.

The incoming legislature will be more evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. We should see this not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity to move beyond the partisan divide. The challenges our state faces must be met with the best solutions and ideas we can muster. Good ideas and good people reside on both sides of the aisle.

We will build a New Hampshire that nurtures innovation and entrepreneurs. Where businesses can and want to grow. Where young people will stay and work, and create their own new companies. A New Hampshire where every child goes to a good school; where all families can afford college; and where all of our workers can get the training they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Together, we will build a smarter, transparent state government on a foundation of fiscal responsibility and common sense. We will meet our responsibilities, and we will do so without an income or sales tax. And we will continue to ensure that all of our citizens share in the liberties and rights our state holds so dear.

Over the past year, I’ve met many wonderful people across New Hampshire. Know that I will take what I heard from you, what I learned from you, with me into the governor’s office. And I’m going to work every day to keep listening, because it is only together that we will build a stronger, more innovative New Hampshire.

As governor, my door will always be open, and I want to hear from all Granite Staters who are willing to contribute their talent, energy, and ideas to moving New Hampshire forward. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us to make progress for our state. It will take all of us coming together, and I hope that each and every citizen will participate. Because that’s always been the New Hampshire way. Together, we will move forward.

Thank you again, New Hampshire.

Maggie Hassan