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ENVIRONMENT
There can be no doubt: The Elm City cherishes its trees.

REGION
Brattleboro church is selling off a valuable window for cash.

75 cents

MONDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2009

www.sentinelsource.com

Cable change pitched
Company plans to serve Pine Tree customers
By CASEY FARRAR Sentinel Staff

Homelessness is on the rise; agencies try to help
Some camp in tents in the woods. Others close their eyes every night in their cars. They might claim spaces on their friends’’ couches. Many fill local shelters to capacity. Homeless people can be anywhere. And everywhere. Wherever they are, there are community organizations in Cheshire County seeking to help them. A measure of the problem is that the city’’s homeless shelters are overflowing, agencies are teaching courses in such basic subjects as how to be a responsible tenant, and two local agencies have designated employees assigned to check up on homeless people as their full-time job. The number of people being helped has risen in the past five years. From July 2008 to June 2009, outreach workers for social services agency Southwestern Community Services interacted with 1,422 homeless people in Cheshire County. During the same time frame, Southwestern Community Services had 341 people in its Keene shelters, with 16,186 ““total bed nights”” —— a combined nightly head count of people who stayed in shelters —— according to the agency’’s Cathy Thornton. Of those using shelters, there were 81 families, including 79 children. Five years ago, from July 2003 through June 2004, there were 287 people in Southwestern’’s shelters, with 11,319 total bed nights. That year, there were 52 families, including 71 children. Services can be as simple but as essential as a place to lay down one’’s head. What these agencies also provide are steps for getting people back on their feet. That means counseling for alcohol and substance abuse, treatment for people with mental health issues, and classes and counseling to assist those looking for jobs and homes. They work in concert, helping those who want it, continuing to offer help to those who don’’t.

A Bristol-based cable company is working on a deal that could keep cable television and Internet going to some people in the Monadnock Region. Argent Communications LLC issued a statement over the weekend saying it has reached a tentative agreement to take over the cable television and Internet systems formerly operated by South Carolina-based Pine Tree Cablevision. Officials from the companies have reached a verbal agreement and discussed price and terms, said Argent Communications spokeswoman Shawn Bauer. She said they expect to finalize the deal early this week. Pine Tree Cablevision officials could not be reached for comment.
See CABLE on Page 3

Good news, bad news
Dairy farmers still struggling
By JESSICA ARRIENS Sentinel Staff

STEVE HOOPER / Sentinel Staff

Matthew S. Primrose of Monadnock Family Services brings in materials to assist the group at “Tent City,” the impromptu homeless campground just behind the West Street Shopping Center, last week. In background are Pam Maliska, center, and resident Rob Doyle at right. The group’s new enclosed shelter is at right.

Invisible homeless
Agencies look to aid those with no fixed address
Saturday
A look at the people living in Keene’s ‘Tent City’
att S. Primrose parked his truck on the eastbound shoulder of Route 101 in Keene, then followed a path downhill to an orange and gray tent he could see through the trees from the road. A small black bike rested on its side steps in front of the tent. Nearby, the old stone arch bridge loomed over the Branch River. ““Homeless outreach!”” Primrose said as he approached. ““Anyone here?”” There wasn’’t, not at that moment. Primrose surmised that there might not be anyone there at all anymore. Items looked the same as the last time he had visited that spot: There was the bike, and then there was the empty package of lunch meat and the empty bottle of fuel injector fluid tossed into a rock fire pit. Plastic bags filled with trash hung from a spindly tree stump. Primrose left his business card in the tent’’s door flap. ““I never open someone’’s tent,”” he said. ““That’’s their home.”” This is what he does every day in his outreach job for social services agency Monadnock Family Services: look for homeless people, especially those who abuse alcohol or drugs or struggle with mental health problems. ““First thing in the morning, by 6:30 and 7, I’’m driving around Keene through parking lots, trying to find anyone living in their ve-

Milk has been on the minds of politicians this year. Earlier this fall, Congress and President Barack Obama approved a bill directing an extra $350 million in assistance to dairy farmers. In July, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met privately with dairy farmers at a Contoocook dairy before unveiling changes to federal milk price support programs and new lines of credit for farmers. A group of U.S. representatives formed the Congressional Dairy Caucus. The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing titled ““Responding to Low Dairy Prices: Exploring Avenues for Federal Action.”” Milk has been on the minds of dairy farmers this year, as always. The outlook was grim. FarmSee HELP on Page 4

Sunday
How does an elderly woman live on the streets in Keene?

M

By DAVID P. GREISMAN Sentinel Staff

PAGES 6 & 7

INSIDE
Local shelters top capacity; life skills classes target homeless
hicle,”” Primrose said. ““I’’m talking to them, trying to find out what their situation is. Are they homeless? Why are they there? ““I spend a lot of time out in the woods,”” he said. ““A lot of those guys don’’t want to be helped. I’’m building a trust with them. My phone is ringing off the hook throughout the day. Anyone who is an individual who has mental health issues, who doesn’’t want to live where he’’s at, I try to get him in shelters and whatnot.”” Some homeless people who set up tents live close enough to reach grocery stores and other elements of ““civilization,”” but far enough out of sight so they can be safe and private. Though Primrose is new to the job, he is a Keene native who has known of places where homeless people stay. Some he finds through the knowledge of his counterpart at social services agency Southwestern Community Services, who joins him in outreach trips. Others he finds by thinking about where a homeless person might decide to be. ““I’’ve put my name out to communities, loSee AGENCIES on Page 6

Today
What services are available to help those in need?

ONLINE
Use the interactive feature “InTentCity” to learn more about homelessness in Keene at www.sentinelsource.com. In the Special Features section, you’ll also find a photo slide show, a video of life at the homeless encampment known as “Tent City” and the series in its entirety.

and

will be read today by more than 32,000 people.

THE SENTINEL IS PRINTED WITH SOY INK USING RECYCLED PAPER.

INDEX
1

WEATHER
2 4 8 16 SPORTS TELEVISION WORLD 11, 12 22 4, 5, 14
22 pages, 4 sections

80 328 0000 1

BULLETIN BOARD 16 CLASSIFIEDS 19-22 COMICS/ADVICE 17 9 ENTERTAINMENT 16

ENVIRONMENT 15, LETTERS LOTTERIES/WEATHER NATION 6, 7, 10,

18 9 4 13

NEW HAMPSHIRE OBITUARIES OPINION REGION 3, 4, 6, 7, 9,

Tonight Snow showers, a low of 23

40 25 LOW HIGH

Tuesday

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