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At home – with hope – in Keene:  A Mexican rancher starts over | Manchester Ink Link



At home – with hope – in Keene:  A Mexican rancher starts over | Manchester Ink Link


An occasional series of articles about immigrants to New Hampshire and the people and experiences that help them learn a new culture and find work, housing and community.

Luis surveys his surroundings with the tricycle cart his family uses to shop for groceries in nearby Keene. Photo/Julie Zimmer

NEW IN NEWHAMPSHIREIn an industrial building on Vose Farm Road in Peterborough, dozens of shelves are piled high with stacks of coiled, colorful firehoses, destined for fire departments in the United States.  This is the New England branch of Kuriyama Fire Products, a division of Kuriyama of America.  

Before a single hose leaves Peterborough, it must be tested to make sure it won’t leak under the high pressure required to fight fires.

That’s where Luis, an asylum seeker from Mexico, comes in. His last name is omitted to protect his identity.

Since mid-2023, his job has been to test hoses and send back any that leak. While the pressure at most fire hydrants ranges from 120 to 150 pounds per square inch, Luis said, he tests them under 300 to 400 pounds per square inch. 

“Firefighters have too much risk to have firehoses that don’t work,” he explained on a recent tour of the facility. He likes to orient new hires.  He shares his work ethic by example, telling them to read the manuals because they can read English better than he can, but to watch him as he demonstrates what to do. 


Kevin Gage, the production manager who hired Luis, says he wishes he had more employees like him.

“He’s a hard-working man. He usually gets here early and works hard all day,” Gage said. “He walks in and shakes everyone’s hand. It’s a routine.  He’s an asset to us.”  Luis has a lot of good ideas, Gage adds, “like putting safety features on equipment.”

Problem-solving comes naturally to Luis, who raised cattle and horses on a ranch in Mexico until it became too dangerous to stay.  Finally, one night, without turning on the headlights of their vehicle, he set out for the Texas border with his family, Maria and three children. Luis had a visa from earlier trips to the United States and Canada on cattle business. He and the family were admitted legally through a port of entry to seek asylum.   

Volunteers Jumpstart Adjustment

At a shelter in El Paso, the Annunciation House, the family met representatives of what has become Project Home: the Keene-based not-for-profit that assists asylum seekers with housing, education, medical care, legal assistance and other needs as they await court consideration and before they are eligible to work. Through them, on a Zoom call at Christmas in 2019, the family met Hanah LaBarre and Nathan Lyczak, whose home in Keene they would share for more than 18 months. 

“Covid arrived just after they did,” LaBarre recalls. “That presented a whole set of new challenges.”


Besides setting ground rules about daily life – where digital devices could be used, when visitors could come, whether candles could be used, when common areas of the house could be shared – LaBarre and Lyczak found themselves making policies around Covid:  “We needed to know if the guests went into any other homes and whose? Did everyone wear masks?”

Even though anxiety was high, LaBarre found the guests’ strong family bonds “lovely” and the kids, “delightful, especially Caleb, the little one, who was extroverted, always zipping around the house, playing with us.” Caleb is now in elementary school, his sister Luisa is in middle school and his brother Jonathan is graduating from high school with a scholarship to college.

Luis remembers those first months as difficult. 

“Early days are hard because you won’t be able to work,” he said.  His first two applications for a work permit were declined without explanation.  Maria got hers on the second try.  She now works as a housekeeper in a memory care unit at Langdon Place in Keene, an elder care facility.

“The people are kind, loving and friendly,” Maria said.  She likes the job but dreams of opening a restaurant someday.


“She’s the best cook I know,” Luis volunteers, and his assessment is echoed by LaBarre and Laura Williams, a Project Home volunteer who tutored Jonathan and enrolled Maria and Luis in the Keene Community Education program for English as a Second Language.  When they got jobs, both Luis and Maria had to drop the ESL program because the morning classes conflicted with their work.  But Williams has stayed close to the family, especially Maria.

“We’ve spent many hours together making tamales,” Williams said. 

Kuriyama Fire Products
Kuriyama Fire Products Production Manager Kevin Gage talks with Luis during his shift at the Peterborough warehouse. Luis works as an assembler at the facility. The rancher and his family immigrated from Mexico four years ago and came to the Monadnock region with the not-for-profit accompaniment program Project Home. Photo/Julie Zimmer

Work Permit Brings Independence

Until Luis was approved to work and got a Social Security card, he volunteered for three hours a day three days a week at Stonewall Farm near Keene. When it came time to find a place of their own, the volunteer work paid off. Luis had become a friend of the then-farm manager, and mentioned they were looking for a place to rent.  One day his friend asked him to meet at an apartment. Luis thought he might need help repairing something.

After walking through the apartment, his friend asked, “Are you good here?”

“I said, ‘What?” Luis remembers.  He couldn’t believe that the apartment was for rent to his family.

Luis Kitchen Cart Maria scaled
One of Luis’ smaller projects in welding certification training at Phaze was this kitchen cart, a gift for Maria. Photo/Dan Gillou, Phaze

NH Training Center Offers New Skills and Certification

The apartment is now homey, bustling with family activities and visits from friends.  In the kitchen is a token of Luis’ love and appreciation for Maria: a stainless-steel rolling cart that he designed to give her extra workspace in their kitchen. 

He created it at Phaze Welding Technology Center, a welding shop and training school in Peterborough next door to Kuriyama.  While Luis was waiting for a work permit, Project Home connected him with training at Phaze to become a certified welder.

Dan Guillou, founder and owner of Phaze, was impressed with Luis’ work ethic, determination and courage in the face of personal losses. Both Luis’ father and his oldest son died in Mexico after he left, and Luis was unable to return for their funerals.  Guillou gave Luis a “scholarship” to help Project Home afford the tuition.

“We’re not here to make a buck but to train people,” Guillou said.  He launched his business in 2019 and says hundreds have gone through training. There are more than 2 million job openings for welders in the country, he said. Phaze can train 80 to 100 a year. With welding skills and certification “There won’t be a day you don’t work unless you don’t want to work,” he said.

As he got to know Luis, he recognized a hard worker and fellow problem-solver. 


“Welders look at a concept and the things they can design to solve a problem. To be good, you have to have vision.  It involves a lot of planning.”

Luis Fire hose adj
Luis tests a fire hose for the Kuriyama warehouse in Peterborough. Photo courtesy of Kuriyama Fire Products

Family Works to Rebuild in NH, with Grateful Hearts

Gillou learned that Luis had been such a planner on his ranch in Mexico, where he hired welders when he needed work done.  A graduate of Mexico’s National School of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine, Luis has an advanced degree in cattle production and systems engineering.

Luis’ dream is to be a rancher again, in the United States, Guillou said.  “With the skills he learned here, he can be a much better rancher.  He can do himself what he used to hire done.”

Guillou is committed to helping Luis realize his dream. He’s put him in touch with two brothers in Keene who will make farmland available to launch an organic farm and perhaps, in time, a cattle operation. Guillou located equipment to start with this year.

“I know exactly what to do with that,” Luis said.  


Even with all the things that happened, he said, “We’re very lucky to find this place, this city.”  He said he’s never felt discriminated against. 

“I don’t think anyone realizes what the true cost is to settle a family here in the state,” Guillou said. “It takes an immense amount of resources to get them through a year.  There’s no government support for asylum-seekers.”

“One day, we can help, too,” Luis said, “when we have our stuff done — when we are accepted, legal and have our [permanent resident] status. We want to become citizens.  It’s a huge goal.”

The hearing on their asylum case is later this year.

For information about volunteering with or donating to Project Home, visit their website Screenshot 2024 02 11 at 8.49.31 PM

Advice from Luis and Maria 

… for other immigrants:

  • Have a positive attitude and be patient – very, very patient.  “Everything goes slow, like molasses in the wintertime,” Luis said.
  • Be smart enough to make it work. Learn how to say, “We need this, not that.”
  • If you’re accepted for a job, do the work.  Be proud of your job.

…. for hosts and other volunteers

  • Keep going.  People are different; they have different problems.  Learn from people as they come.
  • Understand and ask about cultural differences, including food.  Living with a family that ate a lot of vegetables, Luis said he had to tell them, “I’m not a rabbit.  I’m a cattleman!”

Advice for hosts from Hanah LaBarre and Nathan Lyczak: 

  • It takes a big heart.  It’s a journey with a lot of uncertainty. “In our case, because of Covid there was no known end-date.”
  • Know as much about the person or family as you can before they arrive.
  • Step into it. Be open to another culture. 
  • Know your limits.  Know the help you’ll need from others. “It takes a community to make it work: a full team is crucial. “
  • Set house rules in the beginning. 
  • Think through the transportation issues.  Can guests walk to school? To resources they need? 
  • Communication can be tricky.  Sometimes you’re not talking in the same language. 
  • Consider family roles:  It was challenging for us that the heads of our guest family were elder to us. “That was different. In Mexico Luis had people working for him in his house.”

Advice for volunteers from Laura Williams, ESL teacher:

  • Know what you want to do, and follow your heart. 
  • You have to be flexible.  The core group of Project Home is aware of the difficulty of having volunteers as a support system. 
  • There are opportunities on many different levels. You can be as involved or a peripheral as your time or patience allow. 
  • The scenario is different for every person who comes.  Each case has to be handled differently.  You can’t impose a scenario that worked for one family on another.

Observations from Dan Guillou, Phaze Welding:

  • Money spent at the border is wasted.  The border wall is mismanaged.  The immigration process is mismanaged.  There’s got to be a different way.
  • A huge workforce in Latin American countries is going to waste or relocating. America should incentivize Latin American governments to help their people.
  • Getting involved locally is the first step to solving what is going on in DC and at the border. 




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New Hampshire

Maryland Black Bears win 5-2 at home against New Hampshire Mountain Kings – The Rink Live



Maryland Black Bears win 5-2 at home against New Hampshire Mountain Kings – The Rink Live

The Maryland Black Bears won at home on Saturday, handing the New Hampshire Mountain Kings a defeat 5-2.

The visiting Mountain Kings took the lead in the middle of the first period, with a goal from

Jack Costanzo



Matthew Hale

and Ethan Rosenoff assisted.

The Black Bears tied the game 1-1 with a goal from

Kareem El Bashir

late in the first, assisted by


Luke Janus


Jeremi Tremblay


The Black Bears took the lead in the very last seconds of the first period, with a goal from


Samuel Stitz

, assisted by Jeremi Tremblay and

Ryder Nienhuis


The second period ended with a 3-2 lead for the Black Bears.


Luke Rubin

increased the lead to 4-2 in the third period, assisted by

Dimitry Kebreau


Riley Ruh



Benjamin Tauscher

also made it 5-2 five minutes later, assisted by Kareem El Bashir.

Next games:

The Black Bears are set to face New Jersey at 6:30 p.m. CST at Middletown Ice World Arena, while the Mountain Kings face Johnstown at 6:30 p.m. CST at Tri-Town Ice Arena. Both games are scheduled for Friday.


Automated articles produced by United Robots on behalf of The Rink Live.

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New Hampshire

New Hampshire AI robocall imitating President Joe Biden traced to Dean Phillips presidential campaign



New Hampshire AI robocall imitating President Joe Biden traced to Dean Phillips presidential campaign

The Associated Press (AP) and NBC News released exclusives Friday identifying Lousiana magician Paul Carpenter and political consultant Steve Kramer, who was associated with the Dean Phillips presidential campaign, as the parties responsible for a series of robocalls in New Hampshire that used AI to imitate President Joe Biden ahead of the Democratic primary in the state. 

According to the AP and NBC News, Carpenter was hired by Kramer, a consultant for the Phillips campaign at the time. Carpenter told the AP he thought Kramer was working for the Biden campaign, alleging that Kramer told him the Biden campaign needed to create the AI phone call to save time and money. Carpenter shared screenshots with the AP and NBC News showing a text from Kramer with the script for the phone call and a Venmo payment, which Carpenter alleged was payment for creating the robocall. Carpenter also showed NBC News and the AP a text from Kramer days after the news of the AI robocall was in the headlines with a link to the news story and the word, “Shhhhhhh.” Carpenter alleged that he called Kramer, who instructed him to “just delete all the emails, act like nothing happened.”

Phillips responded to the revelations on X (formerly known as Twitter), writing:

I’m disgusted that a consultant hired to assist my campaign w/ballot access is alleged to have faked a robocall impersonating Joe Biden. While I don’t know the person, such behavior is despicable and I trust will be investigated by authorities. It’s also despicable that the Party actively limits access to state ballots and blackballs reputable consultants who would otherwise work with challengers like me. The corruption in politics is pervasive and must be exposed and addressed.

Carpenter responded to the release of the AP and NBC News stories by publishing an example of an AI video of Biden that he quickly created to show how easy the process is. Carpenter also responded to criticism on Facebook of his willingness to make the robocall despite its message not to vote, stating:


I was told the recordings were going to be listened to, to show the effectiveness and w[h]ether or not they would be used in the future[.] From what I understood it was all based on a “see if it sounds good” then I wo[k]e up to a text message that says shhhhh 3 days later.

Reports of the AI robocall began circulating on January 22, when the New Hampshire Department of Justice (NHDOJ) released a statement alleging that the call said, “Your vote makes a difference in November, not this Tuesday.” The NHDOJ also claimed the calls “spoofed” or imitated the number of “the treasurer of a political committee that has been supporting the New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary write-in efforts for President Biden.”

Then, on February 6, the NHDOJ released an update claiming that the calls were traced to Texas corporations, Life Corporation and Lingo Telecom, which provided phone services to Life Corporation. The NHDOJ issued a cease and desist, document preservation notices and subpoenas to Life Corporation. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also issued a cease and desist order to Lingo Telecom, demanding “the company immediately stop supporting illegal robocall traffic on its networks.”

The New Hampshire AI robocalls have prompted immediate action from both the government and private sectors. On February 9, the FCC issued new guidelines prohibiting the use of AI-generated voices in robocalls. On February 17, leading technology corporations such as Adobe, Amazon, Google, IBM, Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI and TikTok announced a voluntary commitment aimed at safeguarding democratic elections from the disruptive potential of artificial intelligence tools.

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New Hampshire

How to Watch UMBC vs. New Hampshire Women's Basketball: Streaming & TV Info



How to Watch UMBC vs. New Hampshire Women's Basketball: Streaming & TV Info

The New Hampshire Wildcats (9-17) will be attempting to stop a four-game losing skid when hitting the road against the UMBC Retrievers (9-17) on Saturday, February 24, 2024 at Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena. It airs at 1:00 PM ET.

Keep reading for information on how to stream this game and click here to check out our score picks!

Catch tons of live college basketball, plus original programming, with ESPN+ or the Disney Bundle.


UMBC Women’s Basketball Game Live Stream & TV Channel Info

  • When: Saturday, February 24, 2024 at 1:00 PM ET
  • Where: Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena in Baltimore, Maryland
  • TV: ESPN+
  • Live Stream: Watch this game on ESPN+

Catch college basketball action all season long on Fubo!

How to Watch Top 25 Games

UMBC vs. New Hampshire Scoring Comparison

  • The Wildcats average 8.5 fewer points per game (55) than the Retrievers allow their opponents to score (63.5).
  • When it scores more than 63.5 points, New Hampshire is 5-1.
  • UMBC has a 2-2 record when its opponents score fewer than 55 points.
  • The 58.6 points per game the Retrievers score are the same as the Wildcats allow.
  • UMBC has an 8-2 record when scoring more than 59.3 points.
  • New Hampshire is 8-6 when allowing fewer than 58.6 points.
  • The Retrievers are making 39.8% of their shots from the field, just 1.4% lower than the Wildcats allow to opponents (41.2%).
  • The Wildcats make 37.1% of their shots from the field, 4.8% lower than the Retrievers’ defensive field-goal percentage.

UMBC Leaders

  • Anna Blount: 12.9 PTS, 1.2 STL, 42.5 FG%, 35.5 3PT% (22-for-62)
  • Jaden Walker: 7.1 PTS, 44.2 FG%, 66.7 3PT% (2-for-3)
  • Jaliena Sanchez: 8.4 PTS, 1.3 STL, 35.3 FG%, 24.6 3PT% (16-for-65)
  • Trinity Palacio: 5.6 PTS, 30 FG%, 30.2 3PT% (16-for-53)
  • Jordon Lewis: 7.3 PTS, 39.5 FG%, 31.7 3PT% (20-for-63)

New Hampshire Leaders

Rep your team with officially licensed college basketball gear! Head to Fanatics to find jerseys, shirts, and much more.

UMBC Schedule

Date Opponent Score Arena
2/15/2024 Binghamton L 52-44 Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena
2/17/2024 @ Albany L 58-56 SEFCU Arena
2/22/2024 Maine W 67-59 Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena
2/24/2024 New Hampshire Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena
2/29/2024 NJIT Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena

New Hampshire Schedule

Date Opponent Score Arena
2/10/2024 @ Maine L 67-48 Cross Insurance Center
2/15/2024 Vermont L 75-41 Whittemore Center
2/22/2024 @ NJIT L 64-52 NJIT Wellness and Events Center
2/24/2024 @ UMBC Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena
2/29/2024 Albany Whittemore Center
3/2/2024 Binghamton Whittemore Center

© 2023 Data Skrive. All rights reserved.

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