Hugh Cole student raises money for playground

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Volunteers raising money for a new playground at the Hugh Cole School got some help this week from a tiny source: Eight-year-old Brielle Reese DeCastro, 8, a third grader at the school and the daughter of Cheryl and Tony DeCastro. Brielle spent the winter shoveling snow out of her grandparents' driveway, doing odd jobs and soliciting donations for the playground at her mom's hair salon and White Tiger Karate, where she takes classes. As of this week Brielle had raised $150 for the project, and she handed over a check on Monday. Now in its third phase, the playground will cost about $65,000 and fund-raisers have about $5,000 to go. The third and final phase, to install the last parts of the playground, is scheduled for late June.

Hugh Cole School

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.