Thumbs up to 13-year-old Portsmouth Middle School student Maddoc "Patches" Johnson, who will make his second appearance on "America's Got Talent" at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 17 on NBC.

Johnson is spending this summer working in local theater: He's playing a young Tommy in a production of "The Who's Tommy" at Seacoast Repertory Theatre.

He's also wowing national audiences on TV, having recorded his audition months ago. He first appeared on "America's Got Talent" on July 10, earning high praise from the celebrity judges for his performance of an original rap song. He received four "yes" votes, earning a place in the first round of competition.

Johnson's success is rightfully making folks proud here on the Seacoast.

“It’s really exciting to see one of our students realize a dream. ... We’ve really tried to support his creativity, including his rapping,” said Russ Grazier, executive director of the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center, where Johnson is a trumpet student.

Johnson can't share the results of his efforts on "AGT" in his quest for the show's $1 million prize. We look forward to following along as long as the journey continues and to watching him perform on local stages, too.

Get friendly with police

Thumbs up to National Night Out coming to local communities on Tuesday, Aug. 7.

Local police departments participate in this event in a big way. National Night Out is an annual community building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships to make neighborhoods safer, better places to live. The event encourages the community to come out and meet police.

In Portsmouth, 15 neighborhoods have already signed up to participate in the event from 5-8 p.m., which is described as family-friendly with opportunities to see fire trucks, police cars, SWAT vans, front-end loaders and other heavy equipment up close while meeting the personnel from police and fire and other city departments who operate them. What kid doesn't want to see all of that?

In Dover, the event will take place 4:30-7:30 p.m. Dover Police describe it as "a time for community members to meet with police officers, discuss issues, learn what the police do, and unite with the common goal of crime prevention."

Like Portsmouth, Dover Police will have vehicles on display including police cruisers, the police motorcycle, the crime scene and mobile command vehicles and their tactical rescue vehicle. Several officers, including the mounted patrol and  K9 officer, will be at the event and interacting with the public. There's bound to be a whole lot of patting of the horses and police dog.

Dover's National Night Out will also feature firefighters and fire apparatus from the Dover Fire and Rescue Department.

The goal of the evening is to show the public, especially kids, that police are there to help. They are approachable and willing to listen. Open communication with the community solves so many problems and is one of the key components to fighting crime.

It's fair time

It may seem early for fair season, but the 51st edition of the Stratham Fair begins next week and gets a big thumbs up from us.

Stratham Hill Park is already undergoing its annual transformation into the grounds for the fair, which opens Thursday, July 19 and runs through Sunday, July 22.

It's a real charmer — a small-town America kind of event put on by dedicated volunteers who give back to the Stratham firefighters and EMTs.

So if you like horse pulls, sheep sheering, 4-H kids, a pie-eating contest, freshly made fajitas and lemonade, fireworks, amusement rides and entertainment, give it a try. It's bound to put a smile on your face.

For more information, including a complete schedule of events, visit