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Keep the Heat On entering 10th year in Plymouth

PLYMOUTH — The temperature has dropped, the first snow has fallen, and the holidays will soon be here. For many in our communities who face struggles all year, this season adds the challenge of keeping their families warm. But the Plymouth Area Community Closet (PACC) is gearing up to help them with fuel assistance funds raised by Keep the Heat On (KTHO).
For this 10th anniversary year, the fundraising goal is $50,000. Over the past nine years, PACC has helped nearly 600 families to heat their homes, with the number increasing every year. The average amount of assistance has also increased, from $300 to $500.
While the PACC keeps no records of those who receive assistance, they are all our neighbors. Some own their homes, and others rent. Some are young families; some are single moms; many are older folks, either on Social Security or not yet eligible. In each of their situations, something went wrong—a job was lost or there was a death in the family. Perhaps illness struck, with increased costs of treatment and prescriptions. Grandchildren moved in, and now the budget won't stretch enough to feed and clothe them on top of paying the fuel bill. Whatever the situation, they are proud and would prefer not to have to ask for help.
The Fuel Assistance Program FAP) administered by the New Hampshire Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides benefits to some qualified households to help with heating costs. The FAP can also help during heating emergencies by arranging an emergency delivery of fuel or delaying a shut-off. But both their guidelines and their limited funding prevent them from helping all who are in need.
That's where the PACC enters the picture. After contacting an applicant's fuel provider to verify that they are struggling to pay their fuel bills, PACC uses funds raised through KTHO to enable them to make ends meet. And that can make all the difference to a family.
The KTHO committee is already hard at work preparing for the 10th annual fundraising event on January 14, 2015, and they're asking for the support of the entire community to ensure success in achieving their goal of raising $50,000 for fuel assistance. Plymouth State University has already contributed by making the spacious Prospect Hall available for the evening, which includes a fantastic buffet dinner prepared by area chefs representing their restaurants, and exciting silent and live auctions. Local restaurants, event sponsors, and auction donors have started to come forward with offers of support.Watch this newspaper for more details on the 10th Annual KTHO, including ticket sales (still just $35!).
KTHO is organized and sponsored by the Plymouth Area Democrats, partnered with the PACC in their continued mission to provide assistance to our neighbors. KTHO—and the fuel assistance it helps provide—are entirely non-partisan.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:52

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Hebron Hazard Mitigation Committee to meet on Tuesday

HEBRON — The Hebron Hazard Mitigation Plan Update Committee has postponed its next meeting until Tuesday November 25 at 1 p.m. in the Hebron Public Safety Building.

The Hebron Hazard Mitigation Plan Committee has begun the process of updating its 2009 Hazard Mitigation Plan. The committee, which is represented by a variety of local interests, will focus on the natural and manmade hazards that put Hebron at risk as well as the development of recommendations to protect the safety and well being of town residents. Residents of Hebron and representatives from neighboring communities are encouraged to attend and provide input.

A copy of the 2009 Hazard Mitigation Plan can be viewed at the town's Hazard Mitigation website http://www.hebronnh.org/hazard-mitigation-committee.html. For more information call Chief John Fischer, Hebron Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director at 744-5584 or David Jeffers, Regional Planner, Lakes Region Planning Commission at 279-5341.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:45

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400 acre property overlooking Newfound Lake permanently conserved

ALEXANDRIA — The Lakes Region Conservation Trust and the Newfound Lakes Region Association have announced the permanent conservation of 400 acres in Alexandria overlooking Newfound Lake and encompassing the landmark ridgelines of Big and Little Sugarloaf and much of the shoreline of pristine Goose Pond.

The Newfound Region's most recent conservation success, to be named the Sugarloaf – Goose Pond Conservation Area, was donated to the Lakes Region Conservation Trust in September. The Newfound Lake Region Association will hold a conservation easement on the land.

The Sugarloaf – Goose Pond Conservation Area forms a key part of the viewscape on the western side of Newfound Lake, most prominently the Ledges that tower above West Shore Road. This land includes unspoiled rugged and diverse habitat, and encompasses about 80 percent (3,000 feet) of the shoreline of Goose Pond. The remainder of the shoreline belongs to Wellington State Park.

The newly conserved property also contains more than two miles of popular hiking and snowmobile trails, including the eastern end of the Elwell Trail, a key link in the route from Newfound Lake to Mount Cardigan.

Conservation Trust President Don Berry and Newfound Association Executive Director Boyd Smith said conservation of this property has long been a Newfound vision and priority, and that it has been accomplished because of the generosity of Chris Keppelman and Andy McLane, both of Bridgewater, who made it possible to acquire the property for conservation.

McLane noted, "Conservation of this remarkable parcel of land ensures that the property, and its scenic beauty, natural wildlife habitat, and trails will be forever preserved for public enjoyment and for traditional low-impact public recreational uses."

Keppelman added that the property had been on the market for some time and that its historical uses would likely have been lost to private development had this conservation transaction not been completed.

Smith said the NLRA's work on conserving the Sugarloaf – Goose Pond property began in mid-2007, "which demonstrates the need for vision, patience, and persistence when working to conserve key properties for future generations." He added, "Anyone who has ever visited this property knows how wonderful it is. If you have not been there yet, photographs give merely a sense of the beauty that permeates this place. Add the smells and sounds of undisturbed woodland near the pond or the eagle-eye view of Newfound Lake and the far away Franconia Range from the Sugarloaf ledges, and you will know what an important achievement this is."

In addition to the two donors, Berry and Smith highlighted the roles played by the Newfound Land Conservation Partnership and the John Gemmill Newfound Fund in this project and in other land conservation work in the Newfound watershed.

The Newfound Land Conservation Partnership is a collaboration of the NLRA, the LRCT, and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, along with camps, other conservation organizations, and interested individuals, formed in 2009 to promote land conservation in the Newfound watershed.

The John Gemmill Newfound Fund was created in 2011 by Helen Gemmill, in memory of her father, John K. Gemmill, long-time Director of Camp Pasquaney in Hebron. The Gemmill Fund supports Newfound watershed land conservation by covering project costs such as surveys, appraisals, and stewardship that could otherwise be a challenge to successful land conservation transactions. The fund is managed by the LRCT and can be used to facilitate Newfound watershed land conservation projects by any organization engaged in such work.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:35

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Belmont to ‘Deck the Village’ on Dec. 7

BELMONT — On Sunday, December 7 from 2–4 p.m. Belmont's annual Deck the Village event will be held in the village green near the library on Main Street.

"Deck the Village" celebration will once again feature local students playing festive tunes to listen to and Christmas carols for an old-fashioned sing-a-long. Both indoor and outdoor activities are planned including children's crafts and refreshments in the Mill building, and holiday stories in the Belmont Library. Santa has been invited to stop by if he has time that afternoon. Attendees are encouraged to bring a camera to capture Santa's visit. All activities will be fully accessible and all ages are encouraged to attend.

For more information contact Gretta Olson-Wilder, Town of Belmont Special Event Coordinator, at 998-3525.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 December 2014 04:11

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