Belknap County Sportsmen hosting annual Italian Night Dinner on Thursday

GILFORD — Belknap County Sportsmen's Association will be hosting their annual Italian Night Dinner on Thursday February 19, at 6 p.m. at the BCSA club house on Lily Pond Rd. (RT 11C) Gilford.

Lt. Wayne Saunders, NH Fish & Game District 1 chief, will be the after dinner speaker. His talk will be "A Day In The Life Of A NH Conservation Officer".

Cost is $10/person BYOB.



Lakes Region parents among honorees at Children’s Trust awards night

CONCORD — On Tuesday, February 3rd, New Hampshire Children's Trust/Prevent Child Abuse New Hampshire presented 28 awards to parents and caregivers, to honor and recognize these extraordinary people who go above and beyond to be the best parents that they can be. Honorees and their families gathered in the Governor and Council Chambers at the New Hampshire State House in Concord for the 8th Annual Unsung Hero Parent Recognition Awards ceremony.

"To help strengthen our families and our communities, and I can think of no better way to do that than to honor the people who, day in and day out, are working with children and their families to make every humans life better, to support every child with a kind of foundational grounding that they need," said Hassan

Each award recipient and their family proudly stood while being photographed as they accepted their award from the governor. After the ceremony, families gathered for a reception to further celebrate with refreshments and coloring activities.

Kristy Blanchette, of Laconia, was nominated by Caroline Martin. Blanchette is the mother of two. Her one-year-old daughter, who was born prematurely, still requires a feeding tube in order to thrive. According to Martin, Blanchette has been very strong throughout this experience and is determined to succeed and provide for her children. Her commitment is proven by her dedication to being a student, maintains a 4.0 GPA, is successful in her job and also calls Bingo numbers at her son's school to help cover the cost of tuition.

Judy Downing, of Gilford, was nominated by Mary Mirkin. Downing and her husband are parenting their three grandchildren. In spite of family hardship, Downing manages to work full-time and provide primary care for these active children. One of the children is affected by a chronic medical condition, which requires on-going medical and therapy appointments. According to Mirkin, Downing has not hesitated to utilize various community resources to create an outstanding quality of life for her grandchildren.

Mandy Irving, of Franklin, was nominated by her mother, Joann Irving. Irving's mother describes her as "strong, caring, sensitive, my Rosie the Riveter, Mrs. Cleaver and Mr. Rogers role model mom." As the mother of two, she also holds two jobs, efficiently runs a household, coaches 5 year-olds in softball, was a birth coach for a deployed soldier's wife, and recycles children's books, clothing and toys for those less fortunate. Irving is sensitive to the struggles of other moms and leads by example.

Award recipients were nominated by family, friends or co-workers who believe the parents' strength and empathy make them role-models. Nominators also believe the Unsung Heroes demonstrate effective use of the 5 Protective Factors: 1. Parental Resilience: Overcoming everyday stress and bouncing back; 2. Social Connections: Having people who know and support them; 3. Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: Where to find out about parenting skills and developmental growth; 4. Concrete Support in Times of Need: Knowing where to turn for help; 5. Social and Emotional Competence: Knowing how to help their children talk about their feelings.

The New Hampshire Children's Trust is committed to eliminating child abuse and neglect by helping families to build Protective Factors to buffer them in times of stress. Executive Director Keryn Bernard-Kriegl says, "It is an honor to recognize parents for being heroes to their children and role models for their community."

Spirit of Community Award given to Belmont teen for outstanding volunteerism

BELMONT — Daniel Iacopucci, of Belmont was named as one of New Hampshire's top two youth volunteers of 2015 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. Daniel was nominated by Belmont High School. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 20th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

Iacopucci, a senior at Belmont High School, created a picnic area and perennial garden along a paved walking and biking trail in a neighboring community last year. He loves the outdoors, so when he was looking for ideas for a service project, he started thinking about a relatively new trail running along a picturesque lake in nearby Laconia, and ways he could add to the enjoyment of those who use it.

"I wanted to create a place for people and families of all ages to enjoy together and felt it was important because families don't spend as much time together as they should," said Iacopucci. "I thought it would be nice if people could enjoy a nice walk on the trail and then stop for lunch at the site."

He sold the town's director of parks and recreation on the idea of creating a picnic area and garden, and then wrote letters to local businesses seeking money and supplies. Next, he recruited about 20 volunteers and went to work digging the garden and planting trees, flowers and shrubs, which Iacopucci watered almost every day. After collecting wood from a local lumberyard, he worked with his father and grandfather to build and stain a picnic table; and acquired a second table by cleaning the parking lot at a donor's business. The project took four months to complete. Now, "families and trail users of all ages will have a place to rest and have a bite while enjoying the beauty of the lake and garden," said Iacopucci.

As a State Honoree, Iacopucci will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where he will join the top two honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 students will be named America's top youth volunteers of 2015.

Local officers selling Police Supporter Shirts

BELMONT — Sgt. Adam Hawkins of the Belmont Police and Sgt. Matt Currier of the Gilmanton Police are selling Police Supporter Shirts.

The profits from the sales of the shirts will go to benefit the Officer Arkell fund of the Brentwood Police Department. Police officers are trying to raise money to help send the Brentwood Police Department members to Washington, DC for Law Enforcement memorial week to add their fallen brother's name to the memorial.

The shirts can be seen on the Gilmanton and Belmont Police Facebook pages. Short sleeves, long sleeve t, and hooded sweat shirts. The order forms are on the facebook pages.

Shirts have "Support Your Local 50" on the front. The back shows a flag with a thin blue line, and the words New Hampshire, and Police Lives Matter.

Contact Sgt. Hawkins at Belmont Police, or Sgt. Currier at Gilmanton via Facebook. You can find order forms in the Police Department lobby area as well as online. Orders are due by Feb. 28.

People are asked not to call Police Departments for orders and contact via email or Facebook only.