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Belknap Mill German Town presentation

LACONIA — A documentary exploring the German heritage of a town in Westmoreland, Jamaica, will see a special screening, followed by a discussion with the director, at the Belknap Mill on Thursday, February 27 at 7 p.m.

Producer-Director David Ritter, a Jamaican who attended school in New Hampshire and now divides his time between the United States and the Caribbean, says the project grew out of a series of 10-minute documentaries he was producing to highlight some of the cultural enclaves in the Caribbean. His segment on Seaford Town came to the attention of producer Clinton Wallace in Los Angeles, whose family had its roots in Jamaica.

Ritter said Wallace was happy to see that someone had documented his family heritage and he asked Ritter to return for a more complete record of "German Town". Armed with camera, microphone, and "a big stack of mini-DVD tapes", Ritter returned to interview residents willing to talk about their lives and history. The result is "German Town: The Lost Story Of Seaford Town Jamaica".

The documentary explores the history of an isolated village deep within the mountains of Westmoreland where the inhabitants may be the descendants of German indentured servants who worked the plantations after the Jamaican emancipation. Germans were brought in to replace the slave labor that previously drove the island's economy. The residents' ancestors also may have arrived under different circumstances, as runaway prisoners or former members of the military battered after the Napoleonic wars. People seeking a better life and looking to escape the poverty and hardships in their homelands found their way to Jamaica.

"A great deal of the people are very uncertain of their own ethnic origin," Ritter said in a telephone interview. "For some, they had heard oral history passed down through the generations. Others had a more historical grasp, with documents that had been passed down. For others, it was more conjecture on where they came from. Some couldn't accept any idea, and they were uncertain about anything."

Ritter found that the 30-50 residents remaining there were very diverse in attitude, some of them happy to speak with him and share their stories, while others were hostile. Although they were a diverse lot, most held modern views, so Ritter was surprised to find one woman, who was about 93 when he interviewed her, holding a white nationalistic ideology. Having grown up there when the village was very isolated, she knew what the old town was like, and her ideas were very different from those of the general populace. "It was stunning because she was very much of the 19th century, with views you don't generally see or even hear spoken of in Jamaican society," Ritter said.

Asked how he came to focus on a town that was so isolated, Ritter said, "If you are someone like me, interested in history, you read a lot, and there's a good chance you'll come across the name. Now and then, a newspaper report comes through, and it is recorded in some history books — just a small paragraph."

He said one book that inspired him was Lost White Tribes, with the subhead, "The End of Privilege and the Last Colonials in Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Brazil, Haiti, Namibia, and Guadeloupe." The book describes former colonial groups that "never went away — small European pockets that never really vanished," said Ritter. There he found a small chapter on German Town.

The 55-minute documentary explores both the contemporary life of Jamaicans of German heritage and their murky history. For further information on the mill and its events, visit www.belknapmill.org or call 603-524-8813.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 09:55

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Happy Tails Dog Park Meeting Thursday night

LACONIA — Happy Tails Dog Park of the Lakes Region will be having an open meeting at Tardif Park Thursday, February 20 at 7 p.m.

The board meeting will be focused on 2014 planning for the fundraising to complete the next stage in approval for the city owned location at 55 Growtth Road. This next stage will require a full scale permit acceptable design drawing which includes the completion of a land survey, wetlands survey, and the official engineered plan before going back before returning to request final approval from the city of Laconia and finally breaking ground. To meet these goals the organization needs more people to step up and get involved.

Happy Tails Dog Park of the Lakes Region is a 501(c) 3 non- profit organization founded in 2008 with the objective of serving as a resource for pet families to build strong, whole-family foundations.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 09:49

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Irwin Automotive takes part in Hiring our Heroes Program

 LACONIA — Irwin Automotive is taking part in Hiring our Heroes, a nationwide effort sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which was created to help military veterans and their spouses find meaningful employment.

Irwin Automotive has found many advantages in hiring veterans at all of their dealerships. Veterans have proven leadership skills, strong work ethic, and real-world experience according to  Chris Irwin, Vice President of Irwin Automotive.

"Every veteran we have hired here has been a true team player. They recognize a common goal and work hard with their coworkers to achieve that goal. Taking part in the Hiring our Heroes Program has been beneficial to many veterans, but has greatly benefited Irwin Automotive, as we have gained many well-rounded, ambitious employees,'' says Irwin.

To learn more about the Hiring our Heroes Program visit http://www.nada.org/more/Hiring+Our+Heroes/.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 09:44

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PSU Theatre presents Staged Reading of "King Lear"

 PLYMOUTH — The Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Plymouth State University will host a staged reading of Shakespeare's King Lear at 7 p.m. February 21 and 22 in the Smith Recital Hall at the Silver Center for the Arts.

The program features professional director and actor John Briggs, a well-known and highly praised director and adaptor of Shakespeare's plays as King Lear. Briggs has created and directed provocative adaptations of Shakespeare for Georgia Shakespeare Festival, including Hamlet, Godfather of Brooklyn; The Merchant of Venice: 1938; Macbeth and Richard III; the Cowboy Comedy of Errors, and Julio Cesar (for which he received critical recognition in the prestigious Shakespeare Quarterly. At Plymouth State, Briggs has directed Ah! Wilderness, Eleemosynary, Ghost Sonata, and Illyria (a musical adaptation of Twelfth Night).

A staged reading " ... is concerned with the play proper, without visual elements and other production values. The audience is expected to hear the ideas and intent of the playwright through the actors' interpretation, and that is its beauty," according to Briggs.

Tickets for this staged reading are $6 for all seats, at the Silver Center Box Office, (603) 535-2787 or (800) 779-3869. Tickets are also available online at silver.plymouth.edu.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 09:31

Hits: 103

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