Leadership Academy students spend day at seminar learning about economic issues

PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership Academy recently attended economic development day, one of nine monthly seminars designed to educate and motivate members to become more involved in the community. The class spent the day hearing from a number of speakers representing a variety of perspectives, including the NH Division of Economic Development, the Enterprise Center at Plymouth, the NH Division of Travel and Tourism and White Mountains Attractions.

The day began at the Enterprise Center of Plymouth with a session presented by Executive Director Michael Tentnowski. The class learned about the services offered at the Center and how it supports the innovation and integration of entrepreneurs and small businesses into our region. Members of the class represent a range of local and regional organizations and were interested to know more about how the Center encourages collaboration among the business community and how that in turn fosters economic development and growth.

The next session focused on economic development strategies from the state perspective and was presented by the NH Division of Economic Development. Director Carmen Lorentz spoke about the role of the organization in helping to provide information to the public and offering programs that assist businesses in developing their workforce and expanding their presence within the state. She said that they are currently in the strategic planning phase of policy development and that workforce and economic development systems have a strong synergy and offer a good opportunity to attract and retain businesses and skilled labor in the state. Beno Lamontagne, North Country Regional Resource Specialist, echoed this sentiment and spoke about his role in recruiting businesses from out-of-state, specifically Canada.

Following was a panel discussion on Tourism in New Hampshire from a statewide and regional perspective with speakers from White Mountains Attractions Director Jayne O'Connor, the Lakes Region Tourism Association Director Amy Landers, and Michele Cota from the NH Division of Travel and Tourism. Tourism represents the second largest industry in New Hampshire, but has faced increasing challenges in recent years. To overcome these hurdles, regional and state organizations have banded together to combine resources and create customized marketing campaigns targeted at specific demographics. In particular, initiatives focus on highlighting the four pillars of tourism in the state: outdoor recreation, attractions, lodging & culinary and arts & heritage. The panel agreed that the main goal is to get people across the border, and building brand awareness is the first step to achieving this end.

The class then traveled to Bristol for the afternoon and lunch with Noah Munro, Co-owner and Director of Marketing at the Mill Fudge Factory. The company is similar to many small businesses in that it started as a small family business and grew until it had a solid presence in the community and had attracted a customer base that included local markets and specialty stores. At present, the company is preparing for its debut on the shelves of several Whole Foods stores throughout the state, a major accomplishment for any small business, but especially one with such a strong connection to its local roots.

The day wrapped up with a discussion about the Bristol community and how it represents many such small towns throughout the state. Michael Capone, Town Administrator, talked about the short- and long-term planning for development and what factors play a role in these conversations. The Town, community and business owners represent a three-legged stool and have equal roles in supporting and encouraging economic development. Sharon Beatty, CEO of Mid-State Health Center and one of the newest businesses to locate to Bristol, shared the story of their growth and what she hopes they can offer to the town and region. Both speakers emphasized that development has to be balanced to provide all the needs of a community and that regional development starts with local development.


Next Bristol hazard mitigation meeting set for Jan. 12

BRISTOL — The Bristol Hazard Mitigation Plan Committee has begun the process of updating its 2010 Hazard Mitigation Plan. The committee is represented by a variety of local interests including the Fire, Police, and Public Works Departments, the Planning Board, the Town Administrator, the Newfound Area Nursing Association, and a local business owner.

The group is focusing on the natural and manmade hazards that put Bristol at risk as well as the development of recommendations to protect the safety and well being of town residents. The committee will have its next meeting on January 12, at the Bristol Fire Department (85 Lake Street) starting at 5 p.m. Residents of Bristol and representatives from neighboring communities are encouraged to attend and provide input.

Hazard Mitigation Planning is as important to reducing disaster losses as are appropriate regulations and land use ordinances. The most significant areas of concern for Bristol will be determined as a result of this process; in the 2010 Plan these included urban fire, lightning, and winter hazards. With the update to the Hazard Mitigation Plan, community leaders will be able to evaluate the status of current plans, policies, and actions then develop and prioritize actions to reduce the impacts of these and other hazards. Community leaders want the town to be a disaster resistant community and believe that updating the Hazard Mitigation Plan will bring Bristol one step closer to that goal.

For more information call Chief Steve Yannuzzi, Bristol Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director at 744-2632 or David Jeffers, Regional Planner, Lakes Region Planning Commission at 279-5341.

Latest movie in International Film Series to be screened Jan. 6 at Laconia Library

LACONIA — The Laconia Human Relations Committee in cooperation with the Laconia Public Library offers The Class, Monday, January 5 at 6:10 pm. This is another in the International Film Series shown monthly from September through June at the Laconia Public Library.
The Class is a 2008 semi-autobiographical account of a teacher's experience in a Paris middle-school, multicultural classroom. Francois Begaueau first wrote the book about his struggles as a teacher and then played himself as Francois Marin, the teacher.
François is a tough but fair teacher working in one of France's toughest schools, and his honest demeanor in the classroom has made him a great success with students. But this year things are different, because when the students begin to challenge his methods François will find his classroom ethics put to the ultimate test.
The film covers an academic year, beginning with teachers gathering for the autumn term, introducing themselves to each other and being welcomed by the principal, an unsmiling figure. The camera never leaves the school. The film is set in the staff room, the playground, the dining room, the principal's office, a conference room, and the classroom where François teaches French to a mixed group of 13- and 14-year-olds.
The film concentrates on Marin as he tries to keep order in the class, mediating between conflicting ethnic groups, quieting the rowdy, bringing out the reticent, and trying to educate them. The class is difficult, and in some ways the brightest are the most disruptive. Marin tries to get insight into the inner workings of the pupils; they write self-portraits which describe their aspirations, hobbies, and dislikes.
This diverse classroom could be found in many countries. The film won many international awards and was nominated for an Academy Award.
The Laconia International Film Series is open free to everyone. Brief informal discussion follows the film. Light snacks are provided. Feel free to bring a cushion for comfort in viewing the movie. Please join us!
The Laconia Human Relations Committee is a committee of the mayor of Laconia dedicated to expanding our horizons for the appreciation of the diversity found among us and in the wider world. For more information, contact Len Campbell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Carol Pierce at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Loon Preservation Center made 20 rescues this year

MOULTONBOROUGH — On Monday, December 8, an iced-in loon was rescued on Martin Meadow Pond in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Loons can require close to a quarter mile of open water to take flight, but this loon was trapped in a 3-foot patch of open water. LPC Senior Biologist John Cooley carefully edged a small Jon-boat across the ice toward the loon until he was close enough to capture it with a landing net.

Once they were both safely back on shore, Cooley transported the loon to Meadow Pond Animal Hospital in Moultonborough for an x-ray which revealed fragments of non-lead fishing tackle in the loon's stomach. However, an in-house blood test showed the loon had an elevated blood lead concentration that was below the threshold for lethal toxicity, indicating that the loon had apparently passed a lead object before it could receive a lethal dose of lead. Although LPC has documented a few cases in which a loon has likely passed a lead object, this is a very unusual circumstance, as one of the toxic effects of lead poisoning is to shut down a loon's digestive system. Unless the lead tackle is passed almost immediately, as apparently occurred in this case, even the smallest lead sinker or lead-headed jig will kill a loon in two to four weeks. Given that this loon's lead levels were sub-lethal, it was decided to transfer it to wildlife rehabilitators in Maine and attempt treatment.

The staff from Avian Haven in Freedom, Maine, used an innovative procedure to flush the tackle out of the loon.

Later that afternoon the loon was swimming in one of their pools and, by the following day, it was eating on its own. The fish being fed to the loon were dosed with a special medication to help absorb lead from its bloodstream. This unusual treatment was possible since the loon apparently passed the lead object quickly before receiving a lethal dose of lead, but the sub-lethal effects of lead poisoning likely impaired its ability to leave the pond prior to ice-in. As of December 18, the loon is continuing to do well and will hopefully be released very soon.

This loon was banded as an adult in 2000 on Martin Meadow Pond and has fledged an average of one chick per year since then. Given that loons usually start breeding at 6 or 7 years old, this male is probably at least 20 years old. This is a very impressive statistic and LPC staff hope to watch him again on the pond next year.

From April through December, LPC responds to many phone calls and reports of loons in distress, including entangled, stranded or iced-in loons. This year staff responded to twenty loon rescues in the field and dozens of phone calls or emails as well. A loon rescue can be hazardous work and Cooley cautions against volunteers trying it on their own. LPC would like to extend heartfelt thanks to the Martin Meadow Pond volunteers who kept a close eye on this loon a few weeks prior to the rescue, Meadow Pond Animal Hospital, and rehabilitators Kappy Sprenger and Avian Haven for their part in working to save this loon.

The Loon Preservation Committee (www.loon.org) monitors loons throughout the state as part of its mission to restore and maintain a healthy population of loons in New Hampshire; to monitor the health and productivity of loon populations as sentinels of environmental quality; and to promote a greater understanding of loons and the natural world.