PLYMOUTH — Plymouth State University has honored one of New Hampshire's most recognized public servants with its highest award for public service.
Raymond S. Burton, a member of the New Hampshire Executive Council and a Grafton County Commissioner, has long been a symbol of public service in the state. And now, his alma mater, Plymouth State University, whose own motto is Ut Prosim ("That I May Serve"), has honored Burton with its Henry W. Blair Award for Distinguished Public Service.
The University's honor of Burton was bestowed a short time prior to his death at age 74. Burton passed away on Nov. 12 as a result of complications from kidney cancer.
Plymouth State University President Sara Jayne Steen presented the award to Burton. "Ray Burton is there for everyone, advocating for what is fair and right, tireless in his commitment," Steen said. "At his core, Ray values New Hampshire and, by his presence, he makes it a better place. He is a true native son of the Granite State, and Plymouth State University is proud to honor him."
"I was honored to receive the Henry Blair Award from President Sara Jayne Steen," Burton said. "It was humbling to know that I won such a prestigious recognition. I have always been proud to be a member of the Class of 1962 and for the last 51 years have done my best to promote this great institution."
New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan called Burton "one of the most dedicated and caring public servants the state of New Hampshire has ever known."
Mike Cryans, chair of the Grafton County Commission, also shared his congratulations. "We, the Grafton County family of 90,000 residents, are thrilled for Ray, our long-time public servant, for receiving the Blair Award. Plymouth State University has awarded this honor only two other times, so we know how special this tribute is to Ray. We are so happy and proud for him."
Burton was well known for his long established practice with every newly-appointed state commissioner and department head to take them on a personally-guided tour of the North Country. He insists that every state official be familiar with the places, people, and concerns of New Hampshire citizens who live and work "north of Concord." As Executive Councilor for District I, Burton represented 102 cities and towns in seven counties comprising about 75 percent of the state's land mass. Nevertheless, his loyal constituents often boasted that if more than three people are holding a meeting in any part of the district, Ray Burton will be there.
Burton, a 1962 graduate of what was then Plymouth Teachers College, began his career as a school teacher and principal. He later became an adjunct faculty member in Plymouth State's Department of Social Sciences. After becoming a member of the Executive Council in 1977, he established an internship program for New Hampshire College students to learn more about the workings of state government. Many of Burton's former interns are now in public service.
Former state senator and long-time friend Mark Hounsell recently cited a well-known observation of Daniel Webster to describe the essence of Ray Burton, "What a man does for others, not what they do for him, gives him immortality."
Burton, a Bath native, was a political institution in the Granite State, having served as the Sergeant of Arms of the New Hampshire House of Representatives and the State Senate before his first election to the Executive Council in 1977.
The Henry W. Blair Award is named for a former New Hampshire representative and senator. Blair, a Plymouth-area lawyer, served as a lieutenant colonel in the Civil War before his election to Congress in 1866. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1878, Blair served on the Committee on Education and Labor where he was a strong advocate for reforms ranging from women's suffrage to improving the nation's system of public education.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 09:11
MEREDITH — The Lakes Region Planning Commission (LRPC) invites local and elected officials, interested parties, and the public to stop by and bid farewell to Kimon Koulet in appreciation of his many years of service as LRPC's executive director on Monday, November 25 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m at the Chase House in downtown Meredith.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 08:50
LACONIA — Nearly 100 members, residents, funders, and supporters of Laconia Area Community Land Trust (LACLT) recently gathered at the Belknap Mill to celebrate LACLT's 20th anniversary. State Senator Jeanie Forrester surprised founding Executive Director Linda L. Harvey with a NH Senate Resolution recognizing the Land Trust's 20 years of affordable housing development as well as Harvey's 20 years of service to LACLT.
In its 20 years, LACLT has developed 220 units of permanently affordable housing in 63 buildings in Laconia, Meredith, Tilton and Wolfeboro, co-developed 32 units in Belmont, and has 24 units now under construction in Wolfeboro. LACLT has provided housing and supportive services to more than 1,500 adults and children and is currently housing over 400 adults and children. At the same time, LACLT has provided transitional housing to 65 formerly homeless families; provided more than 2,000 people with free first-time home buyer and financial management education; created 285 first-time homeowners who purchased $42.4 million in real estate, invested $66+ million in the Lakes Region, and paid over $2 million in property taxes.
"The Land Trust is Laconia's Big Papi," commented Laconia's Mayor Mike Seymour, who served as the event's master of ceremonies. He added, "It wouldn't have happened without the passion of the staff, board and volunteers."
Outgoing Board Chair Peter Stewart welcomed new board members Rick Fogg of Alton and Geoff Ruggles of Gilford. Board member Kerri Lowe spoke of her journey as a single parent purchasing her first home with help from LACLT. Lowe also described her daughter's experience having lived in a LACLT property. "My daughter could move into a safe affordable place, and then she could plan the rest of her life," Lowe said, adding that as a board member, "I am a resident representative. I get to be a voice of the residents."
New Board Chair Ryan Barton addressed the group by video, noting that LACLT "impacts families so significantly, as it directly battles homelessness, unsafe housing, lack of family support, instability and it does so with a stewardship mentality, making the most of every resource available." Barton added, "The needs are great and I know of no better team, no more effective organization to address them, than the Laconia Area Community Land Trust."
The event was generously sponsored by Meredith Village Savings Bank and The Hodges Companies, with additional support from NeighborWorks® America. Food and beverage sponsors were T-Bones & CJ's of Laconia and Hermit Woods Winery, and the music was provided by Peter Brunette.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 08:46
PLYMOUTH — Pure Life Meditation Center in Plymouth presents Christopher Williams in concert on Friday, November 15 at 7-9:30 p.m.
Hailing from Nashville, Tenn., Williams is a songwriter, storyteller and entertainer offering songs that are honest and confessional, yet never over bearing. Performances engage the audience through an appealing mix of passion and humor. Touring nationally for the last 14 years, Williams has built a faithful following of listeners around the country, releasing nine albums on his own label. He has toured with the Grammy Award winning band, Jars of Clay and has played with Arlo Guthrie, David Wilcox, Patty Larkin and Ellis Paul. Audrey Drake will be opening the concert.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 11:31
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