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Bio-retention Gardens Help Reduce Water Pollution

LACONIA — Recognizing that the city of Laconia has taken strong efforts over the last 5 years to protect regional water quality, the Lakes Region Planning Commission (LRPC) recently acquired funds from the NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) to support the city's Department of Public Works (DPW) with installing a bio-retention basin at the foot of White Oaks Road at Paugus Bay.

City officials recognize that, due to climate change and intense development over the last 10 years, its aging stormwater infrastructure is no longer meeting the needs of the community. Several areas are experiencing flooding due to undersized culverts and piping networks. At White Oaks Road, the older system was designed with the intent to move stormwater off the roads and into the lake as fast as possible. Unfortunately, this design method also moves the pollution into the lake.

As part of a Comprehensive Drainage Study started in 2009, the DPW identified several areas where simple changes to the stormwater system could help improve stormwater management and water quality protection. The most recent project is a bio retention garden located at the intersection of White Oaks Road and Weirs Boulevard. Stormwater in this area enters a series of catch basins that is channeled onto the lawn of a private residential property located along the shoreline. Recognizing the stormwater quantity and quality issues this discharge creates, the city is constructing an 850 square-foot bio-retention garden to capture stormwater and clean it before it goes into the lake.

The bio-retention garden, engineered by Michael Redding of Loureiro Engineering Associates, is designed using the powerful properties of compost and plants. Compost is very effective in removing stormwater pollutants such as petroleum hydrocarbons, bacteria, nutrients, and metals. The bio-retention garden on White Oaks Road will have the capability of treating and infiltrating the majority of rain storms, while safely bypassing overflows associated with very large storms.

As the rain enters the basin it will infiltrate through the open rock surface and pass through a two and a half foot layer of compost. The compost will absorb the stormwater like a sponge and begin to remove the pollutants from the water. The treated stormwater will also slowly drain into the surrounding soils making its way into the groundwater, reducing the discharges to the lake. When storms are larger and the stormwater begins to pond in the basin, plants and amended soils located on the slopes will begin absorbing the water and removing the pollutants.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bio-retention gardens are capable of removing between 80% to 90% of petroleum hydrocarbons, sediment, and bacteria and 70% to 80% of nutrients like nitrogen and metals like copper and zinc which can affect the health of fish.

Improving water quality in the Lakes Region requires cooperation from all communities within a watershed. For this project it was the collaboration between the city and an adjacent condominium complex that made this effort possible. The Paugus View Condo Association recognizes the importance of protecting the lake and, when approached by Luke Powell of the DPW, was willing to allow a drainage easement on their property to accommodate the size of thes bio-retention garden.

While the working simplicity of this system will not be as evident until spring when buds start sprouting on the diverse species of plantings, the roots of the now-dormant plants and the soil around them are already working hard. The plantings include silky Dogwood shrubs, and variety of shapes and colors represented in perennials, such as Bee Balm, Meadow Sweet, Caesar's Brother Iris, Black Eyed Susan, and Feather Reed Grass. They will also provide habitat for birds and insects and will remind visitors entering Weirs Boulevard of Laconia's commitment to water quality protection.

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 December 2013 12:17

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Praise Assembly plans Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

TILTON — Praise Assembly of God will have a Christmas service on Sunday, December 22, which will be geared towards children. The service, entitled "Through the Eyes of a Child" will incorporate songs, video presentations, and vignettes with costumes to tell the Christmas story in a way that a child can understand.
Praise Assembly of God will also be holding a Christmas Eve Candle Light Service at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, December 24. The church outside will be illuminated with luminaries that the congregation has decorated. Some are decorated in memory of lost loved ones.  There will be a message of hope and a mix of contemporary and traditional Christmas songs during the hour long service.

The community is invited to participate in this special time that Pastor Jay Hughen and Pastor Bill Williams will co-lead. There will be no Wednesday night service on December 25. The church is located at 180 School St., Tilton. If there are any questions, call the church office at 286-3007.

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 December 2013 12:02

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Weight Institute Web Award presented to LRGH

LACONIA — LRGHealthcare's Weight Institute of New Hampshire (WINH) recently won a 2013 eHealthcare Leadership Award in the Best Overall Internet Site category from eHealthcare Strategy and Trends.

The annual eHealthcare Leadership Awards honors the nation's best digital health resources, and the competition evaluates and judges content and design using a proprietary multi-point standard of Internet excellence. The best overall Internet site category, for example, had to pass muster on more than 40 factors and winners were selected from more than 1,100 entries.

As a medical weight loss center, the Weight Institute of New Hampshire offers weight loss options such as; bariatric surgery, lifestyle and nutritional counseling programs, behavioral weight loss and management and support programs.

"We designed the website to directly support the valuable programs and services WINH offers for weight loss and nutritional education," stated website manager Patricia Rice. "We are truly honored to be recognized for this effort, and we are committed to building upon this excellent online resource."

Last Updated on Friday, 13 December 2013 11:54

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New Hampshire Fiddle Ensemble Starts Rehearsals, All Acoustic Instruments Welcome


TILTON — All acoustic musicians are invited to join the New Hampshire Fiddle Ensemble for an experience to learn music of various styles and play with others. The Ensemble, now in its fifth year, is comprised of people of all ages and abilities that play a variety of acoustic instruments. The purpose of the Ensemble is to provide a place for musicians to learn the basics of performing and musicianship, both in the traditional manner (learning by ear) and using sheet music. Ensemble participants will be able to choose from beginner or advanced music and they will learn to play a variety of tunes and sung songs: American; Irish; Scottish; Swing; Folk and Bluegrass.

There will be local practices a few times each month this winter in Tilton, Exeter, Sandwich, Conway and Somersworth. Rehearsals are coached by Ellen Carlson (Tilton, Exeter, Sandwich), by Shana Aisenberg (Mountain Top Music in Conway) and by Melissa Bragdon (Somersworth). Rehearsal dates for each location can be seen at www.NHFiddleEnsemble.com. Everyone from all five areas will participate together in the two dress rehearsals in Franklin (March 30 and April 6, 2014) and in the three final performances in Exeter on April 11, 2014, in Conway on April 12, 2014, in Franklin at the Franklin Opera House on April 13, 2014.

The registration fee for all sessions and performances for adults is $195 and the fee for children ages 8-13 is $125. There are some full and partial scholarships available. For more information contact Ellen Carlson, the organizer of the Ensemble at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To learn more about the Ensemble, visit www.NHFiddleEnsemble.com for complete rehearsal and registration information and to see videos from the April 2013 performance.

Location: Tilton Senior Center, Fridays: 5-6:30 p.m.
January 3, 17, 31; Feb. 7, 21, arch 7, 21

Location: Benz Center, Wednesdays: 6:30- 8 p.m.

January 15 and 29; February 19; March 19
Saturdays: 10 a.m.-noon
January 4, February 8, March 8


Last Updated on Friday, 13 December 2013 11:45

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