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Bank of NH continues support of LFD's Life Saving Fund

LACONIA — The Bank of New Hampshire recently gave the Laconia Fire Department a donation of $500 towards the Life Saving Fund.

The Life Saving Fund was created in 2003 by the Laconia Fire Department to help fund the then newly formed water rescue team. After losing Mark Miller, a fellow fire fighter, during a practice drill in 2004 it was decided to complete his dream of obtaining a rescue boat, an endeavor funded entirely with donations.

"Bank of New Hampshire was one of the original businesses to help get the fund started and has been an annual supporter ever since," stated Laconia Fire Chief Ken Erickson. "As a result, we have the best equipped and trained water rescue team in the Lakes Region."

Three years ago the Laconia Fire Department underwent extensive swift water rescue training. River rescues are almost as common as lake rescues; however they require very different skills and equipment. Twenty-two of Laconia's firefighters are now certified to the Technician Level for swift water rescue and conducts refresher training every year. The team now has two rescue boats in Lake Winnipesaukee – one at the Weirs dock and one in Paugus Bay adjacent to Irwin Marine.

The response to a water rescue emergency whether in deep open water, swift moving water, or an ice covered lake, presents a situation that is very dangerous and of a highly technical nature. Continual training to maintain efficiency and safety for both the responders and victims is crucial, as is having adequate and proper equipment to do the job quickly and successfully. Thanks to corporate sponsors and local donations, the Laconia Fire Department has been able to build an effective and safe Water Rescue Team without any substantial cost to the taxpayers of Laconia. Through these donations the Laconia Fire Department will be able to continue to offer this vital, specialized service to the residents and visitors of the Lakes Region.

For more information on the Laconia Fire Department Life Saving Fund or how to make a donation, visit www.laconiafire.com or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 September 2013 09:16

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Jazz Bar Swings into the fall; Boston Supergroup "Horizons Quartet" Plays Thursday

LACONIA —  The Jazz Bar at Weir Beach will present the Horizons Quartet Thursday September 5 at 7 p.m. Admission is $10. Full bar, dinner, coffee, and desserts are available.

The Horizons Quartet is a collaborative 'super-group' project of acclaimed Boston jazz artists. Guitarist and co-leader Steve Kirby is best known for lyricism as a soloist, a dark sound, and for dynamic ensemble playing. As described by the Boston Globe "Kirby plays and writes from inside the music, putting melody and feeling first."

Kirby is a Berklee College of Music professor, contributor to Guitar Player Magazine, and has two critically acclaimed CDs on the Challenge Record label.

Kirby finds a musical foil in Ed Lucie, an electric bassist whose axe-wielding has drawn the praise of "creative grooves and unique compositional ideas" (Bass Player Magazine) while also earning him gigs with Buddy Rich, Warren Haynes and Stevie Wonder.

Saxophonist Tucker Antell fills out the front line with a sound that is reminiscent of the great swing saxophonists, while modern in trajectory. A favorite soloist with the Beantown Jazz Orchestra, and renowned club performer,  Antell grew up in Sarasota FL, where he made his professional debut at age 13.

Drummer "Amazing" Mike Connors is best known to NH audiences for his contributions to Jerry Sabatini's Sonic Explorers, the John Funkhouser Trio, and to the Boston-based show band "Lowman."  Connors is a revered educator at Berklee, and a tireless recording artist with two forthcoming releases next month.

The Jazz Bar is located in the Tower Hill entertainment complex at 290 Lakeside Ave at Weirs Beach.
Info: www.NHJazz.com (603) 366-9100.


CAPTION: Steve Kirby (Courtesy photo)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 September 2013 08:10

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Expert horticulturalist to speak at Wicwas Grange Thursday

MEREDITH – One of the nation's foremost horticulturalists and an expert on composting will give a presentation and answer questions during an appearance at the Wicwas Lake Grange on Thursday, September 6, at 6:30 p.m.

Dr. Francis Gouin, a Laconia native, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland where he served on the faculty for 33 years, chairing the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture from 1990 until his retirement in 1995.

Maurice "Mo" Gouin of Meredith, who arranged for his brother to speak at the local Grange, recounted that his sibling took a serendipitous route to finding his passion for plants.

Sickened by rheumatic fever at age 9, Francis Gouin wasn't expected to live long. His mother encouraged him to help her in the family garden, a task that led to improved health and his epiphany that he liked having his hands in the dirt.

At age 12, their father allowed "Frank" to take over the family's acre-and-a-half vegetable garden and roadside farm stand. While in high school, he worked alongside his father as a plumber, tended the garden, ran the farm stand and rebuilt a greenhouse.

While Mo continued in the plumbing and heating field, earning his master status and joining those who testified before the N.H. Legislature resulting in passage of a law requiring licensing of plumbers, Frank headed to the University of New Hampshire's Thompson School of Agriculture.

Unable to afford a dorm, Gouin lived in a room above a greenhouse in return for care-taking. When not in class, he banked 65 cents an hour working in the greenhouse and received the perk of being shoulder to shoulder with distinguished horticulturists like Albert Yeager. Dr. Yeager was considered a genius in plant breeding and developed a midget watermelon and the High C tomato, which had four times the vitamin C content as a regular tomato, and three times the vitamin content of an average orange.

After honing his skills working summers as a nurseryman, Gouin transferred to a four-year program at UNH and went on to earn a B.S. degree in horticulture. Not surprisingly, he met and married a fellow horticultural student, Clara.

After graduation, they headed south where Gouin pursued his M.S. and then his Ph.D. degrees in ornamental horticulture at the University of Maryland, College Park. And to add the crowning touch to a match made in heaven, Clara earned a degree in landscape architecture from Morgan State University.

After being awarded his doctorate, Dr. Gouin accepted an appointment to the faculty of Maryland's Department of Horticulture and left a lasting legacy. He now resides in Deale, MD.

The Wicwas Lake Grange is located in Meredith Center at the intersections of Meredith Center Road, Corliss Hill Road and Livingston Road, next door to the Meredith Center Store.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 September 2013 07:34

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Belknap Mill Aviation Exhibit Traces History of Laconia Airport

LACONIA —  There was a time when the roar of an airplane's engine sent every family member running into the yard to gaze up at the sky and wave wildly at a passing plane. Of course, we knew the plane was probably too high in the air to see us, but it was fun to wave anyway. And it was fun to watch the trail of smoke the departing airplane left in the blue sky.

Airplanes brought the outside world to the Lakes Region. When "Laconia Airport's Rich History and Bright Future" opens at the Belknap Mill at 25 Beacon St. East in downtown Laconia on Thursday, September 5, viewers will get a peek look at the history of aviation in the Lakes Region from its early days to the present.

Coordinated and presented by the Laconia Airport Authority, the exhibit will feature all sorts of aviation memorabilia, from fascinating old photos to flight artifacts. Says Diane Terrill, Laconia Airport Authority Manager, "We will have photos of the airport over the years and some of the aviators that were significant to aviation in the Lakes Region; displays by some of our aviation friends including NH Aviation Historical Society, Civil Air Patrol, Winnipesaukee Radio Controllers (model airplane club), Jane Rice, Emerson Aviation, Sky Bright, WinnAero and the ACE Academy (Aviation Career Exploration); and various personal and airplane artifacts on loan. People were very generous. Aviation enthusiasts are a tight-knit family, always willing to help each other and to share their passion and knowledge to inspire others."

A free public opening reception will be held Friday, September 6 from 5-7 p.m.

Says Terrill, "We're grateful to the Belknap Mill Society for providing us the opportunity to showcase the rich history and bright future of the Laconia Airport to the communities we serve. We look forward to meeting those interested in aviation at the Friday evening opening reception."

Historically, the first "landing airfield" in the Laconia area is believed to have been on the meadow at Sawyer flats during the summer and on Lake Winnipesaukee in the winter. Laconia Municipal Airport was originally located in the vicinity of the current O'Shea Industrial Park in Laconia. It was built in 1934.

The airport was constructed in its present location in Gilford for national defense under the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The City of Laconia and Belknap County shared the cost of purchasing the initial 439 acres, at a cost of $7,100 each. Construction began in January of 1941 on two runways: North-South Runway 17-35 & East-West Runway 8-26. Both runways were 150' x 3500'. This also included the relocation and building of the highway from Lake Shore Road to the so-called Weirs Road near Winnipesaukee Farm.

The first landing at the new facility was made by Barton McLellan of Plymouth and the first student to solo from the airport was Alma Gallagher on January 2, 1942. Runway 17-35 was closed in 1976 due to maintenance deterioration of the approach. Runway 8-26 was extended 1000' in 1963 and again extended 1000' in 1965. The current runway is 5890' x 100'.

The Airport is now owned by the City of Laconia. The Laconia Airport Authority (LAA) was established by the state legislature in 1941 to operate and manage the airport. The LAA is comprised of the mayor of Laconia as Chair, the Chair of the County Commissioners, the Chair of the Gilford Board of Selectmen, two appointed residents of Gilford, and four appointed residents of Laconia.

Laconia Municipal Airport's first seasonal scheduled air carrier service certification was acquired on March 24, 1950 as part of Northeast Airlines' Route 27. Application was submitted and approval received July 3, 1953 to upgrade the service to a year round basis. This service was irregular, however, and on August 5, 1963 the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) amended Northeast Airlines' certificate requiring seasonal service only.

In October of 1968, Winnipesaukee Airlines, Inc. offered some off-season air carrier service. In June of 1969, Northeast Airlines was allowed to suspend its summer service to Laconia Municipal Airport with Winnipesaukee Airlines providing replacement service until 1980. At that time, Precision Airlines purchased Winnipesaukee Aviation (WA) taking over WA's functions at Laconia Municipal Airport. Except for a brief interruption of service in 1970, WA and WA/Precision Airlines continued to provide year round commuter service from Laconia Municipal Airport to Boston's Logan International Airport until 1983.

In 1987 Valley Airlines began air carrier service from Laconia Municipal Airport until 1989 when Skymaster took over. Skymaster was sold to Atlantic North, which operated from March of 1993 until August of 1993. From 1993 to the present day, there have been no air carrier operations at Laconia Municipal Airport. The Laconia Airport is a now a General Aviation Airport with all civilian flying except scheduled service.

"Laconia Airport's Rich History and Bright Future" exhibit runs from September 5 through 25 and is free and open to the public Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; other hours are by chance or appointment.


Early photo of a biplane which appears to have landed in a field at Sawyer Meadows. Note farm buildings in background. (Courtesy photo)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 September 2013 07:04

Hits: 258

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