McDonald's in Tilton has brand-new look

TILTON — The Napoli Group LLC, which owns and operates over 30 McDonald's restaurants in New Hampshire, held an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony at it's newly remodeled Tilton store on Thursday morning.
Master of ceremonies for the event was Larry Johnston, who managed the Laconia McDonald's when it opened in 1971, and who said that the Tilton McDonald's has been in business for almost 30 years and was virtually the only business in the Exit 20 area when it opened in 1986.
Located just off from I-93 and Rte. 3-11, the major access road to the Lakes Region, it soon became the second busiest McDonald's in the state and was a part of the major retail and commercial expansion of the early and mid-1990s in the Exit 20 area.
''This area has grown up around us,'' said Johnston, who introduced Napoli Group LLC owner Peter Napoli and his son, Sal, who presented a check to The (Northfield) Pines Community Center Executive Director Jim Doane as a way of showing their gratitude to the area for its support of their restaurant.
"I can't thank you enough for this donation,'' said Doane, who added that the funds would be used to help provide access to programs at The Pines for area children whose families can't afford the fees.
Johnston noted that contractor Roger Desjardins of Marceau Construction of Methuen, Mass., had been able to complete the project while then existing restaurant remained open for business, a challenging logistical situation, and noted that Desjardins had also been in charge of the recent remodeling of the Franklin McDonald's, which is also owned by the Napoli Group, as are the McDonald's in Laconia and Meredith.
Area supervisor Bob Benson, who lives in Maine, where the Napoli Group, which owns over 90 restaurants in New England, also has a large number of restaurants, praised the staff at the Tilton McDonald's for their dedication and team effort throughout the remodeling process.
The inside of the restaurant presents a new look for McDonald's. The decor comes in shades of black, brown and orange, providing a sleek, modern feel, giving the restaurant a more upscale casual dining feel. And, for added convenience, there are now two drive thru ordering lanes.
''We're looking to provide the kinds of things our customers want.'' said Peter Napoli, pointing out that he menu has changed as well in recent years to provide more salads and healthful choices like oatmeal for breakfasts.
Napoli, a Leominster, Mass., native started working with McDonald's in Fitchburg, Mass., in 1967, and says that his path to success is similar to that of other people who started their careers with McDonald's. ''Half of their current executives started out working at McDonald's. We've evolved over the years but that kind of opportunity for people who work for us is still there.,'' says Napoli.

Taking part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the newly remodeled McDonald's in Tilton are, front row, Sal Napoli of the Napoli Group; Tilton Police Chief Bob Cormier; Tilton Planning Board Chair Jane Alden; Selectboard chair Pat Consentino and Peter Napoli, owner of the Napoli Group. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Keene man trying to keep Laconia from using '25th Annual' pumpkin festival

LACONIA — While Laconia will host a pumpkin festival in October, a businessman from Keene has taken steps to prevent the city from appropriating the history recorded by the 24 pumpkin festivals held in Keene since 1991.

"They can call it anything but the 25th Annual New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival," Toby Tousley of Tousley Property Management said yesterday. Last weekend, when Tousley read reports that Let It Shine, Inc., the nonprofit corporation that has produced the event since 2011, and Ruth Sterling of Sterling Design & Communications, who manages it, announced what was billed as "New Hampshire's 25th Annual Pumpkin Festival would be held in Laconia, he thought "what the heck is this" and asked "how do they get to jump to 25?"

Tousley went on-line and, for $104, registered two trade names — New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival and Annual Pumpkin Festival — with the New Hampshire Secretary of State. On Wednesday he explained what he had done on "Good Morning," a Keene radio program broadcast on WKBK and hosted by Dan Mitchell. He said that his intent was "strictly to eliminate the deceptive purposes of taking what we built here in our city and taking it somewhere else." He wished Laconia "the best of luck" while insisting "don't call it the 25th annual pumpkin festival. It's just not right."

By immediately disclosing the trade names he registered, Tousley said he alerted organizers of the festival in Laconia, who he expected would choose an appropriate name for the event. He said he want to spare them the expense of printing materials and concessions they would be unable to use.

Tousley confessed that for several years he had expressed misgivings that what began in Keene as a local event for the entertainment and benefit of the community had drawn national sponsors like Zippo and Home & Garden Television (HGTV). "I thought they should scale it back or get rid of it," he said, adding that when the issue reached the City Council he was among those calling for discontinuing the festival. However, he said that there are residents in Keene seeking to revive the festival and insisted "if Keene wants to have it next year, that will be the 25th," he said. "I'm that proud of Keene."

Sterling could not be reached for comment yesterday. However, Karmen Gifford, executive director of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, who is partnering with Sterling and Let It Shine to stage the festival in Laconia, discounted the significance of the trade names. She stressed that the issue would not distract the chamber and its partners from their goal of staging a successful festival in Laconia, whatever it is called.

Shaker moderator says voter's intent was to form 'culture' committee that wasn't beholding to the school board

BELMONT — After meeting on April 23 to finalize the parameters of a "culture climate and survey analysis" for the Shaker Regional School District, the school board will be meeting at the Belmont Elementary School at 6 p.m. on May 11 to interview the two companies that submitted bids to do the work.

According to a school board member who spoke to The Daily Sun off the record, the price range for the culture survey is between $14,000 and $19,000, defending on the specificity and range of services desired by the board.

The Daily Sun learned yesterday that 16 requests for proposals were solicited from qualifying companies and two responded — Loyalty Factor, LLC of Portsmouth and PCG Education of Boston, Mass.

According to the posting, the meeting is scheduled to be held in a non-public session, however the validity of the closed-door nature of the meeting is being questioned by The Daily Sun.

The idea of a culture survey stems from a non-binding article petitioned on to the end of the district warrant at the March annual meeting. It expressed a desire to form a separate committee to look at the "culture" as it applied to school district employees.

It was led in part by Moderator Roy Roberts, who temporarily ceded his podium to former Moderator Tom Goulette to speak about the "culture problem" in the district.

Roberts told the assembly that he has received letters and phone calls and that it is his perception that there are some culture problems, primarily within the staff.

Roberts was joined by parent Sunny Dearborn who said that, in her opinion, there is a culture of intimidation within the district. She said some teachers are choosing early retirement and there seems to be a lack of support for teachers and parents.

Other attendees at the district meeting who spoke included two Canterbury parents who supported forming the "culture committee".

Roberts said yesterday that the potential hiring of a private contractor by the school board is not what the people who attended the district meeting wanted.

He said the advisory warrant article that passed asked for an independent committee that contained two members of the school board, two members of the staff and two members of the general community (one each from Belmont and Canterbury) to be named by him as moderator. Roberts said he anticipated there would be some kind of survey performed by some outside company and the issue he has with what the board has done so far is not about the money.

When asked what the difference is, he said the survey they had envisioned would question staff and former staff only and the questions would be driven by the committee, not solely by the school board.

"This way the board gets to control the survey," he said. "It's not independent."

"These people who showed up at the meeting were unsatisfied with nearly every decision the board made," Roberts said, naming the Gale School, the proposed elimination of a high school science teacher and the decision not to have full-day kindergarten as items all decided by the board and reversed by the voters at meeting.

"The message was to have the board step away," he said, likening it to a vote of no confidence. "The board doesn't have any credibility with the community."

Dissatisfaction with the board was also partially reflected in the election when Belmont residents voted incumbent Donna Cilley out of office in favor of Patty Brace. Cilley was on the ballot but because of personal reasons did not actively campaign for her seat. She did not support full-time kindergarten for the 2015-2016 school year.

Canterbury resident Heidi Hutchinson ran unopposed for re-election. Hutchinson also voted for full-day universal pre-kindergarten and against full-day kindergarten.

Paths to restoring & then preserving Weirs Beach outlined

LACONIA — With funds to restore Weirs Beach included in the 2016 budget proposed by City Manager Scott Myers, Kevin Dunleavy, director of Parks and Recreation, briefed the City Council on Monday on the recommendations of the Woods Hole Group, Inc. of East Falmouth, Massachusetts for managing the erosion shrinking the beach.

Under contract with the city, The Woods Hole Group began studying the migration of sand at the beach in 2011 and the next year reported that each year approximately 1,200 cubic yards of sand — enough to fill 182 city dump trucks — is swept by wind and water from Weirs Beach into Lake Winnipesaukee and the Weirs Channel. The data collected indicated that some 600 cubic yards of sand was blown from beach by wind, another 500 cubic yards was lost to the action of waves and nearly 100 cubic yards was carried away by stormwater.

In its final report issued in February the Woods Hole Group recommends a number of complementary measures to mitigate the erosion and stabilize the beach. First and foremost, the report calls for "nourishing" the beach with between 7,300 and 9,000 cubic yards of additional sand, which would increase the width of the beach by 60 to 75 feet,

The report proposes supplementing the addition of sand with steps to keep it in place. First, installing sand fencing parallel to the jetty at the eastern edge of the beach would capture sand that would otherwise be swept into the channel. The fencing could trap as much as 600 cubic yards of sand a year, which is equivalent to the annual loss of sand to the wind. Fencing would be accompanied by what the report calls "manual backpassing," or returning the sand captured at the eastern edge of the beach to the western end of the beach every two or three years. Finally, adding 20 feet to the jetty, which reaches about 100 feet into the lake, would significantly reduce the amount of sand carried around the jetty and into the channel.

Finally, the report suggests erecting two adjustable groins, extending our into the lake to stabilize the replenished sand, would extend the life of the restored beach. The authors of the report estimate that after five years only half the additional sand would remain without the groins compared to three-quarters of the additional sand with the groins. After 25 years only a quarter of the additional sand would remain without the groins compared to nearly half with them.

The estimated cost of the measures ranges from $438,000 to $576,000, with the cost of adding sand to beach representing the largest single cost at $200,000 to $300,000. Dunleavy said that estimates include the cost of permitting, engineering and construction.

Dunleavy explained that sand added to the beach must be treated and washed to eliminate phosphorus, an unwanted nutrient that impairs water quality, which increases the cost. He suggested the fencing could be installed this spring or summer, very likely for much less than the $8,000 to $9,000 estimated.

Myers has recommended borrowing $300,000 for the engineering and construction phases of the project. Finance director Donna Woodaman said that $40,000 appropriated for the project in 2014 but not expended has been carried forward and the city's share of revenue from parking fees at Weirs Beach amounts to another $42,000. Finally, a fund accrued from beach passes designated for the maintenance of the city's beaches has a balance of about $36,000.

Councilor Brenda Baer (Ward 4) remarked "it's a lot of money," but quickly added that she is "all in favor of revitalizing The Weirs." The council will likely next consider the project when it reviews the 2016 budget.