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Scott Brown visits Veterans Home

TILTON — Scott Brown, one of four Republicans vying to challenge incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, visited the New Hampshire Veterans Home yesterday, just three weeks before he is set to retire as a colonel after 35 years in the United States Army.

Accompanied by his wife Gail, a former television news reporter, Brown toured the facility with Commandant Margaret LaBrecque. As the junior U.S. senator from Massachusetts, a seat he won in a special election following the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy in 2010, he became the first Republican to represent the Bay State in the Senate since 1978, only to be defeated by Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012. In the Senate he served on both the Armed Services and Veterans' Affairs committee.

Speaking with every veteran he passed, Brown asked their branch of service, thanked them for their sacrifice and told them of his own career with the Judge Advocate General's Corps, capped by his posting to the Pentagon. He was openly impressed by the accommodation, programs and services at the Veterans Home, which he described as "really top notch." At the library he assured Dave Clark, an minister at work on the computer, that he would donate copies of his book, "Against All Odds."

Afterward Brown recalled his own efforts to secure a veterans' hospital for New Hampshire, sparing those requiring acute treatment and care the trip to Boston, and said that "in six years Shaheen has done nothing." Instead, he said, she voted for a budget that reduced military pension, calling it "a terrible vote" and vowing "I would never have done that."

In keeping with the predominant theme of his fledgling campaign, Brown claimed that Shaheen cast "the deciding vote" for Obamacare, which he underlined as the "number 1 A issue." He said that he would work to repeal the Affordable Care Act and, while insisting that he believes everyone should have access to healthcare, proposed allowing the separate states to design systems for providing it. "Do what the states want," he said. "The states do it better."

Brown is competing with former United States Congressman and Senator Bob Smith, Former New Hampshire State Senator Jim Rubens and conservative activist Karen Testerman for the GOP nomination.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 01:04

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Route 11A intersection work to begin on June 1

GILFORD — The state Department of Transportation will begin construction on the intersection of Route 11A and Schoolhouse Hill Road on June 1,  the town administrator said yesterday.

The project is expected to improve the sight lines through the intersection to reduce the number of accidents.

According to William Oldenburg of the N.H. Department Transportation who spoke at a public hearing about the project in 2012, there were 28 accidents at the intersection from 2002 through 2009 that resulted in one death (in 2010), and 17 injuries.

According to the DOT website, the project is was awarded to SUR Inc. of Rochester for $454,452 — all of which is paid through a federal Highway Safety Improvement Program.

One of the project's early engineers, William Dugas, said yesterday the intersection poses a number of challenges, including a stone wall on the Schoolhouse Hill side of Route 11A and the Gunstock Brook across the road. He said the combination of the two plus the steep slopes meant it had to be scaled back some from what the DOT initially wanted.

Dugas said the final scope will include relocating some of the guardrails for improved visibility. Additionally, the Gilford Department of Public Works has already removed much of the brush that was partially obstructing the sight line.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said initially it had been hoped that the project would begin after the close of the school year, but noted waiting till then might have meant it  might not be completed during summer season.

Dunn said traffic control will be provided by town police and SUR traffic control.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 12:36

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Kimball Castle owner says he'll build a fence

GILFORD — The owner of Kimball Castle has agreed to build a security fence around the condemned landmark, according to the town administrator.

Scott Dunn said he spoke with owner David Jodoin after last Wednesday's public forum and learned that his short-term plan is to move forward with the fence.

Last year, the town building inspector condemned the castle and ordered it to be either demolished or fenced in for public safety. Since then, the selectmen have agreed to three extensions of the "make safe" order. A final deadline has been set for April 30.

The town's role is that of trustee of the property which includes the building and about 280 acres of land on Lockes Mountain. When Charlotte Kimball died she left it all in a trust for the express purpose of creating and maintaining a wildlife refuge and stipulated that it could not be used for commercial purposes. In 1990, the town carved out 20 acres and got the state Attorney General and a Belknap County judge to agree that the best way to maintain Kimball's wishes for a wildlife sanctuary was to sell a 20-acre portion of the land that included the castle to a private consortium with the proceeds of the sale to go into the Kimball Forest Wildlife Fund.

Jodoin is the principal owner of Kimball Properties LLC. He was the last remaining partner of a consortium of people who purchased the property in the 1990s with the intent of using the castle as a restaurant and a bed-and-breakfast.

Last year, Jodoin approached the selectmen for permission to change the contract by removing the restaurant stipulation and sell the property as a single-family residence.

Both Dunn and Selectmen's Chair John O'Brien have said Jodoin has a buyer waiting in the wings, but declined to identify him or her.

O'Brien said yesterday that right now he won't support changing Kimball Castle LLC.'s contract with the town.

"I'd like to see the fence get built or have the castle torn down and give it some time to see what various people can come up in terms of buying the property," he said.

"I'm not going to change the contract just so he can sell the property," O'Brien said.

Many of those who spoke at last week's forum also said they didn't support selling the property to a single land owner for another home. Most supported fencing in the castle and allowing it to decay on its own.

Virtually all agreed the castle itself was beyond repair.

Dunn said yesterday that should selectmen ever agree to change the restrictive covenants included in the current contract, the proposed changes would have to be approved the N.H. Attorney General, the N.H. Division of Charitable Trusts and the Belknap County Superior Court.

He said that Jodoin has assured him that by April 30 he will have built a fence or make a demonstrable effort to so. Failing that, he will be fined daily.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 12:11

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Hale family sells Waukewan Golf Club to Alton couple

CENTER HARBOR — An 18-hole golf club which has become an institution in the Lakes Region through the Hale family's involvement with the local community for over 50 years has changed hands.
Waukewan Golf Club, which was opened to the public by Dr. Melvyn Hale as a nine-hole golf course in 1958, has been sold by the Hale family to Tim and Jill Noe of Alton, who say that the Hale family's involvement with the golf club will continue in the person of general manager Craig Hale.
The 271-acre club, which features a 5,828 yard par 72 course, had been listed for sale for $1,450,00 and its purchase by the Noe family was announced Friday by the buyer's real estate broker, Tom Drouin of Roche Realty of Meredith.
Located in the heart of the Lakes Region, the property is surrounded by several mountain ranges and borders a wildlife sanctuary. It includes a main house with office space, living accommodations, an attached pro shop, restaurant and snack bar with seating for 120. In addition there is a post-and-beam function barn with a huge fieldstone fireplace, large dance floor with seating for 200, a bar and a large maintenance barn.
Drouin said that the Noes have vacationed in the Lakes Region for over 60 years, are excited about the prospect of owning and operating the golf club.
''Having played the course occasionally since my youth, the fondest golf memories I have are those of enjoying an early morning round at Waukewan with my grandfather, dad, uncles and close neighbors as a young kid," said Tim Noe. "I am reminded of those memories every time I stand on the first tee looking out to to the Sandwich Mountain Range. These bonds and good times just stay with you for life.''
Tim and Jill have three children, Sarah, Daniel and Samantha, and two grandchildren, Allie and Noah. Jill's dad was the past president of the Whitinsville Golf Club, a nine-hole course in Whitinsville, MA., once rated as one of the top 9-hole courses in the U.S.
Noe said that he and his wife are looking to maintain the current mangers and staffing so that members will see familiar faces as the new season opens. ''We will be performing an assessment of the course conditions and developing a set of priorities with general manager Crag Hale. The result will be short and long term goals for course maintenance, improvements and growth. In addition we to the golf course improvements we hope to expand the use the post-and-beam function barn, create a more extensive menu offering and create more opportunity for winter recreation at the facility.''
Jill Noe said ''our family is honored to continue the family tradition that the Waukewan Golf Club carries. We know this golf course has been enjoyed by thousands of Lakes Region residents and tourists for many years and our intentions are to build upon those experiences and hopefully continue the legacy the Hales have created.''
Drouin said that the property was originally owned by the Dane family and operated as a gentleman's farm where Clydesdale and Belgian horses were raised. It was purchased on December 15, 1948 by Dr. Hale for $14,000. The purchase included the buildings along with 250 acres of land. At the time of purchase the buildings were painted white. Dr. Hale repainted the buildings red and named the property "Almagra Farm". After some renovations to the houses, Dr. Hale moved his veterinary practice and family from Wolfeboro to Almagra Farm.
Almagra Farm was a true working farm. The Hale's grew their own vegetables, hayed the fields, and raised various types of animals including: pigeons, chickens, hogs, horses, sheep, and cattle. The farm also included a dog kennel with one long term boarder of 5 years.
His medical practice also included treating household pets, horses, sheep, and almost anything brought to him. He even occasionally removed scent glands from skunks. People kept skunks as house pets and litter box trained them similar to cats.
Around 1955, Dr. Hale purchased a bulldozer and tractor and began to rough out a nine hole golf course. He spent three years clearing wooded land, moving rocks, shaping tees, fairways and greens. In 1958 nine golf holes opened to the public.
In 1963 Dr. Hale closed his medical practice and turned his full attention to the course. "Waukewan" was chosen as the name because Dr. Hale felt people were familiar with that name due to the nearby lake. In the late 60s, Dexter and Allan, Dr. Hale's sons, joined their father and together completed the next nine holes. This finished the transformation of Almagra Farm to Waukewan Golf Club.
The club has become one of the favorites in the Lakes Region and the Hale family maintained close ties with the surrounding communities, including hosting numerous charity tournaments as well as the Meredith Altrusa Club's popular Christmas tree decorating event for local clubs and businesses.
The property was listed by Anthony Avrutine and Mike LaPierre of RE/MAX Bayside's Commercial Division.

CAPTION:
Waukewan Golf Club has been sold by the Hale family to Tim and Jill Noe of Alton. (Roger Amsden/ for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 April 2014 12:59

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