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And you thought the Great Rotary Derby was all about fishing?

MEREDITH — If any proof is needed that The Great Rotary Fishing Derby is about more than just success at landing a fish through the ice, the example of Jim Dyer of Meredith and Mike Jakubens of Manchester offers convincing evidence that it is really about something more.
The two long-time friends have been taking part in the derby for over 30 years and maintain steadfastly that they have yet to land a single fish during the derby, although one year they did almost pulled a landlocked salmon, (which would have been illegal) through the ice.
But that lack of success hasn't dimmed their enthusiasm for the derby. They were out on the ice with their girlfriends, Cheryl Plumeau of Manchester and Angie Libbey of Meredith, Friday morning, standing next to their shelter (where the temperature inside was close to 100 degrees) and lighting a fire in their barbecue grille while sipping Pabst Blue Ribbon beers.
They said they had started their morning with mimosas (champagne and orange juice) along with their breakfast and were looking forward to a fun weekend of socializing with their fellow ice fishermen while enjoying meals of steaks, sausages, chicken and burgers.
''We've even got a bathroom potty in the second tent and have Internet out here thanks to the Wi-Fi from the hotels. We have everything we need,'' said Jakubens, who sells lumber for Boise Cascade to independent lumber dealers throughout the state and, along with Plumeau, who works in customer service for TCI, a Manchester firm which sells coated teflon products, spend as much time as they can fishing in Lake Winnipesaukee year round.
''I keep a boat at Awka Soleil (now Meredith Bay) and another in Alton,'' says Jakubens, who says that he and Plumeau like fishing for salmon in the spring and lake trout and rainbow trout the rest of the year.
Dyer, who used to live in Milford and lives on Tucker Mountain Road in Meredith and works at Webster Valve in Franklin says he moved to Meredith last year and has been fishing in Lake Winnipesaukee ever since he can remember.
''I moved up here so I could be closer to my boat,'' says Dyer, who also fishes year round in Winnipesaukee. Libbey, who grew up in Portland, Maine, says she hadn't fished for years until she started going with Dyer a few years ago and is just now getting into ice fishing and finding that she likes it although she hopes to enjoy more success than Dyer and Jakubens have had.
''Jim got me back into fishing and it's a great experience out here,'' says Libbey, who works in the health field taking care of the elderly.
Also out on the ice Friday morning and celebrating their 10th year with ''The Lodge'' at the derby were Peter Muse of Meredith and ''Captain Bob'' Myshrall of Center Harbor. Muse, who owns the the stylish hunting lodge style bob house, was working on a cleaning a fitting for the gas fireplace, which was keeping the structure toasty warm.
Muse said that the Pabst Blue Ribbon 30-packs with 16 ounce cans seemed to be the default choice of most ice fishermen in Meredith Bay, although The Lodge did have a 24-pack of Labatt beer that had been left behind by a team of grateful Canadians who took part in last weekend's Pond Hockey Tournament and were allowed to use the bob house over the weekend.
The Lodge has been honored in the past as the best bob house on the bay and about five years ago attracted a lot of attention when a hot tub was set up next to it and the resident ice fishermen delighted onlookers by donning bathing suits and jumping into the tub on days when temperatures were in the mid teens while other Lodge regulars played horseshoe games nearby.
Betsey Donovan, chairman of this year's Great Rotary Fishing Derby, says that ticket sales are excellent this year.
''We've gone over 2,000 for the first time in 8 or 9 years,'' says Donovan, who attributes the increase to a revised format which was adopted for last year's derby, which eliminated the tagged rainbow trout as the only possible winner category for the top three prizes, opened the derby up to any of seven species and switched to cash only prizes.
Now, the largest fish of each of the eligible species (white perch, yellow perch, cusk, lake trout, pickerel, black crappie, or rainbow trout) will be entered in the grand prize drawings, and a grand-prize winning fish can be caught in any fresh water body in the state open to the public.
The three top prizes will be awarded to the angler with a valid Derby ticket whose name is drawn on Sunday during the Grand Prize Drawing. First prize is $15,000, second prize is $5,000, and third prize is $3,000. Those who had the largest fish in each category on either Saturday or Sunday of Derby Weekend will be eligible.
There will also be drawings hundreds of dollars in cash prizes throughout the weekend for all derby ticket holders, whether they fish or not.
The two-day ice fishing competition is one of the top fund-raising events in the state, enabling The Meredith Rotary Club to donate a total of more than $1.5 million back into the community for charitable projects, area improvements, scholarships, and families in need over the last 34 years.




Angie Libbey and Jim Dyer of Meredith and Cheryl Plumeau and Mike Jakubens of Manchester are ready for a weekend of ice fishing n Meredith Bay during the annual Great Rotary Fishing Derby. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)


Bob Myshrall of Center Harbor and Peter Muse of Meredith stay warm inside Muse's bob house ''The Lode'', now in its 10th year on the ice at Meredith Bay for the Great Rotary Fishing Derby. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)


Bob Myshrall, right, of Center Harbor and former Meredith resident Steve O'Brien, left, stand next to ''The Lodge'', one of the most well-known bob houses on Meredith Bay. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Saturday, 08 February 2014 01:11

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All rise, the Honorable Christopher Hobbs presiding

LACONIA — Even though he's only 8-years-old, Christopher Hobbs wants to be a judge.

Yesterday, he got his chance when Belknap County Superior Court Judge James O'Neill first met with him in his private chambers and then let young Christopher preside over his courtroom — if ever so briefly.

When he was 2 1/2 years old, Christopher was diagnosed with pilomuxoid astrocytoma — a malignant brain tumor.

Since his diagnosis he has surgery three times — most recently on January 15 — and undergone a year-long treatment of chemotherapy.

Despite this, Christopher keeps plugging along. Always fascinated by public safety, when he was 4-year-old he was made an honorary police officer and got to get behind the wheel of the police van and used the lights and siren.

Recently, said mom Leah Hobbs, the Laconia boy has been intrigued by courtrooms and judges.

"We taped every show on judges we could find while he was in the hospital and he's been watching them non stop since he got home," she said.

Christopher was able to return to school but yesterday got a special dispensation in order to meet Judge O'Neill and preside in his courtroom.

After assuring O'Neill he would never get in any trouble, he sat upright in the judge's chair. When court resumed, Christopher and his family stay behind to watch O'Neill in real action.

Last Updated on Saturday, 08 February 2014 01:05

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Police station project draws no comment at Gilford deliberative session

GILFORD – About 50 residents attended last night's deliberative session and with few exceptions, none had anything to say about the operating budget, the money portion of the proposed union contract with police, or the proposed $1.213-million police station renovation.

Although police were prepared, a majority of those who were there voted against seeing the presentation from them. Lt. Kris Kelley said the entire presentation he gave to the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee is on the Gilford Website and is also being run on Lakes Region Public Access Television.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn added that in the time since the warrant article was approved, the town had gotten a $169,000 federal grant that will pay for the the dispatch upgrades, the emergency generators and the Emergency Operations Center.

Chan Eddy pointed out that the EOC will also double as a community room when the police or fire departments are not using it for emergencies. Kelley said it will serve a triple purpose as a training room – something the department doesn't have right now.

Voters had no questions or comments on the $11,282,896 operating budget which will be put on the warrant as is.

In addition, voters had no questions about the $3,297 cost item for the Gilford Police Association Contract with the exception of Budget Committee Member Dave Horvath Sr. who wanted to know if the dollar amounts would be the same now that the Gilford Police Department will be adding an 18th police officer.

Dunn replied that it would be about the same because although there will be an additional employee, there has been some personnel adjustments within the department that will lower the costs to the contract.

The second part of the Annual Town Meeting will be held on March 11 when the electorate votes for the individual warrant articles and for town officers.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2014 02:34

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City's Planning Department taking proactive steps to prevent spread of deadly emerald ash borer insect

LACONIA — Nearly a year after the emerald ash borer, the gravest single threat to hardwood forests, was found in Concord, Scott McPhie of the city's Planning Department is preparing to scout for signs and take steps to manage the appearance of the insect in the city and its environs.
McPhie said recently that he will suggest that the Conservation Commission begin taking an investory of ash trees in the city and recommend that the Planning Board discourage landscapers from planting ash trees.
Piera Siegert, the state entomologist at the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, said that the emerald ash borer originated in China, entered the United States from Canada in the 1990s and was first identified in Detroit in 2002. Since then the insect has destroyed millions of ash trees across the Midwest. The emerald ash borer was found in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts in 2012 and so far the infestation in Concord, which seems to have spread over 24 square miles along the Merrimack River, is the only confirmed presence of the pest in New Hampshire.
Siegert explained that the life cycle of the insect makes it difficult to detect before it has done lethal damage to the trees. The female lays her eggs on the tree in the summer and when the larvae hatch they burrow into the cambium layer of the tree. Between the bark and sapwood, the cambium layer is the growing part of the tree that produces new bark and wood. The larvae, feeding on the tree, carve serpentine galleries within it, effectively girdling the tree. Siegert said that two or three years may pass before the first signs of decline become visible and within three to five years the tree will be dead.
While female emerald ash borers will fly considerable distances to find a suitable tree to lay her eggs, Siegert said that the insect has continually expanded its range with the help of human beings, primarily through the transport of infested firewood and nursery stock. Once the insect was found in Concord, Merrimack County was placed under a quarantine, prohibiting the export of firewood, nursery stock and other infested material from the county.
McPhie said that since the emerald ash borer attacks only ash trees, taking an inventory, particularly of the mature trees preferred by the insect, would increase the likelihood of discovering an infestation before it becomes widespread. At the same time, residents can be informed about how to identify the emerald ash borer, a metallic green insect about a half-an-nch long and an eighth of an inch wide, and signs of its presence. For example, the insect was found in Concord by a resident who noticed intense activity of woodpeckers on an ash tree. Siegert said that there is abundant information about the emerald ash borer on the website nhbugs.org.
There are an estimated 25 million ash trees of at least five inches in diameter in New Hampshire and another 750 million saplings and seedlings, altogether representing approximately six-percent of the northern hardwood forest.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2014 02:14

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