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Gilford man advances mission of Boys & Girls Club by doing what he loves: teaching art

LACONIA — Whether it's an artwork or a good person, a thing of beauty is a joy forever, and for many years as a Boys and Girls Club volunteer, Ed Rushbrook has helped to produce both.

A semi-retired civil engineer who calls Gilford home, Rushbrook grew up in Pittsfield, Mass. where he attended what was then known as the Pittsfield Boys Club.

"The club did a lot for me," said Rushbrook, who was the youngest of three siblings raised in a single-parent household and who began attending the Pittsfield club at age 10.

At the club, Rushbrook climbed the ladder of responsibility, first handing out pool cues to fellow members and then serving in various positions — counselor, cook and lifeguard — at its summer camp. In 1961, Rushbrook was "Boy of the Year" at the Pittsfield club.

A graduate of Pittsfield High School, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the University of Maine, Orono, where he earned his master's degree, Rushbrook took his first art class at the Pittsfield Boys Club and was immediately smitten.

Now working and teaching others to master pastels, charcoal and pencil, Rushbrook also realized that at the club he was learning a lot more than just how to draw a pretty picture.

"The Boys and Girls Club taught me honesty, hard work and respect for your fellow man," Rushbrook said recently, "and because the club did so much for me, that's why I'm so happy to donate anything I can."

Since moving to New Hampshire in 1978, the "anything" that Rushbrook has donated has been his time, experience and insight, volunteering first as an art instructor at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Concord and later doing the same in Laconia in 2007 when the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region — which began in 1999 as the Belknap County Teen Center — became part of the Boys and Girls Club of America.

When the Lakes Region club last fall announced a $2.4 million capital campaign to acquire and transform the former St. James Episcopal Church into its first "forever home," Rushbrook promptly stepped up. To promote greater awareness of the effort, he offered personal testimonials for a publicity initiative and also donated a painting which will be auctioned at the club's upcoming Spring Fling gala.

A member of the Lakes Region Art Association, Rushbrook has also advanced the mission of the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region by simply doing what he loves: teaching art.

Every Monday afternoon, Rushbrook directs some two dozen youths in the finer points of fine art, explaining "You can do it your entire life. Art's not expensive and you'll always advance as an artist. As I tell the kids, nothing pleases a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle more than receiving a hand-made gift created by them."

While thrilled by helping his charges improve their artistic skills, Rushbrook is especially happy that he can do so under the auspices of the Boys and Girls Club.

"Without question, the Boys and Girls Club has really shaped my life and given me direction," Rushbrook summed up, "and that's why I'm so willing to help the club achieve success with kids. People need to realize how valuable the club can be in shaping kids today."

To make a tax-deductible donation to the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region's capital campaign, contact the club at 528-0197 or go to www.lakeskids.org.


Cutline for courtesy photo: With her teacher Ed Rushbrook looking on proudly, Arianna, a student at Elm Street School in Laconia and also in Rushbrook's art class at the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region, poses with one of her recent creations. (Courtesy photo)

Last Updated on Saturday, 01 February 2014 02:12

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Grenier only candidate for Gilford Selectboard

GILFORD — Richard "Rags" Grenier, the former superintendent of the Belknap County Department of Corrections and member of the Budget Committee, is the lone candidate seeking to fill the seat on the Board of Selectmen left empty by the decision of Kevin Hayes, the incumbent, not to run for re-election. The 2014 filing period closed on Friday.

There are five candidates for three seats on the Budget Committee. Incumbents Kevin Roy, Sue Greene and Kevin Leandro are all seeking re-election while Skip Murphy, a former member of the committee, and J. Scott Davis, a former member of the Planning Board who currently serves as vice-chairman of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, complete the field.

Rae Mello-Andrews filed for election to a three-year term on the School Board, succeeding Paul Blandford who term expires this year.

Denise Morrissette Gonyer, the incumbent, has filed for re-election as Town Clerk/Tax Collector.

Last Updated on Saturday, 01 February 2014 01:56

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Sled Dog Derby postponed to Feb. 14-16

LACONIA — The 85th annual Laconia World Championship Sled Dog Derby has been postponed from next weekend until the weekend of February 14-16 due to poor snow conditions.

It marks the second straight year that the derby has been postponed. Last year it was put off twice due to the lack of snow and finally held the first weekend in March.

Race trail boss Jim Lyman said that the course needs at least another six to eight inches of snow in order for the race to be held and says that the race date may be moved permanently to mid-February.

The New England Sled Dog Club has postponed one race scheduled for the Lakes Region and cancelled another. The Hill Village Race scheduled for last weekend has been cancelled and the Tamworth race, which was first held in 1924, was postponed from January 18-19 to March 1-2.



Last Updated on Saturday, 01 February 2014 01:53

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Gilford Selectboard says investment in Kimball Castle not in town's best interests

GILFORD — With the deadline of April 30 for the Kimball Castle to be "made safe" by either demolition or fencing approaching, the Board of Selectmen yesterday announced its preference for having what remains of the structure be razed. The board would like to see a single family home developed on the Locke's Hill property and a suitable memorial placed on nearby town-owned land.

In the meantime, the board invited residents to attend a public forum of the future of Kimball Castle at the Town Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 26, beginning at 7 p.m.

In April 2013, after Building Inspector Dave Andrade told the selectmen the Kimball Castle posed a risk to public safety, the board voted unanimously to authorize its owners, David and Mary Jodoin of Nashua, doing business as Kimball Castle Properties, LLC, to demolish it. Three times since the board has extended the deadline to comply with Andrade's order.

At a public hearing in August, 2013 a group of people, among them some who were not residents of Gilford, called for the castle to preserved. The selectmen invited those seeking to preserve the castle to submit a petitioned warrant article to the Town Meeting to determine if voters were willing to take steps, including including raising and appropriating town funds, to this end. No petitioned warrant article was submitted.

However, the board noted that the Kimball Wildlife Forest Committee suggested that the town purchase the property where the castle stands, drawing on grants, donations and trust funds, so that the castle can be allowed to collapse and the 23.66 acres added to the 179 acres of the Kimball Wildlife Forest. The transaction was projected to cost between $500,000 and $700,000.

The selectmen found that "this investment is not in the town's best interest, especially when we consider the cumulative costs of town ownership (to include having to manage the care of several other structures, dealing with inevitable trespassers, potential liabilities, and the loss of tax revenues) for the sake of a dilapidated castle that would cost a fortune to rebuild."

By letter, the selectmen advised Sandy McGonagle, who chairs the Kimball Wildlife Forest Committee, they have concluded that "there is very little public support for the town to re-acquire this structure or the land on which it resides" and that the board agreed the property should remain on the tax rolls as a single family house lot. The board suggested the committee turn its attention to planning an appropriate memorial to the castle somewhere in the forest.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 03:06

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