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WEEKEND - Over 3,000 athletes taking part in 15th annual Timberman Triathlon events this weekend

GILFORD — Well over 3,000 athletes will be congregating in the Lakes Region this weekend for the 15th annual Timberman Triathlon, grueling events which feature swimming, bicycling and and road running and attract top competitors from all corners of the globe.
Action gets under way Saturday morning at Ellacoya State Park on Lake Winnipesaukee where a Sprint event will be held consisting of a 0.3 mile swim, a 15 mile bike ride, and a 3.1 mile run. Some 1,400 athletes from all over the Northeast, including many from the Lakes Region, will be taking part.
The main event, a 70.3 mile, "half-ironman" triathlon gets under way on Sunday, Aug. 17, at 7 a.m. as the first wave of swimmers enters Winnipesaukee for a 1.2 mile swim, followed by a 56-mile bike ride which goes to Loudon and then returns to Ellacoya, followed by a 13.1 mile run. More than 2,000 will take part in the event, which has a festival-like atmosphere and first came to the Lakes Region in 2001.
The Timberman was started by Keith Jordan, who was just getting into triathlons, and at that time was working for the family business, Jordan's Ice Creamery in Belmont.
Jordan said he had taken part in his first triathlon in Maryland and was surprised by how far participants had traveled to take part. He said that set off a bell in his head. "I kept thinking, we live in such a beautiful place in the Lakes Region, why can't we do one here?"

The irony is that there were so few triathletes in the region at that time that Jordan had to market the Timberman as a national event, just to get enough competitors. That first year, they set the limit at 800 athletes, with a "sprint" triathlon for beginners or casual triathletes, and the "Half-Iron" race for the hardened athletes, named after the infamous Ironman competitions which involve a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike race and a full 26.2 mile marathon run.
The initial event sold out and within a few short years had gained a national reputation as one of the best triathlons in the country, a ''must attend'' event, and was turned into a two-day event with the Sprint race taking place on Saturday and the Half-Iron on Sundays.

That change, and other logistical adjustments, allowed Jordan's promotional company Endorfun Sports, to increase their capacity to 1,200 entrants in the Sprint and 2,000 for the Half-Iron.

He also started a half-marathon in Alton, known as the Big Lake Half-Marathon, and another triathlon event in Bristol, the Mooseman, and the Black Fly Triathlon festival in Waterville Valley, all of which attracted thousands of participants each year.

Jordan had by that time moved to Texas, where he had started two triathlons, and continued to return to New Hampshire for the Timberman, which he viewed as his baby, and the other events.

In 2009, Jordan sold the Timberman and Mooseman races to the World Triathlon Corporation, saying on his web site, "The races were taking their toll on people around me and on me. I didn't think we could continue at the level we wanted.''

He also sold the Big Lake Half Marathon and discontinued the Black Fly Triathlon. WTC discontinued the Mooseman event in 2012.

In 2012 Jordan's website Endorfunsports.com, carried a goodbye message from him which read "Thanks to all of you for making this last 13 years the best of our lives, and thank you for all of the memories that will always be with us. Remember, it's not goodbye. It's see you later."

But the race which he started, the Timberman, remains a major event on the WTC calendar, and continues to draw world class triathletes to the Lakes Region every August, as it did last year when the winners were Andy Potts of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Melissa Hauschildt of Australia.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 August 2014 10:10

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WEEKEND - Canterbury Shaker Village celebrates 'Village Rising' today

CANTERBURY — After eight months of preparation, the Canterbury Shaker Village will today host "Village Rising" — a day-long event celebrating Shaker traditions and their modern-day interpretations.

According to museum curator Funi Burdick, the art portions of the show contains artwork created by people who previously visited the Canterbury Shaker Village and have done something creative with its themes.

As examples, Burdick said the show contains a basket woven by a person who appreciates Shaker weaving. She said it will be displayed next to the original basket that inspired the artist.

Likewise a cow sculpture will be displayed next to a painting of a cow created by Shakers in the 1800s.

She said the art exhibit was a juried show, meaning its participants submitted their works for consideration and a jury selected the pieces that will be on display today.

"It's to show the impact that a visit to the Shaker Village can have on a modern visitor," Burdick said.

The Canterbury Shaker Village was established in 1792 by the followers of Mother Ann Lee. According to the Shaker Website, the village was continually inhabited until 1992 when the last Shaker sister, Ethel Hudson, died.

The Canterbury Village was the seventh established by the followers of Mother Lee and, at its peak in the mid-1800s, had more than 300 people living there and working the land.

Shakers — or the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Reappearing — earned their moniker by the dancing they did while praying. Ostracized in their native England, many emigrated to America settling eventually in Kentucky and eventually spreading throughout the northeastern portion of the United States.

According to a variety of Websites, they believed in community ownership, equality of the sexes, dancing, celibacy, and living simply. Over time, they became master craftsmen and the Shaker name became emblematic of top quality craftmanship.

Shakers helped the poor and used their resources for the general good.

Saturday's day-long event will include guided tours of the newly created exhibit at the museum.

At 3 p.m., a concert of music composed by Kevin Siegfried and performed by Artful Noise is planned. Siegfried took traditional Shaker music, dances and themes and interpreted them for a contemporary string quartet to include "tuneful hymnody to foot-stomping marches" said Burdick.

At 1 p.m. there will be a meal cooked by Chef Todd Sweet, the executive chef of the UNH's Philbrook Dining Common, who will use a modern interpretation of traditional Shaker food and recipes.

There is some thought that Shakers unwittingly used a Feng Shui-type decorating mode for their buildings and grounds so there will be a walking tour called Translating the Shaker Aesthetic for Contemporary Life at 1 p.m.

Families interested in hand-on activities can make up-cycled bird feeders and aromatherapy art until 3 p.m.

Burdick said people must call them today to purchase tickets or go to www.shakers.org. to see if spots are still available.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 August 2014 10:09

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Newfound board prefers simple tuition formula for Hill

By Thomas P. Caldwell

BRISTOL — The Newfound Area School Board dismissed Business Administrator Mike Limanni's attempt at a "realistic" tuition formula for Hill students as being too complicated and settled on an unspecified tuition rate that would be based on the Franklin model.
The Hill School District is looking at ending its long-standing Authorized Regional Enrollment Area agreement with the Franklin School District and realigning with either the Winnisquam or Newfound school district for the education of its middle and high school students. Elementary school students would continue attending the Jennie D. Blake School in Hill.
When Newfound's Hill Subcommittee met on July 31, members noted the lack of specificity in Hill's request for proposal (RFP), which did not ask for a tuition rate but did ask that Newfound maintain a middle and high school while not requiring Hill students to attend Newfound if they chose to attend a different district. The committee struck that language so the district could make changes if it chose to do so in the future.
After that initial subcommittee meeting, Limanni developed two options for determining the rate, the first based on Hill's current agreement with Franklin and the second option using a tax assessment model. He presented both options to the subcommittee on Aug. 11, prior to the regular school board meeting. Hill's RFP called for a proposal on a 10-year agreement by Aug. 13.
After the subcommittee spent an hour and a half going over the options, the two members present decided that, rather than making a recommendation to the full board, they would just present the options before them.
Limanni's version of the Franklin model took the total appropriations for the middle and high schools, subtracted the tuition costs for special education students and regular transportation, and divided by the average daily membership for each of the schools to arrive at a per-pupil cost for each of the two schools. The formula then added a rental factor based on the depreciation schedules for the middle and high school buildings.
The current agreement with Franklin also includes half of Hill's state adequacy grant; Limanni did not include that but board members asked that it be included in the cost template.
The business administrator pointed out that a drawback in that model is that Newfound's income would fluctuate with the amount of Hill's adequacy grant. He also felt that the resulting rate would be prohibitive for Hill and would not reflect market values with cohort districts.
Some of the board members questioned why market rates should be a factor when member towns in the school district are paying even higher costs per pupil.
Limanni's second option, he said, was based on real costs, rather than average daily membership. It began by taking the operating budgets for each of the schools and determining their cost ratios; in other words, the percentage of the total budget allocated to each school. He subtracted Newfound's costs for one-on-one aides, out-of-district tuition, contracted transportation, specialized equipment, and contracted services required by law; Hill would be responsible for those costs associated with its own students outside of the tuition amount. He added back in the Newfound Adequacy Aid before dividing by average daily membership to determine the tuition rate. The final provision was to cap annual increases in tuition to two percent as allowed under the Newfound Area School District's tax cap.
That plan, Limanni contended, provided a more realistic tuition rate which would be competitive with whatever Winnisquam comes up with for a rate.
Board members were unimpressed. Vincent Paul Migliore of Bridgewater said its complexity could get the district in trouble in the coming years, especially if the district has a business administrator who is less competent than Limanni. Jeff Levesque of Groton called both options "magic math" and said it needs to be simpler.
Limanni said the first question board members should ask is whether they felt there was a value in bringing Hill students into the district in the first place. If the answer was no, there was no point in working the numbers further, he said.
For Migliore, the answer was a definitive no: "I am vehemently opposed," he said, explaining that the million dollar increase in revenues could take away the incentive to address the district's high budget. "We could save $4 million by a closing a school," he said. "The business administrator says the cost per pupil is prohibitive for Hill, but why not change that for Newfound taxpayers first? Or give Hill the opportunity to pay us what they pay Franklin, since he referred to market value?"
Migliore also was worried that, with such an attractive tuition rate, Hill parents who currently home-school their children might decide to send them to Newfound, requiring more teachers and higher costs for taxpayers.
When Limanni said such an opportunity to bring in additional tuition students does not come along often, Migliore said, "The real value is the opportunity to straighten things out. We can get our budget more in line with our cohort districts, but if we do this, it will prolong the delays."
Levesque said he agrees with some of what Migliore said, but "I don't think their coming in will mean a damn. They'll just replace some of the kids we've lost." His concern, he said, was having to make a decision quickly on a formula due in two days.
The board voted to strip out the actual calculations Limanni had made and offer a generic plan that did not include a specific tuition amount. The board also voted to place any tuition agreement approved by Hill onto Newfound's school district meeting warrant for voters' approval.
At the end of the meeting, Levesque made a motion to address the larger question that the board has been "pushing down the road", asking for two questions to be included in next month's meeting agenda: to consider closing the middle school for the 2015-16 school year; and to begin a study of the property to determine whether there should be a permanent closure or redevelopment of the property. His motion passed unanimously.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 August 2014 01:45

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NH 1 Media opens: ‘New Hampshire is what we are about’

LACONIA — With a ribbon-cutting at the NH 1 Media Center on Church Street yesterday, Bill Binnie of the Carlisle Media Group not only brought a new, dynamic enterprise to the city but also breathed fresh life into its broadcasting heritage.

The Carlisle Media Group consists of WBIN-TV in Derry and 17 FM and AM radio stations around the state operating from studios in Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Lebanon and Laconia. The media center at 51 Church Street is housed in the building that last served as the police station and will be home to WEMJ-AM (1490) and WLNH-FM (98.3) as well as the Lakes Region news bureau of the NH 1 Network. Manager Mike Trombly said that approximately 15 people will be working at the center in on-air, sales and administrative positions.

For Dirk Nadon, vice-president of engineering, who began his career in radio with WEMJ-AM in the 1980s, the opening of the center was particularly special. The building, which had sat empty since 2003, was once a law office his grandfather Bill Nadon shared with longtime District Court judge Bernie Snierson. "I remember getting dragged through there as a kid," Nadon said. "It's great that Bill has given the building a second life."

Binnie said that members of his team advised him against acquiring, joking that some from Laconia "had a little history here, bad memories" from when it was a police station. Nevertheless, he said "I paid $1 and probably overpaid a lot and took the risk of bringing stations back to downtown." In return, Binnie agreed to invest at least $300,000 in renovating the building, an obligation he more than fulfilled. Binnie said that the company has also moved into renovated space in Concord, where it operates from a former elementary school, and Portsmouth.

In officially welcoming Binnie's Carlisle Media Group to the city, Mayor Ed Engler said that the opening of the center was significant for two major reasons. First, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been reinvested in a building that stood empty for a decade as an empty at a central location for a decade and radio stations that originated in the city but migrated to Gilford have returned home.
Second, the mayor described the Carlisle Media Group as "not just any company, but a media company with a real commitment to community programming." Stressing that every community needs "a bigger, better sense of community," he expected the presence of the NH 1 Media Center will enhance Laconia's ability to generate a stronger sense of community.

Underlining Engler's remarks, Nadon noted that WEMJ-AM has restored "open mike," broadcast Muskrats this summer and will broadcast Sachem football this fall. He said the previous owners of the station "took it all away , but Bill is letting us put it all back." Nadon said that Binnie has retained those who have broadcast in the Lakes Region since he was in his teens and added personnel. "Bill has a dream and I'm thrilled to be helping him pursue it," he said. "It's exciting. It's show biz."

Binnie said that WBIN-TV will begin airing evening news at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. as an alternative to WMUR-TV. He said a news team of experienced television journalists has been assembled from the ranks of CNN and the three networks — ABC, NBC and CBS. Bureaus in Laconia, Portsmouth and Lebanon will contribute stories from the Lakes Region, Seacoast and Upper Valley. "New Hampshire is what we are about," he said.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 August 2014 01:17

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