Good Shepherd Lutheran Church gives $1,000 to Got Lunch! Laconia program

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — In a small room in the basement of the Congregational Church of Laconia, jammed with jars and cans of foodstuffs, Pastor Paula Gile held a check from the Caring for Others Committee of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church for $1,000 toward the annual budget of Got Lunch! Laconia, the program that provides needy school children with nutritious meals throughout the 11 weeks of their summer vacation.
The program, now on the eve of its sixth year, served 657 children from 294 families last summer and, Gile said, is budgeting to feed 700 this year as the numbers of schoolchildren in the city eligible for free or reduced price lunches has continued to rise. Gile said that the program budgets $120 for each child, which with 700 children amounts to $84,000.
Gile said that the program owes its success to a contribution of $35,000 from the Great Lakes Region Children's Auction together with donations from more than 70 community partners, including individuals, churches and businesses, and the efforts of more than 230 volunteers. She also stressed the role of five farms in the region that have collaborated to provide the program with fresh vegetables every week at wholesale prices.
Since the program began in 2011 Got Lunch! Laconia has served 120,504 lunches.

(Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the record on the donor of the $1,000.)

05-03 Got Lunch

Lee Kruecheberg, the Rev. Paula Gile of the Congregational Church of Laconia, Barbara Ryder and the Rev. Jennifer Hitt of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (from left) are among some 230 volunteers for Got Lunch! Laconia who stock the larder, fill the bags and deliver the lunches to feed more than 650 schoolchildren during the summer. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch).

French to challenge Hosmer in District 7 (432)

FRANKLIN — Harold French, a Republican serving his first term in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, announced yesterday that he will run for the Senate in District 7, the seat held for the past two terms by Democrat Andrew Hosmer of Laconia.

A real estate broker, auctioneer and folk art sculptor, French, who is originally from Concord, has lived in half a dozen towns in Merrimack County and graduated from Hopkinton High School and attended Plymouth State University. Along with his deep roots in Merrimack County, he operated the Gold Street Gallery in Laconia for several years during what he called "my art phase" and was was among those led by the late Wanda Tibbetts who began the Lakeport Association.

French represents Wards 1 and 2 in Franklin and the town of Hill in the House, where he is a member of the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee.

In formally announcing his candidacy, French said in a prepared statement "I am now ready to work for my constituents in the Senate." Noting that he has done business with people throughout the district, he said that "very few have have told me that they think we do not pay enough taxes already" and "the overwhelming majority are opposed to tax increases. " He pledged to continue to oppose any new taxes.

"I just know from my experience," he said Monday, "that we're really tapped out right now."

Instead, he called for easing the regulation of business and lowering the cost of energy to generate opportunity for those seeking better jobs and higher wages. "The more people there are doing business, the more money will be flowing," he said. French also stressed support for "all our schools," including home schooling and charter schools.

French said that state lawmakers file some 1,200 bills each year, three-quarters of them unnecessary and 60 percent of them backed by both parties.

"Then it gets philosophical," he said. "I didn't realize how far apart we are on some things." Nevertheless, French said, "I eat lunch more often with Democrats than Republicans. We just don't vote the same way."

In 2014, Hosmer withstood the challenge by Republican Kathleen Lauer-Rago of Franklin to hold his seat by 155 votes — 9,543 to 9,423 — following a recount. French said that Lauer-Rago indicated to him that she would not run this year, adding that "if she were running, I probably would not be."

Lauer-Rago did not return calls yesterday.

Senate District 7 consists of the city of Laconia and towns of Belmont and Gilford in Belknap County, and the city of Franklin and towns of Andover, Boscawen, Canterbury, Northfield, Salisbury and Webster in Merrimack County.

Man hides under blankets but is found by police

LACONIA — Joshua Umlah, 32, of New Hampton, was arrested at a residence on Shingle Camp Road in New Hampton on Wednesday, April 27, for failure to appear in court. He was found hiding under the blankets of a bunk bed.

Umlah had been indicted in Belknap Superior Court for the charge of possession of heroin. His underlying offense in Grafton County was operating after deemed a habitual offender.

Members of the New Hampshire Joint Fugitive Task Force including Deputy Sheriffs from Belknap, Hillsborough, Rockingham and Strafford Counties located Umlah after warrants were issued for his arrest from both Belknap and Grafton County Superior Court for his failure to appear.

Umlah is currently being held without bail at the Belknap County Jail on both charges awaiting hearings in both Belknap and Grafton County Superior Courts.

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