Celebrate Laconia donation

06 01 Celebrate Laconia donation

Bank of New Hampshire has donated $5,000 to Celebrate Laconia, which is organizing a celebration of Laconia's 125th anniversary. Shown, from left, are Paul Falvey, Bank of New Hampshire president; Joan Leroux, Bank of New Hampshire office manager, Alexandra MacDonald, bank services representative; Jared Guilmett, publicity chair for Celebrate Laconia, and Pam Clark, president of Celebrate Laconia. Falvey said, “The City of Laconia is near and dear to Bank of New Hampshire as it has been our home for over 186 years. We are proud to support the efforts of Celebrate Laconia as we recognize the great history and heritage of the Laconia Passenger Station and (the city's) 125th anniversary.” The anniversary events will kick off with a celebration of the Laconia Passenger Station, seen here in the background, on Saturday, Aug. 19. "This is the beginning of a year-long event celebrating the city," said Clark, who added that she is looking for more donations to help cover the events of Aug. 19 and afterward. Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 6502, Laconia, NH, 03247. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)

Lineman Mike Young retires after nearly 50 years on the job with Eversource

By ROGER AMSDEN, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

TILTON — Mike Young, who has spent nearly 50 years as a utility company lineman, received the highest praise from his fellow workers at a retirement party held for him at Eversource's Tilton office Wednesday afternoon.
“You can count on Mike. He'll always be there for you,” said Mark St. Cyr, Young's supervisor, who presented Young with a plaque depicting a lineman at work as part of the ceremony.
He said that Young, now 72, has worked for 49-and-a-half years in the physically demanding job, which has seen him respond in all kinds of weather to emergency situations where restoring electrical power to homes and businesses is a vital concern. Sometimes even a life-and-death matter.
St. Cyr praised Young's dedication, noting that throughout his entire career he has worked at least 1,000 hours of overtime virtually every year and in some years it was closer to 2,000 hours.
“Somebody had to do it,” said Young, who joined what was then the New Hampshire Public Service Company on Jan. 2, 1968, just four years after graduating from Franklin High School, and said he feels fortunate to have said such a long career with the same business.
“It's been a good journey. To think that with the education I had I was able to get a job like this is really something," said Young, who praised his wife, Holly, for her support over the years..
“Behind every lineman is a good wife. Your wife sits up waiting for you at night on those calls and puts up with you not being around a lot.” he said.
Pat Paquette, an administrator who was unable to attend the ceremony due to union negotiations taking place in Manchester, said that Eversource “couldn't have had a better employee. He had a passion that you seldom see. When he got the call, he was always there.”
Young started working in Public Service Company's Franklin office and was promoted to line foreman before being transferred to Lancaster and later Newport before returning to the Lakes Region in the 1980s. He and his wife have made their home in Gilford since 1987, where they raised a son and daughter.
During his career Young was often called to out-of-state emergencies many times, once being flown along with his utility truck by a giant transport to Puerto Rico after it had been hit by a hurricane. He also was sent to Florida after hurricanes there and to New York for Hurricane Sandy.
Young said that he had some thoughts about trying to reach the 50-year mark of service but decided that it wasn't to be. “My body said I'd had enough.”
He said at one point 15 years ago he wasn't sure that he was going to make it as far as he did. “I had a heart attack right in the emergency room at Lakes Region General Hospital. I was 57 at the time. But I came back, stronger than ever.” said Young.
“I'm going to miss everybody and I'm not sure I'm going to know what to do with myself,” said Young.
But his wife, Holly, said that she already has a list of projects around the house ready for him which will keep him busy for a long time to come.

06 02 lineman Mike Young retires
Mike Young speaks at the retirement party. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

06 02 lineman Mike Young retires plaque

Mike Young is presented with a plaque honoring his nearly 50 years of service as a lineman by Marc St. Cyr, his supervisor, at a retirement party held for Young at Eversource's Tilton office Wednesday. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Tourist season starts strong

Local businesses see up to 20% increase over last year

By THOMAS P. CALDWELL
LACONIA DAILY SUN
Judging by the activity over Memorial Day weekend, Lakes Region tourism officials are predicting a strong summer season, boosted by a number of new attractions as well as the loyalty of return visitors.
Amy Landers of the Lakes Region Tourism Association said businesses are reporting increases between 1 and 20 percent from a year ago, with lodging establishments averaging 97 percent occupancy over the three days.
Even with the cool, rainy weather on Monday, inside businesses made up for the drop in outside activity, Landers said. “They just did other things than they were planning to do,” she said.
Traffic counts were extremely high throughout the weekend, with people visiting family and friends or attending weddings, graduations and concerts. The four Zac Brown concerts at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford were sold out every night, and Karmen Gifford, of the Laconia Chamber of Commerce, said many people attended more than one concert, which meant they needed overnight lodging.
“I think we lucked out with the weather,” Gifford said. “All those I’ve spoken with had a great weekend. Boats are in the water, and the businesses were busy, especially the restaurants.”
She said the Winnipesaukee Fishing Derby served as a good lead-in for the weekend, as well, attracting a thousand contestants.
Susan Cerutti of the Meredith Area Chamber of Commerce, representing the towns at the northern end of Lake Winnipesaukee, as well as Squam, echoed the observations of her colleagues.
Meredith had its 26th annual craft fair at Mill Falls Marketplace, and Cerutti said the festival has a loyal following. “It’s very helpful to all the stores on Main Street and in the Marketplace,” she said, “as well as the restaurants.”
Cerutti also noted the number of boats on the lakes and said Holderness marinas were reporting lots of last-minute boat rentals in addition to those who had made reservations. Camper traffic also was up, Gifford said.
Landers’ statistics show visitors were here from Boston and southern New Hampshire, as well as other parts of Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maine, and Connecticut. While there were some Canadian visitors, Landers said Memorial Day is not a big weekend for our neighbors to the north.
Gifford, however, said she has received a lot of calls from Canadians interested in coming here this summer. “The exchange rate for the dollar is better for us going there,” she said, “but we have a better price on petrol down here, so there’s not a problem with Canadians coming here to visit.”
The United Kingdom also generates a lot of traffic on the Laconia chamber’s website, Gifford said. “Canada and the UK are the ones we draw from the most,” she said of foreign visitors.
Landers said her organization markets the state in Canada and Europe, as well as other overseas markets. She noted that TIA, the Travel Industry of America, will hold its three-day IPW trade show in Washington, D.C., next week, and the Lakes Region Tourism Association will be there. “We have one-on-one appointments with tour operators from all over the world,” she said.
Gifford said she already has been receiving inquiries about Motorcycle Week.
“People are struggling to find places to stay,” she said. “Proctor’s was full for Memorial Day weeks before the weekend came.”
“There’s a lot going on in the Lakes Region,” Landers said, pointing to Gunstock’s growth with the addition of its Mountain Coaster, as well as the expansion of businesses and restaurants at the Winnipesaukee Pier at Weirs Beach. Polar Caves in Plymouth has made major renovations and added new attractions; the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad has partnered with the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center and will be offering a new train and cruise package; and other businesses are adding new attractions, she said.
Gifford noted that The Naswa has a full summer of special activities planned, including this weekend’s third annual Naz AquaMania with “boats, water toys, music and food” as the attraction.
Cerutti also said the summer is looking very promising. “We’re getting a lot of requests for wedding information, and we’re starting to receive inquiries from the Midwest for the fall, much earlier than usual. The chamber is working on our 38th annual arts and crafts festival for the end of August, and the Sculpture Walk is a huge draw — that is definitely bringing people to Meredith. The good thing is it’s something people walk around to do, and that gets them out around the town.”
Discussing the cool, rainy weather that has been so prevalent this spring, Gifford said it has not been a deterrent to golfers, with the golf courses in great shape. “They’re doing very well, even with the rain, and it’s not affecting the fairways,” she said.
“I’m excited about the summer,” Gifford said. “I think our biggest challenge is making sure employers have the staffing they need. The visitors are there; that’s increasing.”

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