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With dreams of SNL in his head, Prospect Mountain student launches stand-up comedy career on Sunday

ALTON — Andrew Long was born for the spotlight. Completely at home as the center of attention, he's performed in seemingly every dramatic production possible in his time at Prospect Mountain High School. Lately, though, his interest has veered from the dramatic to the comedic. He performed his first stand-up comedy show last year and knew immediately afterward that it wouldn't be his last.

Long's first foray into stand-up was a set for a group of familiar faces, the members of the Alton Senior Center, where he frequently volunteers. In December he roasted his bosses at Hannaford supermarket at a corporate event.

On Sunday, Long will perform a comedy act for his first general audience. "The Long Comedy Show" will take place from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Gilman Meeting Room, accessed from the rear parking lot of the Gilman Library. Admission is by donation and proceeds will benefit Easter Seals of New Hampshire.

Long, a 20 year-old with blaze-orange hair, was born in Montreal but has lived in Alton since he was a toddler. He's long been a fan of comedy — his favorites include Mel Brooks, Steve Martin, Leslie Nielsen, Seth MacFarlane, Trey Parker and Matt – but it wasn't until he connected with Bryan Stewart, an aide at Prospect Mountain High School, that he got the idea to start writing down some of his prodigious jokes.

Long, especially in his earlier years in high school, was a punster, so much so that he seemed at times to communicate exclusively in puns, said his father Peter. Stewart did some comedy writing in a previous career and encouraged Long to string enough jokes together for a short set. What resulted was a  15-minute routine he performed at the senior center. By the time the set was over, Long had a new favorite past time.

As soon as he finished his first set, he remembered thinking, "I really enjoyed that, it was kind of a rush. I have to do that again." With Stewart as a mentor, Long has compiled enough material to fill an hour with a short intermission.

The show on Sunday, said Long, will be PG-rated, though younger children may not get some of the punch lines. Much of the material will be based on Disney movies and culture. For example, Long said, "I was really confused the first time I saw Disney on Ice. There were all these ice dancers in costumes skating around — I wanted to see Walt Disney's head on ice!" he said, poking fun at the urban legend that the famed animator had himself cryonically frozen.

Asked if his goal is to become a professional comic, Long answered, "Definitely, absolutely definitely." His goal is to build his repertoire and reputation to the point where he can charge for admission to his shows. He also has a dream, to appear on Saturday Night Live. It's a lofty dream and one he admits is unlikely to come true. Long has spent his educational career under the auspices of special education. Stewart is not only his comedy mentor, he's also Long's one-on-one classroom aide becuase Long has a developmental disability diagnosed as a "Right Hemisphere Dysfunction" which is considered part of the autism spectrum.

His diagnosis hasn't slowed him down, though. Long is a seasoned Special Olympian, trampoline enthusiast, downhill skier and doting brother to younger sister Amanda. And, if he succeeds in appearing on Saturday Night Live, he'd be in good company. Famous SNLer, Blues Brother and Ghostbuster Dan Akroyd revealed in a 2004 interview with WHYY's Terry Gross that he has Asperger Syndrome, also on the Autism spectrum, as well as a mild form of Tourette Syndrome.

Whether he's performing in New York City or at Alton's Gilman Library, Long said he doesn't want to be known because of a dysfunction or syndrome; he wants to be known because of his jokes. "I like the attention, making people laugh and enjoy themselves."

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Andrew Long is launching his comedy career with a set on Sunday at the Gilman Library in Alton. (Courtesy photo)

Last Updated on Saturday, 01 March 2014 01:05

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Boys & Girls Club fund drive hits $1 million mark

LACONIA — The Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region marked a milestone Thursday morning with a ceremony at the club's new home — the former St. James Episcopal Church on North Main Street — which celebrated reaching the million dollar milestone in the club's $2.4 million fund drive.
Children who take part in the programs offered by the club gathered outside briefly on a frosty winter morning to symbolically push ''the rock'' higher up the hill on a sign in front of the building which charts the progress of the fund drive.
''We're really pleased with our progress,'' said Chris Adams, president of the Boys and Girls Club and Laconia Police chief, who said that among the donations which have helped the club make progress was a $400,000 gift from Gladys and Tony Sakowich of Andover, Mass., long-time summer residents of the Lakes Region.
Mr. Sakowich, who died on Feb. 14 at the age of 95, made the gift over four years ago after being advised by Paul Gaudet Sr., founder of AutoServ, that it was a project that would fulfill the Sakowich's desire to leave a lasting legacy in the Lakes Region.
The gift was announced last year at a leadership meeting held after it had been announced that the club had reached an agreement to purchase the Saint James Episcopal Church but the amount was not known until recently.
Al Posnack, who chairs the Capital Campaign Committee, said that among the major donors so far has been the Bank of New Hampshire, which contributed $100,000 at the capital campaign kickoff last fall and has contributed over $250,000 to support the club's programs over the last 10 years.
He said that there are three parts of the fund drive, $700,000 for the purchase of the church property, $700,000 for renovations to the property and $1 million for an endowment fund.
Last March the Vestry of the church accepted the club's offer to purchase the land and buildings for a reported price of $700,000. The property provides 17,000-square-feet of space between the ground floor and half-basement and sits on a 1.3-acre lot.
The new facility includes eight program rooms, which will provide space for academic support, art, small group activity, and computers, a 5,000-square-foot great room for indoor recreation, drama, dance, music, and social opportunities, a modern institutional kitchen for nutrition programs, cooking lessons, independent living skill building, and many meals as well as a spacious community room which house a Kids Cafe and Game Room, as well as being a community resource according to Cheryl Avery, executive director,.
Last November the club was awarded a $250,000 grant by the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, which will be applied toward the acquisition of the building. It also has applied for a second $250,000 grant for the project, both of which have been applied for through the Belknap County Commission.

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Hailey and Leah, who celebrated her 9th birthday Thursday, move ''the rock'' up the hill to mark the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region reaching the one million dollar mark in its capital campaign, which has a goal of $2.4 million. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 March 2014 10:00

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Visiting Franklin bounces Sachems from Division II basketball tournament

LACONIA — The Sachems were bounced out of the NHIAA Division III girls' basketball tournament last night, 44-33, by a visiting Franklin team that opened the game on a 10-0 run. Laconia only managed three points in the first quarter and five total in the first half.

Franklin pressured the Sachem offense from the opening tipoff, forcing Laconia to turn over the ball 24 times.

Laconia cut Franklin's lead to eight with two minutes to play but two technical fouls on the Sachems pushed the lead back into double digits and put the game out of reach. Senior Forward Katrina Styles had a game high 25 points in the victory. Laconia's leaders were sophomore Natalie Compton with six points and sophomore Taylor Sullivan with five.

Franklin will travel to the top seeded Newfound on Saturday night for a quarterfinal round match

In other NHIAA Division III tournament play Gilford beat Bow 43-39 and Winnisquam fell to Campbell 50-32.

Laconia finished the season with a 12-7 record. Three of those losses were at the hands of Franklin.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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While enforcing eviction in Barnstead, sheriff deputies said to have found pot farm

BARNSTEAD — Following up on an order of eviction at 10 Barnstead Road, Belknap County Sheriffs Deputies discovered what they are labeling marijuana grow operation.

While the tenants were not there — they had been ordered to vacate by February 26 — police secured the residence and applied for a search warrant.

During the execution of the warrant, police found seven healthy marijuana plants ranging from one to three feet tall, multiple grow lights and heating pads, fertilizers, grinders, books on marijuana cultivation, and other growing equipment and drug paraphernalia.

The Belknap County Sheriffs Department and the Barnstead Police continue their investigation and expect one or more arrests to be made in the near future.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 February 2014 01:57

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