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WEEKEND - Up With People to perform twice in Laconia today

LACONIA — Colorful, energetic, exciting, entertaining and reflective.

Typically, reporters don't use adjectives to describe events, but those are just a few of the ways to portray an abbreviated 45-minute version of the Up With People show presented to the students at the Laconia Middle School on Friday afternoon.

A musical extravaganza that features young adults from around the world, Up With People delighted the students, most of whom were wearing T-shirts sporting the red and white school colors and danced in place as the performer entertained them.

The 100-strong cast of Up With People has been in the city all week rehearing for several concerts and working on community service projects. The will make two public appearances today (Saturday), the first at the opening ceremony of the Laconia Multicultural Festival in Rotary Park at 10 a.m. At 7 p.m. at the Middle School, the performers will be on stage to deliver their second full (2-hour) show of the weekend. Tickets for the Saturday night concert are available at all Meredith Village Savings Bank locations and will be for sale at the door ($15 general admission and $10 for students and seniors).

For the shortened concert version yesterday, the Up With People cast chose musical numbers that emphasize cultural diversity by performing dances and music from South Africa, Ireland, India, and the United States — Tennessee to be exact — reflecting some of the places the cast has visited in its 50-year existence.

Students also got a good laugh from a 1990s through today retrospective that featured songs from artists as diverse as Green Day and Psy — a South Korean phenomenon who made Gangnam style known throughout the world.

Up With People also musically address bullying by performing music with the Albert Einstein quote "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." scrolling on a screen behind the cast.

The crowd was also amused by a text message conversation about spread the word about Up With People that ended up showing a official video of twin babies babbling at each other with English subtitles that purport them to be talking about joining the troop.


Last Updated on Friday, 05 September 2014 10:04

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Swinford & Howard competing for GOP nomination in 3-town House district

ALTON/BARNSTEAD/GILMANTON — Elaine Swinford of Barnstead and Ray Howard of Alton are seeking the Republican nomination in Belknap County House District 8, which encompasses the towns of Alton, Barnstead and Gilmanton.
Swinford, who served two terms in the New Hampshire House from 2008 to 2012, is the welfare officer for the town of Barnstead, where she also runs the town thrift shop and community pantry, while Howard, a self-employed small business owner, serves on the Alton Planning Board and as a cemetery trustee.
Swinford, who served as chairman of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee during her second term, says ''I want to go back to the House. I think I did good job there and can continue to do a good job. I will work to represent all of my constituents, not just those who voted for me, just as I have done in the past.''
Howard says he is running because he believes that government spending has ''gotten out of control and it's time to put a lid on it'', citing the expansion of Medicaid at the state level as a program that he believes can't be sustained and will prove too costly for New Hampshire taxpayers.
He says that he is old-fashioned New Englander whose roots go back for generations and that he believes in self-reliance and hard work and that those are values he will bring to the Legislature is he is elected.
Swinford, who holds a Master's degree in mental health from Springfield, College, says that she owns the thrift shop and community pantry in Barnstead and created them because she saw the need in the community for those kind of services through her job as welfare director.
Swinford says she doesn't believe that the 4 cent a gallon gas tax increase approved by the legislature was really needed and maintains that highway improvements should be funded through highway trust fund money which is being diverted to law enforcement.
Both candidates say they have reservations about plans for a proposed new Belknap County jail, which, according to a preliminary estimate, could cost as much as $42 million.
''We don't need a Taj Mahal,'' says Swinford, who says that an earlier plan for renovation and expansion of jail carried an $18 million estimate at the low end of the cost spectrum.
She says that she favors an in-house approach to dealing with the mental health and addiction problems that many of the county jail inmates suffer from, having witnessed the success of such programs while doing an internship at the mens' state prison in Massachusetts while attending Springfield College.
Howard notes that Swinford, who lost a race for re-election in the Republican primary in 2012, voted for an appropriation of $160,000 to fund the study by Ricci Greene Associates which came up with a plan for a 94,500-square-foot, 180-bed facility with an estimated cost of $42.6 million.
He says that he is still learning a lot about then details of the county jail debate and says that he is interested in a 1987 plan which would have added a third wing to the jail which might prove to be the most economical solution.
''All of this is going to be looked at and debated. I want a workable plan which will be fair to the taxpayers. I don't want them burdened with bells and whistles,'' says Howard.
He says that he thinks the current county convention has done a good job on holding the line on spending and would stick with that approach.
They are seeking the nomination for the District 8 seat which was won by Republican Jane Cormier of Alton two years ago. Cormier, who served as clerk of the Belknap County Convention, resigned earlier this year after moving to Hooksett, where she is now a candidate in the state senate race in the GOP primary running against incumbent Republican David Boutin.

Last Updated on Friday, 05 September 2014 01:33

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Former sheriff endorses Hurt for N.H. House

GILFORD —George Hurt's candidacy for state representative in the N.H. House District (Belknap 2) that includes Gilford and Meredith has received an endorsement from former Belknap County Sheriff Steve Hodges.

Five Republicans are running for the party's four spots on District 2 general election ballots and primary election day is Tuesday, Sept. 9.

"I have known George for 16 years and I am enthused that George is stepping forward and choosing to run," said Hodges. "George is known as a well-respected businessman and that respect has earned him a reputation as a hardworking and trusted individual. His prior legislative experience representing Gilford will mean he will be able to hit the ground running.

"I am endorsing George because of his sincere commitment in finding a workable solution to the Belknap County Correction complex that all taxpayers of the county can support," added Hurt. "I urge voters in Gilford and Merediht to vote on September 9 for George."

Hurt, a Gilford resident, said he was honored to have received a public endorsement from "one of the Lakes Region's well recognized and respected former law enforcement officials".






Last Updated on Friday, 05 September 2014 01:19

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Shari Lebreche trying to secure a GOP spot on November ballot via write-in campaign for Belmont House seat

BELMONT — Although only one Republican filed as a candidate for this town's two seats in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, Shari Lebreche, who owns and operates Tilton's Haircuts for Men has mounted a write-in campaign to ensure the GOP fields a full slate in the general election.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Charles Fink chose not to seek re-election to a second term, leaving Rep. Michael Sylvia, who is running for a second term, the lone declared GOP candidate. Two Democrats, Ron Cormier and George Condodemetraky, have filed their candidacy.

Lebreche said that when Sylvia found that a Democrat would capture one of the two seats by default he approached her about filling the ticket. "I thought it over and decided I'm going to try to do it," she said yesterday.

Raised in Northfield, Lebreche, has lived in the region all her life and operated her business in Tilton for the last nine years. She described herself as "conservative" and said that although she has been an active advocate for the rights of gun owners, she has no direct political experience.

Lebreche is opposed to a personal income or general sales tax and believes that balanced budgets and reduced spending would encourage the growth of small business. Right-to-work legislation, she said, would also improve the business climate. Strongly committed to parental and local control of the public schools, she opposes the introduction of Common Core. Lebreche expressed concern about illegal immigration, fearing that the dispersal of aliens throughout the state adversely affect the markets for jobs and housing as well as public safety and national security. Finally, she said that she wants to ensure that the needs of veterans in New Hampshire, particularly their healthcare, are met.

"In my job I talk to a lot of people from all over the Lakes Region and the state and from all walks of life," Lebreche said, discounting her lack of experience. "I have a good idea of what people are thinking and believe I can represent them."

State law provides that a person must receive at least 35 write-in votes in the primary election to qualify for place on the ballot for the general election. A person receiving the required number of write-in votes in the primary election who chooses to accept the nomination must file a declaration of candidacy with the New Hampshire Secretary of State no later than the first Monday after the primary.

The primary election will be held on Tuesday, September 9.

Last Updated on Friday, 05 September 2014 01:17

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