Tilton taxes go up by almost 4 percent

TILTON — The New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration has set the 2015 property tax rate at $20.69 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, an increase of 78 cents, or 3.9 percent over the 2014 rate of $19.91. Under the new rate, the owner of a home valued at $200,000 would see their tax bill rise by $156, from $3,982 to $4,138.

The amount to be raised by property taxes increased by $787,352 or 7.2 percent, from $10,680,446 to $11,467,798. The total assessed valuation grew by $4,300,693, or 0.9 percent, from $499,613,515 to $503,914,208.

The town tax increased from $6.42 to $6.81, the local school tax from $9.74 to $10.18 and the county tax from $1.33 to $1.35 while the state education tax decreased from $2.42 to $2.35.

Lakes Region Art Association opens members’ gallery at Tanger Outlets

TILTON — Pat Anderson, gallery manager for the Lakes Region Art Association Members' Gallery at Tanger Outlets, said having the first-ever gallery where association members can exhibit and sell their art is a great way to mark the association's 75th anniversary.
And she credits Eric Proulx, manager of Tanger Outlet, with making the showcase for local art possible.
''He saw that we were celebrating our 75th anniversary, and contacted us to let us know that there was space available for us here. He's been so helpful. When we came and looked at it, we saw that the walls were already lined with flat boards, which were just what we need to display our paintings,'' said Anderson, a retired brigadier general who was an Army nurse and retired to the Lakes Region with her husband three years ago.
Anderson specializes in oil paintings of nature scenes with a strong emphasis on the changing seasons and is one of 32 artists whose works are displayed on the walls of the 59 foot by 23 foot retail space which is located near the mall offices at Tangers Outlet which is located near the Mall offices in the services area.
''This is one of the most exciting projects I've worked on,'' said Anderson, adding that the joy in having the location is evident in the faces of the association's members when they walk through the door.
Two opening receptions will be held this weekend, from noon to 8 p.m. today, and on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
Association members are displaying original art, prints, cards and books in the gallery, which will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and staffed by volunteers from the association, many of whom will be working on art projects which will give visitors an understanding of how their art is created.
There is additional space at the rear of the gallery where art classes will be offered by members, said Anderson.
Among the artists exhibiting at the gallery is D.J. Geribo of Alton, who is also a children's book author. Her works feature pastels, oil, watercolor and acrylics and her gift cards help raise funds for shelter animals.
The association, originally known as the Laconia Art Group, was formally founded in 1940 by William Robertson, Wilfred Marsland, George and Harriet Booth and John Hoyt. It became the Laconia Art Association in 1973 and in 2005 expanded to become the Lakes Region Art Association.

CAPTION: slugged D.J. Geribo
D.J. Geribo of Alton, a children's book author and artist whose works feature animals and nature, works on a painting at the Lakes Region Art Association's Members Gallery at the Tanger Outlets in Tilton. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Wood stove sales on the rise

LACONIA — Wood, the original heat source dating back to pre-history, continues to remain a viable source for heating homes in New Hampshire, where one of every 13 homes in the state (7.7 percent) burn wood to stay warm.
Bob Gardner of Fireside Living, a hearth and patio store on Union Avenue which sells, designs and installs wood, gas and pellet stoves, fireplaces, inserts and hearth accessories as well as patio furniture and gas grills, says that wood stove sales are up this year.
''Pellet stoves account for 60 percent of our sales but we've seen more people wanting wood stoves this year than we've seen in a long time.'' says Gardner.
A veteran of the wood stove resurgence dating back to the late 1970s when oil embargoes sparked a revival of wood heating and it was seen as a patriotic duty to have a pile of stacked wood next to your home, Gardner got his start in the business assembling the Comforter line of wood stoves marketed by Abundant Life from its Lochmere location.
''Today's wood stoves are a lot more efficient than they were back then,'' says Gardner, who says that efficiency ratings for modern stoves reach the low 70 percent range while improvements in design have drastically reduced the amount of emissions from burning wood.
He says that the newer wood stoves, especially those with catalytic combusters, require dry wood and that using green wood in a catalytic-combustor stove may damage the stove and that owners have to be knowledgeable about how to operate them. He says that non-catalytic stoves, thanks to the many changes in design, now approach the efficiency level of catalytic stoves.
Gardner says that educating first-time buyers of wood stoves about what size stove they need is important. ''Some people say they want something which will heat an entire 2,000 square foot home. But unless you're putting it in the basement you don't want a stove that large. You'll end up keeping the draft so low in order to keep the house comfortable that you'll have incomplete combustion and a creosote buildup in the chimney which can lead to chimney fires.'' Creosote is a black sooty liquid which deposits and hardens on the inside of chimneys.
He says that there are basically three kinds of wood stoves, steel, cast iron and soapstone, all of which have their own advantages. He says that steel stoves give out virtually instant heat but cool more rapidly while cast iron stoves are more decorative and soapstone stoves provide the best heat retention due to their ceramic surfaces.
He says that steel stoves require less maintenance than cast iron stoves while soapstones are slow to provide heat to an entire room.
Fireside Living sells stoves from Vermont Castings, Morso, a Scandinavian style, as well Harman stoves made in Pennsylvania and Pacific Energy stoves made in Canada. ''There's a wide variety which will fit he need of each home,'' says Gardner.
Getting the firewood needed to heat a home is also an important consideration. The UNH Cooperative Extension Service says the amount of wood required to heat a house depends on a number of factors: the size and interior layout of the house, how weather-tight the house is and the type and efficiency of the wood stove. A 1,500-square-foot, fairly weather-tight New Hampshire house will burn between four and five cords of seasoned wood during an average New Hampshire heating season.
The Associated Press recently reported that the demand for firewood sized logs for fracking operations in Pennsylvania, where they are used to make corduroy log roads for heavy equipment, have pushed up prices in parts of New England to $325 a cord, anywhere from $50 to $75 more a cord than last year.
It also quoted Jasen Stock, executive director of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association, as saying that the cost of cordwood on the stump (that is, live trees) went from $10 in 2012 in northern New Hampshire to $15 this year.
Ruth Mooney, who sells kiln-dried firewood on Province Road in Belmont, says that her prices for delivered wood in the local area are are remaining at the same level as last year, $320 a cord, and that she has had no problems getting enough hardwood processor logs from her suppliers.
''It's a wild time of year with the logs coming in the deliveries going out.''
Currently all of the wood being processed is committed through January 29 of next year and because kiln-dried wood is insect free is also sold in small firewood bundles which can be shipped anywhere.
She says that she has seen many people switching from wood pellets to firewood because they like the comfort factor of having the hotter fire produced by burning dry wood.