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Cantin's will match Value of Toys for Tots Donations

LACONIA — The shortest Christmas shopping season possible, with only 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, coupled with a still slow recovery from the depths of the Great Recession, is seen as the cause of a major shortfall in charitable giving this holiday season.
The local Salvation Army kettle drive is far below its usual level and other holiday charities are experiencing similar drop-offs, including the Toys for Tots campaign which is run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
''The response has been very light so far and we're very concerned about that,'' says Carl Deprospo, sales manager at Cantin Chevrolet, which has for years been a drop off spot for new toys donated to the drive.
Deprospo says that in order to encourage more giving, dealership owner Tom Cantin decided this week to match dollar for dollar the value of gifts that the firm's friends and customers take to the Toys for Tots collection bin at the company's Union Avenue location.
''All the donor has to do is to provide a receipt with the toy they bring in and Cantin's will match it. It will double your gift. It's a great cause and your gift can make the difference between a child having something under the tree or not,'' says Deprospo.
''We need to get more toys and we're hoping to get the word out there about our matching donation to encourage people to give. We've only got a short time to make this happen and we're hoping our friends and valued customers will pitch in along with us to help make it a happy holiday season for children all over the area,'' says Deprospo.

He said that gifts for pre-teens, as well as young children, are particularly needed.

Last Updated on Friday, 06 December 2013 03:10

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Taxes in Gilmanton drop by almost 10%

GILMANTON — No property taxpayers in the eleven municipalities in Belknap County fared better in 2013 than those of Gilmanton where the tax burden fell by 9.4-percent and the tax rate by 9.7-percent.

The amount to be raised by taxes decreased in only one other town — Alton — and then by just 0.6-percent, while the property tax rate decreased in three other towns — Alton, Gilford and Barnstead — by 1.8-percent , 0.8-percent and 0.3-percent respectively. Everywhere else both the tax commitment and tax rate increased.

Meanwhile, in Gilmanton the amount to be raised by taxes was lowered by $1,047,240, from $11,142,077 to $10,094,837, and the tax rate by $2.27, from $23.42 to $21.15. These figures represent a ten-percent reduction in property tax bills.

Both the town and the school district contributed to lightening the tax burden. Town Administrator Arthur Capello said that the Board of Selectmen, with assistance from department heads, trimmed the operating budget from $3.9-million in 2012 to $3.6-million in 2013, a reduction of almost nine-percent. He said that the capital outlays were reduced, along with expenditures for maintenance and elections. At the same time, revenues from sources other than property taxes, especially motor vehicle registrations, exceeded projections while payment plans were introduced to enable taxpayers to pay a portion of their bills and keep properties on the tax rolls.

School Superintendent John Fauci said that a mix circumstances enabled the school district to return more than $900,000 to the town. He estimated that adjustments in tuition paid to the Gilford School District for high school students and special education costs represented about three-quarters of the difference between budgeted appropriations and actual expenditures while reduced energy and staffing costs accounted for the balance.

Capello noted that the total assessed valuation of the town rose $2.1-million, from $478.4-million to $480.5-million, or by 0.4-percent, which marginally contributed to the decrease in the property tax rate. However, he noted that the assessed valuation is approximately six-percent above market prices, which will require property values to be adjusted downward in 2014.

Last Updated on Friday, 06 December 2013 03:10

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'Culinary athletes' sought for Pub Mania

GILFORD — For those Alan Beetle of Patrick's Pub calls "culinary athletes," there are still some open seats for the fifth annual Pub Mania, which kicks off on Thursday, December 12 at 9 a.m. to benefit the WLNH Children's Auction.

Inspired by Cycle Mania, where relay teams kept the wheels of stationary cycle spinning for 24 hours, Pub Mania is tailored to more leisurely competitors who sit on bar stools while being entertained and entertaining each other. The event features 30 teams of 24 members apiece. Each team is assigned one of the stools ringing the bar at Patricks Pub, where each of its members sits for one hour, gathering pledges from those who support their team. Each team must raise at least $1,000.

Meanwhile, Pub Maniacs are treated to live music, poetry readings, comedy hours, talent contests, karaoke, barstool yoga and arts and crafts. A crew of referees may award teams points for their participation and performance in contests or dock them points for leaving a stool empty or overstaying their leave as well as conduct "contrary to the spirit of Pub Mania."

Since Pub Mania joined the repertoire of the Children's Auction, it has grown almost fourfold to become its largest single contributor. The event raised $47,000 in 2009, $60,000 in 2010, $110,700 in 2011 and $165,300 last year, all thanks to the sedentary efforts of some 720 participants and their supporters each year. Beetle said that the goal this year, as every year, is to top the amount the amount raised the year before.

Beetle said that although most teams have sold out their seats, more than two dozen remain seats on five different teams and urged anyone wishing to reserve a place to visit the website, patrickspub.com/pubmania.php and click on "available seats 2013."

Last Updated on Friday, 06 December 2013 03:09

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Laconia High adopts list of 32 "must read" novels

LACONIA — The High School Humanities Department has created a list of 32 must read books, which is known as the "Laconia Canon". The list was compiled to outline a high standard of reading comprehension, and is focused on meeting so-called Common Core standards.

"The Laconia Canon has been implemented to ensure that students do not leave the high school without a basic knowledge of the most crucial works written over the past century," said Tate Aldrich, English Teacher. "It does the students a great disservice in both college and life, if they do not have a background of these works."
The Canon is a collection of high-level literary works. The study of each book is designed to encourage students to think critically about abstract ideas and connect concepts to outside sources. Some of the works highlighted include "The Odyssey", "Macbeth", "The Call of the Wild", "Animal Farm", "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "The Pear", "Fahrenheit 451", "A Raisin in the Sun", "A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time", "The Scarlet Letter", "The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin", "The Great Gatsby", "Death of a Salesman", "1984", "Frankenstein", "Lord of the Flies", "To Kill a Mocking Bird", "Hamlet" and "Of Mice and Men". These and other books are required to be read in Social Studies, Citizenship, and U.S History.
Through the broad collection of novels, students are pushed to make connections with complex concepts such as morality, dichotomies, census, omnipotence and microcosms, as the reader is pushed to a new level of comprehension and knowledge. Digging deeper into the content of each novel, students are exposed to new forms of analyzing literary content, through thesis papers, literary circles, and frequent classroom discussion.

By approaching the works listed on the Canon in different ways, the students are able to extract a better understanding of important concepts, and have a more evolved way of looking at the world as a whole, said Aldrich.
The Common Core standards have been voluntarily implemented in most states, as they are aimed to ensure students leave high school proficient in reading and writing, explained Aldrich. Working as a continuous curriculum, students will be required to read various styles of works during their high school career, and become proficient in various styles of writing. In the English Department all students are required to write narrative essays throughout the year. The grading of each essay according to Common Core standards is used as a way to gauge where the students are in meeting the required benchmarks. The goal of this system is to ensure that through continuous practice of writing a specific type of style, the students will become proficient in the basic standards.
"In addition to promoting high academia, the collection of literary works is focused on meeting the new Common Core standards," said Rick Crockford, head of the Humanities Department. "The works ensure that during the course of their high school career, students will have both a high standard of reading comprehension and critical thinking before they graduate."

Last Updated on Friday, 06 December 2013 03:09

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