LACONIA — The Vintage Cafe on Main Street was the venue when the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development yesterday officially awarded $175,000 in Rural Business Enterprise Grants to seven organizations across the state, including the Belknap Economic Development Council (BEDC).
U.S. Representative Carol Shea-Porter, described by Ted Brady, state director of the USDA, as "one of our agency's greatest supporters," said that "these grants are a boost. That's what this is all about — a boost."
The BEDC was awarded $20,234, which executive director Justin Slattery said will sustain its partnership with the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to provide counseling and assistance to small and emergent businesses in the region. Almost a year ago a similar grant from the USDA enabled the BEDC to arrange with the SBDC to secure the presence of a business counselor in Laconia.
The grant," Slattery said, "has allowed the BEDC to build a great partnership with the Small Business Development Center in Belknap County. We look forward to continuing to collaborate in the coming year to assist local businesses just like the Vintage Cafe."
The Vintage Cafe, owned and operated by Richard Dargy and his daughter Nicole, is one of more than 100 clients in Belknap County and Grafton County served by Sally Holder, the business counselor.
Richard Dargy recalled the challenges he faced in starting the business, adding "that's when I met Sally." He said that she not only provided advice "but even gave me homework." From Sally, he said, he learned two valuable lessons — "measure twice and cut once" and "if you're going to make mistakes, make them on paper."
With Holder's helping hand, Nicole Dargy said that the business turned a profit in its first year, during which sales grew more than 40 percent. She indicated that shortly the product line will be expanded to included specialty coffees and a line of "take and bake" products. "We're very happy," she remarked.
Holder expressed nothing but enthusiasm for her work. She said that she helps individual entrepreneurs and small businesses address all sorts of financial, marketing and operational issues to ensure profitability and growth. "I have clients in every kind of business you can think of," she said. She observed that "staying focused" posed the stiffest test for most small businesses, noting that growth raises issues that distract from the fundamentals of the enterprise.
Shea-Porter stressed that New Hampshire is a state of small communities that draw their health and prosperity from locally owned and operated businesses. "They are our treasures," she said. Professing her support for the USDA and its programs, she reminded everyone to "recognize the contributions of public employees who support their communities" then remarked "I'm just here to celebrate with everybody."
Brady noted that since 1994 the USDA has awarded $1.4 million to the BEDC, which he estimated has generated or preserved 750 jobs in Belknap County.
CAPTION: U.S. Representative Carol Shea-Porter (center) was joined by, from left, Nicole Dargy, Brad Taylor and Richard Dargy of the Vintage Cafe, and from right, Ted Brady, state director of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Development, and Justin Slattery, executive director of the Belknap Economic Development Council as the USDA awarded the BEDC a Rural Business Enterprise Grant. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)
Last Updated on Thursday, 03 July 2014 01:04
LACONIA — For the second time this year, a thief or thieves have stolen some of the brass spigots from the watering pipes at the Union Cemetery.
Union Cemetery Board of Trustees President John Perley said this time eight of the fittings were taken. He said two of the pipes were also stolen, apparently cut with a hack saw.
He said the other six were unscrewed and said the caretaker assumed it was either someone who is very strong or who used a wrench because the spigots are on fairly tight.
Perley said one of the biggest problems created by the theft is that the water runs all night and drains the system.
Perley said that about 80 spigots were stolen about two years ago and since then the cemetery has been replacing them with plastic to make them less attractive to thieves.
Last year, thieves broke into the storage house and stole two brand new riding movers and some other lawn and maintenance equipment.
Anyone with any information is is asked to call the Laconia Police at 524-5252.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 12:39
LACONIA — Since 16-year-old Alexis Felch was a student at Laconia Middle School she has aspired to a career in law enforcement and last month stepped toward her goal by completing the first of three annual classes at the New Hampshire Police Cadet Training Academy.
Now in its 41st year, the Academy, is a week long residential program of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police held at the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord. The program features a paramilitary structure and classroom instruction designed to foster discipline, pride and teamwork. Alexis was among some 130 enrolled in the basic class this year, of whom about a fifth were women.
"We got up at 5 a.m. for physical training before breakfast," Alexis said. "Then marched in formation to breakfast. We marched everywhere. At first I thought it was going to be a long week." She said that the cadets were woken in the middle of the night by fire alarms, for physical training and once by a cry of "officer down!"
Alexis said that transgressions of the rules —speaking out of turn, failing to address instructors as "sir," uniform askew and the like — warranted press-ups, counted as "one sir, two sir" and so on. Although an accomplished gymnast and varsity lacrosse player, she confessed "it was exhausting."
"There were lots of classes," Alexis said, "two in the morning, afternoon and evening." She said that the classes touched on various aspects of police work such as traffic control, criminal law, K-9 units, and forensic analysis. Among them, she said that she enjoyed those bearing on the analysis of crime scenes the most, noting that as a high school sophomore she scored 98 in a forensics course at the Huot Technical Center, where the final exam required students the assess the evidence collected at the site of a murder.
Alexis said that she was most impressed by an instructor who recalled his experience in the search for those who planted the bombs at the Boston Marathon. She said that he described being among the officers who encountered the suspects at night in Watertown and engaged them in a firefight. "He explained the risks of working in law enforcement," she remarked, adding that she was impressed but not dissuaded by experiences.
Likewise, Alexis said that during a panel discussion, at which cadets questioned officers about their work, she was taken when "they were telling us that each day, when you go to work, you don't know what's going to happen." She noted that this element of uncertainty is among the aspects of the career she finds most attractive.
A high honors student as a sophomore, Alexis has already enrolled in the two-year course in law enforcement at the Huot Center, which is taught by former Laconia Police Chief Mike Moyer. She also intends to apply for one of the 30 places in the advanced program at the Police Cadet Training Academy next summer, with hopes of winning one of the 15 places in the Leadership Class the year after.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 12:36
CIRCUIT COURT — A local man was taken out of the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday afternoon after using foul language when speaking to a court clerk earlier in the day.
When Joseph J. Cerella entered Judge Jim Carroll's courtroom yesterday afternoon, Carroll stopped the ongoing hearing and ordered Cerella to come to the front of the bench.
Cerella told Carroll what he did wasn't so bad and also told Carroll the court needed a new judge.
Carroll ordered the bailiff to handcuff Cerella and take him to the Belknap County House of Corrections where he will be held until 7 a.m. this morning.
Cerella had appeared on June 23 on a four-year old restitution matter that he had apparently ignored. During that time, Carroll ordered him to return that day with $90 but he never returned.
The court didn't see him again until yesterday morning when he apparently used some offensive language in the clerk's office.
Cerella is scheduled to appear for the restitution hearing in August.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 12:18
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