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WEEKEND: 24 Scupltures in Meredith: Step By Step

MEREDITH — Like a strand of jewels, two dozen original works of sculpture line the streets and dot the parks of downtown Meredith, offering residents and visitors of all ages a rich mix of public art that invites a range of responses from thoughtful contemplation to playful whimsy.

The Sculpture Walk began in 2012 when the Design Committee of the Greater Meredith Program set its sights on the littered asphalt walkway that connects Main Street with Mill Falls Marketplace. With a rock, whose silhouette matches the state's borders, and "Spirit's Daughter," a tribute to Lake Winnipesaukee in steel and copper by local artist Steven Hayden, along with paving and landscaping, an eyesore became The Courtyard.

The success of The Courtyard inspired Bev Lapham of the Design Committee and his wife, Liz, executive director of the Greater Meredith Program, to turn the downtown into a gallery. Some 250 sculptors from across New England were invited to offer their work, and 24 pieces fashioned by 17 different artists, including five from New Hampshire, were selected by the jury to be displayed throughout the town.

A brochure, featuring a walking map, photographs of the sculptures and directory of the artists, is available at several locations, including the entrance to Hesky Park, the Town Hall and Meredith Library. Rusty McLear of Hampshire Hospitality Holdings, said the staff at the inns, restaurants and shops have distributed "maps in the hundreds to both locals and tourists" over the weekend.

The tour begins near the foot of Main Street with "Interrupted Scream," by John Weidman of Brookline, a work in stainless steel inspired by "Calling," a piece he made in Czechoslovakia in 1991. The rising flare of the scream, reminiscent of "Calling," is broken by a geometric cube which, to Weidman, represents the frustrations of daily living being interrupted by even more pressing circumstances. His "Enigmatic Dream," just past The Courtyard, a tall piece of weathered steel with two keyhole motifs, one solid above and one empty below, speaks to the illusory, ephemeral character of dreams.

With "View from Above," an eagle in flight carved from stone by Joseph Gray of Pittsfield, the walk returned to The Courtyard where it began. There Gray's stonework is paired with "Meditation Bell and Arch," with "White" at Community Park and "Column with Circle" at Mill Falls Marketplace one of three works in stoneware clay along the walk by Larry Elardo of Groveland, Mass. The natural brown of the clay, high in iron, is infused with color while everyday objects, from cutlery to buttons, are pressed into the surface to lend his work the qualities of a patchwork quilt.

Further along Main Street, a bear cub, carved from wood by Justin Gordon, also of Groveland, Mass., lazily lolls on the railing of the porch of the Grad Building. "Railing Sleeper" ain't going nowhere, since he was made for the particular railing he is mounted on. At the corner of Main Street and Lake Street stands "American Dog," a steel sculpture by Dale Rogers of Haverhill, who said while his profile is "very much of a mutigree" those who admire it match it to their breed of dog. Liz Lapham said that "American Dog" has become the most popular spot for snapshots.

"Turitella," a stand of oak and maple logs on the lawn of the Humiston Building carved by Anne Alexander of Windham, Maine, expresses the artist's passion for exploring the spiritual and physical aspects of the natural world. Liz Lapham said that the site remains to be landscaped, which will enhance the impact of the sculpture.

Hovering above a blanket of flowers in front of the library, "Dragonfly," exhibits the welding skills and artistic eye of Gene Sheehan of Salisbury, Mass., who began with with an 8-foot-long Cod that stood as a weathervane on his front lawn.

Apart from Elardo's "White," there are two other sculptures at Community Park. Jon BonSignore of Redding, Conn., offers "South of the Border in Kyoto," an arrangement of stone, in which mass and balance mix to reflect the mystery of gravity. On the other hand, "Open Water II," swirling arcs of steel, lifts the eye skyward, so much so that Hayden, its sculptor, claims it is best appreciated by lying on one's back beneath it.

Alongside the Historical Society, "Feather," by Jospeh DeRobertis of Danbury, rises from a colorful bed of blossons. Liz Lapham recalled that when the directors were approached about hosting a sculpture they immediately accepted DeRobertis's graceful creation in steel, which speaks the character of the society.

Wisely enough "Snowy Owl" was placed top a rough granite stone outside the bookstore at Mill Falls Marketplace. Josie Dellenbaugh of Glastonbury, Conn., began the piece at a workshop in Colorado, using power tools to shape 100 pounds of white marble from a ghost quarry. Around the corner amid some shrubbery stands "The Buck," cocking a wary eye at the stairway leading to Main Street. George Frost, a retired firefighter from Salisbury, Mass., pieced and welded together a latice of recycled rebar to make the 125 pound deer.

Hesky Park is home to three sculptures. "Advantage," an upturned hand carved from a block of granite with a torch, extends a welcome to visitors. The sculptor, Stephen Green of Lee, explained that the work was his response to a crack in the stone that became the space between two fingers when the hand emerged from the block. "Toe Dancer," BonSignore's second work on the walk, captures what he calls "still motion" in a lithe yet taut figure at the last moment of movement.

Drew Klotz of Weston, Conn., exhibits two pieces of kinetic sculpture, one at either end of Scenic Park. Driven gently and randomly by the wind, both "Nova" and "Eclipse" speak to his effort to harness the wind to his fascination with flight.

The Laphams agreed that the trio of herons stalking the sands at the head of Meredith Bay, crafted by Roger DiTarando of Vernon, Conn., has quickly become a favorite. With cast bronze heads welded to copper bodies and standing on steel legs, measure 52, 36 and 30 inches in height. With a keen appreciation of the subtleties of nature, DiTarando applies technical skill to lend motion to a frozen moment,

David Little, another local artist, partnered with Hayden to create "Black Sailboat," a kinetic sculpture inspired by black and white photographs taken by his great grandfather in the 1920s. Atop an eight foot stand, featuring an anchor chain, the wrought iron vessel with copper sails, hammered to mimic a billowing canvas, responds to the winds from Meredith Bay.

"Red Wing," by Hugh Gibbons of North Falmouth, Mass., is the reinscupted to suggest the union of two into one for his father's wedding. After his father's death Gibbons decided to cast the piece in bronze, using the original as the mold to produce wax castings for the ceramic molds to take the bronze. He added a red patina to the polished nickel to give its title, which recalls Bob Dylan's song, "The Walls of Redwing" about the yearning to escape a Minnesota prison.

The sculptures will be on display throughout the year. There is a directory of the artists in the brochure as well as on the Greater Meredith Program website for those wishing to inquire about commissioning a piece of their own. Meanwhile, the handiwork of these accomplished sculptors belongs to all who wish to enjoy it.


CAPTION: A somewhat larger than life dragonfly, fashioned by Gene Sheehan of Salisbury, Massachusetts, casts a watchful eye over visitors to the Meredith Library on Main Street. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch).

CAPTION: Apparently put at ease by a visit to the massage parlor, a bear cub, carved by Justin Gordon of Groveland, Massachusetts, snoozes on the porch, oblivious to the traffic on Main Street. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch).  

Last Updated on Friday, 08 August 2014 09:03

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WEEKEND - Old home celebrations in Alton, Belmont & Gilmanton this weekend

ALTON/BELMONT/GILMANTON — "I wish that in the ear of every son and daughter of New Hampshire, in summer days, might be heard whispered the persuasive words: Come back, come back. Do you no hear the call? What has become of the old home where you were born. Do you not remember it – the old farm back among the hill, with its rambling building, its well sweep casting its long shadow, the row of still poplar trees, the lilacs and the willows?"

So wrote New Hampshire Governor Frank West Rollins in 1897 when he created Old Home Week.

According to the Campton Historical Society, Rollins worked with the N.H. Department of Agriculture to encourage many native born New Hampshire people to return to the villages, buy the old and decaying farmhouses of their youth for summer homes, and to awaken from what he felt was a moral national slumber.

This weekend there are three Old Home Day celebrations in southern Belknap County.

The town of Alton is making an effort to return to the Old Home Week of the turn of the 20th century by hosting the first Old Home Weekend — a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday event loaded with activities and events highlighted by a parade and fireworks.

With a theme of What's Old is New Again, Alton Historical Society President Marty Cornellissen said one of the big features of this weekend's event is the opening of the Alton Historical Museum in the 1885 J. Jones freight building that members of the society have been restoring.

One half of the 110-foot building will be a historical museum while the back half, which is not yet completed, will be a meeting space.

After Friday's events that include a block party at the Alton Central School, Saturday festivities begin with the 5K road race, a craft fair in the Alton Bay area, and an antique boat show, all beginning at 9 a.m.

At 11 a.m., activities move closer to town and the Alton Historical Museum opens for four hours. A barbershop group will entertain for some of the time that the museum is open between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The Old Home Parade, sponsored by the Alton Business Association, begins at 2 p.m. The line of march will be from School Street in the Village area, and then proceed up Main Street to the Bay. At 3 p.m. the Prospect Mountaineers Band plays at the Bandstand.

Following the parade is a Police Department K-9 demonstration at 4 p.m. and the annual Fire Department Chicken Barbecue.

Fireworks in the Bay begin at 9 p.m.

On Sunday the craft fair continues from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition there will be a mini-golf tournament all day in Alton Bay, and a car show at Monument Square from noon to 3 p.m

Hotdogs and hamburgers will be served at the J. Jones freight building from noon to 4 p.m.

There's at Fairy and Princess picnic from 3 to 5 p.m. at River Run Deli, and a Police Motorcycle demonstration at the at the Police Station.

Belmont's Old Home Day will take visitors to the Mardi Gras.

A flag-raising ceremony begins the day at 8:30 a.m. near the library while the 46th annual 10K road race starts at Concord and Main Street. The Tioga Fun Run begins at 9 a.m.

At 10 a.m. are children's games and the Soggy Po Boys Jazz Band starts playing near the bandstand.

The annual parade starts at 1 p.m. with the community showcase starting at 2 p.m. At 5 p.m. is the annual chicken barbecue at the Fire Department.

Activities at Bryant Field include a rock-climbing wall at 6:30 p.m., the Small Change Jazz Band will play and fireworks are scheduled for 9:30 p.m.

Throughout the day, there will be concessions and community and school groups set up in the village area and the Belmont Heritage Commission and the Belmont Historical Society will have exhibits at the Belmont Library until 3 p.m.

In Gilmanton, there are the Bean Hole Beans. Celebrating its 116th Old Home Day begins Thursday morning with the sorting of 200 pounds of beans.

"We want to make sure there aren't any small rocks or pebbles in them," said this year's "Bean Queen" Sarah Welcome.

After the sorting, she said the beans are soaked overnight and on Friday the four bean hole pits are fired up. Each pit is lined with rocks, and after the fires burn down the rocks and the coal act like a very hot oven.

There are four varieties of beans this year – traditional kidney, traditional navy beans or pea beans, Southwestern spicy beans, and vegetarian beans.

Welcome said many people come looking for the salt pork, but for those who eschew the fatty part of the pig, she said the vegetarian beans have been quite popular.

For the old-fashioned bean fans, she puts 15 pounds of salt pork in each of the other pots.

The beans are poured into containers around 6:30 p.m. Friday and cook overnight in the baking pits. By 11:30 a.m. Saturday they are ready.

Welcome described the cast iron pots as "six-men" pots because that's how many people it takes to lower and raise one pot of beans.

Gilmanton's beans are served in two seatings – one at 11:30 a.m and the other at 12:30 p.m. Each meal comes with all four kinds of beans, ham, coleslaw and brown bread.

For entertainment, she said a bluegrass band will play and there will be puppet shows and other activities for the children.

Gilmanton's Old Home Day takes place at the Historic Smith Meeting House.

Last Updated on Friday, 08 August 2014 09:02

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Judge finds probable cause for arrest of drug sale suspect

LACONIA — After a probable cause hearing yesterday afternoon, 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division Judge Jim Carroll found there was reason for the police to arrest a Grant Street man for one count of selling narcotic drugs.

The charge brought by Laconia Police against Patrick McIntire, 25, of 41 A Garfield St. will be bound over to the Belknap Superior Court for potential indictment.

McIntire was arrested after a confidential information called police and told them he could get some methadone from him.

After reviewed a text message exchange allegedly between McIntire and the informant, police gave the informant $30 in marked bills and sent him into McIntire's house for the buy.

McIntire public defenders questioned the state's only witness, Det. Dan Carsen, who, along with a second detective, witnessed the informant going into McIntire's house on November 18, 2013.

Prosecutors tried to discredit the alleged purchased by challenging the on-line drug identification site used by Carsen to identify what police said were three 10 milligram pills of methadone.

They said the site, www.drugs.com, was not an officially recognized or monitored Website and could not be depended on for identification. Judge Jim Carroll agreed with the city prosecutor when he argued the chemistry was a trial issue.

McIntire's defense team also attempted to challenge the credibility of the confidential information.

Judge Carroll gave them some leeway but stopped Carsen from identifying who the informant is or whether or not he had been arrested for anything, saying that specific information was for trial and not an informal probable cause hearing.

McIntire's defense was able to learn that the informant was someone who police knew to have both used and sold drugs in the past.

The defense also challenged the state's contention that McIntire was the only one who had access to the cell phone allegedly used by him during the text message exchange.

Carsen testified that the police have not confirmed McIntire was the only user of the phone nor have the confirmed McIntire was the only one in the house at the time of the alleged drug sale.

Carroll determined that the totality of the evidence provided by the state and Carsen's experience, there was probable cause for the arrest.

Last Updated on Friday, 08 August 2014 01:02

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Alleged playground injury lawsuit still alive after judge's ruling

LACONIA — A Belknap County Superior Court judge declined to dismiss a Franklin woman's claim that the city was negligent when it allegedly failed to maintain some playground equipment at Opechee Park.

Margaret Dolbeare filed suit against the city for negligence and creating a nuisance after she tripped on the edge of a mat while approaching the swing set with her granddaughter on May 27, 2012.

She said the mat was curled and twisted and used to cover a hole that indicated a lack of maintenance at the park.

She said her foot went under the mat and she fell, causing her to hurt her knee. She is seeking an unspecified amount of money for medical bills including a knee replacement, loss of earnings, and pain and suffering.

The city had asked Judge Larry Smulker to dismiss both counts because the city was immune from suit because it is protected under the state's recreation statutes.

In his ruling issued last week, Smukler said the motion to dismiss that cited RSA 508:14 and RSA 212:34 was incorrectly interpreted by Laconia's attorney, who argued that the city has no duty to maintain it recreation facilities under RSA 212:34 and was immunized by RSA 508:14.

RSA 212:34, ruled Smuker, pertains a duty of care for outdoor recreation land that includes hunting, fishing, horseback riding, water sports and the like. He said using constructed outdoor recreation facilities like the swing set at Opechee Park is not "outdoor recreating" as defined by RSA 212:34.

As to the city's claim of immunity under RSA 504:14, Smukler said it also fails for the same reason.

"The use of playground equipment is not of the same kind or class as the non-exhaustive list of activities included in the definition of "outdoor recreational activity," he wrote, referring to RSA 212:34.

"Specifically, the enumerated activities do not involve the use of equipment or structures that do not serve the purpose of facilitating access or use of the land." he continued.
He said that since the two statutes are often cited together, he refused to give broader consideration to the immunity the city said it has under RSA 504:14.

He also said recreational statutes do not apply to nuisance claims and since the city offered no other legal argument to dismiss that portion of the claim, he will allow the suit to go forward.

Last Updated on Saturday, 09 August 2014 12:40

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