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Make A Wish, John Bradley Thompson

GILFORD — Students and staff members at Gilford Elementary gathered outside the school yesterday afternoon to watch 6-year-old John Bradley Thompson and his family leave in a stretch limousine for a flight that will take them to the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia.
John, a first grader who was diagnosed earlier this year with an inoperable brain tumor, is making a week-long trip with his family thanks to the Make A Wish foundation, which grants wishes of children with life-threatening conditions.
The son of Jesse and Alison Thompson, John was hoisted atop the limousine by his father near the end of the ceremony, where he waved to his fellow students, many of whom held signs wishing him well and expressing their support for him in his struggle with the rare form of cancer.
''The community and the school have all been so great, so supportive,'' said his has grandmother, Darryl Thompson, as the limousine pulled out of the driveway at the school.
The Thompson family is very familiar with the Make a Wish Foundation, having donated nearly $3,000 to the organization in April of 2012 when Jesse appeared on the Wheel of Fortune television game show and held a party at the Lyons Den restaurant in Glendale for invited guests the night it was aired.
John was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) on June 2 this year after being taken by his parents to the emergency room at Boston Children's Hospital after experiencing double vision and dizziness and reaching the point where he was unable to lift his chin off his chest. An MRI revealed a large, aggressive tumor his brain stem.
A brain biopsy was taken to obtain tissue samples and on June 13 John traveled to Memphis, Tennessee to join a Phase I Trial Study at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. He received six weeks of radiation treatment, started daily chemotherapy and returned home to Gilford on August 1. He is enrolled in an experimental chemotherapy clinical trial at St. Jude and returns there frequently for tests. Only 150 cases are of DIPG are diagnosed each year, making it so rare that there is no federal funding for research.
A web site, Think John Bradley, provides updates on his condition A sports fan who is passionate about his artwork, John has two little sisters, Clara (4 years old) and Elizabeth (7 months) and a big yellow dog named Jackson.
Family members say that John has been feeling good, hanging out with his friends and checks daily on his blog, where he has been reading the comments and absorbing positive vibes.
A fund known as the JB Thompson Fund has been set up to accept donations from the fundraisers which are being held in the community for John. Two two are coming up in the near future, JBT Night at Patrick's Pub & Eatery on Tuesday, October 15 from 4 p.m. to close where 50 percent of the food portion of the checks will be donated, and The Cure Starts Now at Gunstock Mountain Resort on Saturday, October 26. The evening will feature a meal, a program, a live auction and dancing to local favorite Paul Warnick and Phil 'n the Blanks.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 October 2013 02:09

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Historic Laconia Veterans Square church building will be converted into Irish pub/restaurant by Hampton couple

LACONIA — David and Maureen Kennedy of Hampton, who trace their roots to Tipperrary and Galway respectively, plan to convert the former Evangelical Baptist Church on Veterans Square into a restaurant and pub with a distinctive Celtic flavor.

Kennedy discussed his plans for the building with the city's Technical Review Committee on Wednesday and is scheduled to seek the approval of the Planning Board next month.

Planning Director Shanna Saunders said "we fast tracked this project."

Kennedy said that he expects to close on the purchase of the building from the church next month and anticipates completing the conversion in seven months. "We'd like to catch some of the summer," he said.

In search of larger accommodations, the Evangelical Baptist Church moved to Lakeport after purchasing the former Our Lake of the Lakes building complex from the Roman Catholic Church.

The restaurant will be the Kennedy's second, both housed in churches. The Holy Grail Restaurant and Pub in what what was St. Joseph's Church on Main Street in Epping has twice been chosen as the state's finest Irish pub by New Hampshire Magazine.

Kennedy likened the historic Laconia church — originally constructed at the corner of Church and North Main Streets, in front of the Public Library —  to a large split-level ranch house, explaining that a staircase at the entrance leads to an upper and lower level. He said that while he is still in the process of preparing plans he expects the dining room and bar will be on the upper level while a "village setting" with a cafe as its centerpiece would occupy the lower level, which would be lined with he called "faux shops," offering bakery items, packaged foodstuffs and perhaps Irish products. He described the lower level as a space for people to congregate while waiting for a table or enjoying a coffee after dinner.

Kennedy said that he plans to add a second story to a triangular addition at the rear of the building where for the kitchen, offices, utilities and storage. In Epping, he said he was able to provide seating in the choir loft of St. Joseph's Church above the main floor of the dining area and has contemplated adding a mezzanine to the Evangelical Church if the structure will support it.

Because the the building occupies the entire lot, Kennedy said that finding a discreet place for a dumpster has proved his sternest challenge. He said that conversations with neighboring businesses have been encouraging and is confident of resolving the issue.

The menu, like that in Epping, will feature traditional Irish offerings like shepherd's pie, fish and chips, corn beef and cabbage and boiled dinner along side more conventional fare like steak, seafood, pasta and burgers. He said that daily and seasonal specials, using fresh local ingredients, will be served. In Epping, nearly two dozen brands of beer — of course, including Guinness — are on tap.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 07:35

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Street with no houses on it (yet) accepted as town road

GILFORD — After getting off to a rocky start two weeks ago, the company which created a subdivision off Cotton Hill Road got its roadway formally accepted as a town road last night.

Blue Sky Enterprises President Karen Feltham explained to selectmen that the lots off Rowe Farm Road are now in "current use" and will generate land use change tax income for the town as that status is changed. Even though none of the sold ave been sold as of yet, Blue Sky wanted the town to accept the road as a Class V street so it would make them easier to sell.

When Feltham's business partner Howard Warren asked for the same thing at a previous meeting, selectmen got testy when he mentioned that he would take the town to court if they didn't accept the road.

Feltham made no such claims last night. Instead, she explained to the selectmen that there is an inconsistency in the town's ordinances regarding the definitions of private ways verses public streets.

"As a technical matter, there is a zoning issue if you don't take the road," she said.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn had recommended Blue Sky sell at least three lots before the town accepts the road because there is no public need to plow a road with no houses and town ordinances allow as many as two houses to be built on a private road.

Feltham explained that with the entire parcel under current use, the town gets no real tax revenue. Each lot that sells will generate $8,000 in current use penalty, plus an annual property tax bill. When houses are built, Feltham said the town will get even more tax revenue.

Feltham suggested a compromise in that Blue Sky would plow the road for this winter as long as selectmen agree to a date certain to accept the road, which she said will make it easier to sell the lots.

"I understand the town doesn't want to plow a road with no houses," she said, telling selectmen that she has one lot under contract and another with a right of first refusal.

At first, Selectmen John O'Brien and Gun Benavides moved and seconded her compromise proposal but Selectman Chair Kevin Hayes — who was not at the first meeting with Blue Sky and who is the board's representative to the Planning Board — said he wanted to accept it now as opposed to the spring.

He noted the road wasn't very long and would simply be incorporated into a plow driver's route during a snow storm. "In the big spoke of things, it won't cost us much," Hayes said.

"I want the town to take the road now," Hayes said. "It's the right thing to do."

Agreeing with him was Department of Public Works Director Sheldon Morgan, who said the road was built perfectly, the driveway cuts have been preplanned with his assistance and he would like to have control over the road so he knows it is being maintained properly. Sheldon also said the town would get a little more state highway money if it accepts it as public.

After listening to all sides, selectmen made their vote unanimous to accept the road as a town street last night.

In other business, selectmen also announced that the town will get $18,222 in Federal Disaster Aid for a snow storm last March.

In addition, the United States Tennis Association gave the town a $1,320 grant to be applied toward resurfacing the tennis courts. Selectmen accepted the gift and reworked their previous approval of the resurfacing to reflect the grant.

CAPTION - Rowe Farm Road is at the heart of new subdivison off Cotton Hill Road in Gilford. This photo is taken from the center of the cul-de-sac facing Cotton Hill Road. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 October 2013 03:54

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Girl Scouts among recipients of Belmont Heritage Awards

BELMONT — The town yesterday honored a construction company, local Girls Scouts, and a farming couple for their contributions to the town's quality of life.
The Board of Selectmen honored Busby Construction for the work its crew performed in the village revitalization project, the Girl Scouts and their leaders for youth volunteerism, and Cindy and Joseph Rolfe for helping to preserve the town's agricultural heritage.
The winners of the Community Heritage Awards received a framed certificate featuring the 1833 Belmont Mill tower. The annual presentations, which began in 2011, are held to coincide with National History Week. Belmont Heritage Commission Chairman Linda Frawley announced the recipients which Selectmen Chairman Ron Cormier presented the certificates.
The Busby Construction crew, headed by Rick Segalini was cited for the way it carried out the village revitalization project and for its advice regarding the historic bandstand.
The Girl Scouts were honored for their many contributions to the town over years, in particular their entry to the town's Old Home Day parade, and the planting 2,500 daffodils in the Village area.
Cindy and Joseph Role were honored for the restoration of the 1860s Lacasse-Rolfe Farm on Route 106, which has involved the reclaiming of pasture land and the rebuilding of stone walls. The couple also recently planted 1,000 apple trees.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 October 2013 03:46

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