Chamber re-names Ambassador Award for Elaine Blinn

LACONIA — The Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce honored a key, long-time volunteer at its annual meeting held at the Margate Resort Thursday by renaming the Ambassador of the Year Award in her honor.
The award will henceforth be known as the Blinn Ambassador of the Year award in honor of Elaine Blinn, who has served 15 years as chairman of the chamber's ambassador program, which reaches out to people in the community and familiarizes them with the chamber's programs.
''There were only six ambassadors when I started. Now there are 27,'' said Blinn, who along with her husband, Harry, has been running the Belknap Point Motel in Gilford for 20 years.
She's also been busy with the chamber as a volunteer writer and photographer for the Business After Hours program.
''One of the best things we ever did was to join the chamber right after we bought the motel. It really helped us get connected to the community and meet lots of nice people,'' said Blinn.
She presented this year's Ambassador of the Year award to Donna Harris from the Bank of New Hampshire as her last official act as chairman of the ambassador program.
During the business meeting the chamber elected a new slate of officers. Lindsay Cota-Robles of the Bank of New Hampshire will replace Warren Bailey as chairman and the new first vice-chairman will be Bob Strang of Mill Falls at the Lake. Second vice chairman will be Donna Keeley of PSNH-Eversource with Penny Raby of Malone, Dirubbo and Company serving as treasurer and John Giere of Wescott Law as secretary.
New board members include Caroline Rolfe of Franklin Savings Bank, Heidi Laramie of Baron's Major Brands, Kamal Gosine of AutoServ, Sue Gaudette of Gunstock Mountain Resort and Mike Vednaz of WaLa Marketing Group.
Golden Trowel awards for outstanding building renoations included:
— The Taylor Community for the Opechee Harbor project, which cost $550,000 and provides specialized residential care for seniors with memory loss and dementia;
—The A.W. Frost Agency of Franklin, which purchased and renovated the former Northway Bank office on Central Street in Franklin;
— Hermit Woods Winery in Meredith, which relocated its boutique winery from Sanbornton to Main Street in Meredith and worked with Meredith Village Savings Bank, the Belknap Economic Development Council and other community partners to renovate an existing building;
— Rowell's Sewer and Drain of Tilton, which renovated the former P.K. Zyla's Auction House on Rte. 140 in Northfield as the company's new home;
— Binnie Media of Concord, which invested over $300,000 to renovate what was once the Laconia Police Station and make it the new home of radio stations WLNH and WEMJ as well as the news bureau of the NH1 network;
— American Eyecare/Focus Vision & Therapy Center which relocated from the Belknap Mall to a 6,000 square foot space near the Winnisquam Bridge.
Golden Hammer awards for outstanding new construction went to:
— Granite Sate Credit Union which built a new 5,500-square-foot building on Rte. 140 in Tilton just south of Exit 20;
— CruCon Cruise Outlet in Moultonborough, which opened its new 30,000-square-foot world headquarters building in Moultonborough;
— Walmart in Gilford, which expanded its 60,000-square-foot building to a 130,000-square-foot retail space;
— Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook in Gilford, which completed a number of upgrades in 2014 and expanded its capacity to 9,600 for its concerts;
— Winnisquam Marine in Belmont, which opened a new 70 by 60 foot boat showroom which is climate controlled and environmentally conscious.
Environmental Awards were presented to:
— The City of Laconia in collaboration with the Weirs Beach Community Park. A 27-acre park was opened there last October which features walking trails, a rustic playground and a 120-seat outdoor amphitheater.
— LRGH Healthcare for its new laundry facility, now located in O'Shea Industrial Park in Laconia which uses state-of-the-art washing and drying machines and has saved over one million gallons of water.


APTION for pix slugged weirs park

Accepting the Environmental Award at the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce's annual awards luncheon and membership meeting at the Margate Resort Thursday are Don Richards of the Weirs Community Park Association and Kevin Dunleavy, manager of the Laconia Parks and Recreation Department. The award was presented by Karmen Gifford, left, executive director of the chamber, and Mark Primeau, right, president and CEO of the Bank of New Hampshire, presenting sponsor for the event. The city was honored for its completion in October of a 27-acre park adjacent to the Weirs Community Center. (Roger Amsden/ for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Imagine you lived in colonial times

GILFORD — Like the colonists they are studying, Rebecca Bedard's class of fourth graders are a hardy bunch and spent yesterday morning on a walking historical field trip through colonial Gilford.

Sponsored by the Thompson-Ames Historical Society and the Gilford School District, Bedard's students spent yesterday morning learning first hand how people lived and worked.

Students visited a milliner, a wig maker, and a hatter with retired teacher Ginny French, learned about being a storekeeper, a printer, a cooper, shoemaker and tool maker from Walt Stockwell of the historical society and how to be a teacher from Kathy Lacroix, also of the historical society.

After seeing all of the demonstrations, each student has to pick a career or trade from colonial times, study it, write a paper and create a project. The projects are presented to the third graders just before February vacation.

Patrick Gandini wants his project to be about silver smithing, just like Paul Revere, although he said he liked the school teacher presentation best of all.

Kayla Gallagher, dressed naturally with a color coordinated outfit replete with matching necklace and head band wants her project to be about milliners. "I love the accessories," she said.

Camryn Marshall, an energetic girl who voluntarily answered a lot of French's questions, wants hers to be about teaching.

Everybody learned something new yesterday.

The boys in French's wig making section were shocked to learn that if they were living in the colonial era and were the sons of prominent men, they would be wearing wigs after having their heads shaved. "Eews" and "Nos" came from all of the children, but especially the boys, when they learned about that.

The girls looked shocked when they learned that if they lived in colonial times, it wouldn't be long before they were sent to live with a milliner as an apprentice, learn how to sew and make ladies hats and dresses, and not be able to live at home with their families.

All, including French when she did the research for her presentation, learned that George Washington's hair was his own and he didn't wear a wig. Everyone learned that wigs have been worn by upper the classes and royalty since ancient Egyptian times.

This was French's first time doing a demonstration for the students and she said she had a blast. A history major in college, she said she was excited to be researching specific topics and would gladly do it again.

For Walt Stockwell, any time he gets to talk history to young people is good time.
Since his retirement and relocation to New Hampshire, Stockwell has been involved in various historical societies and likes working on identifying tools from the colonial times.

The programs are coordinated by Kathy Lacroix who said the Thompson-Ames Historical Society also working on programing for other school districts for a small fee. As an example, she said a program designed for second graders is offered to students in the Paul Smith Elementary School in Franklin.

For more information, school districts are encouraged to call Kathy Lacroix of the Gilford Historical Society Education Coordinator at 524-3390.

Correction: Shaker budget vote will be Monday morning

The headline that appeared yesterday with an article about the funding of pre-K and kindergarten in the Shaker School District listed an incorrect time for the meeting. The Shaker School Board will meet at 10 a.m. on Monday, January 19,  at the SAU Building, for a final vote on the budget.

Zoning Task Force tackles medical marijuana issues

LACONIA — The Zoning Task Force yesterday neared agreement on a proposed ordinance to regulate a medical marijuana dispensary in the event that someone should apply to operate one in the city in accordance with statute authorizing the use of the drug to treat a specified number of medical conditions.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has invited requests for proposals to operate Alternative Treatment Centers (ACTs) in four geographic zones, one of which consists of Belknap, Strafford and Rockingham counties. Each ACT would be licensed to dispense and cultivate marijuana, as well as process the plant into edible products. With the support of DHHS, legislation (Senate Bill 22) has been introduced that would enable each licensed dispensary, with the approval of the department, to operate one satellite facility, which could only dispense, not cultivate or process, marijuana.
Planning Director Shanna Saunders told the task force that although the city manager had an informal inquiry from a prospective applicant in the summer, she anticipated that a dispensary was more likely to be located in a more heavily populated part of the designated region, which includes the cities of Portsmouth, Dover, Rochester and Somersworth. However, she said that DHHS has advised her that applications close at the end of this month and it intends to narrow its selections by the end of next month in anticipation that the dispensaries will open six months later.

Sanders recalled that in 2008, when Metro Treatment of New Hampshire sought to operate a methadone clinic in the city, there were no appropriate zoning ordinances in place, adding that she did not want the city to find itself in the same situation again.

Saunders said that DHHS has issued 70 pages of rules governing the ownership and operation of the facilities, but where and when such a facility could operate are questions for the city to address. Rather than propose different regulations for dispensing, cultivating and processing, she suggested the same regulation apply to all three.
Saunders recommended that ACTs be confined to the Industrial Park, Industrial and Airport Industrial districts and prohibited elsewhere. The Industrial Park District refers to the O'Shea Industrial Park on Lexington Drive. There are three Industrial Districts in downtown, two beyond the south end and another near the north end of Union Avenue. The Airport Industrial District lies east of White Oaks Road and borders the Gilford town line. Acts would be prohibited in residential districts and within 1,000 feet of schools, daycare centers and places of worship. The dispensaries would be allowed to operate between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Michael Foote wondered why marijuana could not be cultivated in districts where agriculture is permitted. Saunders explained that marijuana would be grown indoors in large buildings and, in light of security considerations, these facilities should not be isolated in rural areas.
Warren Hutchins, who chairs the Planning Board, suggested that the ordinance provide for licensing ACTs, which would be charged an appropriate fee. Saunders said that ACTs will be licensed by the state and did not know if they could also be licensed by municipalities.