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WEEKEND - Winnipesaukee Watershed Assoc. offering 'Floating Classroom" tours this summer

MEREDITH — While Lake Winnipesaukee is a perennial summer playground, this year the Winnipesaukee Watershed Association has converted it to a classroom by offering floating educational tours designed to encourage stewardship of this unique and valuable natural resource.

The "Floating Classroom" includes an introduction to the geology, history and ecology along with practical experience assessing different aspects of water quality under the direction of a qualified environmental scientist. Passengers can collect water samples, measure water clarity and take water temperatures as well as watch what is living in the lake on the monitor of an underwater camera.

Leaving the dock at The Weirs, Captain Dave Joyce headed across the lake, rounded Spindle Point and snaked through Sally's Gut, the narrow passage between the foot of Meredith Neck and tip of Stonedam Island. Naturalist Heidi Baker noted that Stonedam Island, the last home of the Abenaki on the lake, is a nature preserve owned by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust. Clearing Sally's Gut, the boat anchored on the northeast side of the island in 40 feet of water.

Baker, who trailed a plankton tow through Sally's Gut, explained that plankton — from the Greek meaning "wanderer" or "drifter" — may be either plants, like algae, or animals, like protozoa, and the first element of the food chain. Then she tested the clarity of the water by lowering a Secchi disk, which is divided into black and white quarters, into the lake and measuring the depth at which the white quarters became invisible. Noting that a depth greater than four meters indicates good water clarity, she found that the disk disappeared at 8.4 meters. "Between eight and 10 meters is common on Lake Winnipesaukee," Baker said.

The water in the lake, Baker said, is divided into three layers, with the warmest at the top and the coldest at the bottom, and turns over twice in each year in the spring and in the autumn. At the surface, the water temperature was 74 degrees Fahrenheit, but dropped 23 degrees, to 51 degrees, 30 feet down.

With a rig called a Van Dorn Bottle, Baker collected water samples at various depths, which she said could be sent to the University of New Hampshire to be tested for levels of phosphorus and nitrates, the major pollutants in the lake.

Pat Tarpey, executive director of the Winnipesaukee Watershed Association, said that stormwater, which carries phosphorus into the lake, is the primary source of pollution. The watershed stretches over 381 square miles and encompasses 19 municipalities, eight of them fronting the lake itself. Tarpey stressed the role of trees and shrubs, whose roots hold the soil while absorbing and filtering the stormwater run-off, in reducing the level of phosphorus and protecting water quality. "To ensure water quality in the lake, we have to look to the land," she remarked.

The "classroom" pontoon boat will carry eight passengers in addition to the captain and crew. The tour runs for approximately 90 minutes. "The Floating Classroom" departs from Weirs Beach on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 am. and 1 p.m. Tickets cost $20 for adults and $15 for children younger than 16. Tours must be booked two days in advance by calling (603) 581-6632 or registering on-line at www.winnipesaukee.org.

The project is funded with grants from the Samuel P. Pardoe Foundation and New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and enjoys the support of 16 corporate sponsors and underwriters.


CAPTION FOR FLOATING CLASSROOM: Naturalist Heidi Baker explains the workings of a Van Dorn Bottle to Laconia City Councilor Armand Bolduc during a recent "Floating Classroom tour of Lake Winnipesaukee. The device is used for collecting water samples at various depths. The tour was hosted by the Winnipesaukee Watershed Association. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Ed Engler)

Last Updated on Friday, 11 July 2014 10:25

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WEEKEND - Tickets still available for Saturday and Sunday NASCAR races

LOUDON — The days of the long waiting list for tickets at New Hampshire Motor Speedway are long gone, as they are at virtually every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race around the country, and there are still tickets available for Sunday's Camping World RV Sales 301, as well as today's doubleheader at the speedway.

Tickets to Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 start at $25 and range up to $125 depending on location. Check out the NHMS Grandstand Map at www.nhms.com to find the best seats for your interests.

New for 2014, New Hampshire Motor Speedway will offer children's tickets to the Camping World RV Sales 301. Tickets for children ages 12 and-under will be half-price in comparison to the adult price for the same seating section.

Call Guest Services at (603) 783-4931 to speak with a live ticket representative or buy tickets online through Ticketmaster.

Tickets to the doubleheader on Saturday start at $45 for general admission and range up to $55 for VIP reserved seating.
One ticket is good for the doubleheader of races: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 100 at 1 p.m.. and NASCAR Nationwide Series 200 at 3:30 p.m.
Youth General Admission (ages 12-16) is $5.
Children General Admission (ages 11-and-under) Free*
(*Children will need a voucher for entrance. It can be added to any ticket order by contacting Guest Services at (603) 783-4931 or attained at the ticket office on race day.)

Last Updated on Friday, 11 July 2014 10:25

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WEEKEND - From 'Keller Vanilla' to 'Moose Poop", Kellerhaus makes 700 gallons of ice cream a week. (544 words)

LACONIA — With its hand-made ice cream and candies, Kellerhaus at Weirs Beach has been a wellspring of taste and tradition treating sweet tooths in the Lakes Region for more than a century.

Otto Keller opened the candy store in 1906 and added ice cream in the 1920s, making Kellerhaus the oldest source of candy and ice cream in the state. Since 2004, Dave and Mary Ellen Dutton have owned and operated the business with an eye to ensuring quality and honoring tradition.

With the original York machine of 1930, used by Otto, Seth and Pitman Keller, the Duttons make some 700 gallons of ice cream each week and go through 70,000 dishes and countless cones each year. "It's kind of finicky," Dutton remarked of the ice cream maker, "but if anybody breaks it, it's going to be me." Fortunately, the working machine is one of a pair and he can turn to the other for spare parts.

The Duttons make 20 flavors, offering at least a dozen at a time from the same scooping station the Kellers used in the 1960s. Kellerhaus features a "smorgasbord," where a sundae can be fashioned with any number of nearly two dozen toppings at no additional charge.

"Keller" vanilla, the most popular base for these chilly treats, is the top seller, though cookie monster, a blue vanilla laced with Oreo cookies, is the favorite of most children. Apart from the staples of chocolate, strawberry, coffee, black raspberry, maple walnut and mint chocolate chip, there are the exotics — cherry chocolate chunk, dough boy, cookie coffee, chocolate chocolate chip and peanut butter chocolate chip. Dutton explained that because "moose tracks" is a protected trademark he searched for an alternative moniker before settling on "moose poop," which arouses curiosity among the kids.

The Duttons also make a number of the toppings, following the recipes used by the Kellers and prepared fresh each day. Not only is there hot fudge, whipped cream, raspberry and butterscotch, but also a unique marshmallow topping and a very chocolaty cold chocolate sauce that Dutton calls "grandma sauce."

Wednesdays at Kellerhaus are "dollar cone days." Dutton said that in 2007 he hatched "a crazy idea" to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Kellerhaus and what began as a celebration has become a tradition. Mary Ellen said that the line may snake throughout the store on Wednesdays.

In another departure from tradition, Dutton said biodegradable dishes and spoons have been introduced. "I was walking on a lovely beach in Mexico and saw these plastic spoons being washed on to the sand and decided 'that's enough!'" Likewise, two years ago the Duttons added soft serve — vanilla, chocolate and twists — and this year sorbet, but have not included frozen yogurt among their offerings.

"This is really three businesses," Dutton explained, "ice cream, candy and gifts." A former chief financial officer, he noted that when the books close each year, business is divided evenly between the three. He said that in the decade since they acquired the business sales in the off-season have outpaced trade in the summer, which given the quality of the ice cream is hard to imagine.

Kellerhaus is located at 259 Endicott Street North (Rte 3) at Weirs Beach and is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Abagail, with a helping hand from her mother Jennifer, fashions a sundae with selections from the array of toppings on offer from the ice cream smorgasbord at Kellerhaus. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch).


Last Updated on Friday, 11 July 2014 10:24

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4 residents of Laconia drug rehab facility volunteer for work on Beknap Range trails

by Kathleen Ryan, special to The Laconia Daily Sun

LACONIA — When four residents from a local drug rehab facility show up early on a Saturday morning to help the Belknap Range Trail Tenders (BRATTS) rebuild hiking trails on Belknap Mountain, it's understandable that another volunteer assumes they must be serving court-ordered community service.

At first glance, Chris, Dan, A.J., and Alex (they asked that their last names not be used in this article) look like they could be facing trouble. They wear bandanas and ink and urban style Timberland boots, they spit chew, they give off conflicting vibes of hyper-awareness and distractibility. It's not until you look more closely, into their eyes and smiles, that you see hope and the optimism that trouble is now behind them.

The four men are residents at the Riverbank House in Laconia, a long-term residential addiction rehabilitation program that practices cutting edge philosophy in the field of drug and alcohol recovery. "Pursue constructive passions" is one of its mottos, and Riverbank provides residents with a full schedule of activities designed to address the long term effects caused by active addiction while retraining the brain to find motivation and reward without drugs or alcohol.

For Riverbank residents, pre-dawn hikes to watch the sunrise make memories that can and do compete against old memories of a heroin high. Riverbank keeps the men so active that thoughts of drug use don't have time to spiral into cravings.

The Center for Disease Control and the National Institute for Health now classify addiction as a complex, chronic, life threatening disease of the brain that no amount of willpower or moral character can "cure." By the time people seek help for addiction, drugs have hijacked and altered the brain, impairing both its communication system and reward circuitry. Chronic use of addictive drugs causes lasting neurological disruptions that impair judgment, memory, cognitive function, impulse control, the regulation of emotion, motivation, and the ability to defer gratification. Boredom is an excruciating symptom in early recovery, irritability is unrelenting, and changes to the brain make it almost impossible for those in early remission to feel pleasure or satisfaction. These impairments persist long after drug use is stopped.

Even in remission, active addiction leaves the brain well trained to crave, seek, and demand instant reward.

When a drug addicted person seeks help, enters rehab, abstains from drugs, and cooperates with the rehab's philosophy, the person is taking huge strides toward wellness. But when a drug addicted person in remission actually takes what has been learned in rehab and voluntarily applies it to the real world, the person is making a monumental contribution toward sustained recovery. Because Riverbank House teaches that real rewards can be achieved without drugs or alcohol, A..J, Chris, Dan, and Alex showed up to volunteer with the Belknap Range Trail Tenders.

At 26, Chris is the oldest of the four friends. He thinks before he speaks, a trait that suggests maturity. He began experimenting with drugs at age 12, and illegal prescription opioid use inevitably led to intravenous heroin use at the cost of hundreds of dollars a week. "You can shoot a lot of $50 bags in a day," he explains.

Chris volunteered with BRATTS because he is learning to take what he calls 'right action.' "I want to be involved in the community," he says. "I want the experience of being a part of something bigger than myself."

Dan, the baby of the bunch at 21, has an encyclopedic obsession with shuttered mental institutions in Massachusetts. He knows their histories, the grounds, the number of structures at each property, and the best photographic angles within the empty buildings; logically, he also knows the schedule and patrol routes of security at each abandoned institution. There is an innocence to Dan's enthusiasm, as if he truly believes — and believes you should believe — that just for fun everyone should tour abandoned buildings haunted by tragic histories.

Dan's a sparkler: he twinkles with mischief and boyish charm and instant likeability. Heroin cost him thousands of dollars a week. Riverbank is his eleventh rehab or treatment program.

The Riverbank House practices daily meditation, and Dan can draw a connection between the benefits of that meditation and the acute awareness brought on by quarrying boulders with BRATTS. "I had hiked before, but a trail always just happened to me. I never thought about how it was built," Dan says. "Today will change every step I take on a mountain."

Alex, 22, is the quiet, seemingly shy one. Unlike his three friends, Alex used cocaine, not heroin. In a different class than opiates, cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant that makes most users chatty and energized. Early in their recovery, former cocaine users often struggle with shyness, lethargy, and anxiety. When cocaine addiction is in early remission, the brain screams for new experiences while simultaneously arguing, why bother? By just showing up to volunteer with BRATTS Alex is taking positive action toward progressive recovery.

A.J., 25, is the firecracker of the four. Smaller, leaner, and more kinetic than his friends, A.J. talks politics, world events, finance, and his disdain for recovery platitudes (although he admits they serve a purpose). Riverbank is his seventh attempt at recovery from heroin and alcohol. Curious, observant, and completely lacking a filter between his brain and mouth, A.J. is a blurter. But he practices a healthy measure of self-acceptance about his blurting, repeatedly catching and correcting himself. When he swears in front of Hal Graham, the president of BRATTS, he immediately apologizes with such sincerity and effort that the apology itself includes another swear.

Because the four live together at the Riverbank House and have bonded so closely, they finish each other's sentences, speak over each other, or speak in unison. When they share their stories about early recovery, a theme emerges. They talk constantly about Randy (Bartlett), the director of Riverbank. They thread him through every story, but they don't talk about what he's taught them or what he's done for them. They talk about how he has treated them — about how kind and open and accepting and understanding he has been toward their individual circumstances. They talk about the respect he has afforded them, and it is clear they value Randy as a role model rather than resenting him as an authority figure. They seem thirsty for role models, for concrete examples of how to live, how to act, how to interact, as if heroin and cocaine and alcohol have left huge gaps in their understanding of life.

After seven hours working on a BRATTS crew they feel positive, relaxed, and what they call "accomplished-tired."

"I feel really good about myself," Alex says. "I feel like if I can do those seven hours, I can do anything."

With no prior experience in trail reconstruction, as they quarried boulders they could not conceptualize the final outcome and that made them increasingly nervous.

"It started to look like people were just rolling rocks down to the trail," Dan says.

"There didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the plan," Chris adds.

Aj agrees. "We wanted to ask, 'What's our end game?'"

But then they start talking about Graham, the founder and president of the Trail Tenders. Hal is 75 years old.

"I was afraid I couldn't keep up with him," Chris says, a little shocked.

"Yeah, I mean, we worked hard, but we took a few breaks. We never saw Hal sit down once," Dan says.

"Nothing seemed to be coming together," Chris says. "People kept rolling rocks, and the four of us kept watching Hal. He didn't seem concerned at all. He was totally calm."

Alex agrees. "Hal was totally calm. He was completely confident that the project would succeed, and it did."

The men are quiet for a moment. Then Chris, speaking for the group, says, "It was just the coolest thing to witness. Someone working that hard for free, rather than for money. Someone working that hard without any stress. He was teaching us to recognize real passion."

The Riverbank House motto "pursue constructive passions" expresses a recovery philosophy. The four friends seem to have the "pursue" part down: they take action to pursue sustained recovery. By their willingness to volunteer in the community, they seem to have a grasp on "constructive." But there aren't a lot of passions in the life of an active addict. There is only the drug.

When Alex, A.J., Chris, and Dan entered the Riverbank House, passion was just a vague concept, one of gaps that drugs had left in their understanding of life. Their gaps can't be filled by someone telling them how to fill gaps. They need concrete examples, and they look everywhere for role models who will demonstrate what the four of them do not yet understand. Because they watched Hal, they now have a concrete grasp of the passion in "pursue constructive passions."

Saturday, because four young men in recovery saw a role model in Hal Graham, more than just a trail underwent reconstruction on Belknap Mountain.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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