Gilford Christmas pageant takes the story to the final frontier

GILFORD — Imagine trying to explain the story of Christmas to someone who hadn't heard it before. Would there be some parts of the story that might seem a little ... illogical?

That's the scenario that siblings Mackenzie and Ethan Roys decided to put themselves in when asked this summer to write the script for this year's Christmas pageant at the Gilford Community Church. Opal Roys, their mother, said they were at the town beach when the church's youth director asked them if they wanted to pen the script for the pageant. "They went swimming a little bit and came out of the water and had an idea," she said. That idea was to examine the Biblical story of Christ's birth through the eyes of three principal Star Trek characters: Captain Kirk, Spock and Uhura. The pageant will be performed on Sunday during the church's regular service.

Mackenzie, 12 years old, said she and Ethan, 10, came up with the idea as they were bouncing ideas off each other. "We kind of thought of it together," she said. Opal wasn't surprised that they decided to take a science-fiction approach; both she and her husband, Mat, are sci-fi fans and they have immersed their children in both the Star Wars and Star Trek universes.

In the Royses' plot, Kirk, Spock and Uhura are on the bridge of the S.S. Enterprise. Spock becomes perplexed when Kirk attempts to explain Christmas to him. So, the trio decides to "beam down" to Bethlehem to see Christ's birth for themselves. "The moral of the play is to go back in time to tell him the true meaning of Christmas," said Ethan. "It was very fun."

After the scene on the Enterprise, the pageant moves on to conventional pageant scenes, but with the addition of a few star-traveling observers. Mackenzie, who has experience in musical theater at Gilford Middle School, said writing the dialogue was easy because of their familiarity with the Star Trek library. "We had a lot of background on them. We know the characters, we could tell how the characters would talk."

The service, open to the general public, begins at 10 a.m. on Sunday. Afterward, video of the pageant will be posted on



Siblings Ethan and Mackenzie Roys employed their sci-fi fandom to write Star Trek characters into a script for the Gilford Community Church Christmas pageant. The pageant will be performed on Sunday. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)

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County proposes 3 new employees in 2016 budget

LACONIA — Three new county employees are part of the proposed Belknap County 2016 budget.

Commission Chairman David DeVoy informed members of the Belknap County Convention  of the plan at Monday night's public hearing.
The new positions would include full-time attorney in the Belknap County Attorney's office and two new Department of Corrections officers.
Devoy said an additional attorney is needed because of changes in the state's court system in which felony level offenses will be routed directly to Superior Court, bypassing District Court, and require more early involvement in the cases by the County Attorney's office.
He said the new Corrections Department officers will be hired on April 1 and on May 1, and will enable the department to better manage work release programs. DeVoy pointed out that the county has fewer Corrections Department workers than many other counties with smaller inmate populations.
The budget also includes $350,000 in anticipated grants, $250,000 for the Corrections Department and $100,000 for the Sheriff's departments.
DeVoy said a consultant who worked with the county on developing plans for an $8 million community corrections facility has suggested that the county is eligible for between $150,000 and $250,000 in federal grants, which will help develop programs at the corrections facility.
Although the total spending proposal for 2016 is up more than 31 percent, he said the amount to be raised by taxes is the same as this year, $13,387,714.
The proposed 2016 budget of $35,235,571 includes $8 million for the new community corrections facility, to be financed by borrowing.

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Candidate Innis takes hard line on immigration, ISIS

BELMONT — Amid the clamor of the Republican presidential primary campaign, the Belknap County Republican Committee heard from the first candidate to enter the race for the 1st Congressional District when Dan Innis of Portsmouth addressed the monthly meeting at the Top of the Town this week.

Innis, an academic and businessman, is one of a trio of likely candidates circling the incumbent, Republican Frank Guinta of Manchester, weakened by his sleight of hand with campaign funds in 2010 that prompted a number of leading Republicans to call for his resignation. But Guinta has shown no sign of shrinking from the defense of his seat. In October, Rep. Pam Tucker of Greenland, who served as Deputy Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives under the leadership of Bill O'Brien, formed an exploratory committee for a congressional bid. And Rich Ashook, once a lobbyist for BAE Systems of Nashua and now interim director of the Warren B. Rudman Center at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, who ran third when Guinta won the seat in 2010, is expected to join the field.

Innis is making his second bid for the seat. In 2014, as one of three openly gay Republican congressional candidates, he ran Guinta a close second, losing the primary by less than 5,000 votes.

"I'm not a career politician," Innis said, stressing that his background and perspective as a business teacher and business owner marked his candidacy.
A native of Ohio, Innis earned business degrees at Ohio University, Miami University in Ohio and Ohio State University, then joined the faculty at Ohio University. He became dean of the College of Business, Public Policy and Health at the University of Maine and in 2007 came to the University of New Hampshire, serving as Dean of the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics until 2013. With his husband Douglas Palardy, opened the The Ale House Inn in 2008 and the Hotel Portsmouth in 2014, both of which were later sold to Lark Hotels.

Asked what role he expected to play as newcomer to politics and a freshman in Congress, Innis pointed to the career of John Kasich of Ohio, who as a representative from Ohio entered the House of Representatives as something of a maverick, but served six of his nine terms as chairman of the Budget Committee.

Innis began with the issue of ISIS, declaring flatly "I would wipe them off the face of the earth," but then added that the United States must work with its allies in Europe and the Middle East to develop a successful strategy to eliminate the threat.

Turning to fiscal and economic policy, Innis advocated a balanced budget amendment, which he said was required to bring the $19 trillion national debt under control. Excessive debt, he warned, poses the greatest threat to the economy. Describing Obamacare as "a complete and utter failure," he called for repealing and replacing it. He favors lowering the corporate tax rate, which he said is not competitive, in order encourage firms to operate and invest at home rather than abroad as well as simplifying the tax code and moving toward a flat tax. His lone reference to climate change was to the "terrible" business climate, fouled by taxes and regulation.

On immigration, perhaps the most controversial issue of the campaign season, Innis toed a hard line. He opposes resettling any refugees without a "100 percent guarantee" that they pose no threat to public safety, which he said "can't be done now." He underlined the urgency of securing the southern border, not only to keep out potential terrorists but also to curb drug trafficking. He rejected so-called "serial amnesty" or any "path to citizenship" for illegal immigrants resident in the country, and suggested birthright citizenship" of so-called "anchor babies, or children born in the United States to mothers who are not citizens, should be rescinded.

Innis has begun his campaign with an outstanding debt of more than $100,000 for his earlier bid and will likely find himself the most centrist, or least conservative, of the four apparent candidates. He said that he had learned from first bid, when he remarked "I had a consultant in the back of my head," that "I can be myself and I can win this."

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