Tanger Donates over $26,000 to LRGHealthcare

LACONIA — Tanger Outlet Center and LRGHealthcare representatives gathered on Friday at Lakes Region General Hospital to celebrate the success of this past October's PinkStyle Program and the 6th Annual Tanger Fit for a Cure 5K. The events raised a total of $26,467.84 to benefit breast cancer initiatives/imaging technology at LRGHealthcare.

Since 2006 Tanger Outlet Centers in Tilton has donated $397,721.67 to support the purchase and maintenance of state-of-the-art imaging technology and upgrades to the Oncology Suite at Lakes Region General Hospital.

The Tanger Fit for a Cure 5K Run/Walk stared in 2009 with 400 participants. Celebrating its sixth year the 2014 5K welcomed 1,002 runners and walkers.

As an added gesture of generosity during this season of giving, Tanger also reached out to LRGH Oncology staff last week asking them to identify two patients undergoing treatment for breast cancer who could use a little uplifting this year. General Manager Eric Proulx gave each patient a very generous Christmas Shopping Spree at the Tanger Outlet Centers in Tilton. The surprised recipients were taken aback by the act of kindness.

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North Branch wins contract for Fire Station expansion

LACONIA — The Land and Building Committee of the City Council this week confirmed North Branch Construction, Inc. of Concord as the low bidder for the renovation and expansion of the Central Fire Station.

North Branch Construction's bid of $4,032,000 was just $85,000 above the cost of $3,947,000 estimated by Warrenstreet Architects, Inc. to complete the project. Along with the cost of construction, design, engineering and legal fees are estimated to add approximately $226,600 to the total cost of the project for a total in the neighborhood of $4.3-million altogether.

City Manager Scott Myers said yesterday that the committee has authorized him to execute the contract and in addition appropriated $115,000 furniture, fixtures and fittings at the station.

Myers said that the contractor expects to begin work at the site within the next two weeks, taking advantage of a weather forecast that indicates unseasonably warm temperatures will persist into January. The project is scheduled to be completed by late October or early November.

The 2014-2015 city budget includes a borrowing of $4.4-million for the project.The plan includes the renovation of 13,167-square-feet of the existing station to serve as an apparatus bay, training area and storage space and the construction of a two-story, 12,964-square-foot addition to house the administrative offices, emergency operations center and dormitory. The building would be reconfigured to provide public access and parking off Tremont Street, instead of off North Main Street.

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Retired PSU Professor Was Witness to Cuban History

PLYMOUTH — Retired Plymouth State University professor Dr. Manuel Marquez-Sterling says that Cuba's history would have been very different had his father, Carlos Marquez-Sterling, prevailed in the Nov. 3, 1958, election.

''My father should have won. But there was huge electoral fraud by Fulgencio Batista and the Army and Fidel Castro's forces kept many people from voting at all. In some places Batista's forces just filled the ballot boxes with ballots they had filled out,'' says Marquez-Sterling, who was born in Havana and practiced law in Cuba before coming to the United States in 1960.

He has documented the period in a book, "Cuba 1952-1959: The True Story of Castro's Rise to Power," which was published in 2009. He says his book destroys many myths about Cuba and shows that it was a prosperous and progressive country, and in the fast lane to become a First World country with a large middle class, a fine educational system open to all classes, and with high standards of living.

''We had the third-best economy in the Americas. Only the United States and Canada were better, off,'' says Marquez-Sterling, who says that under Castro the economy was transformed from one that had been growing rapidly into that of a Third World country.

He is withholding judgment on President Barak Obama's move to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, but is concerned that Obama wasn't able to gain concessions on human rights from the Castro government. ''Will they continue to control the press as closely as they have? They have to make concessions,'' says Marquez-Sterling, who maintains that the Cuban economy is getting even worse, especially now that oil prices have dropped worldwide and that Venezuela will no longer be able to help prop up the Castro government.

''A cautious observer just has to wait and see. My fear is that the U.S. may end up as an ally of the Castro regime.'' he says.

He is the co-author, along with father, of the "History of the Island of Cuba," and also published his father's memoirs. His father was also the founder of the Manuel Marquez Sterling School of Journalism at the University of Havana.
His father, who had served as president of the Cuban House of Representatives, was detained many times during he 1950s for his opposition to the Batista dictatorship and was placed under house arrest after Castro took over power on Jan. 1, 1959. He later fled the country and came to the United States where he taught at Columbia University.
Marquez-Sterling and his wife, Gloria, left Cuba along with their infant son in June 1960.

''We had $350 and a small suitcase. We thought that we would be going back some day. We came here to oppose Castro and his revolution,'' says Gloria.

He looked for a job and landed one cleaning a supermarket in Miami, a major change from being a lawyer and a probate judge. The couple later moved to the Washington, D.C., area where he found a job selling shoes before landing a job as a Spanish teacher at a prep school.

Marquez-Sterling said that during that time they saved up many boxes, with the intention of using them to take their belongings with them whenever they returned to Cuba. But that all changed during the Cuban Missile crisis in October 1962.

''We watched President Kennedy's speech about the missile crisis and I told my wife, 'Throw all the boxes away. We're not going back. Now we're part of the Cold War.'''

Marquez-Sterling went on to teach at Ricker College in Maine and landed a job teaching history at what was then Plymouth State Teachers College in 1966. Retired from his faculty position, he now holds the title of professor emeritus.

''I told my wife we'd be here two years. Well it turned out to be a lot longer than that. We fell in love with the area and I was doing what I was trained for.'' he says.

A lifelong baseball fan, who remembers seeing Minnie Minoso play in Cuba before he signed with the Chicago White Sox, Marquez-Sterling was featured in the Ken Burns series ''Baseball'' which was released in 1994. Among the items left behind in Cuba were dozens of baseball pictures signed by major league stars.

He and his wife note that there are 2.5 million Cubans who have left the country during Castro's rule and wonder what will be in store for them in the future.
''We're political refugees. Castro ran the island like a plantation and ruined its economy to the point where they now even have to import sugar. The average pay there is like $20 a month. Cuba is gasping for air. Will the refugees even be allowed to go inside Cuba?'' he asks.

Both say they have no interest in ever returning to Cuba as long as the Castro regime still holds power.

''What has changed? I don't want to see my homeland from a hotel.'' says Marquez-Sterling, who says he admires the sense of humor which has helped the Cuban people sustain themselves under Castro.

''You can be arrested if you have meat in your refrigerator or if you kill a milking cow for meat. So it seems that people are saying that their cows are committing suicide by getting hit by cars or trucks. That way they get to eat the meat without fear of being arrested.''

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Bestway seeks approval to expand Belmont facility

BELMONT – Bestway Disposal Services has submitted a request for a site plan change to allow the firm to accept municipal solid waste at its Belmont facility.

The permit modification would allow them to take in not more than 600 tons of debris a day. Right now the facility accepts recyclable material and construction and demolition debris and handles about 503 tons per day.

Collection of municipal solid waste has been an acceptable use in that zoning district since voters approved a zoning amendment last March.

In their application, which needs a site plan approval from the Belmont Planning Board, and an approval from the N.H Department of Environmental Services, the company said it would have no significant impact to the site because the existing facility is already large enough to process the extra tonnage.

The site plan change said it could expect a minimal increase in traffic in the area, but because most refuse hauling trucks already drive past their facility at 34 Industrial Drive on their way to Penacook and Wheelabrator, it likely won't be noticeable.

Belmont is one of a number of communities that decided not to renew its contract with Waste Management and Wheelabrator beginning in January of 2015. Bestway has said it wants to accept municipal solid waste from those communities who didn't renew with Waste Management.

Bestway will bring the municipal waste to its landfill in Allenstown. Waste Management brings its waste to Penacook where it is incinerated.

The proposal said adding municipal solid waste to its range of services in Belmont will decrease the cost of waste collection by allowing haulers to discharge their waste closer than Penacook, saving the communities who use them money.

Belmont is one of the towns in the area that chose not to renew its contract with Waste Management. In return, Bestway has given the town a "home field" rate along with agreeing to provide residential recycling pick-up.

Belmont's Application Review Committee met Thursday and reviewed the plan. Town Planer Candace Daigle said she expects the Planning Board to act on the change of use request on Jan. 26.

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