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WEEKEND - Funds raised at today's WOW Fest in Laconia vital to final push toward funding of Phase 2 of recreation trail

LACONIA — The 6th Annual WOW Fest takes place today at the Laconia Athletic & Swim Club. The fun-filled event features two bicycle challenges, 5K and 10K road races, a fun walk, lunch and live music.

WOW Fest is an important fundraiser for the WOW Trail, which is currently a 1.3 mile recreation trail connecting Lakeport to downtown Laconia.
The WOW Trail is a planned 9 mile recreation path to be built alongside the active railroad corridor through the City of Laconia. When completed, it will showcase the three lakes for which it is named: Winnisquam, Opechee & Winnipesaukee, as a part of the regional trail network that will connect Meredith to Franklin and the Northern Rail Trail.
Final design and fundraising for Phase 2 of the WOW Trail is currently underway, which will double the length of the trail from downtown Laconia to a planned Belmont trail, for which voters there approved funds at the March town meeting. Construction of the second phase is scheduled to begin in the Spring of 2015, if funds allow.
Speaking at the WOW Trail annual meeting this summer, Gretchen Gandini, executive director, said that she expected the design work would be complete before the year is out and the funds for the project would be in hand by the coming of spring.
Alan Beetle, president of the WOW Trail board, said that HEB Engineers, Inc. of Conway has estimated the cost of constructing the second phase at $975,000, stressing "this is only an estimate." This figure is in addition to the $151,552 that has already been spent on this phase of the project.
In 2007, the WOW Trail contributed $71,881 to the cost of rebuilding the Fair Street Bridge in anticipation that it would carry the trail across the Winnipesaukee River. Since 2011 another $79,671 has been spent on design and engineering.
It was reported at that meeting that the organization had over $300,000 cash on hand.
The City Council has agreed to apply $400,000 from a larger borrowing to be retired by the Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Fund to the project. And the trail was one of two recreational projects to be awarded state tax credits worth $125,000 by the New Hampshire Community Development Financing Authority. The sale of those credits to private business will net $100,000 for the cause.
Beetle said the second phase, unlike the first, crosses and brook and wetlands and requires a bridge and two boardwalks. Apart from raising the funds, he said that easements remain to be negotiated with two property owners.
The WOW Fest and the other major fundraisers for the trail effort, the WOW Ball, and BOW WOW Fest, along with other contributions,helped the WOW trail organization raises $134,504 in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. Gandini said that the WOW Fest attracts about 400 participants and raises over $20,000 a year.
Event day registration will be available at Laconia Athletic & Swim Club today. All events start and end at the club.
Bicycle events include the Lake Challenge ($65), a 67 mile ride around Lake Winnipesaukee which gets underway at 7 a.m. and the Bay Challenge ($60), a 15-mile trip around Paugus Bay which starts at 10 a.m.
Running events include the Opechee 5K Road Race ($35) and Opechee 10K Road Race ($40), both of which start at 9 a.m.
There will also be a three-mile Trail Fun Walk ($25) which starts at 10:30 a.m.
All events are followed by a luncheon provided by Fratello's Italian Grille, T-Bones Great American Restaurant, The Common Man Restaurants & Patrick's Pub & Eatery. There will also be live music with Justin Jaymes, a beer garden with Contigiani's Catering.
The festival, which runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., is also open to those not taking part in the events and includes lunch, lives music and children's activities. Fees are $10 for teens and adults and $5 for children 12 and under.
"Bank of New Hampshire is proud to support the WOW Trail and the 2014 WOW Fest event," explains Mark Primeau, president and CEO of Bank of New Hampshire. "This is an exciting event that encourages all of us to get out and get active while supporting this worthy project. We believe the WOW Trail contributes to the health and economic vitality of our community and we support its continued growth."
Gandini says ''The regional trail will be a significant enhancement to our economy and it's not just us trail advocates who are saying so. According to downtown Laconia business owner Myles Chase of MC Cycle and Sport, 'We have a customer base of recreational riders who seek out and travel to these types of trails as a destination. With the new addition to Belmont and eventually beyond, there is no doubt that riders from afar would do the same for the WOW Trail.' "
Donation to the Phase 2 expansion efforts can be made online at www.wowtrail.org or by mail to PO Box 6832, Laconia, NH 03247.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 11:39

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Gilmanton man facing assault charge involving power cord

GILMANTON — Police charged an Elm Street man with simple assault on September 18 after he allegedly wrapped a cord around a 22-year-old female companion's neck while she slept.

The alleged victim said she woke and found Joseph Baumann, 46, wrapping a pair of earphones around her neck.

Baumann turned himself into police on September 20 and was released on personal recognizance bail.



Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 01:30

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GHS students enjoying full weekend of homecoming

GILFORD — This is Homecoming Week for Gilford High School and the theme this year is "The Seasons."

Adviser Terry Wilson said the each high school class picked a different season and volunteers decorated various parts of the "wall way" in the gymnasium for their class's season.

This morning, all of the students will go through the cafeteria to admire their fellow student's handiwork. He said the faculty will vote on the winner.

The lineup for homecoming this year begins with a Hall of Fame induction at 4 p.m. in the gymnasium at the high school. Tonight is the dance at the High School. Wilson said it's an informal dance with a disc jockey.

Saturday's sport's line up begins at 9:30 a.m. with J.V. Boys soccer hosting Belmont High School. The varsity game against Belmont is at 11 a.m.

On the other soccer field, the Girls JV soccer game against Belmont begins at 11 a.m. with the varsity girls soccer game beginning at 12:30 p.m.

At 11 a.m. the varsity field hockey team hosts Laconia while the JV game begins after the varsity game ends.

At the football field at Gilford Meadows features the 2-0 Golden Eagles against the 1-1 Newport Tigers for a Division III match up.

In the gymnasium, the J.V Girls Volleyball team takes on the Prospect Mountain Volleyball team at 5 p.m. while the varsity match up against Prospect Mountain begins around 6 p.m.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 01:26

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Sanbornton lawmaker sponsored2 environmental laws signed by governor

SANBORNTON — In a visit to the Durand Lake Recreation Area in Randolph recently, Gov. Maggie Hassan was joined by lawmakers from both parties and representatives of environmental organizations to sign into law three bills aimed at safeguarding the natural environment from oil spills.

State Rep. Ian Raymond (D-Sanbornton), who sponsored two of the bills, explained, "Many in New Hampshire are not aware that we have an aging interstate oil pipeline running through one of the most beautiful areas of our state."
The pipeline, built in 1941, connects Portland, Maine, which handles the largest volume of oil of any port on the Eastern Seaboard, with refineries in Montreal. The pipeline stretches for 236 miles and passes through the North County towns of Gorham, Jefferson, Lancaster, Randolph and Shelburne.

In 2008, the Portland Pipe Line Corporation announced that it was studying a plan to expand the capacity and reverse the flow of the pipeline to carry crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to Portland in order to reach the world market.

Raymond said that the prospect raises the risk to the environment because oil from the tar sands is very abrasive and must be diluted with chemicals as well as pumped at higher temperatures and pressures than conventional crude oil. Moreover, he stressed that because of its composition, tar sands oil resists traditional techniques applied to spills and leaks.

"Unlike conventional crude," he said, "it sinks in water, forming a tar-like coating on the river or lake bottom that is almost impossible to clean up." The chemicals in the oil, he continued, "vaporize, forming a toxic cloud that has a lower flash point than conventional crude," which poses a risk to first responders.

The three bills, all signed into law, establish a committee to study the safe delivery, by pipeline, rail or truck, of oil and gas — both natural gas and propane — through the state. The bills also require pipeline operators to submit oil-spill response plan to the state Department of Safety, and require the Public Utilities Commission to apply annually to the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for authority to inspect pipelines.

Two of the three bills carried the New Hampshire House of Representatives and Senate by voice votes, while the third, requiring spill response plans, passed the Senate by the narrowest of margins — 13-11 — and the House by vote of 186 to 104.

"Prevention is the key," said Raymond, who described the bills as "the first step in having the state take control and play a more active role in oversight of the transportation of these volatile fuels."

CAPTION: State Senator Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton), N.H. Governor Maggie Hassan and Rep. Ian Raymond (D-Sanbornton) were in Randolph, N.H. recently for the ceremonial signing of three bills relating to the safe delivery of oil and gas through the state. Raymond is holding a N.H. Audubon Society photo thanking the legislators for their work on the bills. (Courtesy photo)

Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 01:24

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