Community Heritage Awards presented by Belmont selectmen, heritage commission

BELMONT — Selectmen and the Belmont Heritage Commission presented Community Heritage Awards to three people at Monday night's meeting of selectmen.
Recipients cited for making lasting contributions to the community's quality of life included Jennifer Shaw (Educator and Cultural Ambassador), Earl Sweeney (Exemplary Leadership) and Wallace Rhodes (Town Historian Emeritus).
The awards were part of the celebration of New Hampshire History Week, held October 19-25.
Monday was a banner day for Heritage Commission preservation efforts. Prior to the selectmen's meeting the comission hosted State Senator Jeanie Forrester, a Legislative member of the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) Board of Directors and New Hampshire Preservation Alliance exceutive director Jennifer Goodman for a site visit to the restored Village Bandstand.
Senator Forrester presented and helped unveil a plaque for the structure, which received major community support and a challenge grant from LCHIP for its full rehabilitation. NHPA's Goodman congratulated the group along with restoration contractor JR Graton and historic painting specialist John Thompson for their outstanding preservation project. Earlier this year the NHPA honored the project with the Elizabeth Durfee Hengen Award for achievement.
The awards at the seletmen's meeting were presented by Linda Frawley of the Heritage Commission.
She said that Shaw was part of the inspiration for saving that 1908 structure and that for the past 13 of her nearly 30 years teaching, Shaw has introduced Belmont's children to music as Belmont Elementary School chorus teacher.
Shaw has been active in a number of Lakes Region performing groups and has followed several of her students' careers as they continued as performers at Belmont High School, where she has helped with the BHS musicals for the past three years.
Her Belmont Elementary students number over 450 and there are over 150 3rd and 4th graders in that school's performance groups. Those BES students have "hit the road" more than a few times since 2003 in more than 40 free community and public performances.
Sweeney walked his first beat as a law enforcement officer for Belmont in 1957 and was promoted to Sergeant in 1960 and named Chief of Police in 1961. He has served as Deputy Commissioner, Acting Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner in the New Hamshire Department of Safety. As Director of the NH Police Standards and Training Council he set the highest standards in communications education and ethics – for police and corrections, probation-parole trainees and even part time law enforcement officials.
His reputation and management effectiveness, resulted in calls for further service as Acting Commissioner of the NH State Liquor Commission and a non-salaried role as Chairman of the state's Board of Parole. As an author and editor, Commissioner-Chief Sweeney has contributed to magazines, journals, training guides and articles – from the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin to treatises on "Law Enforcement in the 21st Century" and "Standards for Police Training Organizations.''
Frawley said that Rhodes served 32 years in the New Hamphire Banking Department as senior examiner and manager. A Belmont native, his collection and identification of vintage local photos showed his predisposition for local history started quite young. A winter photo of children sledding in front of the Gale School was confirmed as 1952, because, he explained "I was in school then and took it."
Rhodes contributed both time and financial support to the Belmont Mill as both organizer and benefactor of the Belmont Library, Province Road Meeting House and the Belmont Historical Society. Over recent years, he built a home close by the Village on Church Hill, across the road from his maternal grandparents (the Fred Piper family) – and next to the Highland Cemetery and Belmont Baptist Church.
''Some years ago the Church asked to purchase the land to build a school and day care facility for children. Wallace obliged quietly, without any public awareness by donating the land they needed.'' said Frawley.

Canal St. closed tonight for a fresh coat of orange paint

LACONIA — Canal Street in downtown Laconia will be closed from 5 p.m. Wednesday evening until 7 a.m. Thursday morning to accommodate a crew of some 20 volunteers who are going to paint the street orange in preparation for Saturday's Pumpkin Festival.The sidewalks that line the street will remain open to the public.
Canal Street merchant Larry Frates said the actually painting will be done between 5 and 7 p.m. and the paint will need the overnight period to dry.

For Pumpkin Festival, the one-way street that connects Main Street and Beacon Street East will be renamed "Pump-Canal(y)".


Cormier, stepping down as school board chairman, honored at reception

LACONIA — Laconia School Board Chairman Joe Cormier, who is stepping down after serving 12 years on the board, was honored at an informal reception held at the Huot Culinary Arts Center at Laconia High School Tuesday evening.
Past and present school board members and members of the school administrators attended the gathering to thank Cormier for his service.
Cormier said that he was pleased to be a part of the Joint Building Committee which worked to build a new Middle School during his time on the board, as well as to expand the Huot Center, renovate portions of Laconia High School ,and build the Bank of New Hampshire Stadium and artificial surface playing field at the high school.
Laconia City Councilman Bob Hamel, who co-chaired the JBC, said that Cormier was a hard worker who took a lot of pride in his work and always looked to move the project along while keeping in mind what the city could afford to spend.
Former School Board Chairman Marge Kerns said Cormier has always been ''a great guy to work with. He did his homework in order to get the job done and was always a peacemaker when it came to differences of opinion. He always reached out.''
She noted that Cormier has also played an active role in the community by coaching and officiating in youth sports.
Cormier said that Kerns was his mentor when he first joined the school board, as was former board chairman Bob Dissatti.
''I was a little green when I first joined the board but they helped me a lot, just like former Superintendent Bob Champlin.''
Cormier, who has worked in purchasing at New Hampshire Ball Bearing for the last 18 years and prior to that was purchasing agent for the city of Laconia, says that he will continue to remain active in board activities until a new superintendent is selected.