Taxiarchai Church hosting 29th annual Greek Summer Festival Saturday

LACONIA — The 29th Annual Greek Summer Festival, which will be held Saturday, July 25 at Taxiarchai Greek Orthodox Church, will feature Greek music, authentic Greek food and pastries, specialty imports and dry goods as well as a chance to win $10,000 in cash prizes in a raffle.
The festival has become a fixture of the Lakes Region summer scene and involves about 40 members of the church who are involved in preparing and serving the food, decorating the dining hall and according to long-time church member and event organizer Angie Argiropoulis.
The event gets underway at 10 a.m. with music and he opportunity to browse through the imports and dry goods with dinner being served from 11:30 a.m.
The menu includes baked lamb shank, roast leg of lamb and Greek style baked chicken dinners all served with Greek salad, rice, rolls and butter .
Also offered will be Dolmathes. which are grape leaves stuffed with hamburger and rice, Greek sausage, Pastitsio, baked macaroni and cheese meat pie, and Spanakopita, the famous Greek spinach pie.
Pastries and desserts include baklava, koulourakia, finikia, diples and fruit bars.
A raffle offers a first prize of $5,000 in cash and $5,000 more in prizes. Only 200 tickets at $100 each will be sold.
The Greek community in Laconia organized its first parish in 1931, with services held in private homes. Founders of the church were George Mastoras, Stanley Emanuel, Paul Christy, John Orthafenes, James Salta and Michael Argiropoulis. A woman's auxiliary called Athens was formed in 1933.
In 1936 George Mastoras, owner of the Crystal Restaurant and the building in which it was housed, offered space on the third floor for a place of worship.
In 1957 plans were made to build a church on land purchased on the corner of North Main Street and Oak Street and in 1958 the Taxiarchai Greek Orthodox Church opened its doors with 43 members. Current church members recalled that Ed Spadafora, who ran the Captain's Table Restaurant on Union Avenue, was among those who helped make certain that the church was successful.
In 1986 the church celebrated its 50th anniversary. James Noucas was president at that time and Peter and Hope Makris became godparents of the church.
Others who have served as president of he church include Stanley Emanuel, George Mastoras, Paul Christy, Milton Christy, Arthur Ortakales, Dennis Yaianis, George Phillips, Peter Kariagianis, James Tatakes, George Anthony, George Condodematraky and Peter Makris.

Displaying some of the Greek pastries which will be offered at the 29th Annual Greek Summer Festival at Taxiarchai Greek Orthodox Church on Saturday, July 25, are Angie Argiropoulis, Agloia Rouvails, Peter Tsakaris and Mary Garside. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Scenic overlook? Can't see the lake for the trees

GILFORD — On Route 11, about a mile west of Ellacoya State Park, a scenic overlook perched above Lake Winnipesaukee offers an expansive view of The Broads, the open stretch of the lake, and to the White Mountains beyond.

You can get there from here, but you can't see there from there for the trees.

The overlook is atop a steep slope approximately 800 feet from the lake. Scenic Road, which is lined with residences on both sides, runs down below, between the highway and the shoreline. The slope immediately adjacent to the overlook is covered with saplings, mostly oak and birch, which have grown to obscure the view of the lake and leave only glimpses of the mountaintops. Older, taller trees fill much of the space between the highway and Scenic Road, providing a second screen.

Bill Boynton, spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT), said that tree cutting to preserve scenic vistas is often problematic, particularly if the trees obscuring the view are not within the state right-of-way, but growing on property owned by other public entities or private individuals or corporation. For example, he said that the DOT negotiates with the United States Forest Service when cutting along the Kancamangus Highway between Conway and Lincoln.

Moreover, Boynton noted that tree cutting is a labor intensive operation and, particularly during the construction season, not high on the department's list of priorities. This year, with the department about to exhaust its federal funding and the state budget still hanging in limbo, he doubted there would be resources to clear the view.

Meanwhile, the kiosk at the overlook includes a schematic spanning the view from the spot from Sandwich Mountain to the west and Mount Shaw to the east. In the middle, between the two, 47 miles away, stands Mount Washington, while visitors are asked "Do you see Mount Washington in the distance?"

Canoers rescued on Opechee by jet skiers

LACONIA — Fire Department officials said three people on jet skis came to rescue of three young men who had been thrown from their canoe on Lake Opechee Tuesday afternoon. The rescue happened on the southern end of the lake, off Moulton Street.

Asst. Chief Kirk Beattie said gusty winds and choppy water likely contributed to the three canoeists being tossed from the boat.

He said the jet skiers wanted to remain anonymous but by the time they arrived they were taking the three men and their canoe to shore.

Beattie said the men were checked out by ambulance crews and were uninjured.

Fire official want to remind people to wear life preservers while in the water and to notify people of their departure times and expected time of return.