Two arrested when found in house

LACONIA — City police have charged two men with one count each of criminal trespass after a person reported they were in a house at 57 Adams St. Saturday without permission.

Capt. Matt Canfield said the witness told police he saw one man enter the house through the back door and let a second man in through the side door.

Canfield said police found Aaron Rae, 27, of 455 Pine St. in Manchester, and John B. Bixby, 27, who is transient, in the house. He said it appears Bixby tried to pull away from arresting officers and faces a single charge of resisting arrest.

Police said they believe the house was unoccupied.

– Gail Ober

Ensuring a living wage - Hermit Woods offers $15 per hour to employees


MEREDITH — Responding to the ongoing national debate about the minimum wage, the partners at Hermit Woods Winery announced this week that beginning on Friday, Aug. 19, all its employees will be paid "a living wage" of $15 per hour.

In a prepared statement, Bob Manley, who with Ken Hardcastle and Chuck Lawrence owns the business, said "We have built a hardworking, dedicated team. We want to be able to reward them with a living wage so they can support their families and pursue their passions in life as we have."

Manley said the company operates with eight full-time and part-time employees, some recent graduates carrying student debt, others with families to support and two single mothers. All, including one placed by Lakes Region Community Services who holds an entry level position, will receive $15 per hour, an increase of $3 per hour, or 25 percent.

Jennifer Dystra of Northfield, the sales and distribution manager, joined Hermet Woods in April.

"It's going to be the difference between scraping by and not having anything to save and saving something," she said. "I have two kids that I support. It's a huge difference."

"Finding the right people for the right jobs," Manley said, "has been a challenge." He explained that the winery invests considerable time and effort training its employees, providing them with a knowledge and appreciation of wines. "Our employees know about wine in general and our wines in particular," he continued. "Our job is not to sell wine, but to create a unique experience, to educate our customers about wine and encourage their interest in our wines in a setting where they are comfortable." Employees, he described as hosts and hostesses, not sales clerks.

Hardcastle said that 85 percent of all sales originate in the tasting room in Meredith. He hopes that the pay raise will reflect itself in the experience of customers if those catering to them are not worried about how to make ends meet. "Having the additional money helps alleviate personal financial stress," he remarked. "So everyone who comes in will see happy people serving them."

"We can't afford to keep turning employees over," Manley said, adding that "we want to offer the opportunity to make a career. Anticipating significant expansion of the business in the next two to five years, he remarked "there will be lots of opportunity here."

On the company website the partners explain that they reached the figure of $15 after reviewing data that indicated the amount is widely considered "a living wage" throughout the country based on the cost of living. At the same time, they acknowledged that the cost of living in New Hampshire is about 16 percent higher than elsewhere and conceded that "$15 an hour would be the minimum for most people to adequately supports themselves and their families."

Manley said that that to meet the cost of the raise a surcharge of 3.5 percent will be added to every sale, stressing that all the proceeds from the surcharge will be applied to the payroll. He said the average purchase is $50, for which the surcharge would amount to $1.75. He pointed out that customers pay all the expenses of operating the winery, including the wages of employees.

08-16 Hermit Woods Liveable Wage

Jennifer Dykstra, sales and distribution manager at Hermit Woods Winery in Meredith, and co-owner Ken Hardcastle, are both excited about the company's decision to enact a surcharge on its products in order to pay each employee $15 per hour. Co-owner Bob Manley said, "We are not sure $15 is enough, but it is a heck of a lot closer than $12."(Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)


32 and done - Roger Sorrell retires from Meredith Planning Board


MEREDITH — Roger Sorrell, who has retired after serving on the Planning Board without interruption for the past 32 years, was honored by the Board of Selectmen Monday.

A resident of Meredith since 1952, Sorrell graduated from Inter-Lakes High School in 1964 and served two tours of duty in Vietnam, the first with the United States Air Force and the second with the Special Forces of the United States Army. In 1970, he opened Roger's Repairs, an automotive repair shop, which he has operated ever since.

Herb Vadney, a past chairman of the Planning Board who served 12 years with Sorrell, said that his extensive knowledge of the town, particularly the properties within it , their histories and their owners, represented a valuable asset to the board. He recalled that Sorrell was especially helpful when the board toured sites. Sorrell, he remarked, would point "where he hunted deer — in the summer — where he hid beer as a teenager and the logging roads he took to evade the police."
During board meetings he might whisper asides like "check out the lady at the back," making it difficult to keep a straight face.

Bob Flanders, a former selectman and veteran of the Planning Board, told Sorrell "it was a pleasure working with you" and said his greatest contribution to the work of the board was "his good old Yankee common sense."

Bill Bayard, who currently chairs the Planning Board, also spoke of Sorrell's encyclopedic knowledge of the town, which he added often prompted him to seek his help.

Nate Torr, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, read a proclamation recounting Sorrell's career and describing him as "thoughtful, fair and steady."

The selectmen rose from their seats and one after another exchanges warm hugs and firm handshakes with Sorrell, who was surrounded by by family and friends.