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City's Planning Department taking proactive steps to prevent spread of deadly emerald ash borer insect

LACONIA — Nearly a year after the emerald ash borer, the gravest single threat to hardwood forests, was found in Concord, Scott McPhie of the city's Planning Department is preparing to scout for signs and take steps to manage the appearance of the insect in the city and its environs.
McPhie said recently that he will suggest that the Conservation Commission begin taking an investory of ash trees in the city and recommend that the Planning Board discourage landscapers from planting ash trees.
Piera Siegert, the state entomologist at the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, said that the emerald ash borer originated in China, entered the United States from Canada in the 1990s and was first identified in Detroit in 2002. Since then the insect has destroyed millions of ash trees across the Midwest. The emerald ash borer was found in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts in 2012 and so far the infestation in Concord, which seems to have spread over 24 square miles along the Merrimack River, is the only confirmed presence of the pest in New Hampshire.
Siegert explained that the life cycle of the insect makes it difficult to detect before it has done lethal damage to the trees. The female lays her eggs on the tree in the summer and when the larvae hatch they burrow into the cambium layer of the tree. Between the bark and sapwood, the cambium layer is the growing part of the tree that produces new bark and wood. The larvae, feeding on the tree, carve serpentine galleries within it, effectively girdling the tree. Siegert said that two or three years may pass before the first signs of decline become visible and within three to five years the tree will be dead.
While female emerald ash borers will fly considerable distances to find a suitable tree to lay her eggs, Siegert said that the insect has continually expanded its range with the help of human beings, primarily through the transport of infested firewood and nursery stock. Once the insect was found in Concord, Merrimack County was placed under a quarantine, prohibiting the export of firewood, nursery stock and other infested material from the county.
McPhie said that since the emerald ash borer attacks only ash trees, taking an inventory, particularly of the mature trees preferred by the insect, would increase the likelihood of discovering an infestation before it becomes widespread. At the same time, residents can be informed about how to identify the emerald ash borer, a metallic green insect about a half-an-nch long and an eighth of an inch wide, and signs of its presence. For example, the insect was found in Concord by a resident who noticed intense activity of woodpeckers on an ash tree. Siegert said that there is abundant information about the emerald ash borer on the website nhbugs.org.
There are an estimated 25 million ash trees of at least five inches in diameter in New Hampshire and another 750 million saplings and seedlings, altogether representing approximately six-percent of the northern hardwood forest.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2014 02:14

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Laconia Zoning Task Force eyes restrictions on use of various kinds of electronic signs

LACONIA — The Zoning Task Force, which was convened last year to review the zoning ordinance and propose changes to it, presented its recommendations for amending the regulations bearing on signage to the Planning Board this week.

Planning Director Shanna Saunders said yesterday that a public hearing on the draft proposals will be held at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Planning Board on Tuesday, March 4, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Suzanne Perley, a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment who chairs the task force, said that together with adding and refining definitions to the ordinance, the major recommendations concern the illumination of signs, including the regulation of various types of electronic signs.

The task force proposes requiring all illuminated signs to be positioned and directed so as to minimize glare to passersby, especially motorists. Likewise, the ordinance would prescribe standards of brightness between dusk and dawn for signs lit externally and internally as well as those electronic signs that are directly illuminated, which would be required to be equipped with dimming controls.

The proposal distinguishes between "electronic message centers," or EMCs, "animated signs" and electronic changeable copy signs. EMCs , as defined by the task force, are those signs "capable of displaying words, symbols, figures, pictures or images that can be electronically or mechanically changed by remote or automatic means. The task force recommends that all EMCs be fitted with a sensor that automatically dims the sign to match the ambient light at all times of day and night. EMCs display static messages and images, without either actual or apparent movement or variation in intensity, though the face of the sign could change every minute.

"Animated signs" are those with imagery or text in perpetual motion and varying intensity and include signs with scrolling text. Finally electronic changeable copy signs display text for not less than five minutes, but do not include time and temperature signs.

Perley said that rather than recommend where and under what conditions the different types of electronic signage should be permitted, the task force chose to defer the question until after members of the business community and general public have had an opportunity to offer their opinions.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 March 2014 03:35

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Meet the Beetle: Gilford man's jacket caught the eye of Paul McCartney in 1986

GILFORD — Carl Deprospo was only eight years old when he watched the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964 while sitting in his family's living room in Clifton, N.J.
''I remember my father saying 'they'll never make it' and I remind him of that from time to time'' says Deprospo, who grew up in a home filled with music and was himself taking guitar lessons while in the third grade.
''We heard a lot of the Big Bands and Count Basie. And my mother was a great singer and could play anything on the piano by ear. I always liked playing music and learned to play the bass, drum and piano well enough to carry the tunes but I was never a big fan of playing in organized groups and liked to get together with small groups and do impromptu stuff,'' he recalls.
He says that he more or less stumbled into the radio business when a local radio station in Long Branch, N.J., WMJY was looking for someone to run its sales department and he took the job.
''It was the 80s and we had what was called the Jersey Shore Sound with Springtsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and concerts at Asbury Park.
He says that one day in August of 1986 the phone rang in the office and the the office manager closed her door to talk to caller, which was unusual because there was rarely and secrecy in the office.
''She comes out and tells me it's the rep from Capitol Records and we have to keep this absolutely quiet but that the next Friday I'm going to be at Radio City Music Hall in New York City for a launch party for a Paul McCartney album. I was always a big Beatles fan but I'd never been that close to them in person before so this was a great opportunity for me. ''
He said that the girls in the office wanted him to look a little special for the occasion and went out to an Amy and Navy store where they bought a Navy officer's dinner jacket along with medals and epaulets and had a special black t-shirt printed for him which read ''Pizza and Fairy Tales.''
''They thought it would get McCartney's attention because that's what John Lennon once said were the only kinds of songs McCartney could write,'' recalls Deprospo.
And when Carl arrived at Radio City Music Hall for launch party for ''Press to Play'' attention is exactly what the jacket and t-shirt generated.
''There were 65 to75 people there and I'm feeling very self conscious wearing this ridiculous jacket and sitting with some trade magazine people and I hear a buzz as Paul and Linda start coming down the staircase. He walks past our table and outs his hand on my shoulder and looks at the t-shirt and says 'we'll talk later.'''
After making the rounds of the tables, McCartney came back over and started talking to Deprospo.
''He was approachable and funny and then asked me if I could get him a drink. I went and got it and when I came back I asked him if he would autograph my jacket. He did and I encouraged him to draw a little caricature on it. All that time I'm thinking here's this guy who wrote "Yesterday'' and ''Sgt. Pepper" and I'm standing next to him and we're having a mutual conversation. He's the biggest artist in the field but he's so down to earth and personable.''
He said that McCartney went out of his way to have a conversation with a person in a wheelchair, autographing a handful of albums for him and that he later got to hold a long conversation with Linda McCartney, whom he described as ''gracious, quiet and funny.''
Deprospo says that he got to see a lot of stars back in his days on the Jersey Shore and even got to spend a whole afternoon in a recording studio with Bruce Springsteen,
He eventually moved to Portland, Maine to work in a radio station there before moving to New Hampshire to work for the Sconnix group and WLNH.
He went into auto sales in the mid 90s and is now general sales manager at Cantin Chevrolet on Union Avenue and still keeps up his passion for music, playing his guitar in informal settings like the Duanestock gathering held every August in Gilford.


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Carl Deprospo of Gilford holds a copy of Paul McCartney's ''Press to Play'' album which was signed by McCartney and his wife Linda at a launch party at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in 1986. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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Paul McCartney signs Carl Deprospo's jacket at a launch party at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in 1986 for McCartney's ''Press to Play'' album. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Carl DeProspo and Paul McCartney at a launch party at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in 1986 for McCartney's ''Press to Play'' album. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

A jacket purchased at an Army and Navy store and which was decorated with shoulder boards and insignia was worn by Carl Deprospo at a launch party for a Paul McCartney album in 1986 and was signed and decorated by McCartney for Deprospo. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2014 01:59

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Bulldogs no match for Berlin, lose 7-1

LACONIA — Belmont-Gilford went from the undefeated top seed in the NHIAA Division III standings to third in a matter of a week. Yesterday, the Bulldogs (10-2) dropped their second consecutive game, this one to now top-ranked Berlin,7-1.

Belmont-Gilford was beaten (4-3) by 7-1 Souhegan on February 1.

"We had no heart today," B/G coach Jay Londer said after the Berlin loss at the Laconia Ice Arena. "They didn't want to play. When I played in college, I was all heart. I was embarrassed to coach this team today"

The Bulldogs put the pressure on early, out-shooting Berlin 17 to 9 in the first period, but could not find the back of the net. "We took 17 shots and left 10 rebounds in front of the net that no one wanted to collect," continued Londer. "It simple. You are supposed to dump and chase. We just dumped and did not chase." The first period went scoreless until Berlin's Conner Jewitt found himself all alone with seven seconds remaining and beat the Bulldog goalie to the far corner of the net, where he stuffed the puck in.

The second and third period belonged to the Mountaineers, scoring two more goals in the second and and four in the third. Trevor Cahill had the lone goal for the Bulldogs in the third period.

Belmont-Gilford will be the away team at the Laconia Ice arena against Moultonborough-Inter-Lakes tomorrow.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2014 01:46

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