Taylor Community & 3 generations of family help Bessie Scudder celebrate 100th birthday

LACONIA — Surrounded by her son and daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren along with numerous friends, Bessie Scudder celebrated her 100th birthday at the Taylor Community yesterday.

Scudder was born in Yonkers, New York on August 18, 1915 and has forever remained a New Yorker, as Bob Selig, the chief executive officer of the Taylor Community discovered when he asked her if she were a Yankee fan. "Of course," she snapped with a smile. "I'm from New York."

After graduating from Roosevelt High School — named for Theodore, the 26th president, not Franklin, the 32nd — she went to work as a secretary at an automobile dealership until she married Orvis Victor Scudder in June, 1940. She was known for skill in the kitchen, especially her cookies, and with a needle — needlework, knitting, crocheting, quilting, needlepoint, and embroidery. She played the piano and taught Sunday School at the First Methodist Church in Hackensack, New Jersey and sang in the choir at the Taylor Community.

Noting her fondness for word puzzles, Selig recalled that once playing Charades she struggled for the word "sexy" as her partner writhed languorously in front of her. "I didn't know what she was doing," Scudder laughed. Selig remembered that Scudder led the prayer at breakfast each morning at 7:30 a.m. and, noting that no one has taken her place, wondered if she would come back. "No," she answered. "I'm stationary now." The Scudders lived in Pelham, New York, West Englewood and Oradell, New Jersey, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Summerfield, Florida and Roxbury, New York., But, in the summer, home was a cottage on the shore of Lake Kanasatka in Moultonborough. She has now lived in Laconia for a dozen years.

Scudder enjoyed traveling and site-seeing and when reminded of a favorite trip to Branson, Missouri, interrupted to recall a tour of the White Mountains where "we went up and up and the trees were down below and we were above the clouds. That was the best trip," she said.

Most of Scudder's two children, five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, drawn from Delaware to California, were on hand as Mayor Ed Engler proclaimed "Bessie Scudder Day " in the city and heard a letter read from Governor Maggie Hassan wishing her a happy birthday.

42% of GHS freshman class from Gilmanton

GILFORD — Preliminary enrollment figures for Gilford High School show that Gilmanton students will make up 42 percent of this year's freshman class.
Of the 112 freshman anticipated this year, 47 are from Gilmanton and 65 from Gilford. Overall Gilmanton students account for 32 percent of the anticipated enrollment of 517 students, 167 from Gilmanton and 350 from Gilford.
The total number of high school students is down by 21 from last year's total of 538, according to Gilford High School Principal Tony Sperazzo, who presented the enrollment numbers to the School Board when it met Monday night.
The freshman class is the smallest at the high school, with the sophomore class at 140 students (45 Gilmanton, 95 Gilford) the largest, followed by a junior class of 136 (35 Gilmanton, 101 Gilford) and a senior class of 129 (40 Gilmanton, 89 Gilford).
Enrollment at Gilford Middle School is 326, with 82 in the eighth grade, 95 in the seventh grade, 82 in the sixth grade and 67 in the fifth grade.
Elementary school enrollment is 365 with 82 of those in kindergarten and other classes ranging in size from 73 in the fourth grade to to 63 in the second grade.
Sperazzo said that SAT exams show Gilford students exceeding both the state and national averages in both reading and mathematics and exceeding the national average in writing but one point below the state average.
He said the high school will be putting a special emphasis on writing this year in order to improve student performance.
Sperazzo also noted that five-year comparable data results for Advanced Placement Courses which earn high school students college credits shows shows Gilford exceeding both state and global benchmarks in all five years. In 2015 some 85 percent of Gilford AP students, all of whom are required to take the exams, had scores of 3+, compared to a state average of 74.3 percent and a global average of 60.6 percent.
He said that two Gilford students earned scholar of distinction awards for averaging 3.5 or higher on at least five AP exams, Hunter Anderson with a 4.2 average and Sophie Czerwinski with a 4.0 average.
The School Board approved a statement of its annual goals for 2015-16, which emphasized enhancing student learning, developing a coalition of community organizations to address nutrition, mental health and substance abuse programs, resource management and enhancing safety and developing school facilities.
The board also approved a change in its non-resident tuition policy which will allow children of professional staff members who do not reside in Gilford to attend district schools for 50 percent of the specific school's per pupil cost.

Hosmer asked to advocate for Belmont on Rte. 106 issues

BELMONT — Selectmen last night asked state Sen. Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) to look into the repaving of Rte. 106 from Wildlife Boulevard to Brown Hill Road.

Hosmer was at the Selectboard meeting as part of his regular meeting with the the local governing bodies in his 7th District.

Selectman Jon Pike said the Department of Transportation keeps surveying the road but never does anything. He noted that a skim coat was applied earlier this spring but said it will be gone by the beginning of next spring due to plowing.

He noted that the now defunct plan for placing fuel pumps on state land off Brown Hill Road would have saved Belmont a lot of money but he couldn't justify the location unless the state agreed to rebuild the egress onto Rte. 106.

Pike also asked Hosmer to look into the price of what the state charges for car titles saying the cost could be raised to get more people into the state to process them in a timely manner.

A car dealer himself, Pike said that a six week turnaround period to get a title for a car is too long and forces small business people like himself to keep "frozen" inventory on their lots.

Hosmer said he would investigate both issues and get some answers for Pike. He also said he would try and get a "decision maker" from the DOT to the Brown Hill section of Rte. 106.