New Ray Carbone book focuses on 'Legendary Locals of the Lakes Region'

LACONIA — More than 100 "legendary locals" of the Lakes Region — many familiar, some obscure — are profiled in the most recent book by Ray Carbone, whose byline has appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the state for several decades.

Carbone said yesterday that Arcadia Publishing of Mount Pleasant, S.C., best known for its "Images of America" series, approached him about sharing the stories of unique individuals who left their mark on the region. Hesitant at first, he confessed that "once I got into I really loved it."

In 2009, Carbone published a coffee-table book titled "The Lakes Region of New Hampshire: Four Seasons, Countless Memories".

Carbone acknowledged the assistance of Daryl Carlson, a photographer who has also worked in the Lakes Region for years and Warren Huse, the mainstay of the Lacona Historical and Museum Society, with whose help he drew up a list. At the same time, he reached out to a dozen local historical societies and a number of libraries and museums for suggestions. Finally, Carbone remarked that "some people just fell into my hand. Some I don't even remember how I came upon them." In addition, he said that he took care to ensure that all towns in the region were represented in the book.

Carbone starts at the beginning with the surveyors who defined the northernmost boundary of Massachusetts at Endicott Rock at Weirs Beach in 1652 and Governor John Wentworth, who little more than a century later built the first vacation home in Wolfeboro, starting a tradition to which Mitt Romney is heir.

A section on the growth of the region features Ralph Cutillo of Steele Hill Resorts, who developed a farm in Sanbornton said to be "the best piece of real estate in the state"; Bob Lawton of Funspot, publisher of the Weirs Times and owner of the world's largest arcade; and Rusty McLear of Hampshire Hospitality Holdings who made over downtown Meredith. Some may find this fast company for Lin Bi, owner of the Chine Bistro restaurant in Gilford and the sisters, Stephanie McKim and Shelli Shumway, of Lakes Region Cupcakes of Tilton.

In "Community Glimpses", Carbone introduces John "Bud" Fowler, a black second baseman who managed the Laconia baseball team in 1885 and drew accolades for his play against the Boston Beaneaters of the National League. Then there is Annie Forts of Moultonborough, who put the "ability" into "disability" to champion the interests and expand the opportunities of the developmentally disabled.

Among the artists and craftsmen are the familiar faces of the late Bill Morrissey of Ossipee, whose hardscrable tunes earned two Grammy nominations; Grace Metalious of Gilmanton, who lifted the lid on the scandals of a small town in her best-selling novel "Peyton Place;" and Pepi Herrmann of Gilord, the master of cut glass.

Alongside them are Jules Olitski, once called "the greatest painter alive," a pioneer of abstract art who worked on Bear Island in Meredith; and Edra Toth, a Hungarian emigre who made the leap from living in a tenement in Boston to the stage of the Boston Ballet, and now lives and teaches dance in Wolfeboro.

Carbone tells of Thomas Cogswell, George Washington's wagon master who hauled tons of ammunition and materiel 400 miles in four weeks from New York to Virginia to force the British surrender at Yorktown; Brigadier General Harrison Thyng, born in Laconia and raised in Barnstead, an ace in both World War II and Korea and witness to the atomic bomb falling on Nagaski; Bernie Boutin, twice mayor of Laconia, who set John F. Kennedy on his way to the White House by engineering his victory in the New Hampshire Primary; Earl Sweeney, named Police Chief in Belmont at age 24 who recently retired as assistant commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Safety.

No list is complete. Some will question the absence of Tom McIntyre of Laconia, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1952 to 1978; Hugh Bownes of Laconia, the celebrated federal judge; and J. Oliva Huot and Dick Swett, two United States congressmen from Laconia.

Likewise, some may wonder why the late Ray Burton of Bath counts as a local legend in the Lakes Region. But then, during his 36 years on the Executive Council, he came to belong to the entire state. In the same vein, Babe Ruth on holiday in Meredith hardly qualifies as a "local," but the rare photograph is a genuine treat and Claude Rains's brief residency in Sandwich and permanent interment in Moultonborough might also be questioned.

These are petty quibbles and grist for a second volume but Carbone said he has no immediate plans for a sequel.

The book — "Legendary Locals of the Lakes Region" — is on sale at local bookstores, including Innisfree Books of Meredith, Bayswater Books of Center Harbor and the Country Bookseller of Wolfebooro.


N.H. Joint Fugitive Task Force looking for Ken Blankenship

BELMONT — Police and the N.H. Joint Fugitive Task Force are seeking the public's help in located Kenneth Blankenship, who is wanted out of the Belknap County Superior Court for failing to appear for hearing on July 7.

Blankenship, 33, has been indicted by a grand jury for one count of burglary and one count of resisting arrest. Gilford Police found Blankenship in December of 2014 after noticing a truck that was stuck in the driveway on Cherry Valley Road. He allegedly ran from two police officers but was quickly caught and arrested.

He was released on bail and ordered to live at a home on Elm Street in Laconia.

According to paperwork filed in court, Blankenship was arrested by Belmont Police for domestic violence assault on March 26. Because of the arrest, the Belknap County Attorney's Office requested his bail be revoked but he failed to show up for the hearing.

Additionally, Blankenship was arrested on June 16 and June 20 and is facing additional charges for domestic related violence and witness tampering. On June 20 he was held by the court on $2,000 cash bail, which he posted.

There are two separate bench warrants for failure to appear for Blankenship's arrest — one from the Belknap County Superior Court issued on July 8 and one issued from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division on July 10.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Belmont Police Department at 267-8350 or the Belknap County Sheriff's Department at 527-5450.

Can tiny Laconia street stand up to construction site truck traffic?

LACONIA — The City Council this week shelved a temporary traffic order that would have lifted the prohibition against truck traffic on the southern stretch of River Street between Jewett Street and Arch Street to facilitate construction of River's Edge, the 32-unit apartment building under construction across the Winnipesaukee River from City Hall.

River Street runs southward along the east bank of the Winnipesaukee River from Church Street to Arch Street. It is open to truck traffic between Church Street and Jewett Street, but signs at the intersections with Jewett Street and Arch Street signal that trucks are prohibited on the last leg of the street — about 90 yards — from Jewett Street to Arch Street.

Paul Moynihan, director of Public Works, said he can find no record either in the department or at City Hall indicating when or why the prohibition was introduced. The last section of the street is 16 feet wide and the river flows approximately 20 feet from the edge of the pavement.

The council responded to concerns expressed by Kerren Horn, whose home and business — RDH Electric, LLC — at 36 River Street is the only property that fronts on the street.

"The trucks are way too heavy to be on this street," she told the councilors, explaining that the truck traffic threatened to damage the pavement and hasten erosion of the riverbank. Furthermore, she feared that the vibration caused by the trucks, which is felt in her house, would also damage the residence, which was built in the 1850s. Horn said that she raised the issue with city officials about a month ago, when trucks began using the street despite the prohibition.

"I'm pleased you came tonight," Councilor Bob Hamel (Ward 5) told Horn. He said that the street was not built on a firm roadbed and was not intended to carry heavy trucks. Expecting that the street would be severely damaged, he warned "once they're gone, we're going to pay for it."

As proposed the traffic order would would have become effective on Tuesday, July 14 and expired on June 30 next year. The signs prohibiting trucks would be removed and "trucking as needed" would be allowed Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. A speed limit of 10 miles-per-hour would be imposed on all "trucks, construction equipment, contractor vehicles and delivery vehicles." In addition, the order notes Northpoint Engineering, LLC and Eckman Construction would be responsible for monitoring the condition of the roadway and as well as for notifying vendors of the speed and time limitations on the street.

Horn said that truck traffic for 1- hours a day, five days a week was excessive in light of the condition of the road and said that conditions on the road should be monitored by the city and New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, not the contractor.

City Manager Scott Myers told the councilors that trucks accessing the construction site from Union Avenue preferred to follow Jewett Street to River Street which leads directly to the entrance to the site at the foot of Arch Street. He said that Arch Street also offers access from Union Avenue, but the intersection at Union, which is below a steep rise, provides a poor line of sight of oncoming traffic. He suggested the hours truck traffic would be allowed could be adjusted and the contractor could be asked to post a performance bond to meet the cost of repairing the road.

However, Hamel insisted "this is not a good street and i won't vote for this" and Councilor Henry Lipman (Ward 3) suggested Myers "take a couple of weeks to refine the order. Councilor David Bownes (Ward 2) moved to table the proposed traffic order "until we can answer the questions and address the issues."

Moyhihan visited the sight yesterday. He said that Arch Street was reclaimed and reconstructed and River Street repaved in 2006 and indicated both were in reasonably good condition. He noted that trucks reach the site from Arch Street are not able to make the right-angle turn in close quarters at the foot the street required to enter the construction site.. Although the driveway could be rebuilt and parking on Arch Street restricted, the sight line at the junction of Arch Street and Union Avenue would remain a challenge for trucks entering and leaving the site. On the other hand, he said that if River Street is open to trucks, they can drive straight into the site form Jewett Street.

Myers said that he is awaiting a report from Moynihan before framing a recommendation to amend the traffic order and return it to the council.