LACONIA — Chas Guldemond, 26, began chasing his dream at an early age. When he first set out to see how far snowboarding would take him, the sport existed on the fringe of mainstream, celebrated at alternative competitions such as ESPN's X Games.
Guldemond's dedication for slopestyle snowboarding is about to be vindicated, though, as the event is being included in the Winter Olympics beginning later this week in Sochi, Russia. A Laconia native, he has the rare chance to win one of the first medals awarded to a slopestyle snowboarder.
Guldemond spent his high school years at Waterville Valley Academy, a private school designed to produce elite snowsport athletes. When he was 18, he moved to Lake Tahoe, working odd jobs to pay for his lift tickets, hitchhiking to the mountain and sustaining himself with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
It wasn't long, though, until the theme of his snowboarding career would become clear: the more of himself that he gave to his sport, the more snowboarding would reward him. The year following his move out West, Guldemond burst onto the pro snowboarding scene by winning second place at the U.S. Open. Since then, he has been a fixture on podiums for Big Air and Slopestyle events around the world.
While he can now afford more than PBJs, Guldemond never lost his hunger. That's a good thing, because staying on top of the snowboarding world is like trying to summit a mountain as it is rising from the earth. In Guldemond's sport, athletes compete against one another by impressing judges with their aerial acrobatics and park-style tricks. Feats that ensured a first-place finish just a few years ago would have judges yawning today. For example, Guldemond dropped jaws in 2008 by landing the first 1440 in a competition. The trick, spinning four times between the time his snowboard left the jump and when he landed again — featured a rotation so fast that judges had to watch a slow-motion replay to understand what he accomplished.
The snowboarding world waits for no man, though. To be competitive in today's competitions, athletes must pull off several rotations around multiple axes. It is expected that the slopestyle event in Sochi will see many snowboarders attempt to land a "1440 Triple Cork," four consecutive rotations while performing three consecutive front flips. In an interview last week, as he was preparing to compete in the X Games in Aspen, Colo., Guldemond said he feels among the sport's veterans who have had a hand in elevating the sport from the fringe to the Olympic stage.
"When they put slopestyle in the Olympics it was kind of an honor, a proud moment for the sport," he said, and being named to the first slopestyle team to represent the U.S.A. is an honor that he doesn't take lightly. "It's going to be amazing to support my brothers, my sisters on Team U.S.A." Since he went pro, Guldemond's life has been a whirlwind of airport terminals and ski lifts, traveling to compete in events and to find good snow in between. After seeing life around the world, he said, "I'm lucky to be an American, I can do what I love."
Over those years, he's watched the sport that he loves grow to maturity. "When I started in snowboarding, there weren't half the opportunities to become a pro snowboarder." Guldemond learned his sport by hurtling himself off jumps and attempting to ride rails, taking his lumps until he got it right. The younger members of his team learned aerial technique by practicing on trampolines or jumping into pits of foam blocks, which greatly reduce the risk of injury when trying to perfect a new trick. Guldemond joked that some of them are more comfortable when spinning upside-down than they are carving their way down a powdery slope. "Some things come way easier for them because that's how they learned."
Although he's the second-oldest on the American team — only the legendary Shaun White is older, and he's only older than Guldemond by a few months — he feels like he's never been better prepared to compete on the greatest stage. Mentally, physically, he feels stronger than ever, and his performance has followed suit. "The way my contest season has unfolded for me, it's like I'm coming up on a peak — I see that unfolding... I'm really excited, I'm trying to stay humble."
Though, there are some aspects of this particular Olympic games that give him pause. He's concerned about security, especially as it relates to regional terrorism — "It's unfortunate that they had to put it in such a dangerous place, it kind of clouds the excitement for the Olympics" — and he is also troubled by Russia's recent passing of anti-homosexual legislation and the controversy that followed. "I'm glad that I live in America and we support people to be who they are and that's what I stand for," he said.
Asked what his specific goals were for the Olympics and afterward, Guldemond said he will continue to pursue the same goal that has motivated him for years. "I feel like I was blessed with the opportunity to snowboard as well as I do. I feel like it is important for me to be a positive influence on kids." Whether he's riding in Sochi, near his home in Reno, Nev. or in some far-flung corner of the world, Guldemond prides himself on being in line for the first chairlift of the morning and pushing himself until the last run of the day, and for exhibiting that drive and dedication to whoever is on the lift with him or catches up with him at the bottom of the slope. "I want to continue to ride as hard as I can and work hard, people see that, they see that work ethic."
The qualifying round for slopestyle snowboarding will be held on February 6, with the semi-final and final rounds on February 8. Lakes Region residents will be able to watch both rounds during prime time programming on both days.
CAPTION for CHAS GULDEMOND in AA:
Laconia native Chas Guldemond will compete in the slopestyle snowboarding event in the 2014 Winter Olympics later this week. (Courtesy photo)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 03:20
Attorney General negotiated settlement gives 5 Paugus Woods homeowners option to sell property back to the developer
LACONIA — As part of a negotiated settlement with the N.H. Attorney General, developer Brady Sullivan Properties has agreed to buy back the home of five families who purchased homes here in the Villas at Paugus Woods, LLC — if the owners want to sell.
The agreement, which was announced yesterday afternoon, was approved by Belknap County Superior Court on January 27, ending a legal battle that began in December of 2010 when a Sarasota Lane family reported some cracks in their modular home.
Told by Brady Sullivan the cracks were "cosmetic," they notified the state fire marshal and asked for an inspection. Fire Marshal Ken Walsh's affidavits were made public and said that the lag bolts that connect module "C" with the rest of the three-part modular home were not installed.
Walsh also noted that the foundations under the "C" module was not constructed in a way that would support it.
"Because of these failures," wrote former Attorney General Mike Delaney in his filing, "the C Module was physically moving away from the remainder of the house.
The separation of the "C" module was creating the drywall cracks that the family noticed and reported.
Other problems in some of the homes that were inspected were in ventilation and air handling systems as well as electrical issues.
All totaled, Walsh said he got eight complaints and contacted Brady Sullivan to see how the company was going to resolve the complaints.
The Villas at Paugus Woods is a multi-unit sub-division off White Oaks Road. Initially started by a different private developer, the entire subdivision was purchased by Brady Sullivan in 2009.
Brady Sullivan attorneys contended that the City of Laconia had inspected all of the homes and occupancy permits were issued.
On January 13, 2011, city officials, Walsh, and the Brady Sullivan project construction manager met with representatives of all of the subcontractors with the exception of Excel Homes, whose attorneys said the company was in bankruptcy.
Brady Sullivan agreed to stop selling homes while a resolution was in the offing but later asked for and received an exemption for two buyers who had already given up their former homes.
AG Delaney brought suit against Brady Sullivan after learning that an independent inspector had identified 20 code violations that still existed.
The agreement between the state and Brady Sullivan also states that at the attorney generals request, an independent engineer was engaged to inspect every home in the sub-division and fix any defects identified and fix them at Brady Sullivan's expense.
Brady Sullivan must also pay $85,000 in administrative costs and investigative costs to the State of New Hampshire.
Owners of the five homes offered buyouts couldn't not be reached for comment.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 01:41
LACONIA — In the most recent dispute to roil the government of Belknap County, Rep. Colette Worsman, who chairs the county convention, has claimed that the salaries of administrative personnel were overspent by nearly $63,000 in 2013. In a column published in The Daily Sun on Tuesday, Worsman charged that "your tax money went to the bloated upper management's salaries."
County Administrator Debra Shackett not only rejected the charge but contended (see column on page 4) that an accurate accounting of the administrative payroll shows that it was underspent, leaving a surplus that was returned to taxpayers by applying the undesignated fund balance against the amount to be raised by property taxes.
The dispute arises from the budgeting and accounting of administrative salaries.
The county administrator, administrative assistant, finance director, assistant finance officer, bookkeeper and human resources director share their time between the county administration and the nursing home. In order to accurately reflect the cost of operating the nursing home and ensure that the state reimburses qualified costs, the county budget includes two appropriations in equal amounts, one in the nursing home budget and another in the administration budget.
In 2013, $112,758 was appropriated for "professional management services" in the nursing home budget an an equal amount in the budgets of the administrative and finance departments. To ensure that the same appropriation was not spent twice, each quarter $28,189.50, one-fourth of the $112,578 appropriation, was debited to the nursing home and credited to the administrative and finance departments. In the budget the full amount of $112,578 appears as a revenue offsetting the appropriation for the salaries of the administrative and financial personnel.
According to Worsman, by debiting one department and crediting another this "inter-departmental allocation, zeroed out the $112,758 appropriation to the nursing home, which she described as "not real money." Consequently, when she calculated the appropriation for salaries of the administrative and finance departments, she excluded it. She concluded that since $424,795 was appropriated and $487,457 was expended, the budget was overspent by $62,662. Worsman claimed that the overage was applied to administrative salaries.
Shackett insists that the $112,758 appropriated to the nursing home and credited to administration and finance must be included in the total appropriation for salaries, bringing the amount to $518,516. Less actual expenditures of $487,457, she contends, the appropriation was underspent by $31,058.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 01:34
LACONIA — Belknap County Corrections Superintendent Dan Ward last week provided a classic example of how unanticipated events can drive up spending at the county jail.
While explaining details of his budget to the Belknap County Convention's Public Safety Subcommittee, Ward pointed out how the inability of one person being held at jail to post $100 bail resulted in a $5,000 hospital bill for the county.
'She was being held in protective custody on $100 bail,and couldn't be released because she was intoxicated. She then thought she was having a heart attack and had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital where she was taken to the emergency room. It wasn't a heart attack but the bill was for $13,000, which the hospital discounted to $ 5,000.'' said Ward.
Ward said that mental health spending for inmates needing those services accounts for around $45,000 a year while medications which are supplied by the county for those in custody requires about $4,000 a month — but those numbers are unknowable at the start of the budget year and can only be estimated at that time based on past experience.
Belknap County Sheriff Craig Wiggin said that he has the same kind of expenses facing his department with involuntary admissions to the State (mental) Hospital, which he said require his department to take as many as 300 people there a year, many in the middle of the night, which can require off duty officers to be called in.
Rep. Frank Tilton (R-Laconia) advised both department heads that they might want to look at their budget estimates closely as he is calling for the elimination of a $100,000 contingency line in the county budget ''which the county commissioners can do what they want with'' and creation of a contingency fund which the county convention would have more control over.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 02:40
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