NASCAR pace car and mascot visit winner of essay contest at Gilford Middle School

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILFORD — New Hampshire Motor Speedway mascot Milo and the Toyota Camry pace car greeted students on the first day of Middle School Wednesday.

The team from the speedway were there courtesy of eighth-grade student Jacob Guay, who was one of hundreds who wrote an essay over the summer about what the American flag means to him, but was one of just a handful in the state whose essay was a winner.

Jacob, whose father served in the Marine Corps, also plans on serving as a Marine. His favorite subjects are social studies and science.

NHMS spokesman Bill Quigley said the essay contest was part of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway Children's Charities which, according to its website, has donated $250,000 to New Hampshire children since its inception in 2009.

As part of being named a winner in the essay contest, Jacob and his family will get tickets to the Sept. 25 NASCAR New England 300, which is the second chase race for the championship.

Quigley said the essay contest is part of the speedway's commitment to kids and the beginning of a program to provide $10 tickets for children 12 and younger.

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Eighth-grade American flag essay winner Jacob Guay and New Hampshire Motor Speedway mascot Milo stand outside of the Gilford Middle School following an opening-day assembly. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)

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Water craft needs tow in Lake Winnisquam

LACONIA — Firefighters responded Tuesday afternoon to a call for help from a man operating a personal watercraft off Shore Drive-in Lake Winnisquam at 12:42 p.m.

Fire Chief Ken Erickson said the pump broke on the craft and it was beginning to sink and take on water. He said the driver called for help.

When firefighters arrived, they commandeered at boat that was along the water but Erickson said a different boater reached the man was was able to pull him aboard his boat and tow the watercraft to the shore.

He said no one was injured and personnel from other communities called to help were returned home.

Belknap Mill gets new roof

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Barely three months after Peter Karagianis Jr., whose father led the effort to preserve the Belknap Mill, announced that the family was contributing $25,000 toward replacing the failed roof and challenging the community to match the gift, the work is underway.

Lisa Burke-McCoy of the Belknap Mill Society said Tuesday that the community quickly picked up the gauntlet. A generous donation from the Bank of New Hampshire and a timely grant from the McIninch Foundation, along with any number of contributions from individuals and families throughout the community, enabled the project to be put to bid and begun. She said that the cost of the work is expected to be approximately $65,000.

The roof has been leaking for some time, shedding shingles with each passing storm. At the same time, water has rotted and weakened timbers, jeopardizing the structural integrity of the roof. Tara Shore, operations manager at the mill, said that the mild winter and dry spring and summer spared the roof and with another winter approaching "It all came together just when we needed it. Sometimes God just hands it to you."

Burke-McCoy stressed that the project represents "a great community effort," noting that Jim French Home Improvement, a local contractor, placed the most competitive bid and is undertaking the work.

"We are very serious about our commitment to preserve this most important historical landmark," she said. "This is a great step forward and the first of many great things to come."

The sound of of footsteps and hammer blows overhead is music to the ears of attorney Matt Lahey, who has practiced law on the top floor of the mill for the past 17 years. For some of those years, buckets have been scattered around the office to catch the drips from the leaky roof and just last week water evaded impaired flashing to reach an electrical box. At the same time, he said that rotten timbers had become home and fodder for termites, some which found their way into the building. Lahey said that some of the leaks were plugged when the bell tower was repaired, but added that he was looking forward to many more years under anew roof at the top of the mill.

"This will be great," he said.

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The crew at French Home Improvements work on shingling the roof at the Belknap Mill on Tuesday.  (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

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