Garden and Farm Tour highlights Sanbornton's beauty July 17 (678+pics)


SANBORNTON — For a town filled with a wide variety of gardens and farms, neither Kris Rathjen of KREBS Farm on Upper Bay Road nor Faith Tobin of Tobin's Woodland Garden wonder now why they never thought of a garden tour before this year.

And for the first time "ever," said Tobin, there is a chance for people to tours five of Sanbornton's gardens and farms and support The Grange and the town library.

"These are not professionally landscaped," said Tobin, who is known throughout town for selling varieties of her lilies to the annual plant sale for the Sanbornton Historical Society. "These are some of our town's backyard gardens."

The five stops on the July 17 tour are Tobin's Woodland Gardens, which is the home of the Tobins on Knox Mountain Road; The Back Door Farm, which is the home of Steve and Karen Ober at 149 March Road; Seller's Glads, which is the home of Ralph and Darlene Sellers of 299 Sanborn Road; KREBS Farm, which is the home of the Rathjens; and Presby's Gardens, which is the home of Bob and Linda Presby at 569 Lower Bay Road.

Each stop is just a little bit different, said Tobin.

While her gardens are carved from a craggy mountain top, Rathjen's Farm is a more traditional farm with spectacular views of Lake Winnisquam.

Tobin's farm also has goat cliffs, a small pasture with horses and a donkey, ducks and a bunny house. They have built a woodland creature garden and a children's garden that will be on display.

Rathjen said her and her husband, Ralph, bought the former Cataldo Farm in 2010, which had been lying fallow for a number of years, and planted vegetables and a variety of fruit bushes, including 1,000 blueberry bushes and black raspberry and raspberry bushes. They do a pick-your-own berry season, and she said the blueberries should be ripe for the tour.

There is a piggery at KREBS Farm and well as food ducks.

"This is a chance for all of us to show off some of the great gardens and farms that are right here in our neighbors' back yards," said Rathjen.

The Rathjens sell most of their produce to local restaurants and at the farm stand. They occasionally go to local farmer's markets.

The Obers' farm sits on a 1765 Land Grant lot and Tobin said a visit shows some of the challenges of Colonial Era farming.

The original barn blew down in the Hurricane of 1938 and the remaining stone foundation is home to at least nine varieties of invasive plants that they work tireless to remove and replant with herbs and perennials.

Seller's Glads was founded when Ralph found a bag of about 60 gladiola bulbs that had belonged to his mother-in-law and planted them out of respect for her. In the 20 years since then, the bulbs have multiplied to between 8,000 to 15,000 annually, depending on the weather, the insects, fungus, and winter kills.

Presby Gardens is a quarter of an acre of wildflowers, ferns and perennial gardens. Statues and garden art dot the landscape and the Presby's dedication to composting has benefits for both the shade and sun flowers.

Tobin said all of the stops will serve complimentary snacks and beverages and each stop will have a door prize. She said there may be plants and/or vegetables for sale at each stop.

At Tobin's home, there will be special handmade garden benches for sale and each is decorated with different motifs and colors.

Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased ahead of time at the Sanbornton Public Library or at each individual stop on the day of the tour, which begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. There will be a restroom stop at the Old Town Hall.

07-05 lilies

Yellow lilies in one of the many gardens at the home of Bill and Faith Tobin of Knox Mountain Road.(Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)

07-05 garden

Kris Rathjen of KREBS Farm shows off some untie blueberries growing on her Sanbornton Farm. The blueberries should be ripe for the Sanbornton Garden Tour on July 17. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)

07-05 boy with bunny

Children will love the bunny house at Tobins Woodland Gardens (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)

07-05 Kris Rathjen

Kris Rathjen in her blueberry patch. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)

Drone to fly over Belmont sports teams


BELMONT — High school senior Devin Poslusny couldn’t be happier.
With the final passage of the Shaker Regional School District drone use policy, he will be able to fulfill one of his high school dreams, which is to record from the air sports teams practices so the coaches can use them to improve the programs.
“I’m not just showing up and flying for no reason,” he said Friday.
Poslusny first approached the school administration and later the School Board for permission to use his drone when the high school boys soccer coach saw some of his video and liked it.
The problem was that there was no policy within the district for drone use and without one, he wasn’t going to be able to use his on school property.
After the policy passed on Tuesday night, Devin said retired Superintendent Maria Dreyer prepared an application form that he has since filled out and returned to the school district.
Poslusny said he’d also like to do other education and sports projects and said that as the school year progresses, he’d like to see if other teachers and coaches would like to use his drone services.
“I’m excited. Obviously this is some uncharted waters,” he said.
“I’ll be very cautious,” Poslusny continued. “I don’t want to do anything that would cause them to lose their trust in me.”

A bittersweet farewell

Business Administrator Ed Emond retires after 19 years with the Laconia School District


LACONIA — It was a teary goodbye for Ed Emond, Business Administrator of the Laconia School District at SAU 30, as he closed out his 19 years with the district this past Thursday.
Working within the Laconia School District was never a regret for Emond, yet he will admit that when he graduated from college working for a school district was not what he expected from his future.
As a young man, Emond graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a degree in accounting and computer science, which provided him with the "nuts and bolts" of budgeting and accounting systems. Using the skills he had attained in college, Emond worked for various different businesses, including the New Hampshire Municipal Association, and a state sand and gravel company. Additionally, Emond became involved in his local community, Allenstown, where he was on the budget committee and Board of Selectmen. Within these jobs and local positions Emond expanded his skill set, gaining knowledge of risk management, administration within a government entity, and legislation, which later would help him thrive as a district administrator.
After a period of time establishing himself in the workforce, Emond decided to further his education, by returning to Southern New Hampshire University in 1995 to receive his Master of Business Administration. Following this scholastic achievement, Emond accepted his first administrative position within the Woodsvillle School District. After a few years of groundwork in Woodsville, Emond left the district to accept a position in Laconia, where he has stayed ever since.
Emond's started off his career with a bang, as on his first day within the Laconia School District he opened the bids at Woodland Heights School for switching the school's heating system from electric to natural gas. This bold move would be the first of many, as one by one he embarked on projects to restore all of the schools within the district.
Beginning with the elementary schools, Emond learned the ins and outs of how to best conduct school restoration projects, which helped make the larger projects a success. Looking back at the improvements made within the district, Emond shared he was most proud of the Laconia Middle School renovation.
"Tackling the middle school renovation was a challenge" said Emond. "There were so many proposals and we were working with a big budget, so it was rewarding watching the school district officials, school board members, and taxpayers all rally behind the renovation to make it a reality."
Leaving the Laconia School District with so much accomplished, Emond tributes much of his success to his ability to keep credibility in the budget regardless of the project or situation. For Emond there were always new solutions waiting to be found, and alternative ways to manage the budget so that new things could be implemented to better the educational experience. Sometimes it was a struggle to achieve all financial goals, and in some ways Laconia fell short in keeping up with surrounding districts, however, Emond never felt that the limited resources stinted the district's success.
"The special thing about Laconia schools is that the people who work here do it because of compassion and a desire to empower students," said Emond. "Here, it's never about the money."
Looking ahead to the future, Emond's No. 1 priority is to spend time caring for his brother with Down syndrome. In addition to spending time with his family, Emond has received his real-estate license with Keller Williams Lakes and Mountains, where he will be working real-estate primarily in the Lakes Region, with four months a year selling real-estate in Naples, Florida.
Although Emond has officially left the school district, he is still planning on staying connected with the school and local community. Recently, he has joined the Board of Directors with Lakes Region Community Services, and looks forward to helping continue make the community a better place for people to live in.
When asked if Emond would alter anything during his time as Business Administrator, he said no.
"I have never regretted working for the school sector," said Emond. "I am proud of my time here and my accomplishments. It's a great city and a school district, and I wouldn't change any of it."

07-02 Ed Eamon

Ed Emond, Business Administrator of Laconia School District, proudly stands in front of the school photos that represent the many projects he has worked on over his career. (Alana Persson/Laconia Daily Sun)