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Forrester named legislator of the year by group dedicated to reducing drug & alcohol problems

CONCORD — N.H. Senate Finance Chairman Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) has been named legislator of the year by New Futures, a nonprofit organization working to reduce the prevalence of drug and alcohol related problems in New Hampshire. Forrester received the honor at the group's annual awards dinner in Concord on Thursday.

The award recognizes Forrester's efforts in support of various drug and alcohol treatment programs in the state. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, she led the effort to include an additional $500,000 in the state's budget for the drug and alcohol fund. The senator also serves on the Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment.

Writer Sheryl Rich-Kern was also recognized at the event for her article "Hitting Bottom and the Bottom Line" which ran in Business NH Magazine and focuses on the impact New Hampshire's substance abuse problem has on the state's business community, taxpayers, and economy.

"Senator Forrester's success in restoring funding to the Alcohol Fund involved an intense effort on her part to educate her colleagues about the scope of the alcohol and drug problem in New Hampshire," said New Futures Executive Director Linda Saunders Paquette. "From the Senate, to the Governor's Commission, to her work in the community, Senator Forrester is spreading the word about the importance of prevention, treatment and recovery supports and fighting to ensure resources are available to those who need them."

"Having worked in a substance abuse treatment facility in the past, I know firsthand the importance of funding for these support programs," said Forrester. "Drug and alcohol abuse weakens our communities, harms our economy, and costs taxpayers millions each year as a result of increased criminal justice, health care, and other costs. Effective treatment programs can prevent these consequences by ensuring that those suffering from these diseases can get treatment and then go on to live happy, healthy, and productive lives. It is an honor to be recognized by New Futures for the work we have been able to do in this area and I look forward to continuing to work with them to address New Hampshire's substance abuse problems head on."

New Futures is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates, educates and collaborates to prevent and reduce alcohol and other drug problems in New Hampshire.

 

CAPION

Note: A courtesy photo from the event is attached, no attribution necessary. Left to right: New Futures Executive Director Linda Saunders Paquette, Sen. Jeanie Forrester of Meredith and writer Ann Dowsett Johnston, author of "Drink", at the Sept. 17 annual meeting of New Futures in Concord. (Courtesy photo)

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 October 2013 02:21

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Model railroading center stage in Laconia this weekend

LACONIA — Model trains have been a life-long fascination for many of those attending a regional convention of of the National Model Railroad Association which is being held at the Margate Resort this weekend.
Some 300 people are on hand for the weekend event, which is hosted by the Seacoast Division of The Northeastern Region of the National Model Railroad Association.
''It took us two years to put together this convention,'' said Erich Whitney of Derry, convention chairman, who said that coordinating all of programs and exhibits and arrangements for visiting local railroad related attractions takes a lot of time.
''We're really excited to hold a convention in an area which has such a great railroad history,'', said Whitney.
He said that many of those attending were making visits to the Lakeport freight station and the historic Laconia Railroad Station, as well as stations in Ashland, Plymouth and Meredith and taking rail excursions offered by the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad, the Hobo Railroad and even as far away as Conway to ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad.
While there were any clinics and presentations taking place at the Margate, the major focus of activity were the on-site operating sessions at which modular model railroad systems were set up and operated on several large oval track configurations.
One of the most impressive modulars was an eight-foot long, 250-pound mountain scene set up by John Flanders of Clinton, Mass., president of the Ashburnham Modular Railroad Club, which has about 200 members.
The modular features some 250 snow-covered trees, tunnels, a winding road where a snow plow is being operated and a wrecker has arrived to help a motorist who has skidded off the road. There's also wildlife, skiers and even an abominable snowman lurking on the mountain side.
''It took two years to build,'' says Flanders, who unveiled his creation last year at a convention in Springfield, Mass.
Flanders, who grew up next to the railroad tracks in Clinton, said that model railroads have been his life-long passion and that he has about $40,000 worth of trains and over 80-feet of modular layouts which he's built over the years.
A union carpenter who works out of Worcester, Mass., Flanders says that he enjoys the conventions as a way to stay in touch with those who share his enthusiasm.
Whitney said that he got into model railroading about four years ago thanks to the enthusiasm his children, Brenna, 15, and Colin, 12, developed for model trains.
''Our kids got involved in trains and we spend a lot of time with them going to train shows and to train sites all over New England and New York to ride on local railroads,'' said Whitney.
An engineer at a government research center in Bedford, Mass, Whitney says that he enjoys working on model railroad projects with his children.
''It brings out your creative side. You get to use both sides of your brain,'' said Whitney, who said that his daughter has an amazing ability to conceptualize layouts and create them and was enjoying the convention.
''There's a generation gap in model railroading. Most of the people here are long-time modelers but we'd like to see the hobby came back and young people are the key,'' said Whitney.

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 October 2013 02:09

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Cell phone tower plan irks Gilford neighbors

GILFORD — A proposal to erect a cellular telephone antenna tower on land owned by the Traditional Catholics of New Hampshire abutting residences on David Lewis Road and Stark Street has aroused opposition from at least two nearby property owners.

New Cingular Wireless PCS, doing business as AT&T, and American Tower Corporation, LLC, the construction manager, have applied to erect a 100-foot monopole tower with 12 antennas on the southeast corner of the 148-acre tract. The site would include an equipment shelter, 12-feet by 20-feet, and emergency generator within a 50-square compound surrounded by chain link fence six-feet high and topped with barbed wire. A driveway leading from the southwest corner of David Lewis Road would provide access to the tower.

The tower would stand 100 feet from the property line of two adjoining lots, one a house lot at 38 David Lewis Road owned by Kevin Lacasse and the other a vacant 5.27-acre parcel reached from Stark Street owned by Roger Baron. It would also be the same distance from residential properties on Stark Street, but because the lots are relatively deep and the homes are on the street, it would be less obtrusive.  

"I'm very opposed to it," Lacasse said flatly. He explained that the driveway will run alongside his yard and the tower will overshadow his property, obstructing its view. He expressed concerns about the health affects of high frequency radio waves. "It will lower the value of our property," he said. "We don't want that monstrosity of a tower in our backyard."

Baron said that he purchased the lot with the intention of eventually building a retirement home. Since the property is intersected by a brook and dotted with wetlands the buildable area is confined to less than two acres in the northwest corner of the lot nearest the site of the proposed tower. The tower, he explained, would be 100 feet from his property line, as close as permitted. "If I built a house, it would be in the tower," he remarked. Like Lacasse, Baron believes the tower would diminish the value of his property.

Both Baron and Lacasse said because the tract owned by the Traditional Catholics stretches over 148 acres, there is no need to place the tower so close to neighboring properties. "If they were putting it in the middle of their lot," Baron said, "we wouldn't be having this conversation. Instead," he continued, "they're putting it in the one place where it impacts the most abutters. I don't really feel that is being a good neighbor."

"With all that land," echoed Lacasse, "the could find a place to put it without affecting their neighbors."

The Planning Board is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the site plan for the cellular tower on Monday, October 21 while the very next day the Zoning Board of Adjustment is scheduled to hold a public hearing on New Cingular Wireless PCS's request for a special exception, without which the project cannot proceed.

Baron and Lacasse, who only received notices of the public hearings in the past 10 days, had already arranged to travel out-of-state next week and are both unable to attend either hearing.

Planning Director John Ayer said yesterday that the hearing before the Planning Board will be deferred until November because no representative of New Cingular Wireless PCS attended a preliminary meeting to review the site plan and the firm failed to notify all the required abutters. Dave Andrade, the Code Enforcement Officer who manages the ZBA, could not be reached.

To qualify for a special exception a project must comply with six requirements, among them that it is "not detrimental, injurious or offensive to the neighborhood."

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 October 2013 02:02

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An 8 year, 4,000 mile hike

MEREDITH — On October 5, Jim Gregoire waded into the surf of the Pacific Ocean rolling on to the beach at Cape Disappointment in Ilwaco, Washington to complete a journey that began eight years earlier at Portland, Maine, taking him from coast-to-coast — across 4,200 miles, through 13 states — on foot.

"In 2005, I completed the Appalachian Trail, which took me 10 years," Gregoire recalled, "and began thinking about something bigger in scope." Tempted by a coast-to-coast trek, he explored the prospect and sought the inspiration through the experience of other hikers, particularly Nimblewill Nomad, who has hiked all 11 national scenic trails as well as walked from the Florida Keys to the Cliffs of Forillon at the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec, a stroll of some 4,000 miles.

"In June 2006, I dipped my toe in the Atlantic Ocean and headed west," said Gregoire, who proceeded to walk 284 miles through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York to Lake Placid in the Adirondacks. Although "through hikers" have crossed the country in a single trip, he broke the journey into segments, 14 altogether — two a year but for two years — each of about 300 miles.

Gregoire said each trip began with a fresh pair of hiking boots, but after wrestling with blisters he switched to Teva sandals halfway across the country. But, the walking stick that carried him along the Appalachian Trail also took him from ocean to ocean. He said that walked about three miles per hour and covered approximately 17 miles a day.

With a tent, food and utensils in his back pack, Gregoire said he camped and cooked in RV parks and farmers field from time to time, but frequently passed through small towns to get a square meal and soft bed. "I met some of the finest people in bars," he remarked, adding that he was given advice about places to eat and stay and upon telling his story was stood drinks.

"I had not a single problem with people," Gregoire said, "and relatively few with animals, except for some stray dogs." He encounter a few rattlesnakes on the roadside and, in Glacier National Park in Montana a grizzly bear. "He stood on his hind legs when he heard me, but I talked to him and he went back to the huckleberries."

Each day Gregoire telephoned his wife Jane, a native of Laconia and his high school sweetheart at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover, who transcribed their conversation and wrote a journal entry every third day. He said that the journal of his travels are currently being distributed to around 170 people, including many of those he met on his journey.

When Gregoire reached the Pacific he was joined by 13 classmates from the class of 1969 at Princeton University, along with family and friends who shared the last couple of miles with him, erupting in cheers when he doffed his socks and sandals and stepped into the ocean.

Now 65, he returned to New Hampshire after a career as a financier in New Jersey, Gregoire has begun pondering what to do next. "I haven't figured that out yet," he said, "but I thinking of hiking the the 25 or 30 highest mountains in the lower 48 states, all in California, Colorado and Washington, from base to summit. I think I could do four or six a year and be done in five or six years."

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 October 2013 01:58

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