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LRCC opens new building to house nursing, science & fire science programs

LACONIA — Two students — Nicole Soucy and Tom Newman — shared the honors at Lakes Region Community College (LRCC) yesterday when for just the third time in the 46-year history of the college a ribbon was cut to mark the opening of a new building.

The 24,000-square-foot companion to the Center for Arts and Technology, which opened in September 2005, completes a project begun in 2003. The new building will house the nursing, physical science and fire science programs as well as a multi-purpose room and faculty offices. Designed by SMRT, Inc. of Manchester and constructed by Bonnette, Page and Stone Corporation of Laconia, the building was completed at a cost $6.4 million.

"There were lots of shoulders we stood on to get this building built," said Scott Kalicki, president of LRCC, expressing his appreciation to Tom Clairmont, president and CEO of LRGHealthcare and Carmen Lorentz, executive director of the Belknap Economic Development Council for assisting with designing and equipping the nursing complex.

Ross Gittell, chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire agreed "it takes a partnership," stressing that "everything we're doing here is for our students." He said that the college is playing a major role in developing the skilled workforce required to attract and retain businesses in the Lakes Region.

"This college changes people's lives," declared Paul Holloway, who chairs the Board of Trustees of the Community College System, "by offering opportunity and providing self-worth." Turning to several elected officials at the ceremony, he asked for their "increased support," adding "that means dollars."

Tom Goulette, vice-president of LRCC, called the new space "a fantastic shot in the arm for our college." The nursing program, which has operated in a few rooms of the academic building, has moved to the lower floor of the new building. It features a skills laboratory with eight beds, outfitted as though they were in a hospital and occupied by "high fidelity" mannikins, whose vital signs and medical conditions can be manipulated with the touch of a finger to simulate a variety of scenarios. There will be sufficient space and equipment to enroll 32 students in the two-year nursing program each year.

The science suite consists of two rooms for biological sciences and one each for physics and chemistry. The fire science program, the most popular offering on campus, has both a sprinklered training laboratory for controlled burns and a classroom. A multipurpose room with seating capacity for 140 people can be configured to provide a variety settings, including an auditorium.

Kalicki expects to be cutting another ribbon in the near future. He said that the 2013-2014 state budget includes $3.25-million for construction of a new building to house the automotive program at the college and design the renovation of the space it will vacate to accommodate the culinary arts program, which is now housed at Canterbury Shaker Village.

Last Updated on Monday, 10 March 2014 10:48

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Quest to authenticate 3 write-in votes likely to trigger Ward 5 recount

LACONIA — An alleged oversight by those working the polls in Ward 5 during the recent primary election has former city councilor Dave Gammon and former mayor Tom Tardif questioning the electoral process.

City Councilor Bob Hamel, running for re-election without opposition, received 39 of the 47 ballots cast on Sept. 10. After closing the polls and tallying the votes, the ward clerk and selectmen delivered the ballots and reported the results to City Clerk Mary Reynolds at City Hall. The paperwork did not indicate that anyone received a write-in vote for city council.

If write-in votes are cast, the person with the most, which could be as few as a single vote, is notified by the City Clerk that they have qualified for the general election in November and asks if they wish for their name to be placed on the ballot.

On Friday the 13th, Gammon went to City Hall and asked for a copy of the results. Gammon, who along with his wife, cast write-in votes for Tardif for city council was troubled to discover no write-in votes were recorded and Tardif would not appear on the general election ballot.

Reynolds said that since the results were certified and the ballots sealed, the only way to address the situation would be for Tardif to request, in writing, a recount by the close of business on the first Friday after the election. Alternatively, she explained to Gammon that five registered voters could petition the New Hampshire Secretary of State to conduct a recount before the second Friday after the election or, failing that, petition the Superior Court to order a recount.

This week Gammon and Tardif requested and received a computer print-out of the election results, which showed three-write-in votes for the city council seat in Ward 5. Subsequently, Gammon received a call from a voter, who said that she also cast a write-in ballot for Tardif.

Reynolds explained that the ballots are sealed before they leave the polling station and cannot be opened except in accordance with the statutes governing recounts. Without recounting the ballots there is no way of confirming the number of write-in votes that were cast or the identity of those whose names were in.

Tardif said yesterday that he understands the dilemma facing the clerk and expects five registered voters to petition the Secretary of State for a recount before the week is out. He said that Gammon is determined to ensure that his vote, along with those of any others who cast write-in ballots, are counted.

Asked if he will run against Hamel in the general election if a recount awards him a place on the ballot, Tardif replied "that's a hard question. I'm not going to put my foot in my mouth until I've seen the ballots."

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 September 2013 01:38

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History of New England food will be on the table at special dinner in Center Harbor on Friday night

CENTER HARBOR — Though they walk in their footsteps, contemporary New Englanders enjoy a diet that is far different from that of the Europeans who colonized the region centuries ago. Foods served on local tables have been affected by changing religious views, trade, technology and politics. Even so, some dishes have managed to hold on to their place on the dinner table through the generations, giving today's diners a direct link to the Puritans who arrived nearly 400 years ago.

The question of what those early New Englanders ate was one that fascinated cookbook author and cooking instructor Barbara Lauterbach, who combined her twin passions of history and food to conduct enough research into the matter to give a presentation on the topic to the Center Harbor Historical Society. The idea also captured the imagination of Amy Elfline, owner of restaurants The Mug and The Bay, who mined Lauterbach's findings to compile a menu for one of her chef's night dinners.

On Friday night, from 5 to 9 p.m., diners at The Bay will be able to sample a selection of dishes that have nourished hungry New England residents for centuries.
Lauterbach, who was assisted in her research by her daughter, Elisabeth Laskin, associate dean at Harvard Summer School, found that the Puritans who arrived in Massachusetts in the 17th Century existed on a bland diet, one that was resulting as much from religious philosophy as it was from necessity.

"They were strongly conscientious, religion affected their diet greatly," said Lauterbach. When it came to their food, Puritans equated the bland with the pious, she said. They learned to grow corn from the American Indians they encountered, she said, and those who lived near the coast took advantage of lobsters and an abundance of cod, which was salted as a means of preservation.

Parsnips and carrots, brought from Europe, were mixed with native squashes and vegetables. Lauterbach found that a staple of the diet was a kind of legume referred to as "field pease." These had little in common to sweet green peas, instead they were small, white beans that could be dried for later use and the boiled until they disintegrated into a paste-like porridge. The dish would be consumed hot or cold, with little to no seasoning, for days at a time. Indeed, the saying "Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot, nine days old" was as much a menu plan as it was a nursery rhyme.
The porridge would often have been eaten with a piece of brown bread. Especially for the first several generations of New Englanders, white flour would have been reserved for only special occasions or for the wealthiest of residents. Instead, this bread would have been made from a dough of wheat flour mixed with the more readily-available corn meal.
It's fortunate for contemporary eaters that time marched onward from the bland pot of porridge. Lauterbach said that once cooks relaxed their Puritan ideals and trade routes made the ingredients accessible, they began adding saltpork, molasses and other spices to their beanpots, resulting in the much more palatable baked beans so closely associated with Boston.
New England clam chowder is another dish of the ages that underwent a similar evolution. Dairy products were a scarce commodity in New England prior to the widespread introduction of dairy herds in the 19th Century. Prior to this development, said Lauterbach, chowder would have been a much thinner soup, then became the rich, creamy concoction once milk and cream became one of the region's most affordable products.
Another food item closely associated with New England also came to the fore midway through the 1800s. When the 19th Century began, molasses was a common sweetener. However, it being a commodity imported from south of the Mason-Dixon line, northern cooks boycotted the product during the Civil War, and maple syrup usurped molasses's spot in New England's pantries.
Of all the long-lived dishes still served in the region, Lauterbach said the New England boiled dinner is likely the one that changed the least over time. Simply a chunk of meat, placed in a pot with vegetables and cooked for hours on the hearth, it would have been a great way for a 17th Century housewife to prepare a hearty dinner while attending to other chores while it bubbled away. The only difference between that meal and one served today would be that modern cooks would likely be more generous with seasonings.
Through her research, Lauterbach said, "I came to the conclusion that what goes around comes around." Today's culinarians prize locally-sourced, organic ingredients, which were all that the Pilgrims had access to. "However," added Lauterbach, "it's ever so much improved."
The menu for the Sept. 20 chef's night dinner, said Elfline, will feature chowder, boiled dinner, baked beans with brown bread and salmon with peas and an egg sauce, all served tapas-style. For dessert, a slice of apple pie and a piece of sharp cheddar.
"The idea is to take people through what they used to serve in New Hampshire 200 years ago," said Elfline. However, she added, her chef will be aiming to please the modern palate more so than Puritan ideals. "We will add a little more spice than what they did — we certainly want to make it flavorful, but we want to make it as authentic as possible so people can see how they used to eat."
The cost of the chef's night dinner is $30 per person, call 677-7141 to make a reservation.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 02:57

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Worsman to ask Legislature to define relationship between Belknap County Convention & Board of Commissioners

CONCORD — Rep. Colette Worsman (R-Meredith) is filing legislation intended to delineate the respective authority of the Beknap County Convention and the Belknap County Commission over the preparation and management of the county budget.

Worsman has requested a bill "relative to transfer of county appropriations in Belknap County" be drafted and introduced in the New Hampshire House of Representatives in January. She said yesterday that she is seeking "anything that will make the process smoother, clearer and define the roles of each branch of county government, the convention, as the legislative branch, and the commission as the executive branch."

Throughout the 2013 budget process the Republican majority of the convention has insisted that the convention can rewrite the budget proposed by the commission by adding or deleting, raising or lowering appropriations for particular line items. And, in the course of managing the budget, the commission may only reallocate funds from one line to another with the approval of the Executive Committee of the convention.
With equal resolve the commissioners claim that the authority of the convention is limited to itemizing appropriations in 13 categories accord with the "Statement of County Appropriations and Revenue as Voted," or MS-42 form, submitted to the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration. Within these categories, the commission contends it can distribute funds among different lines without the approval of the convention as long as expenditures do not exceed the total appropriations of the particular categories.
Last month, the convention, against Worsman's recommendation, voted not to file suit in Belknap County Superior Court against the commission in an effort to resolve the dispute.
Worsman said that the bill would apply specifically and exclusively to Belknap County, explained that "it has been made abundantly clear that among the 10 counties there are diverse opinions and approaches to this issue." She noted that a similar statute that prescribes a budget process for Hillsborough County was enacted in 1978 and serves as a precedent for legislation bearing on a single county. She anticipates that her bill to include elements of the law for Hillsborough County.
Worsman said that she has not yet consulted with other members of the county convention, but emphasized "I believe strongly that this is a bipartisan issue. I would welcome the support of anyone who is interested in clarifying the process."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 02:47

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