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Local Up With People alum dedicated to bringing renowned international ensemble to Laconia this fall

LACONIA — Beth Clay fell in love with the sound and uplifting message of hope and love of Up With People when she first saw them in a mid 1980s concert in Laconia and is now playing a key role in helping bring a multinational cast of over 100 young people to Laconia in early September as part of the 2014 Up With People Tour.
''I've always liked their music and the positive message they bring with them,'' says Clay, who is herself a member of the cast of the 2008 world tour and was honored by the organization with its James E. MacLennan Everyday Hero Award for 2013.
Originally accepted into UWP in the late 90s, Clay was ready to take the tour with Up With People when it ceased operations in 2000.
Despite the crushing loss of her hopes of performing with the group and of her tuition money, Clay persisted and declared herself an alumni despite never having spent a minute on stage.
She returned to her work and education and in 2005, when Up With People was re-launched, she again started raising her tuition money. Her persistence was rewarded in 2008 when she became a member of the UWP world tour, traveling to 19 countries, including Mexico and Thailand.
She then completed her education and graduated with a degree in Childhood Studies and Adventure Education from Plymouth State University.
She explains that teaching is part of her family background and has always been her chosen career. "My father Bob teaches math at Laconia Middle School and my mother. Jane, teaches at Campton Elementary School,'' she says. Her great aunt Frances was an elementary school teacher in Ashland. Her family is well know in Plymouth and ran Clay's Newstand for many years.
A member of the Alumni Association and of the UWP board of directors since 2012, Clay says she has experienced first hand the transformative power of Up With People and was honored with the Everyday Hero Award for her efforts on behalf of the students she taught at in poor Georgia community just outside of Atlanta.
The community where she taught as member of Teach for America, a national teacher corps of college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years and raise student achievement in less affluent public schools, served a student population of which 94 percent live below the poverty line.
''They were really poor and when I found that Atlanta was on the 2013 tour schedule I tried to find a way to get them to the concert. I talked with Up With People alumni and got the bus company to donate space so we could take kids to the concert.''
Donations poured in and she was eventually able to take 120 students to the show. She even had neckties donated so that the kids would like they were dressed as if they were going to a professional Broadway show.
''We went to a matinee and the kids had a phenomenal time. I think it helped show them that life could get better and watching the show charged them up with hope.''
She was also able to arrange for three of the students to attend an Up With People Summer Camp in Harrisburg, Virginia later in the year and says that all three of the students, who had been struggling with school, are now earning straight A's and are excited about their future.
Clay, incidentally, worked last summer at the Common Man in Lincoln and used the money she earned there to help pay for the expenses of the students.
''You fight for what you believe in and you change the life trajectory of students by getting involved. One person can make a difference and I have seen that in my life,'' she says.
When she left Atlanta she returned to New Hampshire and landed a job teaching at the Laconia Alternative Education and also worked to find local people interested in bringing Up,With People to Laconia. ''I found the most incredible partnership with Stand Up Laconia and was able to get the national tour manger to come to town. We're going to be here for concerts on Friday and Saturday, September 5 and 6 at 7 p.m. at the Laconia Middle School.''
Clay did not receive a  2014-2015 contract from the Laconia School District due to budget cuts but says she knows that she will be leaving an incredible gift with the community when she leaves.


Beth Clay clowns around while on the Up With People 2008 tour in Thailand. (Courtesy photo)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 June 2014 12:27

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Winni Sailing Association 1 o 2 nonprofits to benefit from raffle of 2 'Street 750' motorcycles donated by Laconia Harley

CONCORD — While a pair of Street 750 motorcycles, the newest addition to the Harley-Davidson stable, remained under wraps, Anne and Steven Deli, owners of Laconia Harley-Davidson in Meredith, kick-started the 91st running of Motorcycle Week at the Statehouse yesterday by announcing the bikes will be raffled to benefit David's House in Lebanon and the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association.

During the past five rallies the Delis of the American Road Group, owner of Laconia Harley-Davidson in Meredith along with two other dealerships and eight merchandise stores, have raised $155,000 on behalf of the Loon Preservation Society, New Hampshire Food Bank, Winnipesaukee Playhouse and Boys & Girls Club of the Lake Region.

"These motorcycles are so hot they're undercover," Anne Deli said while her husband added that apart from the two to be raffled, the newest Harley-Davidson models are not available within 1,000 miles of New Hampshire. The motorcycles will be unveiled at dealership during the rally, which begins on Saturday.

Anne Deli explained that 3,000 tickets at $10 apiece will be on sale between June 12 and August 23 at David's House, the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association and both Laconia Harley Davidson in Meredith and White Mountain Harley-Davidson in North Conway.

Governor Maggie Hassan, who purchased the first raffle ticket, applauded the Deli's generosity as an example of "the New Hampshire all hands on deck spirit" and thanked the couple for their charitable commitment to the nonprofit organizations of the state. Noting that Motorcycle Week represented "a terrific tradition," she said that the rally provided "a huge boost to our economy" while offering visitors an opportunity to enjoy natural beauty and tax-free shopping.

Founded in 1986 by David Cyr who lost his five year-old son David to leukemia, David's House provides a home away from home without charge for families with children undergoing treatment at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Housing as many as 20 families at at once, it has been home to 13,000 families. Jaye Olmstead, development director, said that since the organization is exclusively dependent on private contributions, the partnership with the Delis is especially welcome. The partnership with the Delis was inspired by the Lindsey Frank Memorial Motorcycle Ride to David's House from Hart's Turkey Farm Restaurant, Laconia Harley-Davidson's next-door neighbor in Meredith.

Since 1984 the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association has pursued its mission of teaching sailing to anyone wishing learn. Recently the association acquired property on Smith Cove in Gilford and partnered with Sail to Prevail to offer an adaptive sailing program to serve those with mental and physical disabilities, including veterans through the Wounded Warrior Project. Mullen said that the association plans to acquire two sailboats equipped with computers that operate the sails and rudders, costing some $60,000 apiece, for program and to fit the dock with a lift to enable sailors bound to wheelchairs to board and disembark. Expressing his appreciation to the Delis, Tom Mullen, president of the association, said "we've got to earn it by and going out and selling raffle tickets."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 June 2014 11:59

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Search locates Alabama man safely on shore after he tipped canoe on Winnisquam

LACONIA — Rescue vessels from the Fire Department, Gilford, the N.H. Marine Patrol and the N.H. Department of Fish and Game spent much of yesterday morning searching a northern portion of Lake Winnisquam for a canoeist who capsized.

N.H. Marine Patrol said Jaxson Kales, 19, of Alabama was found about one-third of a mile away, on land, about four hours after the search began. Authorities located him as a result of a door-to-door search.

Fire Chief Ken Erickson, who sent his and Gilford's fire rescue's boats into the lake said it was likely the man didn't know anyone was looking for him. He said the canoeist told officers the water was very cold and said he had to swim about 200 yards to get to shore.

At times Kales told police he didn't think he was going to make it.

Erickson said a Dennis Avenue man was fishing at 6:30 a.m. when he saw and spoke with Kales, who was paddling a red canoe.

About an hour after speaking with the canoeist, the fisherman saw the same canoe empty and upside down in the water along with a floatation devise.

The fisherman dragged the canoe and the life preserver to his own dock and notified authorities.

Kales told authorities he was not wearing a life-preserver.

Erickson said people who are using the areas lakes and rivers should realize that because of the late spring, the water is still very cold. He said all boaters should wear life preservers.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 June 2014 11:46

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Hosmer files, draws GOP opponent from Franklin

FRANKLIN — Andrew Hosmer of Laconia, a Democrat, yesterday filed for re-election to a second term in the New Hampshire Senate - District 7, while Kathleen Lauer-Rago, a Republican from Franklin who served one term in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, entered the race against him.

Lauer-Rago was elected to the House in the GOP landslide of 2010 and served as clerk of the House Education Committee. She is a director of the Network for Educational Opportunity, an organization seeking to expand parental choice in education, and has served with other nonprofit organizations. She is also a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, the National Rifle Association and the Franklin Targeteers. A native of Texas, Lauer-Rago earned an accounting degree at Texas A & M University-Kingsville and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. She is married with three children.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 June 2014 11:38

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