Students & staff all out for Community Dat at PSS

LACONIA — Pleasant Street School students fanned out all over the city Friday morning as part of the school's first ever Community Awareness Day.
''Only the receptionist and the janitor were left in the school. All 285 students and all the staff took part,'' said Pricipal Dave Levesque.
He said that students along with staff and volunteers met in assembly at the school at which the purpose of the day was explained before walking from the school to their various destinations throughout the city, which included the nearby Laconia Athletic and Swim Club and Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region, as well as the Bank of New Hampshire, Laconia Public Library, the studios of NH1 Media, the Taylor Home and Laconia District Court.
''We wanted to have a day in which the students could connect with the community and learn more about Laconia and it's history and the things people do in the city,'' said Levesque.
He said that Laconia Mayor Ed Engler spoke to the students at the assembly and urged then to be curious and inquisitive about the city in which they live.
''It was an opportunity for the students to find out what it's like to be a citizen and to see first hand what's taking place,'' said Levesque, who added that the staff members at the school were very enthusiastic about the project,
Younger students who visited the library took part in storytelling sessions led by children's librarian Gail Drucker while others had stories read to them by adults. They also had the opportunity to look at books in the children's section and take books home with them.
At Laconia Circuit 4 Court older students got to take part in a mock trial at the court which cast some of them in the roles of judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, witnesses and jurors in a case involving an alleged theft.
Judge James Carroll and Laconia Police prosecutor James Sawyer helped the students keep on track of a script for the trial and one of the students acted in the role of a press photographer throughout.

Mock trial, mock trial 2

Laconia Circuit 4 Circuit Court Judge James Carroll follows the script as Pleasant Street School students visit his courtroom on Friday to take part in a mock trial as part of a Community Awareness Days at the school. One of the students portrayed a press photographer and took photos of the trial. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Fall brings darker, stronger beer tastes

HOLDERNESS — John Glidden, Jr. at Squam Brewing says that he's no big fan of following the seasons when it comes to the beer he likes and won't be brewing any pumpkin style beers this fall.
But he will be turning out some darker brews this autumn and has already replaced his light summer wheat beer with a Winter Wheat which is darker and stronger from both the tasting and alcohol content perspective.
Currently he's brewing Ice House Porter, a dark, rich brew with lots of maltiness, which will be ready in about a month, and says that his Imperial Loon Stout, another cold weather favorite, will be coming out again soon.
Glidden runs a one-man operation from the back of his parents' farm on Perch Pond Road and has seen his production grow to a three-barrel system which enables him to brew around 300 gallons a week.
Squam Brewing's maiden batch was Asquam Amber Ale, which continues to be one his best sellers. He says that Golden IPA (India Pale Ale), continues to be one of his most popular year-round beers.
Canterbury Aleworks owner Steve Allman says that he's got three new seasonal offerings at his water powered and wood fired nano-brewery on Baptist Hill Road in Canterbury.
He says that he is now brewing an Oktoberfest Style Ale which will be available at the end of the month, as well as a Blackened Wit Belgian style ale and a Russian Imperial Stout, a strong brew with a 9-10 percent alcohol content which will be available around Thanksgiving.
Allman is anticipating busy weekends all through the leaf-peeping season and says he'll be taking a short break after the holidays until the second week of February.
At Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewing Company in North Conway there will be number of seasonal brews on tap, including an Imperial Stout which has a malty backbone which is balanced by a generous amount of bittering hops.
Also available this fall is Opa's Oktoberfest, a German style lager with a smooth and slightly crisp medium body and toasted malt flavor with hints of biscuit and nuts, herbal hop and spice.
Smoke House Porter is a winter seasonal, a robust American porter with dark malts dominating the taste followed by strong flavors of chocolate, coffee and caramel.
The historic Limmer Barn in Intervale is now home to Moat Mountain's 20-barrel Brew House, and New Hampshire's first craft canning operation, the Cannery.

Lakes Region Wineries to hold 5th Annual Barrel Tasting this Weekend

MEREDITH — New Hampshire's Lakes Region wineries will be holding their fifth annual Barrel Tasting this weekend, October 3rd and 4th. Discover Lakes Region wine by visiting Coffin Cellars in Webster, Gilmanton Winery, Sap House Meadery in Center Ossipee and Hermit Woods Winery in Meredith.
Taste wine right out of the barrel, learn how their wine is produced, sample a wide variety of unique local wines, and have a chance to win over $3,000 in raffle prizes. Sample unique foods and discover New Hampshire-made products from dozens of vendors at some of the participating wineries.
All four Lakes Region wineries pride themselves on crafting quality New Hampshire wines from grapes, local fruit, and honey. Many have received awards in national and international tastings. Some wineries grow their own grapes and all of them utilize locally grown fruit and honey, working closely with local farmers and pickers to find the best possible fruit with which to make their wines. Lakes Region wines are available in the wineries' tasting rooms and restaurants, as well as at local wine shops and eateries throughout New Hampshire.
Participants must purchase a Lakes Region Barrel Tasting Commemorative Wine Glass. Glasses are available for $12 at all participating wineries.
The organizers would like to thank The Lake House at Ferry Point, Mill Falls at the Lake, and Steele Hill Resort for their generous sponsorship and contributions to our raffle prizes. Also included in this year's raffle are prizes donated by The Nutmeg Inn in Meredith, the Coppertoppe Inn in Hebron, the Henry Whipple House in Bristol, dinner for two at Gilmanton Winery's restaurant, Tour and Tasting for four at Hermit Woods, and The Common Man Family of Restaurants.

Coffin Cellars
Coffin Cellars, LLC is a country winery located in Webster. Peter Austin, along with his two sons, Jamie and Tim, specialize in wines made from fruits and berries, many of which are grown locally or on their own property.
Peter started making wines as a hobby back in the 1970s, inspired by naturalist Euell Gibbons and his books, such as Stalking the Wild Asparagus. As his sons got older, Jamie and Tim joined in their father's love for creating wine, sharing their product at family gatherings.
With rave reviews from close friends and relatives, the Austins decided to take the plunge and open their winery. In 2009, Coffin Cellars, LLC was formed, working out of a 12' by 20' converted garage bay of Peter's home. In October of 2010 Coffin Cellars opened their doors to the public and picked up their first retailer with four varieties. In the spring of 2011, with the help of friends and family, 1,000 berry bushes were planted on a two acre lot not far from the winery. Currently, Coffin Cellars rotates 12 varieties throughout the year available at five retailers, one Concord coffeehouse, and multiple local farmers' markets.
Visitors can stop by the winery on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. for complimentary tastings.

Gilmanton Winery
Sunny and Marshall Bishop moved into the former Grace Metalious home in 2006 and have transformed it into in the Gilmanton Winery and Restaurant. More than 750 hybrid grape vines were planted on the property, including Seyval, Reliant, Concord, Marechal Foche, Marquette and Aurora. Marshall was tutored by winemaker John Jude and now handles the entire wine making operation.
Sunny, who retired last year from her flight attendant job with American Airlines, devotes lots of her time these days to organizing dining and wine tasting events at their home, where they have turned a former garage area into a tasting room and restaurant.
They host lunches on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, a Sunday brunch along with monthly five-course reservation only meals which are prepared in conjunction with guest chefs Jayson McCarter, who once worked at the White House, and Sarah Baldwin Welcome, who is well-known in the Lakes Region.
Marshall has reasons to smile these days as three of his wines won medals in regional wine competitions this year. Reliant, which has a taste similar to a table grape and produces a light, semi-dry wine, won a bronze medal in the Atlantic Seaboard competition.
Seyval, a tart white grape, won a silver medal in the Finger Lakes wine competition in western New York and and Blueberry Surprise, a blend of native blueberries and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, won a bronze medal winner at the Finger Lakes competition.
Their wines are for sale at the winery and also include signature blend, called "Grace's," of their white Seyval grape and Concord grapes, named for Metalious, whose ''Peyton Place'' novel was a best seller in the 1950s.

Sap House Meadery
Sap House Meadery is a small producer of premium, hand-crafted meads (honey wines). The Meadery was founded in 2010 by two young entrepreneurs, Ash Fischbein and Matt Trahan. Together they rejuvenated an old store front in downtown Center Ossipee, using many recycled materials and sustainable methods. Sap House Meads use only time-tested traditional methods and procure ingredients from local farms and markets.
The signature of Sap House Meadery is its use of pure New Hampshire maple syrup in many of its meads. In some, such as the Hopped Blueberry or Cranberry Sage, it is used to add complexity. In the Sugar Maple however, it is the main ingredient with nearly half the fermentable sugars coming from maple syrup.
Sap House Meadery now distributes to seven states across the country and has won numerous national and international awards. In New Hampshire their meads can be found in smaller, independent shops and boutiques that focus on customer service, quality and local selection.
The Meadery is open Wednesday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on weekends from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Hermit Woods Winery
Hermit Woods Winery, a boutique winery and meadery crafting a wide variety of traditional and non-traditional wines and meads from local fruit (organic when possible) and raw honey. Wine tasting is offered seven days a week in the summer and fall and five days in the winter and spring at their Main Street location in Meredith. Tours are available on Saturdays and Sundays and by appointment. Old world wine with new world fruit, visit for a tasting and discover something new.
Hermit Woods Winery developed out of a partnership between Bob Manley, Ken Hardcastle, and Chuck Lawrence and was originally located in Sanbornton.
Hardcastle earned his Ph.D. in structural geology from the University of Massachusetts. He is the winemaker and the creative force behind the enterprise, who through experimentation has developed many unique fruit wines and meads, including local Kiwi, Apple-Pear, Peach-Rosehip, and Red Scare, which blends dark berries with honey for an intense, deep-flavored wine.
Partner Bob Manley says that the unique flavors developed at the winery have won praise from wine experts as far away as California and won several major awards. Petite Blue is an award winning wine bursting with fresh blueberry aromas and flavors. An entire pound of wild low-bush blueberries are in each and every bottle. Unlike many available blueberry wines, this Burgundy style dry blueberry wine embodies the characteristics a pinot noir. It was featured on the Today Show in 2014.
The Heirloom Crabapple, considered Hermit Woods signature wine, is made from whole heirloom dolgo crabapples. This medium sweetness, tangy wine is a great aperitif and also an excellent partner with a wide variety of foods, including spicy dishes, light meals, and roast turkey.
The owners say they strive to make wine of the highest quality with the greatest emphasis on locally grown fruit, and on a smaller scale, wine made from traditional viniferous grapes made in the traditional French style.

Co-op member electric rates will go up about 18% during the winter months; natural gas delivery issues at fault

PLYMOUTH — Electric bills will be going up for members of New Hampshire Electric Cooperative during the upcoming winter period, though not as high as last winter, the utility has announced.

At its meeting Tuesday, the NHEC Board of Directors approved increases effective with bills issued Nov. 1 for the co-op power and regional-access charge portions of members' bills. As a result, the typical residential member using 500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month will see an overall bill increase of 18 percent — or $16.30 per month for the winter period — which ends next April 30.

Though the winter period rate increase is significant, it comes on the heels of a summer period that saw rates drop 20 percent from the 2014 winter period price. Overall, the typical residential member using 500 kWh per month will be paying 4.5 percent less than last winter.

The same conditions that have caused New England electric rates to spike for the past three winters are still to blame for this latest seasonal increase. Though natural gas prices remain low at the wellhead, a lack of adequate pipeline capacity into New England means that power producers will be competing again this winter with home heating for limited natural gas supplies. This causes a significant delivery premium to be added to the wellhead price for natural gas, which is used to generate more than half of the electricity produced in New England.

The rate increase is the result of increases in two portions of members' bills — co-op power (the actual electricity used) and the regional-access charge (the cost to access the regional transmission grid in order to get power to the NHEC distribution system). For most members, the co-op power rate is increasing 46 percent from 6.5 cents per kWh to 9.5 cents per kWh. By comparison, that is 18 percent lower than last winter's co-op power rate of 11.6 cents per kWh, the co-op noted.

For most members the regional access-charge (RAC) is increasing 11 percent during this winter period from 2.2 cents per kWh to 2.4 cents per kWh. Driving this increase are the continued costs of major investments being made in the region's bulk transmission facilities that move large amounts of power from generators to load centers. Investment in these large transmission facilities that serve the whole region went up another $800 million this year (following $1 billion in additions last year), and such additions are expected to continue at about that same level for at least the next two years.

Similarly, there is little relief in sight for the conditions in the natural gas market that are causing the wide seasonal swings in the cost of wholesale power in New England.

"ISO-New England is taking some steps to reduce the need to deliver natural gas to New England by pipeline by incentivizing the storage and back-up use of fuel oil by generators that are capable of using it; by paying for liquid natural gas that can be stored within the region; and by enlisting some electricity users who can reliably reduce their demand when conditions are tight. But the fundamental cause for high New England winter electricity prices won't be resolved until solutions are implemented that counter the region's natural gas delivery limitations," said Steve Kaminski, NHEC Vice President of Power Resources and Access. "The 'forward' electricity market does not anticipate such relief for at least the next several years."