Tim James named NH hero by Tennis magazine

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Gilford native, Laconia resident and USTA ranked tennis player Tim James is a Parks and Recreations kid. In the 1970s and 1980s, it was the only place the son of a single mother could play the sport.

11-25 Tim JamesThis year, James joined the ranks of Andre Agassi in Nevada and Serena and Venus Williams of California for being named this year's New Hampshire hero by Tennis Magazine for his donation of $10,000 to the Lakes Region Tennis Association, which is a group that works to teach tennis to area youths at no cost to their families.

"I learned to play tennis through the free lessons offered by the Gilford Parks and Recreation Department," said James recently. "I used to work on my ground strokes by hitting the ball against the side of the high school."

James credits tennis with being one the stabilizing forces in his young life. As a senior in high school, he earned a scholarship and attended Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida. He said he remembers a 12-year-old Monica Seles playing him, an adult at the time, to a tie-breaker.

"She was using a two-handed forehand and back-hand at the time, but boy was she quick," he said, with a laugh.

From there, he attended Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, which gave him the education, self confidence and ability to start his own software company.

Now, James is a semi-retired consultant and devotes much of his time to youth tennis and other civic causes including being a board member of the local Humane Society. He said he was saddened to see a participation decline at the high school level in the sport he loves so much and for which he credits with helping him become a disciplined and successful businessman.

"This is all about exposing kids to tennis," James said, who said he was prompted to do something when the Laconia High School stopped having a boys tennis team.

"Now we work on the next steps," he said, which include bringing tennis into the middle school and expanding the combined education and tennis program at the Laconia Boys and Girls Club to the Concord and Franklin Boys and Girls Clubs

His $10,000 contribution for seed money to the Lakes Region Tennis Association has allowed the program to obtains grants and expand to where 247 children, many of them from backgrounds similar to his own, have been able to learn to play the forever sport of tennis.

James said his favorite quote about tennis, youth, his relationship with the game comes from LRTA president and his great friend Robert Ronstadt of Gilford.

"'Keep kids on the courts, to stay out of the courts,'" he said.

11-25 Tim James and niece Abigale

Tim James and his niece, Abigale. (Courtesy photo)

11-25 Tim James teaching tennis

Tim James teaching tennis (hoping to get a larger file)

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Coach Bob Rondstat and Coach Kamal Gosine work with Anna on her serve during Laconia Boys and Girls Club tennis on Nov. 16.  (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

 

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Laconia youth tennis program wins award

11-25 Tennis BGClub 10Nov16304801

Coach Bob Rondstat looks on while Cole practices his forehand at the tennis club Nov. 16 with the Laconia Boys and Girls Club.  (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA – The five-year old program for teaching tennis to underserved youths in the area has been chosen to receive the United States Tennis Association New England Community Tennis Association of the Year Award.

The Lakes Region Tennis Association is now able to offer free tennis lessons, complete with age-appropriate equipment like lower nets, lighter racquets and larger, softer tennis balls, to children through their Parks and Recreation Departments.

Last summer, 247 children participated in programs in Gilford Village, Laconia, Franklin, Tilton and Meredith. Children without tennis courts in their immediate communities were allowed to play in the nearest community to them.

"First, on behalf of our entire organization, I need to thank the USTA for this wonderful award," said President Robert Ronstadt. "Second, LRTA's programs are only possible because of the commitments made by our coaches, volunteers, our board, many donors, and our sponsors."

Ronstadt said that nearly 40 adults from various communities helped as coaches and more are welcome.

The program began five years ago and was financially charged by a $10,000 donation from Tim James, a Laconia resident who played tennis in Gilford in the early 1980s.

With that money, the LRTA was able to leverage grants and expand its program from Laconia and Gilford to other communities.

This year, the LRTA decided to become a National Junior Tennis & Learning chapter of the USTA, which is a program that joins tennis with learning programs conducted largely through the Boys and Girls Club of New Hampshire.

The expansion included more than tennis, said Chris Emond who is the director of the Boys & Girls Club of Central New Hampshire. It includes an education component where students from the ages of about 6 to 10 who come to the Boys & Girls Club, work with the adults on education projects that cam be anything to some extra help with home work, to a game of chess, reading, communication, physics, geometry and ethics.

After an hour of education, the children and the adult go to a different room, in Laconia its upstairs gymnasium, to play tennis.

Called Advantage Kids, Ronstadt said he expects the program to expand to middle schoolers next year. The board learned on Thursday that the Advantage Kids will continue during the winter session in Laconia and will expand to the Concord Boys and Girls Club.

"Everyone on our board wants to see more and stronger high school programs," said Ronstadt. "But that wont happen until we have robust programs at the elementary, and especially middle school level. It also won't happen without talented tennis and educational coaches."

Anyone who wishes to contribute or assist should contact Dr. Robert Ronstadt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Drug charges piling up for Lakes Region man

By Bea Lewis

LACONIA — A former city man who negotiated the dismissal of a felony drug sale charge in Belknap County and was facing seven months in jail for possessing methamphetamine, failed to show up for his sentencing hearing and was arrested on a warrant.

On Monday, Timothy Malone, 37, most recently of Meredith, was ordered held on $5,000 cash bail after he was arrested for skipping out on his Oct. 26 plea and sentencing hearing.

On Tuesday, he was charged with selling heroin to a confidential informant working for Laconia police on Aug. 15.

Malone has been free on a $2,500 bond after he was indicted in June for possession of meth with intent to distribute in Laconia on March 2. He was also indicted for possessing the drug.

In mid-September, Malone filed notice of his intent to plead guilty to the possession charge. Under the terms of a plea agreement the sales charge was to be dismissed. On the lesser charge, he was to be sentenced to 12 months in jail, with all but seven months suspended on the condition of good behavior for three years which included undergoing a substance abuse evaluation and complying with all recommendations as specific rules of two years' probation.

Malone is also facing drug charges in Concord after police searched a room at the Comfort Inn and found 115 grams of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $20,000.

Concord Police charged Malone and Briana D'Amore, 19, also of Laconia, with one felony count of possession of a controlled narcotic drug with intent to distribute after they were called to a report of two people suffering from drug overdoses.

Emergency medical personnel were originally called to the Hall Street lodging establishment after housekeeping staff entered a room to clean it and found two people inside who they were unable to rouse and evidence of intravenous drug use in plain sight.

Police found a loaded hypodermic syringe on a table, a variety of drugs including Hydromorphone, suspected ecstasy, marijuana, heroin, a scale, plastic bags, $3,115 in cash and what appeared to be a drug sales ledger after they obtained a warrant to search the room.

Both Malone and D'Amore received medical aid at the scene, but neither was taken to the hospital.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the Laconia charge that was filed on Tuesday, Malone who is also known as "Timma" is accused of selling $100 worth of heroin to a confidential informant who offered to make a drug buy in consideration of pending charges.

The informant wore a wire to record the conversation surrounding the alleged sale and police watched the buyer when they entered a Gilford Avenue residence.

According to police Malone is heard asking the buyer "What do you need." At one point, Malone is heard saying that he doesn't have any plastic bags, and asks a woman to get some.

After leaving the house, the informant turned over a baggie containing a brown chunky substance that field tested positive as heroin.

If Malone is able to post bail, a judge ordered that a source of funds hearing be held to assure that the money is from a legitimate source and not the profits of illicit drug sales.

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