Gilford hires Waring to be finance director

GILFORD — Former Belknap County finance director Glen Waring has been hired as the town's new finance director.

Waring is currently employed as the business administrator for a Mascenic Regional School District in Greenville, where he has been employed for about 15 months.

Waring holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from New Hampshire College and is a Gilmanton resident. He will earn $84,000 annually.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said Waring was chosen from a pool of 25 candidates and was the unanimous choice of the selection committee that consisted of Selectman Richard Grenier, Laconia Finance Director Donna Woodaman and himself.

"This was a very strong candidate pool and we interviewed seven very qualified candidates," said Dunn.

He said selectmen met last Friday in a posted non-public session and authorized him to make Waring an offer.

Waring replaces Geoff Ruggles who left last month for a similar position in Bow. His first day is Sept. 19.

Waring is currently running for the Republican nomination for Belknap County commissioner in District 2, which includes the townships of Barnstead, Belmont, Gilmanton and Tilton. Primary election day is Sept. 13.

Land Trust officially opens 32-unit River's Edge apartment building

LACONIA — The Laconia Area Community Land Trust yesterday celebrated what Jason Hicks, president of the board of directors, called it "crowning achievement," with a ribbon cutting and open house at River's Edge, the permanently affordable downtown apartment building on the bank of the Winnipesaukee River.

More than 60 people, city officials and civic leaders, filled the conference room at River's Edge for the ceremony.

River's Edge includes 32 fully accessible apartments, 12 one-bedroom and 20 two-bedroom units, leased at permanently affordable rents. Moreover, the building will house a day care facility for infants aged between six weeks and 18 months operated by Lakes Region Childcare Services on weekdays from 6:30 a.m. until 5 :30 p.m. in the building.

The three-story building overlooks the river just above the Avery Dam, offering views of the two most venerable landmarks in the city — City Hall and the Busiel Mill — and enjoys 700 feet of riverbank lined by a stretch of the downtown river walk.

River's Edge displaces a commercial building last occupied by the F.W.Webb Company, a wholesaler of plumbing and hearing supplies.

Mayor Ed Engler noted that after the a private developer abandoned plans to redevelop the site, the Planning Department turned to the Laconia Area Community Land Trust. In 2004 the trust developed Millview, an apartment complex of 18 units, on another vacant industrial property, removing tons of contaminated soil in the process. At River's Edge, Engler said, 300 tons of contaminated soil posing a threat to the river was excavated and removed.

For 20 years, Engler said, the trust has been a "valuable partner of the city" and compiled "a glorious history of turning something that wasn't into something that is."

Dean Christon, executive director of the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, described River's Edge as "a special project" that not only added to the stock of affordable housing but also repurposed a vacant space. He said that because of the site, on a steep slope, laden with ledge and beset by environmental issues, "this has been a very challenging project that required creativity and tenacity."

Paul Weech, chief executive officer of NeighborWorks America, a congressionally chartered nonprofit corporation that supports 247 organizations like the Laconia Area Community Land Trust throughout the country, said simply that the trust "stands out among the 247."

The most moving tribute to the trust was paid by Erin Weller, a single mother seeking a home who entered its transitional housing program then rented an apartment. She recalled that with the financial literacy and homebuyer education programs offered by the trust, she overcame her financial troubles, purchased a care and is about to buy a home. "My daughter is an amazing little girl," she said, "because we have a place to call home."

Linda Harvey, executive director of Laconia Area Community Land Trust, honored the late George Hickey of Sanbornton, the architect who designed River's Edge, along with many of the other projects. Hickey passed away suddenly in February, 2015, before what he designed with pen and paper was turned to brick and mortar.

Since the Lacona Area Community Land Trust began 20 years ago it has developed 277 affordable rental apartments, invested more than $68 million and paid nearly $3 million in property taxes in the Lakes Region. 

 

CAPTION: Jason Hicks, president of the Board of Directors of the Laconia Area Community Land Trust, cutting the ribbon at River's Edge on Friday. From left are Ryan Barton of Mainstay Tehnologies, vice-president of the trust; Andy Saavedra of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation; Land Trust board chair Jason Hicks; Mayor Ed Engler; Dean Christon, executive director of the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority; Hunter Taylor, Belknap County Commissioner; Paul Weech, chief executive officer of NeighborWorks America; and Erin Weller, a tenant and director of the Land Trust.

'Islands of Winnipesaukee' photo book selling deep into third print run

Indian Island IV DS

Jay and Ron

By ADAM DRAPCHO, LACONIA DAILY SUN

TUFTONBORO — Ron Guilmette was practically born with a kayak paddle in his hand. He grew up in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and as a boy would ride his bicycle to the Shawsheen River, where he could rent a kayak for 25 cents per hour. So, when his sister built a camp on Cow Island nearly a decade ago, Guilmette and his family were eager to put their kayaks in and paddle around the neighborhood.

After several seasons of getting to know the nearby islands, Guilmette and his nephew, Jay Lecesse, came up with a challenge: visit every island on Winnipesaukee by kayak. In 2013, they completed the list, and took a photo of one of the two on each island so that they could disprove any doubters.

Later that summer, Guilmette was kayaking around Palmer Island when he started chatting with resident Al Palmer, of the same family the island is named after, standing on his dock. When Palmer heard about the kayaking feat, Guilmette recalled, "He said, 'That would make a great coffee table book,'... The light went on."

But, there was one problem with turning their photos of the islands into a book: "I had a thousand pictures, they all had us standing in them." So, he and Lecesse had to go back and perform the feat all over again, this time photographing just the islands.

It turned out to be well worth the effort. The pair published "Islands of Winnipesaukee," a 176-page, 9.9 by 11.8-inch photo book, in 2014. They received their first 1,000 copies in June of that year, expecting to have enough to sell through the holiday shopping season, but sold out in August. Another 1,000 copies was printed in September of that year, and each one sold by Thanksgiving. The book is currently in its third print run, and is available at book stores around the lake, as well as through Amazon.com.

Guilmette, who lives in Massachusetts, said he still finds enthusiastic fans of his work when he visits groups in the region, or signs books at local stores.

"People love it. Every time I come up, I learn more and more about the islands," he said. He also teaches locals a few things, too. For example, a common belief is that there are 365 islands in the lake – one for every day of the year. In fact, they are a little fewer. Maps and charts that they used to plan their adventure had 253 islands – but Guilmette and Lecesse were able to document 260.

If the goal was simply to photograph each island, Guilmette concedes that it would have been faster, and easier, to use a power boat. However, that wouldn't be Guilmette's way.

"We're all into kayaking, we love kayaking. You're out there, you're in charge of your boat, you're getting exercise, you're getting sunshine, you're learning about the lake," he said. "You can sit on a motorboat and fly around the lake, but you'll miss half of the beauty of these islands. Kayaking for me was the way to go."

Becky Is  2

Becky's Garden Island in Center Harbor