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Children's Auction starts Tuesday at Pheasant Ridge

GILFORD — The Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction gets underway Tuesday at a new location, Pheasant Ridge Golf Club in Gilford, after years of calling the Conference Center at the Lake Opechee Inn and Spa its home.
"Pheasant Ridge meets the many needs of the auction to keep us going," said Sandra Marshall, Co-Chair of the Children's Auction Board of Directors. "We'd like to thank Jim Contigiani who has welcomed us with open arms, even during one of his busiest seasons. We appreciate his help in supporting our mission to help the children in our communities and hope to call Pheasant Ridge home for many years to come."
It will mark the second year the Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction has been run by the Greater Lakes Region Charitable Fund for Children. The auction hot its start in 1982, when WLNH radio host Warren Bailey created a two day fund raising broadcast from the WLNH van in front of the Laconia YMCA. They raised $2,100 and collected a number of items to be donated to the "Citizen Santa Fund."
Since that time the auction has grown to become a major source of funds for local charities and last year distributed $428,7000 to dozens of organizations across Central NewHampshire.
In addition to smaller organizations and families helped throughout the 34 years of the Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction, annual contributions are given to many community-based organizations throughout Central New Hampshire. These include: The Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region, Laconia Police Relief Association, Health First Family Care of Franklin, Salvation Army, Lakes Region Child Care Services, Mrs. Santa Fund - Alton, St Vincent de Paul, Tapply-Thompson Community Center in Bristol, Tilton-Northfield-Sanbornton Santa Fund and more.
Local companies support the Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction by providing cash donations, sponsorships, and staff, allowing employees to serve the community at the event during what would normally be work hours. CruCon Cruise Outlet, Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, MetroCast, LRPA TV, Meredith Village Savings Bank and many other organizations contribute support.
The auction is entirely volunteer run, with over 700 hundred volunteers and a range of donated auction items from the community. The auction buzzes with activity as phone bank workers cheer at over-bids, children dance and workers fly around the room. Items at the auction range from gift certificates to local businesses, sports collectibles, concert and sport tickets, autographed memorabilia, furniture, vacations, home décor, children's toys, electronics and holiday gifts.
Raising funds for the auction has become a year-round activity in the Lakes Region thanks in large part to Pub Mania, a 24-hour barstool challenge at Patricks Pub in which 30 teams compete to outdo each other. Last year Patrick's co-owner Allan Beetle, flanked by team captains, participants and volunteers, presented a check to the Children's Auction for $240,125, bringing the total raised by the event in seven years to over $1 million.
Tune in Dec. 6-10 on 104.9 the Hawk, 101.5 WZEI, MetroCast Channel 12, MetroCast LRPA Channel 25, or online at For more information or to donate, log on to

12-02 auction
Getting ready for the annual Children's Auction, which gets underway Tuesday at Pheasant Ridge Country Club in Gilford, are Ed Darling, Debbie Livernois, a long-time phone bank volunteer; Dawn Phelps of Franklin Savings Bank, Tony Felch, Sandy Marshall, co-chair of the board of directors; Zack Derby of 10.9 The Hawk, who will be broadcasting live from the auction, and Liane Clairmont, of Lakes Region General Hospital. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

St. Francis Center receives Bronze Commitment to Quality Award

LACONIA — As a rainbow arced over the city Thursday afternoon, the staff and residents of the St. Francis Rehabilitation and Nursing Center celebrated the facility's receipt of the Bronze-Commitment to Quality Award from the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.

Brenda Buttrick, administrator of the facility, explained that the Bronze Award is the first of three steps on "a journey of continuous quality improvement" leading toward silver and gold awards in the future. A team at St. Francis applied for the distinction and the application described the mission, character and challenges of the facility and measured its capacity to improve its performance. The award, she said, recognizes that St. Francis has developed the foundation to pursue and compete the journey.

Buttrick recognized Lois Kremepel, John West, Candy Gottchalk and Shayne Marshall, for their contribution to seeking and earning the award and noted they have begun the process of taking the next step toward the Silver Award. And above all, proclaimed "hats off to all our employees for all their hard work."

"This places does a very good job at everything they do," said Helen Brotherston, who has been a St. Francis resident for nearly seven years and will turn 100 in June. From New Jersey, she recalled that her son-in-law visited New Hampshire, fell in love with the state and persuaded his wife to move. She said that ultimately all four of her daughters and some of her 13 grandchildren and great-grandchildren followed suit. "My whole family is here," she said, "all because of the good care I get here. That's what it's all about."


CAPTION: Brenda Buttrick, administrator of the St. Francis Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, and resident Helen Brotherston proudly display the Bronze Commitment to Quality Award the facility received from the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. (laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)

Driver flown to Dartmouth after crash into Gilmanton phone pole

GILMANTON — A young man was taken by helicopter to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon yesterday after crashing his car into a utility pole at 9:07 a.m.

Fire Chief Joe Hempel said rescue crews from Gilmanton and Belmont were able to extricate the teen from his car and said it is likely he will survive.

Hempel said when fire and rescue crews arrived, the unidentified man was trapped in his car which was leaning upside down against the broken pole.

Hempel said Rte. 140 between both ends of Cogswell Road was close for hours while crews got the man out of the car and Eversource employees replaced the pole and restrung the wires.

He said the DHART helicopter was able to land in the soccer field at the Gilmanton Elementary School.

Hempel declined to speculate into the cause of the crash but said Gilmanton Police are investigating.