Gilford Finance Director Ruggles going to Bow


GILFORD — He'll still be the town crier at Old Home Days and he'll still be active in the Thompson-Ames Historic Society, but as of July 26, Geoff Ruggles will no longer be Gilford's finance director.

07-20 Geoff Ruggles

Ruggles said Tuesday that he has accepted the same job with the town of Bow and will begin as their finance director on Aug. 1.

"I guess it took to my eighth year for me to scratch my seven-year itch," he said.

Ruggles came to Gilford as the finance director eight years ago, although he had worked there in the past. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems and a minor in accounting.

When asked what his biggest accomplishment in Gilford was, he said it was probably converting to a new software system and the development of the current budget format that the Budget Committee seems to like.

He added that he likes doing the monthly financial update for the Board of Selectmen and knows its members appreciated it.

"But crunching numbers is crunching numbers. What can I say?" he added.

He said he is getting a slight raise by going to Bow but said what he really wanted was a change of scenery and, most importantly, a new challenge.

Bow, he said, has about 8,000 people and about a $15 million annual budget, which is slightly bigger than Gilford's. He said he knows and likes the Bow town manager and, during his Muni-Smart days, he became familiar with the way the town handles its finances.

"I know the area, how the town is staffed and how they interact with each other," he said. Ruggles added that Bow is in the final stages of building a new municipal safety building and they liked that he had just been through the same process with Gilford.

Ruggles said that he will continue to live in Gilford for the foreseeable future but likes the idea of working closer to Concord.

"If I want to see a show or a play, then I'm closer to that," he said.

He said he will miss the many people he had worked with with in the town and its various committees and boards but said he will still be around for Gilford's social and historical events.

New convenience store owners open early so customers can gas up in Ashland


ASHLAND — It was a case of Racing Mart Fuels to the rescue last week as the new owners of the former Cumberland Farms store on Main Street moved up their planned opening to Friday in order to order to accommodate people who want to buy gas locally.
With gas pumps at both the Irving and Mobil stations located just off Exit 24 from Interstate 93 shut down and the closing of the Cumberland Farms pumps last Wednesday there was no place in town for locals, or tourists for that matter, to buy gasoline.
"All the people who saw us in the store wanted us to open as soon as possible," said Devyani Patel, who with her husband, Pev, are managing the Racing Mart Fuels store. She said they had not planned to open for another week, but once they heard the requests for a place where local customers could gas up, they decided to open last Friday.
"We've still got a lot of things we want to do in the store to make it into the place we want it to be, but we thought it was important to the town for us to open or gas pumps as soon as possible," said Patel.
Her husband said that Racing Mart Fuels has four convenience stores in Massachusetts and that his brother, Arpit, heads the family business.
"The whole family is involved in the business and we all work together to make it a success." he says. The Patels are originally from the Indian state of Gujarart, just north of Mumbai on India's west coast.
Work is underway on replacing the gas pumps and underground storage tank at the Irving station, which is expected to reopen its pumps the the second week of August. Its convenience store remain open. State legislation required all gas tanks to meet stricter standards this year.
The Mobil station’s convenience store also remains open while replacing the underground tanks and gas pumps are expected to reopen in a few weeks.

 07-20 Patels at Ashland gas station

Pev and Devyani Patel opened their Racing Mart Fuels at the former Cumberland Farm store in Ashland last Friday, a week earlier than scheduled, in response to customer requests to have a place in town where they could buy gas. The town’s other two convenience store gas pumps remain closed for updating but stores are open. (Roger Amsden/ for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Addiction recovery for the nonreligious works at SMART program


LACONIA — It's been 18 months since Lisa K. had her last drink and she says she has the SMART Recovery Program to thank.

In and out of AA for years, Lisa said it just doesn't work for her.

"I just don't agree with the 12 steps," she said, saying she used her late mother as her "higher power." "I honestly came out of the meetings feeling worse than when I went in."

She said she was poking around on the computer in late 2014 hoping she could find something else that would help her so she went online and searched for "non-12-step programs."

The first one she saw was SMART Recovery so she tried it. And loved it.

For Lisa, the most important thing about SMART was she learned the psychological and scientific tools she needed to help her with her own recovery.

Specifically, the program teaches cognitive behavior therapy and and rational emotional behavioral therapy, which she said helped motivate her to stop drinking, gave her skills to help cope with urges, taught her how to manage her thoughts and behaviors, and how to live a balanced life.

She said the online seminars are designed for participation at many levels, including writing in text or participating in a live format with head phones and the ability to see the facilitator.

Noting there are many facilitators, she said she tried different ones until she found a few that made her comfortable in different situations.

Her recovery started with a cost/benefit analysis and she initially started a to-do list.

"I found it overwhelming so I switched to a done list," she said, adding that if a person takes the time to list everything he or she has done in the course of a day, it can be very satisfying.

"It's a good thing I live alone," she said. "I have my done lists taped on my wall."

When asked how she felt about Belmont starting a SMART Recovery program, she was excited.

"As for me, I'm pretty comfortable in my internet world, but for people who want to try to get clean using a different kind of program, it's wonderful," she said.

She said that her research shows that the Belmont Program for a face-to-face SMART Recovery program will be the first in the Lakes Region. She said there is one in Concord, and two on the coast but so far, that is it for New Hampshire.

Lisa's suggestion is for people who are interested in the on-line program, a good place to start is to register and follow the tools that are there.

"Anyone there will be more than happy to get you started," she said.

Lisa also recommended viewing the three basic tools as demonstrated by Jonathan von Breton, one of her favorite facilitators.

SMART Recovery will begin its meeting in the beginning of August in the basement at the Belmont Mill in Belmont Village. Facilitator Scott Rupp will assist at that meeting.

For more information about SMART Belmont, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..