Meredith’s 250th anniversary celebration kicked off with dinner and dance

MEREDITH — The sold-out kickoff to the town’s 250th anniversary celebration was a testament to the excitement surrounding the schedule of events and to those who have been working for a year and a half to make sure everything came together, according to Steve Durand, co-chairman of the Meredith 250th Committee.
Durand was especially grateful to Russ Hart, Sim Willey, Cara Clinton Greer, and Andrea Weeks of Hart’s Turkey Farm Restaurant for their efforts in putting together the dinner-dance that took place on Dec. 30. All 250 tickets sold and Durand said the event came off without a hitch.
“The community came out in force to support the event,” he said.
He said the entire staff at Hart’s did a great job during the event, which began with a happy hour and dinner and included a half-hour program highlighting Meredith’s history and the upcoming events. It concluded with a dance featuring Jimmy and the Jesters, who filled the dance floor with elbow-to-elbow celebrants.
Selectman Jonathan James, wearing period clothing, read excerpts from the charter establishing the town 250 years ago; Alyson Lines and Gina Aquillato, winners of the Inter-Lakes Idol contest, sang; and Kaitlyn Gable, winner of the Youth Ambassador Essay Competition, read her winning essay.
“Thanks to everyone, especially the Greater Meredith Program and the 250th Committee, that backed up the program,” Durand said.
Co-chairman Jeanie Forrester gave special thanks to the members of the dinner committee, which included Kelly Bennett, Monica Bennett, Cookie Boulanger, Dennis Boulanger, Lester Boynton, Kim Durand, Dawn Durand, Steve Durand, Diane Lafavre, Claire Lebel, Jeanne Lowery, Helga Paquin, and Jonathan James. She also thanked Ann Sprague for her assistance in promoting the event.
Wicwas Lake Grange donated centerpieces for the tables.
As the 250th Committee looks ahead to other anniversary programs, Durand also issued a reminder that the hardcover “Meredith 250th: Celebrating 250 Years of Meredith History, 1768-2018” is available at the Laconia Daily Sun office. The pictorial history book was published by the Sun in partnership with the Meredith 250th Committee and the Meredith Historical Society, and it includes portraits and photos, both black-and-white and color, from the early years through the 20th century and today.
With ice-in declared on Wednesday, the earliest date recorded, prospects are excellent for the upcoming Nostalgic Latchkey Cup Race, being sponsored by the Lakes Region Ice Racing Club of Moultonborough on Feb. 17. Durand said the Meredith Rotary Club donated protective curtains to make it safe for the return of the Latchkey Cup to Meredith, where it originated 34 years ago. There is no cost to participate in the event.
Other upcoming events include an unveiling of the 1968 time capsule on July 4, the Main Street Parade on Aug. 11, and a historical program at Inter-Lakes High School Theatre on Sept. 22-23.

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Hart’s Turkey Farm hosted the kickoff dinner and dance for Meredith's 250th anniversary. (Courtesy photo)

MetroCast now part of Atlantic Broadband

MONTREAL, Québec and QUINCY, Mass. — Atlantic Broadband, the 9th largest cable operator in the U.S., has acquired all of MetroCast’s cable systems including the one in New Hampshire in a $1.4 billion deal.
Atlantic Broadband will continue to operate under the MetroCast name and customers do not have to take any action. Atlantic Broadband will roll out a suite of products and services in the late spring, so customers can expect to see new capabilities such as its TiVo service with Netflix access and increased internet speeds.
Atlantic Broadband said in a press release that the company looks forward to welcoming MetroCast system employees to the Atlantic Broadband family. The company will continue to maintain MetroCast’s operational efficiency and its local operations and General Manager Ed Merrill will continue to lead the company in New Hampshire and Maine.
With this acquisition, Atlantic Broadband now offers services in 11 states that span from Maine to Florida. The combined company will pass more than 800,000 homes and employ more than 1,200 people on the East Coast. Cogeco Communications Inc. said yesterday that its subsidiary Atlantic Broadband has completed the acquisition of cable systems owned by Harron Communications, L.P. and operating under the MetroCast brand name.
Atlantic Broadband raised $1.85 billion of secured debt through a combination of term loan B and revolving credit facility financings as well as $315 million of equity through an investment by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec for a 21 percent interest in Atlantic Broadband’s holding company. These proceeds were used to finance the $1.4 billion purchase price and to refinance Atlantic Broadband’s existing debt.
With the completion of this transaction, Atlantic Broadband will expand its operations across 11 states on the east coast of the United States. On a pro forma basis, the combined company will have 1,250 employees and will generate over $710 million in combined revenue.
“After our highly successful acquisition and integration of the MetroCast Connecticut system more than two years ago, we understand the significant residential and business growth potential in this business,” said Richard Shea, Atlantic Broadband president and chief executive officer. “A core strength of MetroCast has been its excellent operational and service team. We are pleased to welcome all MetroCast operating employees, including the local general managers, to the Atlantic Broadband family. We look forward to working together to launch new and improved TV, internet and phone services to residential and business customers in these markets.”
“This acquisition establishes Atlantic Broadband as a strategic platform in the U.S. with a diverse footprint extending up the East Coast from Florida to Maine,” said Louis Audet, president and chief executive officer of Cogeco Communications Inc., the parent company of Atlantic Broadband. “It has been a great opportunity to partner with CDPQ for this transaction and we look forward to working with them to continue to grow this business in the U.S.”

Ice-in declared

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Ice on Lake Winnipesaukee formed an interesting pattern, practically hiding a bobhouse and ice fisherman yesterday. (Courtesy Bill Hemmel/Aerialphotonh)

Earliest date ever declared for completely frozen lake


LACONIA — Bitterly cold temperatures have led Lake Winnipesaukee to freeze over at one of the earliest dates in years, pilot David Emerson said Wednesday.

Emerson, president of Emerson Aviation, declares “ice-in” every year by flying over the lake and assessing conditions at the Mount Washington cruise ship’s five ports: Weirs Beach, Wolfeboro, Meredith, Alton Bay and Center Harbor.

He's been closely watching New Hampshire's largest lake and thinks the remaining open areas froze between midnight and sunrise Wednesday morning.

“In my life, this is the earliest ice-in date ever,” said Emerson, 55. “I've not talked to anyone who has ever seen an earlier ice-in.

“We typically say the third week of January into the first week of February is normal. This is early for sure.”

People who enjoy winter lake activities such as ice fishing, hockey and snowmobiling are very interested in when ice-in is declared, but Emerson warns that his declaration does not mean the ice is safe.

“I try to warn people,” he said. “Everything on the Mount Washington route is frozen solid, but that does not mean it is safe to go out there.

“One place may be 5 inches thick and other places may be just an inch thick. The lake is treacherous from that standpoint.”

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department advises that 4 to 6 inches of solid bluish-black ice can support a few well-dispersed people and 8 to 10 inches of that type of ice can support activities involving off-highway recreational vehicles.

The department recommends people make test holes in the ice to assess conditions and be mindful that all ice is potentially dangerous, particularly areas with current, like inlets, outlets and springs.

With heavy snow in the forecast, followed by extreme cold, the ice should build quickly, Emerson said.

Emerson took off alone from Laconia Municipal Airport at 9 a.m. Wednesday in a Cessna 172 to make his flight over the lake.

He opened a window at 4,000 feet and began taking photographs with his Canon PowerShot SX50.

The single-engine airplane does not have an automatic pilot function.

“I get it trimmed up and fly hands-off when I take the pictures,” he said. “It is kind of cold when you open the window.

“There was some wind when the ice was forming and it created interesting, intricate patterns all over the lake.”

In a few months, Emerson will make flights to assess the start of “ice-out,” the time when the route of the Mount Washington is free of ice.

That usually occurs about the third week of April in the 72-square-mile lake, but it has happened as late as May in some years.

His ice-out announcement is closely anticipated by people who like to enjoy the lake when it is all liquid.

“Now it's time for ice hockey and pond hockey, and then we can have the spring back,” Emerson said. “Everybody will be looking forward to spring after this cold snap.”

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The sun begins to set over a completely frozen Lake Winnipesaukee. (Courtesy Dave Emerson)