Knit Wits say farewell to longtime knitter, friend


GILFORD — "What will we do without Gloria?" exclaimed Jean Gray during her longtime friend Gloria Dublin's last knitting session and going-away party. Other nodded and agreed, discussing how much they'd miss her and how much they've appreciated spending Friday afternoons with Dublin. After giving back to the community for over 40 years, specifically through her weekly knitting group called the "Knit Wits," Dublin is leaving Gilford for Alaska to be with her daughter. After decades of donating her time and bringing people together across the Lakes Region, those closest to her felt Dublin should be celebrated before leaving for "The Last Frontier."
Since 2006, Gloria has invited anyone with an interest in knitting to join her at the Gilford Public Library on Friday afternoons to not only knit hats or sweaters, but to socialize and "knit friendships." Dublin has always welcomed anyone to come to the meetings; regardless of age or level of experience, everyone was welcomed with a smile. Every meeting is a chance for members to come together and catch up, and it's all thanks to Dublin.

"She's the reason we're all here, she made it happen and because of her everyone gets together on Fridays," said friend and fellow Knit Wit Kathy Salanitro.
Between all the socializing, a lot of work gets done at every session. Once novice knitters become accomplished, and those who once found themselves unable to finish projects now have stacks of sweaters at home.

"Because of Gloria and these Friday afternoons, everything got completed and we had a ball doing it." said one member.

Because of her unique "on the round" method, knitting became much easier and every member was able to create finished products they were proud of. Creations ranged from everything from hats and mittens to sweaters and blankets. Additionally, those that attend the meetings are not the only ones who benefit; the Knit Wits have always been giving back to the community since their beginnings. None of the items created ever went to waste and Dublin often donated items to those in need. Some favorite causes include the Special Olympics, homeless shelters, hospitals and schools with underprivileged children.

During the past decade, Dublin said she's had a lot of fun not only teaching people to become better knitters, but giving everyone a reason to come together. During her surprise going-away party, Dublin was presented with a plaque that all the group's members had pitched in for. The plaque featured Dublin smiling from ear to ear posing with her knitting. Below was the phrase "Knitting hearts and friendships," which is the perfect description for all that Dublin has done. Gilford and the greater Lakes Region area will miss her warmth and positivity, but will always treasure the sense of community she brought to the area.

07-09 Gloria Dublin 1

07-09 Gloria Dublin 2

Gloria Dublin admires a cake given to her by her sister Knit Wits. The cake pictured both the New Hampshire and Alaskan state flags. (Aliza Gray/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Sanbornton selectmen agree to explore regional fire service


SANBORNTON — The Board of Selectmen is expected to appoint a committee to study regionalization of the fire and emergency medical services when it meets on Wednesday, July 20.

Town administrator Charlie Smith said Monday that six residents — Roger Grey, Dave Nickerson, David DeVoy, Evelyn Auger, Steve Ober and Andy Sanborn — have offered to serve on the committee together with Fire Chief Paul Dexter.

The initiative traces its origins to Town Meeting in March, when voters soundly rejected a warrant article that would have appropriated $135,000 for the salary and benefits of two firefighters/EMTs. The additional personnel would enable the department to staff a 12-hour daytime shift from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. seven days a week, with one full-time firefighter/EMT and one part-time per diem firefighter/EMT.

During the debate, Nickerson, then the outgoing chairman of the Board of Selectmen who voted not to recommend the article, told voters that the Tilton-Northfield Fire & EMS Department was building a new station.

"There is an opportunity here," he said, suggesting that Sanbornton could join in a regional department. "The door is open to talk to Tilton-Northfield before jumping into hiring two firefighters."

Selectman Johnny Van Tassel discounted the prospects of a regional department, but DeVoy, chairman of the Belknap County Commission, countered that "regionalization can happen as fast as the selectmen want it to happen."

Although there were informal conversations between town officials and members of the Tilton-Northfield Fire Commission, no specific negotiations have taken place.

Dexter said Monday that he is more than happy to participate in the work of the committee, but hastened to note that as a member of the Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid Association, which includes 35 municipalities in the region, the Sanbornton Fire Department is already regionalized. He pointed out that apart from the chief, Sanbornton has no full-time fighters and therefore little to offer a neighboring department in a regional partnership.

Dexter said that as the only full-time firefighter/EMT in the department, his challenge is to ensure the daytime shift from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., which represents about a third of the department's call volume and when call fighters are often not immediately available, is properly staffed seven days a week. He questioned how a regional arrangement address this issues, especially since Sanbornton, with its area, 47.3 square miles compared to the 40 square miles of Tilton and Northfield together, is such a large area to cover.

DeVoy said he expects the committee will explore all the options, including the cost of having a neighboring department provide daytime coverage for the town compared to that of adding full-time firefighter/EMTs to the Sanbornton Department.

Later, louder hours for Pretty Lights show at BNH Pavilion called unlikely


GILFORD — Allowing longer and louder hours at a Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion show seems unlikely, Town Planner John Ayer told a representative from the concert venue formerly known as Meadowbrook on Monday. 

Should the Planning Board allow the Pretty Lights electronic concert to extend its hours for two shows in August, Ayer said, members could want the volume lowered between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. on back-to-back shows on Aug. 5 and 6.

"I did mention this was coming at the end of the last meeting," said Ayer. "The reaction was strong that they weren't likely in favor."

Ayer chaired a town department head meeting Monday morning in which Pavilion CEO/CFO Mike Seymour presented plans for the request that will be heard at the July 18 Planning Board meeting at 7 p.m.

Four members of the public went to Monday's meeting to express their opposition to the request, but since it was not a public hearing, no public input was taken.

"When an artist comes to us, we feel as though we should at least put it through the process," said Seymour.

He told the department managers that there are five electronic bands scheduled for the two-night Friday and Saturday show and the lead band, Pretty Lights, had requested extended hours so all of the bands could play a full set.

Seymour said there were no vocals and no singing so, aside from an announcer, there would be no additional voice noise. The band is known for complex laser and lighting displays.

Seymour also said that Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion is not trying to sneak anything by anyone and that the Planning Department knew about the proposal a month ago, something Ayer confirmed.

Note: The date of the Planning Board meeting in a story that ran in the Laconia Daily Sun on Saturday was incorrect.