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Ashland parade, fireworks now in their 54th Year (654 words)

ASHLAND — Ashland's annual Independence Day celebration, which got its start in 1961 and traditionally draws thousands of visitors, is a truly grass roots effort which is coordinated by the Ashland July 4th Committee, a group of about a dozen individuals who donate their time and effort to fundraising on behalf of the celebration.
Over the years Ashland developed a reputation for having the best fireworks display in the Lakes Region and saw large increases in the crowds attending in the late 1980s, according to Patty Heinz, who headed the committee for about 10 years and was around to watch the very first parade in 1961.
A 1958 graduate of Ashland High School, Heinz recalls that Eddie Dupuis, owner of a local funeral home; Marion Merrill, long-time town clerk, and Pee Wee Duguay, owner of a local market, played key roles in the early years of the parade along with Mary Ruell, who would later head the committee.
''Mary Ruell really made it grow,'' said Heinz, who said that the event has evolved over the years from a one-day celebration to one which spans two days and that in recognition of her efforts the first Mary Ruell Award will be presented this year to a person who has contributed to the success of the July 4th celebration.
The Ashland Fourth of July Committee raises all money needed for the parade and fireworks with fund-raisers, advertising, raffles, souvenir sales and donations.
She said that the celebration has achieved financial stability in recent years thanks in large part to Alex Ray of the Common Man company, which will again hold the popular 50/50 raffle with tickets being sold on the ball field. All proceeds from the raffle and the Common Man pancake breakfast and barbecue are donated to the fireworks and parade.
This year's 54th annual celebration begins on Friday, July 4, with the Common Man pancake breakfast from 7-10 a.m. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children. Commemorative T-shirts and buttons will be sold at the pancake breakfast.
The parade is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Marchers, floats and performers will line up behind the Ashland Fire House on Mill Street between 7 and 9:45 a.m.
Following the parade, Old Home Day activities take place at the Packard Ball Field from noon to 8 p.m.
The festivities continue Saturday, July 5, on the L.W. Packard Ball Field with a midway and entertainment beginning at 6 p.m. The Common Man offers a dinner barbecue chicken dinner for $10 per person Hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, veggie burgers and watermelon will also be available.
Attendees can enjoy entertainment by Magician Jim Gleich, disc jockey Chris White, and musician Art Harriman, master of ceremonies, who now lives in California and during the 1950s won a dancing competition on the very same outdoor basketball court where he will be set up to play music on Saturday.
At 9:30 p.m. some of the best fireworks in the state will light up the sky, courtesy of Atlas Pyrotechnics and managed by Charlie St. Clair, who is well-known in the area as the executive director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association.
St. Clair, incidentally, was a pupil of Mary Ruell when she taught school in Laconia in the 1960s.
Last year's parade featured an emotional moment for parade watchers as they saw Khrista Matthews walk along part of the parade route.
Matthews, who lost the use of her legs in 1991 in a horrific crash on Interstate 93 in Sanbornton, had been walking with the use of crutches and leg and hip braces for over five years. She made a last-minute decision to walk in the parade and knew she couldn't walk the whole route, so arranged for people to bring her crutches to her on a level part of Main Street so that she could walk at least part of the route.
It produced an overwhelming response from those along the parade route. She is the daughter of Larry and Penni Matthews, former Ashland residents who now live with her in Belmont.

Last Updated on Friday, 04 July 2014 01:10

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Fireworks, parades & more: July 4th celebrations

LACONIA — There's lots to do and plenty of places for local residents and visitors to enjoy themselves in 4th of July celebrations around the Lakes Region, starting today and extending through the weekend.
Parades, fireworks, band concerts and even a free New England Collegiate League baseball game between the Laconia Muskrats and Keene Swamp Bats at Robbie Mills Field in Laconia are some of Friday's featured events.
Ashland's July 4th opens with a pancake breakfast fundraiser at The Common Man Restaurant starting at 7:30 a.m. The Independence Day Parade begins at 10 a.m. Old Home Day activities take place at the Packard Ball Field from noon to 8 p.m.
There will also be a parade at 10 a.m. in downtown Bristol, sponsored by Bristol Lion's Club. Parade theme is 'The Circus is coming' in honor of the Kelly Miller Circus, which arrives in town on Monday, July 7 for two days of performances.
In Gilmanton the July 4th parade gets underway near the Gilmanton Academy Building at 10 a.m. The Wolfeboro parade also kicks off at 10 a.m..
Parades in Moultonborough and Waterville Valley get underway at 11 a.m. while Andover's parade starts at noon.
In Andover a full day of festivities is planned Friday starting with a pancake breakfast at 7 p.m., a flea market and concerts throughout the day on the Village Green.
The fun kicks off in Moultonborough with the parade beginning at 11 a.m. at Blake Road, continuing through town to Old Route 109 and ending at the Lion's Club with a free barbecue for all.
Center Harbor will have a parade at 2 p.m. and there will be band concert at 7 p.m. while in Laconia a parade gets underway at 4:30 p.m. which proceeds from Wyatt Park to Opechee Park, where vendors will be set up and local bands will entertain from 5:30 until 10 p.m.
The Meredith July 4th celebration includes a chicken barbecue from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hesky Park; Meredith Lions Rubber Duckie Race at 4 p.m. at Mill Falls Marketplace.
The Laconia Muskrats host the Keene Swamp Bats in a 12:30 p.m. game at Robbie Mills Field which features free admission thanks to Belknap Landscape Company.
Fireworks displays on Friday include Gilmanton at Crystal Lake Park at dusk, Sanbornton at Steele Hill at 9 p.m., Center Harbor at 9:15 p.m., Waterville Valley at 9:30 p.m. and Laconia at Opechee Park at 10 p.m.
Crystal Lake Park will open at 6 p.m., in Gilmanton and there will be vendors and live music.
On Saturday, July 5 there will be fireworks displays in Bristol at Kelly Park and in Andover at dusk, and at Hesky Park in Meredith a brass band concert at 7 followed by fireworkds at 9:30 p.m. In Ashland the midway at Packard Field opens at 6 p.m. with concessions and entertainment by magician Jim Gleich; disc jockey Chris White and musician and Master of Ceremonies Art Harriman followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
Also on Saturday there will be a crafts fair at Gunstock Recreation Area in Gilford which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the same hours on Sunday.
In Alton on Saturday the 39th Army Band Band will present a free concert at the Tabernacle at the Alton Bay Christian Conference Center at 7 p.m.

Last Updated on Friday, 04 July 2014 01:09

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Man reportedly 'covered in blood' carried from Laconia apartment building

LACONIA — Police were called to an apartment building 12 Batchelder Street yesterday afternoon for what their logs describe as a medical emergency.

Two city police cruisers, along with a supervisor, initially responded because of the nature of the call, which was described to them as a male person found covered in blood.

Police initially surrounded the former school building turned into apartment buildings with crime scene tape after they assisted the fire department in removing the man from his apartment.

The building and its parking lot were blocked off with yellow police tape for about two hours while detectives processed the scene.

Sgt. Mike Finogle said police have yet to determine if there has been a crime committed or if it was a medical problem.

He said they processed the apartment, gathered evidence, and interviewed some people but don't have any information to release to the media at this time.

He said the unidentified man was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital for treatment.

Twelve Batchelder Street, a former elementary school building, is owned by the Laconia Area Community Land Trust and is managed by the Hodges Company. The building manager was on the scene but decline to comment.

He said this is a very quiet building.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 July 2014 12:04

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IRS data reveals how much Meredith aged over 11 years

MEREDITH — The graying population and economic challenges of the past decade are expressed in data compiled by the Internal Revenue Service between 2000 and 2011, the last year for which the information is available.

During those years the average adjusted gross income (AGI), adjusted for inflation, reported by those filing tax returns in the 03253 zip code, slipped by $11,129, or 20 percent, from $56,567 to $45,438. A 10 percent increase in the number of returns filed, which rose from 3,194 to 3,533, accounted for a share of the drop in average AGI. The number of business returns rose by nearly 100, from 616 to 708, an increase of 15 percent.

Reflecting the impact of the recession, the number of those filing returns for earned income tax credits, a refundable tax credit for individuals and couples — especially those with children — with low to moderate earnings, climbed almost 50 percent, from 303 to to 452, with most of the increase occurring after 2007.

The number of returns filed by taxpayers younger than 30 dropped 17 percent, from 856 to 712, while returns filed by those aged between 30 and 44 fell by 22 percent, from 830 to 644. By contrast, the returns filed by taxpayers aged between 45 and 60 rose 22 percent, from 862 to 1,052, and returns filed by those older than 60 jumped 73 percent, from 646 to 1,119. Taxpayers 45 and older accounted for 60 percent of all returns.

(The raw numbers referred to in this article are provided to the public by the website melissadata.com.)

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 July 2014 11:23

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