GILMANTON — The Dump Run Cafe, which is open every Wednesday morning in the basement of the Gilmanton Community Church (Four Corners), has become the hub of community activity ever since it opened last June.
''It's a place for people to hang out after they go to the dump on Wednesday,'' says Roger Beaudet, the self-proclaimed ''roadie'' who sets up the sound equipment for the Dump Run Gang, a dozen or so musicians who gather each week and play old time favorites like ''Wabash Cannonball'', ''Glory Train'' and ''Temperance Reel.''
Beaudet, whose wife plays autoharp with the band, says that the cafe caught on right away and has become the place to be on Wednesday mornings.
''Everybody is having a good time and it shows,'' says Beaudet, who was one of the few men who got out onto the dance floor when a square dancing session was held this week.
''There were three musicians when we started this last year. Now there are at least a dozen every week and it's like that all the time. We usually have at least 60 people here — they come from all over,'' says Pastor Chris Stevens of the Gilmanton Community Church.
He said that the cafe was started to meet a perceived need in the community for a place where people could sit down together and socialize.
''There's no community center, no coffee shop or place for people to mingle. We at the church thought 'why can't we fill that need?' and started looking for a way to do it. We were waiting for the right person to take the lead and found that person in Judy Rouleau, who was a new member of the church,'' says Stevens.
He says that Rouleau and her husband, Louis, set out to organize the cafe on the same basis as that of a town dump, where people meet and socialize every week. They chose Wednesday, because that's the day the older residents of the town make their dump run to the town transfer station, which is about a mile away from the church.
Stevens says that about half of those who show up are members of he church and half are not, which is the way it was intended.
''We see this as a community effort, not a church effort, and it's part of our social outreach to provide a place for people in the community to meet and have fun together,'' says Stevens.
Among the many volunteers helping out each week are Julie Perkins, who heads up the kitchen crew, which makes coffee, doughnuts, pastries and breakfast sandwiches; Ray Wyss, who cooks the doughnuts, and Ginny Hiltz, who for years supervised the cooking of the bean hole beans at Gilmanton's Old Home Day.
Audrey Danielson of Pittsfield, a fiddle teacher, shows up every week to play, says that she loves the atmosphere of the church hall and enjoys entertaining those who show up.
The Cafe, which is open from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., has expanded to open on the first Saturday morning of each month so that people who can't get there on weekdays can have the opportunity to experience the fun environment.
''You can feel the energy in the building when the people are here and the music is playing. Happiness is something that we need in the world today, and it makes all the people who show up here to take part in the cafe happy to be a part of it,'' says Stevens.
The Dump Run Gang plays an old time favorite ''The Wabash Cannonball'' at a gathering at the Dump Run Cafe in the basement of the Gilmanton Community Church. About 60 townspeople and guests from surrounding communities meet every Wednesday morning for music, coffee and doughnuts and socializing. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
Last Updated on Thursday, 08 August 2013 01:39
LACONIA — Family and friends gathered at Bond Beach Tuesday evening to dedicate a park bench in memory of Kevin Sanborn Connelly, who practically grew up on the beach and died suddenly last August at the age of 47.
Connelly's mother, Fay Sanborn Nauchbar, said that the family lived on Bell Street, just a short walk from the beach, and that Kevin had been swimming at Bond Beach since he was three years old.
''He took swimming lessons here and there was a raft out in the lake that he would swim. There were whiffle ball games and a lot of fun times here with family and friends,'' said Nauchbar.
She said that Kevin was at the beach the day before he died and called his brother, Michael, who lives in Tilton, and asked him to come over and spend some time at the beach with him.
''It was his favorite place. It almost like he's here now because he loved Bond Beach so much,'' said Nauchbar.
Connelly, a 1983 Laconia High School graduate, served in the U.S. Army and lived in Germany for 25 years before returning home to Laconia in 2010.
Taking part in the ceremony along with his mother and stepfather Carl Nauchbar of Lakeport, were his son and daughter Ian and Meagan Connelly, of Erding, Germany; his brother, Michael Connelly and wife, Melanie, of Tilton; nieces, Julia Connelly and Caitlin Connelly of Tilton; sister Beth Littlefield, and her husband, Dan, of Meredith; two nephews, Cody and Austin Littlefield, both of Meredith, and his former wife, Anne Connelly, of Erding, Germany.
Family members recalled that he was an avid Boston sports fan and enjoyed spending time with his family and friends.
Taking part in the dedication of a park bench at Bond Beach on Lake Opechee in memory of Kevin Sanborn Connelly, were, seated, Meagan Connelly, of Erding, Germany, his daughter; second row, nieces, Julia Connelly and Caitlin Connelly, both of Tilton; back row; his nephew Austin Littlefield of Meredith; his son Ian Connelly of Erding, Germany, and nephew Cody Littlefield of Meredith. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 August 2013 12:58
LACONIA — School Board Chair Joe Cormier said the reason the city's Join Building Committee decided to spend an additional $67,000 for drainage around the new playing fields behind the high school was because rain that fell after it initially chose not to caused additional runoff woes.
The committee, which is comprised representatives of the School Board and the City Council met in an emergency session on July 3 and had given its co-chairs Cormier and Councilor Bob Hamel the authority to decide if addition drainage work was needed and to authorize the contractors to design and complete it.
The drainage problems became evident following a deluge on June 30 that partially washed away some of the turf on the steep slopes from the upper (Bobotas) field below to the new Jim Fitzgerald Field at Bank of New Hampshire Stadium. Drainage around the lower field directly behind the school also proved inadequate.
The heavy rains in late June came after a month of near constant rain — historically unusual for this part of the country but recently becoming more and more common during early summer.
Cormier said engineers and contractors met repeatedly in the first few days after the runoff damage with him and Hamel and school administrators and, facing additional costs, had decided that the drainage was sufficient as planned and installed because it was too expensive to do the additional work engineers recommended. The initial thinking was that with a few tweaks the drainage would work as built.
At the July 20 School Board meeting, Cormier told board and the Lakes Region Public Access viewing audience about the decision not to spend any additional money on field drainage. He and Hamel later authorized the expenditures and updated the JBC and the public at an August 2 JBC meeting.
Cormier said this week that runoff generated by additional storms after the July 20 school board meeting but before the August 2 JBC meeting indicated the School District would have to spend an additional $67,000 from the contingency portion of the available money for additional engineering and drainage to protect the new fields.
The entire Huot Project, including the building addition, five new science labs and the Bank of New Hampshire Stadium is about 99 percent complete. The new fields, according to the JBC, should be finished in about two weeks.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 August 2013 03:16
LACONIA — The Planning Board deferred a decision on the request of Jay and Anthony Santagate, owners of the Tower Hill Tavern at Weirs Beach, to extend the hours of live music until 1 a.m. after nearby innkeepers said that the venue has not complied with the terms the board placed on its original approval.
In February, after more than two years of controversy, the board approved the Santagates' plan to provide a bar, stage and dance floor on the second floor where live bands would perform for up to 320 people. But, the board stipulated that no noise be "distinctly audible" more than 50 feet from the property line. Moreover, at Santagate's suggestion, the board stipulated that bands would play only until 11 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day and until 10 p.m. from Labor Day to Memorial Day.
Attorney Regina Nadeau, representing Robert and Michael Ames of Half Moon Cottages, stressed that "my clients have no intention of stopping the Santagates from having a night club, but they do want to protect their business and those of others." She claimed that at least nine patrons of the cottages have complained of the noise while some have checked out and others given refunds. "There has been a calculable amount of lost business," she said.
"We don't want to stop their business," Nadeau repeated, "but, they're not complying with the current rules." She urged the board to deny the application to extend the hours and instead conduct "a compliance review," including reconsideration of the insulation installed at the venue.
"It's not like we're against his business," Mike Ames remarked, "but we're asking him to do what it takes to be a good neighbor."
Joe Driscoll of the Cozy Inn and Lakeview House and Cottages, also insisted he was not seeking to stifle the Santagates' business. "We want good entertainment," he said. "But, when everything else is getting quieter, his is getting louder." Driscoll described the issue as one of property rights, noting that "I keep my business on my property and I expect others to do the same."
Planning Director Shanna Saunders said that the police, who enforce the noise regulations, told her that they had responded to only a couple of complaints pertaining to the Tower Hill Tavern.
Warren Huitchins, chairman of the board, suggested that before addressing Santagate's request "we need to resolve the differences of opinion about compliance with the existing regulations."
The board will return to the issue at its meeting in September, when Saunders said it will have another month of experience and the police can offer their perspective.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 August 2013 03:11
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