All 25 members of Bolducs' bison heard were accounted for by dark

GILFORD — The errant bison that wandered away from the Bolduc Farm on Morrill Street Tuesday morning found their way home that evening after leading their keeper and local police on an afternoon herding detail that provided plenty of opportunities for neighbors and passers-by to take photos and video of the proceedings.
While many of the bison had been rounded up and returned to the farm by the end of the afternoon, some remained at large. Armand Bolduc said he had returned home late in the afternoon but later looked out to see the missing bison in the field.
“They were in different areas,” he said. “Others came in and, by the time I got the gate shut, they were back out in the woods.”
During that second escape, they got as far as Stark Street, he said, before coming back.
“This time I closed the gate,” he said. “It was quite an ordeal.”
The “ordeal” began around 10 a.m. when the bison broke through a fence surrounding one of four fields on the 340-acre farm. Bolduc said he has no idea what prompted the animals to do so, but he speculates that they were frightened by the noise and vibration from heavy equipment doing road reconstruction work on Morrill Street.
Only part of the 25-bison herd left the property, Bolduc said, and the leader remained at the farm. That left the other bison confused about what to do.
Entering the woods at the back of the farm, the escaped bison made their way to Stark Street, then crossed Morrill Street and went through the woods to the Route 11 bypass. From there, some made it as far as Hounsell Avenue and Route 107, more than three miles from their home.
Police from Gilford and Laconia used their cruisers to try and herd the bison toward home along the bypass and Gilford Avenue, then up Stone Road to Morrill Street. At that point, some of the bison got separated from the rest of the escapees.
While they were successful in getting most of the bison home, some remained at large when police ended their seven-hour herding duties.
“I don’t know why only part of them left,” Bolduc said. “Usually they stick together. Those that got separated didn’t have the leader with them, so they didn’t know what to do.”
He was worried that the unpredictable animals might hurt someone. They can reach speeds up to 35 miles per hour and weigh up to 2,000 pounds, and if frightened could be dangerous.
So he was relieved to have the animals back home, safely locked in their pastures.
“I can’t get to repairing the fence right now,” Bolduc said. “I’m in the haying business. But they don’t have to go where they broke through. We have three other fields.”
He added, “I can’t thank the police enough. They did an excellent job.”

  • Written by Tom Caldwell
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Gold found in Opechee; wedding ring recovered

LACONIA — Bob Lumpkins said that his heart sank when he realized that he had lost his wedding ring Sunday morning when he dove into Lake Opechee.

I could feel it slide off my finger when I jumped off the boat and hit the water. And it was just too deep for me to try and dive down and find it,” said Lumpkins, who did the next best thing by dropping his spare anchor into the lake to mark the area for a future recovery effort.

He said the gold ring was lost just above the Messer Street bridge in water 15 to 20 feet deep near the opposite shore of the lake from where Lumpkins' Opechee Street home is located. He was in the area with snorkeling equipment looking for granite slate that had been dumped in the lake many years ago and which he thought would be useful in a landscaping project he was working on in his backyard.

I was really down,” he said, noting that the ring was from his wedding to his wife, Vicki, which took place 15 years ago on July 5.

Tuesday he picked up a copy of the Laconia Daily Sun and came across an article about a program on wrecks in Lake Winnipesaukee that was to be presented that night at the Gilford Public Library by diver Hans Hug Jr. “My wife and I went to the program and sat next to a guy named Jason, who was a scuba diver. I told him about the lost ring and he said that he thought he could find it. So I hired him and he showed up Wednesday morning and went out to the area I had marked. Twenty minutes later he came back with the ring. I thought it was gone forever and there it was, back in my hand,” said Lumpkins.

The diver who recovered the ring, Jason Perkins of Northfield, is a certified master diver who works at the Spaulding Youth Center in Northfield. A veteran of the Iraq war, Perkins dives with Central New Hampshire Divers as often as he can and said that he's had lots of experience in recovering vehicles which went through the ice.

He said that he's been diving for five years and that his Facebook page has a picture of him in diving gear after he completed his 275th dive.

Lumpkins, who moved to New Hampshire 20 years ago after having been a locksmith in Washington. D.C., said he still can't believe his good fortune in recovering the wedding ring.

If I hadn't read that article in the paper about the Gilford program this might never have happened. I just went from feeling down and out to being really happy about life ,” says Lumpkins.


07 19 Found Ring

Bob Lumpkins shows the wedding ring he lost in Lake Opechee Sunday and which was recovered Wednesday morning by diver Jason Perkins. (Roger Amsden photo)

  • Written by Roger Amsden
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Several locals honored as Governor & Executive Council bring 'road show' meeting to Laconia's Funspot


LACONIA — A tabletop was placed on tavern pool tables at the Funspot Wednesday for a meeting of Gov. Chris Sununu and Executive Council that included honors for local dignitaries such as the entertainment center's owner, Robert Lawton, and Hope Makris, who owns the NASWA resort.

Amid the sound of crashing bowling pins, Sununu gave commendations to a series of people before the Executive Council reviewed more than 120 contracts and presided over nominations and confirmations of various boards and commissions.

Every year, the governor and Executive Council take their meetings on the road to each councilor's district, in this case Councilor Joseph Kenney's District 1.

Tuftonboro Police Chief Andrew Shagoury accepted a commendation from the governor on behalf of Lakes Region first responders and the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative.

A blizzard hit the Lakes Region hard on March 14, causing hundreds of traffic accidents and cutting power to more than 140,000 homes and businesses. There was $1.8 million in damage in Carroll County.

Utility crews worked around the clock to clear downed trees from power lines and restore electrical service. Police, fire and medical crews responded to numerous emergency calls.

“Emergency responders in the Lakes Region were operating under extremely dangerous conditions including rapid snowfall rates, strong winds and wind gusts, quickly changing conditions, low to no visibility and falling debris,” Sununu said.

“These brave men and women put their lives on the line in order to help people of the Lakes Region during this winter storm emergency.”

Sununu also gave a commendation to NASCAR driver Melissa Fifield of Wakefield, who also assists the state with traffic safety messages.

He said she is an inspiration to young girls.
“One of the best race car drivers in the world, and one of the top few female race car drivers in the world lives right here in New Hampshire and she doesn't get nearly the recognition she deserves,” the governor said.

Sununu gave a commendation to Hope Makris, who has run the NASWA resort for more than 60 years, and continues to help her daughter, Cynthia, provide lakeside hospitality to the region’s visitors.

The resort was started in the 1930s by her parents, Jim and Fannie Salta, immigrants from Greece, who first purchased the property for a natural water spring located there. They founded the Natural Spring Water Company, hence the name of the resort.

“She is known not only for her hospitality but for her generous spirit in maintaining many charitable causes including Easter Seals of New Hampshire, the Laconia Fire Department's Life Saving Fund and the Peter Makris Memorial Run,” Sununu said.

He also honored Robert Lawton, whose 70,000-square-foot Funspot hosted the event. Funspot bills itself as the “largest arcade in the world.”

His family established the Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society. He was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in the 1960s and introduced a bill that resulted in the state motto, “Live Free or Die,” appearing on vehicle license plates.

“Here's another great example of someone from the Lakes Region not just helping the community, but going above and beyond in every which way over a period of years and decades, constantly evolving with the times and constantly making sure the 'Live Free or Die Spirit' is not just a few words on a license plate but something we really and truly live by.”

Sununu also honored Bruce Cheney, former director of the Division of Emergency Services and Communications in the New Hampshire Department of Safety, father of the state's 911 system and former Laconia police chief.

The governor gave a posthumous commendation to Peter S. Karagianis, a long-time local businessman and civic leader.

Sununu also recognized Cathy Merrill, a world champion arm wrestler from Newport. She's preparing to go to Budapest, Hungary, for the the 2017 championship competition.

“We're raising money to pay some of the costs so that she can go over and not just represent the state, but really the entire country of the United States in arm wrestling,” said Sununu. “I love watching arm wrestling.”

  • Written by Rick Green
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