Lakeport Freighthouse Museum gives students a look at local history

By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Teachers from Laconia elementary schools toured the Lakeport Freighthouse Museum Monday afternoon with an eye to incorporating much of what they saw into classes on local history, which will give their students insights into the way people lived before there was an internet and kept their food fresh in ice boxes, rather than refrigerators.
Leading the tour were Ginger (Tefft) Ryan, who grew up in Lakeport; Armand Bolduc, president of the Lakeport Community Association; and long-time Lakeport resident Brenda Moulton.
One of the display items Ryan was very familiar with was a device with hair-curling irons which her mother, Lydia Tefft, used in her Black and Silver Beauty Salon in Lakeport during the 1940s. The curlers were connected by individual cords to a power source which sent an electrical current through them which helped curl the hair. A photo from 1947 shows what the beauty salon looked like.
Ryan said her mother moved to Lakeport from Berlin in 1925 and married Harold Tefft, who ran a construction business in Lakeport. She said that there were virtually no electric refrigerators when she was growing up and that every day an ice man would deliver blocks of ice to homes in the city which had ice boxes, which would keep food cold.
“People used to hang a sign out which told the ice man how big a block you needed, 15, 25 or 50 pounds and he would cut it from a big block of ice and carry it into the house, even to upstairs apartments. They used ice tongs and carried the ice over their shoulder,” said Ryan.
She recalled that Lakeport was thriving with activity at that time and was a very active rail center with paper trains coming um from Boston that went as far north as Plymouth, delivering newspapers, and then would head back south, picking up passengers headed to southern New Hampshire or even Boston.
“There was a 8:30 a.m. train to Boston and there were also trains coming into Lakeport from the Lake Shore Railroad, which came up from Alton and the Seacoast area. There was an even a turntable where trains would get turned around,” said Ryan.
She recalled as a child seeing a circus train come to town which stopped near where Lowe’s is presently located. “They used elephants to help set up the tent and we got to watch all the action as they set up.”
Recalling her days at the Washington Street School during World War II she said that the city of Laconia was the leader in war bond sales which led to one of the Liberty ships being built for troop transport to be christened as the SS Laconia.
“It was a great time to grow up in this city,” she told the teachers.
Ryan said Lakeport once had a large passenger station which was dismantled in the 1960s and stored in pieces near the Laconia Airport in Gilford until it was moved, again in sections, in the 1990s to Kimball Castle in Gilford.
The freight depot, which was built in 1899, replacing one nearby, was used as freight depot until 1972 by the White Mountain Division of the Boston and Maine Railroad and became a glass repair shop known as Win-Door from 1976 until 1999, when it closed.
The Lakeport Community Association, which was formed in 1997 during renovations of the Elm Street bridge, leased the freight station building in 2004 to establish the museum, which now houses many artifacts and memorabilia from Lakeport’s long and colorful history.
Bolduc said that he grew up on the Bolduc Farm in Gilford but had many memories of Lakeport and recalled that his family used to pick up food scraps from the Mount Belknap Hotel, now the site of a senior housing complex, to feed pigs which were raised on the farm.
He said that he later found several pieces of Belknap Hotel china in the feeding station at the farm and was able to save them and give them yo the museum,
Bolduc encouraged the teachers to use the museum as a resource for their students.

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Jeana Mingo of Elm Street School, Ginger Ryan of the Lakeport Community Association and Ellen-Ward Hill of the Pleasant Street School stand next a display of electrical hair-curling irons which were used in the Black and Silver Beauty Salon in Lakeport in the 1940s. Teachers from Laconia elementary schools toured the Lakeport Freighthouse Museum, which houses historic memorabilia from Lakeport with the idea of incorporating that history into their classes. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

New CEO Paul Falvey takes helm of Bank of New Hampshire

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — "Boring is the best word you can get in banking," remarked Paul Falvey as he closed his third day as president and chief executive officer of Bank of New Hampshire. "Boring is great."

02-08 Paul Falvey - CEO of Bank of NH 2017Falvey, who began his career in banking in 1987, has experienced his share of excitement in an industry that has undergone significant change and mercurial fortunes, particularly in New England, which was swept by a spate of bank failures soon after he entered the industry. After working as a commercial lender for over a decade, Falvey served as president and chief executive officer of two mutual savings banks in Massachusetts – Holbrook Cooperative Bank and Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank – which grew from $100 million to $1.4 billion in four years under his leadership. The experience has left him with a firm commitment to the principle of mutuality, which he said is exemplified by Bank of New Hampshire.

Mutual banks, Falvey said, citing the bank's mission statement, serve their customers, employees and communities, while publicly held banks find themselves pressed by their shareholders to pursue short-term goals, chase quarterly earnings and take imprudent risks. He noted that in the 1980s, while many mutual savings banks in New Hampshire followed the riskier course, the leadership of Bank of New Hampshire cleaved to mutual ownership, pursued a long-term strategy and successfully navigated the turmoil in the industry and turns of the economy.

Today, Falvey said, Bank of New New Hampshire is "New Hampshire's local bank"; the oldest, founded in 1831; and the largest, with $1.5 billion among the state-chartered institutions, whose 300 employees serve more than 47,000 customers. He pointed to the acquisition of nine offices from Fleet Bank in 1999 as "a big step, a really big deal that reflected the very 'forward' thinking of the board in keeping with the mission" and seeking a presence throughout the state.

Foreseeing no change of direction, Falvey said the bank will continue to compete effectively in its markets and three lines of business — retail banking, including mortgage loans; commercial lending; and wealth management — by nurturing close relationships with customers. In 2015, the mortgage loan portfolio was $389 million and the commercial loan portfolio was $56 million while the bank had $626 million under wealth management. He acknowledged that competition is stiff in the financial services sector, but stressed that in light of recent events "customers increasingly value dealing with people they know and trust," which lends a competitive edge to community banks. Likewise, he said that by drawing on its trust authority, the bank has an edge in estate planning and managing wealth.

At the same time, Falvey said that Bank of New Hampshire has a enviable record of contributing to the communities it serves, a tradition that will continue under his stewardship. Each year the bank contributes $1 million to some 350 organizations while its employees volunteer more than 10,000 hours of service to civic groups and initiatives.

Falvey said that apart from meeting the competition, the rising cost of complying with federal regulations and maintaining cyber security systems pose the greatest challenges for banks. "It's not cheap," Falvey said. Industry analysts suggest that banks with less than $500 million in assets will find themselves hard pressed to keep pace with cost of compliance and security. With assets of $1.5 billion and capital of $156 million, Bank of New Hampshire has the size and strength it requires. But, eight of the remaining 17 state-chartered banks in the state have assets of less than $500 million, which could present the bank with opportunities for future acquisitions. Falvey declined to comment on the prospect, preferring to say only that the bank will continue by "competing effective in our markets."

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Inter-Lakes school district floats $377,928 budget hike

By DAVID CARKHUFF/THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

MEREDITH — Rising health insurance rates and a shift in the cost of retirement pay factor into a 1.58 percent increase, for $377,928 more in the budget, for Inter-Lakes Cooperative School District, officials report.
A public hearing on the 2017-2018 budget will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. in the Inter-Lakes Community Auditorium. The deliberative session for Inter-Lakes School District's annual School District Meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 8, at 7 p.m. in the Robert F. Pottle Gymnasium at Inter-Lakes High School.
The school district has budgeted $24,317,116 for the general fund operational budget, which represents an increase of $377,928 or 1.58 percent from the previous year's budget of $23,939,188, according to the budget.
The health insurance guaranteed maximum rate increase is 12.6 percent, more than triple last year's 5.3 percent hike (the school district budgeted for a 5.76 percent increase last year). Cost of this increase is $405,762.
"That seems to be the trend. Health insurance costs are significant," said Superintendent Mary Moriarty.
"The New Hampshire Retirement System withholding percentage for teachers has increased from 15.67 percent to 17.36 percent and for employees from 11.17 percent to 11.38 percent," the district explained in an online guide (http://www.inter-lakes.k12.nh.us/images/stories/documents/district/schoolboard/Inter-lakes_2017-2018_Budget_Hearing_Packet.pdf). "This accounts for an overall increase of $162,927 or 10.17 percent. Five retirement incentives included in the budget for three teachers and two administrators for a total of $251,984."
Health insurance and the retirement cost shift "are two factors that influence your overall bottom line," Moriarty said.
On the revenue side of the ledger, declining enrollment in parts of the district will affect property tax appropriations.
Enrollment has dropped in a decade from 1,251 students to 1,016 students, the district reported. Enrollment is a component of average daily membership and residence, a factor along with property assessments behind the property taxes assessed to district residents.
"Like many New Hampshire communities, we continue to experience a change in our enrollment," Moriarty said.
Center Harbor's net assessment dropped by $237,768 for 2017-2018.
For the owner of $200,000 in assessed valuation, taxes will decrease by $92.52 in Center Harbor; increase by $133.70 in Meredith; and increase by $32.20 in Sandwich, according to the district budget.
Enrollment declines are nothing new. Two years ago, officials at Sandwich Central School reported a 15-year drop from 99 students to 60 students by 2012-2013. In 2014-2015, the school rebounded to an enrollment of 79 students, but enrollment remains an issue today.
A decade ago, in 2006-2007, the numbers in average daily membership were 141.21 in Center Harbor; 908.58 in Meredith; and 145.69 in Sandwich, according to state numbers. By October 2016, Center Harbor average daily membership and residence was 92.47; Meredith's was 812.69; and Sandwich's was 119.95. A year earlier, the average daily membership and residence was 104.85 in Center Harbor; 774.86 in Meredith; and 129.68 in Sandwich, according to state figures.
As a partial factor behind property taxes, average daily membership fluctuations mean varying levels of taxation in the district.
In 2014-2015, Center Harbor's net assessment was $2,812,344; Meredith's net assessment was $15,699,356; and Sandwich's net assessment was $2,981,718. In 2017-2018, those figures changed to $2,639,697 in Center Harbor; $17,079,205 in Meredith; and $3,100,311 in Sandwich, according to the budget.
Articles in the Inter-Lakes School District include Article 3, the collective bargaining agreement between the Inter‐Lakes School Board and the Inter‐Lakes Support Staff Association, which calls for the increases in salaries and benefits at the current staffing levels as follows: 2017‐2018: $189,513; 2018‐2019: $108,627; 2019‐2020: $114,939; and 2020‐2021: $121,679. The article also seeks to raise and appropriate $189,513 for the 2017‐2018 fiscal year in the additional costs attributable to the increase in salaries and benefits. The association represents 74 people, six full‐time and 68 part‐time. Over four years, through 2021, cumulative salary and fixed costs will be $511,372; stipends and fixed costs will total $21,261; health insurance savings will be $5,876; and professional improvement costs will be $8,000, for a total cost of $534,757, according to the budget.
Article 5 is the collective bargaining agreement between the Inter‐Lakes School Board and the Inter‐Lakes Education Association which calls for increases in salaries and benefits at the current staffing levels as follows: 2017‐2018: $320,073; 2018‐2019: $350,525; and 2019‐2020: $353,139; The article also seeks to raise and appropriate $320,073 for the 2017‐2018 fiscal year in additional costs attributable to the increase in salaries and benefits. The salary schedule was increased by 2.5 percent on the base wage, with average increases of $2,642 in year 1; $2,704 in year 2; and $2,723 in year 3, the budget reports.
On health insurance, teachers increased their cost share by 1 percent in the first year, 1.5 percent in the second year and 1.5 percent in the third year. Projected savings to the district are $76,095 in year 1; $30,846 in year 2; and $30,846 in year 3, according to the budget.
The district is increasing professional development for coursework to $3,000 from $2,400 to encourage staff to pursue master's degrees. The district is also increasing other professional improvement to $1,000 from $750, capping the dollar amount at $100,000. Over three years, salary and fixed costs are expected to total $1.137 million; health insurance savings are expected to total $137,787; professional improvement costs are expected to total $25,000; and the total cost is projected to reach $1.024 million, according to the budget.

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