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Sandy Bailey's stay at Gilford Town Hall coming to a close

GILFORD — After 12 years with the town working in various administrative capacities, Sandy Bailey will be retiring in the middle of April.

Bailey, who was hired in 2003 as a planning administrator and two years later promoted to administrative assistant to the town administrator said she and her husband are retiring at the same time.

"I've been working on a retirement plan for two years," said Bailey. "I decided about two years ago that this is what I want to do."

Bailey talked about her rather varied career yesterday, including the time she and her husband spent operating a hotel on the New Jersey shore.

"We did that for about three years," she said. They sold when the state decided her property would be a great place for an exit ramp off the Garden State Throughway.

"I learned the pros and cons of working with my husband," she said.

After they sold the hotel, Bailey and her husband returned home to Northwood, N.H. to assist with his parents.

She was hired as a planning assistant in 2003 by John Ayer and Polly Sanfacon, she said, noting that when she lived in Northwood before the New Jersey adventure, she had worked in their planning department.

In 2005, she was "recruited" by then Town Administrator Evans Juris to be his assistant and stayed in the position, working briefly with Debra Shackett and John Markland before current Town Administrator Scott Dunn was hired in August of 2008.

Known for keeping her own counsel, Bailey said she watched a lot of interesting things happen during her years upstairs but said her style isn't talking out of school.

"I'm also very easy-going and flexible," she said.

Bailey has four granddaughters with whom she plans on spending a lot more time.

"I was always a working grandmother," she said, adding that now she can help her daughters with daycare and take care of her grandchildren when they're sick just like her mother did for her when her children were young.

She said her husband will continue working part-time for at least a few more years and traveling across the United States is one of their long-term goals.

Bailey said her husband also built her a "granny cave" where she can go and work on her many crafts and hobbies — both with and without her grandchildren.

"I have a radio and my computer and I have been known to consume a glass of wine in there on occasion," she said.

Both Bailey and her husband have a passion for woodworking.

"We exchange tools for Christmas," she said. "This year I got a chop saw and he got a drill press."

She said she and her two older granddaughters made many holiday projects and with two of her granddaughters both younger than three, she looks forward to making many, many more of them.

As for Gilford, she said she'll miss the people.

"We're a little work family here and I'm really going to miss that," she said.

When asked what she's not going to miss, she said that one was easy — night meetings with the selectmen.

"Nothing personal," she said. "I just like to be home at night."


CUTLINE: (Sandy Bailey) Sandy Bailey in a familiar pose at a very familiar desk in the Gilford town offices. She is retiring in the middle of April so she can spend more time with her family. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Friday, 20 March 2015 11:50

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Adoption makes it official but Kalyssa was already a treasured member of the Ward-Hill family

LACONIA — Yesterday, just weeks before the birth of their first child, Ellen Ward-Hill, a teacher at Pleasant Street School and her husband Jeff, became a family of three in courtroom 1 of the Circuit Courthouse with the adoption of 13-year-old Kalyssa before a crowd of friends sporting red T-shirts proclaiming, "We Are Pleasant Street School".

Ward-Hill recalled that in her first year at the school a decade ago, she taught Kalyssa's half brother and soon afterwards found Kalyssa in her first grade class. By the time she taught Kalyssa again in fourth grade she had become aware of the trying circumstances of her family. At the same time, Ward-Hill, like all her colleagues had grown very fond Kalyssa, in whom she sensed a special character with great promise.

"Everybody at the school just loved her," Ward-Hill said.

A year later, when she discovered the fifth-grader was homeless and living with a classmate, she gave her a home.

"It was a leap of faith and Ellen took it," said Anne Barrett, a guidance counselor at the school. In May, 2013 Ward-Hill became Kalyssa's guardian.

"We just wanted to help," Ward-Hill said, explaining that she told Kalyssa's mother "we're willing to help until you get back on your feet." When that did not happen, Ward-Hill chose to adopt Kalyssa. In the meantime, she and Jeff were married last August.

"I was the maid of honor," Kalyssa exclaimed.

"What are you guys doing here?" asked Judge Jim Carroll, gazing over a crowded courtroom festooned with balloons. "Are you scheduled? Should we wait?"

Then turning to Kalyssa, he asked "what are we here for?"

"The party!" she replied.

"We're ready to take her forever," Ward-Hill told the judge.

"You don't know how this recovers my day," Carroll remarked, adding that he asks the clerk to schedule at least one adoption a week. "I've got this internal agenda," he said. "Been there, done that."

Carroll described Ward-Hill as "saintly, saintly" and said "I remember the petition for guardianship as if it were yesterday. It speaks volumes," he continued, "of what a teacher can be to a student." Kalyssa, he said, was "a student for a year and now for a lifetime."

"I treat these things like a wedding," Carroll closed. "That's all I have to say. Love you all. God bless."

With that the crowd swarmed Ward-Hill, her husband and daughter as cameras began flashing.

Carroll offered to help Kalyssa, now a seventh-grade student at Laconia Middle School, make her way through law school, but later she stated boldly "Columbia, then straight to FBI training." She said she was looking forward to soon having a little brother and eying Jeff Hill's grandmother, proudly remarked "I'll still be her only great granddaughter." But, for the moment, she said "I want to party!"

"She makes our lives so much better," said Jeff Hill as he watched Kalyssa, clutching a bouquet of balloons, celebrate.

"She has helped us," added his wife.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 March 2015 11:43

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2 arrested for burglary, were coming out of Gilmanton house just after midnight

GILMANTON — Two men who were surprised by police while attempting to steal rifles from a home on Allens Mills Road early Friday morning were arrested and held at the Belknap County Jail on burglary charges.
Gilmanton Police said that Officer Maxwell Hodgdon interrupted a burglary in progress shortly after midnight after observing a unoccupied vehicle which was still running parked on the side of the road but facing in the opposite direction of the travel lane near the Andrew Barnum residence. There was a pile of belongings behind the vehicle and some visible in the bed of the truck
When Hodgdon exited his patrol vehicle to investigate, he encountered a masked male subject wearing camouflage. The masked individual, later identified as Jeromy Woodey, 31, of Pearl Street, Laconia, attempted to hide behind a  tree..
The second male subject, who was hiding behind the garage when the officer arrived, fled on foot, leaving behind an AK47 rifle, and three other rifles he was allegedly in the process of stealing from the residence.
He was identified as Heath Wilkens 32, of 13 Donovan Drive, Concord. According to an affidavit filed by Hodgdon, he and Belmont Police Officer Ryan Nolan followed the footprints into the woods but lost the tracks in the snow when they came to another roadway and the Belmont Police K-9 was called in but Wilkens was not located.

Sgt. Matt Currier spoke to Woodey's father, Jerry, at 4:14 a.m., who told them that he had received a phone call earlier from Wilkens asking for a ride and that he had picked him up on Rte. 140 near Currier Hill Road and brought him to his Pearl Street home. He later kicked him out after Wilkens told him what had happened.

Around 5 a.m., Currier received a phone call from the Laconia Police Department advising him that Wilkens had just walked in to warm up at the police department and he and Chief Joseph Collins drove to Laconia and took Wilkens into custody.

Police said that the vehicle which had been left running on the side of the roadway was impounded as it was full of stolen items.
Both Wilkens and Woodey refused the services of a bail commissioner and were arraigned by video from the Belknap County Jail Friday morning.
Both face felony charges of burglary and theft from a building. Wilkens also faces a misdemeanor charge of operating after suspension. Cash bail of $500 was set for both suspects.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 March 2015 11:24

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50 years at Gunstock: Klaus Buttinger reflects on a half-century of teaching folks to ski

GILFORD — Klaus Buttinger has been teaching skiing at Gunstock for 50 years and says that he still gets a kick out of it, which he says is second nature to him.
''Skiing is easy for me. It's easier than walking.'' says Buttinger, who first came to the Lakes Region from his native Austria to teach skiing at the Penny Pitou Ski School, one of several Austrians recruited by Austrian Olympic skier Egon Zimmermann to teach at the ski school.
Buttinger, who had skied with the Austrian Junior team, arrived in Gilford in December of 1964 and remembers that the first ski season was something of a disaster. ''We didn't get snow until the middle of January,'' which he says is a sharp contrast to the current season.
''I've never seen so much snow at Gunstock as we've had this year,'' says Buttinger, who is still active as an instructor and coach with the Gunstock Ski Club, the state's oldest, which dates all the back to 1918.
He went back to Austria during the summer of 1965 and returned that winter to teach again and decided to stay through the next summer, working as a carpenter's helper that summer in Alton, where he learned to water ski. He later worked in the ski shop at the Arlberg Inn in Gilford, and also cooked at the restaurant there with Freddie Nauchbar, whose daughter Bobbi was his first wife.
Buttinger says that ski equipment has changed a lot since he first arrived in the area and has an old picture of him and Penny Pitou at Cannon Mountain in Franconia in which he's wearing leather ski boots.
''That started changing really quick when the plastic shells started coming out. And the ski bindings really changed. We used to have what was called the runaway strap, which was pretty dangerous. The new bindings made a lot of difference.'' says Buttinger.
At that time he skied on a fiberglass ski, Kneissl's White Star, which has been introduced in 1962 and was one of the forerunners of the new generation of skis. In the mid 1990s the shaped skis became popular. Featuring a wider tail and tip, when tipped onto their edges, they bend into a curved shape and carve a turn.
''They do the turning for you and make it a lot easier to ski.'' he says.
He's also seen how much the introduction of snowmaking at New Hampshire's ski areas in the early 1970s has helped the sport and says the new lift systems have made it much easier to enjoy a full day of skiing.
''When I came here there were a couple of double chairlifts and some T-bars and even a rope tow. Now you can get to the top of the mountain really quickly and enjoy a lot more ski runs. And snowmaking has helped extend the season and make sure you always have enough snow. We couldn't exist today without it.''
He says that he was drawn to move from his native Austria to the Lakes Region by the friendliness of the people that he met here and over he years has made many friends through being a ski instructor.
Along the way there has also been some tragedy, including the loss of his 13-year old son, Tony, in an accident following a ski race at Gunstock in 1984. For nearly 30 years the Gunstock Ski Club held the annual Tony Buttinger Memorial Slalom as a fundraiser. A plaque honoring Tony still hangs in his memory at the GSC Clubhouse.
''I've seen a lot at Gunstock. People have really been good to me. In some ways I miss the good old days, when people would ski and come into the base lodge and talk to each other and share good times. Today you see everyone on their cell phone and people across the table don't even talk to each other.'' says Buttinger.
Nearly 200 people showed up at a 50th anniversary party held in early January at Gunstock, which was arranged by his daughters Anniliese and Stacie.
''It was a total surprise. There were some women there who were in their 80s that I taught to ski when I first came here. It was a great time and it really made the day for me when Penny Pitou showed up. That was a real honor,'' says Buttinger.


Klaus Buttinger with his friend and fellow ski instructor Hans Siesle in the parking lot at Gunstock Ski Area in 1965. (Courtesy photo)

Last Updated on Friday, 20 March 2015 10:39

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