E. Scott Cracraft - Abstinence-only sex education?

Normally, social and political conservatives would be dancing with joy if a president cut a useless program from the federal budget. Many want to cut funding for Planned Parenthood but seem upset that President Obama has asked that millions of tax dollars to fund "abstinence-only" sex education be cut from the 2017 budget. While Obama should be praised for this, many Republicans in Congress are sure to oppose him.
In many school districts, especially those where religious conservatives control school boards or are otherwise a strong political force, schools take taxpayer dollars for these highly ineffective programs. The "catch" is that they can only teach that total abstinence until marriage is the only way to prevent pregnancy or sexually-transmitted diseases.
As is common among many social conservatives, the pro-abstinence people engage in half-truths. Sure, abstinence IS a sure-fire way to avoid these consequences but what if the students are going to have sex anyway? Should they not be taught how to protect themselves?
Abstinence-only sex ed is not only a failure but is based on the totally preposterous notion that if adults, especially teachers, tell teenagers over and over not to do something they will simply not do it! Also, when kids are given misinformation or disinformation about a given behavior and find out the adults were being less than honest, they are less likely to take adults seriously.
Such programs often include Christian guest speakers who stay "just on the line" of violating the separation of church and state. These speakers are even employed in schools which teach a comprehensive sex ed program.
Such sex "educators" often engage in a great deal of misinformation, such as the idea that teens can get pregnant through two layers of clothing. Or they are given misinformation about the efficacy of birth control when most modern methods of contraception are usually highly effective if used properly. Of course, these programs will not mention abortion or include youth who may be gay, lesbian, or transgendered except, perhaps, in a negative light.
Again, they engage in half-truths. Sure, there is always the possibility that contraception will fail but these speakers exaggerate the proven scientific facts.
These programs also engage in a great deal of "slut-shaming," which is mostly directed at girls. They are told that unless they are virgins until they are married, "no man will want them." What about the behavior of the boys?
In areas of the country where this model is the norm, local conservative churches pressure teens to sign "purity pledges." Studies show that that many kids who have had abstinence-only sex ed do honor these pledges, at least for awhile. When an if they do break them, however, they are more likely to engage in unprotected sex. Or, they engage in sexual behavior short of vaginal intercourse thinking that this maintains their "virginity." Predictably, schools employing the abstinence-only model often have much higher rates of teen pregnancy and STD infection.
Should abstinence be taught in public school sex ed classes? Of course, it should but only as a viable option. Many teens are not ready for the emotional impact of an intimate relationship. But, it should not be the only option.
Students need comprehensive sex ed. They need to be taught the plethora of options when it comes to sexual behavior. They need to be taught about contraception, STDs, sexual orientation, and scientific, medical facts about puberty, sexuality and their changing bodies. They should also be taught respect for others and themselves when it comes to sex.
As with drug and alcohol education, kids need to be taught the truth, not what some adults would like them to believe. And, since many teens are going to experiment with sex anyway, it is important that they have reliable information about puberty, sexuality, contraception, sexual and dating violence, and how to protect themselves from sexually-transmitted diseases.
Parents still have the right to teach their children sexual mores. So do churches. But, to use taxpayer dollars to fund what is blatantly a narrow religious agenda not only violates the doctrine of Separation of Church and State but also puts teenagers at risk.

(Scott Cracraft is a citizen, taxpayer, veteran and a resident of Gilford.)

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Governor's Island on Lake Winnipesaukee


02-26 Governors Island


Governor's Island


By Frank Roche, President Roche Realty Group

The Lakes Region is known for its abundance of four-season communities with multiple choices for almost every imaginable budget. Governor's Island on Lake Winnipesaukee in Gilford is certainly one that stands out. Over the years, the island has transitioned to one of the finest waterfront communities on Winnipesaukee, which will continue to evolve for future generations to enjoy.
Governor's Island includes 504 acres and is approximately 1.8 miles long and 0.7 miles wide. The island was originally owned by Gov. Wentworth through a land grant in 1772 however all his lands and estates were confiscated during the revolution and Samual Gilman was elected to divide the land. In 1780 Governor's Island was purchased and later sold to a U.S. senator who also became governor of New Hampshire. He then sold the property to a man from Alton for $1,200 and was again sold to Eleazer Davis, whose son, Nathaniel Davis built the bridge and established a farming co-op. In 1883, it was leased to Stilson Hutchins (The founder of The Washington Post) for $1,000/year for 99 years. He is credited for the road along the shoreline and throughout the island. In 1885, he started construction on a granite mansion, which unfortunately caught fire 50 years later and his attempt at the development failed. After World War II, construction started to increase and more homes starting rising along the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee.
Fast forward to today, where you will find some of the finest luxury homes located on the "Big Lake," which have been constructed along the shores of this unique island. Additionally, a number of exquisite homes within the interior road network of the island enjoy shared access to the Governor's Island amenities and beaches.
Over the years, many of the original modest cape-style residences have been torn down and larger estate homes and compounds have been built with some of the most eye-appealing architectural designs found in New England. These luxury homes include extensive docking systems, many with breakwaters and canopied docks. A large part of the island is preserved as natural common-conservation land with hiking and cross-country trails meandering throughout the island. Members of the Governor's Island Club enjoy outstanding amenities, including natural sandy beaches with breakwaters, tennis courts, playground and a wonderful clubhouse overlooking the waterfront recreation area. Here you can enjoy picnics, gatherings and special occasions with loved ones. The gradual sandy beaches are some of the finest you will see on Lake Winnipesaukee. The waterfront homes enjoy expansive views from all directions, some orienting towards Gunstock and The Belknap Mountains while others face the White Mountains, Mt. Washington and The Ossipees.
The island is accessed by a small scenic bridge which leads to Route 11D. It is one of five bridged islands on Lake Winnipesaukee and is the fourth largest island out of 274 on Lake Winnipesaukee with Long Island being the largest at 1,186 acres.
Today there are over 167 property owners on Governor's Island. Together all the properties represent a total assessed value of approximately $241,000,000. This valuation produces a total tax revenue of $4.3 million annually for the town of Gilford. Keep in mind, Gilford's tax revenue is approximately $29 million, therefore Governor's Island residents contribute about 14.8 percent of Gilford's tax revenue. That's a lot of money when you consider that the entire island was once sold for $1,200.
During 2015, there were eight resales on Governor's Island ranging from $850,000 to $3,800,000. In 2014, there were six ranging from $1,500,000 to $1,650,000. During the last couple of years, the island has seen considerable new construction with some gorgeous lakefront homes substantial in size being built, which are not included in these figures. At this present time there are nine lakefront homes available ranging from a low of $1,499,000 to a high of $10,000,000.
If you would like to view or dream about some of these fine waterfront homes take a look on Google and search "Governors Island on Lake Winnipesaukee" ... RocheRealty.com will pop up first and direct you to our Governor's Island Club page on our website which features some quick facts, nice photos and all available properties for sale.
We are so fortunate in the Lakes Region to have such a wide variety of properties and communities on so many different lakes. From three season cottages to luxurious lakefront estates the choices are endless.

Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Frank Roche is president of Roche Realty Group in Meredith & Laconia and can be reached at (603) 279-7046.

02-26 Gov Island beach







Governor's Island beach

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Learn to cross-country ski and improve your skiing


This past January was "Learn to Ski and Snowboard" Month at downhill and cross-country areas. Although the month is over, most areas still offer inexpensive "learn to ski" packages as part of their regular offerings. These include trail passes or lift tickets, equipment rentals, and a lesson. It's a great way to try something new without investing lots of money in equipment or suffering the frustration of teaching yourself. You'll learn faster and have more fun.
Things to consider when learning to cross-country ski:
1. Start young – It's much easier to learn a new motor skill when you're young. Your body is more flexible, your balance better, your center of gravity lower. The earlier you can get kids on skis, the more naturally it'll come to them.
When should children take lessons? Once kids are in school, they are more receptive to instruction. They listen better, are more coordinated, and get more out of the lesson. Children can take lessons in a family group or by themselves.
2. You're Never Too Old – You might not be a "spring chicken," but if you are ambulatory, you can learn to ski. An instructor can help you work on your balance and coordination and show you how to be comfortable and efficient on skis. A group lesson will teach you the basics of moving on the flats and, when you're ready, the hills. A private lesson will give you a tailor-made lesson for your skills and comfort level. Both options are well worth the money to help you enjoy cross-country skiing.

3. Find a professional – Most cross country ski areas have instructors on staff who know how to teach you the skills you need to have a good time on skis. Many of them are PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America) certified. Lessons are structured to teach you skills one at a time and answer your questions about equipment, trail recommendations and etiquette, and techniques.

4. Pick a good day – Learning to ski will be easier if you pick a day when you're rested, the snow conditions are good, and the weather isn't too brutal.

5. Take a friend – It's easier to try something new if you have a friend along. You can encourage each other and share the learning experience. When you're done with your lesson, try out your new skills together on the trails.

Experienced cross-country skiers can benefit from lessons, too. They can tune up their skills if they're rusty, improve their techniques for better skiing, or try new gear and ski styles. Just because a skier knows the basics doesn't mean they can't learn something new. Old dogs can learn new tricks.
This winter, take advantage of the lessons local cross-country centers offer to learn to ski, improve your technique, fix bad habits, or try a new style of skiing. Your cross country experience will be so much better when you have new confidence and skills.


Jackson Ski Touring Foundation instructor teaches a five year old student how to have fun on skis.

Jackson Ski Touring Foundation instructor teaches a 5-year-old student how to have fun on skis. (Sally McMurdo/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

This older couple signed up for a lesson to learn how to use their new equipment and have fun in the snow.

This older couple signed up for a lesson to learn how to use their new equipment and have fun in the snow. (Sally McMurdo/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Mom and kids get ready for a family lesson.

Mom and kids get ready for a family lesson. (Sally McMurdo/for The Laconia Daily Sun)


photos are 02-26 learn to ski 1,2,3

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Sanborn — The dirty dozen signs of a real estate addiciton

Are you addicted to real estate? Are you a real estate junkie? Are you not able to sleep at night and can't stop thinking about extreme home makeovers, remodeling the bath, taking out a load bearing wall, or choosing the right color palettes? Do you search the internet for houses in exotic locations just for the fun of it? Is Zillow your home page?

How do you know if you have gone over the edge and have a real estate addiction problem? The answer is easy; just see how many of the following apply to you:

1. On the HGTV show "Property Brothers," you actually know which brother is Scott and which brother is Drew and you were excited to learn there was a third brother, J.D.
2. You know each of Chip and Joanne's kids' names and ages on the HGTV show "Fixer Upper." (Drake (6), Ella Rose (5), Duke (3), and Emmie Kay (2))
3. The "What is it?" segment on "This Old House" is the highlight of your week.
4. You wander aimlessly for hours in the kitchen and bath sections at Lowes.
5. You feel you are way smarter than the buyers on "House Hunters."
6. You find yourself wondering what Christina ever saw in Tarek on HGTV's "Flip or Flop?"
7. You always know whether the home owners are going to love it or list it on "Love It or List it."
8. You will sit through multiple episodes of "Tiny House," "Living Alaska," or "Design Star," if there is nothing else on.
9. You miss Bob Villa. If you don't know who Bob Villa is then you definitely aren't a real junkie or you are very young.
10. Your favorite sitcom of all time is "Home Improvement" and you aspire to be like Tim the Tool Man.
11. You know for a fact that whatever the cost estimate to fix up the home on "Love it Or List" is, it will be grossly underestimated due to some unforeseen and catastrophic circumstances and the owners won't get that desired master bath upgrade.
12. You entered HGTV's Dream Home Contest more than six times.

Now, if at least half of these apply to you, you definitely are addicted to real estate. These shows have taught you a lot about home construction, destruction, rehab, decor, flipping and flopping, downsizing, upsizing, remodeling, relocating, what granite goes with which wood cabinetry, and what low flush toilet technology might be the best. But don't rely on what you saw on "Million Dollar Listing" in Los Angeles or New York in forming opinions about real estate agents and the real estate business in general... trust me, it ain't like that. At least around here, thank God. Remember, this is TV.

Your real estate agent may also list many of these same television shows as among his favorites. That's a good thing and it kind of goes with the territory. If you love houses, you'll love these shows. There is a lot of good information and a lot to be learned, but you need to take some of the shows with a grain of salt. Rely on your agent to separate the realty from the reality TV.

P​ease feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. ​Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012

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Lakes Region Profiles — The little lakes of the Lakes Region

By Mary O'Neill

Sales Associate at Roche Realty Group


Most people visiting or living in the Lakes Region are familiar with the big lakes - Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam, Squam, Newfound - but they are not so familiar with the location and characteristics of some of the smaller lakes. I complied a list and quizzed a long-time resident as to the location of a number of the smaller lakes. Out of a list of 24, he was only able to name the location of 11. More surprising, he had not heard of several even though they were within 20 miles of his residence. Quiz yourself and see how you do in comparison. Where are the following lakes: Crystal, Suncook, Manning, Sunset, Halfmoon, Merrymeeting, Wentworth, Crescent, Kingswood, Mirror, Duncan, Ossipee, Silver, White, Kanasatka, Wicwas, Waukewan, Winona, Hermit, Pemigewasset, Opechee, Webster and Sawyer?

How did you do? Some of the lakes unheard of by my anonymous resident are actually good-sized lakes. Crystal Lake, in Gilmanton, for instance, covers 440 acres and is only 4 miles as the crow flies from Alton Bay. In the same area are the little known lakes of Manning and Sunset. Although smaller in size at 201 and 206 acres, respectively, they are only a 10 to 15 minute drive to the Alton docks. Much of Manning Lake is undeveloped, half of the shoreline being an official Boy Scouts camp for the Daniel Webster Council since 1945.

Less than 5 miles south of Crystal Lake are 160-acre Locke Lake and 362-acre Suncook Lake, both in Barnstead, and 253-acre Halfmoon Lake, which straddles the Alton and Barnstead town line. Halfmoon Lake has a unique history in that one of its beaches, called Hollywood Beach, was owned by Hollywood director Gordon Bennett. Actor Spencer Tracy was known to be a regular visitor there along with other movie stars.

A 15 minute drive from Alton Bay to the west is Merrymeeting Lake, located in New Durham, with 10.8 miles of shoreline and covering 1,111 acres. Merrymeeting Lake is regularly ranked among the cleanest lakes in the country. Local residents work hard to maintain this record. There is only one marina and public boat launch which means the lake stays uncrowded and provides ideal conditions for sailing, kayaking, swimming and smooth water skiing. Currently, you can purchase a home with lake access or waterfront for $180,000 to $450,000.

Further north, Lake Wentworth contributes to Wolfeboro being known as the oldest summer resort in America. Royally-appointed colonial governor John Wentworth had a summer mansion on the shores of the lake before the Revolutionary War. Lake Wentworth is the seventh largest lake in New Hampshire at 3,100 acres. Connected to it via the Smith River is 184-acre Crescent Lake, which is just a half mile north of downtown Wolfeboro. Two miles east of Lake Wentworth is Kingswood Lake in Brookfield. Heading west from Wolfeboro into Tuftonboro is Mirror Lake. The lake itself is only a few hundred feet from the shores of Winnipesuakee's Winter Harbor. Ten miles north of downtown Wolfeboro is Duncan Lake. This picturesque water body has 1.7 miles of shoreline and is 117 acres. Seven miles further north is 3,300 acre Ossipee Lake and another three miles north is Silver Lake. In the same vicinity is 126-acre White Lake. This lake is well known for its state park. Within the park is a National Natural Landmark. National Landmark Properties are registered to illustrate some aspect of America's diversified natural resources. In this case, there is a 72 acre stand of Northern Pitch-Pines. It is believed that colonial settlers used this durable, water-repellent, and decay-resistant wood for mill wheels and fence posts. The White Lake State Park's stand contains trees which are unusually tall for the species.

Heading west to Moultonborough brings you to the unspoiled waters of Lake Kanasatka, spreading out over 375 acres. This lake was once named Red Hill Pond after the hills behind its northern shore. Property for sale on Lake Kanasatka is one example of how you can purchase lakefront real estate for less than something comparable on one of the bigger lakes. For example, a current listing offers a home with 2 bedrooms, 150 feet of shoreline, and more than half an acre for $339,000.

In the area between Winnipesaukee and Newfound there are several stunning lakes. Lake Wicwas in Meredith covers 328 acres and is surrounded by forested conservation land. Wicwas attracts many kayakers and canoers who like to navigate around its many islands. Lake Waukewan in Meredith and New Hampton has 8.1 miles of shoreline and covers 912 acres. This striking lake serves as Meredith's water supply and flows into Winnipesaukee's Meredith Bay at the Inn at Mills Falls in downtown Meredith. Lake Winona in New Hampton and Center Harbor has 3.1 miles of shoreline and covers 154 acres. Also in this area are Hermit Lake (176 acres) and Pemigewasset Lake (241 acres).

If you continue south from Meredith you will come to Lake Opechee. This lake was the site of the 1954 National Waterski Championship. With its placid waters nestled among the hills of Laconia, Opechee's 426 acres remain a popular waterski spot. As with the other smaller lakes, waterfront living is possible at lower price points. For instance, a well-appointed three bedroom/four bath home with 227 feet of shorefront and a private beach located in one of the best neighborhoods is currently listed for $599,000. Other lakefront and lake-access homes on Opechee are available starting in the low $200,000 range.

In the Tilton, Belmont, and Franklin area are Webster Lake (612 acres) and Silver Lake (216 acres). The Winnipesaukee River flows into Silver Lake from Lake Winnisquam. At one time, an important Native American village was located at this juncture and served as a gathering place to capture eel and shad. About eight miles east of Silver Lake is 79-acre Sawyer Lake in Gilmanton. Sawyer Lake is popular for its comfortable and reasonably-priced homes and camps that give homeowners access to five association beaches. Current listings in this area range from about $80,000 to $230,000. Another eight miles west of Sawyer Lake brings you back to Crystal Lake in Gilmanton, where we began our tour of the smaller lakes.

These lakes are just a few of the 273 lakes, ponds, and rivers in the Lakes Region. American scientist Loren Eiseley once said, "If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water." If the cost of a property on one of the bigger lakes is beyond your means, it is still possible to enjoy waterfront living on one of the smaller lakes.

Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Mary O'Neill is a sales associate at Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, and can be reached at 366-6306. rocherealty.com

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