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Roy Sanborn - The Winni Sales Report - July 2014

July was a pretty good month for waterfront sales on Lake Winnipesaukee. There were 15 transactions at an average sales price of $922,050 and a median price point of $715,000. That compares to 16 sales in July of 2013 with an average price of $812,125. There were five sales exceeding that sacred one million dollar mark.

The entry level sale of the month on the lake was at 21 Farmington Rd in Alton which was represented by Bob Buchanan of Maxfield Real Estate. This property consisted of two lots of record with a 1900's vintage cottage that was in need of a total rehab. Undoubtedly, the main selling feature was the waterfront lot which has 42.5-feet of frontage and a small boathouse which was converted into a cabana and dock space. Priced at only $189,900 and selling for just $180,000 after 16 days in the market, someone saw the potential and value here. It is currently assessed for $161,900 by the great city of Alton. I bet there is some calypso music playing down there this month...

The median price sale for the month was at 28 Patrician Shores Circle in Meredith which was represented by Ellen Mulligan of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage of Center Harbor. This 1975 vintage, 2,598-square-foot, three plus bedroom, three bath single level contemporary has a great open floor plan and views from just about every room. It features a living room with cathedral ceilings, a fieldstone fireplace, and a wall of windows to take in the views, a master suite with its own fireplace, sun room, and a family room in the lower level walkout. The home sits on a .39 acre level yard with a u-shaped dock on 140 feet of frontage. This property was listed at $990,000 and sold for $870,000 after 145 days on the market. It is assessed for $880,900. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me!

Another nice property listed by Dennis Schauer of Prudential Spencer Hughes down at 42 Campfire Circle in Alton also found a new owner. This 5,177-square-foot contemporary has some great southwesterly facing views and is situated on a cul-de-sac in desirable Cedar Cove. This high quality home was built in 1992 and has five bedrooms, three and a half baths, a well appointed kitchen, a wood paneled living room with fireplace, wonderful sun room/office, and an exercise and family room with bar area in the walkout basement. The house sits on a .9 acre beautifully landscaped lot with a 125-feet of frontage, a perched beach, and protected dock. This property was first listed in June of 2011 at $2,589,000 but was relisted this year at $2,249,000 and sold for $2,050,000 after just 60 days on the market. It is currently assessed at $1,992,300. I'd be safe to guess that someone is having a fantastic summer over there!

The only sale on Winnisquam in July was at 204 Shore Drive in Laconia where a 1955 vintage colonial style home found a buyer after just 6 days on the market. This property was listed by my partner Ashley Davis and myself and I'd have to say it was one of the most tastefully updated, pristine, and well cared for properties I have been in. This 3,126-square-foot home features a beautiful open kitchen/dining/family room area with built-ins, hardwood floors, hearth with a gas stove, and great views of the lake. There is also a more formal living room with a gas fireplace and a knotty pine three season sun room with cathedral ceilings which is perfect for that sunny (or rainy) day. A sumptuous master suite with even better lake views is found on the second level along with three guest rooms. A family room and three quarter bath provides additional sleep over quarters down in the basement. A large deck overlooks the backyard where there is a nice lawn area that leads down to your very own quiet cove with 164' of frontage, a sandy beach, and dock. This place is pretty close to perfect all the way around. This property was listed last year for $786,000 for just a short period and then relisted this year at $789,000 with a new roof and exterior paint job and sold to the first buyer at $780,000. It is assessed at $674,900. I wish I had more like this to sell...

Please feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data was compiled using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System as of 8/14/14. Roy Sanborn is a REALTOR® at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 August 2014 07:50

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Susan Estrich - Even winners get sick

When the news rippled out on Monday that Robin Williams had committed suicide, even I thought — for a moment — "but he had everything." As if suicide is a "choice."

I say "even I" because I know better. My mother was seriously depressed for much of her life. A close friend's husband committed suicide years ago, and he had everything, too. Then there was our neighbor's son, whom I babysat for — I heard it was a psychotic break.

When it comes to illness, what you have doesn't matter very much. At a certain age, it sometimes seems like everyone's running over the hill, and some people won't make it, and who those people will be — who will be felled by an aggressive cancer, a sudden aneurysm, a rare infection — seems almost random. Sure, there's genetics, preventive care and exercise, and sometimes we can comfort ourselves by finding out that a lost friend never got colonoscopies or that a lost relative still smoked. But often there is no reason at all. My friend Kath used to laugh about how much I worried that a stray lump or an ambiguous test result was a sure sign of aggressive cancer. She never worried about rare aggressive cancers, until she was diagnosed with one; she died months later.

News of my friend Dotty Lynch's death also hit the wires on Monday. The longtime political director of CBS News, Dotty belongs in heaven if anyone does. In her decades in politics and journalism, she managed to handle some of the biggest egos in the business, always with sheer brilliance and amazing grace. The melanoma just wouldn't quit. And while you might be comforted to know that Dotty was a fair-skinned redhead, there are plenty of fair-skinned folks — John McCain comes to mind — who have not been slowed down by repeated bouts with melanoma.

Why Dotty? Not for a second would anyone suggest that Dotty had a choice in the matter.

So why do even those of us who know better spend even a second when we hear of a suicide saying things like "He had everything" or "How could he do this to his family?"

Suicide isn't something you "do" to your family. It is the terminal stage of what is often a lifelong illness. Why some people end up at this stage of despair and others, like my mother, are crippled by depression for decades but cling to life, no one knows. Some people respond to treatment; some are able to live with deep depression, as some people live with illnesses that kill others. I inherited my mother's blue genes. I have fought depression and have been helped by wonderful doctors. My depression, at least, has never been coupled with suicidal thoughts.

But even the best doctors can't help some people who are ill. Indeed, even the best doctors don't necessarily know when their own patients are in danger. I remember, so many years ago, when my friend's husband became deeply depressed. She consulted his psychiatrist, who advised her that he was not suicidal. It turned out he was mistaken. So, I imagine, was whoever didn't tell Robin Williams' wife that he needed to be hospitalized, that his illness was beyond his control or tolerance.

Robin Williams brought joy and laughter to so many of us. And my friend Dotty... Well, Dotty was ahead of her time, a brilliant pollster, an amazing analyst, a wonderful person. I might say they both lost their fights with illness, but terminal illness is not an opponent you can vanquish. It's not a fair fight. And to suggest that either of these people "lost" a contest misses the point. They were winners. But even winners get sick.

(Susan Estrich is a professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California Law Center. A best-selling author, lawyer and politician, as well as a teacher, she first gained national prominence as national campaign manager for Dukakis for President in 1988.)

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2014 10:46

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Pat Buchanan - The Strong Man Cometh?

At the end of the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama famously wrote that our world may be at the "end of history" where "Western liberal democracy" becomes "the final form of human government."

A quarter century on, such optimism seems naive.

Consider the United States, the paragon of liberal democracy. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll finds that only 14 percent of the people approve of Congress and only 19 percent approve of the GOP. Seventy-one percent believe America is headed in the wrong direction.

Nor is this the exceptional crisis of a particular presidency. JFK was assassinated. LBJ was broken by race riots and anti-war demonstrations. Richard Nixon, facing impeachment, resigned. Gerald Ford was rejected by the electorate. Ronald Reagan was highly successful — like Nixon, he won in a 49-state landslide after his first term — but during the Iran-Contra scandal of 1987 there was a real threat of a second impeachment. And Bill Clinton was impeached.

Our democracy seems to be at war with itself.

Now there is talk of impeaching Obama. It will become a clamor should he grant executive amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants.

Political science has long described what seems to be happening. From the tribal leader comes the monarch, whose reign gives way to an aristocracy that produces a middle class that creates a republic, the degenerative form of which is that pure democracy of which John Adams wrote: "Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide." Then comes the strong man again.

Is that our future? Is Western democracy approaching the end of its tether, with the seeming success of authoritarian capitalism in China and Russia? Recent history provides us with examples.

World War I, begun 100 years ago, brought down many of the reigning monarchs of Europe. The caliph of the Ottoman Empire was sent packing by Kemal Ataturk. Czar Nicholas II was murdered on the orders of the usurper Vladimir Lenin. Fighting off a Bolshevik invasion, Marshal Pilsudski rose to power in Poland. Admiral Miklos Horthy ran the communists out of Budapest and took the helm. Mussolini led the 1922 March on Rome. Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch in 1923 failed, but his party utilized democracy's institutions to seize power and murder democracy. Out of the Spanish Civil War came the dictatorship of Gen. Franco. And so it went.

Vladimir Putin may be the most reviled European leader among Western elites today, but he is more popular in his own country than any other Western ruler, with 80 percent approval, for standing up for Russia and Russians everywhere.

Polls in France say that, were elections held today, Marine Le Pen would replace Francois Hollande in the Elysee Palace.

Eurocrats bewail what is happening, but, inhibited by secularist ideology, fail to understand it. They believe in economism, rule by scholarly global elites, and recoil at the resurgence of nationalism and populism. They do no understand people of the heart because they do not understand human nature. People don't enlist, endure, fight and die for cerebral constructs.

Who, then, will own the future — of Europe, America, the world?

The day of the democratist and transnational elite appears to be passing. In Europe, the Scots, Catalans, Corsicans, Venetians and Flemish seek to secede from England, Spain, France, Italy and Belgium, respectively. Not only the National Front in France, but also the UK Independence Party of Nigel Farage and a dozen other nationalist parties on the continent want out of the European Union and an end to immigration. And they are no longer intimidated by name-calling.

In America, a tectonic shift has taken place in public opinion with the arrival on our border of 60,000 children from Central America and the threat by Obama to issue executive amnesty to 5 million illegals. Last week, Alabama Congressman "Mo" Brooks said there is a "war on whites" in America, being led by Obama, noting that under civil right laws the only group one may discriminate against is white males. Nor has Brooks recanted under fire.

In a Washington Post column answering Brooks, "A Welcome End to American Whiteness," Dana Milbank concedes that, by 2043, white Americans will be less than half of the U.S. population. They were near 90 percent in 1960.

Far from being something to fear, Milbank writes, this "is to be celebrated. Indeed, it is the key to our survival." Immigrants pouring in from the Third World will bring a "fresh labor supply" and "fresh blood to cure us of what ails us." A tired America will be revitalized.

Perhaps. But sociologist Robert Putnam discovered that the more ethnically and linguistically diverse a society becomes, the more its social capital evaporates, and the less do its multicultural members gather together to cooperate in common causes.

And from those recent polls, Americans seem to look on the prospect of an even more racially and culturally diverse America of tomorrow, not with anticipation, but with a measure of dread.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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Sanborn — Protected by...

As of August 1, 2014 there were 1,283 homes on the market in the twelve communities covered by this report. The average listing price was $575,398 and the median price point stood at $269,000. That means there were 641 affordable homes below that $269,000 mark. Last August there were 1,241 homes with a median price of $259,900. The current inventory level represents a 16 month supply of homes to sell which is way, way too much.

Ever since the dawn of home ownership people have tried to protect their property and thwart those that might intrude on them. The second task Neanderthal Man had after moving into his new digs was to start a fire in the mouth of the cave to keep predators from making his family into dinner. His first task was to paint some pictures of his favorite sports on the wall. The Dukes, Earls, and Kings of the dismal dark ages protected their property by digging a big moat around their house to keep the marauding Huns or Vikings from pillaging their property. The ancient Chinese built their homes with squeaky floors on purpose so that ninjas couldn't sneak in on them. They called them cricket floors. Our old New England homes have squeaky floors too, but they didn't make them that way on purpose.

Of course, a good lock is probably the best bet to keep most prowlers out, but if someone wants to get in they will. Fear is also a great deterrent. Dogs have been used to protect homes for centuries and nothing strikes more fear into a would-be intruder's heart than a snarling Rottie or Doberman. A barking dog is an excellent choice to keep burglars out as long as they sound fierce. Minpins and Pekinese don't quite cut it. It doesn't matter that your Rottie is a blubbering lap dog and that he's probably peeing all over the kitchen floor, he still sounds fierce and has the desired effect.

Warning signs work pretty well, too. You know, like the signs that say ADT or Property Protected by Smith and Wesson. You don't necessary have to have a security system or a .45 caliber handgun to display the warning sign, but it could help. I kind of like the sign that has a picture of a handgun on it that says "Never Mind the Dog, Beware of the Owner." Combining man's best friend and a gun toting homeowner should be a pretty effective deterrent. Video cameras mounted outside your home also stop many would-be felons. The camera doesn't even have to be real, either. A dummy camera tends to make burglars back off as they are generally a little camera shy. Something about the post office bulletin board?

Home security systems have been around for more than 160 years and the original was the invention of Augustus Pope from right here in New England down in Sommerville, Mass. He invented a simple switch that mounted on a door or window which when opened caused an electrical circuit to close and ring a battery operated bell. A very loud bell. A bell, that wouldn't shut off. Just like the darn sirens they use today that we, as realtors, invariably set off at least once at our client's home.

A shrewd business man named Edwin Holmes (no relation to Sherlock) bought the patent to Popes invention in 1857 and later combined it with that new fangled invention called "electricity" and transmitted the alarm to a central monitoring station through telegraph lines. Over the years burglar alarm systems have improved and expanded to include video surveillance monitoring and whole house systems monitoring with remote access and control. Today systems can be installed without wiring thanks to new technology and you can even get alerts to your cell phone letting you know that someone is breaking into your house while you are out playing golf. That's pretty amazing stuff. It beats building a fire on your front porch or yelling at your dog to shut up. I don't know though, I really still like my dog...

Please feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data was compiled using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System as of 8/1/14. Roy Sanborn is a realtor at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012

Last Updated on Friday, 08 August 2014 07:37

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Jim Hightower - U.S. Postal Service is a moneymaking operation

One public service that people really like and count on is the post office — which literally delivers for us.

Antigovernment ideologues and privatization dogmatists, however, hate the very word "public," and they've long sought to demonize the U.S. Postal Service, undercut its popular support and, finally, dismantle it. Their main line of attack has been to depict it as a bloated, inefficient, outmoded agency that's a hopeless money loser, sucking billions from taxpayers. Never mind that USPS doesn't take a dime of tax money to fund its operation — it's actually a congressionally-chartered, for-profit corporation that earns its revenue by selling stamps and providing services to customers. And here's something that will come as a surprise to most people: The post office makes a profit — expected to be more than a billion dollars this year.

Yet, the media keeps reporting that the USPS is losing billions of dollars each year. What they fail to mention is that those are phony paper losses manufactured by Congress at the behest of corporate privatizers.

Late in 2006, the lame duck Republican Congress rammed into law a cockamamie requirement that the Postal Service must pre-fund the retiree health benefits of everyone it employs or expects to employ for the next 75 years. Hello? That includes workers who're not even born yet! No other business in America is required to pre-fund such benefits for even one year. To add to Congress' cockamamie-ness, the service is being forced to put up all of that money within just 10 years — which has been costing USPS more than $5 billion a year. That artificial burden accounts for 100 percent of the so-called "losses" the media keep reporting.

It's like tying an anvil around someone's neck, throwing the person out of a boat, and saying, "Swim to shore, sucker."

As if that's not enough of a weight to carry, the men and women who actually do the work and make service more than just a word in the U.S. Postal Service's name have had another unfair burden hung around their necks: A Postmaster General who has thrown-in with the privatizers. As PMG, Pat Donahoe is the titular head of this proud group of postal workers, letter carriers, mail handlers and rural letter carriers. They take pride in moving our mail to us wherever we are — from inner cities all the way to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, where a Native American Tribe lives.
But Donahoe is not making the workforce proud, for he abandoned them, their millions of customers, and USPS's historic dedication to service. HE is deliberately monkey-wrenching out service — including slowing delivery, reducing staff and hours of service, closing neighborhood and historic post offices, shutting down processing centers, constantly pressing Congress to end Saturday delivery, badmouthing his own agency's performance, steadily corporatizing public functions and transforming decent, union-scale jobs into the low-wage retail economy.

One gross and portentous example of Donahoe's determination to bust the wages and undermine the performance of USPS is the sweetheart privatization scam he's set up with Staples. He's letting this big-box retailer place official postal kiosks in its 1,500 stores — only they're not staffed by highly-trained, publicly-accountable postal workers, but by Staple's own poverty-wage, high-turnover floor staff. In at least one case, Donahoe even cut the hours of service at post offices around a Staples store in San Francisco, and then put a sign directing postal customers to the Staples outlet. Rather than being dedicated to customer service and the public interest, the private "post officettes'" priority is to serve Staples' profit interests.

Mark Dimondstein — the new, feisty president of the American Postal Workers Union — calls Donahoe "Wall Street's Trojan Horse, the privatizer from within." But says Dimondstein, "We intend to stop him." His union has launched a Dump Donahoe campaign as well as a national boycott of Staples stores. For information and support, go to apwu.org.

(Jim Hightower has been called American's most popular populist. The radio commentator and former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture is author of seven books, including "There's Nothing In the Middle of Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos" and his new work, "Swim Against the Current: Even Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow".)

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 August 2014 09:58

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