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Weirs Martha? A look at the cottages of the Vineyard and the Weirs

As of June 1, there were 1,190 residential homes available in the 12 Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average asking price stood at $480,614 with a median price point of $264,950. Last June 1 there were 1,318 homes on the market at an average asking price of $493,820. The current inventory level represents a 15 month supply of homes available which is down from the 18.5 month supply as of June 1, 2012. That's pretty good!
I just spent a few days down on Martha's Vineyard and discovered that there are a lot of similarities between that beautiful island and our own Lakes Region. For example, there is a strong Indian history at both locales with the Wampanoag tribe originally inhabiting the Vineyard while we have the Algonquian and Abaneki to thank for the names of places that keep our tourists tongue tied. Both are big tourist destinations with water sports, boating, and great restaurants in abundance. While we both have some pretty expensive waterfront property, the Vineyard outdoes us by a lot in that regard. In 2012 the average sales price for a single family home on the Vineyard was $972,000 compared to $302,188 for the towns covered in this report.
The Vineyard, and specifically the town of Oak Bluffs, has something else in common with our own Weirs Beach area. Pulling into the harbor on the ferry you immediately notice the brightly painted cottages and homes that line the main street along the water. I immediately thought of the homes along Lakeside Ave in the Weirs with their bright colors and Victorian style architecture. These homes were built a decade or so after the civil war by members of the NH Veterans Association and were known as the Regimental Buildings.
The cottages in Oak Bluffs were also built at the end of the Civil War but they were constructed by members of the Methodist Church who traveled here in the summer for a week long regimen of intense spiritual inspiration. Originally though, the Methodists just pitched tents in a circle with the center of the circle designated as the church. The Methodist camp meeting was born in Oak Bluffs in 1835. It was called the Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association and the area was called Wesleyan Grove. Eventually, the tents became a little more sophisticated and comfortable. They added wooden floors, a front porch, wooden sidewalls, and a canvas roof. The camp meetings became very popular as there was not much to do back then as NetFlix hadn't been invented yet. Pretty soon the circle of tents grew larger and larger as people decided to stay longer on the island and refresh the body as well as the soul.
The tents were soon replaced by small cottages built in a new whimsical architectural style with ornate filigree and embellishments that was dubbed Carpenter Gothic. I suspect it became somewhat of a contest as to who could create the most colorful and eye pleasing cottage. These cottages were typically long and narrow like a shot gun house with two or possibly three rooms on the first level. A set of double doors opened out onto the front porch mimicking church doors. The bedrooms were located up a set of very steep stairs on the second level and there was generally a balcony over the front porch. The kitchen and privy were located outside the house. Now the Methodists had to be a friendly lot as the front porch served as an outdoor living room and you could reach out and almost touch the cottage next to you because the lots were originally just big enough to hold a tent.
By 1880 there were over 500 of these cottages gathered in a radial-concentric pattern on 34 acres with small paths connecting the smaller circles of homes. Today around 300 cottages remain in a remarkable state of preservation along with a church, chapel, and a wrought iron Tabernacle which itself is an extraordinary building with soaring arches and unique construction. This place is well worth visiting if you ever get the chance.
The Methodist Camp Meetings also found a home in the Lakes Region when Methodists discovered that Weirs Beach provided the perfect backdrop for their summer religious meetings. In 1874, 13 acres were purchased for camp-meetings and by the 1890's the area called "Methodist Circle" had grown into a small colony of cottages on the shores of Winnipesaukee. The worshippers constructed an auditorium in the center of the circle and eventually built a church on Tower Ave in 1886. That church burned in 1924 but was rebuilt in 1926 and still stands today.
To get to Methodist Circle you go over the wooden bridge just up past the boardwalk on Lakeside Ave. There you will find a number of the original cottages and while they might not be quite as fancy or ornate as the ones in Oak Bluffs they are still pretty cool.
There is also another well known camp meeting area in Alton which began in 1863 and was called the Second Advent Campground. These early worshippers also started with tents but were finally given permission to build wooden structures to stay in because there seemed to be a delay in the coming of the Lord. Initially, they were not allowed to paint their structures as the day of resurrection was supposed to be imminent and the church leaders didn't want anyone to waste money on an unnecessary paint job. Eventually, the rules were loosened and the cottage owners were allowed to preserve their buildings with a good old coat of Benjamin Moore. The only problem was many were built so close together you couldn't get between them to paint them or do any maintenance. Fires have destroyed many of these cottages. The largest fire was in 1945, but one as recently as 2009 claimed over 40 structures.
To see photos of many of the Oak Bluffs cottages and some of our own cottages at the Weirs visit www.lakesregionhome.com. Data was compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 6/1/13. Roy Sanborn is a REALTOR® at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-455-0335.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 June 2013 09:57

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Susan Estrich - The morning after

If you're having trouble following all of the twists and turns in the saga relating to the availability of what is commonly referred to as the "morning-after pill," you're not alone.
First some basic facts: The emergency contraceptive must be taken within five days of unprotected sex, and contrary to claims of certain anti-abortion activists, it prevents fertilization in the first instance (rather than causing a miscarriage). There are two versions: the original two-pill version and a more recent one-pill version.
It's been nearly a decade since the lawsuit that has been winding its way through the courts (and onto the front pages) was filed. At that time, the only version was two pills, which is why (as best as I can tell) the latest decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ordering the government to lift all age restrictions on purchases until it decides the merits of a pending appeal applies only to the two-pill version.
The appeal is from a decision by a federal district judge holding that all versions of the pill should be made available to all ages over the counter. The Obama administration sought to "stay" the judge's decision (meaning it should not be allowed to go into effect) and has argued that access should be limited to girls over 15, overruling a recommendation from the FDA that would have lifted all restrictions (like the judge's decision).
Then, last month (if you're still with me), the FDA announced that one of the one-pill brands should be made available to girls over 15, provided they show identification. The appeals court rule doesn't apply to that version.
What is really going on here? According to the respected federal judge who decided this case, it is simple: politics. Judge Edward R. Korman has not minced words, criticizing the "bad faith, politically motivated decision of (Health and Human Services) Secretary Sebelius, who lacks any medical or scientific expertise."
True?
I think so.
The argument against the morning-after pill is that it will encourage young people to have sex. I find it hard to believe that 12- and 13-year-olds are deciding whether to have sex based on the availability of emergency contraception. If only such decisions were made in the kind of rational, logical way that would involve a weighing of such factors. Seriously.
As for the danger of the drug, most scientists seem to believe acetaminophen carries more risk — not to mention pregnancy. Most studies find that it's largely adults who use the morning-after pill, not teens. But requiring a government-issued ID to prove age may limit access to the pill for those of any age, and keeping it locked up behind the counter will make it more burdensome or embarrassing for those who need it to ask for it. I used to be embarrassed buying sanitary napkins at that age. Asking a pharmacist for the morning-after pill? Why make it any more difficult? Do we really want these girls to get pregnant?
No one, including the president, likes the idea of children having sex. Back in December of 2011 (when, perhaps not coincidentally, the president was in the middle of a re-election campaign), he endorsed Sebelius' decision, saying that as a father, it made him very uncomfortable to think of young girls having access to the morning-after pill without a prescription.
Of course it does. But the prescription is hardly the reason. Children should not be having sex. Can't we all agree on that?
But even more fundamentally, children should not be having children. One thing is for sure: The risks to an 11-year-old that come with an unwanted pregnancy — in terms of both her physical and mental health — are far greater than the risk associated with taking one or two pills to prevent fertilization. If we have a safe and effective way to prevent that, why wouldn't we allow it?
(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 Friday, 07 June 2013 07:11

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Michael Barone - Just 2 WWII vets left in CongressFOR FRIDAY 6-7

Over the last seven decades, 115 veterans of World War II have served in the United States Senate. This week, the last of them, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, died.
Two World War II veterans still serve in the House — Ralph Hall of Texas, who was a Navy pilot, and John Dingell, who joined the Army at 18 and was scheduled to take part in the planned invasion of Japan. There aren't likely to be any more members of what Tom Brokaw labeled the Greatest Generation to serve in Congress. All surviving World War II veterans (except a few who lied about their age) are at least 85 years old.
In the 68 years since World War II ended, veterans of the conflict have played an outsized role in American politics — more than veterans of any other conflict since the Civil War.
Not much notice was paid when the last Spanish-American War veteran in Congress, Barratt O'Hara, died in 1969.
Nor was much attention directed at the retirement from Congress in the 1970s of the last two World War I veterans — Sen. Mike Mansfield of Montana (who lied about his age to enlist) and Sen. John Sparkman of Alabama (who served in the Students Army Training Corps).
In contrast, World War II veterans made a big splash in politics starting shortly after the war ended. Dozens of young veterans were elected to Congress in 1946, including future Presidents John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. The two had offices near each other and, as Christopher Matthews chronicled in his 1996 book "Kennedy and Nixon," were on friendly terms until they became political rivals.
When they ran for president in 1960, they were both in their 40s — a vivid contrast with the much older presidents of the previous two decades.
From Kennedy's victory that year until George H.W. Bush's defeat in 1992, a period of 32 years, every president served in the military during World War II, although Lyndon Johnson's service was brief and Jimmy Carter did not graduate from the Naval Academy until after the war was over.
Many other members of the Greatest Generation entered politics early and made a mark. Lloyd Bentsen, first elected to Congress in 1948, and George McGovern, first elected in 1956, were both bomber pilots — extremely hazardous duty. Three future senators — Philip Hart of Michigan, Daniel Inouye of Hawaii and Bob Dole of Kansas — first met in a rehabilitation center in Battle Creek, Mich., recovering from serious wounds.
More than 400,000 American servicemen died in World War II — 100 times the American death toll in Iraq — and the lives of millions were disrupted. But wartime service also opened up opportunities for many.
One of them was Frank Lautenberg. His prospects seemed dim. His father died when he was a teenager, and his mother ran a sandwich shop. But thanks to the G.I. Bill of Rights, he was able to attend Columbia University.
Most big corporations in those days did not hire Jews for management positions. But Lautenberg was able to get in on the ground floor of a startup company called Automatic Payrolls Inc. It filled a niche created by the wartime institution of income tax withholding. Businesses needed someone to do the paperwork, and Lautenberg was hired as a salesman by the firm's founders.
Soon he became head of the renamed Automatic Data Processing (ADP), and under his leadership it processed paychecks for about 10 percent of the national workforce. With the fortune he made, Lautenberg was able to pay for his first Senate campaign in 1982.
Like many but by no means all World War II veterans, Lautenberg was a liberal Democrat, a fighter unafraid of navigating the sometimes troubled waters of New Jersey politics.
He retired from the Senate in 2000 but was happy to be called back by Democratic politicos to replace his scandal-struck colleague Bob Torricelli, with whom he had a stormy relationship, on the 2002 ballot.
The Greatest Generation has had a long and sometimes stormy run in American politics. Lyndon Johnson was tripped up by Vietnam, and Richard Nixon by Watergate.
Ronald Reagan did much to restore the faith in institutions that seemed so strong in what his generation always called The War.
Now, with just two World War II veterans in the House, the Greatest Generation is finally passing on into history.
(Syndicated columnist Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.)

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 June 2013 09:40

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Sen. Andrew Hosmer - N.H. can't wait; expanding Medicaid helps taxpayers, businesses & our hospitals

Last week, the New Hampshire Senate Finance Committee rejected expanding Medicaid in New Hampshire and instead opted to delay and study.  This politically motivated decision is fiscally short-sighted and will hurt our health care system and our entire economy.
The Medicaid program is a partnership between the federal government and the states. It primarily covers poor children, senior citizens, expecting mothers, and people with disabilities. Today, New Hampshire covers about 132,000 people, and the costs are split 50-50 between the state and the feds.
However, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states now have the option to extend Medicaid to working adults with annual incomes up to $15,856. And instead of splitting the costs evenly for this new group, the federal government will pay 100 percent from 2014-2016, and then after 2020 it will pay 90 percent.
According to non-partisan studies from the Lewin Group and New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute, the economic impact of this extended coverage is overwhelmingly positive.  It’s estimated that over the next seven years, New Hampshire will receive $2.5 billion in federal funds, New Hampshire’s hospitals will save $400 million, and the economic spinoff will create upwards of 5,000 jobs and $2.8 billion in gross state product.  
And how much will this cost New Hampshire? Zero, once managed care in Medicaid is implemented in the coming year.  
So where’s the opposition coming from?  Despite the huge benefits, some have argued that there is still a risk for New Hampshire, since the federal government might somehow renege on its promise.  The history of Medicaid is contrary to this fear, as the federal government has never failed to fully fund Medicaid in more than 45 years.  Also, if they ever do, New Hampshire can pull out at any time.
Others say that it makes financial sense to stop and study for a year.  This is unnecessary as expansion has been studied by non-partisan groups and their conclusions are quite similar. In fact, delaying a year costs us $340 million, drives up costs for businesses, and leaves tens of thousands of people in New Hampshire without coverage.
Putting politics aside and even beyond the clear economic and fiscal benefits, extending Medicaid coverage is important for our entire health care system.  Our current system, with skyrocketing insurance costs, increasing demands for charity care, declining Medicaid reimbursement rates and an inadequate understanding of mental health issues, is broken and in need of immediate, substantive reform.  Expanding Medicaid, regardless of how one feels about the ACA, is an opportunity to address and begin reforming our health care system.
Even fiscally conservative governors from across the country, including Chris Christie (R-NJ), Jan Brewer (R-AR), John Kasich (R–OH) and Rick Scott (R-FL), support Medicaid expansion, because it just makes so much sense for their states, and they are willing to look past the short-term politics.  If New Hampshire doesn’t take advantage of expansion, our hard earned tax dollars will go to subsidizing health care in these other states.  How ironic that N.H.’s healthcare system is struggling, yet Granite Staters will be paying for other states’ health care.  If this happens, New Hampshire will be 50th out of 50 states in the return of federal tax dollars to the state — the biggest “donor state” in the whole country.
The human cost is also staggering.   Medicaid expansion would cover 58,000 hard-working New Hampshire tax-payers (including 1500 veterans and 800 of their spouses).  These people are our neighbors, people we see at church, ball games and the grocery store — people who work multiple jobs trying to keep a roof over their head and food on the table.  
When I campaigned for the State Senate I remember well how many people told me they were tired of hyper-partisan politics.  I promised that I would remember those conversations and put them into action when elected.  This doesn’t have to be a partisan issue: we have a genuine opportunity to work together as pragmatic problem solvers.  It’s rare that a real, genuine solution is open to us.  Let’s grab it. Let’s put Granite Staters first and do what’s best for our healthcare providers, our business community, our economy and the hard working taxpayers of New Hampshire.
(Democrat Andrew Hosmer of Laconia represents District 7 in the N.H. Senate)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 June 2013 08:58

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Jim Hightower - IRS should outlaw all 'social welfare' political fronts — left & right

If you're covered in political stink, it might be prudent to avoid yelling "dirty politics" at others.
Lately, a mess of right-wing tea party groups have been wailing nonstop that they have been targeted, harassed and denied their civic rights by partisan, out-of-control, Obamanistic IRS thugs (no adjective too extreme when assailing Obama or the IRS). The groups certainly are right that it's abhorrent for a powerful agency to run a repressive witch hunt against any group of citizens just because of their political views. After all, liberals have frequently felt the lash of such official repression by assorted McCarthyite-Nixonite-Cheneyite forces over the years, and it must be condemned, no matter who the victims.
In this case, however, the right-wing groups were not targeted by government snoops and political operatives, but tagged by their own applications to be designated by the IRS as 501(c)(4) "social welfare" groups. This privileged status would allow them to take unlimited bags of corporate cash without ever revealing to voters the names of the corporations putting up the money. The caveat is that 501(c)(4)s are supposed to do actual social welfare work and cannot be attached to any candidate or party, nor can politics be their primary purpose.
Forget what the rule says, though. Such notorious political players as Karl Rove and the Koch brothers have cynically set up their own pretend-welfare groups, openly using them as fronts to run secret-money election campaigns. Suddenly, hundreds of wannabe outfits were demanding that they be given the special hide-the-money designation, too, brazenly lying about their overt political purpose. Some even asserted that they were engaged in no political activity, when their own websites bragged that they were.
It was these groups' stupidity and audacity that prompted the IRS inquiries, and their current hissy fit about the agency is really just a PR effort to let them continue their "social welfare" fraud.
I think of a "social welfare charity" as being an altruistic enterprise, like The Little Sisters of the Poor — not the avaricious Little Koch Brothers of the Plutocracy.
Yet the brothers have created their very own 501(c)(4) charity, which they used last year as a political front group for funneling $39 million into campaigns against Democrats. Interesting, since, the law bans these tax-exempt entities from spending more than 49 percent of their funding on political efforts to promote their "issues."
Yet, there they are — hoards of political (c)(4)s, mostly right-wing, operating primarily as political pipelines for secretly gushing corporate money into raw, partisan campaigns. Their hocus-pocus lawyers and congressional consiglieres have badgered the IRS into handing them the (c)(4) get-out-of-jail-free card, then defied the agency to stop them as they dump millions of corrupt dollars into our elections.
For example, American Action Network, a "charity" created by Wall Street lobbyists, has spent two-thirds of its revenue on elections, including putting up $745,000 from secret donors to elect Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. How ironic, then, that Johnson is now one of the tea party mad dogs howling at IRS officials.
It's scandalous, Johnson shrieks, that some tea party groups have not been given (c)(4) status, because IRS agents have had the temerity to question whether the groups actually are charitable enterprises — or just rank political outfits fraudulently posing as charities.
While tea party groups should not be singled out for IRS scrutiny, neither should they be allowed to cheat in elections by shamefully masquerading as Little Sisters of the Poor. That's the real IRS scandal.
(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 Wednesday, 05 June 2013 08:55

Hits: 901

 
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