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Cast of many pitched in to help WOW Fest raise $22k for WOW Trail

To The Daily Sun,

On behalf of the WOW Trail Board, I would like to thank all involved in making the 5th Annual WOW Fest our best event yet, raising over $22K for the WOW Trail. It was a perfect day for people to get out and bike, run or walk and celebrate outdoor recreation while supporting the continued expansion of the WOW Trail.

We are grateful for our generous sponsors listed below and ask that you help us thank them through support of their businesses. In particular, we thank our Presenting Sponsor, Bank of New Hampshire, for their continued support of the WOW Trail.

FESTIVAL SPONSORS: Children's Dentistry of the Lakes Region, Fratello's Italian Grille, Laconia Athletic & Swim Club, Melcher & Prescott Insurance, Meredith Village Savings Bank, Patrick's Pub & Eatery, Rowell's Sewer & Drain, T-Bones Great American Eatery, Taylor Rental, The Common Man, Tritanium Sports.

EVENT SPONSORS: Awakening Chiropractic, Amoskeag Beverages, Binnie Media, Bodycovers, Gail Beane Graphic Artist, Meadowbrook Bank of NH Pavilion, Salmon Press, Shaw's of Gilford, Subway, The Citizen of Laconia, The Laconia Daily Sun, The Weirs Times.

TRAIL SPONSORS: Advanced Orthopedic Specialists, Big Cat Coffees, Contigiani's Catering Service, Cross Insurance, Franklin Savings Bank, Gator Sign Shop, Hackleboro Orchards, H&M Towing, HEB Engineers, Lakes Region Coca Cola, Lakes Region Triathlon Club, MC Cycle & Sport, Matthew J. Lahey, Esq., MetroCast, Performance Health,Stephen J. Smith & Associates, The Home Depot, Tilton Veterinary Hospital, Tylergraphics.

A big thank you to our 90 volunteers that gave their time and worked to make this event run smoothly for the participants. We would also like to thank Kathleen Merriam, David Stamps and Lakes Region CERT, Capt. Matt Canfield and the Laconia Police Department, Laconia Public Works Department, Kevin Dunleavy and Laconia Parks & Recreation and especially the Laconia Fire Department for their help and participation to include the raising of the flag and leading the walk with their team.

We would also like to recognize Catherine Martinez of Alton for joining us to sing the National Anthem and Judi Taggart and Michael Gagnon for photographing the event.

Special acknowledgement goes to our Team Challenge winners:
— WOW What A Team! (most participants) – Awakening Chiropractic
— WOW Green ($$$) Team! (most money raised) – Patrick's Pub & Eatery, with special recognition going to fundraisers, Debbie Herrington and Vinnie Boulanger
— WOW You Look Good! ("best dressed") – Laconia Fire Department
— WOW 5K Cup! (fastest 3 5K runners) – Awakening Chiropractic
— WOW 10K Cup! (fastest 3 10K runners) – Patrick's Pub & Eatery
These businesses and their patrons really step it up for this event and we appreciate it.

Lastly, I would like to thank the WOW Fest Committee. This group puts in countless hours to make it all happen, demonstrating their commitment to the WOW Trail project: Tom & Lori Oakley, Festival Directors; Allan Beetle, Marketing & Sponsorship; Roy Cuddahy & Tony Limanni, Bicycle Challenge Directors; Jamie Poire, Race Director; Ann Saltmarsh, Walk Director; Jennifer Bailey, Registration Coordinator; Darcy Peary, Volunteer Coordinator; Jan Buitendag, Tritanium Sports; Suzanne Perley and Gretchen Gandini.

Thank you all for making WOW Fest '13 another great day for the WOW Trail.

Jennifer Beetle
WOW Trail Board
WOW Fest Event Director

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 October 2013 10:14

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Let's run the Briarcrest Estates community the way we want

To The Daily Sun,

Dear Ms. Brenda Baer:
OMG! I can't believe, you of all people, have fallen for the misinformation rhetoric ploys of the anti-co-op people at Briarcrest Estates (BcE)! Let me try to set straight some of your misconceptions.
I, too am a resident of Briarcrest Estates, now for five years and previously visiting, nearly every day, my parents since they moved here in 1997 from a condominium situation. I am quite familiar with the BcE community and have experienced the largesse of the management myself. Briarcrest is indeed a first-class place to live, as you have said, with the excellent work of the grounds crew in all seasons under the firm hand of the management. We all feel safe here and wanted a place to live that was worry-free. I have no beef with you as we see Briarcrest Estates now.
Some of the points I'd like to make are:
— First of all, the Lakemont Cooperative was not formed to "take over" the BcE community, only to determine our own destiny instead of being at the mercy of an out-of-state company that needs to make a profit for its shareholders. All profits of the Lakemont Co-operative will be plowed back into the park and after a couple of years, that amount of money is substantial. Lot rent increases will go up approximately $10 per year till up to about the 9th year, when the lot rents may be stabilized for an unknown amount of years.
— All residents of BcE were invited to join the cooperative for a $25 refundable fee (refunds are if the co-op fails to purchase the park). You have to join the cooperative in order to vote on anything the cooperative does.
— New Hampshire State Statute RSA 205 (deals with residents buying their park) allows tenants to form a co-op in order to offer a purchase and sales agreement to the seller/owner of the park and that seller/owner must "negotiate in good faith" with this purchase and sales offer. If the seller/owner fails to "negotiate in good faith" with the P&S offer, he could incur a penalty, which would be divided up among the tenants of the park. (Please look up RSA 205 online for precise wording.) That same law does not mention the number of tenants it takes to make a co-op legal, nor does it mention which tenants would get a part of the penalty money.
— That same RSA 205 mentions that the co-op, once formed, had 60 days to offer a purchase & sales agreement which they did, despite the seller/owner taking legal action against the co-op several days before the deadline.
— You are right about when the nastiness began and continued unabated until a "cease and desist" letter from the Lakemont Coopertive lawyer to the Briarcrest Estates lawyer. Tell me, do you really believe the co-op group would make up letters/notices against themselves (signed "concerned resident(s)"] then rip them down? What would be their reasoning to do this? I have copies of most of those "concerned resident(s)" notices and they are full of misinformation! As far as I know, the co-op has not knowingly made any false statements about leases, lot rents, services, management, or the other prospective buyer. You can go online yourself to find out about Hometown America headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Maple Holdings and Redevelopment is a company of Hometown America.
— If you had come to the informational meeting on September 27, held by the Lakemont Cooperative at the Gilford Community Church Youth Hall, you would have seen the "proforma" (a spreadsheet-type document) which showed that the co-op would be able to handle the $10 million purchase of Briarcrest Estates with a profit even in the first year. In fact, we were told by ROC-NH (Resident Owned Communities - New Hampshire) that at least three local banks are vying for our business! That means all monies would be handled locally for years and years. And, as soon as the park owner complies with the laws of New Hampshire and negotiates in good faith with the Lakemont Cooperative and the other prospective buyer, the co-op will be able to provide all tenants with the co-op "proforma" (spreadsheet), with all the necessary and correct income and expense figures if the co-op buys the park. But then again, maybe you didn't see the meeting notice because it was torn down several times.
— The Lakemont Coopertive's purchase and sales agreement offer was almost exactly like the one from Maple Holdings and Redevelopment including keeping the Mooneys on the payroll for the similar two years.
— The Lakemont Coopertive Board of Directors are all volunteers and will not get paid for their service, nor will any subsequent board of directors. The co-op will contract out with local companies for any and all services that may be needed, including a financial management firm to collect rents and do tax reports.
— As for the "poll" that was taken up at the Community Center, it has no legal standing. Some residents were told lies and harassed to scare them into "voting" for the sale of BcE to Maple Holdings. And certainly, it was not the co-op members doing anything untowards.
I hope I have given you and other residents of Briarcrest Estates enough information to dispel the "misinformation" that is out there and get you thinking about joining the Lakemont Cooperative to run this community of ours the way we want without interference from an out-of-state entity.
Louise Rosand
Briarcrest Estates Resident

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 October 2013 10:10

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Is Wall Street conglomerate going to be caring & concerned landlord?

To The Daily Sun,

Abraham Lincoln once said "You can fool some of the people all of the time; and you can fool all the people some of the time." That statement best describes the story of Briarcrest Estates regarding the sale of the park to Maple Holding Company, an affiliate of Home Town America (HTA).

Last Tuesday, one of the residents, Brenda Baer, wrote a letter to your newspaper alleging certain information — some substantiated and some unsubstantiated. This letter is written to report the facts of the matter as discovered in the "due diligence" investigation by Lakemont Cooperative, a legally formed not-for-profit corporation, regarding the sale of the property.

First of all, the board agrees with Ms. Baer that the park owners have done a fine job in building Briarcrest into the beautiful park it is today. Further, the maintenance and ground crews do a very good job in keeping the park in the pristine condition it is in. A lot of the contentious differences she alleges are mostly due to the propaganda campaign and misinformation that has been spread around the community. Bottom line change is coming, no matter what, and most of us, especially senior citizens, are not comfortable with change. The Lakemont Cooperative feels duty bound to the members and residents of Briarcrest to provide vital information that will be affecting all of our lives and homes for many years to come. Calling our efforts a "power grab" is ludicrous and a patently false and unsubstantiated claim. The facts we will now present are true and factually reported:

— Home Town America is a multi-billion dollar, Chicago based, private equity fund created for the purpose of earning huge profits for its shareholders. These shareholders come from everywhere on the planet. The management consists of exceptionally astute financial experts coupled with a large legal department whose singular motivation is profitability.
— As mentioned by Ms. Baer, the current Briarcrest manager is a caring and concerned individual when it comes to the residents. Can the same virtues be ascribed to the managers of a huge Wall Street conglomerate? We think not. Information uncovered by the Lakemont Board regarding HTA's purchase of manufactured home park in southeast Mass. reveals that the owners/sellers were promised to be kept on and manage the park for several years. However, they were fired almost instantaneously after the sale closed, along with the entire maintenance and grounds crews and replaced by HTA's own staff and managers. Leisure Woods in Rockland, Mass. has had three different HTA managers in the last three years. One resident reported that the managers do not respond to requests for repairs or other maintenance that the park is responsible to perform. It is our sincere hope that the Briarcrest owners are not being set up for a similar bait and switch tactic by HTA because that would have a severe impact on all the homeowners in our park.
— As reported in a previous article in The Laconia Daily Sun, the ability of the CO-OP to buy the park is a very attractive deal for local banks, who are lining up to support it. That means that local earnings will stay in our community as well as being returned to Briarcrest for improvements and leveling off of annual rent increases.
— All Briarcrest residents are encouraged to do your own "due diligence" investigation, via the Internet, and look up the complaints that have mounted up against the potential buyer, Home Town America. It is not a pretty picture in the opinion of the Lakemont Board of Directors.

So, in closing, remember the words of Lincoln and ask yourself are you in the group of people who can be fooled all the time or do you want to find the truth about the sale of your park and your future and be in the group that is only fooled some of the time — but not this time ?

Interim Board of Directors
Lakemont CO-OP, Inc.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 October 2013 10:02

Hits: 301

Our contracts with Briarcrest are grandfathered, just as written

To The Daily Sun,

I am writing in regards to the Briarcrest Estates sale, as I can't figure out for the life of me why 50 people want a coop and 179 residents don't — including myself! That in America the most votes get whatever they want or whomever they vote for.

Mr. and Mrs. Mark Mooney have been very fair with us residents, making the best deal to honor our contracts — they'll be grandfathered, just as they were written when we moved here.

We couldn't have asked for better landlords than the Mooneys, now it's just their turn to retire and enjoy life as they see fit.

Why can't ROC go bother someone else?

Betty Fortier


Last Updated on Thursday, 03 October 2013 09:58

Hits: 270

Froma Harrop - Pray that Obama stands firm

Note how tea party politicians routinely start their remarks with "The American people want." And what "the American people want" conveniently coincides with their ideological preferences.

It would seem that the American people — meaning a massive majority — don't want this government shutdown. So scrambling Republicans have come up with "modest" and "common-sense" proposals to end the impasse:

We can keep the national parks open, they are offering. Also the Department of Veterans Affairs. Let's just yank the tax on medical devices out of the Affordable Care Act or the requirement for contraception coverage. Simply delay the individual mandate. That's all we ask, and we'll reopen the government.

What about the panda cam? They forgot the panda cam. The American people love watching Mei Xiang licking her adorable cub at the National Zoo. No government, no panda cam.

You see where this is going. And that is why America's leaders, Democrats and sane Republicans, must drive a stake in the heart of the idea that you can close down the government — and threaten economic meltdown by playing games with the debt ceiling — to win political concessions.

Nothing the tea party people demand can't be had through the normal political process. It happens that a duly elected House and Senate passed Obamacare. And when asked, the U.S. Supreme Court said it's cool with it.

But if "the American people do not want Obamacare," to quote Rep. Jim Bridenstine and other Republican radicals, they don't have to have Obamacare. They can vote more right-wingers into office and do away with it.

As the public grows ever testier over the shutdown, tea party extremists bleat more loudly about their "modest" and "common-sense" ideas for restarting the government. Here's an analogy: Guy opens a restaurant. Mobster barges in demanding $10 a week or the place burns down. Owner says no. Mobster responds in wounded tone, "But $10 is such a modest request."

The more modest the Republican demands, the nuttier they sound. Pious posturing does not alter the fact that we're viewing an extortion racket.

Only unconditional defeat of this tactic can save the principle that you don't shut down government to get this or that concession. Obama made a serious mistake by negotiating during past trumped-up crises. He's been strong so far.

Here's a happy ending: Republican House Speaker John Boehner does what he should have long ago, sends a spending measure to the House to keep government going. It passes with Democratic and pragmatist Republican votes.

Party hotheads may well respond by stripping Boehner of his speakership. Boehner can frame his action as a personal sacrifice, a patriotic act to stop the shutdown's mounting damage — to the economy and to America's reputation as a serious power.

Republicans appalled by these antics can regroup and work to cut down the tea party coalition's power and size come the next election. They've got to take the car keys away. Either that or Republicans will crash in districts with sophisticated electorates.

As for the little tea party tyrants, they go on. Defeat is never a problem for them. They can return home blaming their loss on betrayal by "moderate" Republicans. They are martyrs, you see.

But by the 2014 elections, the welcome reality of Obamacare will have sunk in, and even these folks probably won't fight it. They'll come up with new self-serving claims about "what the American people want."

What Americans need right now is an abject defeat of the idea that government shutdowns offer a respectable forum for negotiations. Pray that Obama stands firm on this.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)


Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

Hits: 206

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