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Belknap Mill is unique treasure that should be pushed as a major attraction

To The Daily Sun,

Recently, there has been a number of letters to the editor in this paper regarding the Historic Belknap Mill in Laconia, and most of the letters are concerned about the mill and what, if anything should be done about the state of its finances.

Since I don't actually live in Laconia, I had not paid much attention to the mill until after reading Carol Anderson's book on the industrial history of the mill. Her fascinating story not only talks about the history of the mill, but also how the city of Laconia played an important role in this country's industrial history.

For example, does everyone know the mills in Laconia manufactured stockings for soldiers during the Civil War, World War I, and also World War II?

When my wife and I visited the Belknap Mill in late October, we were surprised to see a small manufacturing museum on the first floor where stockings are still being made by cleverly designed, complex knitting machines that were manufactured during the 1800s.

We were also given a tour of the machine room where water, diverted from a dam on the Winnipesaukee River, had once provided direct power to the mill. Later, around the turn of the century when electricity was still in its infancy, two large, specially made electric generators were installed to provide hydroelectric power to the Mill. Excess electricity was sold to other customers in Laconia.

In my opinion, the Belknap Mill is a unique treasure that needs to be publicized as a major attraction for visitors from outside this area as well as for local residents, and hopefully, publicizing it might also lead to other sources for additional income to help support and maintain this historic building.

I encourage everyone who has never visited the mill to go see it.

Wayne Bredvik


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We owe it to these brave rescuers to refrain from unsafe practices

To The Daily Sun,

Early Sunday evening as we were finishing dinner while visiting a neighbor, there was pounding on the front door. A young man with panic in his voice told us that both he and his friend had fallen through the ice on snowmobiles. He made it to shore, but his friend was still out in the frigid water.

Within minutes, the emergency teams from three towns responded to our 9-1-1 call. This story might not have had a happy ending had it not been for the excellent training and teamwork of these three local fire and ice rescue units. As eyewitnesses we stand in awe of the dedication and professionalism of the Laconia, Gilford and Belmont ice rescue teams. The young man in the water was in the middle of Lake Winnisquam approximately one-half mile from shore. We could only watch and pray. The focus and dedication of the rescue effort was incredible. We are so fortunate to have these highly trained professionals in our community.

Without them the ending to this story would have been tragic. There are heroes in our midst — each and every member of the ice rescue teams from Laconia, Gilford and Belmont was a hero on Sunday night. We were privileged to see them in action and we are extremely grateful that they were there. We also thank the Tilton-Northfield and Meredith Fire Departments who covered Laconia and the Weirs should there have been another local emergency.

We cannot end our letter, however, without issuing a word of caution to all those who venture out on the ice during the winter when ice fishing, snowmobiling or skating. In many of our lakes, currents affect the thickness of ice. There are often areas of thin ice or open water on our big lakes due to these currents. An open water rescue, especially at night is a challenging and dangerous endeavor for all involved.

The firefighters who risked their own lives to save the young snowmobiler did so without question and with amazing precision. We owe it to them not to engage in unsafe practices while we enjoy the outdoors in winter.

Liz & Alan Rosenfeld


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