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There are viable alternatives to turning castle into single-family property

To The Daily Sun,

In an e-mail that I sent to the Gilford Selectboard, dated January 29, I urged the selectmen to make a public statement about the upcoming potential demolition of Kimball's Castle. I can now thank them for doing so. I also thank them for delaying the demolition of the castle several times. In doing so, they afforded town residents the time to explore possible alternatives. However, in the same e-mail, I urged the selectmen not to make a final decision on the fate of the property until the residents of Gilford had been fully informed of the options that are available to the town.

It is important for the residents of Gilford to know that there has been a very small group of individuals that has been working behind the scenes to explore the possibilities of preserving the Kimball property. For months, we have been respectfully working with the town in order to produce viable solutions. We have found that there are options.

In the fall of 2013, Kimball's Castle was named to the Seven to Save list of the N.H. Preservation Alliance. A property that is given this designation first has to be nominated and then carefully considered by a panel of preservation experts. These individuals look at the property from all angles, and in the case of the Kimball property, there are many. A property that is placed on the Seven to Save list has to meet at least two requirements: it must first have its own historical significance and the possibility of preservation must be present. If a property is placed on the Seven to Save list, it is given priority over other preservation projects in the state. It receives the careful attention and treatment of the N.H. Preservation Alliance, and if appropriate, it also receives priority for LCHIP funds offered through the state. This year, LCHIP has been fully funded.

The historical significance of the Kimball property has been proven. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982; its placement there is because of its historical value not only to the state but to the country as well. The castle was built by railroad magnate, Benjamin Kimball; his contributions to the state and the nation's railway system are well documented. His many contributions to the state go far beyond that of the railroad.

On January 9th at 10 a.m., a meeting was held at the Gilford Town Hall. In attendance was Maggie Stier, field representative for the N.H. Preservation Alliance, Town Administrator Scott Dunn, Kimball Wildlife Forest Committee Chair Sandra McGonagle, myself, and my daughter, Sarah. During the meeting, we discussed a broad spectrum of solutions for the Kimball property. We first agreed that unless millions of dollars could be raised, the castle most likely could not be restored. From there we came up with a number of viable solutions for the residents of Gilford to have before them.

Solutions included having the Kimball Wildlife Forest Committee first have an appraisal completed on the property and then apply for 50/50 matching LCHIP funds that could be coupled with private donations. In doing so, there would be no expenditure of taxpayer funds for the purchase of the property. The most logical solution to dealing with the decaying castle would to immediately fence it in and let it fall as a ruin. There are specific guidelines offered by the National Park Service on preserving historic structures as ruins. The entire acreage could then be added to the Kimball Wildlife Forest as conservation land. A far more drastic solution would be to purchase the property with LCHIP/private funds, raze all the buildings on the property to alleviate any liability issues, and have the entire parcel of land become part of the forest. It was suggested that a kiosk be constructed to inform visitors of the history of the property. After the meeting, Scott Dunn had an informative telephone conversation with the executive director of LCHIP about funding possibilities.

To summarize, there are viable solutions and alternatives to turning the Kimball property into a single family property. We cannot forget that when the town sold the Kimball property, there were easements placed on it, and the property was sold with the understanding that the castle would be preserved. Had the people of Gilford known when it was sold that the castle would be left to decay and someday demolished, I wonder if the vote to sell it would have been different. Additionally, when the property was disposed of by the town, there were far fewer options, funding sources, and organizations that could assist and fund its preservation at no cost to the taxpayers.
It is now that the residents of Gilford have an opportunity to voice their opinion. There is a Public Forum scheduled for February 26 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall in Gilford. Privately, I have been asking the residents of Gilford to contact the Gilford Selectboard by either calling them at 527-4700 or by e-mailing at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . I have been informed by the office of the town administrator that a number of individuals have already sent e-mails to the selectmen. I urge those who believe in preserving this property to contact the selectmen and let your voice be heard. The fate of the Kimball property now rests solely on the residents of the town of Gilford.

Carol Anderson

Last Updated on Monday, 03 February 2014 11:04

Hits: 230

Meredith will host Executive Council candidate forum on February 11

To The Daily Sun,
The two candidates for Executive Council agree on one thing: no one can replace Ray Burton!
But the two candidates, Grafton County Commissioner Mike Cryans and former State Senator Joe Kenney, hold differing views on the issues which will come before the Executive Council. Each are running for the seat which Ray Burton held for over 30 years in a special election to be held on March 11.
The Executive Council plays a critical role in N.H. government: reviewing and approving all state contracts over $10,000 and nominations to all agencies and judgeships, managing the state's 10 year highway plan and maintaining fiscal oversight of the state's treasury.
Please take time to meet the candidates and hear how each would perform the duties of Executive Councilor at a Candidate Forum to be held Tuesday, February 11, at the Meredith Community Center. Jointly sponsored by the Belknap County Republican and Democratic Committees and the Lakes Region Democrats and moderated by the N.H. League of Women Voters, the forum will give voters an opportunity to ask questions of each candidate. The forum runs from 6-7:30 p.m.
Please take time out of your busy schedules to learn more about these candidates prior to voting on March 11!
Kate Miller, Chair

Belknap County Democrats


Last Updated on Monday, 03 February 2014 10:58

Hits: 193

Kids & I will make effort to perform at least 1 act of kindness per day

To The Daily Sun,
I am initiating a Kindness Campaign! Like most of you, I love our little Lakes Region Community. And like you, I enjoy reading the news. But I really enjoy reading good news! I grew up in Laconia, moved away after college, and have since settled down here again, this time as a parent. I feel nervous and cautious about raising my children in today's society. I pray they grow up to be responsible citizens who make good decisions and succeed in life with solid values and morals. I have decided to perform random acts of kindness all around the Lakes Region as opportunities present themselves. I only ask that you pay it forward — do something nice for someone else! Our community is filled with good people and good news already, but what better way to spread the wealth, put smiles on people's faces, and start hearing less about drugs, vandalism, and other crimes and more about the positive impact we can all have on each other.

Just letting the car out in front of you in traffic makes two of you feel good; how about shoveling your neighbor's driveway, scraping snow off of a stranger's car, taking someone's emptied trash bins from the curb to their garage for them? If you have the means, buy coffee for the driver in line behind you at the Dunkin' Donuts drive through. Hand an umbrella out your window when driving by a person walking in the rain without one. The opportunities are endless — random acts of kindness can be big or small, it doesn't matter. What matters is that when someone holds the door open for you, you smile and feel grateful, right? Then you hold it open for the next person. It's a chain reaction of goodness and my hope for the Lakes Region is that this becomes a giant domino effect.

I have started a website: www.payitforwardnh.weebly.com
Whenever someone does something nice for you, please visit my website and leave your comments. I would love to read more and more comments each day about what people are doing for others in our community! (Or just visit it anyway to read my blog and the comments other people are leaving.) My children and I will make an effort to perform at least one random act of kindness a day. On some days we will drive to different towns, seeking the perfect opportunity; other days we might just be urging you to go ahead of us in line at the grocery store check-out so you don't have to wait as long. So who's with me?!

N. Fernandez

Last Updated on Monday, 03 February 2014 10:53

Hits: 214

Ms. Doyle certainly has right to own opinion but not to mine

To The Daily Sun,

I don't know Denise Doyle, but someone told me she is secretary of the Belknap County Democratic Committee. I read her letter in the Laconia Daily Sun on Nov. 19, where she criticizes Jeanie Forrester and the GOP about the Medicaid expansion in the state of N.H. My comment would be to investigate all avenues, instead of selecting your own dictates, this is political bias. Did Ms. Doyle go to the hearing in Concord about this issue? I was there and listened to both sides of the bill.

What did my article say on Jan. 15? Was it about the Belknap County taxpayers? Was it about the elderly retired citizens? Yes, it was about everyone. Ms. Doyle is reading between the lines and interjecting her own interpretation into the context of my article. Selective reading and writing. Ms. Doyle has the right to her own opinion, but not mine. To read about how bad the economy is go to the Washington Examiner.com and get the real figures about the inflation rate, health care costs, transportation and housing costs.

Commissioner Thomas does need to apologize to Rep. Worsman and the citizens of Belknap County. He needs to be accountable to the people who elected him! The statement "enough Dennis" means he is beyond the agenda. It surely differs from being told "go to hell". Respect for Rep. Worsman as a woman and state rep. is important to many female and male readers and voters. This kind of language is shameful from an elected commissioner. Everyone in the county should be appalled regarding Ms. Doyle statement condoning disrespect for a woman!

I think Ms. Doyle needs to educate herself about Medicare and pension plans. A quote from John Adams, our second president: "Facts are stubborn things". You cannot walk in someone else's shoes, nor can you place yourself in someone else's mind and decision making. I don't engage in peevish argument.

Rosemary Landry

Last Updated on Monday, 03 February 2014 10:46

Hits: 202

To say that liberals hate Christians is just plain nonsense

To The Daily Sun,
I have been reading the letters to this paper for more than five years now, and was thinking about some of my favorites. One that certainly qualifies is from a state representative who bemoaned the fact that environmentalists were to blame for a snowy day pile-up on 93 south some years ago. I have driven on that highway in the snow and watched people driving like maniacs and seen cars smashed together or off the road way. Might it be that if people would drive using some degree of caution, that pile-up wouldn't have happened?
Another of my favorites is just about any letter from the woman who likes to talk about, you know, "those people". I think I know who she is talking about but I could be wrong. And we can't forget the letter that called for forced abortions for a "certain segment" of our society. Just who do you think should be the recipients of this medical procedure, I know it's tough but be honest for a change, could it be, you know, "those people"?
Of course there are always letters about our current president. Now I was never a big fan of his and would gladly debate his actions with anyone willing to be honest about his policies, but honesty seems to be sorely lacking from most right-wingers. I can understand people who get what they consider "news" from Fox. One guy even wrote a letter saying we liberals get our news from the "Daily Show". It's certainly understandable he thinks that, if he gets his news from the Fox comedy network, but he neglected to mention the wonderful "Colbert Report". Honestly I had never seen an entire Daily Show until I read that letter, and I want to thank him for making me curious about it, it is really funny most of the time. The difference being I understand that it is supposed to be funny, whereas Fox is actually supposed to be serious.
Although I can't say there is one letter about the right claiming they are the party of "personal responsibility" I always get a kick out of that claim. I was sad when they tore down what I considered a shrine to that claim on Route 106 in Belmont; you know, where the former owner had blamed the president for his dealership closing. Never mind that Chrysler had stated that they would be closing under performing outlets, it was all the president's fault.
Then there are letters about the "evil unions". I wonder where most of the middle class would be today without unions. Even most of those folks making a living wage in non-union work places, can thank the threat of unionization for their pay and benefits. Take away that threat and you can say goodbye to a decent wage, and those benefits, gone. My dad was a tool and die maker, he was also active in his union, very active. When, after over 40 years on the job he wanted to retire, he was begged to stay on another year. Three years later he finally retired. My dad was also a Christian, a real Christian, as was my mom, and I loved them dearly; we were also all Democrats and proud of it. To say that liberals hate Christians is just plain nonsense. My folks were never wealthy, but we all had rich friends whom we also loved. Try to be honest with your statements, it's something I learned from my parents.
Religion is another favorite topic of mine in this paper. One letter that stuck out like a sore thumb was the one where the guy was complaining about liberals saying that we have freedom from religion. And on the whole, that's a true statement no matter who says it. He was referring, I have to guess, to the very reason Europeans came to this land. Freedom from religious persecution. But just lately a whole lot has been said about Muslims. I know and have known people of all faiths over the years, some Muslim, they were all good, hard working people. I hope to never read one day an essay that begins: First they came for the Muslims . . .

Just read the letter from the poster boy for changing the Republican mascot from the elephant to an ostrich with its head firmly planted in the sand. In his letter he claims that MSNBC "is staffed by the most outrageous, foul mouthed unprofessional collection of left wing dregs ever assembled". I have to agree that Joe Scarborough is foul mouthed and unprofessional but Joe may take exception to the "left wing" label. Most of his "proof" falls under the half truth heading, and wasn't it a right winger that said half the truth is a whole lie?
And last, but certainly not least, is liberals want to "ruin America". We want to destroy the Constitution. I have read letters saying that the editor of this paper should "edit" letters from liberals to conform more to the writers way of thinking. We shouldn't have abortions, but killing a young man who was walking home, minding his own business is considered not only okay, but God's will. Now to finish I have to comment on the "Ode to business" printed in this wonderful paper. Most of it was true about most businesses, but I have to know if the guy who wrote it would like a nice fresh glass of West Virginia water.

Marty Valengavich

Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2014 11:48

Hits: 158

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