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Daughters of Bill Martel offer heartfelf 'thank you' to Ralph Langevin

To The Daily Sun,

As you all may have heard our father, Bill Martel, passed away on Feb. 12. Our family would like to tell of the kindness that the owner of Martel's Bait Shop, Ralph Langevin, extended to us.

When we went to tell Ralph that Dad had passed, the first thing he said was, "Whatever I can do, please let me know." He repeated that statement several times as we walked out of his bait shop with tears in our eyes. We knew that Ralph meant what he said as he said it with such resolve.

As the week went on and funeral preparations were being made, we ran into a glitch. We learned that the church hall was not available to hold a lunch gathering after the service. All of a sudden the most perfect solution came to us. "Why not hold the luncheon at Martel's Bait Shop?" It made sense. Our dad began his journey at Martel's when he was a young teen, and it seemed only fitting that we end with a a celebration of his life there. So we hopped in our cars and caravaned to the boathouse to pose the favor to Ralph. Without hesitation he said, "Absolutely. The place is yours for the weekend."

That was the first of many kindnesses Ralph extended to our family. Ralph cleaned up the shop and rearranged his merchandise displays to accommodate the setup of tables and chairs, as well as the buffet and refreshment line. He mounted signs and bulletin boards of family photos and displayed dad's handcrafted bob sticks and memorial charity donation buckets. He cooked up a batch of delicious pulled pork and ordered a full sheet cake decorated with a picture of the old bait shop.

So our entire family wants to say, "Thank you, Ralph, for going above and beyond. Thank you for your generous gift of allowing us to say goodbye to our dad at your shop. Thank you for being a man who is true to your word."

We would also like to thank Ralph's wife and employees who helped make our dad's send-off a very special memory. Most of all we are grateful to the many people who came out that day to celebrate the amazing man and the extraordinary life of Bill Martel. He truly was a beacon of light to the world. We know that his final words to you would be, "I love you all, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck."

Bill Martel's three D's

Debbie, Diane and Donna

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I'm concerned that Huot Preschool may be closed by budget cuts

To The Daily Sun,

I am a Laconia High School alumna from 2009. I am a mother of three and my middle child goes to the Huot CDC Preschool. I know it has been around for over 20 years. My husband, who will be 25 on the 17th, was a student of the preschool when he was the ages of 3,4 and 5.

I have heard some concerning news that the development center may be closing due to budget cuts.

Let me start by saying the program is a great way for our community's future adults to learn about how children grow and develop. I feel eliminating the preschool would not be giving the high school students the hands-on experience needed to further their education in child development.

Our child currently goes to the preschool and loves everything about it. Let me tell you a little bit about our child, she has a condition called tactile defensiveness which means her senses are different from other people's. She doesn't like rough or sticky stuff, paint on her hands or feet, but loves soft things. She has a hard time brushing her teeth and hair because of the condition.

One day she had an appointment at the dentist and she wasn't doing very well, until she saw Mrs. Littlefield there, her eyes lit up and she was so happy. So Mrs. Littlefield took the time out of her day to sit with our daughter and hold her hand for an hour. Not only is Mrs. Littlefield a great teacher and friend but Mrs. Bownes is also patient, creative and loving. Mrs. Swormstedt is organized when it comes to her Monday morning grocery shopping and kind. Not only does that help her inside of school, but now outside of school as well. She knows her teachers will always be there to help her and comfort her if she ever needs it.

Taking away the child development program would be a mistake, it would take away hard-working teacher jobs, the students' enjoyment for educating children in the future, but most of all the children that currently go to the preschool would be robbed of a great education in a loving and caring place, which is hard to come by.

The future of the program is completely in your hands. I understand that. But before you shut it down, think of the children and the parents and the teachers you would be making life hard for. Let's try other solutions first before you close something that has helped not only our child make great friends and have amazing skills and kindness towards others but hundreds of kids maybe even more.

I'm not a rich person but I will do whatever it takes and try my hardest to make my kids' lives better for tomorrow. It all starts with risks and determination, so what do you say we pull together parents, police officers, firemen, locals and whoever else to help and try and save this program.

Schuyler & Brianna Clark-Patten



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