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Mr. Currier is not doing this over a concern for the environment

To The Daily Sun,

An open letter to Richard de Seve of the N.H. Department of Environmental Services' Subsurface Systems Bureau:

I am in receipt of your letter dated July 5, 2016. I would like to apologize for the complaint and the use of your time on this matter. Having served in the Marine Corps for 20 years, 15 years as a public works inspector, public works director for two small towns in North Carolina and two years as the town of Gilford's sewer tech supervisor, I give you this information for only one reason: I have worked with DES in all capacities and have always found DES to be a very professional and personable organization. DES has a job to do that the public most of the time does not understand. As a former public works person I know all too well that your department is one of the most important in any state. Our environment depends on how well you do your job.

Before I give you all the facts on our system and permits, your department needs to know that I am a selectman of the town of Gilmanton (elected March 2016). Mr. Brett Currier is a former selectman that was defeated by me by 77 votes. Since then he and his wife have tried in every way to disrupt the Board of Selectmen meetings and constantly using the "Right to Know" law for other than the reason it was intended.

I tell you this because I feel it is important that you know that I believe Mr. Currier is not doing this because of his concern for the environment.

This being said, I will in every way I can, comply with any request you have and will give you all the information I have on our permits and system. I know all too well when a red flag goes up, no matter what, it must be investigated.

Our present septic system was approved for construction on Feb. 15, 2005, and inspected and approved for operation on March 23, 2005. When we decided to open our winery and food service area we contacted DES (Eric J. Thomas) and Matthew Moore, civil engineer, to find out what options we had. Due to the new construction of the system and our usage, it was decided to retain the septic as is and have minor revisions done to the plans, then have a new system designed and approved for future use. The plan is on file with DES, but expired April 2016. Mr. Moore is updating that plan and I should have it to DES by the middle to end of the month.

Our permit was given under the permit #00379, dated Feb. 15, 2005, and amended April 15, 2011. Due to the nature of our business, we have over the last five years added rooms to accommodate our growing wine business. All construction/additions have been done with permits, inspected and given permits to operate a place of assembly. The fact that we serve dinners or meals every day and in all areas given a permit to operate a place of assembly is far from the truth. These areas are used for occasional meetings, wine tasting parties, birthday parties, etc. We are a winery, vineyard and alpaca farm, not a fast-food restaurant.

As indicated on the plans:

— 4 bedroom changed to a 2 bedroom.

— 24-seat function hall.

— Meals will be catered, dishes lugged in and out, or paper or plastic plates, cups, and utensils shall be used.

— No workers except owners.

Much of the above we still follow today. However, in five years our business has grown, more on the winery side than the food side.

New and standard function at the winery:

— Serve a light lunch Thursday thru Saturday, served on nice paper plates with paper napkins.

— Customers usually have a light lunch after wine tasting. (Average customers, 4 to 12 a day.)

— Serve a Sunday brunch every week, (average customers, 12 to 45). Normal for brunch is 24 and never at the same time. Customers are seated between 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

— Serve a five-course meal once a month, (average customers, 20 to 45). Our chef cooks and makes 90 percent of the meal at her home and uses the winery kitchen to reheat and finish the cooking. This meal is served on dishes.

— Wine tasting and cheese and crackers. A lot of our customers enjoy the new wine tasting with a cracker, cheese and fruit dish. Served on a dish or nice paper plate.

— Employ one full-time worker.

— Except for the once-a-month dinner, we only serve in the main dinning room, or the outside porch. We give the customer their choice. All other areas are for special events. At any time we may seat 10 people, or during the day 20 people. The most we have done for lunch in one day was 31. Normal is four to 12 a day for lunch.

In addition to the plan:

— All functions over 50 are catered by private caterer and must follow the lug-in and lug-out policy.

— All functions over 50 we rent porta-potties.

— Septic tank is pump out once a year and inspected, (last pumped out April 2016).

— A three-bay sink and grease trap was installed in 2013.

I feel the winery has kept within the scope of the permit. We are growing, but as indicated most of the growing is on the winery side of the business. I do feel that in the near future I can see doing some maintenance and expansions to our septic field. I want the field to continue to serve us well and protect the environment.

Marshall Bishop

Gilmanton Winery

Gilmanton

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Daisy Pierce - Navitaging Recovery needs a home

No one can argue that our Lakes Region community is suffering as Substance Use Disorder (SUD) wreaks havoc on us by changing and taking away our loved ones, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Chances are, just about everybody either knows someone, is related to someone, or works with someone who has been affected by addiction. SUD is like cancer; it is a medical condition that does not discriminate. Nobody chooses to live with this disease. Just this past week, four community members lost their battle with addiction! This loss of life is heartbreaking, but it doesn't have to be such common news — we can do something to help reduce these tragedies.

Grassroots coalitions, such as Stand Up Laconia, have begun educating the community at large about the disease of SUD, working to spread awareness of the crisis, and making efforts to reduce the stigma associated with SUD. Programs such Horizons Counseling Center are helping those with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. Officer Eric Adams, the Prevention, Enforcement, and Treatment coordinator at the Laconia Police Department, works directly with individuals and their families that are suffering from a SUD. These successful efforts all deserve the accolades they receive and more.

Unfortunately, there remains a large gap in the services the Lakes Region offers to those battling addiction and trying to manage their recovery. Living a successful life of recovery requires more than just strong willpower and the desire to quit drinking or using other drugs. It's a great misconception to believe that individuals suffering from a SUD are making a choice to continue substance abuse. It is essential that people trying to live a life of recovery have access to local face-to-face support, including strong peer networks and assistance navigating around barriers to resources.

Navigating Recovery of the Lakes Region (www.navigatingrecovery.org) is a collaborative, grassroots, non-profit organization; comprised of individuals in recovery, community members, and organizational leaders who are committed to opening this much needed recovery center in Laconia. We will act as the support network individuals and families suffering from a SUD greatly need and deserve. As a recovery community organization, we will work to reduce the demand for services from the Fire Department, Police Department, EMT's, court system, county corrections, and LRGH Emergency Department. We are committed to creating a supportive, recovery informed community for those affected by addiction.

Therefore, it greatly saddens me to share that we might be facing the same stigma that other recovery centers in other communities across New Hampshire have encountered when trying to open places to provide this desperately needed service. As an organization we have struggled to find a space to call home here in Laconia. We have come close to leasing office space, yet circumstances quickly changed resulting in the property no longer being available to us. I can't help but wonder if this is due to the stigma associated with SUD and the misunderstanding of what a recovery center in Laconia will look like? Although we anticipated some resistance when starting this process, it was still disheartening. However, we continue to also believe that our community will rally to support our cause because we all recognize that we must resolve to curb the crisis we are facing together, and urgently too! In the end, other communities in New Hampshire proceeded to shift the uncertainty to advocacy, and recovery centers have successfully opened across the state.

So, let me clarify what we are offering to provide in the Lakes Region. The recovery center we are opening will be a location (picture an inviting and comforting tranquil space):
— for the recovery community to organize and support one another,
— a resource center for individuals and family members,
— a center that recognizes, values, and supports multiple and various pathways to recovery,
— a safe place where recovery community meetings can be held,
— and a place where peer-to-peer recovery support services will be a priority.
We will offer art therapy, yoga, meditation, and health and wellness workshops. We will not be a residential rehab, detox, or treatment facility. Yet, we will help individuals who need those resources find the right place to go.

Please, if you are a community member or business owner who is unsure about this recovery center, contact us to start a dialogue so we can answer any questions you have about our mission and vision (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Navigating Recovery of the Lakes Region believes all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We strive to end discrimination against people in recovery and those still suffering from the disease of addiction. We respect multiple pathways to recovery, embrace and promote recovery in individuals, families and communities, and appreciate the interconnectedness of these entities. We know recovery flourishes in supportive communities, and we know recovery gives back what addiction has taken away.

We simply ask that our community recognizes the values we stand for and the assistance we will be providing to our loved Lakes Region residents and their families suffering from a SUD; and, in turn champions our efforts with the same respect.

(Daisy Pierce, PhD is executive director of Navigating Recovery of the Lakes Region. She lives in Gilford.)

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