Army vet turns education, experience into career success


BELMONT — After serving in the Army for 16 years, including five years active duty, Thomas Costa has found a rewarding career path as a diesel technician.

Costa, of Belmont, has started on the path toward a rewarding career as a diesel technician for PepsiCo in Manchester.

To get the skills and credentials he needed, Webster built on his military experience working with electronics and maintaining his service vehicle with an automotive and diesel education at Universal Technical Institute, driving four hours each day to attend classes at the Norwood, Mass., campus.

Costa enrolled in UTI's automotive and diesel program in 2013 and took a year off when he was mobilized for the Army Reserves. When he returned from his service Costa finished his education at UTI. He met with PepsiCo during a campus job fair and started work as a fleet service technician at the company's Manchester facility immediately after graduation.

Like many employers of industry technicians, creating a pipeline of qualified, entry-level candidates to both replace retiring technicians and meet demand from business growth is a continual concern for PepsiCo.

Shawn Alexander, campus president of UTI-Norwood, says many local employers like PepsiCo are working closely with UTI to help them build their job pipeline and fill open positions for qualified, entry-level technicians.


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Two local real estate agencies announce merger


BRISTOL — Two real estate agencies operating in the Lakes Region — Berkshire Hathaway Verani Realty and C21 Country Lakes Realty — are merging.

The merger was announced jointly by Giovanni Verani, president of Berkshire Hathaway Verani, and Bruce Holt and Michael Willingham, broker/owners of C21 Country Lakes Realty.

C21 Country Lakes Realty has been serving the Lakes Region including Bristol, Sanbornton, Danbury, Alexandria, Hebron, Bridgewater, New Hampton, Campton and Thornton for more than 25 years. By joining forces with Berkshire Hathaway Verani Realty, C21 Country Lakes Realty customers and agents will benefit from a broader, more developed Verani brand, its affiliation with the respected Berkshire Hathaway real estate brand and Verani's network of offices throughout the New Hampshire Lakes Region and beyond.

"We are a locally owned and operated business with strong ties to our community. In our search to expand and enhance our real estate services, a key factor for us is to remain local and still accessible to our customers," said Holt. "Partnering with Berkshire Hathaway Verani Realty truly is the perfect fit and opportunity for us to increase our scope and strengthen our customer relationships through Verani's unique marketing platform, shared market insights and their unmatched ability to connect buyers and sellers locally, nationally and even globally." added Willingham.

Berkshire Hathaway Verani Realty has been in business for nearly 50 years. With more than 430 agents and 19 office locations, Verani agents serve the entire state of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine.

C21 Country Lakes Realty's office at 459 Lake St. in Bristol, will remain open, taking on the Berkshire Hathaway Verani Realty name.

"With the addition of the Bristol location to our existing Moultonborough, Meredith, Tilton and Belmont offices, we're excited to continue expanding our physical presence throughout the Lakes Region," said Verani. "Plus, the agents will have access to even more tools, improved technology, expanded resources and benefit from the business generated by our flagship web site"


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Meredith Chamber holds Annual Meeting, elects officers

MEREDITH — More than 80 business leaders gathered for Meredith Area Chamber of Commerce's Annual Meeting which featured year-end reports, the election of new officers and directors.

Elected to lead the 250 member Chamber were Wendy Bagley, president; John Moulton, vice president; Elaine Peaslee, secretary; and Katheryn Rolfe, treasurer. Re-elected to the Board of Directors was Rob Wichland and elected as new directors were Randy Hancock, Middleton Building Supply; Dan Harris, Realgreen Lawn and Landcare; and Mary Lamprey-Bare, Lamprey Real Estate Associates.

Also, during the Oct. 20 event held at Hart's Restaurant, Bill Gassman gave a presentation titled "Your Internet Priorities for 2016."

Presenting Sponsor was Meredith Village Savings Bank, and Hart's Turkey Farm Restaurant as the Major Sponsor. Program Sponsors were Anything Goes Athletics, Cross Insurance, Donahue, Tucker, and Ciandella, Lakes Region Vale Tudo, LRGHealthcare, and Mill Falls at the Lake. Golden View Health Care Center, Lamprey Real Estate Associates, Meredith Dental, Re/Max Bayside, Rice Law Office, PLLC, and Wescott Law, PA were the Associate Sponsors.

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Apples to charity – bumper crop benefits local non-profits

GILFORD — With more than two decades of experience in the apple growing business, Brenda Stowe said this year's crop was one of the best she can recall. It was so good, that, with the closing of the picking season this past weekend, there were still many bushels of fruit on the trees at Stonybrook Farm.

"For me, it seems to be such a waste to see all this food fall to the ground," said Stowe, who owned the 12 acre, 2,000 tree orchard for 23 years and managed Stonybrook this year for new owners Tony and Mary Balsamo. To keep the apples from going to rot, she put out a call to local food banks and non-profits, inviting them to come and gather as much fruit as they could take. Amanda Lewis answered the invitation, and with her children Landon and Emily to help, harvested what Stowe estimated to be about 200 pounds of apples.

Lewis is the director of the Salvation Army's Carey House, the only homeless shelter in Belknap County. She said the apples will be enjoyed by people and families staying at the Carey House, as well as the food pantry managed by the Salvation Army. The donation of the apples, said Lewis, "allows people to have fresh fruit, baked pies, applesauce, things like that." Food pantries too rarely receive fresh, healthy ingredients, so she said, "These donations are wonderful."

Stonybrook typically grows more apples than the business can retail from its orchard, said Stowe, and in most years other orchards will buy her apples to supplement their own crop. "New Hampshire had such an unbelievable crop of apples – this year everyone had such a good crop that nobody needed any extra apples," she said.

In addition to the Carey House, two Gilford school groups also benefited from Stowe's offer. The Gilford Elementary School Volunteer Steering Committee picked apples to offer to young children as a trade for their less-healthy Halloween candy. The Gilford High School Class of 2017 picked in exchange for a donation to the class by the orchard owners.

According to Stowe, the factors leading to this year's bumper crop started in March of 2014, when an early warm spell prompted apple trees to blossom early, then a late frost killed many of the blossoms, and the trees didn't expend much energy on their usual production of fruit. This year, nearly perfect weather allowed those trees to expend that reserved energy and grow much more fruit than they usually do. She estimated that each of her 2,000 trees produced hundreds of pounds of apples.

"This is the best year in recent memory," Stowe said. "This year was one for the record books."

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Franklin Savings raises $15,125 for United Way


FRANKLIN — Franklin Savings Bank raised $15,125 for its Granite United Way Pacesetter Campaign, a 20.5 percent increase over the prior year, Jeffery B. Savage, the bank's president and CEO has announced.

As a Pacesetter organization, the bank's annual fundraising campaign takes place prior to the official launch of GUW's general campaign.

"I am very pleased with the results of our campaign this year and for the generosity of those employees who were able to contribute to this important cause," Savage commented. "This marks the second year that Franklin Savings Bank has been a pacesetter organization. We look forward to holding our annual campaign as it enables us to educate our employees on the impact their contributions have, both monetarily and through their commitment of time, on supporting Granite United Way's community impact areas."

In addition, this marks the 20th year that Franklin Savings Bank has participated in the Days of Caring events. Five employees volunteered their time to participate in the Merrimack County Day of Caring where they completed a few projects which involved picking up 700 feet of brush at Webster Place in Franklin, washing windows at Franklin VNA & Hospice, and organizing closets at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord.

Another nine employees took part in the Central Region Day of Caring and completed a multitude of assignments, such as landscaping, maintenance, painting, trail clearing, cleaning, and gardening at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Concord, Chapman Sanctuary & Visny Woods in Sandwich, and the Salvation Army-Carey House, Greater Lakes Child Advocacy Center and Lakes Region Child Care Services — all based in Laconia.

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