• Finding Snow on Pico, Killington, Mendon, Sugarloaf & Mt. Ellen

    Our Outdoor Columnist Amy Patenaude doesn’t let the warm weather of May stop her in her pursuit to ski until the last drop of snow has melted. This week she takes us on a mid-Spring quest to find where the skiing is still alive. Pictured here is Mount Ellen’s Rim Run Trail in May! At an elevation of 4,083 feet it is tied for third highest peak in Vermont with Camel’s Hump and they share the 48th ranking on the NEHH list.


    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    The New England Highest Hundred Peaks include some that are the home to a ski resort. I made it up Pico, Killington, Sugarloaf and Mt. Ellen while there was still enough snow to be able to ski.
    Pico closed for the season many weeks ago. I skinned up and tagged the summit and skied down. There was so much snow that they easily could have remained open like its sister resort next door, Killington. But as one friend in the ski biz said to me, “This time of year we run out of skiers before we run out of snow.”

    The Cooper Lodge, built in 1938 is the highest shelter on the Long Trail. The the four walled stone shelter sits near the summit of Killington. Killington Peak, elevation 4,235’ is the second highest mountain in Vermont (Mount Mansfield is the highest) and it is ranked 36th on the NEHH list.

    When I left home it was sunny and clear but when I arrived at Pico it was cloudy and then I realized it was melting snow fog. I had hoped it would clear but it didn’t. As I was headed up the trail I met a man skiing down with a baby on his back.
    On the summit the fog swirled and I had a brief view of the top of the Killington. Just as I was heading down another fellow reached the summit. I wasn’t even aware he was behind me since I could only see a short distance in the fog—about the distance between one set of lift towers. The ski down I had fun making big wide turns
    Just a couple weeks ago I headed up to Killington early and there was still plenty of snow in the woods. I skied past the Cooper Lodge on the Long Trail. I sat on the summit for a good spell and two snowshoers that had come up the Bucklin Trail arrived while I was enjoying the view.

    Sugarloaf Mountain’s rocky high point had no snow but it rained hard while we were there.

    A couple days later I saw a post on the NEHH’s group Facebook page that a fellow had left his glasses on the summit of Mendon Peak. Mendon is a trail-less peak that is just south of Killington. I decided I should ski up and fetch them. But when I arrived at the Bucklin Trailhead to access the camp road that would bring me near the start of the bushwhack I discovered that the snow had all melted away on the road.
    I left my skis in the car and I tied my snowshoes to my backpack and I hiked up the mud and ice covered road. To start the whack to the Mendon Peak required crossing a roaring brook. I was able to hop across on submerged rocks that kept the top of my boots above the water. On the top of the bank I put on my snowshoes; the north side of the mountain was covered with lots of snow. The snowshoes kept me on top of the soft snow and their crampons made it easier to climb up the steep slippery mountainside. Bushwhacking through wide open hardwoods was nice and the snow was more than a foot deep.
    On the summit Joe’s glasses were hanging on a spruce tree branch just like I saw in the photo he had posted. I put them in my pack and then headed over to the open ledge. I ate an orange and then I let gravity help me scoot down the peak while bounding down making new snowshoe tracks. This was the next best thing to skiing.
    I mailed Joe his glasses and he is quite pleased to be able to see again.

    Yours truly on Mendon Peak’s summit wearing Joe’s glasses. I found his glasses right where he left them when he bushwhacked to the Peak earlier in the week. He was excited to get them back. Mendon Peak is ranked 85th on the New England Highest Hundred List.

    Marylou was game to join me skinning up Sugarloaf and then maybe snowshoe over to Spaulding. I spent the night at her camp on Cupsuptic Lake in Maine and there was still ice on the Lake. We heard Loons! The weather forecast forewarned that there was a good chance of rain in late afternoon but the day looked promising.
    We skinned up the Tote Road and the ski slope was still covered edge to edge. We had a big view of the nearby Bigelow Mountains but to the west we could see dark clouds. Half way up we could see that the dark clouds were coming right for us.
    Just as we neared the top it began to rain hard. We tagged Sugarloaf’s highpoint that was bare rock and mud. Thankfully soon the hard rain turned into a light sprinkle and then it got foggy. We made the smart decision that visiting Spaulding could wait and we hastily descended. Marylou was on snowshoes and I skied. We stayed together until we were half way down then I took off. I didn’t have to wait long for her to join me back at the car. It felt great to change out of our wet clothes.
    Marylou and I had a delicious lunch at the Thai restaurant in Rangeley.

    Yours truly and Marylou on our way up Sugarloaf Mountain before it began to rain. Sugarloaf is Maine’s third highest peak (and the highest not in Baxter State Park) is ranked 35th on the NEHH list.


    Mt. Ellen’s bottom third had little to no snow. Here’s Charlie getting in an additional 100 feet of skiing before having to take off his skis to walk to the next patch of “skiable” snow.

    Charlie was hot to ski one more time so we went off to Sugarbush on Saturday on their last weekend to be open. We didn’t quite make the first chair but our friend Jeremy did. We skied on nice groomed snow and Stein’s Run was quite good too. We finally caught up with Jeremy for a couple of runs before the crowd showed up and a lift line formed. We skied straight without taking a break until 11 am.
    We left and drove around to Sugarbush’s other mountain. Mt. Ellen was closed but its trails had snow and was open for skinning. The bottom third of Mt. Ellen was mostly bare and we all hiked up until we reached the good snow.
    Charlie and I put on our skins and skis and Jeremy snowshoed. The sun was hot and bright and we wore short sleeve shirts and sunglasses. Nearing the summit from the Rim Run Trail the clear panorama wound around from the White Mountains, up the spine of the Green Mountains and to New York’s Adirondacks. It was an excellent day to be on top of a mountain.
    Going back down was a blast. Charlie and I skied and Jeremy ran down on his snowshoes. We passed a few more people skinning up the mountain as we descended. When Charlie and I reached the bottom third we did our best to connect the patches of snow. I bet we took off and on our skis at least a dozen times.
    Jeremy joined us in the parking lot just ten minutes later than us; he ran fast. Maybe after he saw how much fun we had skinning and skiing that he will leave his snowshoes at home next time and join us on skis.
    I can’t promise I won’t write another column about skiing this year since I hear that Tuckerman Ravine could be skiable maybe into July.
    Have fun.

  • Making Schoolhouse Rock

    Ken Gorrell

    by Ken Gorrell,
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    Bob Dorough died last week, but his music lives on. It lives on not just in his jazz recordings, but also in the minds of millions of kids who grew up watching “Schoolhouse Rock,” the animated series of educational cartoon shorts that first hit the air on Saturday mornings back in ’73.
    Dorough’s ditties engaged kids with lessons in language (“Conjunction Junction”), math (“Three is a Magic Number”), and civics (“I’m Just a Bill”). They were clever, educational, and memorable. It’s been more than 40 years, but just writing those titles put the tunes in my head and a smile on my face.
    Few of us have his jazz chops (Dorough co-wrote “Comin’ Home Baby”, a Top 40 hit for Mel Tormé), but many of us can put smiles on the faces of students across the Granite State. Instead of penning catchy songs, we can pen contributions to a scholarship organization that empowers lower-income New Hampshire families to choose the right educational path for their children.
    For New Hampshire businesses, funding scholarships through the state’s Education Tax Credit (ETC) program spreads smiles all around. Their donations provide low- and middle-income children the education opportunities wealthier families take for granted, and businesses receive an 85% tax credit from the state against business profits tax (BPT) and/or business enterprise tax (BET). Companies can, of course, also take the federal tax deduction for their entire charitable contribution. Imagine writing a check that goes to a student instead of the state.
    Who are the current recipients helped by generous business donors? They are families who could not otherwise afford educational alternatives but knew the right alternative existed. They are kids who didn’t fit the mold, and whose frustrations interfered with their learning. Of the students awarded scholarships this school year, 77% are eligible for free and reduced lunch and 11% have special needs. All have parents who made the necessary sacrifices to contribute at least 25% towards their tuition.
    What do these scholarships mean for local kids? Children’s Scholarship Fund New Hampshire (CSF-NH), the largest scholarship program in the state, works with thousands of parents searching for education options. They see their children struggling in their assigned public schools and want to provide them with a different educational environment. Whether the challenge is academic, social, or behavioral, these parents are striving to help their children reach their full potential but lack the financial resources to do it alone. These scholarships make the difference.
    Since I can’t put it to music, I’ll let parents tell their stories:
    “Changing schools has been a lifesaver for my child. She is noticeably different and has improved both socially and academically. This school has been a miracle for our family.”
    “It broke my heart when my wonderful, smart daughter started dreading school in only the fourth grade because she was being bullied. By sixth grade, I knew I had to do something…As a low-income family, our choices are limited. CSF’s scholarships are so important! They allow families like mine the freedom to help their children excel in safe and nurturing environments.”
    “This program has been a miracle for us.”
    As a member of the CSF-NH Advisory Board, I’ve attended donor-parent events and heard directly from parents, students, and business leaders. Some of the family stories are heartbreaking, but all are life-affirming. In a world with too much unwelcome news, these parents and students have refreshing news to tell. What had seemed like a dead-end to them became a door opening to a world of possibilities.
    “Making a difference” is an overworked phrase, but it accurately describes what businesses across the state are doing right now for NH families. This school year, CSF-NH has awarded more than half-a-million dollars in tuition scholarships to help 260 New Hampshire families provide their kids with the educational option that fits each one – whether that’s public, private, virtual, homeschool, or blended learning. While doing that, businesses also gain a measure of control over their tax liability. The ETC turns that liability into the ability to change how a child sees the future.
    But the race is on. There are more applications each year as the program gains popularity through word-of-mouth and the accomplishments of the children awarded these scholarships. Businesses have until June to apply for the tax credit that changes lives. Please consider assisting underprivileged children for the 2018-2019 school year with your 2018 NH Education Tax Credit contribution.. NH Education Tax Credit Applications are submitted to the NH Department of Revenue. The process is surprisingly easy and described step-by-step at www.csfnewhampshire.org. It’s not too late to help more New Hampshire children succeed!

  • Red Hill

    Yours truly and Danielle on the summit of Red Hill in Moultonborough. Red Hill summit, elevation 2,020 feet has splendid views and from its fire tower there is a grand panoramic vista that rivals peaks more than twice its height. Trail descriptions for Red Hill can be found in the AMC White Mountain Guide and a map is available on-line at LRCT.org.


    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    The Red Hill Fire Tower rises high above the shores of Squam Lake and Lake Winnipesaukee. Visitors that climb the steps up the tower will behold a grand vista over the Lakes to the White Mountains, the Squam Range and the Belknaps. The Ossipee Mountains and the Sandwich Range are near. On a clear day the panorama grows wide and many far away peaks can be seen from the tower.
    The Lakes Region Conservation Trust has conserved nearly 24,000 acres and the Red Hill Conservation Area is more than 2,650 acres. Henry David Thoreau hiked to the top of Red Hill in July of 1858 and I trust he would still find it quite enjoyable since much of the view has stayed wild.

    The Teedie Trail had no snow lower down along the interesting old stone walls.


    Danielle looking up the icy rock scramble up Eagle Cliff. There is an easier bypass path around this difficult section of trail.

    We needed a hike not too far north since we had an event in Exeter to attend later in the day. We’ve both been to the fire tower before but Danielle had not hiked the Eagle Cliff Trail. The Red Hill Trails are described in the AMC’s White Mountain Guide and this would count for redlining for her. We both desired a peak with a big view and Red Hill fit the bill perfectly.
    The Eagle Cliff trail is the more difficult route to the summit–it is longer, steeper and rockier. The trail begins 4/10th of a mile north of the Moultonborough/Squam town line on Bean Road. The shoulder is wide at the trailhead and there is room for just 5 or 6 cars to park.
    We only hiked a short distance before seeing patches of snow and the higher we hiked the more frequently the snow appeared. Eagle Cliff is only 6/10th of a mile up trail but just before reaching the top of the cliff the trail has a rocky rugged scramble. Here the bypass path leaves to the right and it is clearly marked and avoids the rock climb. Some ice still covered the rocks and we carefully climbed. At the top we jogged back down the bypass for redlining purposes and we scrambled back up the slippery section again.



    From Red Hill the view across Lake Winnipesaukee we could see the snow on Gunstock Mountain’s ski trails.


    Congratulations to everyone that received an award at the annual Four Thousand Footer Club 2018 Annual Meeting, Awards and Dinner. Three cheers for Danielle for completing the 4,000 footer list in Winter! Her finishing peak was Mount Adams.

    There’s a sweet view of Squam Lake and the Squam Range from the top of the Eagle Cliff’s ledges that would make an excellent short hike on its own. From here it’s another 2.1 miles to the top of Red Hill.
    We descended a short distance to where the Teedie Trail meets the trail. We continued on and soon we were walking on well consolidated snow. Danielle put on her micro-spikes to be more surefooted and I decided that the snow was soft enough so I could make my boot’s treads work. I did fall down once and Danielle didn’t.
    The trail crossed a small knoll and then descended again before we climbed a much bigger knoll. This was a good climb and now we could see the fire tower. We descended a short distance and then we made the final gentle climb to reach the summit.
    Snow and wind made the warm day down below feel downright chilly on the summit. We put on our down puffy jackets. There were a few other people on top but no one was on the fire tower as we headed up the steps. The viewing platform below the tower’s locked cabin is fabulous and there are view finding signs that are a big help for pointing out the mountains.
    Moosilauke was bright white and so was the top of Sandwich Dome. We could see Mount Cardigan, Mount Kearsarge and the snow on the Gunstock’s ski trails.
    By the time we came down the tower we had the summit to ourselves. We enjoyed our sandwiches on the ledge at the foot of the tower.

    I ran up the tower one more time to take in the grand vista. I felt satisfied when I realized I could see South Kinsman way up north. Danielle went over to the picnic table to get another photo of Big Lake.
    The trip back down went quickly and we passed by a few small groups on their way up.
    This time we turned down the Teedie Trail and avoided the rugged sections of the Eagle Cliff Trail. The Teedie trail doesn’t have open views but it passes by some interesting stone walls. The trail popped us out right at the town line, there is no parking here. We walked north on the road back to our car.

    Mount Moosilauke was bright white and was certainly an eye-filler.

    We made it to Exeter High School on time to meet our friends for the AMC’s Four Thousand Footer Club Annual Meeting, Awards and Dinner. People and dogs were recognized for completing the 4,000 footer list. Danielle and I received our parchment for finishing the list in winter. We had much fun cheering for our friends receiving their awards too.
    Happy Spring.


  • Utah – Rain, Snow & Sunshine!

    On top of Snowbird on a Bluebird day!

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Turns out that I did not need to leave New Hampshire to find new snow. I don’t know why but every time I head west it snows like crazy at home.
    I thought going to Utah for some fine spring skiing would be just the thing to do. But after my second day of skiing in the rain I was having second thoughts.
    Inside Alta’s Goldminer’s Daughter day lodge I looked at my cellphone. Becca Snowboarder sent me photos of riding in the new fluff at Cannon and of her skin tracks up Tenney Mountain. Bria posted photos of Waterville Valley and Loon and reported packed powder conditions. Charlie was at Black Mountain for the Wild Corn Festival and he successfully competed in the uphill race.

    Barb, Chuck, Tracy and Sylvia at Alta testing and comparing DPS skis. The Salt Lake based ski company, DPS, designs and manufactures high-tech and light-weight high performance skis. DPS has introduced Phantom, a one application permanent base coating that eliminates waxing for glide for skis and snowboards that is easy to apply and better for the environment.
    1. I should have left my phone in the car. All this good news from home made me a little homesick.
      No complaints, OK except the rain and the lifts that didn’t run because of the bad weather.
      My long weekend started on Thursday night. I flew into Salt Lake City after flying the JetBlue redeye from Boston and I didn’t make it to my room at the airport hotel until 1:30 in the morning. That’s the same as 3:30 am in the East, it was a long day. In the morning I ate breakfast in the lobby and then took the shuttle back to the airport to pick up a rental car.
      I drove north in light rain to Snowbasin and once I arrived at the ski resort it really started to downpour. I was the only person in the lift line and I asked the attendant if it was possible for her to give me a garbage bag. She did. In the Gondola I took off my helmet and poked my head through the bag and did the same for both my arms. I looked goofy but the garbage bag kept me dry. The ski area was a ghost town, very few were crazy enough to ski in this kind of weather.
    Day 1 of 2 skiing in the Utah rain. In the gondola at Snowbasin are Barb and yours truly wearing a garbage bag. Snowbasin hosted the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Downhill races.

    Up high the rain was snow and sleet. This made for some fine mid-mountain skiing and for some interesting snow pinwheels (snowballs rolling down the slope beside me) and sliding blankets of wet snow. Many slopes were closed due to avalanche danger.
    Barb, from Montana, met me for the last hour of skiing and then we both drove to Salt Lake City.
    Chuck invited Barb, Tracy and Sylvia; and Sylvia invited me to come to Alta for the weekend to test DPS skis and to have fun. We zoomed back to Salt Lake and met the rest of our friends at the AirBnB just in time to all ride up to Alta for a meet and greet and a showing of DPS Skis Cinematic short films. The ski flicks were outstanding and made us all excited to ski.
    Overnight the rain didn’t stop. I felt badly for the ski reps, it rained sideways and it down poured. Alta shut down all the lifts at 1:30. New snow, heavy rain and high avalanche danger are not the best conditions to try out new skis.
    Sunday morning we returned to Alta and the rain had changed over to snow flurries and dark clouds surrounded the mountain. Ski conditions were interesting. We found good soft creamy snow and sometimes firm icy stuff. Still not the best conditions to try out skis but my hats off to my friends they kept on trying different skis.

    Yours truly, Chuck, Tracy and Sylvia on the lift at Snowbird. We sure ended the ski trip on a high note. The day was warm and sunny and evaporated any memory of the previous bad weather.

    I confess it was all I could do to stay on my feet on my own skis in the varying conditions. My goggles didn’t dry out completely overnight and they steamed up between the lenses. I skied a couple runs by feel before I smartened up and borrowed a pair of lost and found goggles. Skiing was much easier when I could see.

    Snowbird’s Tram car is packed with skiers and snowboarders on a nice day. Where’s Sylvia? Sylvia wears a pink helmet and somehow always manages to wiggle her way up to the door’s window

    I knew what we were missing. Last year I went to Alta and the snow was deep and the sun was bright in the sky. A great deal of terrain was closed due to avalanche danger. But we still had a lot of fun skiing together and hunting for the good soft snow.
    The next day, Monday morning, was the day I was dreaming of—blue sky and sunshine.
    We packed up and cleared out of our rented house and drove up the canyon to Snowbird. We all met at the Tram plaza and skied on fresh new snow. I put sunscreen on my face and wore sunglasses. The conditions were the best where the sun warmed it first. Nearing mid-day more terrain opened and Mineral Basin was ours to make first tracks. The resort was busy, lots of skiers and snowboarders joined us (no Snowboarders allowed at Alta). A lot of pent up energy was being released. We skied all over and enjoyed the big mountain vista that had been hiding from us all weekend.
    On our last run Sylvia stopped and flopped down on the snow and stretched out on her back and we all joined her and did the same. We looked down the canyon at Salt Lake City and up the canyon at the sharp mountaintops. The last Tram ride was now long gone and this last pitch was our final ski together. We savored the moment—the cold snow against our body, the warm sun on our face and that magical combination of the thrill of skiing and comradery.
    Everyone made it home safe, back to Bozeman, MT and to Fort Collins, Colorado. These are long drives especially after a full day of skiing. I am still tired, exhausted really. I flew a redeye back to Boston and arrived at 6 am and in time for me to take the earliest Concord Coach Bus north to Concord.
    By the weekend I’ll be raring to go skiing. I hope the snow holds until May.
    Have fun.

  • Life-Style Of The Scotch-Irish NH In The 1700’s


    by Robert Hanaford Smith, Sr._DSC2528
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    The first settlers of Peterborough, New Hampshire were the Scotch-Irish who moved to colonial America from Antrim County in northern Ireland and they brought with them the way of life passed down to them from their ancestors. By necessity they were hard workers; laziness was considered a major sin. As the first to construct a town on the land they purchased, they not only had to build their houses and barns and clear the land for cultivation, they also had the responsibilities involving the community to take care of. The school and the church had to be organized and buildings built to accommodate them; moreover, besides removing rocks from the cleared land and building fences, the immigrants had to construct roads for transportation.

    Bird’s Eye view of Peterborough around 1907.

    An article in The Granite Monthly magazine for October, 1900, portrays the first citizens of Peterborough as possessing all those characteristics we have been taught to expect from Scotsmen. The town meeting was an enjoyable time for them because they loved controversy and the arguments it spawned, even though those early town gatherings with many opinions expressed didn’t always accomplish a lot.
    The story is told of an old man coming back from a meeting who was asked what they were doing. His answer was “Oh, there was George Duncan. He got up and spakit a while, and Mathew Wallace, he got up and talkit a while, and Mathew Gray, he got up and blathered awhile, and then they dismissed the meeting.”

    Presbyterian Church in Antrim, NH- first Scotch-Irish in NH came from the County of Antrim in Northern Ireland. Some settled in Antrim, NH.

    The democratic process and the opportunities to speak about issues involving both the government of both town and the church were important to these men of Scottish heritage who could argue without letting the opposition annoy them. They loved the engagement of theological discussion and being Presbyterians, followed the teachings of John Knox, and a democratic church government, important to them as an exercise of their freedom. Their religion was taken seriously and a major priority after settling in Peterborough was to build a church building which was constructed of logs on Meeting House hill. Meetings were held before a floor was added to the building and the seats were wooden benches. There was no heating system so no meetings were held in the church building during the winter. According to Jonathan Smith the Presbyterians preferred and read the Old Testament over the New Testament though I wonder if that was more of a personal perception than the actual feeling.
    To the Peterborough Scotch-Irish Presbyterians the Bible and their Christian faith were an integral part of their lives and studying the Bible and nurturing their faith were undertaken at home.
    Long passages of Scripture were memorized and catechism lessons were recited by both parents and children. The Church required that prayers be offered in the homes, and prayers before meals, referred to then and now as saying Grace, were habitual for these people making a living in what was the wilderness in the 1700’s.
    Their lives consisted of hard work but it was combined with determination and a love of the freedom they enjoyed, though Jonathan Smith in his commentary about these settlers claims that their doctrines were gloomy with an emphasis on death without offering much joy or hope. In their situation at the time they lived, with the difficulties they faced, it seems certain that they were well-acquainted with death; however, one of the sayings on the gravestone of a founder of the town who died at the age of eighty-seven that Smith quotes shows that they did have hope of life after death: “Draw near, my friends, and take a thought, How soon the grave may be your lot; Make sure of Christ while life remains, And death will be eternal gain.” And it would appear that the Scotch-Irish people in New Hampshire were not gloomy people, for the conclusion of the writer was that “they were better and happier than their religious creed.”
    Though they worked long and with vigor the Scotch-Irish who established towns in New Hampshire were not without celebrations and social events. They were social people, even in their work because they enjoyed working together and were ready to help a neighbor with his work or gather together to replace a house that had burned down. They enjoyed participating in certain sports, particularly, boxing, wrestling, foot races, and pitching quoits. Dancing was high on the list of favorite activities and there were the Fall apple-bees, husking bees, and other evening parties enjoyed by the young people. Weddings were said to be “celebrated with the strongest demonstrations of joy”, though the custom was to invite the guests at least three days (not months) before the wedding. An invitation received only a day before the event was considered “an unpardonable affront”. Muskets were discharged on the morning the marriage took place and as the groom’s friends escorted him to the place where the marriage was to take place. “The Protestants …made a display of their warlike instruments on all public occasions.” When the Revolutionary War broke out the men of Peterborough quickly joined the cause of resisting British forces. One-fifth of the population of Peterborough, or 146 soldiers joined the colonial army. Funeral attendance was by invitation and the ceremonies were usually well-attended with intoxicating beverages served at the beginning of the service and again after the funeral address was given. The coffin was transported to the cemetery at the top of the hill by “four strong young men ” , a difficult assignment that continued until the year 1802 when the townspeople voted to buy a hearse.
    Those who were the founders of Peterborough were a people of strong Christian faith with a demeanor that was “stern and dignified” , “self-reliant, always ready to assert themselves”, “blunt in speech”, but also a people who had “absorbed a large measure of the Irish humor”, were “hospitable and faithful ”, and “thoroughly Scotch.”

  • Comrade Kim Goes to China

    John Metzler

    by John J. Metzler
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    UNITED NATIONS – The political choreography was classic. The staging was epic. But the outcome remains unpredictable. North Korea’s reclusive leader Kim Jong-un and his entourage secretly rolled into Beijing on a special armored train later to be greeted and then feted by the
    Supreme Leader of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping. Kim called the visit a “solemn duty” and added, “There is no question that my first foreign visit is to the Chinese capital.”
    China then reciprocated with the splendor and pomp befitting a state visit for Pyongyang’s prodigal son who on many occasions had not shown the proper political deference to Beijing.
    In a scene reminiscent of the Godfather, the iconic 1970’s movie about powerful Mafia dons, North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un was summoned to meet his ultimate political boss in Beijing. For all the anxious twaddle about China and Pyongyang’s rocky political relations, at the end of the day, the road for the North Korean ruler ends in Beijing’s Forbidden City.
    Pyongyang’s regime-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun editorially heralded, “A historic visit that unfolded a new era of North Korea-China friendship,” adding that a “blood alliance” unites the two communist countries. That clearly evokes the old time friendship when Chairman Mao said China and North Korea were as close as lips and teeth.
    Yet in contemporary times, Kim Jong-un’s regime has confronted East Asia with a dangerous nuclear showdown, which has without question been moderated to certain degree by Beijing’s hand. A regional conflict between nuclear North Korea and the USA would spill over into Mainland China too.
    That’s bad for business in Beijing. It could be disastrous for South Korea and Japan.
    That’s why when Comrade Kim told his Chinese hosts “he was committed to denuclearization,” there was an audible sigh of relief in Asian capitals and a raising of eyebrows in Washington.
    Yet at the same time China, the eternal Middle Kingdom, has resoundingly reasserted its historic Big Brother relationship with Korea, now as it has for millennia. China’s patronage politically, diplomatically and through sanctions skirting back door trade, is what keeps North Korea afloat.
    Will China squeeze Kim to make a face-saving deal?
    In the afterglow of South Korea’s successful PyongChang Winter Olympics, there’s clearly a diplomatic thaw among the regional players which have been locked in a Cold War political permafrost. But once the North Koreans sent Kim’s sister to Seoul and PyongChong on a charm offensive during the Olympiad, the pieces began to shift. South Korean President Moon wisely took advantage of the flexibility and scheduled a summit with his North Korean rivals.
    Then quite unexpectedly U.S. President Donald Trump broke the logjam and called for a meeting with Kim Jong-un. Donald Trump’s politically audacious move not only caught the North Koreans off guard, but stunned China. In effect the Donald’s chessboard move threatened to marginalize China’s historic influence on the Korean Peninsula, and by extension, rebalance Japan’s security interests in the region.
    Tough United Nations Sanctions are squeezing Kim Jong-un’s options. China has significantly reduced its petroleum exports as well as coal and other key materials to North Korea. And the UN Security Council has yet again ramped up tougher economic measures on North Korea’s maritime smuggling and clandestine trade. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley stated, “The approval of this historic sanctions package is a clear sign that the international community is united in our efforts to keep up maximum pressure on the North Korean regime.”
    North Korea needs political and diplomatic leverage in the upcoming talks both with South Korea as well as with the USA. Kim Jong-un knows his nuclear weapons present Pyongyang with a valuable bargaining chip but at the same time paint a target on the quaintly titled Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Realistically only China can rebalance the equation, but is not going to let Pyongyang continue to play its reckless nuclear and missile testing which precipitated the crisis in the first place. The UN Security Council is not ready to blink for Kim.
    Though Western diplomats and the Japanese will demand denuclearization on the recalcitrant North, it’s clearly democratic and prosperous South Korea that stands the most to gain or loose in any deal; after all they share the divided peninsula. South Korea may ultimately inherit the North’s moribund Marxist state.
    The upcoming meeting between South and North Korea will set the stage; the May Summit with the USA and North Korea will pave the path for peace, continued instability, or much worse.

    John J. Metzler is a United Nations correspondent covering diplomatic and defense issues. He is the author of Divided Dynamism The Diplomacy of Separated Nations: Germany, Korea, China.

  • Double IPA by White Birch Brewing Co.


    Have you ever noticed that you might have made a hasty choice in the market grabbing some brew that looks appealing cause of packaging, cost point or shelf height. But when you get down to drinking it, you are less than amazed. And on top of that, you might have actually thought more about the purchase decision in retrospect rather than an informed and thoughtful pick. Well all of these points prove that marketing, packaging and shelf positioning are very important. But at the end of the day, your informed choice will either be hit or miss. So, this is why you are here reading about great beers to try. And our focus for today is on White Birch’s Double IPA.

    White Birch Brewing was founded in 2009 by Bill Herlicka, a longtime homebrewer and entrepreneur. His hard work brewing quality craft beers for the public in 22 oz bottles and now in 12 oz cans is and always will be his first goal. White Birch provides year round brews as well as seasonals and ‘small batch series’ editions. The upgraded 30 barrel brewery from a 7 barrel system means that more of Bill’s amazing beer can be produced for loyal fans who await releases year round. You can find out more about their offerings at their website www.whitebirchbrewing.com

    [Web Update / Correction: David Herlicka purchased the brewery in April of 2017 from his brother Bill. David started working with Bill at White Birch in 2013/2014 and helped grow the brand ever since. Bill has moved on to other adventures and David has been having a blast tweaking and improving WB’s beers and will be opening a new facility in May in Nashua.]

    Starting out as a growler-only offering from the brewery, “Double IPA” is a 9.2% ABV flavorful brew burst with malt goodness and late hop character in 12 oz cans. A large white head greats you as you pour the first round. When you bring the glass to your mouth, you will smell wonderful rich malts, biscuit and sweetness even before you take your first taste. With a generous and malty mouthfeel, you will taste all of the previous flavors but also tartness from bittering hops which lasts throughout the experience. Gorgeous golden yellow is the hue and slightly hazy is this prize. Citrus and fruit embrace you with flavor and mystifying complexity. Balance between maltiness and hops sees malt as the winner, but since this is a double IPA, that is to be expected in the character style. Overall, this beer serves as a reminder of what more courageous beer drinkers long for… flavor and lots of it.
    With the many other offerings from White Birch, this is a brewery to become friends with. You can find it at Case-n-Keg, as well as other fine beer stores. Most on BeerAdvocate.com have averaged this beer 4.12 out of a score of 5 and they have officially rated it at 85 winning it a ‘Very Good’. Enjoy this beer year round and remember to always drink craft NH beer whenever possible!

    Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to  wickedbrews@weirs.com

  • Get Used To It

    A Fool In NH Column Heading

    It’s nice to use my spring voice again.
    “Ahh…it’s fifty degrees. Let’s get out the shorts and go for a walk.”
    You have to take advantage of the warmer weather seasons here in New Hampshire because, before long, you know you’ll be using your autumn voice again.
    “Argh, it’s fifty degrees outside. I’m not going for a walk, it’s freezing out. Turn up the heat.”
    It’s all a matter of what you are used to,
    Sometimes it’s just a yearly thing; your thought patterns adjusting from season to season. Other times it has to do with life experiences.
    It seems like only a few short years ago that we all gathered around our new computers, hooked up to this thing called the Internet, and after listening to the hissing and beeping sounds of a connection finally being made, we stood in awe as a picture was downloaded (If we even called it that). We would watch it appear line by line, pixel by pixel, for what seemed forever, until, finally, the picture appeared on the screen fifteen minutes later.
    “Wow, that’s amazing,” we would say in amazement as a fuzzy photo of something completely unremarkable appeared on the screen.
    Nowadays we click on an email and then the attached photo and it usually appears in seconds. Of course, sometimes things don’t always go as fast as we want and it might take all of fifteen seconds for the image to appear.
    “Man, the Internet is really slow today,” we grumble. “This is really aggravating.”
    It’s all a matter of what you are used to.
    For us baby boomers, we can take this back even further.
    I can recall our family owning a small black and white television whose operation depended on some clunky giant tubes and a piece of metal on the roof that, somehow, magically captured images, sent them down a wire and onto our screen.
    Sure, there was only three or four channels, but there always seemed to be something on that would gather our attention and keep us mesmerized. Occasionally, the picture might get a little fuzzy, but that was okay, we’d make it through.
    I wouldn’t even get into when color televisions and remote control appeared. It was like a world of magic. We didn’t care what was on TV, just as long as there was something to watch.
    Today there is a selection of hundreds of channels that we can choose from to watch literally countless types of different programs. Choose a subject, there is probably a station for it.
    “This week on cooking with chimpanzees……”
    Still, we often find ourselves, sitting on our couches, remote control in hand, searching through this vast wasteland of entertainment and occasionally moan: “There’s nothing on.”
    It’s all a matter of what you are used to.
    It wasn’t that long ago that you actually had to push the doors in the supermarket open with your own two hands. We never thought twice about it.
    Nowadays if we encounter a supermarket door that doesn’t open automatically upon our arrival, we stand perplexed, staring at said door we almost walked right in to, wondering what is wrong. It takes about a second or two until our old primitive instincts kick in and we go back to our ancient habits of using our own strength. Maybe you should report this to the store manager so others don’t have to continue to go through this ordeal.
    It’s all a matter of what you are used to.
    It took me a while to stop looking every time I heard the quick beep of a car horn in a parking lot. My old instincts, before the days of automatic key fobs, make me stop and look. Maybe an old friend has spotted me and was trying to get my attention. Nowadays it is just someone locking their car doors. I don’t look anymore.
    It’s all a matter of what you are used to.
    It seems to me that all of these technological changes we have become used to over the years has softened us up a bit, made us a more impatient society as a whole. We have access to more information and entertainment at our fingertips than we could ever have dreamed of years ago, but if we can’t access it immediately we become upset.
    Everything moves faster, but no one seems to have enough time to get everything done. We have the latest gadgets but can’t wait to upgrade to the next, faster one.
    Unfortunately, that is what we are getting used to.
    It’s nice to know that we can still count on the seasons to change in an orderly fashion, no matter what some may say.
    So, I am going to get out my shorts and take a nice peaceful walk in the cool spring air. After this long winter, I could get used to this.


  • Esse Quam Videri

    Ken Gorrell

    by Ken Gorrell,
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    As state mottos go, “Live Free or Die” is unrivaled. We have the best state motto in the nation. But North Carolina’s Latin motto, Esse Quam Videri – translated as “To Be, Rather Than to Seem” – makes my list of the Top Five.
    The idea of “being” rather than “seeming” struck me as I endured that New Hampshire rite of spring, the annual school district meeting. Approving a budget of nearly $27 million dollars for a district with fewer than 1500 students (do the math – that’s more than $18,000 per student) to fund a system that is not, to put it charitably, a beacon of learning, was hard enough to swallow. What made this year extra special was having to debate (again) that ultimate feel-good-over-do-good issue, full-day kindergarten.
    Brought to the floor as a petitioned warrant article, the nearly $500,000 measure failed handily. The debate didn’t live up to the moral calling of either New Hampshire’s or North Carolina’s state motto. A relative handful of voters tried to push a costly program onto all taxpayers that might benefit a few parents but would not solve any of our district’s education challenges. Had it passed, full-day kindergarten (FDK) would have been an example of tyranny of the minority and the triumph of seeming over being. (Only 235 voters participated in the meeting.)
    The floor debate split along familiar lines. Those opposed focused on the fact that FDK programs have no documented success at improving education outcomes. What little measurable academic improvement was found for certain students had disappeared by second grade. This proposal was the wrong answer to the wrong question; we needed to be asking how we could best address our district’s mediocre academic performance, not how could we be like other districts.
    Yet proponents used that disreputable “but everyone else has it” argument (Did that ever work for you when you were a kid?), along with the equally odoriferous “for the children” as fallback. No amount of data was going to sway them from wanting to do what seemed or felt right, rather than figuring out what the right thing might be.
    Beyond the motto, the Tar Heel state has something to teach us Granite Staters about education. North Carolina has implemented an interesting program aimed at “being” – accomplishing the objective – rather than seeming to do so.
    Read to Achieve (RtA) was passed by the NC legislature in 2012. The program focuses on getting third-grade students to grade-level proficiency in reading before moving up to fourth grade. The Vision Statement is clear, simple, and measurable: All children will be proficient readers by the end of third grade.
    That metric is important because “Learning to read by the end of third grade is the gateway to lifelong success. When students are not able to read by the end of third grade, their risk of falling behind grows exponentially. In fact, research shows that nine out of ten high school dropouts were struggling readers in third grade. Students reading below grade level are almost six times more likely than proficient readers to not finish high school on time.” The clarity and logic of that statement stands in stark contrast to the emotional arguments used to try foisting FDK on a district struggling academically and financially.
    The results of RtA are promising. In the first 4 years, fourth graders improved half a grade level on the reading section of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Students scoring below basic in reading decreased 5 percentage points. Students scoring at or above proficiency increased 4 points.
    In an education policy report card by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), NC received a C+ grade; NH earned a C-. WalletHub’s comparison of state school systems ranked NC 13th; NH was 3rd. North Carolina has more large, urban districts and students from racial minorities than we have; those factors tend to lower academic performance. That said, NC spends half of what we spend per pupil yet achieves comparable NEAP test scores. What could we learn from them?
    The achievement of “being” should trump the virtue-signaling of “seeming,” but I won’t hold my breath. Despite all the reasons to oppose FDK (neither the Winnisquam School Board nor Budget Committee supported the warrant article), the chairman stated that the Board recognized the value of the program and were working on ways to implement it. I challenge him to craft a Vision Statement for FDK as clear as the Read to Achieve declaration – and to promise similar, measurable results.
    In Winnisquam as in all school districts across the state, we deserve what we tolerate. But for education, when we prefer seeming to do the right thing over being right, it’s the next generation that suffers from our folly.

  • Not Giving Up on Snow!

    The last day of Mt. Eustis’ season was a sunny warm clear day. The volunteer-run ski area is on the west side of I-93 above the town of Littleton. A rope tow carries skiers and snowboarders to the top of the slopes that were first opened in 1939. Two years ago the family friendly ski hill was revived by the Littleton community and its dedicated volunteers.


    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    The chairlift bullwheels at some of the ski areas have stopped spinning for the season. The smallest ski hills that rely on natural snow shut down a couple weeks ago. A few more ski areas stayed open until the first of April. But don’t fret there are still resorts open and it remains to be seen just how long this snowsport season is going to last.
    I went skiing yesterday. I went skiing today and I plan on going tomorrow. As long as I can find snow I am going to keep having fun!
    Pats Peak’s last day was the first of April and this isn’t the first time the ski area closed for the season while still having one hundred percent of their trails open. The school programs and race leagues finished up weeks ago and now they will start their busy wedding season.
    The skiing and snowboarding is still very good but the crowds have dwindled. I guess the kids big and small are riding bicycles and playing ball now. Only the die-hard snowsports fans continue to hit the slopes come April. And that is too bad because hitting the slopes with suntan lotion on your nose is more fun than having frost bite your nose! If you want to learn to ski it is a fine time to take a lesson.

    Charlie is having goofy fun skinning up Pats Peak because the lifts are closed. We use skins on the bottom of our skis so they won’t slide back down as we climb up the trail. At the top we rip the skins off and ski back down.

    Ragged Mountain and Crotched Mountain finished up their season on Easter too. Mount Sunapee is looking to finish up on April 8th. SkiNH.com, click on conditions to see an up-to-date rundown of who and what is open.
    Nordic trails in the woods are holding up and cross-country ski areas are working to stretch their season.
    Charlie and I have been putting Pats Peak’s snow to good use after work. We have plenty of time before it gets dark to skin up the mountain and ski back down. We have enjoyed some nice sunsets from the slopes of Twister.
    The previous week I visited for my first time Mt. Eustis in Littleton. The community ski hill has a rope tow and a small warming hut with a nice deck. All run by volunteers. The sun was bright and the snow was soft and bare spots were just beginning to show through.

    Big morning at Loon Mountain–from Picked Rock to Walking Boss the trails were covered edge to edge with super snow. Don’t give up on snow yet!


    Yours truly, Charlie and Becca extended our adventure by skinning up through the woods to visit Henniker’s Craney Hill fire tower

    Everyone there knew this was the last day of the season and a lot of people had come out. The price of a lift ticket was a donation.
    There is a grand view that will fill your eyes from their slopes of the Presidential Mountains all surrounded by the many peaks of the White Mountains. After every rope tow ride I stood at the top soaking in the view while I rested my arms. Hanging on to a rope tow as it pulls you up is a workout. My arms tired out long before my legs.
    A return visit to Mt. Eustis next season for night skiing is definitely on my list of fun things to do.
    We had a super morning at Loon. A friend and I both skipped out of work for the morning. We were in line at the gondola before 9 am when the lifts opened. We were treated to an early opening which afforded us to be able to get in an extra run.
    We skied like mad men for three hours straight, skiing all over the mountain. At first the snow was firm like winter conditions due to the previous nice cold night. Then the temperature rose and the snow softened up and we were able to make big hero turns in the groomed snow. On a few trails they let the bumps form on one side of the trail and they became soft and fun to ski.
    At noon we dashed back to our cars and headed to work. A half a day of work is better than none—I mean a half a day of skiing is better than none. Well, even hiking for one run is fun.
    Think Snow!

    Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: amy@weirs.com.

  • Yup, It’s Spring

    Black Mountain’s pond is filled with ice cold water and rubber duckies! Black Mountain will hold their annual spring Pond Skim this Saturday, March 24th. Check out the calendar of events at SkiNH.com for a complete listing of fun Spring events. (photo courtesy black mountain)

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Yippee the silly season is here!
    Time to put away the heavy winter jacket and dig out your Hawaiian shirt!

    I know it spring when Patrick of Intervale Farm Pancake House taps our Maple trees that line the road. The warm days and cold nights make the sap run and the snow good for skiing and snowboarding.

    Spring officially sprung on Tuesday March 20th at 12:15pm. The days continue to grow longer and we survived setting the clock an hour ahead. There is plenty of daylight to play outside after school/work and there is snow! We had cool Nor’easters that blanketed the ski slopes with snow and everywhere else too.
    My road is muddy and the sap buckets are hanging on the big maple trees. The sap flows best when it is warm and sunny during the day and when the temperature dips below freezing during the night. This is good for skiers and snowboarders too. This weather will make sure the snow stays around well into April and we wear sunglasses and slap on the sunscreen while soaking up the sun on the slopes.
    A favorite spring-time event held at many New Hampshire ski areas have skiers and snowboarders attempting to surf across a man-made-ice-cold pond! No matter what you call it—Pond Skim, Slush Cup or Spring Splash the end result is that a lot of somebodies are going to take a dive and get wet.
    I have made it across the water and I have made a big splash while pond skimming. If you haven’t done it at least once you should give it a try just so you can say you did it and it is fun. Be sure to wax your skis and go as fast as you can because speed will keep you on top of the water. Warning: If you must enter the pond straight. If you try to turn your skis will be ripped off your feet or the water will grab your snowboard and you’re going swimming fast. Have a towel and dry clothes nearby. Good luck.
    Pats Peak held their annual pond skim on Saint Patrick’s Day and they required all participants to wear costumes.

    They’re ready to get more than their feet wet attempting the pond skim at Black Mountain.
    King Pine skiers and snowboarders brave the cold water as they attempt to make it across the pond! Hit the slopes! If you don’t want to get wet it is just as much fun cheering for the brave souls making a big splash.
    Pats Peak held its annual Pond Skim on Saint Patrick’s Day–all participants were required to wear costumes.
    Carrying ET across the Pond at Pat’s Peak.

    Here are a few dates and places of the upcoming fun Spring Events:

    Saturday March 24th: Black Mountain’s All Day Pond Skim. Sunday March 31st: King Pine’s Cardboard Box Derby. Bodefest at Cannon Mountain.

    Saturday March 31st: Cranmore’s Spring Splash, Ragged Mountain’s Pond Skim, Mount Sunapee’s 20th Annual Slush Cup, 80’s Day at Cannon Mountain, Bretton Woods’ Beach Party.

    Sunday April 1st: Gunstock’s BYODC Pond Skim (Bring your own dry clothes), King Pine Pond Skimming.

    The date for Loon Mountain’s Slushpool Party and Cannon’s Blizzard Splash Pond is Saturday April 14th.

    When the snow settles and the avalanche dangers decrease the hordes of Tuckerman Ravine back country enthusiasts will cover the walls of the bowl like ants on sugar. The annual Tuckerman Ravine Inferno Pentathlon, a fundraising event by the Friends of Tuckerman Ravine, will be held on April 14th. The non-profit, Friends of Tuckerman’s mission is to preserve and protect Tuckerman Ravine and to sustain the traditional recreational uses of the area.

    Lastly, the best deals for next year’s season passes are being offered right now so it is time to start thinking about next year.

    Please keep your bicycles in the garage and the golf clubs in the attic until next month.
    Have fun.

  • The Man Who Thought He Was A Tree


    by Robert Hanaford Smith, Sr._DSC2528
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    T.E.M. White was a well-known photographer in Northern New Hampshire in the 1800s to early 1900s. He also thought he was a tree.

    His name is T.E.M. White and I call him a person of interest, not because law enforcement authorities had any special interest in him, but because reading about his life reveals him to have been an interesting person. Probably few people who read this even know about him because he died in 1909, but for thirty years this photographer attracted attention in North Conway, New Hampshire.
    Thomas Edward Mullikin was born in 1834 in the town of Newburyport, Massachusetts, but at the age of eight he became a resident of New Bedford, Mass. when he was adopted by his mother’s brother and was given the added name of White, thus the T.E.M. White label with a nickname of Ned. Professionally White received accolades for his photography of the scenery of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, particularly in regards to his glass transparencies; however, his popularity as a person involved a lot more than his skills with a camera. He was born into a family with musical talents, so probably none of his acquaintances were surprised to find that he, too, possessed special skills in the area of music. To say that he was proficient in the art of whistling would be an understatement because he was known for whistling the tunes of entire operas, doing this as he went about his daily work activities. White was also a singer who was a member of the New Bedford Choral Society, and whose rendition in song of “ Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”, was said by a friend, Ellen McRoberts Mason, in a Granite Monthly magazine article to be “something to remember”. He also played the violin.
    Ned, to use the name his friends used, was a mechanically minded young man who was a cabinet maker and showed signs of becoming an inventor before choosing the photography career. Described by his friend as being “of delicate constitution all through his childhood ” White suffered from an ailment that resulted in the amputation of one of his legs when he was about twenty-one years of age, so he responded by putting his inventive and mechanical skills to work by making himself an artificial leg.
    In 1876 Mr. White married a landscape artist, Gabriella F. Eddy, and it was two years later that they moved to North Conway where they built a house at a place called Tanglewild , though they continued to spend some winters in Massachusetts.
    That Mr. White thought that he was a tree is not a joke, though it doesn’t mean that he thought he was a tree at the same time that he was a man. He was unconventional in his religious beliefs and behavior and the trees were said to have been to him as “human friends”. He believed in reincarnation and, with his admiration for and delight in trees, would say, according to his friend, Ellen Mason, “I am sure that I was a tree once!.”

    [Family on front porch, New Bedford, Mass.]; T.E. M. White (American, 1834 – 1909); about 1880; Albumen silver print; 84.XC.729.186
    He was labeled as a “nature worshipper” but was a member of the First Congregational Church of New Bedford, which was Unitarian in its beliefs even though the original “Congregationalists” in America were the Puritans, followed by other groups ,emphasizing the local control of individual churches, but doctrinally believing in salvation by grace through faith in Christ. Congregational churches that adopted Unitarian beliefs, while also emphasizing local governing, differed in doctrine and were described by one person as believing in salvation by character. Mason, in an attempt to clarify White’s beliefs, wrote “he gathered spiritual strength and refreshment from Nature’s beauties, and in enjoyment of them his heart was uplifted in worship of their Creator.”
    Though apparently frail as a child, Ned White’s physical appearance as a man, despite the artificial leg was of a tall, slender, and muscular man with long, reddish-golden, curly hair (which turned white), with blue eyes. This photographer was active in his physical pursuits, engaging in mountain climbing and being known especially for his swimming and skating skills. In his childhood during the summer he would meet with his friends every day at a certain, private pool in the Saco River to swim, and, in his adult years, would be seen swimming in the Saco River with his long white hair floating on the water.
    The little that I have learned about this outdoor loving man who died in 1909 makes me inclined to believe that the popularity he enjoyed was as much a result of his kind and generous personality as his excellent skills as a photographer. Mason wrote “In the summer time the White’s house was filled with their friends, charming, cultured persons who formed a delightful company.” His interest in country living and appreciation of those who grow the things we eat, the farmers, led Ned to the Patrons of Husbandry, also known as the Grange, and he became a member of the local Pequawket Grange. He was chosen to be the chaplain of the group and the walls of the Grange Hall were adorned with his landscape pictures.
    Ellen McRoberts Mason’s tribute to the man who thought he must sometime have been a tree characterized Thomas Edward Mullikin White as a “ beautiful character” who lived on a higher plane than most people ”, and whose “presence radiated good cheer and often jollity.”
    Ned and Gabriella White were known for their generosity, following the principle “What you give away must be of your best. The quality of what you sell matters less.”
    T.E.M. White died on December 16, 1909. These many years later I wonder if any of you who read this have a photograph produced by Mr. White, or a landscape painting by Gabriella White.

  • Thinking It Over

    A Fool In NH Column Heading

    I’ve had to think long and hard about my plans for 2018.
    My recent surgery and recovery has given me a lot of time to consider what is really important in my life.
    It’s a bit of a quandary though. After all, not only did I survive the operation, but I also had survived a challenge last fall for my bid to once again represent the Flatlander Party as their candidate for governor of New Hampshire in this year’s election after my challenger dropped out of the race after a fuzzy convenience store surveillance video showed someone who looked a lot like him pocketing a pack of Tic-Tacs without paying.
    I had gratefully accepted the honor once again and in front of twenty to thirty Flatlander party members I gave a rousing speech about how I was ready to hit the ground running and to give it my best effort and to fight for change and blah, blah, blah.
    But today I’m not so sure.
    When you are in your sixties, lying in a hospital bed for five days after being given a brand new lease on life – as well as a new pair of hospital socks – many thoughts run through your head: Have I done what I really want in life? Have I used my talents to the best of my ability? What kind of vegetable are they going to serve with dinner? I hope not green beans again, I’m getting really tired of those.
    While I was at home recuperating, I did get many calls from Flatlander Party members wishing me the best and then hinting at what is going to happen going forward. Some very sincere in their concern and others just wanting to know what the next move, if any, for the party would be if I didn’t run.
    I pretty much assured them that I would be back on my feet in no time and ready to hit the campaign trail with more energy and a renewed vigor. It was the easy answer, so I could get off the phone and get back to sleep.
    Now that I am getting stronger, I am having second thoughts. Is this what I really want to do, spend months on the campaign trail, giving the same speech over and over, demonizing my opponents, making promises that I could never keep at bean-hole bean suppers (not my favorite food).
    On the other hand, I made a commitment to the party and I couldn’t just walk away from that. Would they be able to find a new candidate who would be ready to sacrifice the time and energy to a vigorous campaign, to be ready to take and give the name-calling and nastiness that voters expect and deserve and, most importantly, be able to handle bean-hole beans.
    I was also reminded by our party chairperson that we had already spent most of our budget on lawn signs and bumper stickers with my name on it and if I dropped out they would have no choice then to recruit one of the other three people named Smith in the Flatlander Party to run. (None of who would make great candidates for reasons I won’t go into here just in case they do decide to run. No reason to give their possible opponents any fodder.)
    As far as what I really want in life and how I’d like to use my talents, I guess I could put those on hold for a few months for the good of the party. Chances are good that I wouldn’t win anyway and it would all be over by November.
    Of course, if I did win, that would mean at least a two-year commitment and any of my other hopes and dreams would have to be put on hold. (Of course, I would get to collect that nifty $100,000 a year salary which, in all honesty, might be a little more than some of my hopes and dreams are paying at the moment.)
    So, as you can see, I have a lot to consider.
    I suppose I will have to make up my mind soon in fairness to all involved (especially those other three Flatlander Party members named Smith).
    Will it be a matter of doing what is right for me and pursuing those hopes and dreams or sacrificing myself for the good of the people and run again for governor?
    I’ll keep you posted.

    Brendan is the author of “The Flatlander Chronicles” and “The Best of A F.O.O.L. In New Hampshire” which are available at his website www.BrendanTSmith.com


  • Luponic Distortion IPA Revolution #009 by Firestone-Walker


    When we look forward to an annual release of some product or series we enjoy, we can become fixated on this release date; so much so that we get excited. Well, for a number of years now, Firestone Walker Brewing Company has created a series of very interesting combinations of rare or exotic hops placed within the exact same base malt beer so that folks looking forward to the new release can compare notes of previous versions and chat about the new hops and their part in making this release new and unusual. So the release of Luponic Distortion Revolution 009 is now upon us.
    Adam Firestone and David Walker are brother-in-laws who aren’t your everyday beer geeks. They look at the ability to brew something so different from what everyone else is doing as if it were an artful war. And they take that very seriously. With more than a dozen year-round offerings, the 20+ year old Firestone Walker Brewing Company of Venice, California, has carved a deep niche into the west coast beer scene. With other seasonals, specialty releases and their newest series, Leo v Ursus, FW is not to be ignored. You can find out more about their beers, their history and their fun attitude of seriousness at www.firestonebeer.com

    Luponic Distortion isn’t as odd a name for a beer as you would first think. Humulus lupulus, an essential oil found in hop flowers or cones, is that interesting and valuable ingredient that gives the hoppy aromas craft beer drinkers look for. Luponic Distortion is FW’s way of describing their combinations of hop flavors per version. Each release features a different combination of hops and is produced every 90 days according to their website. #009 is a showcase of “public domain” hops which tend to be the ‘unsung heroes’ in brewing. Many of us have heard of Cascade, Citra, Summit and Mt Hood west coast hops but public domain hop varieties are the Jones and Smith of hop plants. Therefore, combining these lesser-known varieties certainly gives the opportunity for new flavor. If you couple this concept with the ability to bitter (early additions in the process) or late and dry-hop additions, the flavor possibilities are endless.
    Delicately golden in hue, slightly off-white in a frothy head, Luponic is perfectly beautiful on its own. Tropical fruit, coconut, pine and citrus lead the nose and tastebuds as you make your first encounters. Since this isn’t a double or triple IPA, hop aromas stay in check and are not overtaken by malt character… just delicious flavor.
    BeerAdvocate.com has officially rated this 5.9% ABV beer as ‘Very Good’ by awarding it a 3.92 out of 5. This beer is available at Case-n-Keg at 5 Mill Street in Meredith. Grab yours soon in 16 oz four packs.

    Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to wickedbrews@weirs.com


  • Context and Confidence

    Ken Gorrell

    by Ken Gorrell,
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    Three years ago this week I penned “School-to-Prison Pipeline?,” for the March 5th, 2015 edition of the Weirs Times. It could have been written yesterday.
    I wrote that “Our education system should be refocused on meeting the educational needs of those children capable of functioning in a classroom. For many reasons, some children simply aren’t capable, and some make up what we call the criminal element.” I then asked if you’d want your child seated next to such a child.
    When those words were printed, the future Parkland, FL, high school mass-murderer had already been placed at Cross Creek, a special school for students with emotional and behavioral disorders. A few months later, a school report would say that this young man was “distracted by inappropriate conversations by classmates” about “guns, people being killed, or the armed forces.” Less than a year later, he was reintegrated into regular classes at Stoneman Douglas High.
    For that 2015 essay, I pulled this quote from neaToday, the mouthpiece for the nation’s largest teachers’ union:
    ”Fueled by zero tolerance policies and the presence of police officers in schools, and made worse by school funding cuts that overburden counselors and high-stakes tests that stress teachers, these excessive [discipline] practices have resulted in the suspensions, expulsions, and arrests of tens of millions of public school students, especially students of color and those with disabilities or who identify as LGBT.”
    Talk about a swing and a miss. At the time, I described the article as “displaying the childlike quality of being simultaneously simplistic, self-aggrandizing, and just plain wrong.” Add to that list: Deadly.
    The NEA complained that “…a quarter-million [students] were ‘referred’ to police officers for misdemeanor tickets, very often for offenses that once would have elicited a stern talking-to.”
    We now know that officials at Stoneman Douglas shielded students’ criminal behaviors – including drug use and assaults – from the justice system, part of a federally-funded policy to bribe schools across the country into ignoring real criminality and focusing only on reportable crime metrics. The idea of reducing crime by not reporting it is insane.
    The reality is that the prison pipeline predominately starts with bad families and dangerous communities. Does it surprise anyone that of the young men who turned into mass murderers since 2005, only one was raised by his biological father? (And that one – the Virginia Tech killer – was known to have been mentally unstable since childhood.)
    Those who have long fought to end or substantially restrict of our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms – the right that “shall not be infringed” – ignore that reality. They use every mass shooting to advance their cause, focusing on the gun rather than the person wielding it.
    On the other side, the NRA may come across as dogmatic. But it stands fast against “common sense gun reforms,” because it knows full well that the American Left uses “common sense” only euphemistically; the phrase is simply a means to hide its true goal. NRA members like me know that the common denominator of violent crimes is not a particular weapon; it’s a person with criminal intent.
    Nothing substantive will come from this most recent horrible experience. Nothing will come from the next. Solutions are beyond our grasp because one side simply can’t trust the other. I revere the wisdom of the Bill of Rights. I believe our Constitution is a living document only in the sense that there’s a well-defined process to amend it when necessary. I will never trust those who seek to circumvent that process and undermine those rights, especially when using dead or traumatized teenagers to advance a political agenda.
    Trust requires context and confidence. As a sociopolitical movement, the American Left is undeserving of trust because, when viewed in context, its actions align not to the rule of law under our Constitution, but to a global political movement seeking to consolidate power within large bureaucracies. How can one confidently negotiate with such people when their North Star lies outside the Constitutional firmament?
    These are the same people, after all, who also lead, encourage, and defend campus protests against the First Amendment’s free speech protections, using “hate speech” as their hook. When pressed, “hate speech” quickly devolves into “anything we don’t like or makes us feel bad.” That such a belief has become normalized at institutions dedicated to knowledge and inquiry is irony defined.
    We will not solve cultural problems like mass shootings so long as the Right must work valiantly to shore up the Constitutional protections the Left is working feverishly to erode.