• A Hike On Pine Mountain Trail

    Outdoor Columnist Amy Patenaude stands on Pine Mountains open ledge with a view of Mount Major and Lake Winnipesaukee. The 1.7 mile lollipop loop through the Morse Preserve is well worth the modest effort for the grand mountain and lake vista. Although no longer a working farm the blueberry barrens were full of ripe berries and it is a popular place for people to pick.

    Hiking the Evelyn H. & Albert D. Morse, Sr. Preserve

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Early Saturday morning, while the Mount Major parking lot was overflowing out onto Route 11, we were headed to another nearby quieter and smaller Belknap peak. Charlie and I easily pulled into the Mike Burke, Alton Town Forest parking area on Avery Hill Road in Alton. There is room for about a dozen cars here.
    I had printed the Pine Mountain Trail map from the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (SPNHF) website, www.forestsociety.org . I had learned about Pine Mountain because its trails are included in the 60+ miles of trails that must be hiked to earn the Belknap Range Redline Patch offered by the Belknap Range Trail Tenders (BRATTS.org).
    The BRATTS are a volunteer group that perform great work maintaining and improving the hiking trails in the Belknap Range. The goal of the redline challenge is for people to have fun exploring the Belknap Range and to inspire new BRATT membership to help maintain these trails. Continue reading  Post ID 2932

  • Winston Churchill Ran For Governor Of NH And Owned A Summer White House


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

    One evening back in the 1970’s I was visiting in the home of one of the villagers in East Randolph, Vermont when he picked up a book and handed it me. He thought I might be interested in reading it. “You can have it”, he said. “ I’ve read it.”
    I took the book, briefly examined it, and, though I saw nothing that made a particular impression upon me, I was grateful for his generosity, and took the book home with me, also being one who seldom turns down something of value offered to me that’s free, and being mindful that you can’t judge a book by its cover or its title. From time to time since then the book has been moved from one house to another and from one room to another, remaining unread by me. Recently, while reading about the Winston Churchill who ran for Governor of New Hampshire twice, and lost twice, I noticed that he had written a novel entitled The Inside of the Cup, a title that brought back memories of a book that was given to me years ago, a book, that would have opened up opportunities to discuss the Christian faith and the social gospel movement with my friend, Cliff Cornell, if I had read it.

    Winston Churchill

    All that is written to introduce you to “the other Winston Churchill”, not the British statesman who became more famous, but the New Hampshire resident who ran unsuccessfully for Governor of the state as a Republican in 1906, and again on the Progressive Party ticket in 1912. About this time of the year in August of 1917, Churchill went to Europe as a member of the Bureau of Naval Intelligence, a position he had been appointed to after volunteering to help the military at the beginning of World War I in 1917. He had graduated from the United States Naval Academy and received his war assignment after writing to the then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Col. Churchill had become an editor of the Army and Navy Journal after graduating from the Naval Academy and wrote newspaper articles during the war. He was the managing editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine for a short time before concentrating on his writing career. Continue reading  Post ID 2932

  • Manta Ray DIPA from Ballast Point Brewing Co.


    Across the country, the craft beer industry is alive and doing VERY well. More and more, craft-brewed beer (less than 15,000 barrels/yr in production per facility) have made big inroads into “macro” beer sales with names such as Miller-Coors and Budweiser. With less than 20% sales of the entire craft industry selling against the macro brewers in country, this is a big deal. So let’s look at Ballast Point.
    On the other side of the country in sunny San Diego, California, the Ballast Point Brewing Company has made its home since 1996. It was Jack White’s dream since his first try at homebrewing in 1992 to own a brewery. Completing his studies at University of California, Davis, to become a master brewer, White quickly increased his knowledge of crafting fine brews. In meager beginnings in the back of a homebrew supply store, Ballast Point was always aiming to grow. Moving to Scripps Ranch, the brewery quickly expanded. They soon needed an even larger space so they added a second location in the San Diego brewery and restaurant in 2013. Today, Ballast Point can be found across the country in 12 oz cans and bottles along with 22 oz ‘bombers.’ Their more than 20 different beers is a testament to their massive success.
    This award winning Manta Ray Double IPA isn’t a tremendously hoppy beer, but Ballast Point achieved bittering and flavor against malt profile. Hops are normally added only into the boil to achieve their balance against grain sweetness. Appearance is a brilliant yellow tone with a long-lasting foamy white head. Aromas of grapefruit, pine, mango, and are in the slightly sweet side of balance. With a medium to fuller mouthfeel, this double IPA sure pleases your palate with this 8.5% ABV and 70 IBU (bittering) drink. And the taste is slightly on the sweeter side with caramel malt, floral notes, citrusy tangerine, melon, pine, grapefruit and oranges rounding out the flavor profile. Late bittering is evident that saves this DIPA from becoming something it didn’t intend to be.
    Manta is sold to us in 12 oz six packs. All of Ballast Point’s beers are named for varieties of fish found in the nearby Pacific Ocean. Jack was an avid fisherman as well as brewer so it only stands to reason that BP uses ‘catchy’ labels to show off their creations.
    BeerAdvocate.com has officially rated Manta Ray as ‘Outstanding’ and awards it a 91 out of 100. Other followers are rating it as high as 5.0 out of 5.0.
    You can find Manta Ray DIPA at Case-n-Keg in Meredith as well as other fine beer providers. There’s nothing fishy about Manta Ray, it’s just a great tasting beer that will bring a smile to your face!

    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


  • NASCAR in Loudon

    Denny Hamlin winner of Loudon’s July 16 NASCAR race.

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    It was wonderful to hear the roar created by the world’s best race car drivers at the Overton’s 301 NASCAR race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on July 16. I heard the noise from the back deck at my home in Loudon, roughly a mile from NHMS—as the crow flies.
    More than just crows were flying that day, as some small planes pulled banners through the sky to advertise to the tens of thousands of NASCAR spectators. Helicopters were aloft as well, at least one of which was carrying a camera for some aerial shots for NBC sports, which telecast the event nationally.
    I always get a kick from watching the action on my television, as I can listen to the event in real time while watching the splendid telecast with its wonderful graphics, multiple cameras, and excited announcers.
    The aerial shots showing New Hampshire’s hills and forests always make me proud of this unique major sports venue on Route 106 with a capacity for 100,000 spectators.
    Of course, there were less than 100,000 fans at the track on July 16, as NASCAR attendance has been declining nationwide for years. Consider my situation. I’ve attended in person in the past, but was content to watch Denny Hamlin’s #11 Toyota take the checkered flag on TV, even though I lived within walking distance of the track.
    Still, I love the energy and excitement that NASCAR brings to the Granite State twice a year. Yes, the traffic is heavy on those two days, but I think it’s cool to see people from all over America converge on Loudon. We had three Canadian visitors stay with us for race weekend—who, unlike me—spent most of Saturday and Sunday at NHMS.
    It all happens again on Sunday, Sept. 24 when the New England 300 comes to NHMS.
    Sadly for New England NASCAR fans, that will be the last September race in Loudon, as that event moves to Las Vegas in 2018—a reminder that major sports are big businesses. Hopefully the July race will stay in Loudon. Continue reading  Post ID 2932

  • Repeal and Replace Republicans

    Ken Gorrell

    by Ken Gorrell,
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    By the time this edition hits the stands, it’s possible that Republicans in Congress will have passed a health care bill that saves us from the sinking ship that is ObamaCare. Given their performance over the past six months, though, the smart money isn’t on GOP success.
    Like the proverbial dog that caught the car, Republican leadership was completely unprepared when voters gave them the opportunity to live up to a campaign promise. And not just any promise: They used the “Repeal and Replace” mantra in multiple campaigns, with all the earnestness and bravado of a ball player begging, “Put me in, coach!”
    The problem is that the GOP isn’t a team made up of team players. In sports, fans expect that each player works hard to win. In Republican party politics, players can’t even define what “win” means, much less work together as a team to achieve it. In sports, they say “There is no ‘I’ in team.” The political corollary is that there is no principle in law-making. That’s the harsh realm of politics that some politicians don’t understand. Yes, we are a nation founded on principles, and we should be guided by those principles, but laws are grubby little things that have to be passed in order to matter.
    Cue Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine. They sit at opposite ends of the Republican spectrum, but are kindred spirits. Through word and deed, they seem intent on proving themselves more righteous than their peers, not team-players. Paul portrays himself as a knight-errant able to slay the ObamaCare beast with a single stroke of his sword if given the chance. Collins hides behind concerns about those who might be hurt by a GOP bill, seemingly oblivious to the millions hurt now by ObamaCare and the many millions more who will be hurt as the system continues to spiral out of control.
    The sausage-making analogy for the process of turning a bill into a law never worked for me, because at the end of a messy process, sausage is a harmony of wonderful flavors. It tastes good by design. Laws, on the other hand, are usually a disharmony of unappealing bits, held together by a tough casing of political expediency. Republicans like Paul and Collins say they want something better, but by their actions they will leave us with the indigestible status quo.
    Democrats have no problem understanding this. Unfortunately, the reality of their ideals is a nightmare of Big Government intrusion into our lives. And, of course, the Dems love the Big Lie. Even the most transparently ridiculous lies work on gullible voters, conditioned with the “But wait, there’s more!” advertising for products we all know can’t possibly live up to the hype.
    Who truly believed that after Dems built a wall of additional regulations thousands of pages high between patients, doctors, employers, and insurance companies that cost-curves would bend downward? When has more bureaucracy ever improved efficiency or service? Who believed that we’d be able to keep the health plans and providers we liked, given that millions of Americans get their health insurance through their employers and therefore don’t even own their policies? How can you keep what you don’t really have?
    We sent liberal sycophants instead of leaders to represent us in Washington, so Granite Staters have little voice in congressional debates. But back home, GOP control of the corner office, executive council, and legislature gives us the opportunity to take advantage of President Trump’s pen. Through executive orders, he can give states greater flexibility in how they work within existing law and provide more choice for consumers. It’s only a temporary patch, but our president can make our lives better without congress. Governor Sununu should encourage President Trump to return power to the states. With that power, Concord can take action while congressional Republicans dither.
    Beltway Republicans haven’t matched campaign rhetoric to reality. The irony is that as purists from their ranks claim to stand on principle while others do the dirty work of law-making, we drift further away from those principles. The Founders got their hands dirty, making the difficult compromises necessary to create our shining city upon a hill. It’s not too much to expect a couple of senators to get down in the dirt to help repair the damage done to our insurance and health care markets by their true ideological opponents. But until they do, states should be given the lead. It’s time for President Trump to use his pen and his phone.

  • Breaking The Curse?

    A Fool In NH Column Heading


    I was recently asked if I thought “The Curse Of The Flatlander” would ever be broken.
    I had to stop in my tracks. It had been a longtime since I had been reminded of it. I had even written about it to some degree on these pages many years ago.
    Since then, it has been kept quiet; not many of us like to be reminded of it. With the Chicago Cubs breaking the 108 year “Curse of the Goat” last year, it seems like it is the only “curse” still lingering in the minds of some here in New Hampshire.
    Flatlanders especially.
    If you don’t know the story of the curse, it goes like this.
    Back in the 1930s it is believed that the first “Flatlander” from the urban New York City area moved to New Hampshire. (Some dispute this claim, but I have yet to see hard evidence.)
    The legend goes that many thought he wouldn’t have what it takes to survive in the Granite State. Sure, in the summers – a time when so many like him came to visit – things were easy. It was the winter and the off season where he would be tested to limit.
    Despite all the odds, and the lack of sympathy from natives who were anxious to see him fail, he stood his ground. He adapted nicely and actually flourished; he was no average Flatlander.
    His abilities in chopping wood, shoveling (yes shoveling) his roof and showing great courage and proficiency in accomplishing many other winter feats far outshone his neighbors. In fact, his expertise with a shovel, both on the ground and upon his roof, after a vicious snowstorm, earned him the nickname “The Grande Espatula” which was Spanish for “The Grand Shoveler”. (Many question this fact as no one can figure out who the heck in Central New Hampshire in the 1930s would ever come up with such a name.)
    It was apparent to natives and Flatlanders alike that this one individual was blazing the trail for others to come after him. He was setting a standard for all to follow. Respect would be immediate.
    Of course, this was not to be.
    The local factory where the Flatlander worked during the week was remortgaged by the owner who needed cash to finance a summer stock production so as to give his wife a chance at becoming a great actress and eventually find her way to Broadway.
    The show was a bomb, as was his wife. The show closed abruptly, the mortgage got behind and the factory eventually closed.
    Finding it hard to find other opportunities for work, the Flatlander took a new job in Maine where he moved, along with his exceptional skills.
    The legend goes that no Flatlander since that time who has moved to New Hampshire has been able to flourish in quite the same way.
    At the same time, it is no secret, that Flatlanders moving to Maine have been much more proficient and continue to succeed by leaps and bounds.
    Is this all just coincidence, or is it really a curse?
    Many scoff at the very idea, dismissing the ineptness of Flatlanders like myself as a curse. Some point to rare examples of some who have actually succeeded. But have they ever reached that pinnacle that legend describes?
    Believers in the curse, like the gentleman who reminded me of this the other day, feel that no matter how well they perform in their new homeland, they will never be able to reach the top of the ladder and be accepted as a true New Hampshireite until the curse is lifted.
    Now that the Cubs have removed themselves from their curse, many feel it is our turn. That this coming winter one Flatlander will rise above the rest and flourish beyond all expectations and finally succeed where so many before him (or her) has failed before.
    Will this be the year? Will one of us shine and put to rest the scorn and futility? To shut down the noise? Will one of us finally some up to par with those Flatlanders from Maine?
    I know one thing for sure.
    It’s not going to be me.

    Join Brendan as “Real Stories North Of Concord” hosts its second StorySlam at Pitman’s Freight Room in Laconia on Thursday, August 24th. Up to twelve storytellers will be picked to tell their 6-minute story based on the theme “Brush With Fame.” The slam starts at 7:30 and admission is $20 with all net proceeds going to benefit Camp Resilience.

  • Owl’s Head – In the Middle Of The Pemi Wilderness

    Yours truly, Sharon LaVigne and Sarah McCann on the summit of Owl’s Head. Owl’s Head is the only mountain on the AMC’s New Hampshire 4,000 footer list that doesn’t have a recognized trail to its summit.

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    The golfing gals, Sharon and Sarah, have put their hiking boots back on!
    They began collecting 4,000 footers 7 years ago and last summer they didn’t even go hiking once. There were too many reasons their boots stayed in the closet—moving, weddings, golf matches and other fun stuff and not so fun stuff.

    Sharon LaVigne of New London on the Owl’s Head slide with a big view of the Franconia Ridge and close-up view of the Lincoln Slide.

    I confess I was surprised they didn’t get one date to work last summer. After all, the previous summer they hit the trails hard. Mt. Isolation, Mt. Madison and Mt. Adams were among the peaks that they last checked off and leaving them only 9 peaks left to finish the 4,000 footer list.
    We decided to go to the top of Owl’s Head for their first hike this summer. My friends are healthy and strong and it is a long hike (usual route is over 18 miles) to get to that little peak and back. Owl’s Head ranks #43/48 at elevation 4,025’ and its wooded summit offers only obstructed views.
    Owl’s Head is the only peak on the Appalachian Mountain Club’s New Hampshire 4,000 footer list that doesn’t have an official trail to its summit. The well-worn path follows an old very steep slide up from the Lincoln Brook Trail.
    Owl’s Head is in the middle of the 1984 federally designated Pemigewasset Wilderness, east of Mount Liberty and west of the Bonds and far from any roads. The trails in federally designated wilderness areas are often referred to as primitive but mostly they are unmaintained and the trail blazes have been removed. The trails are only brushed, if at all, just three feet wide and trees that blow down across the trail are not removed if they can be stepped over.
    The Lincoln Woods parking area is right on the Kancamagus Highway, Rte 112 and east of the Loon Mountain Resort. The parking lot was half full, even on a Wednesday morning; a day parking pass is $5. We crossed over the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River on the suspension bridge to the Lincoln Woods Trail at 7:30 am.
    Our plan was to think of the hike as four different hikes. The Lincoln Woods Trail, the Black Pond Trail and bushwhack, the Lincoln Brook Trail and then the slide to the summit.
    For 2.6 miles we walked up the old logging railroad bed above the bank of the river that is the Lincoln Woods Trail. Many old railroad ties still remain and it isn’t easy walking over them so on both ends of the ties muddy paths have formed.

    Mid-day on a Wednesday afternoon even the slide on Owl’s Head is crowded! There were six of us going up at the same time and at least no falling rocks hit anyone. We met at least a dozen people out on the trails and passed by three occupied tent sites on our way in and out of the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

    At the junction of the Black Pond Trail, I stashed two bottles of PowerAde in a tree just off the trail. Losing those four pounds sure made my pack feel lighter and we’d be happy to have those bottles to drink on our way back.
    The well blazed one mile trail to Black Pond was in excellent condition through pretty woods. At the pond the view of the Bonds and a nice peek at Owl’s Head was lovely and exciting. I decided to lead the bushwhack route for two reasons: to avoid the Franconia and Lincoln Brook crossings and to make the hike two miles shorter turning a usual 18 miles hike into 16 miles. Plus, the less used Black Pond Trail and the woods are much nicer than the trails.
    Near the end of the pond we did our best to get around the mud. We followed my compass north and in a few minutes we hit a path and the path became more obvious.
    If you do not know how to use a compass and map do not attempt to take this route. Don’t count on being able to find or being able to stay on it. A simple fallen tree could hide the way for you. Jokingly, Sharon asked me if I was lost yet. (I cross country skied this route last February.)

    Welcome to the Lincoln Brook Trail! The trail has many mud pits to cross and trees to step over along the un-blazed (no trail markers) trail.

    A big mud pit greeted at the Lincoln Brook Trail and three men backpacking were there too. They said they had used the bushwhack and path but somehow got headed too far east and bumped into the brook and ended up crossing it and then crossing it again on the Lincoln Brook Trail. That didn’t sound like much fun.
    The Lincoln Brook Trail has no blazes and is a muddy mess that follows along the bank of the brook. The stream crossing were all rock hop-able and we kept our feet dry. The cold water of the fast flowing brook kept the air rather comfortable and cool. We were surprised that there were only a few vexing deer flies.
    The upper crossing of Lincoln Brook was rock hop-able too. Sharon and Sarah didn’t miss a beat and the crossing took little time and effort.

    To reach the summit of Owl’s Head you’ll have to cross brooks.

    At the bottom of the slide there are two small rock cairns and a birch tree lying alongside the trail that made for a perfect bench. The three took a seat and ate an early lunch before we tackled the hard last mile climb up the slide and along the ridge to Owl’s Head’s summit.
    By the time we finished eating and put our packs back on the three men that we had met earlier had caught up to us. They followed us right up the slide. They were too close but they wouldn’t go by even when we encouraged them. They were nice guys but it felt too crowded.
    The middle of the rocky slide is open and we could see the mountains of the Franconia Ridge and Lincoln Slide. Here we sat down to enjoy the view and to let the men go on their way. To our chagrin they went a few more minutes before they sat down too.
    We got tired of waiting for them to get a move on so we headed up the trail and passed them and they tailgated us to the summit.
    A small rock cairn and “the top” carved into a tree is what is at end of the herd path at the summit. We snapped a photo and turned around and headed back down.

    The clear afternoon reflection of the Bonds on the waters of Black Pond was a lovely sight.

    Going down the slide is harder than going up it. We took our time and many careful little steps until we reached the bottom.
    We followed back down the Lincoln Brook Trail the best we could. Only once did I lead us off the trail to a dead end at a camp site and it took a minute to find the trail again. I blamed trying to go around mud.
    From Lincoln Brook to the bushwhack “path” it was much easier to follow the trail but nearing Black Pond I lost it again. But I had a good idea where I was and we walked out nearly the same way we had come in.
    We had all drained our water bottles and we were happy to have the drink I had stashed away and we were thirsty the last 2.6 miles.
    We made it back to the car just before 5:30 pm. We’d been out nearly 10 hours and 16 miles of hiking. Now the golfing gals only have 8 peaks left on their 4k lists.

    —Have Fun.

    Sarah and Sharon are back from Owl’s Head, on the suspension bridge over the East Branch at the Pemigewasset River at the Lincoln Woods Trailhead. Happy Hikers, happy to be finished after nearly ten hours and 16 miles on the trails.

  • Lockes Hill ~ Kimball Wildlife Forest, Gilford

    On the Lakeview Trail, Yours truly enjoying the grand vista–I feel like a Queen sitting on my stone throne.


    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    The Belknap Mountains offer many opportunities for hiking. Mount Major is certainly one of the most popular peaks to hike in New Hampshire due to its wide ledgy summit and sweeping lake and mountain panorama.
    To reach Major’s summit it requires hiking 3 miles and climbing over a thousand feet of elevation. Lots of people of all ages and abilities do it and I hope someday you might get the chance.
    But there is another fine perch that is shorter and less challenging to reach. It’s not far from Mount Major and it offers a splendid vista of Lake Winnipesaukee, the Ossipees and the White Mountains too. That’s Lockes Hill—a miniature Mount Major!

    The view from “The Glade” on the Lakeview Trail on Lockes Hill over Lake Winnipesaukee to the Ossipee and White Mountains is grand. Lockes Hill is a miniature Mount Major!


    Pick up a map and trail guide from the mailbox near the Lakeview Trailhead.

    Lockes Hill was the 280 acre estate of Boston and Montreal Railroad President Benjamin Kimball. In 1897 he built a castle overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee on the property. His heirs established a trust for the study and enjoyment of wildlife habitat and the Town of Gilford was appointed the trustee. The public does not have access to the castle, it is privately owned.
    The Lockes Hill trailhead right off of Route 11 in Gilford about 3 miles east of the Laconia Airport. The parking lot entrance is marked with a brown hiker icon highway sign.
    Charlie and I knew we would be driving by the Lockes Hill so we planned to do the short hike. We decided to make a 1.8 mile counter-clockwise loop by going up the Lakeview Trail and coming down the Quarry Trail.
    The Lakeview Trail begins on the right just as you enter the parking lot. There is a sign and be sure to take a trail guide from the mailbox here. The Lakeview Trail switchbacks as the trail climbs up the slope, there are many rock steps. Along the trails are interpretive stations that are fun to read to learn about the Kimball Wildlife Forest and its inhabitants.
    Nearing the top of the hill we reached “The Glade” –a cleared area for wildlife habitat and to open the vista. We had only hiked half a mile with less than 500 vertical feet of climbing and we were wowed by the view. Plus the area just off the trail is rocky and people have stacked the rocks to make chairs or maybe I should call them stone thrones.
    We looked down at the Big Lake and over its broad water and islands to the mountains. There is a distance viewer mounted here and Charlie and I used it to peek at boats on the water. Hiking to just here and back would be a worthy outing.
    We continued to the top and there was a spur path to a distance viewer and another fine vista. This perch allowed us to see further to the west.


    Charlie looking at mountains, houses and boats using the distance viewer on Lockes Hill.


    The Lakeview and Quarry Trails are well marked with blue blazes and are easy to follow.

    The Lakeview Trail meets the Quarry trail at the Lockes Hill beacon, a light on top of a utility pole for the benefit of warning airplanes headed to the Laconia Airport. We poked around the top and found yet a third distance viewer at an opening with a good view of Gunstock and Belknap Mountains.
    We headed down the Quarry Trail and it was less rocky and had a softer footbed. The hemlock forest turned into a hardwoods as we got off the ridge. We passed by an area that had been recently logged and we decided to leave the trail and check out the view from newly opened area. We looked west and could see a hazy view of Mount Cardigan.
    We descended some rock steps and went across stepping stones past a pool that was part of the old quarry site where the stones were cut for the Kimball’s castle.
    From here we followed an old logging road back to the parking area.
    The trails are well marked with blue blazes and are easy to follow.
    This was a super hike and Lockes Hill is treasure.
    Have Fun.

    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.

  • UN Secretary General Decries Rising Tide of Refugees

    John Metzler

    by John J. Metzler
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    UNITED NATIONS – In an impassioned appeal to the media, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres decried the rising tide of refugees worldwide, but advised that ultimately political solutions to the crises remain the key to stem the tide creating chaotic human displacements.
    While more than 65 million people around the world are victims of a score of conflicts, both humanitarian assistance and preventive diplomacy to solve these calamities are needed now.
    “Now we are witnessing the largest number of refugees ever,” the Secretary General stated glumly while adding that while developed countries have carried an enormous burden to aid the ongoing humanitarian emergencies, it was largely overlooked that smaller and poorer states have carried a disproportionate burden.
    Secretary General Guterres is painfully aware of this expanding crisis having served nearly a decade as the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees and earlier Portugal’s Prime Minister.
    Sadly we know the conflicts: Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
    Significantly the Secretary General stressed that countries of first asylum, namely states bordering a particular crisis, now host 80 percent of the refugees. In Lebanon one third of the population are fleeing Syrians. Turkey and the Kingdom of Jordan host huge numbers too.
    In 2015, Uganda hosted a half million refugees; today the small Central African state has 1.3 million mostly from South Sudan. Kenya and Ethiopia house large numbers too from Somalia. These are societies, “that are poor, that lack resources, that have huge development gaps and huge development problems.”
    Guterres is appalled that “global political populism, Xenophobia, racism in which refugees become a target.” He advised that while refugees are often accused of promoting terrorism, refugees “are the first victims of terror, they are fleeing terror; that is why they are refugees.” Continue reading  Post ID 2932

  • Left-Hand, Left Behind

    Ken Gorrell

    by Ken Gorrell,
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    Has somebody ever said something to you that hit you full in the face like the wind coming off a freshly manured field? I experienced that sensation last week while attending a local “Town Hall on Education,” hosted by Reaching Higher NH.
    The meeting started off as expected. Though it claims to be nonpartisan, from their “About Us” webpage, it’s clear that Reaching Higher is left-of-center. But the host presented an even-handed summary of recent state and federal education legislation. When the two panelists were introduced, however, the meeting lurched noticeably to the Left.

    I didn’t mind the recently-passed bill funding all-day-kindergarten being referred to derisively as “Keno-garten” (as if a funding mechanism based on voluntary contributions is worse than one based on forced taxation), or even the state being criticized for “downshifting” education costs to taxpayers, as if Concord gets its revenue from magic elves. But when a Democrat state representative insisted on calling our education scholarship program a “voucher” system that (cue the ominous music) gives tax dollars to religious schools, I knew I was behind enemy lines.
    After an hour of being told how wonderful but underfunded – or at least, inequitably funded – our public school system is, I asked the two panelists what the drop-out and non-proficiency rates were for the Laconia system. They didn’t know. I asked because those students are being poorly served by a system that pours nearly $15,000 a year into preparing them for the adult world. The latest data for Laconia: 10.9% drop out; non-proficiency rates for 11th graders in reading, writing, and math are 24%, 37%, and 75%, respectively.
    The focus on and testing for college- and career-readiness ignores the needs of a sizable number of students. When I asked a panelist about those students whose academic abilities place them well to the left on the bell curve, I received the odoriferous answer: He didn’t believe in the bell curve. This educator didn’t believe in applying the “normal” distribution, a well-established concept in statistics, to students. His “all students can succeed” claptrap may make him feel better, but ignoring inherent limitations is cruel.
    I haven’t been in the dream-crushing business since my days as a Navy officer. When a sailor’s sense of self interfered with the ship’s mission, a personal recalibration was in order. While teachers should be inspirational, encouraging students to reach higher, that encouragement should not ignore the real world, where failure to “make the grade” is not only an option, for some it is a probability. Expectations matter, but so does ability.
    Academically, most of us occupy the middle of the bell curve, but some are further to the left, closer to the break-point between success and failure in life. By focusing so much on standards a sizable percentage of students can’t meet, our public education system is failing to provide them with the skills needed to live independently, make a living at an attainable job, pay the bills, and participate in their communities.
    Public schools produce many young adults who earn only debt, not a degree, from their college experience. Some must pay for remedial courses to learn high school-level material. Some newly-minted college grads first encounter real-world standards during the interview for the job they didn’t get. But the kids our system truly leaves behind are the ones represented by the dropout and non-proficiency rates.
    For a variety of reasons – IQ, socio-economic, family stresses – some students will never meet college- or career-ready standards. That’s not a moral judgement; it’s simply a fact. It’s time to take those kids out of the current curricula and testing regimen. Some of the 115 out of 152 students who started 11th grade in Laconia in 2013 unable to demonstrate proficiency in mathematics could be better served with a program aimed at providing them with the basic body of knowledge for independent living. Relevant proficiency is more valuable than irrelevant non-proficiency.
    The academics of this program would be built around key life skills, such as a basic understanding of civics, current events, and history; the mathematics required for personal finance and trade-skill jobs; fundamental scientific concepts; home economics; law and order; and society’s expectations for adults.
    Teaching and testing at levels some kids can’t reach, covering material they will never use, is a waste of time and resources. Worse, the kids know it. They vote with their feet by dropping out or tuning out. Encouraging students to reach higher is the right thing to do, but only if what they are reaching for is meaningful to their lives and realistically within their grasp.

    Ken can be reached at kengorrell@gmail.com

  • My Plans For The Fourth

    A Fool In NH Column Heading

    Time to get out my walking shoes.
    I realize that it would make sense to wait until Independence Day next year, but desperate times take desperate measures.
    As you may or may not know, I am facing a serious challenge next year in my run to be the Flatlander Party’s gubernatorial nominee (which, as I often have to explain to folks, means I am running for governor, not guber).
    I don’t usually have any competition for the nomination, but this year I may find myself in the fight of my life for the job. The party hasn’t done well in elections over the years, so the grumbling inside is that there needs to be a change. Seeing that I’m the only one from the party that has run for office over the years then, of course, all the blame falls in my lap.
    A lot of people forget that it was me that started the Flatlander Party, right here on these pages years ago. It’s been me that has suffered the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” and took the losses in elections humbly.
    I knew it would take years until we would be properly recognized and I was the one who took on that struggle, knowing that someday we would finally be a force to reckoned with.
    Now, just as we are finally breaking through (I did get seventy-five votes this last election) others want to step from behind the embarrassment curtain they have been hiding behind all these years and now step out into the glory.
    Like the story of the Little Red Hen I read in grammar school, I did all the work while others claimed to have too many other things to do in order help. Now, as our star begins to rise, others want to just step in and eat the bread.
    Still, this is politics and I should have seen it coming. I shouldn’t have expected anything less.
    So, I have some work to do and I need to do it early.
    The Flatlander Party doesn’t have the numbers of the other two major parties, but we do have enough to make a difference. The problem in getting their attention for the primary vote is that they are spread far and wide across the state.
    So, I am kicking it into gear early to get their attention.
    What better way than to march in some Fourth of July parades in some of the cities and towns in New Hampshire.
    I realize I will only make a few of the parades considering travel and timing, but I have hired a few surrogates to march in some others holding signs with my name on it.
    Of course, this all works on the element of surprise and not only will it put me in front of some members of the Flatlander Party early, but it may also get me some much needed, free media coverage.
    No one attending Fourth of July parades this year will be expecting it. On off election years, parade goers line the streets waiting to see the local high school bands march and play, some brave veterans walk by, maybe local police and firefighters, some folks from local organizations that do good around town and even guys in funny hats driving little cars. No one will be expecting a smiley politician to show up.
    Advantage me.
    I’m sure some will be shocked as they see me walk by, waving as if I care. Some will react with boos I’m sure. Maybe a few polite ones wiell give me a smattering of applause.
    One things is for sure though, I will stick out like the sorest of thumbs and I will be noticed. Even my surrogates will make some waves. The media will love it, especially the boos, I’m sure to get free air time out of it.
    Of course, I haven’t been invited, but I’ll make sure to pull off my best Rosie Ruiz and slip into the parades as they turn a corner, my campaign sign ticked neatly into the elastic waist band of my shorts (which come in very handy for more than just an ever-expanding waistline).
    So, if you see me marching in your Fourth Of July Parade, remember I have no choice. A desperate man has to do what a desperate man must do.
    I know you’ll understand.


    I hope you will join me on July 13th at Pitman’s Freight Room in Laconia for a StorySlam to benefit the NH Humane Society. If you have a story to tell based on the theme “It Seemed Like A Good Idea” please come and put your name in the hat (of course, you’ll need a ticket. After all this is a fundraiser.) For more information see the ad on page 44. Visit “Real Stories North Of Concord” on Facebook or email to realstoriesnoc@gmail.



  • BIKES AND BEARS – Franconia Notch Recreation Path, Clark’s Trading Post

    Yours truly and Becca visiting the Basin while riding our bicycles on the Franconia Notch Recreational Path. The path travels nearly ten miles through Franconia Notch between The Flume and the Skookumchuck Trailhead.


    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Becca and I met mid-morning in the Flume Visitor Center. The Flume was a happening place and we were not able to park in the north lot nearest the beginning of the Franconia Notch Recreation Path but there was still plenty of room in the lower lots.
    The clouds were still low and the ground was wet from the previous evening’s rain storm but the air was warm and comfortable. A few years have passed by since the last time either one of us had taken our bicycles for a spin on this path. We both joked that the nearly 10 mile long path was uphill in both directions but actually the elevation gain from the southern terminus at the Flume to the northern terminus at the Skookumchuck Trailhead climbs 800 feet in elevation.

    At the edge of Profile Lake in Franconia Notch, Becca is standing in the middle of the Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza. The Profilers behind her can be lined up and viewed to re-recreate his face on the mountain.

    The Franconia Notch Recreation Path isn’t what many expect to find in a bicycle path. There are steep uphills and downhills and though I am not sure the exact width of the pavement but when meeting approaching cyclists it sometimes feels quite narrow. Plus there are walkers and hikers using the path to reach attractions and trailheads too.
    But what it lacks as a bicycle super highway it more than makes up with grand scenery that should be enjoyed at a slower pace. I do recommend parents lead their children and set a safe slower pace during descents.
    We pedaled steadily for a couple miles up the path before stopping to view the Basin. Here there were lots of visitors walking from the parking area to the Basin. It was a lovely sight to see the high water swirling around the natural granite bowl.
    For our next stop we took a slight detour off the path to the Lafayette Place Campground headquarters and camp store. The camp store is well stocked with all the provisions to keep campers happy—from foam sleeping pads to bug-dope.
    From the campground the path continues to climb and passes near the scree field below the mighty mile long Cannon Cliff. The clouds were rising and we could see rock climbers making their way up the cliff’s steep bare face. We also enjoyed views of Eagle Cliff on the east wall of the Notch.
    The path crosses under the Parkway when it reaches Profile Lake because the Parkway tightly hugs its shore. Now on the other side we pedaled past the small wayside that was once a popular viewing site to see the Old Man of the Mountain. In a short distance the path goes back under the Parkway and intersects with the path to the Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza.
    The plaza has granite benches, engraved pavers sponsored by supporters of the Old Man Legacy Fund and steel “profilers” that recreate the visage of the Old Man high above Profile Lake on the north edge of the Cannon Cliff. It is a pretty place and it’s worth it to take the time to visit the historic site.
    Becca and I wished we could put the old Man back up on Mountain. Fiberglass, plastic or even a big balloon might do the trick. Looking at where he used to be doesn’t bring him back.
    We rode past the Cannon Mountain Tramway and the New England Ski Museum, not enough time to do everything in one day! The path continues past Echo Lake and people were out enjoying the paddleboats that they rent at the State Park breach.
    The downhill after passing under Route 18 requires caution because it is long and steep. Right above there are good glimpses of Artist’s Bluff Cliff. Then there is a sharp turn and a big uphill that goes right under Interstate 93 and tops out at the Old Route 3 and the Governor Gallen Memorial and the Sunset Bridge.
    From here it is less than two miles of near flat pedaling to the Skookumchuck Trail parking area. This would be a swell place to have a short easy out and back bicycle ride between the Galllen Memorial and the Skookumchuck Trailhead. Very good riding for people that want to avoid hills.

    Becca is trying to take off in the Wolfman’s doodlebug! There are many wonderful curious things to see at Clark’s Trading Post.


    You’ll bear-ly believe your eyes! Echo the bear is in a barrel. Clark’s Trading Post’s world famous bear show will delight one and all! Siblings Murray and Maureen Clark continue the family tradition of training black bears with kindness and the occasional reward of a lick of vanilla ice cream.

    We turned around and rode straight back to the Flume, yes it was more downhill and a lot of fun. But the day was only half over. We threw our bicycles in the car and drove a few miles down the Notch and pulled into the Clark’s Trading Post.
    We bought out tickets and the ticket taker stamped a black bear paw print on the back of our hands. It was nearly 2 o’clock and we rushed to the show ring to watch the acrobats. The agility and strength of these people were a sight to behold. You won’t think of hula hoops, handstands or how to squeeze into a tight place the same way ever again!
    The Conductor called “ All aboard” for the train ride and reassured us we’d be back in time for the Bear Show at 3pm. We made our way to the train with the crowd and took our seats. Yes, both of us have made the journey into Wolfman’s claim and yelled “Scram you old goat”! We were delighted by the small children’s reactions to the Wolfman.
    We did get back in time for standing room only on the upper part of the Show Ring for the main attraction, the bear show. Echo and Tula performed a wonderful show and the Clark’s continue the family tradition of peppering the show with sweet corny bear puns. The show starts with the raising of the Flag, a bit of recycling, getting the mail and a good game of Bearsketball.
    Echo and Tula are stars and the Clark’s gentle loving care just glows as they encourage their bears during their performance. A good serving of education about New Hampshire’s black bear population is squeezed in between all the fun too.
    After the bear show Becca and I decided to visit the Museums—old typewriters and a stuffed two headed calf caught our attention. Next inside Merlin’s Mystical Mansion and we enjoyed the benefits of not aging and some loud music.
    We skipped the water boats and the Old Man Climbing Tower (maybe Clark’s could put the Old Man back?) but we did ride Wolfie’s White Mountain Wheelin’ Segways. This is your chance to ride the self-balancing Segway scooters and at no additional charge.
    New for this season is the renovation of the Tuttle’s homestead into the Tuttle’s Shootin’ Gallery, this is a pay to play ($3 for 20 shots or all you can shoot in 1 minute). We decided to try the laser-guns and we blasted away more than 20 shots in a minute at the Tuttle’s possessions! It is a nice addition but of course I wish it was included in the admission price as is nearly everything else at Clark’s.
    We saved taking the plunge on the Anaconda Escape Water Raft Ride for last. We climbed the stairs to the top and got into the raft and we were launched down the rapids inside the big snake. It was exciting and yes we got wet but we didn’t care since the day had turned sunny and hot.
    The fun days of summer go by too fast. Round up your family and together.
    Have Fun.

    The Wolfman is willing to do anything to keep the passengers of the White Mountain Central Railroad from stealing his claim of Unobtainium!

  • The Celtics And The Draft

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    The 2017 NBA draft is a week from today—June 22—and for the first time since 1950 the Boston Celtics have the top pick. The burning question is: What will Celtic General Manager Danny Ainge do with the pick? With the Celtics a young and deep team that was one of the NBA’s “Final 3” this season, perhaps they could trade the pick for an established star who could help them to the next level—the NBA Finals.
    (As this is being written well in advance, if Danny has already traded the pick, you’ll have to excuse me.)
    The names of several stars have been bandied about, including that of Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant. Would you trade the pick for rights to someone like Durant?
    Actually Durant will be a free agent so the Celtics could just make him a great offer and sign him directly and trade the pick for LeBron James.
    This scenario is not entirely implausible. The 28-year-old Durant expressed interest in Boston before heading to Golden State. Having just won a title with the Warriors, he may need a new challenge.
    The notion of the Cavaliers trading LeBron—an Ohio native—might seem fantastical, but it would make great sense for Cleveland from a business perspective. A 14-year NBA veteran, James will soon be 33 years old. He’s a big guy whose knees and ankles have taken a terrific pounding. He may only have a year or two left.
    There’s a place for sentiment in sports, but the NBA is a business. The Celtics kept the “Big Three” (Bird, McHale, Parish) around until they all declined about the same time—like the One-Hoss Shay. The team was then non-competitive for 15 years.
    The Cavaliers would be smart to get a first pick for the aging LeBron. While there are no guarantees regarding top picks (see below), theoretically they’d be giving up LeBron’s last two years for a potential superstar with a 10-12 year future.
    Such a deal would create a short-term firestorm in Cleveland, but eventually it could pay off handsomely. Loyalty has its place but don’t forget that LeBron bugged out of Cleveland in 2011 in search of title rings—which he acquired in Miami.
    A year or two of LeBron and Durant in Boston would create a media sensation, incredible expectations, and major “chemistry” questions. It’s unlikely to happen, but fun to consider.

    Continue reading  Post ID 2932

  • Space Cake Double IPA By Clown Shoes Beer


    If you ask any child (at least the level-headed ones), they will tell you they are very afraid of clowns, especially under their bed. Where the heck any of this concept stems from is well beyond my comprehension. But sometimes clowns can bring us fun and laughter. Been to a circus in your life? I bet you giggled at clowns racing around the the big top. Missed that moment, sorry; you should have been there. Well, we have all of that and more in our focus beer today courtesy of Clown Shoes.
    Mercury Brewing in Ipswich, MA, brews all of Clown Shoes’ offerings. Owner Greg Berman quips on their website about coming up with the company name. They wanted to be set apart from the other brewing companies and they must have succeeded with this iconic idea. Clown Shoes has at least 60 different offerings that have landed on shelves around New England since 2012. Some are current, others are one-offs and 58 are already retired. And their label art is just amazing! Find out more about Clown Shoes at https://www.clownshoesbeer.com.

    A brilliant golden yellow hue and an antique white head generously greet you at the first pour of Space Cake. This head sticks around quite a while and laces your glass as you partake. The nose or aroma at the rim of the glass speaks of toasted bread, maybe some caramel malt, pine and citrus. With a medium mouthfeel, this tasty double IPA barks hop flavor in your first encounter. Floral and spicy notes join in the celebration of this wonderful brew. Silky smooth, malty as a double should be and a subtle hop bite are your final thoughts when you complete your journey. Among the many Double IPA’s out there, this is one that is a ‘Must Have’ in your collection.
    This 9% ABV beverage drinks like a 6.5% since you are concentrating on the hop goodness and not the booziness that can happen with larger beers. True to form, character and style, Clown Shoes hits this one out of the park. But then again, all of their offerings are this way!
    BeerAdvocate.com has officially rated Space Cake DIPA as ‘Outstanding’ and awards it a 91 out of 100. Many out there adding their favored votes have put it as high as 5 out of 5 which is quite a feat!
    You will find it at Case-n-Keg in Meredith (I saw at least 5 bottles there recently) as well as other fine beer providers. Clown Shoes has a bunch of great offerings so try them all when you get the chance… and I’m not clowning around!

    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

  • May Day For Britain’s Theresa May

    John Metzler

    by John J. Metzler
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    NEW YORK—It’s political May Day for Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May after what appeared as a massive miscalculation in calling a general election which she narrowly won.
    Though the ruling Conservative party gained the largest share of seats and votes in the 650 seat Parliament, the party fell sadly short of a majority, thus causing the “Hung Parliament” in which a coalition must again be formed.
    Theresa May’s roll of the political dice to call for early elections were based on her gamble to win a powerful majority strong unified government which was needed in the wake of last year’s still reverberating BREXIT vote for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. BREXIT talks on the UK/EU separation begins in mid-June amid an uneasy instability in London.
    As May predicted prior to the vote, “Now more than ever, Britain needs a strong and stable government to get the best deal for our country.” Indeed, but now there’s more confusion both in Britain and throughout the European Union concerning the complicated pattern of EU separation.
    Tragically Theresa May’s snap election was shadowed by the specter of terrorism, both the appalling attacks in Manchester and London in which Islamist jihadi terrorists hit soft, civilian targets killing 30. Concerning the terrorists she said, “They are bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism…Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time.” Continue reading  Post ID 2932