Fast News for Feb. 8

MILFORD – Fire Chief Jack Kelly later called it a “good intention call,” when someone at Milford High School put in a call for a gas leak mid-morning on Feb. 2. Firefighters responded to the school and used meters to check out the area where some kind of gas smell had been reported and found nothing. “It could have a host of different things,” the chief said.

The school was temporarily evacuated, and because of the cold temperatures, students and staff walked to the nearby middle school for shelter.

Schools Superintendent Robert Marquis said a teacher in the library area notified the principal’s office of a smell like diesel-exhaust. The fire department was called, and the building evacuated before firefighters arrived.

By the time staff had taken attendance, it was time to go back to the high school, Marquis said, and “the kids and staff did a really nice job.”

Farm award

The Holland Farm in Milford was the recipient of the Farm of Distinction award at the 35th annual New Hampshire Farm & Forest Expo, on Feb. 2 and Feb. 3 at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester.

Farmer Marcy O’Connell was raised on her parents’ Butternut Farm in Milford and has a horticulture degree from the University of New Hampshire’s Thompson School.

“We’re entering our 11th growing season,” she said in an email, and they sell vegetables mainly through a 150-member CSA (community supported agriculture) and at their farm stand. “Family, friends and employees are all here behind the scenes helping me at the farm.”

The Farm of Distinction award is given to commercial working farms that display a neat and positive appearance to the public.

Ending racism

MILFORD – Last year, the Milford United Methodist Church hosted an eight-week discussion called “White Privilege, Let’s Talk.”

Now, the church will pick up this discussion with a program called “From Talk about White Privilege to Action: Next Steps in the Anti-Racism Journey.”

The discussion is set for 9-10:30 a.m. on Saturday, and is designed for anyone interested in ending racism.

Contact the office at Milford UMC at 603-673-2669 for more information. Visit the church’s website at for directions.

China trip

AMHERST – The Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a once-in-a-lifetime nine-day trip to China on Oct. 10-18. An orientation and information meeting will be 5:30-7 p.m. Feb. 15 at Souhegan Valley Chamber offices, 69 Route 101A. For additional information, contact Wendy Hunt at 603-673-4360 or visit

Special program

PORTSMOUTH – In response to a government shutdown that may result in work furloughs for many of its members, Northeast Credit Union (NECU) has announced the availability of several special programs to assist federal workers and their families that may be affected by the government shutdown.

NECU recognizes that many of its members who are in government positions may be without work during this time. The programs will be offered throughout the duration of the government shutdown and includes deferments for up to three months on NECU consumer loans, a special low-rate on a 12-month Signature Loan with deferred payments, and continuation of direct deposit pay at the member’s request. Information: call 1-888-436-1847 during regular business hours, email, or stop by one of our 20 branch locations in New Hampshire or Maine.

Artists awarded

PETERBOROUGH – The MacDowell Colony has awarded fellowships to 85 artists from 20 states and six countries, working in seven disciplines. The fellowships are for upcoming late-winter and spring residencies at the nation’s first artist residency program. The incoming group of MacDowell Fellows includes writers Rebecca Skloot, Elif Batuman and Azmat Khan; poet Mary Ruefle; composer Evan Chambers; interdisciplinary artists Basil Twist and Starlee Kine; filmmaker Stacey Steers; theatre artists Daniel and Patrick Lazour; and visual artist Carl Wilson.

These highly competitive fellowships, each with an average value of $10,000, were awarded from a pool of 721 applications received between July 2017 and September 2017. A panel of distinguished professionals in each discipline selects Fellows based solely on their talent as evidenced by a work sample and project description. While at MacDowell Fellows are provided a private studio for a period of up to eight weeks, accommodations, and three meals a day.

“Once again, an amazing array of gifted artists have applied for MacDowell Fellowships. These artists range in age from 20 to 92, perhaps the widest range we’ve ever had,” says Executive Director Cheryl A. Young. “This generational span is a testament to our continued effort to help artists of all ages and at all stages of their careers. This mix also makes for a richer experience for those in residence.”

Also among this group are artists displaced by the recent natural disasters in Florida, Texas, and Mexico. As in the past, MacDowell Fellows who live in the affected areas were eligible to apply for emergency time if their studios, homes, or livelihood were impacted.

Fellows make use of uninterrupted time to work and enjoy the rare opportunity for multidisciplinary exchange. Artists with demonstrated financial need are eligible for travel grants and stipends to cover expenses that accrue at home during a residency. The MacDowell Colony awards more than 300 fellowships each year. The next application deadline is April 15, 2018 for the fall 2018 residency period.

By awarding these fellowships, The MacDowell Colony continues its long-standing mission to nurture the arts by offering creative individuals of the highest talent an inspiring environment in which they can produce enduring works of the imagination. It is a mission that has inspired essential contributions to American and world culture for more than a century, and have to date earned Fellows 83 Pulitzer prizes as well as many other accolades.

The most recent group of Fellows includes, according to discipline:

Composers: Kris Allen, Eugene Birman, Antonio Blanco, Evan Chambers, Anthony De Ritis, Tonia Ko, Andrew May, Javier Moreno Sanchez, Koji Nakano, Octavio Vazquez and Pete Wyer.

Film/Video Artists: Sharlene Bamboat, Alexandra Cuesta, Janie Geiser, Salomé Lamas, Alexis Mitchell, Stacey Steers and Haruko Tanaka.

Interdisciplinary Artists: Nichole Canuso, Robin Deacon, Starlee Kine, Kate Levy, Tara Mateik, Erik Ruin, Carlos Sirah, Morgan Thorson and Basil Twist.

Theatre Artists: Fiona Doyle, Georgina Escobar, Jessica Huang, Daniel Lazour, Patrick Lazour, Casey Llewellyn, Mona Mansour and Kate Tarker.

Visual Artists: Elizabeth Bonaventura, Becky Brown, Victoria Burge, Erik den Breejen, Rose Dickson, Daniel Duford, Rashawn Griffin, Elana Herzog, Dawn Kim, Shari Mendelson, Marc Ohrem-Leclef, Erin Riley, Sarah Welch, Carl Wilson, Fo Wilson and Letha Wilson.

Nonfiction Writers: Louise Aronson, Amy Gall, Lewis Hyde, Azmat Khan, Carrie Laben, Daniel Levin Becker, Greg Marshall, Rebecca Skloot, Joe Watson, Julia Wertz and Laura Esther Wolfson.

Fiction Writers: Elif Batuman, Carolyn Byrne, Amity Gaige, Daniel Hernandez, David Keane, Kelly Luce, Claire Luchette, Lee Pinkas, Eric Puchner, Misha Rai, Marianne Shaneen, Sarah Smith, Amy Waldman, Xuan Wang and translator Joyce Zonana.

Poets: Marianne Boruch, Ama Codjoe, Mary Crow, Amanda Galvan Huynh, Eva Heisler, Luljeta Lleshanaku, Mary Ruefle and Rachel Zucker.


Game Night at the Second Congregational church in Wilton is on Saturday.

The name of organizer of the Wilton Peach March, Cheri Falk, was omitted in last week’s edition, and Stasia Millett (listed as an organizer), offered the blessing.

Candidates night

AMHERST – The Southern New Hampshire Branch of the American Association of University Women will hold the Sixth Annual Amherst Candidates Night on Tuesday, February 13, at the Amherst Town Hall upstairs in the Barbara Landry Room starting at 7 p.m. All candidates who have filed seeking to be elected to an Amherst town or school position have been invited. The evening gives the public a chance to meet candidates and hear their positions on issues.

The event can be seen live on your computer at, and on Comcast Channel 20, and as a recording after the 13th.

Positions are all three year terms unless noted.


Two Library Trustees – *Nancy Baker, *Karl (Ted) Krantz

One Cemetery Trustee – *Lisa M. Eastland

One Supervisor of the Checklist (six year term) – *Margaret B. Paul

One Trustee of the Trust Funds – *Lori Mix

One Town Moderator (two year term)- Stephen W. Coughlan

Two Zoning Board of Adjustment Members – *Douglas Kirkwood, *Kevin Shea

One Town Treasurer – *Elizabeth Overholt

Two Selectmen – *Michael Akillian, John D’Angelo, *Reed Panasiti


OneSchool Board Member-Casey Loose, Kevin Shea


One School Board Member- *David H. Chen, Martin Goulet

One School District Moderator (one year term)- C. George Bower


AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. In addition to Candidates Night, the Southern NH Branch provides scholarships for young women who are pursuing college degrees. AAUW is a non-partisan non-political organization that never endorses candidates or specific parties.

Questions about the event contact Liz Overholt at or 673-5171, and questions about AAUW contact Susan Hoover at or 603-213-6601.

Roof repairs

LYNDEBOROUGH – The roof of the former town barn can be replaced using volunteers provided there is adequate third-party insurance coverage and the workers sign waivers.

At the regular meeting of the board on Jan. 31, Town Administrator Russ Boland told selectmen he had discussed the question with the town’s carrier and reached an agreement.

The Lafayette Artillery Co. will provide the coverage, and the work will be done in the spring.

In other business, a lack of communication among town organizations has shown the need for a town-wide events calendar. Meetings have been scheduled by two agencies for the same day.

Meetings of town boards, and events scheduled for the two town halls, can be found on the town website. School events are on their site, and library events on theirs. Some special events such as a Fire Department breakfast, get little publicity.

Boland said he would look into the logistics of devising such a calendar.

It was agreed that the Conservation Commission can enter into agreements with individuals for maple trees to be tapped on conservation land.

The Putnam Pond Conservation Area sign near the entrance to the boat launch off Cemetery Road has been repaired and repainted.

The new display cases upstairs in Citizens’ Hall will be rearranged in order to set up voting booths for the town election on March 13.

The four cases will contain displays arranged by the Historical Society and the Lafayette Artillery Co. The cases were constructed last year by resident Chris Schoen for the Heritage Commission.


WILTON – Residents will have several new town officials after the Town Meeting.

In the Cooperative School District, three residents are challenging incumbents Carol Leblanc and Alexander LoVerme for seats on the school board.

James Kofalt and Edwina Hastings are currently members of the Budget Committee, while Christine Foss is a political newcomer.

Nobody filed for two positions on the Budget Committee.

Two people are vying for the Selectman’s seat vacated by William Condra.

Businessman Matthew Fish is a longtime member of the Planning Board. Mary McDonough is a newcomer, although her husband, Steve McDonough, once served as selectman.

William Chalmers has filed for town treasurer. Incumbent Jerry Greene did not.

Otherwise, all candidates are incumbents.

LYNDEBOROUGH – There will be a few changes in town government this year.

Selectman Mark Schultz did not run for re-election. Former Fire Chief Rick McQuade is running unopposed for the seat.

Mark Chamberlain was appointed to to the Board of Selectman after the death of Lee Mayhew, and he is running for the seat unopposed.

Kenneth Vengren and Katherine McClure have filed for Library Trustee.

Otherwise, all candidates are incumbents.

Nobody filed for Mayhew’s position on the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

In the Cooperative School District, longtime Board Chairman Geoff Brock announced his retirement earlier this year. Jonathan Vanderhoof has filed for the seat.

Nobody filed for a place on the Budget Committee.


AMHERST – Four of LaBelle Winery’s wines were among the winners in the San Francisco Chronicle’s 2018 Wine Judging Competition, a national contest that included 6,960 entries from 35 states. The winning wines were Petit Verdot; Three Kings Port; Vienna Waltz; and White Alchemy, each of which earned Silver designation.

A limited release, LaBelle’s Petit Verdot ($20) was made with imported grapes from Washington State. The rich dry red wine features strong floral and dark fruit tones with a deep cocoa finish.

Three Kings Port ($24), a dessert wine blending red raspberries, blueberries and marechal foch grapes, is made in the port style and is infused with apple brandy. It is aged in French oak for up to three months.

Also a limited release, Vienna Waltz ($17) is LaBelle’s take on riesling gewürztraminer. This semi-dry wine offers a hint of stone fruit and is excellent paired with salads, Asian dishes and seafood.

White Alchemy ($17) is a semi-dry white wine with a bright acidity and lingering finish that pairs well with poultry and seafood.

“We are proud to represent New England winemaking at this prestigious competition, and thrilled to have won four medals against some of the best wineries in the world,” says Amy LaBelle, LaBelle winery’s founder, co-owner and winemaker.

The largest competition of American wines in the world, The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Judging Competition is an annual contest that has been held each January for the past 18 years. The 2018 competition featured 67 judges from across the U.S. with a variety of backgrounds including in the wine trade, education, media, retail and hospitality. Wines are judged using an extensive process that divides the varietals into categories and subcategories. Winning entries are rated Bronze, Silver, Gold or Double Gold.

LaBelle Winery’s original location and vineyard are located at 345 Route 101 in Amherst.

The Bistro at LaBelle Winery, also in Amherst, serves lunch and dinner as well as brunch on Sundays. The restaurant is family-friendly and offers a special menu for children.

LaBelle Winery Portsmouth is located at 104 Congress St. The store’s phone number is 319-8015.

Please visit for business hours. Wine tastings are available at both LaBelle Winery locations.

Guided tours of the Amherst facility are offered from noon-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Call 672-9898 or visit for more information.