Transition Town training to be held in New London, N.H.

New London, N.H. – Students in the Third Year environmental science/studies major at Colby-Sawyer College are helping to build the infrastructure for a Transition Town initiative in the Kearsarge Valley Region as a part of their Community-Based Research Project.

They are hosting a training event for the Kearsarge Valley area on the weekend of November 9th-11th, 2012. Any and all interested community members are welcome to attend the training that will be held on campus in the Curtis L. Ivey Science Center.

“If you love expanding your knowledge while connecting with other enthusiastic community members, then please join us for a weekend full of discovery, excitement, and strategizing,” the release says.

“Transition Initiatives” or “Transition Towns” bring together local networks of individuals, businesses and organizations that are committed to improving the well-being and resilience of their communities.  Drawing upon the ideas, skills and experiences of residents they develop positive localized solutions to discuss the regional impacts of larger global issues such as economic insecurity, environmental instabilities, and dependence on non-renewable energy.

To learn more about this event or to register,  visit www.kearsargetransition.wordpress.com or call Jillian Dervishian, 617-791-7910.

Tina Clarke and Simon Dennis, both Certified Transition Trainers, will facilitate this weekend event. Clarke has been an educator, advocate, director and consultant for nonprofit programs since 1985.  She has consulted with over 400 NGO’s and she has trained and advised over three dozen other Transition Initiatives.

Simon Dennis is one of the founders of Transition Town White River Junction, as well as the Center for Sustainable Practice, and has played key roles in organizing two successful community gardens.  He was also the co-founder and co-director of COVER Home Repair and the ReCover Store, a non-profit that works with volunteers to complete the community’s most urgently needed home repairs and sell donated building materials and household goods to support this mission.

This three-day course is an in-depth experiential introduction to the Transition Movement. Packed with imaginative and successful ways to engage your community, the course describes how to catalyze, build, and facilitate a successful Transition Initiative. It delves into the theory and practice of Transition that has worked well in hundreds of communities around the world.

Training Schedule:

  • Friday, Nov. 9th 5:30-9 p.m. Potluck Dinner & Discussion. Free and open to the public.
  • Saturday, Nov.10th 9:30-5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec.11th 12-5:30 p.m.

Number of participants is limited. Cost for the weekend: $90 – a few scholarships are available. For more info and to register, e-mail: transition.town@colby-sawyer.edu.

6th Annual Sunapee Harbor Magic Dec 3

Save the date, Saturday, December 3rd. It’s the sixth annual celebration of Sunapee Harbor Magic with an array of holiday activities  planned from 1 to 4:30 pm at Sunapee Harbor village. There will be food and drinks offered on the MV Kearsarge and a sale of homemade pies and an a silent auction at Pete’s Shed on River Road. Also at Pete’s Shed you’ll find Santa’s workshops: gingerbread cookies, Christmas stories, crafts, magic performances and face painting. And at 2 pm the rec department will hold the Looney Lunge with costumed participants splashing into Lake Sunapee. Also, there will be hay rides, caroling and, at 4:30 pm, the harbor lighting. For a complete list of activities, here is this year’s flyer… to view, save and share with others.

Sunapee Harbor Magic 2011 – Flyer (PDF 459 KB)


The benefits of on-going education for town employees

By Jessie Levine, New London’s town administrator

This column is one of appreciation to the taxpayers of New London, who may not know that in 2005 the Board of Selectmen voted to add educational assistance and tuition reimbursement as a benefit for Town employees. This decision is revisited every year during the budget process, and every year the Selectmen have voted to continue the benefit to support the ongoing education of Town employees for the benefit of the community. Continue reading

Got Love For Your Community?

Sunapee News often writes about community. Now it’s your turn! We invite you to share your ideas about the things that contribute to your sense of community. A Gallup-Knight Foundation study, described below, discovered unexpected factors that cause people to love where they live. It also suggests new approaches to improving communities.

A three-year Gallup study of 26 U.S. cities has found that peoples’ love and passion for their community may be a leading indicator for local economic growth. Surprisingly, social offerings, openness and beauty are far more important than peoples’ perceptions of the economy, jobs or basic services in creating a lasting emotional bond between people and their community.

The 26 cities in the survey with the highest levels of resident love and passion for their community, or resident attachment, also had the highest rates of GDP growth over time.

“This study is important because its findings about emotional attachment to place point to a new perspective that we encourage leaders to consider; it is especially valuable as we aim to strengthen our communities during this tough economic time,” said Paula Ellis, Knight Foundation’s vice president for strategic initiatives.

Despite declines in the economy since the study was begun in 2008, the researchers found some surprising constants:

  • The things that create the greatest emotional connection between people and their community – social offerings, openness and aesthetics – have remained stable for three years.  These three things reliably rated highest among 10 drivers of resident attachment, which also included: civic involvement, social capital, education, perception of the local economy, leadership, safety, emotional well-being and basic services.
  • The link between local GDP and residents’ emotional bonds to a place has remained steady despite declines in the economy over the three years of the study.  Communities with residents who are more attached to a place show stronger growth even in tough economic times.
  • People’s perception of their community’s performance in social offerings, openness and beauty has a greater impact on their emotional bonds to a place than their demographic characteristics.
  • Perception of the local economy is not a leading reason residents create an emotional bond to a place.

For complete survey findings, visit www.soulofthecommunity.org.

Knight Soul of the Community is on Twitter (#SOTC) and Facebook (facebook.com/soulofthecommunity).

Sunapee News welcomes your comments.

Sunapee Celebrates Harbor Magic Dec. 4th

Sunapee will host a holiday gathering at Sunapee Harbor on Saturday afternoon, December 4th from 1 to 4:30 pm. Sponsored by the Lake Sunapee Region Chamber of Commerce and locally organized, Sunapee Harbor Magic, A World of Celebration in Our Community will include hay rides, holiday crafts, story telling, a silent auction, food and caroling, and a visit by Santa.

Food and beverages will be available aboard the MV Kearsarge. And at 2 pm, the Looney Lunge, organized by the Sunapee Rec Department, will gather lakeside for “a winter splash in Lake Sunapee.” Participants and spectators invited.

To view/print/share the event flyer (455kb pdf), click on Sunapee Harbor Magic 2010. For more information, contact Rhonda Gurney.

At Pete’s Shed

Story telling, 1, 2 and 3 pm with special treats for the children provided by Sunapee Sunapee; Magician performances and face painting, 1 to 4 pm; Drop-in crafts, free of charge/donations accepted; Gingerbread cookie decorations, 1:00, 1:45 and 2:30 pm, ($5, sign up at Tattered Pages, phone 603-763-2539); Sunapee Middle High School Art Club Pie Sale; Silent auction, 1 to 3:30 pm.

At  Sunapee Harbor Village

  • Harbor caroling
  • Hay rides and boat launch/tour of the harbor, 1 to 4:30pm
  • Hot beverages and food on the MV Kearsarge, starting at 1 pm (benefits Sunapee Middle High School French Club)
  • Rec Department Looney Lunge, lakeside, 2 pm
  • Visit by Santa for the parade, arrival 2:30 pm
  • Collections for the Sunapee Food Pantry and Sunapee Toys for Joy
  • Harbor Lighting at the Ben Mere Gazebo, 4:30 pm

Celebrate the magic in our community by singing, sharing stories of your family’s traditions, having a hot cocoa and taking a hay ride, participating in a workshop, visiting Santa or by strolling through the harbor…

Mark Your Calendar: Sunapee Harbor Magic is Dec. 4

This year’s Sunapee Harbor Magic will be Saturday, December 4 from 1 to 4:30 pm at Sunapee Harbor, and the theme—A World of Celebration in Our Community—is inspiring activities of an international flavor.

There will be singing, story telling and the sharing of holiday traditions and treats. On the MV Kearsarge, the Sunapee Middle High School French Club will showcase French holiday traditions and foods. At Pete’ Shed, the school’s Art Club will display original art that has a global flare. They also will offer home cooked pies for sale.

This is Sunapee Harbor Magic’s 5th year and the community event will include children’s activities, crafts, hayrides, hot cocoa and food, and, yes, a visit by Santa at 2:30 pm.

“Hope to see you there,” said organizer Rhonda Gurney. “Come stroll through the harbor and share in the fun.”

For more information and to help out, contact Rhonda at 603-763-5696 or email: ronski.gurney@live.com.

Sunapee News: Around and About

In Newport (NH), the Trustees of the Richards Free Library and the judges of the Sarah Josepha Hale Award announced that Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has won this year’s Hale Award. He will accept the award on October 3, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. at the Newport Opera House.

As for other activities, the Richards Free Library will hold a Circle Dance on Tuesday evening, September 8 at 6:30 p.m. Bring comfortable indoor shoes.  No partner is required.  The evening is open to all free of charge. For more information, contact the library, 603-863-3430. The library is located across from the Newport Common at 58 North Main Street.

Lorie McClory has her most recent Grantham column loaded with community news and happenings posted on Sunacom.com. Speaking of Sunacom.com, its publisher Ken Schuster of Newbury also has a photo website that SunapeeNews.com has added to Links, located in the left side column. See Artists/Musicians/Photographers.

Looking for something fun to do locally in the Lake Sunapee area? Or perhaps you’re looking for area travel booklets or what’s happening over the long weekend? Stop by the Sunapee Information Booth (phone 603-763-2201) on Route 11 in the center of town. It’s stocked with a variety of literature including a guide to NH parks, shopping guides, and special event notices; and on the rack one can find the latest edition of the SooNipi Magazine and several local newspapers. (Last week, The Compass, the new regional weekly published by HippoPress, and the InterTown Record out of Sutton were available.) Marilyn Morse, Isabel Torno and Rem Mastin are amongst those that work at the information center. They are longtime Sunapee residents and know the area well.

Sunapee News is looking for help so that we can cover more local news and activities. If you’d like to join the Sunapee News team, let us know. Email: SunapeeNews@gmail.com.

GG.org Publishes Recipes and Local Food Info

A garlic scape.

Image via Wikipedia

Greatgrandmother.org, an online source for local food sources and more, has a “whole foods” section with recipes by gg.org publisher Mario Capozolli, Sunapee. “Garlic scapes are growing in our region,” writes gg.org. The website also provides information about Local Harvest CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and fresh produce growing and available in Sunapee, Upper Valley, and greater Concord area. For more information, visit: greatgrandmother.org

Related article: Around the Kitchen Table with Greatgrandmother.org – SunapeeNews.com

Sunapee PTO Holds Health, Rec and Safety Fair March 21

The Sunapee Parent Teacher Organization is sponsoring a Health, Recreation and Safety Fair on Saturday, March 21 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Sherburne Gym, Route 11 in Sunapee. Admission is open to all free of charge. Participants include: Sunapee Recreation Department, Dexter Inn, Community Alliance of Human Services, Sunapee Police Department, NH Division of Parks and Recreation, Trusting Hands, Lake Sunapee VNA and Hospice, Sunapee Fire Department, Community Transportation Services, Rising Sun Martial Arts, Diane Hargbol, RDH (dental information), Sargent’s Marina (boat safety), Sunapee Boy Scouts, NH Poison Control, Abbott Library, DMHC Injury Prevention, SAU #85 Pre-School Program, Friends Program, Turning Point Networks,  and UNH Cooperative Extension 4-H.  The Sunapee Recreation Department will also raffle off two Red Sox tickets with a drawing at noon.

Sunapee Plans GreenUp Clean Up May 2

A community-wide effort is underway in preparation for Sunapee GreenUp Day, Saturday, May 2 from 9 a.m. to noon. Sunapee Road Agent Tony Bergeron is the event chair and Rhonda Gurney, Sunapee, co-chair. The GreenUp committee met last week to detail plans and needs. The group is seeking more neighborhood organizers, in-kind donations and participants that will sign up now to help in their section of town or on their street.

The GreenUp is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon on the first Saturday in May. The rain date is Sunday, May 3.

For more information, contact Tony Bergeron or Rhonda Gurney.

To read the committee minutes, click here (pdf – 28 kb).

Sunapee Group Discusses Menu for the Future

Thirteen community members sliced into a hot-topic last week, when session one of a six-week discussion group met at Sunapee Abbott Library to explore food, sustainability and community. Conversation circled around local food options (or the lack thereof) and the individual food choices people make based on upbringing and ethnicity, lifestyle and personal and global health concerns.

Menu for the Future is the title of the course. It attracted full enrollment.
The group took 90 minutes and discussed “What’s Eating America” after reading short writings by Zoe  Bradbury, Daniel Duane,  Michael Pollan, R. W. Apple, Jr., Sue Browning, Aleria Jensen and Wendell Berry.

Menu for the Future is one of eight courses provided by the Northwest Earth Institute and distributed regionally via the Vermont Earth Institute, which is very active in the Upper Valley.

Private and public groups sponsor local courses. To learn more about sponsoring a program in your home, place of work or community, call (802) 881-2039 or e -mail: vt.earth.institute@gmail.com.

For more information about Abbott Library services and programs, visit: Abbott Library.

If you’re interested in community farming/gardening or have a local story to tell, please use the Reply box below.

Related article: It’s About Earth Friendly Living, Living Lighter and Better (Sunapee News).

“Local First” Food and Farming

Whether you’re in Oregon or New Hampshire, local farming is at best a challenge. However, people increasingly talk about how they want to get produce from area farmers’ markets and produce locally more of the food they eat.

Sunapee News has been following: Cooking Up a Story.  It posts daily and talks about food, people and sustainable living. Check it out.

25% of all Oregon farmland will be up for grabs over the next decade, the future of Oregon’s family farmers may hang in the balance. According to the latest 2007 Census of Agriculture, the average age of local farmers is 57.5 years, slightly older than the national average. – Cooking Up a Story

Closer to home, UNH provides farm facts and sustainable horticulture info at: http://horticulture.unh.edu

Even closer to home, Menu for the Future, a discussion course begins March 12 at in Sunapee at Abbott Library. For more information, call the library, 603-763-5513.

To share your food (or farming) stories and ideas, just stir up a reply below.

Feasibility Study Presented for New Sunapee Library

Consultant Kathleen K. Barger, a certified fund raising executive, reported to the Abbott Library Board of Trustees and members of the community January 27 on the feasibility and potential for a capital campaign to construct a new public library at Sunapee Harbor.

“During the months of November and December 2008, I met with 54 individuals to listen and to ask questions and to test the case for support, test a financial goal, and recommend a campaign plan and timetable,”  Barger explained in her executive summary.

To an audience of about 40 at the town hall, she said her sampling of interviews represented a cross-section of the community and included town officials and residents.

Before presenting her recommendations, Barger described the scope of the study. She looked at the “image and reputation” of Abbott Library, community interest in the project and “leadership and financial support.”  She evaluated the fund raising climate and approaches and timing for a capital campaign.

“Overall acceptance of the project was positive, and 81% of those interviewed approved of the harbor site,” Barger said. “The Board of Trustees has made good progress in the planning for a new library, and the study demonstrated transparency that was not evident during the earlier project/campaign. The [Library] Director and staff provide good programs and seem to have weathered the earlier disappointments.”

(In 2007, a plan to build a new library on Ski Tow Hill was rejected by voters when three different, but related articles went to the voters at Town Meeting. The project had been in the planning process for several years.)

The proposed new location is on the former Harbor Hotel site, located between the old town hall and Marzelli’s deli.

Speaking of the current project plan, Barger said: “Most everyone felt the overall goal of $4.64mm was daunting.” And the “lead gifts” have not been identified.

“In addition, many respondents stated that the Town should provide monetary support to make the project a total community project. It needs to be inclusive rather than exclusive. The community is in the process of healing but needs more time, and obviously, the economy needs to strengthen.”

The recommendations were to:

1.    Update and create a Strategic Plan for the Abbott Library.
2.    Continue conversations with Town officials in order to work in tandem with them for public support. Work for an inclusive Sunapee building plan, so that projects appear to be part of a Master Building Plan. All steps need to be strategic and connected.
3.    Continue to focus on board process; evaluate ways to improve board work for efficient and meaningful meetings.
4.    Create a mechanism to insure stability and continuity on Board of Trustees.
5.    Develop a comprehensive communications plan for the capital project that may include: web site updates; disseminate the mailing that was prepared for the study; create a survey of some of the questions asked in the feasibility interviews.
6.    Increase the visibility of the library Director.
7.    Work with building committee to reduce construction costs w/ option to phase the project.
8.    Secure the land.

The full report is available at Abbott Library.

Is Community TV an Option for Sunapee

At the January 26 meeting of Sunapee selectmen, community television is on the agenda.

PEG (Public, Education and Government) access TV is negotiated by communities with the local cable provider and is one tool commonly used to provide local programming including government and school events.

In NH, over 100 communities have PEG access TV of some form or another, according to a spokesman for the NH Coalition of Community Media.

Many in town see traditional media for reporting local news and information as limited.

The selectmen on Monday will open up discussion about community television. What’s the interest and the issues? Is it an option for public, government and education news and information sharing in Sunapee?

Community television is not a new issue for Doug Munro, a former member of the Sunapee Electronics Communication Committee. The committee brought to the 2007 Town Meeting a warrant article asking for $10,000 to get community TV up and running in Sunapee. It was voted down leaving Sunapee cable viewers with a blue empty screen.

Munro wrote (in 2007) about the town cable contract and community TV. (Click here to read it in full.)

Munro wrote:

Sunapee has a community channel available, but it is currently unused because the voters of the town failed to authorize minimal funds to buy some start-up equipment….

The Sunapee Electronic Communications Committee had hoped to use the start-up phase as the opportunity to experiment with community-based revenue sources to find ways to minimize the cost impact on subscribers.  Even though it will now be much more difficult to define and build other than minimal community television for Sunapee, the town must address the question:

What will it take to build a true community television operation that provides openness to town government and the opportunity for citizen participation?

Sunapee Selectmen Ask for Input About Community TV – Sunapee News

Vermont Earth Institute is All About Sustainable Living

Sunapee News visits Vermont Earth Institute.

VEI “engages and supports Vermonters to reduce consumption and adopt environmentally sustainable practices in their homes.” No matter where you live, the VEI website is loaded with helpful information: Community and classroom educational resources, reading lists, programs on a variety of earth-friendly issues and news and events. For example, on January 27 at the King Arthur Flour Kitchen in Norwich, VT, there will be a potluck dinner–the Upper Valley Sustainable Living Network Supper, where people will meet and share locally grown food, resources and ideas. For more information, email: vei@valley.net.

VEI programs bring people together to “raise their ecological awareness and facilitate profound change in their values, habits and actions in caring for the environment.”

Sunapee News got an email about VEI from a local resident who asked:

Do we have a like organization in NH?



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