The Lakes Region

The Lakes Region covers a goodly portion of central New Hampshire, including all of Belknap County along with parts of Carroll, Grafton,  and Merrimack Counties.

Like the neighboring White Mountains, the Lakes Region depends heavily on outdoor tourism to support its economy.  About eighty-five percent of the area is woods, including a number of conservation lands, state parks, and town forests.  It’s also home to New Hampshire’s largest lake, Winnipausakee, along with 272 others.  Between the area’s rivers, lakes and groundwater, the Lakes Region is home to about 42 percent of the water in New Hampshire.

The region’s rural setting and numerous lakes have spurred rapid development of seasonal homes.  While statewide, the US Census Bureau found only 7.8 percent of people worked in construction, in Belknap County, that figure is 10.6 percent.  The portion of houses built in Belknap County from 1980–2005 also slightly outpaces the state as a whole.  Some towns, like Freedom, Moultonbourough, Hebron, and Tuftonboro, report that more than half the homes are seasonal.

While this high-end construction boom has bolstered the tourism industry by ensuring a more or less steady stream of repeat visitors, it’s hurt the Lakes Region in other ways.  So much shoreline land has been developed that it’s getting harder for visitors and residents to get out on the water.  In some cases, local governments have had to make agreements with home owners to open their land so that other residents and tourists can access the lakes.

The popularity of the Lakes Region as a site for seasonal homes has also raised property values–and rent.  One of the continued challenges the area faces is providing affordable housing for less affluent, year-round residents.

Environmental issues are also a point of concern for the region, where clean water is essential to its brand as a tourist destination.  While it’s a popular place for visitors, the Lakes Region is still very rural, and its infrastructure reflects that character.  Most homes, for example, rely on septic tanks rather than a sewer system.  Broken and poorly maintained tanks–especially in seasonal homes, which remain unoccupied for most of the year–have contributed to problems with E. Coli contamination along some shorelines.

Summary provided by StateImpact NH

NH News
8:33 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Officials: Altercation Preceded Murder Of Rumney Chiropracter

Dr. David Landseadel
Credit plymouthchiro.com

Law enforcement officials say Dr. David Landseadel, 48, was found near Stinson Lake in Rumney Sunday evening.

An autopsy determined Landseadel died from a single gunshot wound to the head. Investigators say the cause of death has bene ruled a homicide.

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Arts & Culture
1:00 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Making Music In The Streets of Plymouth

Jacob Stern, fiddler for the Crunchy Western Boys.
Sean Hurley

Last Saturday Plymouth joined 800 cities around the world to celebrate Make Music Day. The general idea - music performed by anyone, anywhere they like.  

Bob King has a day job but he hosts open mics at Tony's Restaurant on Thursdays. Today, he's standing in front of Thomas Roberts Hair Salon playing some of his favorite songs.

"It must be beautiful for people to walk around town and hear a different song every ten feet."

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NH News
2:11 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

With No Federal Funding, Nashua After School Program Forced To Close

A group of students work on their homework at the after school program at Pennichuck Middle School. The program is shutting down after the state rejected the district's application to renew its federal funding.
Credit NHPR / Michael Brindley

The end of the school year in Nashua marks the end of the line for an after school program that organizers say was vital for the city’s middle school students.

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NH News
3:34 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

NH Man Who Killed Parents Earns Conditional Parole

A 31-year-old New Hampshire man who has spent more than half his life in prison for killing his parents when he was 14 can be freed if he completes counseling and learns the skills he'll need to return to society.

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NH News
10:17 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Laconia Newspaper Editor Elected Mayor Of City

The editor and president of The Laconia Daily Sun has been elected mayor of the city.

Ed Engler said he will be speaking to voters around the city in preparation for the job, which starts in January.

He defeated Kailief Mitchell, an academic assistant at the Spaudling Youth Center, by a vote of 1,155 to 403 in Tuesday's election.

Engler said economic development would be a priority, starting with how to apply funds accrued by the downtown tax increment financing.

Foodstuffs
3:57 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Put Free Coffee On Laconia's Main Street, And People Will Come

Kevin Grollo (left) of Woodshed Coffee Roasters shows off some of the local blend at the New Hampshire Coffee Festival in Laconia.
Brady Carlson, NHPR

Organizers expected a nice, somewhat modest turnout for the first try at a New Hampshire Coffee Festival. But then, putting a sign out on Main Street that essentially says “free coffee” has a tendency to over-deliver.

“I literally cried in awe of the turnout and the people coming downtown to celebrate the Coffee Festival with us," promotions committee member Lori Chandler said.

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Foodstuffs
5:46 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Reflections On Food, And Faith, At Greek Fest

Susan Harris (left) and Mary Garci serve traditional Greek recipes at the Greek Fest at Taxiarchai Orthodox Church in Laconia.
Brady Carlson, NHPR

This time of year is full of food fests, including a preponderance of Greek fests.

Food is, of course, a central part of Greek culture, and as we found at a festival in Laconia, that means a look at the food can reveal something deeper.

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Giving Matters
12:00 am
Sat August 17, 2013

The Fight For Frisky Hill

Credit Gilmanton Land Trust

On her commute from Laconia to Pittsfield six days a week, Tobi Gray Chassie often stops at scenic spot in Gilmanton called Frisky Hill. When Chassie saw a sign telling of plans to develop the land, she felt that it was her duty to support the Gilmanton Land Trust in their protection of the land which meant so much to her.

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NH News
7:00 am
Sun July 28, 2013

Bacteria Advisory Lifted At Weirs Beach, But Source Of Contamination Remains Unknown

Credit VTDarkStar / Flickr Creative Commons

 The Department of Environmental Services has lifted the fecal bacteria advisory on Weirs Beach in Laconia.  But advisories remain in place for Bartlett Beach and Opechee Cove. 

DES Beach Program Coordinator Sonya Carlson says contrary to earlier reports, there is no evidence right now that bacteria at the Weirs could be coming from so-called “sewage sludge.” Carlson points to water samples the EPA took there last year looking for traces of pharmaceuticals.

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Foodstuffs
3:22 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

A Taste of Bike Week

Jean Kugler, of Milwaukee, enjoyed a hot dog, soft drink and sunshine at the Loudon Race Track on Friday afternoon during the 90th Motorcyle Week.
Abby Kessler NHPR

The 90th annual Laconia Motorcycle Week has a distinct sound that revs and rattles throughout the Granite State during the nine day rally, but over the years “bike week” has also become known for its unique taste.

“We do a lot of eating at bike week,” Jennifer Anderson, director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, said laughing.

During the event, vendors set up temporary stands along the Loudon racetrack, selling chicken tenders, soft pretzels, fried dough, sizzling pizza and seafood to patrons who watch sports bikes orbit the track.  

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Education
4:52 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Back to School Already? First Day at State's First Magnet School

Students file into school on the first day of the state's first magnet school.
Sam Evans-Brown

Here’s a sentence you don’t hear much: today is August 7th... the first day of school.

Rochester’s Maple Street Elementary School is reopening this year as the state’s first Magnet School: an experiment in school reform that involves a longer school year and a specialized curriculum.

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StateImpact
11:18 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Federal Block Grant to Aid Renovation Project in New Hampshire Town

A New Hampshire developer plans to renovate two mostly-abandoned apartment buildings in Franklin and turn them into affordable housing for working class families. The company, New England Family Housing, plans to buy the 30-unit building for $615,000.

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NH News
5:39 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Water Tank Leak Forces Evacuation in Rochester

A leaking two million gallon water tank in Rochester forced residents to evacuate their homes today.

A Rochester resident reported hearing a crash or banging sound coming from a 90 foot  water tank around noon Tuesday.

Water department crews saw water gushing from the bottom of the cylindrical tank.

Rochester police ordered nearby residents to evacuate and detoured traffic around the scene. City Engineer Peter Norson says that the tank doesn't appear to be in danger of collapsing.

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Audio Postcard
12:55 pm
Wed June 14, 2006

Bike Week's Wall of Death

This year's Bike Week in Laconia included the Wall of Death.
Michael Al

All this week, New Hampshire Public Radio is bringing you some of the sights and sounds of bike week in Laconia.

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Audio Postcard
1:50 pm
Tue June 13, 2006

Tuesday's Postcard from Bike Week

The streets of Laconia during Bike Week.

For plenty of participants, Bike Week is nothing short of a Dionysian pilgrimage.

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