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Northern Gateway Chamber adopts Grand Prix as signature event

Northern Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce secretary Linda Hutchins presented Shane Beattie of Beattie Enterprises with the 2014 Business of the Year Award, honoring the business' contributions to the very successful 50th Anniversary Weekend of the Lancaster Grand Prix. Photo by Edith Tucker. (click for larger version)
March 26, 2014
WHITEFIELD — The Lancaster Grand Prix — the oldest vintage snowmobile race in the nation — will be the 2015 "signature event" for the Northern Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce, Chamber president John Jaworowski announced at Thursday night's sold-out annual dinner meeting in the Mountain View Grand Crystal Ballroom. "We'll help out in any way we can," he said.

The very successful three-day event, that included activities from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 designed to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the original Grand Prix under the aegis of the Lancaster Snow Drifters, will be run again, very possibly as a weeklong event designed to include other traditional elements of a North Country winter carnival. If the Chamber's sponsorship works out as expected, holding vintage races on a 3/8ths-mile oval ice track p could become an annual event, along with a downtown parade and Grand Prix Ball.

Shane Beattie of Beattie Enterprises on Bridge Street in Lancaster was honored with the Chamber's 2014 Business Award, presented by Linda Hutchins of Riff Flower Shop and Greenhouse in Lancaster.

The Chamber is also committed to building support for "growing" ATV and other OHRV activities, including opening up woodland trails and access to downtown businesses: retail stores, restaurants, and motels.

The Chamber has partnered with NH Grand and the Northern Community Investment Corporation (NCIC) on a "way-finding" kiosk and Wi-Fi hot spot near the logging locomotive and historic covered bridge in Groveton on the banks of the Upper Ammonoosuc River. NCIC also played a key role in siting the Groveton cell-tower, on which at least one major carrier is expected to locate equipment before summer. NCIC is also working with COO Evan Coleman of Clear Energy, a privately held Marlborough, Mass.-based start-up that proposes to build a $100 million Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) production facility capable of producing 300,000 gallons a day on a 67-acre site now owned by Arizona-based Green Steel.

NCIC Business Resource Manager Mollie White of Carroll accepted the Chamber's 2014 Directors Award from Barry Normandeau of Normandeau Trucking in Groveton. Longtime NCIC director Sally Pratt of Re/Max Northern Edge Realty in Lancaster accompanied White to the dais when the presentation was made.

Jaworowski also highlighted the upcoming activities associated with Lancaster's 250th Birthday Celebration and urged Chamber members to attend and participate in them: storyteller Rebecca Rule at 7 p.m. on this Friday at the Lancaster Town Hall; Colonel Town Players will perform Thornton Wilder's play "Our Town" on April 4, 5, 6, and 12, at the Lancaster Town Hall; and a Ricky Nelson Tribute on Saturday afternoon, July 12, at the Lancaster Fairgrounds, thanks to the Parker J. Noyes Free Lecture Fund.

A parade scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 5, will be so gigantic that it will need to have two loud speakers in operation, Jaworowski said.

Keith and Mike Kopp of North Country Ford in Lancaster will serve as Grand Parade marshals, said Cindy Normandeau of the Woodsville Guaranty Savings Bank.

Managing Director Chris Diego of the Mountain View Grand plus Stacy Hicks of the Carlisle Place of Jefferson were thanked for their support of the event, along with five businesses that provided complimentary hors d'oeuvres: The Morrison; Bank of New Hampshire Crane & Bell, PLLC; Passumpsic Savings Bank; and North Country Ford-Schurman Motor Co.

The proposed slate of officers was elected unanimously: Jaworowski of Schurman Motor Company, president; Tim Boudreau of the Bank of New Hampshire, vice president; Linda Hutchins of Riff Flower Shop, secretary; and Toni Pierce, Esco Title, LLC.

Keynoted speaker Jamie Trowbridge, president-CEO of Yankee Publishing, Inc. delivered a witty history of the business in which he follows in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Based in Dublin, it's a small business with 85 employees. Trowbridge characterized it as "struggling" since Day 1 when the magazine had 612 subscribers — 600 fraudulent and a dozen family members. Even back in 1935, he said, his prescient grandfather envisioned "Yankee Magazine" helping to preserve New England's own culture, resisting the complete homogenization of American culture.

Trowbridge explained that he keeps a President Cal Coolidge quotation hanging on his wall: "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

Senator Jeff Woodburn and his wife Kelly were on hand as well as Chuck Henderson, representing Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and Brian Bresnahan, representing Congresswoman Annie Kuster. Trowbridge, who lives in Peterborough, was accompanied by both his wife Laura and daughter Lila, who earned her undergraduate and Master's degree at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

In a follow-up phone call on Friday morning, town manager Ed Samson said that the water supply problems experienced at the Page Hill Motor Home Park Cooperative north of Lancaster before the Grand Prix weekend had not been caused by race-related snowmaking at the Fairgrounds. The problem, only recently discovered, was a major water leak at the Benoit property. Nonetheless, Samson said, the town is now looking to see if there is any way in 2015 to use non-processed water for the needed ice-and snow-making.

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