Bratwurst, bikes and more

By Tom Eastman

SO, YOU THINK THINGS ARE HOT in D.C. with the Comey hearings? Well, then, stop by White Mountain Oil and Propane today to enjoy some of the Saunders family's delicious Austrian bratwurst, as they and staff will be hosting its 36th annual Open House and Bratwurst Broil. The Open House is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the grilles fired up from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

As the Saunders family and marketing director Dana Jones note on the company's website, "... we are crossing our fingers that we may experience our (nearly) always amazing weather" today, as longtime fans know that it has only rained once in the past 35 years of the event, but that was only a few brief showers."

And, if today breaks that tradition?

"We have plenty of room under the tents and indoors, so our spirits will not be daunted," White Mountain Oil and Propane's Dana Jones said Thursday. "We invite everyone to come out. Again, this is not a sales event: we have been on business on Main Street for 76 years, and this is the Saunders family and staff's way of saying thank you to the community, so come on out!"

In the days before the bratwurst broil tradition was started, the Saunders noted that they used to have other events, including open houses, which included a cake baking contest.

You can still have cookies at today's event, but the cake baking contest is a thing of the past. As for the bratwurst, it's a secret Austrian recipe from Sonnie Saunders' family.

WMWV 93.5-FM's Roy "the Sking DJ" Prescott will be there, along with many other familiar faces, which often includes such local notables as Briggs and Bobbi Bunker, brother Dave "Country Ecology" Eastman, Larry "Unc" Hummler and so many others.

White Mountain Oil and Propane was started by Ben and Ethel Saunders, and was carried by their sons Glenn and the late Scott Saunders, and now by Glenn and Sonni's sons Mark and Kirk and staff.

Kudos to the Saunders family and staff for hosting this annual community get-together. For more information, call (603) 356-6386.

FROM BRATWURST TO BIKES: Mid-June means one thing in this part of New Hampshire, and that's Bike Week!

As we can all hear from the rumbling sounds of passing motorcycles, the 94th Laconia Motorcyle Week is taking place June 10 through 18, and locally, the annual Rally in the Valley returns with guided rides leaving from Bea's Cafe in Conway, June 10 through 17.

They'll be visiting such locales as Abenaki Trail Restaurant with music by Brazen Kane June 10; McGrath's Tavern, featuring Shark Martin June 11; the Wildcat Inn and Tavern, featuring Al "The Rev" Shafner June 12; the Red Parka Pub, featuring Matt and the Barnburners June 15; Horsefeathers, featuring Swamp Dog June 16; and Abenaki Trail,  featuring the Dean Machine June 17.

Other local highlights include the Mount Washington Auto Road's motorcycle only events, set for Monday, June 12, and Thursday, June 15, when the Road to the Sky is closed to drive-yourself cars. For the rumbling scoop, call (603) 466-3988 or visit

Rally in the Valley proceeds benefits local trade scholarships. For more information, visit

The bikers add a lot of revenue to the state's tourism economy in terms of gasoline, lodging and food, so give a friendly welcome.

KUDOS TO THE graduates of the Leadership MWV...Community Connections Class of 2017. All 17 of the graduates were congratulated by Gov. Chris Sununu (R-N.H.), at their graduation ceremonies Monday at the Eagle. At 42, Sununu is the nation's youngest governor — and could almost qualify for the group of young professionals himself. Each of the graduates read short speeches about how enrolling in the program had enriched their lives and how they look forward to serving the community, whether in government or on non-profit boards.

FRYEBURG SADNESS: I joined the greater Fryeburg community and first responders in expressing our sorrow over the death Tuesday of Officer Nathan M. Desjardins, 20, who died from injuries suffered while responding to a canoeing accident on the Saco May 27 with fellow Fryeburg Police Officer Dale Stout, 51.

Their jet boat struck an object in the fast-flowing, turbulent water.

Our condolences to family, friends and the community on such a tragic loss of a young man.

LENDING A HAND: The Wildcat Inn and Tavern is hosting a dine-to-donate fundraiser Thursday, June 15, for the Murphy family. It will feature a pasta buffet, beginning at 6 p.m.; music from Kevin Dolan from 7 to 9 p.m.; and a 50/50 raffle.

Two years ago, the Murphy family's first-born daughter, Katy, died due to complications following her heart transplant. In memory of Katy, they formed a foundation to help other families through child loss. Meanwhile, over the past few years, they've relocated to New Hampshire and kick-started their lives again, grabbing hold of the promise of their future with 8-year-old Patrick and 2-year-old Riley. They're already vibrant members of the local school, business, and faith community.

Now, Mike has been diagnosed with cancer. He has begun chemo and radiation, to be followed by surgery. His treatment is full-time, two hours away, and Amiee is the primary childcare provider, working part-time jobs. Their friends and family are coordinating support this summer so that the Murphy family can focus on Mike's treatment while Amiee cares for Riley and Patrick. 

Sign up to volunteer for rides, child care, meals. You'll be given a unique username and password. They have an online calendar that outlines their schedule of needs. Visit the Mealtrain site ( to sign up for additional meal deliveries.

WELL DONE, DAN! We salute valley native, former MWV Hogs mud football tri-captain and longtime WMUR-TV 9 cameraman Danny Ryan, as he puts the video camera down after 23 years to start his new job at Dartmouth Hitchcock.

As colleague Adam Sexton posted on Facebook this week, "Danny is smart, fearless, and combines an artist's eye for photography with a knack for being in the right place at the right time. In short, he is irreplaceable. To put it in football terms — the Patriots' defense has enjoyed some good years since Tedy Bruschi retired, but they've never fully regained that special force of will that defined the unit during the team's first run of Super Bowls ... Danny is to WMUR what Bruschi was to the Pats. For two decades, Dan Ryan has been our linebacker, an instinctive, heady player who hits the hole hard on every play, every day ... I can't think of a single day I worked with Danny when we weren't chasing excellence, even when we were having fun with our assignment."

Dan is the son of Elaine and Leo Ryan of Glen.

IN HAPPY BIRTHDAYS this week, we salute one and all Geminis, including: Cherly Moody, Lauren Basile Carr and Brett Russell (all June 10); Donna Stuart, Ibby Cooper, ever-rockin' Almost There on Fridays guitarist Dana Cosby, newly-engaged Christie Ann Rochette and Suzanne Scolamiero (all June 13); Mountain Mama Patty Phillips and ever-energetic and fit Lois Nelson Hatch (June 14); Chrissy Guptill Geary, music fan Susan Dugdale and Gene Shannon (June 16).

IF YOU'RE LOOKING for some fun out of town this weekend, be advised that the Old Port Festival returns to Portland Sunday, June 11, with events, food and music from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit

Looking ahead to Father's Day weekend, it's the annual Maine Blues Festival in nearby Naples, Maine, Friday through Sunday, June 16 through 18 ( From blues cruises on the Songo Queen II to hearing great blues at Bray's Pub and other venues, it's always one of the musical highlights of the year. Hope to see you there!