7-8-17 VV: Tornadoes, car races and book sales

 

Stopping by Vito Marcello's Italian Bistro Monday was comedian/TV personality Jay Leno (left), who shared stories about Providence and Boston with chef/owner Vito Marcello (right). (COURTESY PHOTO)

 

Among those enjoying Motor Booty Affair's July 4 performance in North Conway's Schouler Park as part of the town of Conway's Independence Day celebration were members of the Mountain Mamas Cranmore Mountain Meisters ski racing team: (from left) Cathy Welch, Bernie Friberg, Becky Armstrong and Bobbie Box. (TOM EASTMAN PHOTO)

 

DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but our ears are still ringing from all the great fireworks we got to enjoy as the valley celebrated the Fourth.

Or maybe that ringing of the ears is just left over from the thunder boomer of a storm that hit the valley and western Maine July 1.

Or, who knows? Maybe that rumble is the sound of the participants of this weekend's "Climb to the Clouds" Mt. Washington Hillclimb automobile race, which returns after a three-year hiatus to the 7.6-mile Mount Washington Auto Road. Practice runs were scheduled to be held mornings, July 7 through 8, with the race beginning at 9 a.m. July 9.

We have a story on this year's race elsewhere in this issue so be sure to check it out.

Kudos to Auto Road General Manager Howie Wemyss, who is being honored as this year's Climb to the Clouds grand marshal.

AMONG THE CAR buffs who were in town this week was Jay Leno of the cable TV show, "Jay Leno's Garage." He enjoyed talking cars, and about Boston and Providence, as well as Italian cooking at Vito Marcello's Italian Bistro of Seavey Street Monday with chef/owner Vito earlier in the week.

AS FOR LAST WEEKEND'S STORM, wasn't that an incredible display of Mother Nature's wrath and fury?

Our (deah) friend Brian P. Wiggin said his Conway Lake home was one wild place during the July 1 afternoon storm — the winds wrecked his dockside dining umbrella and table (the one which he lovingly refers to as "DiMillo's" as his Conway Lake takeoff of the Portland floating dining establishment). Trees were down on neighbors' cars and all sorts of things went flying.

"The umbrella, the chairs and the glass tabletop all were blown off the dock, and the glass splintered and hit the front of the house," said Brian. "I could see the storm coming across the lake — I thought, 'Geez, that rainfall coming looks heavier than normal,' so I went upstairs to lower the windows but only got to halfway on the stairs. There were literally trees coming out of the ground hitting the windows so I hurried back downstairs. Then, at 4:03, I heard a loud bang as a tree came down on the house next door."

In the days since, the Wiggins and neighbors have been clearing trees from Mudgett Road and Kimball Road.

Given the high winds and damage, Brian thought for sure that they had experienced a twister, but James Brown of the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine told us when we called this week to check on that that possibility that it wasn't a tornado (unlike the four that touched down in nearby western Maine) but that it was "straight line wind damage."

As for the tornadoes in Bridgton and Sebago, James Brown of the National Weather Service's Gray, Maine office told us Monday that there was a wind sheer rotation in the atmosphere.

"As you go higher and higher put that together with more moisture, when you get enough it reaches the ground in the form of a tornado," said Brown, adding, "We usually see two or three tornadoes a year on average in Maine but to get four in one day is very unusual."

The National Weather Service on Thursday upped the total of tornadoes from the storm to five in western Maine, confirming that there was a fifth one that touched down July 1 near Otisfield, Maine.

Despite the July 1 tumult, Marti Mayne of the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce found most tourism-related businesses weathered the storm well, although it did cause some relocation of campers after parts of a few campgrounds flooded Saturday night. All was back to normal by midweek, the campground owners reported.

"Despite Mother Nature's attempt to ambush the key July 4th start-to-summer weekend," noted Marti in her round-up on local business, "Mount Washington Valley tourism-related businesses reported increases over last year in traffic, sales and bookings."

IT WAS ALL quiet by the time the Fourth rolled around, with this year's festivities going off without a hitch on Tuesday.

Kudos to John Eastman, Mike Lane and their Conway Recreation Department staff, as this year's Conway Village parade followed by the Schouler Park celebration and music were superb.

It was great to see soon-to-retire Town Manager Earl Sires and his successor Tom Holmes in the parade as this year's grand marshals, with Pete Levesque of the MWV Kiwanis Club serving as driver in his convertible. Earl's wife, retiring Kennett teacher Theresa Sires, meanwhile, rode a patriotic bicycle in the half-hour parade through Conway Village.

A hit in the parade was the Abe Linclon-Betsy Ross duo of Hans Bauer and Lori Steere, with Hans donning his Abe outfit and once again walking on stilts as he and Lori used old-fashioned big-wheeled cycles along the route.

Kudos to all the performers, including the Berklee College of Music-bound Riley Parkhurst and dad Dan; with the day's music capped by the always outrageous Motor Booty Affair, who entertained with their disco hits in a show that got hundreds on their feet dancing before the stage.

The fireworks by Atlas Fireworks went on for 20 minutes after Motor Booty Affair closed their two-hour performance. Nice job, everyone!

IN HAPPY BIRTHDAYS, we salute (belatedly) Conway Selectman John Colbath (6-21) and a Big Happy 100 to Oscar Comer of Conway (7-7), and wish the best to sister Jeanie Eastman Ryan and Cranmore's Glenn Harmon (7-8); Richard Oaks, 1968 XC Olympian Jack Lufkin, the Mount Washington Observatory's Krissy Fraser and community servant Charlie Sutton (all 7-9); landscaper Michelle DeLucia, mountain biker Peter Ostroski and Motorsports Plus' Jim Savoie (7-10); Robin Jensen (7-11); M&D's Ashley Jean Kerr and Heath Doucette (7-12); John Donovan, Almost There fan Barbara Cosby (7-13); Indian Mound owner/pro Jonathan Rivers, Stephanie Cannell Mullins, Barbara Spofford and Margarita Grill's Chuck "Sizzlin' Sauces" Selmi (all 7-14).

SEE YOU AT the North Conway Public Library Book Sale, set for July 8 and 9. Stop by and say hi to Andrea Masters and staff and get yourself a good book to read at the beach!