Second Lunch & Learn session to be Thursday

CONWAY — Cooper Cargill Chant, in partnership with the Mt Washington Valley Chamber Of Commerce, will present the second in a series of free Lunch & Learn sessions on Thursday from noon to 1 p.m.

Each session is designed to focus on a business topic with the expertise provided by a Cooper Cargill Chant attorney.

These Lunch & Learn sessions give business owners and their employees the opportunity to learn and network in an informal environment on legal topics important to you. The December session is “Business Collections — I Want My Two Dollars,” presented by attorney Dennis Morgan.

Lunch & Learn is held at the North Conway Water Precinct conference room. You do not need to be a chamber member to attend; simply RSVP to Lisa Eastman at (603) 356-5701, Ext. 300, and bring your lunch to this informative session.

Parking is in the rear of the precinct building.

Wheels: Battery season

By Eric Meltzer

It’s battery season. Dead battery season, to be accurate. This is the time of year when you go out to warm up your ride only to turn the key and watch the lights dim, and hear a click or nothing at all. Most of us know the routine. Call for road service or find someone with jumper cables, then call work and tell them you’re going to be late.

Car batteries have been around as long as the electric starter and even longer for operating lights. They have evolved from 6 volts to 12 volts and amperage has increased to power electric starters that have to turn over ever higher-performing, higher-compression engines. The primary purpose of the car battery is to start the engine and provide electrical power when the engine is not running.

Modern vehicles require a constant flow of electricity to power things like engine management parameters, stereo presets, clock, and other power accessories. The constant draw of power is very low and with normal use won’t kill a battery and this amperage usage is calculated when the vehicle manufacturer specifies the battery size. A properly configured and operating electrical system won’t be hampered by minor accessory power draw.

The most common battery in a car, that is the battery used to start the engine, as opposed to a hybrid battery like those found in a Prius or a fully electric car like a Tesla, is a lead-acid battery. Invented by Gaston Planté in 1859, it would be another 26 years before the car would even be invented. Lead-acid batteries consist of lead plates and separate plates of lead dioxide, all submerged in an electrolyte solution of sulfuric acid and water. The result is a chemical reaction that releases electrons that flow through conductors and produce electricity.

Variations on the car battery include “Maintenance Free” which are just a sealed battery case that doesn’t allow periodic addition of water. The downside is that they may be more life-limited depending on conditions that I’ll go into shortly. A recent improvement to auto batteries is one which submerges the plates in a gel solution rather than liquid. This has the advantage of preventing spills if the battery is tipped or the case is compromised although the average vehicle doesn’t require such protections and the  increased cost limits their target market.

The common thought regarding battery life in New England is that cold kills a battery and while extreme temperatures don’t help, heat is actually the harshest environment to a battery. That electrolyte solution of sulfuric acid and water I mentioned earlier is mostly water and will evaporate when subjected to heat. This upsets the chemical composition, causes oxidation and leaves deposits on the plates in the battery. Additionally, plate growth, plate buckling, and corrosion are exacerbated by heat and contribute to premature aging.

All this is happening to your car battery while you’re sitting by the river or sipping a cool beverage on the porch. Now fast forward to early December when the snow flakes are blowing in the wind, the last warm days of fall are behind us, and you’re sitting behind the wheel of your dead car, staring at a dim or dark dashboard while your breath crystallizes on the frigid windshield and your wondering how your battery could be dead when it was working yesterday. Well, your battery has been slowly deteriorating all summer in the heat and now that your car is cold soaked, oil and fluids are thick, and electrical demands are high as your starter is trying to turn all that molasses-like lubrication, your battery has given up the ghost. Heat kills batteries but, around here, they fail in the cold. In fact, the average life of a battery in hot climates is three years. The average life of a battery in New England is almost twice as long thanks to our season changing temperatures.

There are alternatives to the surprise of a dead battery. Abnormally slow cranking, especially on a cold day, is a good indication that your battery is going bad. Your favorite auto shop, mechanic, and many auto parts stores should be able to load-test your battery to give you a good picture of it’s health. This simulates the effort your battery would put forth while trying to start your car or run all those accessories like the blower motor, lights, and wipers. Dead cells and unacceptable output can be diagnosed and the battery replaced before you find out the hard way. Similarly, your charging system can be assessed to be sure a new battery is what you need.

Modern vehicles with their complex electrical systems are dependent on the flow of electrons and the battery is the heart of the system. Get it checked out periodically and don’t be left out in the cold.

Eric and Michelle Meltzer own and operate Fryeburg Motors, a licensed, full-service automotive sales and service facility at 299 Main St. in Fryeburg, Maine. More than a business, cars are a passion, and they appreciate anything that drives, rides, floats or flies.


Wayne Presby: Hotel would ease congestion at the top

By Tom Eastman

LITTLETON — Wayne Presby, president and co-owner of the Mount Washington Cog Railway, didn't just wake up one morning and decide to build a hotel on Mount Washington.

wayne-presbyWayne Presby's proposed hotel will go before the Coos County Planning Board on Thursday. (COURTESY PHOTO)"We have been thinking about putting up our own facility up there for a while, partly because of the congestion that is occurring at the summit," said Presby, 59, of Littleton, in a wide-ranging interview with the Sun.

His proposed 35-room inn and restaurant a mile below the summit of the 6,288-foot peak will be the topic of a pre-application review Thursday when the Coos County Planning Board meets at 7 p.m. at the North Country Resource Center in Lancaster.

Because no formal decisions will be taking place, the board will not be taking public comment on the project.

The idea, which first reached the public's attention last week when a press release was sent out to New Hampshire media outlets, has stirred interest, not to mention controversy. Several petitions, both pro and con, have appeared on, a website that hosts petitions, and letters to the editor have also been appearing.

According to Presby, since the demise of the Old Man of the Mountain in Franconia in 2003, visits to Mount Washington have increased to as many as 5,000 people a day in season. They reach the summit of the iconic peak in warmer months by hiking, driving up the 1861-built Mount Washington Auto Road or riding the 1869-opened mountain railway.

With improved efficiencies in their biodiesel locomotives, the Cog has been part of that increased use. But Presby feels the new hotel and restaurant could help relieve pressure at the mountaintop.

"The Sherman Adams Building was built in 1980 to service 400 a day. The infrastructure is seriously taxed," said Presby, who along with Joel Bedor has owned the railway since 1983.

The two North Country businessmen also previously owned the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, buying it in 1991 and opening it to year-round use in 1999.