Cranmore sets stage for possible resort hotel with petitioned zoning article

By Tom Eastman

CONWAY — Cranmore Mountain Resort President and General Manager Ben Wilcox says while his resort has no immediate plans to build a resort hotel, it is taking steps to make a zoning change to make it possible.

Toward that end, a resort-led zoning petition was submitted Jan. 4 to the Conway Planning Board by 34 voters — including Wilcox and other Cranmore employees.

It requested to reduce the sideline and roadway setback for resort hotels in the Recreational Resort District from 1,000 feet to 100 feet.

That proposal was reviewed by the Conway Planning Board at its Jan. 28 meeting

Voting to recommend the zoning amendment to voters were board chair Bob Drinkhall, selectmen's representative Steve Porter, and Martha Tobin and Ray Shakir. Steve Hartmann abstained. Kevin Flanagan voted against. It will be presented to voters at annual town meeting April 12.

Attorney Ken Cargill of Cooper, Cargill Chant of North Conway presented the petition on behalf of Cranmore, according to Conway Planning Director Tom Irving.

Irving said Cranmore has already received conditional approval for its Kearsarge Brook condominium project, and those buildings require only a 25-foot setback. 

But under current zoning laws, if Cranmore built a hotel structure similar to the condominium buildings, it would require a 1,000-foot setback.

The proposed amendment is intended to correct that.

Irving said he was told the setback requirement goes back to the 1980s "with the proposed Presidential Golf Course on Dolloff Hill Road."

Zoning at that time required a golf course with a resort hotel to have a 1,000-foot setback via special exception. Irving believes it was to protect neighbors in the residential/agricultural district.

"But the recently approved condominiums at Cranmore require only a 25-foot setback. Were the hotel to be identical in appearance but differing only in its use, it requires 1,000 feet, and that seemed a bit excessive," Irving said this week.

Wilcox said it's a matter of preparing for the future.

"We are now in the process of selling condominiums for our Kearsarge Brook project," Wilcox said. "Our current plan does not include a resort hotel.

"That said," he continued, "if the opportunity ever came up to consider a resort hotel, we wanted the option of considering it in the area of our present development. The 1,000-foot setback for a resort hotel would mean that we would have to consider a hotel up on the mountain versus in our existing base facility area. It only makes sense to consider a resort hotel in the area of our main base area where all our utilities and infrastructure lie."

The 1,000-setback requirement came to light during an in-house overview a few months ago, he said.

"We discovered this language in the zoning ordinance and thought it would be forward-thinking to adjust the zoning from a 1,000-foot setback to 100 feet which lets us then consider any future opportunities in our base area," said Wilcox. 

He added that the setback distance was never determined with Cranmore's property in mind.

"We have no formal plans to replace any buildings, except for the buildings noted in our Kearsarge Brook project," Wilcox noted.

In other action at the Jan. 28 meeting, the board:

• Voted to recommend an article that would allow crematories in the Industrial II district.

• Voted to recommend to increase the Highway Commercial District on the south side of Route 302 "incorporating that area previously encumbered by the Bypass Overlay District between Route 302 and Eagles Way."

That zoning change would allow the White Mountain Aquatic and Fitness Center to build a facility there, pending successful fundraising and planning approval.

Irving said the board Conway Town Hall will hold a second public hearing Feb. 11 on zoning amendments proposed by the board concerning internally illuminated signs.

"The upshot of it is to allow for the conversion of existing signs from external to internal lighting and providing for new signs to be internally lit — primarily freestanding and wall signs," he said.

The changes are to be acted upon by voters as one warrant article April 12.

The board will also act on a boundary line adjustment request from Joseph E. Sullivan III and BS Investment Property Holdings, Inc. at 46 Locust Lane.

It is also scheduled to address the Mount Washington Valley Regional Collaborative's strategies to support affordable housing and economic development.

For more information, call (603) 447-3855, Ext. 4 or visit

Wheels: ABS brakes

By Eric Meltzer

I was recently watching an early morning news broadcast reviewing safe winter driving tips. One of the scenarios that were discussed asked what a driver should do if they begin to skid while braking on a slippery surface. The three possible answers were: tap the brakes, slam on the brakes or panic. I thought they must be looking for the least wrong answer rather than the correct answer because none of the choices was actually correct. I felt like I was taking my National EMT test again where they never seemed to list the perfect answer, only the best reasonable response. My choice was tap the breaks but with some major reservations.

When a vehicle skids or slides, it is literally out of control. Typically, a skid is the end link in a chain of events that begins by driving on a slippery surface. A surface can be made slippery as the result of ice, snow, slush or rain. Ice is the most dangerous due to its low coefficient of friction. Black ice, so named because its thin, clear appearance shows the pavement beneath it, is especially slick.

Snow and slush cause problems when they fill the tread on the tire and create a slick, loose surface. This is where winter or snow tires shine. The aggressive tread is designed to shed the snow and slush while providing additional traction, and the softer rubber compound gives better grip than conventional tires. Rain can cause hydroplaning, which is a condition where the tire rides up or planes on a thin layer of water. Tires with insufficient tread can cause skidding even on seemingly safe surfaces, which is why safety inspections require examining tire condition.

No matter what the cause, the solution is to maintain or regain control. Sometimes braking control will be limited regardless of effort, such as when trying to stop on ice. Short of having spikes protrude from your tires at the touch of a switch, like something out of James Bond, that low coefficient of friction is just not going to give you the traction you need. What can you do when you can't stop? Hopefully you can steer. That's where the theory of tapping the brakes or "pumping" the brakes comes in. A rolling wheel allows you to maintain directional control and slow in a controlled manner while a locked or stopped wheel will slide in whatever direction the greatest mass is moving. Although it is counterintuitive to let off the brake when pressing it isn't slowing or stopping the vehicle, that's what was advised when the car was sliding, and then reapply them once the wheel was turning again. And then do it again and again in quick succession, releasing pressure just before imminent wheel lock-up, thus pumping or tapping the brakes.

Along came ABS or anti-lock brakes. This is the system implemented to take the panic out of braking on slippery surfaces. The basic modern ABS system utilizes sensors on each wheel to detect brake lock.

When imminent lockup is detected, a pump is activated by and ECU (Electronic Control Unit) to relieve the brake pressure followed by activation, and this process repeats itself, up to 15 times per second on some systems. This is the pulsing you feel in the brake pedal when the ABS is actively working.

ABS, known earlier as Anti-Skid Brakes, were first developed for aircraft landing gear in the late 1940s to prevent tire blow-out. Ford was the first auto manufacturer to the production gate when they introduced their Sure Track anti-skid system to the Thunderbird and Lincoln Continental Mark III in late 1969.

However, this early optional system operated only on the rear brakes but was made standard equipment in 1974 on the Continental Mark IV. Despite claims from Mercedes-Benz about its Bosch system being the first four-wheel ABS system in production, that honor actually belongs to Chrysler, which installed that option, developed by Bendix, on the Imperial in 1971.

The M-B Bosch system was more sophisticated, but drivers had to wait until 1978 to see it in production and then initially only European buyers could enjoy the benefit. Since 1985, ABS has been voluntarily installed by manufacturers on millions of cars and light trucks. But surprisingly they aren't mandated by the federal government, at least not directly. Electronic Stability Control, or ESC, designed to improve the stability of a car, is a government-mandated safety system employed on 2012 model year cars and newer. This system operates by automatically applying the brakes to the wheels that are slipping. Sound familiar? And the best way to employ an ESC is through use of ABS. So while ABS isn't mandated, it might as well be.

All this brings me back to my original issue with the correct answer of the winter driving trivia quiz. The correct answer is "it depends." Unless you're driving a vehicle without ABS, tapping or pumping the brakes is the correct, if not overly simplified answer. But most vehicles on the road are now equipped with ABS, including light trucks, so the correct answer would be to press on the brake pedal with constant pressure and steer away from danger while slowing in a controlled manner. If you're not sure if your car is equipped with ABS observe the instrument cluster when starting your car. The ABS light which might have those letters or the symbol looking vaguely like a stylized brake drum will illuminate for a few seconds indicating the system is functioning. If the warning light stays on or comes on the system is inoperative but the actual brakes are unaffected, only the ABS system is disabled.

Still the ABS system is a critical safety system and an integral part of the vehicle's stability control, and any deficiency should be corrected. Know your car's equipment.

Mistakes to avoid when considering divorce, separation

CONWAY — With the dawn of the new year and passing of the holiday season, January often brings thoughts of divorce or separation. The family law attorneys at Cooper Cargill Chant share the top mistakes to avoid if you’re in this situation:
• Taking less than you are entitled to in an effort to “get out” quickly. Often, one or both parties have decided they simply “want out” and will take anything — even much less than they are entitled to — in order to finalize a divorce quickly. Then, months or even years later, they will realize they compromised too much and agreed to far less than they were entitled to.
• Using the kids as leverage for financial advantages. Divorcing spouses often fall into the trap of utilizing the children as bargaining chips when contemplating financial separation: “I’ll give you more time with the kids if you give me more of the equity in the house,” “I will fight for custody of the kids unless you agree to pay me alimony” or similar proposals. Using your kids in this way minimizes the relationship each parent has with their children and will likely lead only to resentment down the road.
Bringing fault grounds as a way to “punish” the other spouse. In the vast majority of cases, bringing a divorce on fault grounds results only in making an already acrimonious proceeding even more acrimonious, and does not benefit to either party. Focusing on “punishing” the other spouse does not promote settlement but rather encourages litigation.
Drafting final parenting plans and decrees with confusing language. Often, if parties in a divorce opt not to have lawyers represent them, they draft their own final documents for submission to court. Using unclear language (“as the parties agree”) or undefined terms (“upon the sale of the home”) can lead to more court involvement down the road, which could be avoided with properly drafted settlement language the first time around.
Not hiring a lawyer to, at the very least, review and draft agreements before they are submitted to the court. Yes, lawyers can be expensive. And yes, you might not always like what they have to say. But lawyers know the intricacies of how the court system works, and how to draft and complete agreements which will accurately reflect the compromises made and withstand the test of time. Paying for an attorney at the beginning will likely save more in dollars and headaches down the road.
Not considering alternatives to a full divorce hearing, including mediation or arbitration. Often, parties find that they can work collaboratively to reach an agreement on many issues if they hire a neutral third party to help keep them on task and focused on resolution. This is often far less acrimonious and expensive than traditional litigation.
Want to avoid these mistakes? Be sure to consult with an experienced family law attorney. Cooper Cargill Chant, the North Country’s largest law firm with offices in North Conway and Berlin, can provide solid legal advice from award-winning attorneys.
Two lawyers at the firm who accept family law cases are partner Charles L. Greenhalgh and associate Leslie Leonard.
Greenhalgh has assisted clients in hidden or misrepresented assets and income, and evaluating various options for child support and alimony in high-asset cases. He has received awards for pro bono service, distinguished public service and representing victims of domestic violence.
Greenhalgh regularly represents client in complex divorce matters which required comprehensive knowledge of division of closely held businesses, financing property division and valuation of large assets such as business and extensive real estate holdings.
Leonard, a New Hampshire native, began her career as a paralegal in Boulder, Colo., after graduating cum laude from the University of New Hampshire.  During her years as a paralegal, she gained experience in personal injury and family law matters. Upon graduation from UNH School of Law, Leonard commenced a two-year Superior Court clerkship in the Southern Hillsborough Superior Court in Nashua.
Her practice focuses on family law, employment law, personal injury, social security disability and workers compensation. Leonard is also often appointed by the court to take on abuse and neglect cases. She was named a 2015 Super Lawyers New England Rising Star and a Top 40 Under 40 National Trial Lawyer.
Greenhalgh focuses his domestic relations practice on advising families and individuals in transition, including divorce, custody, child support, guardianship and adoption matters.
Cooper Cargill Chant is the largest law firm north of the lakes region in New Hampshire. With its main office in North Conway, Cooper Cargill Chant lawyers have over 150 years of experience. Their lawyers have won numerous awards for their representation of clients throughout New Hampshire, including awards for legal service to the poor, for work in domestic violence cases, in helping form and develop businesses, and in personal injury work.
For more information, call (603) 356-5439 or visit them online at

Executive chef Bryant Alden welcomed to Wildcat Inn and Tavern



From left: Sue Holt, Wildcat Inn and Tavern general manager; Amber Gordon, innkeeper; executive chef Bryant Alden; and Diana Rafferty, chef de cuisine. (COURTESY PHOTO)

By Tom Eastman

JACKSON — A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held recently at the Wildcat Inn and Tavern by the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the arrival of certified executive chef Bryant Alden, who is now executive chef at the Jackson eatery.

Alden has been in the kitchen at the Wildcat since just before Thanksgiving.

In an interview this week, he said his goal is to bring back the Wildcat's reputation as one of the valley's premier dining establishments, hearkening back to the years when it was run by Marty and Pam Sweeney, now of Sweeney Catering.

"Back when I came to town in the '80s, the Wildcat was the place to go," said Alden. "We all remember those days when Pam and Marty ran the place. My job is to establish focus and procedures, sound operating systems but also to create dishes that feature regional ingredients, with a little international influence as well."

Toward that end, he has brought in beach plums from his native Cape Cod, picked by members of his family at Sandy Neck.

For one of his new dishes, "I am going to take venison from Maine, and add brandy beach plum tomato sauce," Alden said. "I then add cinnamon or honey to sweeten it."

A longtime Mount Washington Valley resident, Alden got his passion for cooking from his grandmother, who cooked for affluent families who summered on the Cape. As a teenager, he worked in prestigious coastal restaurants, then spent the next few years working for an upscale Boston catering company.

Over the past 20 years, Alden has taken numerous accredited courses offered by the American Culinary Federation and National Restaurant Association.

His career as an executive chef and consultant has taken him throughout New England. He is currently the president of the White Mountains Chapter of the ACF.

He and his wife, Patti, formerly operated the Chef's Market (now known as Chef's Bistro) in North Conway. 

"We are thrilled to have the talents of Chef Bryant Alden," said Stu Dunlop, co-owner of the Wildcat Inn and Tavern. "The inn has a wonderful reputation for excellence, and together we are making improvements to our classic White Mountains dining experience."

Dinner menu highlights include Atlantic salmon char-grilled with roasted red pepper citrus sauce; chicken pot pie in rich gravy with vegetables topped with a pillow pastry; grilled vegetable ravioli simmered in pesto cream sauce with roasted vegetables; New England haddock filet with a crispy potato topping and a lemon shallot sauce; Burgundy-braised pork shank simmered in savory pan gravy; and New York sirloin char-broiled with pink peppercorn and mushroom demi-glace. Lobster corn bisque, grilled avocado salads and Jackson chili are other popular favorites.

The Wildcat Tavern is open for dinner from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. nightly, and lunch is served from noon until 5 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and daily vacation weeks.

The tavern hosts live entertainment Friday-through-Tuesday evenings, highlighted by Hoot night on Tuesdays.

For more information, call (603) 383-4245 or 1-(800) 228-4245, or visit

GI Plastek invests in new equipment

WOLFEBORO — GI Plastek Corp. announces the purchase of two large-tonnage injection molding machines and is installing a new paint line.
"In support of our continued growth, we have recently purchased new 1,100-ton and 500-ton injection molding machines and are starting construction of a new multibooth mechanized paint line,” said Daniel Mills, president and CEO of the Wolfeboro-based injection molder.
"In 2014, we completed a $3 million-plus plant expansion that added over 30,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space and positioned us to grow our business. We are now investing over $2 million to add molding capacity and to replace our current paint line with a larger capacity, enhanced capability system.
"Many of our customers," Mills continued, "utilize our in-house paint and decorating capability to provide the large, high-aesthetic parts that are a key part of their product. This investment allows us to better support both their current and future needs and positions GI Plastek well to grow with our existing customer base and new customers.”
GI Plastek Corp. is located at 5 Wickers Drive in Wolfeboro. It is a customer molder and finisher of medium to larger-sized parts using straight injection, gas assist and structural foam molding processes.
For more information, call Rick Collopy at (603) 941-0014 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..