The Band Perry will perform at Camp RZR

BERLIN — After a highly successful first year, Polaris’ Camp RZR will be returning to Jericho Mountain State Park this Sept. 22-23.

Last year, over 7,000 people registered for the two-day event with riders coming from 26 states and Canada to enjoy the events and entertainment as well as the riding.

This year’s musical act will be The Band Perry — consisting of brothers Reid and Neil Perry and lead vocalist and sister, Kimberly Perry.

The group is best known for its Grammy-winning version of “Gentle on My Mind,” recorded for the documentary about the singer Glen Campbell.

The band performed the song during the pre-game show for the 2014 Super Bowl. The band recently announced it is working on a pop album and have released a single “Stay in the Dark” from the upcoming album.

Event tickets are $10 per person age 18 and older and $5 for those 17 and younger. All proceeds from the ticket sales go to the Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce, which helps organize the event. To purchase tickets, go to camprzr.com.

In addition to the musical performance, there will be free demo rides, mud pit grunge runs, huge giveaways, kid events, plus plenty of vendors and riding. Last year, Polaris estimated it gave away over $200,000 in gear and equipment including three Polaris ATVs.

Berlin woman gets Freedom Guide Dog

By Barbara Tetreault

BERLIN — Alyssa Warner is a little more independent these days now that she has a Freedom Guide Dog to help her navigate.

The 24-year old blind woman is wrapping up two weeks of training with Xaverie, a black Labrador Retriever guide dog that will become her constant companion.

The dog will help Warner avoid obstacles and walk without assistance. She has been using a cane or holding on to someone’s arm to navigate.

“She can step out on her own,” said Eric Loori, co-founder of Freedom Guide Dogs. “She won’t have to worry about every step,” he added.

Loori has been in Berlin, training both Warner and Xaverie to work together as a team. The dog learns to adjust to Warner’s gait and commands and she learns the fundamentals of working with a guide dog. Loori said his non-profit organization is different than most others that provide guide dogs in that they provide hometown training. Others require the client to travel to their location for several weeks to do the training.

“We train where they live,” explained Loori.

For Warner that means they have practiced walking with Xaverie on streets she will normally walk. Loori said they have also trained with the dog at Walmart, which can be an unpredictable place with lots of obstacles and people.

The dog and training are provided for free by Freedom Guide Dog, which is headquartered in Cassville, N.Y. The organization depends on grants and fund-raising to cover the cost of raising and training and the cost of travel to train the client.

Warner first heard about Freedom Guide Dogs about a year ago from one of the workers at the Community Service Center. Alyssa helps out at Senior Meals and at the Community Book Store through the Community Service Center.

Her mother Danielle Warner helped Alyssa fill out an application. Danielle Warner said she had previously looked into getting a guide dog for her daughter but the cost was prohibitive. Loori drove here this spring and interviewed Alyssa. He did an assessment and created a profile of what type of dog Alyssa would need.

Loori said it normally takes six months to a year to find the right dog for a client. But in this case he learned of a dog with another trainer that he thought might be suitable. He worked the dog out for a week or two to get to know for sure and called the Warners in July.

“I was so pumped,” said Alyssa, when she heard the news.

Loori said his guide dogs go through extensive training and are 2 years old before they are matched with a blind person. The dogs are raised by volunteers, called “puppy raisers,” for the first year and a half. Then they receive four to five months of formal training for guide work.

The final step is two to three weeks of intense one-on-one training with the client. Loori said Alyssa was a quick study because she had some dog knowledge and is good at handling a leash. Before he arrived, Loori sent Alyssa two audio CDs about footwork and positioning that she studied.

A special harness is used for guide dogs, and when the harness is on, the dog is on duty and taught not to respond to distractions. People are asked not to touch the dog, and she is never fed people food. When the harness is off, Loori said she becomes a normal dog and can play and run around.

Xaverie will sleep in Alyssa’s bedroom and she will be responsible for grooming and feeding her. Loori said he will do a follow–up visit and then get annual health reports. The working life of a guide dog is eight to 10 years.

Danielle said she is grateful for Freedom Guide Dogs and will be making a donation to help the next person in need. She is also urging others to consider making a donation.

Eric Loori and his wife Sharon, both experienced dog trainers, started Freedom Guide Dogs back in 1992. The non-profit has more than 120 clients throughout the Northeast.

For more information about Freedom Guide Dogs, go to freedomguidedogs.org.

Still time to purchase $10 lifetime National Park senior pass but only if you hurry

By Barbara Tetreault

GORHAM — For $10, people over age 62 can purchase a pass that allows lifetime admission to all national parks — but only if you hurry.

On Monday, Aug. 28, the price for the America the Beautiful — National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass will increase to $80.

The senior pass can be used at sites managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The list includes some of the country’s most famous national parks like Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, which charge $30 for entry.

In New Hampshire, the pass can be used at the Saint Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish and is honored at White Mountain National Forest sites.

Legislation passed by Congress in 2016 mandated the increase, which is the first price increase for the senior pass since 1994.

“The fee increase will support critical investments in maintenance projects at national parks and federal recreational lands nationwide,” said a release issued by the National Park Service.

To qualify for the pass, you must be 62 years of age or older and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. A driver’s license or picture identification is required.

The pass covers all entrance and day-use fees for more than 2,000 federal sites and parks across the country and may provide senior discounts for things like tours and campsites.

It also waives the entrance fee for traveling companions. At per-vehicle fee sites, the pass admits the pass holder and all passengers in a noncommercial vehicle. At a per-person fee site, the pass admits the pass holder and three other adults. Children under 16 are always admitted free.

The senior pass can be purchased locally at the White Mountain National Forest Androscoggin Ranger District office on Route 16 in Gorham and at the Saco Ranger District office in Conway. They can also be purchased at the Forest Service’s White Mountain National Forest headquarters in Campton, or at any of the national parks, including the Saint Gaudens site.

A U.S. Forest Service spokesman at the Campton office said they are seeing an increase in sales of the passes as the deadline for the price hike nears.

The pass can also be purchased by mail or online, for $10 before Aug. 28 but there will be an additional $10 charge for processing, for a total of $20. The National Park Service is reporting a high order volume has created a backlog, and online and mail-order processing can take up to three months. To purchase on-line go to store.usgs.gov/senior-pass.

The pass can also be purchased at national parks across New England; including Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, Mass., Boston National Historical Park, John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site in Brookline, Mass., The Cape Cod National Seashore, Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence, R.I., Acadia National Park in Maine, and the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Site in Woodstock, Vt.

Berlin City of New Hampshire presents Operation Kidsafe Regional Child Safety Day

GORHAM — Hoping to make the world a little safer for children, Operation KidSafe will hold a Regional Child Safety Day this Saturday, Aug 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Berlin City Auto Group at 485 Main Street, Gorham.

At the free event, parents will receive a printout containing their child’s picture and fingerprint, providing them with a valuable tool they can give to law enforcement should their child go lost or missing. KidSafe notes over 2,000 kids are reported missing every day in the United States.

Using a digital video capture device, a custom digital ink-less fingerprint device, and specialized software, KidSafe takes the child’s picture and fingerprint.

The captured data is then assembled and a quality laminated 8.5x11 printout is given to the parent. The parent will have the printout so it is available if there is an emergency.

KidSafe maintains no database or prints of the children — the only record of the visit goes home with the parent.

All children one year or older and special needs adults are encouraged to attend.

The event is sponsored by Berlin City Auto Group. Spokesman Gregg Cottman said his company sponsored a KidSafe Regional Child Safety Day last year at its Vermont dealership and decided this year to expand it to New Hampshire as well.

He noted KidSafe has been around for a while and has a proven record.

“I think it’s a good program,” Cottman said. He said he hopes to see a large turnout Saturday.

Founded by Mark Bott, over one million children have taken advantage of the program in the 16 years it has been offered. Bott was one of the founders behind Amber Alert and developed the Operation KidSafe system using consultants from the FBI, police, and fingerprinting experts.

Go to berlincity.com/NH-Kidsafe.html or the Berlin City Auto Group’s Facebook page for details and updates on additional activities planned for the regional safety event.