Three youths plucked from lake Saturday, one sent to Boston Children’s Hospital

GILFORD — Three young people nearly drowned Saturday while swimming near Governor's Island on Lake Winnipesaukee after a wave pushed them into water that was too deep for them.

According to the state Marine Patrol, an 18-year-old girl, a 15-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy were initially swimming in waist-deep water after arriving in the area with their family on a pontoon boat.

After seeing them struggle, the owner of the boat, Ali Cheema, 24, of East Elmhurst, New York, pulled up anchor and tried to get them back into his boat. Other nearby boaters also assisted.

The three were brought aboard and the 15-year-old boy was given CPR. He and the other two were taken by ambulance to Lakes Region General Hospital. The 15-year-old was transferred to Boston Children's Hospital while the other two stayed in Laconia. All three were conscious.

Gilford and Laconia Fire Departments assisted Marine Patrol.

– Gail Ober

Frates art classes moving to Belknap Mill


LACONIA — Larry Frates, whose art classes have been a mainstay on Canal Street for 28 years, will be moving his operation to the Belknap Mill, the Mill announced this week. Frates will be taking on the role of artist-in-residence and chairman of the Mill's Cultural Committee, as well as using the Mill as the base for his art classes. Frates Creative Arts is one of several Canal Street businesses that has to find a new home due to the renovation project at the Colonial Theatre.

The Mill will host a public reception for Frates on Wednesday, Sept. 7, from 5 to 7 p.m. The event will feature an exhibit of Frates's work.

Frates said he will continue to operate his "Art To You" program, which brings art programs to groups throughout the Lakes Region. He will continue to offer conventional art classes, which will now all be held on Wednesdays at the Mill.

As artist-in-residence, Frates will work with the Mill to develop art and educational programming. He will also spend the lunch hour of the first Tuesday of each month, beginning on Oct. 4, painting at the Mill, a time when the public is welcome to watch and speak with him. A selection of prints of Frates's watercolors will be on sale in the gift shop, with proceeds benefiting the Mill.

"As an instructor and artist, I am passionate about creating opportunities to connect community through art," said Frates. "In this unique collaboration, the Belknap Mill Society and Frates Creates will be a catalyst for the arts in the Lakes Region. Together, we will bring history and art together to explore our shared cultural heritage and celebrate our community's creative spirit."

The art studio was half of the Frates Creative Arts Center on Canal Street; the other half offered dance lessons run by Joan Frates, with the recent addition of their daughter, Amelia. The dance studio will be relocating to the former Citizen building at the corner of Fair and Water streets.

Eggshell artist

Laconia’s Kazuko Okubo expresses creativity through unusual technique, will travel to Japan for further skills


LACONIA — Painting on a blank canvas never came naturally for Kazuko Okubo. In fact, the Laconia resident struggled with painting so much that an art teacher in Boston once told her she had no talent and should stop pursuing art. These comments didn't stop Okubo from finding ways of expressing her creativity, however, as one day she decided to paint an egg, break it, and use the eggshells to piece together a picture, and was startled at how easily the pieces started coming together. Thus, from that moment on, Okubo had found her talent in eggshell art.

The practice of eggshell art is individualistic, as each artist uses their own choice of paints, layering and technique when creating the picture. For Okubo, she paints the egg first before crushing the shell into small pieces that can then be arranged into a picture. Sometimes it can take Okubo up to six months to create the best picture possible, as she often rearranges the placement of the eggshell pieces multiple times in order to best capture the image.

"You can make as many mistakes with eggshell art as you want, because if you don't like what it looks like with pieces in certain places then you can just move them," said Okubo, who further said that with canvas painting if you make a mistake it is permanent and you cannot easily change the outcome.

With what started just a hobby at the senior center in town, eggshell artwork has now become a passion for Okubo and has changed the course of her life. In 2012, Okubo was awarded the President's Award for Art at Plymouth State University, where she has been taking classes periodically to continue her education. Through this recognition and collection of artwork she has created while at PSU, she now has the opportunity to teach eggshell art to students in Japan. Okubo will return to her home country for the first time in 28 years on Sunday, Aug. 21, and will remain in Osaka for one year. The school bringing Okubo to Japan is paying for most of her expenses; however, she is short on some of the cost. To help raise money for this exchange program in Japan, she has started a GoFundMe account at

"I am excited to be back in Japan and it will be the first time teaching people in my native language so I think that it will be easier," said Okubo.

While in Japan, Okubo will have the opportunity to not only teach classes but take classes in English and Japanese translation, as well in traditional Japanese music. She hopes that through her various educational experiences in Japan and at PSU that she can continue to be a lifelong learner, and also help the cultures of the United States and Japan connect through her work.

Once the exchange is finished, Okubo plans to return to Laconia and teach eggshell art classes at Gilford Public Library next summer. -

08-12 Kazuko Okubo

Japanese eggshell artist Kazuko Okubo leaves for Japan at the end of August to teach the practice to native Japanese students. (Alana Persson/Laconia Daily Sun)