School Board looking for interim superintendent to lead Laconia for 1 year

LACONIA — School Board Chairman Joe Cormier said last night that the district has engaged the services of the New England School Development Council (NESDC) to help it search for an interim superintendent.

He said the goal is to have an interim superintendent in place by the middle or end of June. He or she is expected to serve until a permanent superintendent is hired to start on July 1, 2016.

The pool of applicants for the interim superintendent will be reviewed, Cormier said, by a committee consisting of himself, Stacie Sirois and Scott Vachon. The entire board will make the final hiring decision.

Searches for an interim and a permanent superintendent are necessary because existing Superintendent Terri Forsten has accepted the superintendent's job with the Concord School District. Her last day in Laconia is June 30.

Cormier said the board has already begun the process of identifying characteristics and qualities the district would like to see in a interim school leader.

As the board begins its search in late June for a permanent replacement, he said there will be a committee formed that will consist of board members, staff, administrators and members of the community.

Children's Auction taking independent path

LACONIA — The Lakes Region community has taken sole ownership of its single largest charity fundraising event with the establishment of a nonprofit corporation — the Greater Lakes Region Charitable Fund for Children — which will own and operate the annual "Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction."

Mike Seymour, chairman of the board of the new corporation, announced the restructuring of the annual auction to more than 75 volunteers at the Opechee Conference Center last night.

The 5-day December auction raised a staggering total of $486,575 to be distributed to local organizations which aid children in need in 2015.

Throughout its 31 year history, the auction was effectively owned and managed by WLNH radio and known as the WLNH Children's Auction. The acquisition of the radio station by Binnie Media prompted a name change to the NH1 Children's Auction in 2015.  And volunteers who donated hundreds of hours each year to the success of the event reassessed their relationship with the radio station, which ultimately led to formation of the Greater Lakes Region Charitable Fund for Children.

Seymour read a statement from Bill Binnie, president of NH1 Media, who said that Binnie Media, WLNH Radio, NH1 News and WBIN-TV are pleased to go forward as a "media partner for the Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction." The company was offered a seat on the board of Greater Lakes Region Charitable Fund for Children, but declined it in favor of acting as a media sponsor. Speaking for Binnie Media, Lee Kinberg explained that the company, in association with Binnie Family Charities, will direct its philanthropic activities to the markets it serves beyond the Lakes Region in the Concord, Portsmouth, Manchester, Nashua and Keene areas.

Although no commercial enterprise holds an ownership stake in the auction, the new board has not foreclosed the opportunity of offering corporate sponsorships to businesses willing to make significant contributions. But, no commercial entity will hold more than a single seat on the board of trustees.

Seymour said the auction will be recorded and streamed live on the Internet by Lakes Region Public Access television and aired by Metrocast Cablevision on Channel 12. Arrangements to broadcast the auction live on the radio have yet to be negotiated.

The trustees of the new nonprofit corporation are: Allan Beetle of Patrick's Pub & Eatery; Christopher Boothby of Boothby Therapy Servcies, who will serve as vice-chairman; Shannon Barnes of Metrocast Cablevision, who will serve as secretary; Bill Irwin of Irwin Marine, who is the treasurer; Sandy Cleary of CruCon Outlet; Edward Darling, a community volunteer; Ed Engler of The Laconia Daily Sun; Bob Glassett of Pella Doors & Windows; Cindy Hemeon-Plessner of Meredith Village Savings Bank; Erica Murphy of the Common Man Family of Restaurants; Dawn Phelps of Franklin Savings Bank; Larry Poliquin of Hannaford', Lindsay Cota-Robles of Bank of New Hampshire; and Sandy Marshall of LRGHealthcare. Rod Dyer of the Wescott Law office

is serving as general counsel.

Seymour said that the board of 15 expects to recruit a half dozen more members to bring its number to maximum of 21.

Beetle, a longtime mainstay of the auction and the founder and sponsor of "Pubmania", which raised $235,595 of last year's auction total, said "I'm really excited that the auction is locally owned and locally controlled and that the proceeds will be distributed locally."

Sunday night dinner prep takes devastating turn

LACONIA — A father and this 3-year-old son escaped unharmed when fire swept from the kitchen through their apartment on the ground floor of the ell attached to a large frame building at 728 Union Avenue in Lakeport just before 9 p.m. on Sunday night.

Scotty Gelinas said that he had heated his son some Spaghetti Os in a microwave and had begun cooking chicken and corn on the stove when he stepped outside to speak briefly with a neighbor. He returned to find his son pointing to smoke from the kitchen where he saw flames rising from the stove.

When firefighters arrived heavy smoke was billowing from the unit at the rear of the building. The fire was quickly extinguished and damage from the flames was confined to the single unit, though the remainder of the building suffered from smoke damage. Lieutenant Jay Ellingson, who was in command at the scene, said that prompt reporting of the fire enabled firefighters to knock it down quickly and limit the damage it caused.

However, Gelinas said that "we lost everything," pointing to blackened and gutted apartment. But, he added "that's all replaceable. My son is safe and he's irreplaceable." He was outfitting a camper parked on the apron alongside the building and awaiting the delivery of a porta-potty yesterday afternoon.

Laconia firefighters were joined by crews from Gilford and Belmont while units from Tilton-Northfield and Meredith covered the city. Laconia Police assisted at the scene along with a team from the Red Cross.


CAPTION: The charred kitchen of the small, ground floor apartment at 728 Union Avenue that was gutted by fire that began on a kitchen stove on Sunday night. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)

Meredith will introduce Bike Week vendor fees in 2016

MEREDITH — Town Manager Phil Warren told the Board of Selectmen at a workshop yesterday that beginning in 2016 the town will seek to recover the costs it incurs in providing police and emergency services during Motorcycle Week by levying vendor fees.

Without offering any specifics, Warren said the fees would aim to defray the costs of increased police patrols and staffing the fire station during the rally.

In the meantime, Police Chief Kevin Morrow presented a proposal increase the rates for police details, which have not changed for a number of years. The town currently charges hourly rates of $50 without a cruiser, $39 to the officer and $11 to the town as well as $25 for a cruiser.

Morrow surveyed rates in Laconia, Plymouth and Belmont along with those charged by the New Hampshire State Police. In Laconia the hourly rate is $65 without a cruiser, $45 to the officer and $20 to the city, together with a charge of $25 for the first four hours with a cruiser. Plymouth also charges $65 an hour without a cruiser, $45 to the officer and $15 to the town, with a $20 hourly charge for a cruiser. Belmont charges $60 without a cruiser, $40 for the officer and $20 for the town, plus $10 an hour for a cruiser.

Morrow recommended increasing the rate to $65 an hour without a cruiser, $47 for the officer and $18 for the town, along with $25 for a cruiser for a day. In addition, he suggested a 20 percent surcharge for details during Motorcycle Week. He said that details are "few and far between," noting that the annual Great Rotary Ice Fishing Derby , Pond Hockey Classic and Motorcycle Weeks were the major events.

The selectmen will return to the issue at their next regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, May 18.

NOTES: Nate Torr, the lone returning incumbent among the five members of the Board of Selectmen, was unanimously elected to continue as chairman. Ray Moritz, one of four newcomers to the board, was unanimously chosen vice-chairman. . . . . . . Town Manager Phil Warren expected all restrictions on town roads to be lifted by the close of the week. He said that "a very gradual and and benevolent mud season" has lingered on only two roads in Chemung. . . . . . The Selectboard will consider changing the time of its bi-weekly meetings at its next meeting. Karen Sticht reminded the board that during the election campaign a number of residents said that although working people may have interests in matters before the board, they find it difficult to attend meetings beginning at 4:15 p.m. When the issue arose at the candidates forum, several of the eight candidates also expressed concern about the time of the meetings. Moritz said that he will offer a motion to change the time at the next meeting and invited his colleagues to consider the issue in the meantime.