LHS baseball, girls lacrosse teams seek to advance in Division III

LACONIA — Two Laconia High School teams will be in action Saturday as they seek to advance in Division III state tournament action.
The defending Division III champion girls lacrosse team, which finished in first place with a 14-2 record and defeated Lebanon 18-3 Thursday, will face fourth-ranked Derryfield in a 7 p.m. game at at Bedford High School. Derryfield defeated fifth-ranked Bow 15-14 Thursday.
Helen Tautkus and Mackenzie Howe each scored five goals for the Sachems and Becca Howe added four.
The baseball team, which finished fourth in the division with a 12-4 record, held on to beat 13th ranked Franklin by a 12-7 score. Thursday. They will play a 4 p.m. Saturday at Robbie Mills Field on Meredith Center Road against fifth ranked Monadnock, which beat Somersworth 13-1 Thursday.
The Belmont High School baseball team, which finished third in Division II with a 13-3 record, defeated Stevens High School of Claremont 11-7 Thursday thanks to Caleb Drouin's sixth-inning grand slam. They are now the highest ranked team left in contention in the tournament as both top-ranked Campbell and second-ranked Conant lost Thursday.
Belmont will host sixth ranked Bow, which beat Winnisquam 10-0 Thursday.
Should both Laconia and Belmont win, they will advance to the quarterfinals Tuesday at Southern New Hampshire University in Hooksett.
In Division III girls softball Franklin, which was ranked second with a 15-1 record, trounced Monadnock 15-1 Thursday and on Monday will host Conant in a 4 p.m. game, Third-ranked Prospect Mountain beat Newfound 10-1 and will host sixth-ranked Berlin at 4 p.m. Belmont, which rallied for a 4-3 win over Newport Thursday will play at top-ranked White Mountains Monday at 4 p.m.

Inter-Lakes Elementary bids Principal Kelley adieu


MEREDITH — The students called him "awesome," "nice and friendly," "creative," "amazing," "smart," "handsome," "silly," "caring" and "a one of a kind kind of guy," while Jack Carty, whose tenure on the Inter-Lakes School Board paralleled his career at Inter-Lakes Elementary School, said flatly "Steve Kelley is the best pure educator I have ever met."

Thursday evening, the gym was filled with seating and few seats were empty as pupils, parents, colleagues and well wishers bid farewell and said thank you to the retiring Kelley, who placed his stamp on Inter-Lakes Elementary School for 26 of his 32 years in education, the last 17 of them as its principal.

Dressed in black with a garish tie, Kelley, on guitar and vocals, fronted "The Educators," a group drawn from the school staff he called "rock star wannabes," to open the celebration with with a medley of Beatles' classics. Then he watched as the Blue Wave Broadcasters presented a video featuring interviews with teachers and pupils who were asked to offer their impressions about "Dr. Kelley."

Set in a closet jammed with neckties, a second video played to his fondness for flamboyant ties. Ushered to the stage and seated in a chair by Thing One and Thing Two, Kelley listened as the Cat in the Hat rhymed "Doc, You Moved Mountains." A quartet of newsboys shouting "Extra, extra! Read all about it!" delivered a special edition of the "Inter-Lakes Tribune" announcing Kelley's retirement and celebrating his career.

The Parent Teachers Organization presented Kelley with a memorial of his time at the school to match another that will be placed on the campus.

With that, the gym emptied and the celebration resumed outdoors at the "Living Classroom," the greenhouse which counts among Kelley's most significant contributions to the school. Lisa Merrill of the School Board unveiled a plaque above the entrance naming the Living Classroom in honor of Dr. Steve Kelley.

Speaking at what he called "a bittersweet moment in my life," Kelley said there are hundreds of names for the greenhouse. "It's not my greenhouse," he said. "It's our greenhouse and to the students, it's your greenhouse."

Describing Kelley as "extraordinary," Carty said "He was always focused on education as the bottom line and he made it work." Kelley, he explained, won the affection and respect of the staff and the pupils.

"If Steve Kelley said 'Let's go on a hike' and walked off the edge of a cliff," he remarked, "they'd all follow him."

Kelley came to Inter-Lakes Elementary School in 1983, straight after graduating from Plymouth State University, and taught second and fifth grades. Five years later he was named assistant principal, with responsibilities for Sandwich Central School and Lang Street School as well. He left the Inter-Lakes School District in 1992 to become principal of Conway Elementary School, a position he held until 1998 when Jean Schlager, the principal who first brought him Inter-Lakes Elementary School, tapped him to succeed her.

Kelley, who earned master's and doctoral degrees from the University of New Hampshire, has been named New Hampshire Principal of the Year as well as a national distinguished principal, an honor that earned him a visit to the White House. in 2009 Inter-Lakes Elementary School was honored as the top elementary school in the state.

"I'm very overwhelmed by the love and support of the community," Kelley said. "It's a special connection. It's been a great ride." He said he was especially pleased and moved to see those he remembered as students returning as parents of children at the school. "It's amazing how time flies."

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Dr. Steve Kelley was mobbed and high-fived by adoring pupils at the close of ceremonies to mark his retirement after serving for 17 years as the principal of Inter-Lakes Elementary School. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)

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Kelley joins the "newsboys" who brought attention to a special edition of the "Inter-Lakes Tribune" reporting on his retirement. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)


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Inter-Lakes Principal Steve Kelley addresses the crowd at his retirement gathering Thursday. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)

Weirs may go underground - Panel backs buried utilities


LACONIA — After meeting Wednesday, the Weirs Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Advisory Committee unanimously agreed to recommend to the City Council that the overhead utility lines between Endicott Street and Tower Street at The Weirs be buried underground as part of the project to reconstruct and improve Lakeside Avenue.

The City Council will consider the recommendation when it meets on June 13. City Manager Scott Myers said that a decision to bury the utilities must be made in June to enable Eversource to start work in the fall as the timetable for the project prescribes.

Burying the utility lines would expand the scope of the project at an additional cost of $700,000. Moreover, removing the 14 utility poles would require replacing the 12 street lights hung from them. Since the existing lights are mounted 30 feet high and illuminate the width of Lakeside Avenue, replacing them will require lining both sides of the street with 50 LED lights mounted 16 feet high and spaced 75 feet apart at a projected cost of $250,000. Myers said that adding for design and contingencies would bring the total cost to $1,130,000.

Joe Driscoll questioned why the utilities were not proposed to be buried past the commercial properties along the block beyond Tower Street to Foster Avenue. "It's like burying the wires downtown and stopping at the Colonial Theatre," he remarked.

Myers said since there is less of a view of the lake beyond Tower Street, the wires are less obtrusive. But, above all, extending underground utilities another block would add 25 percent, or between $175,000 and $200,000 to the cost of the project.

The advisory committee agreed that 80 percent of the revenue accruing to the Weirs Tax Increment Financing District would be applied to servicing the debt incurred to bury the utilities and replace the street lighting. Myers anticipates that within five years the Weirs Tax Increment Financing District will be in a financial position to begin serving the debt, which in the meantime will be defrayed by the city with expectation of being reimbursed.

The "base project" consists of replacing the water main and improving the storm drainage and sanitary sewer then reconstructing the roadway with new new curbing and sidewalks between US Route 3 (Endicott Street North) and Tower Street, a distance of 2,200 feet. The cost of this work is estimated at $1 million, which is included in the proposed 2016-2017 municipal budget.