Laconia PD swears in three new officers (396)

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Three rookie police officer were sworn in at the Police Commission's monthly meeting yesterday afternoon.
Matthew Wolak is originally from Thompson, Connecticut, and graduated cum laude from Worcester State College with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Before coming to Laconia, he worked in the psychiatric unit of the New HampshireState Prison for Men.
Kira Goodheart is from Meredith and graduated from Inter-Lakes High School. She graduated summa cum laude from Plymouth State University with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. She is a gymnast and a power lifter who did an internship with the Laconia Police Department.
Holly Gage is from Nashua and graduated from Merrimack High School. She has an associate's degree from Hesser College and previously worked as a loss prevention officer at J.C. Penney. She completed an internship with the Merrimack Police Department.
All three will attend the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Academy in the fall but will be doing local training until that time.

Other police news
• Chief Christopher Adams said Sgt. Gary Hubbard is working with the Laconia School District in preparing a pamphlet for schools to distribute at the end of the year informing parents and children about finding needles during their summer vacations, warning them about the dangers of touching them, and explaining to them that the police should be called to safely dispose of them.
• Adams announced that Patrol Officer Kyle Jepson was named Officer of the Year at the recent awards banquet.
•Capt. Matt Canfield said he has been in daily communication with the organizers and promoters of Laconia Fest, which is hosting live musical entertainment at the Weirs Drive-In during the annual Motorcycle Week. He said he is being kept up to date on preshow ticket sales and hopes to get fairly accurate numbers in time for the show.
Adams said that the three newly sworn officers will be working at Motorcycle Week but will be working exclusively with field training officers.
• Prevention Education and Training Officer Eric Adams is earning his Licensed Alcohol and Drug Councilor certificate and will be attend a seminar that can be used a credit toward his certification.

05-20 new cops

From left are Patrol Officer Matthew Wolak, Commissioner Doug Whittum, Patrol Officer Holly Gage, Commissioner Thomas Tarr, Patrol Officer Kira Goodheart, Commissioner Armand Maheux, and Police Chief Christopher Adams. (Laconia Daily Sun Photo - Gail Ober)

Child Advocacy Center wants to buy old United Way building

By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — The Greater Lakes Child Advocacy Center is seeking a Community Development Block Grant which will enable it purchase a building at 95 Water St., which it moved into last year.
The building is owned by the Granite United Way and was formerly the main office for the Lakes Region United Way, which merged with Granite United Way several years ago.
Belknap County Commissioners on Wednesday agreed to hold a public hearing at their second meeting in June on the CDBG request. No dollar amount was specified at the meeting at the Belknap County Complex at which Donna Lane, who is helping to prepare the grant request for the center, told commissioners that normally the request would have been made to Laconia but the city has already made a request for a $500,000 block grant for another project, which uses up its allotment.
The center is part of a statewide network of advocacy centers which helps young victims of physical and sexual abuse and has been located in Laconia since 2006.
Director Meghan Noyes said that last year the center handled 225 investigations of physical or sexual assaults involving children in the Lakes Region area.
The GLCAC coordinates child abuse investigations using a multi-disciplinary team approach. Professionals from law enforcement, child protective services, victim advocacy, the GLCAC, the Belknap County Attorney's Office, and medical/mental health professionals join together at the Child Advocacy Center to investigate child abuse and provide best practice care to children and their families. Children are interviewed by one person in a child-friendly, neutral environment by trained Child Advocacy Center staff. The child and family receive on-site support services and referrals to appropriate community resources.
Lane told the commissioners that the deadline for the grant applications is July and that the funds are awarded on a competitive basis. She said that if the request is approved, the funds would be available by early next year.
Commissioners said that they will talk with the County Delegation about the grant request and the possibility that it would require a supplemental appropriation by the delegation in order to comply with the procedure being developed by the delegation for dealing with grants.

Gilmanton selectmen end audio recordings of meetings

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILMANTON — Official records of Gilmanton's selectmen's meetings will only exist on paper, no longer as audio recordings.

After attending a regional Right To Know meeting on May 4 in Meredith, five days later selectmen voted unanimously not to continue recording their meetings.

Within the past six months, the actual recorded minutes that have been routinely released by the board, have taped an ugly dispute between former selectmen Don Guarino and Rachel Hatch and, more recently, an instance where selectmen likely thought they were in a nonpublic session but were still being recorded. In that meeting, board members and the town administrator made disparaging and hurtful comments about staff members, leading to one of them to take an extended leave of absence.

Selectmen's Chairman Michael Jean said Thursday the decision was based on the recommendations of town counsel after board members learned that recording meetings is not a requirement of the state Right to Know Law.

"Minutes are not required to include stenographic or verbatim transcripts," reads the 2015 Attorney General's 138-page report on RSA 91:a which dictates the states open meeting laws. This decision was based on a 1968 state Supreme Court ruling.

The decision was made by Selectmen Steve McWhinnie and Marshall Bishop as Jean was unavailable due to an unforeseen medical issue. In his absence, McWhinnie has been acting as chairman.

Nothing in the board's decision can prevent a member of the audience from recording the activities during the public sessions of the board and later disseminating them. However, by law, the official minutes of any board are those that are written and later approved by the board.

At the most recent meeting, according to Brenda Currier, who was on the agenda, there were about three people in the audience recording the meeting.

Gilmanton selectmen meet at 5:30 p.m. on Monday nights. Meetings are generally held in the selectmen's meeting room on the first floor, but with overflow crowds are often relocated to the second floor auditorium.

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