Laconia City Manager Scott Myers gets a raise

LACONIA — After evaluating the performance of City Manager Scott Myers, the City Council this week unanimously agreed to increase his annual salary from $120,000 to $125,000 for 2016.
Myers was hired in June 2011 at a probationary salary of $90,000, which was raised to $95,000 after six months. Although his compensation was increased to $100,000 for 2013, Mayor Ed Engler said that in 2014 the council agreed that his salary of $100,000 was “well below the market rate for city managers.” The council agreed to increase his salary to $120,000 by Jan. 1, 2015, which was done by granting three raises over the next 11 months.
Myers is not a member of the New Hampshire Retirement System, but instead is enrolled in a deferred compensation plan for his retirement. The council agreed to raise the city’s contribution to the plan from 11 percent of salary in 2015 to 12 percent in 2016. The comparable rate in the retirement system is currently 11.17 percent
Myers contributes 20 percent to the cost of his health insurance premiums, twice the current share borne by city employees. And unlike other employees, he does he monetize unused personal, sick and vacation days that would entitle him to a lump sum payment when his employment with the city comes to an end.

Motorcycle ‘ape-hangers’ to make comeback?

CONCORD — Sen. Andrew Hosmer, a Democrat from Laconia, has introduced legislation to repeal the statute restricting the height of handlebars on motorcycles and return so-called “ape-hangers” to the roads of the Granite State.
New Hampshire is now among more than 30 states that limit the height of handlebars. The statute prohibits motorcycles fitted with grips “higher than than the shoulder level of the driver when in the seat or saddle.” It also prohibits riding a motorcycle with “improvised, defective, or repaired handlebars.”
Hosmer could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
“I applaud Sen. Hosmer for sponsoring this bill,” said Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association.
He noted that New Hampshire began regulating handlebars in 1967, a time when many state legislatures associated motorcycling with the counter-culture captured by films like “The Wild Ones” and “Easy Rider.”
“I have never heard the height of handlebars presented as a safety issue,” he said. “There is no history of accidents caused by high bars.”
“Law enforcement pulled people over for high bars as a tool for probable cause,” St. Clair said. “An excuse to stop motorcyclists.”
Without a federal standard, the regulation of handlebars on motorcycles rests with the states. Initially New Hampshire restricted the height of handlebars to 15 inches above the saddle, a limit that applies in about a dozen states. New Hampshire later chose to set a limit bearing some relationship to the size of the rider and is one of 10 states that peg the height of handlebars to the height of the shoulder while another five require the handlebars to be below the height of the shoulder.
St. Clair said that states, prodded by motorcycle enthusiasts, have begun to repeal restrictions and currently 18 states impose no limits. In July, South Dakota, which hosts the famed annual rally in Sturgis, became the most recent state to repeal its shoulder level statute.
“I definitely want New Hampshire to be on that list,” St. Clair said of the states without restrictions. “We are home to the oldest motorcycle rally in the world and only South Dakota has more registered motorcycles (per capita) than New Hampshire. Repealing an unnecessary law that is no benefit to anybody would make the state of New Hampshire more welcoming to motorcyclists not just during Laconia Motorcycle Week but throughout the year,” he said.
Senate Bill 360 has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee. A hearing has yet to be scheduled.

Belmont police need help with BB gun vandalism

BELMONT — Police are investigating a string of vandalism incidents, throughout town, being caused by someone or some people shooting a BB gun at building and cars.

In a statement issued Thursday, Lt. Rich Mann said police have fielded eight reports since Nov. 1. Targets have included private homes, automobile windows, commercial truck windows, commercial businesses and town property.

Mann said the total damage over the past two months is reaching into the thousands of dollars.

He said police believe the vandal or vandals are mobile because the attacks are spread throughout the town. At least one resident, said Mann, reported hearing a car slow in front of his house and realized the next day their car window had been shot.

Mann said anyone with any information is asked to call the Belmont Police Department at 267-8350. Callers may remain anonymous.

He said police are particularly interested in hearing from people who have or are noticing unusually slow cars driving in their neighborhood during the evening through early morning hours.