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Fitzgerald Field dedicated to 'remarkable man, remarkable coach'

LACONIA — Long-time Laconia High School head football coach Jim Fitzgerald told a large crowd at a ceremony prior to last night's homecoming game that he was ''humbled and honored'' to have the school's new state-of-the-art football field named for him.
He thanked the Silver Sachems, a group of former Laconia High School football players who raised $100,000 to purchase the naming rights for the field at the Bank of New Hampshire Stadium for dedication to him.
''It was a great honor to have coached here for so many years,'' said Fitzgerald, who coached the Sachems from 1973 to 2001, a period in which they went to the playoffs 19 times, advanced to 12 state finals and won three state titles.
Fitzgerald said that he was also grateful to his wife, Jeannine, who was always the most vocal fan and staunchest supporter of his football teams.
Following his brief remarks Fitzgerald said ''that's the end of the show. Let's play ball,'' As he started walking off the field the current Laconia High School football team came onto the field and coaches and members of the team greeted him at midfield, where he shook hands with all team members.
The Silver Sachems were organized by Jeff Price, a 1983 LHS graduate who played quarterback; Dick Swett, a 1975 LHS graduate and former New Hampshire congressman who also was a quarterback, and Steve Gardner, a 1974 graduate who was the quarterback of the 1973 team which Fitzgerald took over after the head coach resigned after an 0-3 start.
Price, who introduced members of the Silver Sachems, said ''It's a great night to honor a great man'' and turned the microphone over to City Councilman Matt Lahey, a 1972 Laconia High School graduate who played a key role in fund raising efforts for the new athletic field and stadium,.
Lahey said that Fitzgerald had been ''a coach and mentor to hundreds of high school athletes,'' and that naming the field for him was a well-deserved honor.
Paul Phelps, who was an assistant coach for Laconia High School for many years, said that the dedication ceremony was ''awesome. He was a coach who was loved by his players and they stepped up for him when it came to naming the field.''
David Rae, former Laconia High School English teacher who was the public address announcer for LHS football for 32 years, said Fitzgerald is ''a remarkable guy who was a remarkable coach. He was a teacher too. He was able to teach the game to his players so that they understood how to play the game well. That's why his teams were so good for so many years.''

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 September 2013 03:22

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Elaine Quinn Scholarship pays for dance classes at B&G Club

LACONIA — A scholarship named in honor of Elaine Quinn, who for 38 years taught generations of young dancers at the Elaine Quinn School of Performing Arts, will enable the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region to offer Wednesday afternoon dance classes.
Starting next week, hip-hop dances will be taught by Kylee Drew, 16, a member of the competition dance team at Broadway North, who is also a contestant in the Miss New Hampshire Outstanding Teen Program.
Drew says the dance classes are part of her community service project in the Miss N.H. Teen Program and that she is looking forward to getting young dancers involved.
''Everyone loves hip-hop and it's fun to learn,'' says Drew, who has been dancing since she was two years old. The classes will run from 3-5 p.m. and a Hip Hop Dance Team will be formed at the club.
''This is going to be a wonderful addition to the programs we offer,'' said Dana Meade, director of arts and media for the Boys and Girls Club, which earlier this year moved into its new home, the former St. James Episcopal Church on North Main Street.
The scholarship was created by Walter Quinn in honor of his late wife, who died in March of this year at the age of 86, in cooperation with one of her former students, Heidi Noyes-Bourgeois, owner of the Broadway North Dance Studio and Miss New Hampshire in 1998.
''She taught me how to dance and was a wonderful teacher who helped her students build confidence and pursue their creativity through friendship, focus and dedication,'' said Noyes-Bourgeois.
The $10,500 scholarship will be used to provide funds for dance classes for students who would not otherwise be able to afford them and will be accepted at dance schools throughout the Lakes Region. Noyes-Bourgeois said that dance studios like her own will also hold fundraisers to replenish the scholarship funds.
Quinn said that former students of his wife along with parents, friends any supporters of the arts all donated to Elaine Quinn ''For the Love of Dance Scholarship.''
Helping administer the scholarship fund will be Erica Kloetz of Stages Dance of Laconia.
Also on hand for the announcement of the formation of the Hip Hop Dance Team and the scholarship were Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams, president of the board of directors of the Boys and Girls Club, and Christy Dunn, an instructor at Broadway North,
''This is a just great for the club and the kids involved in its programs. They're going to have an opportunity to develop their talent and show the community what they're capable of,'' said Adams, who pointed out that the classes will have a great setting in the former sanctuary at the church with its large floor area and stained glass windows.
Adams said that he was absolutely frightened to death with the prospect of a Dancing with the Stars fundraising event that he took part in but was able to make it through the competition without embarrassing himself thanks to dancing instruction he received from Noyes-Bourgeois.

CAPTION:
Dance classes will be offered every Wednesday at the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region thanks to the Elaine Quinn ''For the Love of Dance Scholarship". Dane Meade, director of arts and media at the club is shown seated at left with Kylee Drew, right, dance instructor. In the back row are Heidi Noyes Bourgeois, owner of the Broadway North Dance Studio; Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams, president of the board of directors of the Boys and Girls Club, and Christy Dunn, a dance instructor at Broadway North. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Friday, 27 September 2013 02:59

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Man charged with sex assault on teen arrested in Brockton, Mass.

LACONIA — A Center Barnstead man who was indicted on August 22 in Belknap County Superior Court for an alleged felonious sexual assault that occurred in Laconia was apprehended yesterday morning in Brockton, Mass.

Sheriff Craig Wiggin said Tyler Root, 25, who has been known to live in Center Barsntead and Franklin, was arrested Tuesday by the Brockton Police, in coordination with the Mass State Police – Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section and the U.S. Marshals.

Wiggin said a deputy with the U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force in Massachusetts coordinated the arrest with the task force's representatives in the sheriff's department.

Root was featured as the Fugitive of the Week in state-wide media publications including the Internet yesterday. He failed to appear for his arraignment in Belknap County Superior Court on September 11.

The indictment says the sexual assault occurred on or about September 30, 2012 in Laconia. The victim was between 13 to 15 years old.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 September 2013 02:48

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'Drug & alcohol epidemic' in Lakes Region, says speaker at annual Public Health meeting

NORTHFIELD — The keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health told a gathering of some 125 people at the Merrimack Valley Railroad freight station Thursday morning that the Lakes Region has ''a drug and alcohol epidemic'' which is contributing to an increase in poverty and crime in the area.
Linda Paquette, executive director of the New Futures organization, which works to prevent and reduce alcohol and drug problems in New Hampshire, said that the problem is made worse by the lack of access to treatment programs for those in need.
''Only Texas is worse in terms of access to treatment,'' said Paquette who said that it is estimated that one on 10 people in Belknap County, some 6,567 people are in need of substance abuse treatment.
Paquette said that 64 percent of the people admitted to the N.H. State Hospital in the first six months of 2013 had a history of substance abuse but there is no substance abuse treatment at the facility and no Medicaid substance abuse benefit.
She said recent surveys of drug and alcohol use in the county show that it has higher rates than the rest of the state and that the problems have huge impacts on public safety, the criminal justice and health care systems and the economy.
Paquette noted that 70 percent of people admitted to prison have significant addition disorders and that 90 percent of those offenders returned to prison have drug or alcohol problems.
She said parolees and those on probation are mostly uninsured and must wait for an indigent care opening into a program, which often is longer than six weeks, and that most care provided in those situations is uncompensated, which keeps providers from meeting the demand for services.
Paquette said that increasing access to treatment is a major priority, which full funding of the state's Alcohol Fund and expanding Medicaid coverage would help accomplish.
She singled out State Senator Jeanie Forrester of Meredith for having raised awareness among her colleagues of the Alcohol Fund, which is supposed to be paid for by a tax on alcohol sales but has never been fully funded.
Paquette said that strong leadership and a focused community response which includes public-private collaboration are needed to bring the alcohol abuse problem under control. She said a recent study by economist Brian Gottlob estimated the economic impact of excessive alcohol consumption is $1.15 billion a year.
The organization presented its first annual Public Health Champion Awards. Winners were:
Workplace - Meredith Village Savings Bank
Community - Lakes Region Food Network
Individual – Richard and Carol Wallace of Alton.
The Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health was presented with the Military Leadership Award from Jo Moncher, bureau chief of community-based military programs for the NH Department of Health and Human Services, for its work on behalf of military families.

Caption for PPHaward pix

Lisa Morris, executive director of the Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health, and Sally Minkow, president of the board of directors of the LRPPH, accept the Military Leadership Award from Jo Moncher, bureau chief of community-based military programs for the NH Department of Health and Human Services. The organization was honored for its work on behalf of New Hampshire military service personnel. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Friday, 27 September 2013 02:45

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