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Prof. Taylor only person to express interest in open seat on Belknap Commission

LACONIA — Only one candidate, Hunter Taylor from Alton, has filed to fill the vacancy on the Belknap County Commission which was created when Steven Nedeau of Meredith resigned effective Jan. 1.
The Belknap County Convention is expected to take up the vacancy when it meets Monday night at the Belknap County complex and may take action at that time to fill the vacancy.

Nedeau represented Meredith, Center Harbor, Gilford and Alton. His replacement must be a resident of one of those four townships.
Taylor, an attorney, is professor emeritus at the Rutgers University School of Law. He who moved to the area several years ago from New Jersey, has been a high-profile critic of the previous board of commissioner's plan to build a new county jail with a so-called community corrections (comprehensive rehabilitation) component, writing any number of long letters on the subject to editors of local newspapers.

He was also a vocal critic of the recent commissioners — Nedeau, Ed Philpot and John Thomas — on another matter and charged in a letter to the editor published in The Daily Sun on December 18 that the members of that board and County Administrator Debra Shackett violated RSA 24:15 which reads "No county commissioner, or elected or appointed county officer, shall pay, or agree to pay, or incur any liability for the payment of, any sum of money for which the county convention has made no appropriation or in excess of any appropriation so made...."
He maintains that the county incurred legal bills as a result of the commissioners' actions for which no funds had been appropriated.
Commissioners have maintained that they were relying on a state statute 29-A:2, which describes the process which will be followed in the defense and indemnification of county officers and employees in the event of any claim or civil action against the county and provides that the county ''shall defray all costs of such representation or defense, to be paid from funds not otherwise appropriated.''
The law does not address a procedure which would be followed in the event of legal action taken by the convention against the commissioners, which was the case last year when the convention filed its suit against the commission over budget line item authority, which led to temporary injunction prohibiting commissioners from transferring more than $300 without approval of the convention's Executive Committee.
Taylor's letter calls for an investigation by the county convention of alleged misconduct by county officials under New Hampshire RSA 24: 17 which provides: "The county convention may appoint a committee of its own members ... to investigate conditions pertaining to the conduct of county affairs by any county officer or any person appointed or employed by such officer, which committee shall have power to summon witnesses, examine them under oath, secure a transcript of the testimony and do other necessary acts to conduct such investigation."
Another law RSA 24:18 covers the expenses of an investigation by the convention and reads; ''The county convention shall appropriate a certain sum for expenses of any committee established pursuant to RSA 24:17. The reasonable expenses of such investigation shall be paid by the county when approved by a judge of the superior court.''
Rep. Michael Sylvia (R-Belmont) has called for the county convention to launch and investigation based on RSA 24:17 but was challenged by convention Chairman Frank Tilton (R-Laconia) who said that the county doesn't have any money for the investigation and would have to hire an attorney to conduct it.

Last Updated on Saturday, 24 January 2015 01:14

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New 48-unit apartment building to be dedicated to LRCC students

LACONIA — Lakes Region Community College will be offering off-campus student housing starting this fall at a 48-unit apartment building which will be built off Mile Hill Road less than a mile from the college campus by Anagnost Investments of Manchester.
Land clearing is already underway at the site and the college and developer are planing a ribbon cutting ceremony in the near future, according to LRCC President Scott Kalicki, who made the announcement at a breakfast for local lawmakers held at the college Friday morning.
He explained that the building will be leased by and managed by the college and is only the second student housing project in the seven-school N.H. Community College system.
''It will help us attract students from outside our area, including more out-of-staters,'' Kalicki told legislators, adding that it allow students to have the best of both worlds by providing the ability to live off campus while being within walking distance of their classrooms.
The student apartments will be run and operated exclusively by the college for LRCC students and will have two or three bedrooms, a living room and fully equipped kitchen as well as coin-operated laundry and a common area.
The Anagnost firm also plans to build another 48-unit apartment building as part of the same. The second building will be used for rentals to the public at market rates.
N.H. Community College system President Ross Gittell told lawmakers that the system is seeking flat funding in its new, two-year budget and wants an additional $3.2 million to further reduce tuition. He said lowering tuition, which currently is in the $5,000 to $6,000 range for full-time students, will enhance the educational and economic opportunities for students and help provide skilled workers for employers in the area.
He cited the success of the system's advanced manufacturing programs, which have seen enrollment increase by 60 percent for the 100 different programs which offered around the state. He said that currently total enrollment in the community college system is 27,000 and that the goal is to increase that to 37,000 in 10 years and to have 65 percent of adults with education beyond high school by 2025.
Kalicki said students at LRCC can take advantage of dual admission programs at UNH and Plymouth State University which will see them accepted as juniors at either school after two years at LRCC provided they maintain a 2.5 grade point average. He said that a pilot program will allow high school juniors to have dual enrollment at a community college and their local high school and enable them to graduate with ''a high school diploma in one hand and an associate's degree in another.''
Kalicki highlighted the school's advanced manufacturing program, which he said involves 21 local industries and the school's award-winning automotive program, which will soon have a brand new automotive complex.
Steve Hurst, parts manager at Cantin Chevrolet, said that the auto dealership employs five graduates from the LRCC program which enables the company to ''grow our own technicians.''
Gary Groleau of N.H. Ball Bearing and the state Board of Education said that he was pleased with what he sees in LRCC's advanced manufacturing programs in which students from the Huot Technical Center in Laconia move on to the college. ''They find their way right into the doors of our facility and are finding gainful employment with high paying jobs,'' said Groleau.
Steve Guyer, a member of the college's advisory committee and a recently retired head of the technical center at Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro told legislators that the community college system provides a good return on investment and that it is important that the state maintain its support.
Noting that the state has an increasingly aging population he asked ''what are your kids and grandchildren going to do for jobs?'' and said developing a skilled workforce is an important priority for the state.

CAPTION:
Steve Guyer, former head of the technical center at Kingswood Regional High School and a member of the advisory board at Lakes Region Community College, urges legislators to support the state Community College System at a legislative breakfast held at LRCC Friday morning. (Roger Amsdem/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Saturday, 24 January 2015 01:11

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Man said to have set his own car ablaze, on Fire Lane

BARNSTEAD — A local man was released on personal recognized bail after his video appearance in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division for allegedly lighting a car fire on someone else's property.

Paul Malm, 21, of 270 Garland Road is charged with one count of littering-unlawful activities, one count of reckless conduct for placing another in jeopardy, and one count of criminal trespass.

Malm is accused of lighting his own car on fire after moving it to Fire Lane. Because it was his own car, Chief Joseph McDowell said he can't be charged with arson.

Malm was being held in the Merrimack County Jail. Judge Jim Carroll ordered him to stay within 300 yards of Fire Lane and not to have contact with the man's who owns the property on Fire Lane.

Last Updated on Friday, 23 January 2015 01:46

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School board sets priorities heading into 'Super Saturday'

LACONIA — School Superintendent Terri Forsten presented priorities for the 2015-2016 School District budget to the Budget and Personnel Committee of the School Board this week in anticipation of "Super Saturday," the board's annual budget workshop session, on February 7.

The city manager and City Council will be invited to "Super Saturday" to listen to the discussion. The budget will be presented to the School Board on February 17, when the manager and councilors will have an opportunity to ask questions. The board is expected to vote on the budget proposal on the 17th. City Council will also need to approve it by the end of July.

Scott Vachon, who chairs the Budget and Personnel Committee, said that by inviting city officials to observe and participate in the deliberations "we're hoping for a much smoother process."

Altogether the items listed as priorities carry a total price tag of almost $710,000, which is $155,660, or 28 percent, more than the increase allotted to the School District for fiscal year 2016 under the property tax cap. The priorities do not include increases in compensation and benefits.

Only one new position, a full-time instructor in law enforcement at the Huot Technical Center with salary and benefits of $70,00, is included among the priorities. Another $51,000 would fund the cost of increasing hours and providing stipends for eight positions at the three elementary schools. Professional development is estimated at $91,000 for the staff of the five schools and Huot Technical Center.

Proposed expenditures on facilities include between $42,500 and $68,000 for new furniture at the high school along with another $65,000 for surveillance and lighting as well as upgrades to doors and shades. A new Multi Function School Activity Bus (MFSAB) for 14 passengers for Huot Technical Center is priced between $46,000 and $48,000 with a local contribution of $10,000. Cameras at the middle schoo lwould be upgraded for $20,000 and the same amount would be spent replacing the telephone systems at the Elm Street and Pleasant Street elementary schools.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 23 January 2015 01:43

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