Field of applicants for 2 open Meredith Selectboard seats grows to 6

MEREDITH — Former selectmen Miller Lovett and local activist Rosemary Landry yesterday applied for the two open seats on the Board of Selectmen, increasing the field of applicants to six when the deadline for applications passed yesterday.

The three elected members of the board are expected to interview the candidates and make the appointments when they meet on Monday, April 13.

A retired university teacher and minister, Lovett served two terms on the selectboard from 2006 to 2012 and was a trustee of the trust funds from 2003 to 2006 and has been a member of the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) Committee since 2004. He has been a director of the greater Meredith Program since 2002.

One of eight children of Irish immigrants and a mother of three with 11 grandchildren. Landry believes her experience in the home and on the job, where she served as both a nurse and paralegal has prepared her to manage the business responsibly and efficiently. With 260 votes, Landry finished fourth in the field of eight seeking two seats on the selectboard in March.

Michael Pelczar, Jonathan James and David Bennett, who came third, fifth and seventh respectively in the election in March applied earlier along with Alfio Torrisi, who moved to town last year

A fourth-generation contractor, Pelczar owns and operates Inter-Lakes Builders Inc., which constructs custom homes. Born and raised in Meredith, he described himself as "a regular Joe" who seeks to perpetuate the character of the community.

James, came to Meredith as a 14-year-old. He served in the Coast Guard, worked as a home builder as well as a facilities manager at Freudenberg NOK and the Spaulding Youth Center, and most recently was director of buildings, grounds, housekeeping and security at the Tilton School. In Meredith he has served on the now defunct Water Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment as well as a trustee of the trust funds.

Like Pelczar, Bennett is a longtime resident of Meredith with deep roots in the town. A member of the first graduating class of the vocational technical center in Laconia, he has spent his life building, repairing and racing automobiles and motorcycles. He managed parts departments at local dealerships in the 1970s before opening his own garage and later worked at Meredith (now Laconia) Harley-Davidson. Torrisi, who recently moved to Meredith from Pelham, is an electrical inspector for the state of New Hampshire who applied in order to contribute to the civic life of his new community.

Fire in unoccupied Belmont home extinguished quickly, cause unknown

BELMONT — Local police and fire departments are investigating the cause of a one-alarm blaze that heavily damaged an unoccupied home at 14 Brookside Circle Friday night.

Fire Chief Dave Parenti said the fire was spotted by a neighbor and reported at 9:10 p.m.

He said crews arrived and requested a first alarm that brought additional help from Laconia, Gilford, Gilmanton, Franklin and Sanbornton, and the fire was quickly knocked down.

He said the fire which melted through the skylight, appeared to have started in the kitchen.

Parenti said the home was unoccupied, but had heat and electricity. He said the water had been turned off.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Belmont Police at 267-8250 or the Belmont Fire Department at 267-8333.

Belmont says conversations continue with LRGHealthcare about renting bank building space

BELMONT — Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said earlier this week that LRGHealthcare of Laconia was still taking to town officials about the possibility of relocation the doctors offices in the Belmont Mill to the former Northway Bank Building.

"We are still having conversations and they have only been conversations," Beaudin said.

LRGHealthcare spokeswoman Sandy Marshall said yesterday that her company is examining a number of options for Belknap Family Care Health Services but was unable to confirm the former bank building in the heart Belmont Village was one of them.

The topic came up at a selectmen's meeting held before the town's annual voting day on March 10, when the board was discussing some of the tenants that are in the mill and what could possible happened to them if it was renovated and converted into town offices.

During that discussion, Beaudin mentioned that the Family Health Care Services may be interested in the former bank building.

Since the town voted nearly 4-to-1 against spending $3.2 million on the complete mill restoration the town has been on hold as to what to do with it.

The key issue with the mill is that the fourth floor has been deemed unusable for structural reasons and the Lakes Region Community College Culinary Arts Program that was there relocated to Canterbury Shaker Village.

To fix only the fourth floor would require the Belknap Family Care Health Services, which occupy the entire third floor, to temporarily relocate — something Beaudin said she was told would not be in their best interests.

Beaudin said the town is definitely interested in having the family care services remain either in the mill or in the bank building.

Jail superintendent leds charge to give county department heads more freedom to set policy

LACONIA — The Belknap County Commission is looking at a revising its policy manual to give department heads more control over developing policies specific to their departments.
A proposed revision in the policy procedure was circulated at Wednesday morning's meeting of the commission and was prompted by concerns raised by Belknap County Corrections Department Superintendent Daniel Ward at the March 19 meeting of the commissioners.
At that meeting commissioners agreed to a request by Ward that he be allowed to adopt policies for the jail which he said are needed and are his responsibility under state law 43:24.
''The law is very clear on what my responsibilities are,'' said Ward, who said that the policies are separate from those contained in the county's policy manual.
County Administrator Debra Shackett said that the manual has procedures for departmental specific policies and asked commissioners whether that policy which was put in place in 2010 should be followed or whether Ward should be allowed to develop policies without direct authorization from commissioners.
Commissioner Richard Burchell, who was ousted as commission chairman at the March 2 meeting, said that he thought the former commissioners had abrogated authority to themselves, which was contrary to state law and that it is Ward's responsibility to handle operational details specific to correctional facilities.
Commissioners agreed that Ward had the authority to develop the policies and asked that they be informed by e-mails of the new policies which have been adopted.
Prior to that meeting Ward had sent an e-mail to all department heads as well as county commissioners detailing his concerns about the procedures which had been adopted in 2010, which directed all department heads to work through the county administrator in the development of policies and required that they be reviewed by the county administrator, who would determine if further review was needed, before being implemented.
He wrote that the commissioners at that time ''felt they could rest all of their power and authority in just one person'' and said that it had created a situation in which the professionals running the departments were unable to draft policies or needed approval from an individual who had no knowledge or experience in the area in question.
The proposed policy manual revision drops the language about the county administrator being the designated agent of the commissioners and provides that all newly developed policies be forwarded to the county administrator and that in the case of conflicts that the policy adopted by the county commissioners shall prevail.