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Website lists expected Belknap County job opportunities over next 5 years, including education & training necessary to qualify & pay rates to expect

LACONIA — To further its goals of retaining young talent in the region while fostering the workforce employers require, the Belknap Economic Development Council (BEDC) recently surveyed 20 local firms about the jobs they expect to fill during the next five years and summarized these career opportunities in industry profiles on its website.

Initially BEDC compiled information about employment in advanced manufacturing, finance and insurance, health care and social assistance and hospitality, all industries with potential for growth in the coming years. The profiles indicate the entry and mid level jobs that will be available, together with the qualifications, responsibilities and compensation for each. Along with a sketch of each industry, its average earnings, number of jobs and projected growth, the profiles include a sample of local companies in the four industries.

For instance, 85 firms in Belknap County employ a total of more than 2,300 people at annual average earnings of $61,200 in advanced manufacturing, which applies high technology to expensive raw materials to produce components for the aerospace, medial, semi-conductor, automotive and electronics industries. This sector expects to add more than 100 a year. Entry level positions include machine operators, requiring a high school diploma and "willingness to learn" while paying $13.15 an hour, and machinists and assemblers with between three months and a year of experience paying from $12 to $16.68 an hour.

Salaries for entry level positions in financial services, which require interpersonal, communications and computer skills along with attention to detail, range between $20,000 and $28,500 while earnings in health care start at $11 an hour for a high school graduate with some work experience and reach $28,000 for a college graduate. In the hospitality industry, the largest employers in the region with the lowest average earnings of $22,100, entry level jobs pay between $10 and $14 an hour, with mechanics and cooks with some experience earning the most.

The profiles, which are posted on the BEDC website, are intended to offer young people contemplating a career and preparing to enter the workforce information about the opportunities open to them in the Lakes Region. The unemployment rate in the Laconia labor market in October was 5.3-percent, slightly higher than that of the state and the county, but the information gathered by the BEDC indicates that regional employers will have entry level positions for qualified people eager to work.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 December 2013 01:02

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Sex offender arrested: 15-year-old tells police she exchanged sex for booze

GILFORD — Police have charged a registered sex offender with one count of felonious sexual assault for an act allegedly committed behind the Gilford Cinema on October 14.

David Ferland, 37, of 686 Union Avenue Apt. 2A in Laconia is being held on $250,000 cash-only bail until he can appear in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division this morning.

According to Gilford Police, the father of a 15-year-old girl discovered a cell phone his daughter was not allowed to have in her possession and was concerned by the content of some of the conversations.

The girl later told police she had met a stranger (later identified as Ferland) over the Internet and had communicated with him numerous times over her cell phone. She also told police she and a female friend met Ferland behind the cinema and sexual acts were performed in exchange for alcohol.

Gilford Police worked with the New Hampshire Department of Corrections Parole and Probation Division of Laconia and, using various channels and methods, were able to identify Ferland.

He was initially taken into custody for a parole violation and during his interview police said he admitted having contact with the girl over the Internet and the sexual encounter.

Police said Ferland's criminal sexual history in New Hampshire began in 2003 and he had since been convicted of nine counts of felonious sexual assault — stemming from two separate incidents, two counts of certain use of computer services, 21 counts child pornography, and one count of criminal solicitation. His convictions stemmed from incidents in Rockingham and Grafton Counties.

Gilford Police said additional charges are expected to include, but not be limited to, the second alleged victim.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 December 2013 12:55

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Gilford marina damaged by Xmas Eve fire

GILFORD — Firefighters extinguished a smoky blaze Tuesday afternoon that nearly destroyed the show room and main offices of the Silver Sands Marina at 103 Weirs Road (Rte. 11-B).

The fire was reported just before 4 p.m. by a passerby who noticed a fire inside the main building.

When firefighters arrived, smoke was billowing from the second floor rear portion of the main building, which houses the canvass shop.

Smoke was ventilating from the front of the building and at one point some began seeping from the eaves along the main part of the building.

Fire Chief Steve Carrier said firefighters set up a water line near the marina but were able to extinguish the flames with the water brought in the responding firetrucks from Gilford and Laconia.

Carrier said firefighters were able to contain the fire to the canvas room, adding there is minor smoke and water damage to the remainder of the building.

"This was a great job by the 'first-in' crews," Carrier said. This was a large and valuable building with valuable contents and they were able to confine the fire and extinguish it where it started.

Gilford firefighters was assisted at the marina by crews from Laconia, Meredith and Belmont. Crews from the Tilton-Northfield Fire Department and Holderness Fie Department provided station coverage.

Carrier said the cause of the fire is unknown and is being investigated by Deputy Fire Chief Brad Ober.


CUTLINE – Smoke billows from the showroom and main offices of the Silver Sands Marina Tuesday afternoon as firefighters work to extinguish the blaze that began in the second floor canvas shop. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 December 2013 12:43

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Councilor asks county to put new jail plan on hold

LACONIA — The appearance of the Belknap County Commission before the City Council this week led to a sharp exchange between Councilor Henry Lipman (Ward 3) and Commissioner Ed Philpot over how to address the problems arising from the rising population and deteriorating condition of the county jail.

Philpot defended the commission's determination to persevere with the process of planning a new jail. He said that complying with new federal standards, including the separation of inmates by age, gender and class of offenders, would be very difficult in light of the configuration and condition of the existing facility. He explained that while there is no funding in the proposed 2014 county budget, the commission will request a supplemental appropriation in the form of a $3.5 million bond issue to the convention early next year. The borrowing would provide $500,000 for a schematic design for a new facility, as well $1 million for replacing the HVAC system at the current jail and $1.8 million for the three-year rental of 48-bed temporary housing facility.

In light of the commission's frayed relationship with the Belknap County Convention, Lipman questioned the decision to seek funding to design a new facility. He suggested instead that the commissioners request sufficient funds to ensure "minimal compliance" and shelve plan to build a new jail until the political situation becomes more favorable.

Philpot reminded Lipman that the commissioners have already invested significant time and resources in the planning process only to meet with resistance from the convention. He declared that he would continued to advocate for a new facility. Stressing the need for a new jail, he said "I don't want to be the guy on the lawn telling parents I'm sorry your son burned to death."

Lipman countered that there is a time for advocacy and a time for governance. He urged the commission to drop its request to fund a schematic design and pursue a compromise with the convention and "take whatever you can get" to correct the most immediate issues with the existing facility. Otherwise, he said that county taxpayers could find themselves faced with the rising costs of deferred maintenance and potential litigation.

Philpot conceded that "if I thought we could have a reasonable conversation, I would do it." But, he said that when the commission has sought to open a dialogue the only response from the convention has been "thank you for your input."

"For us it's a lose-lose," Lipman said. "My plea to you and the convention is to put funding for maintenance in the budget and not put ourselves in the position to be sued."

"I hope you will express the same thought to you representatives," Philpot replied, adding "we are at a stalemate in governing. There is nothing we can do. We are talking to ourselves."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 12:33

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