County commissioner: New corrections center can’t open unless there’s money to run it

By ROGER AMSDEN, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton) says the county won't be able to open its 18,000 square foot Community Corrections Center come September unless the Belknap County Delegation reverses itself and provides an additional $21,324 in funding for two part-time corrections officers.
During a marathon session last week which lasted for four-and-half hours, the delegation agreed to a motion by Rep. Time Lang (R-Sanbornton) to cut two full-time corrections officers from the proposed $3,964,613 Corrections Department budget. Before it voted on the $3,911,269 budget proposed by Lang, Rep, David Huot (D-Laconia) moved to amend Lang's motion by adding $21,324 for two part-time corrections officers. The amendment failed and Lang's original motion for a $53,334 cut passed.
Taylor said that Corrections Superintendent Keith Gray won't have sufficient manpower for staffing the center unless he can hire the part-time officers and points out that the county delegation knew when it unanimously approved an $8 million bond in November of 2015 for the corrections center that additional staffing costs were estimated at $650,183 annually.
He said that the 2017 budget proposed by commissioners included funds for four new corrections officers a well as instructional personnel and was far less than had originally been projected.
"It should be noted that staffing at the Belknap County Jail has problematic for a number of years. All three of the consultants that have addressed the needs of the Belknap County Department of Corrections since 2012 have agreed that the Department is seriously understaffed. This shortcoming is reflected in the inmate-to-staff ratios for county jails in New Hampshire. In 2015, the Belknap County ratio was 3.9 inmates to each staff member. The ratios for the other counties with populations of less than 100,000 were: Carroll 1.7 to 1, Cheshire 2.4 to 1, Coos 1.8 to 1, Grafton 1.6 to 1 and Sullivan 2 to 1. With a staffing ratio so out of line with the norm, Belknap County could be viewed as putting both inmates and staff at risk, which could lead to significant liability exposure should a serious incident occur which could be linked to inadequate staffing." Taylor wrote in a letter to the editor which was published in Saturday's Laconia Daily Sun.
The County Delegation, which last week cut less than $200,000 from the proposed $28 million county budget, will resume deliberations on the budget when it meets at 6 p.m. tonight at the Belknap County complex. A large turnout is expected as the delegation will be taking up requests from outside agencies, many of which have been cut in recent years and whose representatives have been in attendance at all of the delegation's budget sessions.

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Rick Green, David Carkhuff join Laconia Daily Sun staff

Rick GreenLACONIA — The Laconia Daily Sun has added two new reporters to its staff.
• Rick Green joined The Sun last week.
He comes to us from The Oklahoman newspaper in Oklahoma City, where he was state Capitol bureau chief.
Green, who also served as a news editor for The Associated Press, likes to ski and hike and is eager to enjoy all New Hampshire offers not only in outdoor activities but in interesting stories he can write about the region and its people.
Green, a native of North Hollywood, California, holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Humboldt State University. He makes his home on a U-pick blueberry farm on Donkin Hill in New Hampton with his wife, Rebecca. Their son, Jacob, works on ski patrol at Waterville Valley Resort; daughter, Emma, is a computer software developer in Boston, and another son, Zachary, plans to relocate to the Northeast this summer after receiving an engineering degree at Oklahoma State University.
• David Carkhuff joined the Laconia Daily Sun in December. He worked at The Portland Phoenix and The Portland Daily Sun in Portland, Maine, and previously covered Conway government news at The Conway Daily Sun.
Carkhuff received his journalism degree from the University of Montana in Missoula.

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Carkhuff

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Austie ‘Candy’ Mellett, 70

WOODSTOCK — Austie "Candy" (Berry) Mellett, 70, passed away Feb. 25, 2017, with her family at her side after a long, courageous battle with COPD.
Born in Woodstock on May 1, 1946, Candy was the daughter of Fred Lawrence Berry and Ella Kinne Berry. Candy lived in Woodstock her entire life. In 1964 she graduated from LinWood High School as a member of the first class to graduate from the new school.
Candy was a homemaker and the most important thing in her life was her family. Candy's grandchildren were the love of her life and even in the darkest hours just the mention of Elizabeth or Zachary would bring a smile to her eyes. She enjoyed gathering with family and friends either as a group or with small visits to her home. She loved Christmas and would plan her giving all year long.
Candy was active in the community, spending over 20 years as a ballot clerk and election official. She worked in the Woodstock Town Office for 10-plus years, and at one time held the job of tax collector. She was an active member and past president of the Woodstock Baptist Church Ladies Aide. She was active member and past president of the Woodstock Fire Department Auxiliary as well as a member and past secretary of the Pemigewasset Valley Fire Wardens Association. Candy was an avid historian documenting activities and newspaper articles about the Woodstock fire department for the better part of 50 years.
Candy was predeceased by her parents; sisters Edna-Jean Merrill and Bonnie Coleman; and brother, Harvey Berry. She is survived by her husband of 53 years, William "Bill" Mellett; son Jeff and wife Danielle of Belmont; daughter Jennifer of Biddeford, Maine; granddaughter Elizabeth Joslin and her husband, Nick, of Belmont; grandson Zachary and his wife, Megan, of Gilmanton; aunt Edna Woodman of Concord; cousin Nancy West of Bow; as well as many special, nieces, nephews and in-laws.
Family and friends will honor and remember Candy's life by gathering for a memorial service in the Pemi Valley Church, 1091 Daniel Webster Highway. (NH Route 3) Woodstock, on Thursday, March 2, at 2 pm. A springtime burial will take place in the Woodstock Cemetery. There are no "in lieu of flowers" – Bill and Candy love flowers.
To view or leave a message of condolence on Candy's Book of Memories, please visit www.mayhewfuneralhomes.com.
The Mayhew Funeral Homes & Meredith Bay Crematorium of Meredith and Plymouth is assisting the family with arrangements.

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