Record 50 dogs & puppies find new homes

BELMONT — The New Hampshire Humane Society's annual Black Friday Adopt-a-Thon saw a record 50 dogs adopted on Friday, Nov. 25, at the Belknap Mall.
Mary Lee Gorham, executive director of the society, credited the decision to add a second flight of dogs and puppies on Friday afternoon with making the event so successful.
"In past year's we've held it from 9 to 11 a.m. And have had many people show up at the last minute after we'd adopted out all the dogs we'd brought to the mall who were very disappointed. This year we decided to add a second flight and it worked out perfectly," said Gorham.
'There were a lot of happy families, 49 in fact, as one family adopted two dogs who were inseparable, she said, noting that people came from all over the state to find a dog to adopt.
Some came from further away. Rick and Maya Viens came all the way from Saint Alban's, Vermont, with their daughter, Tracy, to adopt a spaniel-terrier mix female that they named Velma.
Robe Nadeau of Northfield and their daughter, Sandie, who is seven, adopted a terrier mix who is eight weeks old and was named October.
It's their first puppy and the family said they're looking forward to having his companionship for a long time.
Logan Moore, 7, of Belmont, said that he was excited to adopt a mixed breed dog and said that he had named his new pet, "Happy," because that is how the puppy made him feel.
Gorham thanked Paige Quigley, manager of the Belknap Mall, for allowing the adopt-a-thon to use the former Blockbuster Video store space for the event. She praised the efforts of the Humane Society staff and volunteers in setting up the space and running the adopt-a-thon.
"It was real team effort.." said Gorham, who expects a large turnout at the society's shelter on Meredith Center Road today where there will be special reduced rates for cat and kitten adoptions.

three people

Rob and Brooke Nadeau with their daughter, Sandie, and October, an eight-month old Terrier mix that they adopted Friday. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

woman holding dog,
Maya Viens of Saint Alban's., Vermont, holds Velma, a two-month old puppy that they adopted Friday after making the two and a half hour drive to Belknap Mall in Belmont. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

boy with puppy, woman in background.

Logan Moore, 7, of Belmont, with his mixed breed puppy he named Happy. His great-grandmother Debbie Harrigan, helps him hold he new pet. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

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Neighbors object - Rooming house on Court Street draws controversy


LACONIA — A property owner seeking to convert a sprawling New Englander at 140 Court St. into a rooming house has encountered opposition from his neighbors and questions from the Zoning Board of Adjustment when he presented his plan last week.

Michael Pelky, doing business as Pelletier Realty Rentals, LLC of Canterbury, purchased the property, a 3,420-square-foot two-story building with 16 rooms on a 0.23 acre lot, in January 2016 for $90,000, According to the tax records, the building was constructed in 1875, contains three dwelling units and has a current assessed value of $130,000. The property is within the commercial district where a special exception from the Zoning Board of Adjustment is required in order to operate a rooming house.

In June, fire damaged part of the rear of the building. The owner has proposed dividing one of the units into six rooms, each approximately 10 feet and by 20 feet, served by a common bathroom and kitchen, effectively operating a section of the building as a rooming house. Two three-bedroom apartments would remain in the section of the building that fronts on Court Street. Pelky told the board that the property has been used as a rooming house in the past.

Paul Poirier, who owns the three-unit apartment house abutting the property to the west told the board that problems arose a month after Pelky acquired the property and "there has been nothing but trouble since." He said that police officers have been dispatched to the property 15 times this year and submitted a record of the calls, which included responses to a disturbance, a dispute between the landlord and a tenant, and a complaint of criminal trespass. Poirier expressed concern that such incidents could adversely affect his tenants, jeopardizing the occupancy of his units and diminish the value of his property.

Robert Fisher, who owns an abutting property at 92 Bowman St., said that the noise and "accumulation of vehicles" at 140 Court Street has had a negative effect on the neighborhood. His son, Robert Fisher, Jr., who lives at 92 Bowman St., echoed his father, adding that with another six tenants the problems were likely to increase.

Acting Planning Director Brandee Loughlin said that, apart from the special exception to operate a rooming house, Pelky might also require variances from both the parking and density requirements. As many as nine off-street parking spaces may be required, one-and-a-half spaces for each of the two apartments and one for each of the six rooms. Moreover, the maximum residential density in the commercial district is six units per acre. The lot is less than a quarter acre, while the three units proposed — two apartments and the rooming house — would require a half acre.

The Zoning Board Adjustment tabled the proposal until its next meeting on Dec. 19.

11-25 140 Court St 2016

This is the building at 140 Court St. The rambling architecture includes additions on the back.(Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)

Below is its location on Google maps.

11-25 140 Court St map

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Under contract - All four Belknap County Nursing Home unions reach agreement


LACONIA — The Belknap County Delegation voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a two-year contract with the 81 unionized employees of the Belknap County Nursing Home, which will provide a one-time $2,000 health incentive bonus and replaces the current HMO health insurance plan with a site-of-service plan.
Roger Grey of Sanbornton, citizen representative on the county negotiating team, said that the contract took almost two years of negotiations and saves the county $200,000 a year in health insurance costs over what it would have cost had there been no agreement.
He said that the contract with the State Employees Association Local 1984 will increase costs by $61,029 in the first year, but reduce them by $60,735 in the second year.
The agreement also provides for $500 health savings plan and three percent step increases, but no cost-of-living increase in the first year of the contract. The second year will see a COLA of between 1.4 and 2.4 percent.
It was explained that the health savings plan will apply to 71 of the 81 employees as there are 10 opt-offs who do not receive their insurance from the county. The opt-offs will still receive the $2,000 health incentive bonus.
He said that the switch to a site-of-service health insurance plan "gets rid of the Cadillac insurance plan," which in the future would have resulted in the county paying taxes on health insurance because premiums would exceed federal guidelines.
"It's a good deal for the county and will put all four unions here on the same insurance plan," said Grey.
It mirrors the collective bargaining agreements negotiated with Teamsters Local 633 representing managerial and administrative employees and the Belknap County Sheriff;'s Department and the State Employees Association, representing Belknap County Corrections Department officers, all of which have been ratified by the members of both unions and approved by the Belknap County Delegation.
County Commission Chairman David DeVoy said that it was the first time in four years that the county has had contracts in place with all of the unions representing county employees. Two years ago the county delegation rejected a contract which had been recommended by the commission and earlier this year the union rejected by a 33-14 vote a contract proposal made by the commissioners.

The county employs about 250 people, 40 of whom are not union members but who receive the same health insurance benefits.
The delegation had 11 of its 17 members present for the meeting, which was presided over by Herb Vadney (R-Meredith), vice chairman, who presided in the absence of Chairman Rep. Frank Tilton (R-Laconia). The vote was 11-0.

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