St. Helena demolished – Modular homes to replace house of God?

LACONIA — St. Helena Mission Church, which had stood on Endicott Street South at The Weirs since 1955, was demolished yesterday by Peter Morrissette of PEM Real Estate, LLC, who acquired the property in 2014.

Morrissette said yesterday that he intends to build a residential development of modular homes on the 3.38-acre parcel "with as many units as I can put on the lot." The property lies in the shorefront resident district. where six single-family homes or 20 condominium units would be permitted. He said the development of the property would be undertaken in partnership with his brother Kevin Morrissette of N.W. Morrissette & Sons, a well known local contractor.

"We'll build every inch of housing we can get," Morrissette said.

Earlier this year, Morrissette applied to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a variance that would entitle him to use the property as a storage facility. He said the property would be fenced and the exterior of the building would not be altered. Nor would there be an office or signs on the site. Instead, the space would be leased to one or two commercial entities for a relatively long-term to store seasonal inventory.

At a stormy public hearing before the ZBA in July, the request met stiff opposition from homeowners on Pendleton Beach Road, including Warren Hutchins, the chairman of the Planning Board, who made it very clear he was speaking strictly as an interested property owner, not as chairman of the Planning Board. The abutters and neighbors urged the ZBA to deny the requested variance, claiming that using the abandoned church as a storage facility would have adverse impacts on the character of their neighborhood and the value of their properties. In August, Morrissette withdrew his request.

Morrissette said that during the controversy he invited city officials to suggest what he might do with the property.

"I would loved to have someone call me," he said, "but all I ever heard was crickets. Most of the people who want to reimagine Laconia," he said, "can't reimagine it."

He added that when he presents a proposal to develop the property to the Planning Board he will ask Hutchins to recuse himself.

"He has a conflict of interest," Morrissette said. "I'll take it to court if necessary."

Meanwhile, John Remington, who was among the abutters opposed to using the church as a storage facility, owns the 30 acres surrounding Morrissette's property, where the Planning Board has approved a cluster subdivision, including four waterfront lots.The one home built in the subdivision is priced at $1.7 million.

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 516

‘Miss Marjorie Lee Library’ now honors woman who dedicated her life to students

MEREDITH — Marjorie Lee, who devoted 65 years to the Inter-Lakes School District, will remain a presence there forever as the library of Inter-Lakes High School will carry her name and bear her portrait.
Following the decision of the School Board in May, some two dozen former colleagues and students gathered in the library last night to dedicate it as the "Miss Marjorie Lee Library." The plaque read simply "A Teacher, Mentor and Friend," while the portrait, the first painted by Vynnie Hale, captured the sharp eye and warm smile of a beloved and respected teacher.
Although Richard Hanson, chairman of the School Board, opened the proceedings, Lee quickly interrupted to say, "I think we should introduce ourselves."
Bob McNabb said "If you taught here, you probably threw me out of your class," and said he came to honor "the best teacher I ever had." One colleague described herself as "lunch partner," another as a "breakfast buddy" and a third move Lee to laughter by recalling a misplaced handbag.
Hale introduced himself as "the self-proclaimed teacher's pet of Miss Lee." Longtime School Board member Jack Carty said he was the "the father of the only valedictorian who did not have his speech screened by Miss Lee" for fear of what she might find. "I'm here because I'm in awe of this woman," John Poindexter said flatly.
Hanson said that this spring the School Board received a secret request from the Inter-Lakes Alumni Association to name the library for Lee. When he said he could not recall ever naming a room for an individual, Howard Cunningham, a fixture in the district since 1968, reminded him that a restroom was named Whitcher Hall after a history teacher.
Delighted with the portrait and plaque, Lee said "the library is so full of important things," moving Hanson to reply "and now you are one of them."
Lee began her career teaching English at Quimby School in Sandwich, and when it closed in 1963 came to Inter-Lakes High School, where she taught for the next 28 years. She also was an adviser for the "Pinnacle," the annual yearbook which earlier this year was dedicated to her, as well as to the National Honor Society. She introduced the journalism and drama clubs.
In 1991, when declining enrollment prompted the administration to shrink the English Department, Lee offered to retire, but then turned to her second passion, running a small business in the form of the school store.
"I sold everything but brainpower," she said.
During her 22 years of management, the profits from the store funded 74 scholarships, and in June Kylie Dickinson became the first recipient of the Marjorie Lee Scholarship..
Lee said she is spending her retirement writing a book about nine schools, five of them now closed and four still open, in Meredith, Center Harbor and Sandwich. The book is destined for pride of place in the Miss Marjorie Lee Library.

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 519

Lakers beat winnisquam to earn spot in Division III final

MEREDITH — Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough toppled undefeated Winnisquam 35-20 Saturday to earn a spot in the Division III championship game next Sunday where they hope to avenge their only loss of the season when they meet undefeated Newport in a 11 a.m. game at the University of New Hampshire's Cowell Stadium in Durham.

Saturday's game against Winnisquam saw Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough (9-1) ride a powerful ground game in the first half and a pin-point passing attack in the second half to to an impressive win.

Malik Carter scored two first half touchdowns from four yards and two yards out to propel the Lakers to a 14-0 lead which Winnisquam cut to 14-7 before he half on a 65-yard run by Christian Serrano.

Quarterback Ryan Kelly tossed two touchdown passes, a 21-yarder to Zach Swanson in the third period and an eight-yarder to Andrew Brothers in the fourth period to make it 28-7.

Serrano tossed a 39-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Cote before Nick Brothers scored on a 66-yard run with 2:40 left in the game. Serrano's 57-yard run rounded out he scoring.

Sophomore Andrew Brothers rushed for a 151 yards on 17 carries and Nick Brothers, his older brother, and team captain gained 119 yards on 17 carries. Kelly completed all six of his pass attempts for 74 yards and two TDs. Carter, who had two rushing touchdowns gained 58 yards on 11 carries.

''Our offense had good rhytmn and we were really able to step up on defense. We had a couple of good goal line stands which made a huge difference,'' said Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough coach Jon Francis.

He praised his players for their heart and determination and the way in which they executed their game plan.

Newport (10-0), which knocked off Bow, 47-7, in Saturday's other semifinal, beat Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough 34-21 in late September.

''It was the worst game we played all year. We made a lot of mistakes and turned the ball over on our own 31 which gave them a a short field to work with. And we were missing three starters, all of whom are back and ready to play for us on Sunday.'' said Francis.

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 329