Champion for Children

Champion for Children

03-14 Hemingway gets award 003

Gilford Superintendent Kent Hemingway received the school district's Champion for Children Award last night in recognition of his above and beyond contributions, including taking a special students under his wing, his work in Unified Sports, his taking on the responsibility of being the faculty adviser to the Interact Club and personally delivering Got Lunch packages in the back of his old red truck. Hemingway will retire at the end of this school year. (Laconia Daily Sun Photo – Gail Ober)

Winni Derby canceled, Rotary looking for partners for next year (418)


LACONIA — The 34th annual Winni Derby, which was scheduled for May 13 to 15 this year, has been canceled, but is expected to resume next year according to Kristen Welch, president of the Laconia Rotary Club, which took over sponsorship of the event in 2011.
Welch said that the decision not to hold the derby this year was made by the club's board of directors last Thursday after approval from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department to suspend the event for one year because of extenuating circumstances.
She said that the club is looking for partners to help it with organizing and staffing the event in 2017.
"We regret having to make this decision," Welch said in a press release issued last Friday.
"Laconia Rotary is aware there are many anglers and their families who participate in the tradition of the Winni Derby each year, and we apologize for any inconvenience. We are grateful for the support and enthusiasm we have received for this event, and appreciate all who have contributed to its past success."
The derby, which in recent years has awarded nearly $50,000 in cash prizes, was started in 1983 by the late Rick Davis and was originally conceived of as a way to reduce the population of undersized salmon in Lake Winnipesaukee. Over the years it appeared to have achieved its goal and attracted as many 2,800 entries in 2001. Two years later, the average size of the salmon landed in the derby was over six pounds, but by 2009 it had dropped to just over four pounds.
The derby was canceled by Davis in 2010 as a way of reducing the pressure on the lake's salmon population after a 2009 fall survey showed them smaller than in recent years, with nearly a third of the salmon suffering from hook wounds caused by catch-and-release fishing.
The Laconia Rotary Club, at that time led by Diane LaBrie, took over sponsorship in 2011, and within a few years changed the awards to cash rather than fishing boats, for the major categories, which included landlocked salmon, lake trout and a junior division.
Participation in the derby has dropped from the 2,800 level of 15 years ago to 1,100 last year, a decline from the 1,300 just two years ago.
Grand prize in last year's adult salmon division was $12,000, with the runner-up receiving $3,600. The grand prize for the Junior Salmon division last year was $3,000, with $1,500 awarded to the second-place finisher.
Grand prize in the Adult-Junior Trout division in 2015 was $5,000, with the runner-up earning $1,200.

Sued again - Twomey asks for delay in events at Timber Hill Farm


LACONIA — A neighbor of the Howe property on Gunstock Hill Road has filed an additional lawsuit in the Belknap County Superior Court against the town of Gilford asking the court to delay any activities at Timber Hill Farm even though the Planning Board granted approval to the Howes to host weddings and like events as a type of agritourism.

Monique Twomey claims that the Planning Board acted unlawfully when it granted Timber Hill Farm a site plan approval because it went against the law regarding agritourism in New Hampshire as established by the state legislature and affirmed by a decision of the state Supreme Court.

She is asking the court to order the Planning Board to review its decision.

Attorney Joseph Driscoll said Planning Board did not distinguish between agritourism and agriculture as state law requires, which takes precedent over a decision made by the Zoning Board of Adjustments, which Twomey is also suing.

Twomey's suit claims the Planning Board didn't take into consideration the state Supreme Court ruling that agritourism is not agriculture, which is the current law in the state.

The suit also says that the Planning Board is required by law when reviewing a site plan to see that any neighboring properties are not diminished in value. Twomey submitted a report completed by a local real estate agent who said her property value could be diminished by as much as $200,000, or one-third.

She also claims there was no investigation or discussion regarding the impact of hostimg weddings on the rest of community, because she was the only one who complained. Other neighbors have spoken at length in various Planning Board meetings about the effect the 2015 events had on themselves and their families.

Twomey says the site plan allow activities in a single family residential zone that would not otherwise be allowed. She cites allowing a place of gathering, the commercial serving of alcohol, music that is not contained, and outdoor lighting.

The site plan allows the Howes to operate between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. — an 18-hour window that doesn't apply to yard sales, which are restricted to eight total hours.

Although the site plan "requests" the Howes consult the police for traffic control, no traffic study was performed before the site plan was approved.

The site plan "encourages" the Howe's to shuttle people from a parking area nearer their home on non-conservation land but said "there is no measure for compliance."

New Hampshire RSA 677:15 states that "if any party appeals any part of the planning board's decision to the superior court before all matters appealed to the board of adjustment have been resolved, the court shall stay the appeal until resolution of such matters."

In addition "upon presentation of such petition, the court may allow a certiorari order directed to the planning board to review such decision and shall prescribe therein the time within which return thereto shall be made and served upon the petitioner's attorney, which shall not be less than 10 days and may be extended by the court."

The town has not responded yet to the latest suit. Judge James O'Neill has not yet ruled on some procedural matters it considered last week regarding Twomey's two suits against the town regarding actions taken by the Zoning Board.