City narrows choices for superintendent

LACONIA — The search for a new superintendent of the city's schools has been narrowed to three.
According to a document from the school board's Monday night meeting, Russell Holden, Brendan Minnihan and Mary Moriarty made the list of candidates to be interviewed for the position next week.
Holden is the current superintendent of the Sunapee School District, and once served as principal at Belmont High School and Alton Central School. Minnihan is superintendent for the ConVal School District and was also superintendent for the Sunapee School District. Moriarty is the current assistant superintendent at the Rochester School District, and was also an assistant principal and mat teacher for the Gilford School District.
Richard Coggon, who attended the meeting, said the board interviewed 15 candidates, half of them from New Hampshire, none from with the city school district. He said the board expects to interview the three finalists next week.

Closed swim club sued

LACONIA — One of the Laconia Athletic Swim Club’s creditors has filed suit in Belknap County Superior Court claiming the club and its owners have not paid for some of their leased workout equipment in 10 months.
Siemen’s Financial Services claims it entered into a lease agreement with the club and its owners, Thomas and Laurie Oakley, for certain Cybex and Kelser fitness equipment for 60 months at a payment of $2,015.47 monthly.
Siemen’s says it demanded payment by letter on May 21 and, pursuant to the lease, says the Laconia Athletic Swim Club owes them $52,259.54 plus a per diem charge of $20.98, payable from Sept. 23 until the balance is paid. The lease company is asking the court to award damages in this amount plus legal fees.
Siemen’s claims that both Thomas and Laurie Oakley jointly and severally agreed to perform all of the obligations under the terms of the lease and two counts of the suit are directed at them personally.
Siemen’s is also demanding the immediate return of all its equipment, fearing that it may be destroyed, damaged or used and depreciated to the point where it is useless financially to the creditor.
Siemen’s is also claiming unjust enrichment by the Laconia Athletic Swim Club and the Oakleys as they have been taking in membership dues but not making their lease payments.
On Thanksgiving Day, the Oakleys closed the club and sent emails to all of the members. Recently, Thomas Oakley told The Daily Sun that he had procured a $50,000 bond from the state and will reimburse all of the members who are owed refunds. He had hoped to reopen the club quickly, but did not answer a request to update The Sun on the progress of the effort to reopen.

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Belmont’s recycled bridge - Dover’s covered bridge now spans the Tioga behind Belmont Mill

BELMONT — After three years of planning, measuring, driving nails and engineering, a 50-foot piece of a former pedestrian bridge that crossed the Cocheco River in Dover is now in place, spanning the Tioga River behind the Belmont Mill.
The span was gently laid in place by a single crane operated by Matt Roberts with volunteers from the Heritage and Conservation Commission on hand to guide it on to the footings built on each side of the river by Woody Fogg and Ron Mitchell.
The entire procedure took most of yesterday afternoon because the the section of bridge needed to be loaded on to a Public Works flatbed and guided by police to the Depot Street side of the river where the crane awaited. With the weather in the high 40s and not a cloud in the sky, people lined up along Main Street near the Mill Parking lot to see the operation.
Once the bridge arrived, it took about one-half hour to center it in its moorings. At one point, the ground in front of the crane needed shoring up because Roberts needed to walk it a little closer to the river than he first thought.
After the bridge was safely in place, most of those who worked on it let out a sigh of relief but were monosyllabic when asked about it.
"Done," said Mitchell who stood there with a small sledge hammer in one hand and a giant grin on his face.
"Nice job," said Land Use Technician Rick Ball.
Heritage Commission Chairman Wallace Rhodes took pictures with his laptop and said the bridge was going to make a wonderful enhancement to the area.
"We needed to span the river behind the mill to the gravel parking lot to give them access the trail. We want to put the rest of the bridge down behind Great Brook Village," said Woody Fogg, one of the coordinators of the project.
He said he knew the man who built the original bridge and was able to talk with him about how it was constructed.
"I knew we could cut the bridge apart at the splices and use the other two sections to span behind the village," Fogg said, noting the trestle was removed because of some sewer work. Along with putting the covered portion of the bridge on today, Fogg said there is still a great deal of carpentry that needs to be done before it's complete. Fogg also said that next spring they will build a gravel ramp that meets the standards of the American Disabilities Act.
The bridge was purchased by the Conservation Commission. Chairman Ken Knowlton said in 2013 that what once was a 154-foot-long covered pedestrian bridge, which originally spanned the Cocheco River, was bought by the commission for $1 from the city of Dover after efforts by Dover residents to keep in that community and use it as a centerpiece for a park fell short.
Built in 1996 at a cost of $162,845, the 8-foot-wide bridge was removed with a crane in 2010 and the city of Dover was looking to sell it in order to make way for a waterfront development.
Fogg said most of the funding for the project came from the balance of a grant that paid for the pavilion and an additional recreation grant procured by Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin. In addition, Fogg said crane owner Mark Roberts and his son Matt, a civil engineer with a degree from UNH, did much of the work at or below cost.
"We couldn't have done it without them," Fogg said.