GILFORD — It was line knots, boat lights and life preserver day for the 12 students in the Advanced Cruising Level 3 Class at the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association school yesterday.
The students abandoned their sailboats for the afternoon and motored across Smith Cove to meet with Marine Patrol Officer Seth Alie — an animated, engaging and often humorous boating safety instructor who does community outreach for the department.
LWSA school program director Anthony Sperazzo said the boating safety portion of the program is reserved for the older and more experienced sailors in school that teaches various levels of sailing to about 235 students annually.
"These students often have parents and friends who have boats on the lake and they need to know about boating safety," he said.
Alie agreed, telling the class that they are the "next generation" of boaters in the Lakes Region and will have to step up and take responsibility for their own safety as well as that of others. "We want them to understand what it is we do."
Sperazzo said the yesterday's class represents the most advanced class taught at the sailing school and most of students are in their middle to late teens.
"Most of these kids have been with us for five or more years," he said. "This level allows these kids to captain their own vessel safely."
Classes at the LWSA range from beginners at age 7 through the Advanced Cruising Level 3 class (ages 13 to 16) that was at Marine Patrol headquarters at the Glendale docks yesterday. The school also has a racing class and holds three to five classes weekly for all different age levels.
There is also a class for very advanced sailors who are being taught how to sail a keelboat owned by a local resident who has volunteered his vessel for instruction.
"We have gotten so much support from the community," said Sperazzo who said the program just got a "sizable" donation yesterday from a local family.
Spreazzo said that there is a scholarship program for children whose family can't afford tuition and members of the association have been very generous.
"I just got a nice letter from a woman yesterday thanking us for her child's class and saying they never would have been able to afford something like that," he said.
He said the community members also volunteer by helping with classes and will bring their vessels to the school for special training sessions like the resident with the keelboat.
He said Pete Crosby, the father of one of the students in the Advanced Cruising 3 Class, is bringing his trimaran — or multi-hulled boat — for day of training.
"We want to reach out to the community to have these kids every skill they can have," he said.
Next week, the class will take a trip to the Winnipesaukee Yacht Club where Al Posnack will teach them navigation and chart reading.
Sperazzo also said the school is enjoying it's new location on Davis Road and "couldn't have found a better spot for the school."
CUTLINE: Students from the advanced sailing class of the Winnipesaukee Sailing Association tour a Marine Patrol boat yesterday as part of a water and boating safety class. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 August 2014 12:49
LACONIA — Belknap County Administrator Debra Shackett told Belknap County Commissioners yesterday that the Belknap County Nursing Home is experiencing a heavier than usual turnover in nursing staff and is finding it difficult to fill vacant positions.
''We're having difficulty recruiting in the professional services area.'' said Shackett, who said that the county is ''really struggling'' in dealing with the situation.
Asked by Commissioner Steven Nedeau (R-Meredith) if the problem is unique to the area, Shackett said that she didn't think so. ''All the nursing homes are looking for help,'' said Shackett, noting that it affects private as well as public facilities.
She said that Belknap County Nursing Home Administrator Mathew Logue is doing a staff analysis to determine the nursing home's staffing needs and that as part of that study an evaluation is being done of the county's compensation package for nurses.
''We want to the county to be competitive so we can attract the staff we need,'' said Shackett.
Commissioners also voted to waive a requirement that at least three competitive bids be received for projects of over $5,000 so that a project to replace door locks in the county jail annex cells can move forward.
Dustin Muzzey, facilities manager, told commissioners in a memo that he has reached out to several locksmiths in the area in an attempt to get bids for replacing as many as 11 locks but has had no success.
''Since the lack of properly functioning locks is a major safety concern as well as a high priority repair item and because of the general lock of response from lock vendors I am recommending that we waive the requirement for competitive pricing and hire A&B Locksmith the repair and/or replace the annex locks.'' Muzzey wrote.
He estimated that it would cost $5,500 to $6,000 to replace all 11 locks.
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 August 2014 12:41
LACONIA — After squabbling over their respective authority over the county budget for the past two years, yesterday the Belknap County Convention and Belknap County Commission squared off in Belknap County Superior Court, where the lawmakers asked Justice James O'Neill for an injunction prohibiting the commission from spending more than it appropriated to any one of hundreds of line items in the 2014 budget.
O'Neill opened the hour-long hearing by noting that he was acquainted with a number of the litigants and offering to recuse himself from the proceedings. "I don't see a problem," he said and, after he granted a brief recess to weigh his offer, neither did anyone else.
Differences between the convention and commission over their respective budgetary authority have dogged the preparation and adoption of last two county budgets.
The 2013 and again this year the Republican majority of the convention has insisted that the convention can rewrite the budget proposed by the commission by adding or deleting, raising or lowering appropriations for particular line items. And, in the course of managing the budget, the commission may only reallocate funds from one line to another with the approval of the executive committee of the convention.
On the other hand, the commissioners claim that the authority of the convention is limited to itemizing appropriations for 13 purposes, closely corresponding to the departments of county government, specified by the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration. Within these categories, the commission contends it can distribute funds among different lines without the approval of the convention as long as expenditures do not exceed the total appropriations for the particular purposes.
In July, almost 10 months after the convention resolved to litigate, Rep. Colette Worsman (R-Meredith), who chairs the convention, and the clerk of the convention, Rep. Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton) filed the suit. Ten Republicans voted to bring suit while four Democrats were opposed. Both Worsman and Burchell were in court yesterday along with Reps. Herb Vadney of Meredith, Frank Tilton of Laconia, Michael Sylvia of Belmont and Dennis Fields of Sanbornton — all Republicans — and two Democrats, Reps. David Huot of Laconia and Ian Raymond of Sanbornton.
Attorney David Horan, representing the convention, reminded the the court of the state statutes authorizing the convention to itemize appropriations "in detail" and to require its executive committee to approve any transfers. The convention, he stressed, resolved to require the commission to submit requests for transfers of more than $300 to the executive committee for its approval.
Turning to the 2014 budget process, Horan said that the convention voted not to fund the annual increase in the employer's contribution to the cost of health insurance, but instead to freeze appropriations for health insurance at 2013 levels. However, shortly after the convention adopted the budget, he explained that the commission shuffled monies from other line items within departmental budgets — "more than 100 of them" — to restore $209,919 of funding for health insurance. "The commission," he remarked, "ignored the appropriations by the convention and this was all done without the approval of the executive committee."
In a brief filed in response, attorney Robert Desrosier for the commission countered that the convention had no authority to bring suit against any party, let alone the commission. The authority of the convention, he claimed, is confined to raising taxes and making appropriations. Moreover, he noted that when the convention voted to file suit in October 2013 it referred to "the legitimacy or lack thereof of the Belknap County Commission's rewriting the 2103 county budget," not the 2014 budget, which is the subject of the current proceedings. "By their own authority," he concluded, "they have no authority to bring this suit."
Nor, Desosier insisted, has the convention addressed the criteria required to warrant the injunction it requested. First, the convention cannot show that its suit is likely to succeed on the merits. He repeated the familiar argument that because the commission may transfer funds within the purposes specified by the DRA, it had not made transfers requiring the approval of the executive committee.
Second, Derosier argued that neither the convention nor the taxpayers would suffer "immediate and irreparable harm" if the commission spent some or all funds for health insurance, since it would not increase expenditures or taxes. The convention, he contended, "has not identified any immediate irreparable harm to the convention as a convention" and "has no authority to stand in the shoes of individual taxpayers."
Finally, Derosier said that the convention cannot show that the public interest would be adversely affected if the injunction were not granted. Funding for health insurance, he explained, is a contractual obligation under the collective bargaining agreements negotiated with the union representing county employees. Without sufficient funding, he said, the commission would have to renegotiate the agreements or layoff employees.
Instead, Derosier concluded that, contrary to the public interest, by granting an injunction the court would join a political dispute between two branches of government. In filing suit, he said the convention engaged in "nothing more than a political grab for power which it does not have by statute. If the Belknap County Commission is acting in a way that the taxpayers do not approve," he continued, "it is the ballot box and not the court that should supply the remedy."
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 August 2014 12:37
LACONIA — The Planning Board last night unanimously approved the proposal by Cafua Management Company, LLC to redevelop the remainder of the lot at 1092 Union Avenue where the Hathaway House now stands, effectively ensuring the imminent demolition of the Italianate mansion.
In 2000 Cafua purchased the property and built a Dunkin' Donuts outlet on the southern portion of the lot. Last September, the firm applied for a permit to demolish the Hathaway House, sparking a frantic effort to preserve it. After meeting with Greg Nolan of Cafua, to discuss alternatives to demolition the Heritage Commission ultimately conceded that if the building was to be preserved, it would have to relocated. The commission sought a private developer interested in moving, renovating and owning the building, without success.
Before the Planning Board voted, Dorothy Duffy of the Heritage Commission reminded the members that "we do not have to give up our heritage." She said the community will know what it has lost "when that lovely building is razed to the ground," adding "I'll be there crying when it is."
"I spent many fine hours in that beautiful building," Larry Guild of the Planning Board recalled. "I find it very difficult to see people come in from other places and destroy our historic buildings." However, he assured his colleagues he would vote to approve the plan requiring the demolition of the Hathaway House because it met all the requirements and conditions.
Bill Contardo of the Planning Board asked Duffy why, when in the years since the building was threatened, more was not done to preserve it. She explained that because the community cherished private property rights, the Heritage Commission was not formed until 2009 and only this year was granted a budget of a mere $200. Planning Director Shanna Saunders told Contardo that federal funding for historic preservation shrank significantly with the onset of the recession, but conceded "I'm not sure the community stepped up."
Cafua plans to construct a 4,850-square-foot retail building on the northern half of the 1.6-acre lot while reconfiguring the access to the drive-up window at Dunkin' Donuts. Martin Gross of MHF Design Consultants of Salem, New Hampshire said that building would be divided into three units, two of 1,650-square-feet and one of 1,550-square-feet and would be served by 27 parking spaces, 11 more than required. At the recommendation of the architectural committee gables and cupolas were added to the original design, along with brickwork on the facade.
Gross explained that vehicles will enter the site through the existing driveway at the center of the lot then turn left to Dunkin' Donuts or right to the new building. Traffic will exit the property at its southern and northern corners. Gross said to reduce the congestion in the lane for the drive-up window at Dunkin' Donuts, which can stretch on to Union Avenue, a loop will be added at the northwest corner of the site, lengthening the drive-up lane and doubling the number of vehicles it can accommodate. At the same time, delivery trucks, which have parked in the entryway alongside the Hathaway House would be assigned a dedicated lane to circle the building and park on the south side of the lot.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 01:11
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