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3-car wreck on Laconia Bypass sends 4 to hospital

GILFORD — Four people were taken by ambulance to Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia yesterday after a three-car collision on the Laconia Bypass.

The accident occurred between Rte. 107 and Gilford Ave. at 3:19 p.m.

Fire Capt. Rick Andrews said Gilford's two ambulances plus one each from Laconia and Belmont were used for transporting the victims. He said all of the injuries appeared to be non life-threatening.

The bypass from Rte. 107 north to Route 11-A (Gilford Ave.) was closed to all traffic from the time of the crash until about 4:45 p.m.

Gilford Police are investigating and no cause has been given for the crash as of press time.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 January 2015 01:48

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Tilton's Trinity Episcopal Church closing this month

TILTON — Trinity Episcopal Church, part of the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire, will cease worship on Sunday, January 11. The church will close, following a community-wide Evensong service, at 4 pm on Sunday, February 1. The Right Reverend A Robert Hirschfeld, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, will preside at these services.

A letter to the community from the Rev. Marcus Crapsey and Trinity Church leaders, explains, "Our decision leading to this closure has not been undertaken lightly, and rests in several realities, one of which being that our building has become a burden, financial and otherwise, that is beyond the Congregation's capacity, and too great to manage."

At the annual convention of The Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire in November, a resolution was taken up to codify this decision. At that time, the following was put to the Delegates of the Diocese: "We are a people who believe in the hope of the Resurrection. When the maintenance of a building and the struggle to survive as a viable congregation has become so exceedingly onerous to the mission of the gospel to grow and flourish, closure can be seen, not as an act of failure, but rather as a proclamation of faith that God will do a new thing. The sponsors of the resolution, though in deep grief at the death of this historic parish, wish to make room for the Holy Spirit to create a new expression of Christian community in the region."

The Episcopal Church of New Hampshire is managing Trinity Church's transition. Questions and comments can be referred The Rev. Canon Kevin Nichols, Canon for Mission Resources/CFO at the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire. Canon Nichols can be reached at (603) 224-1914.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 January 2015 01:45

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Selectmen & library trustees will give lawyers a shot a solving longstanding Meredith dispute

MEREDITH — After seeking to negotiate a "memorandum of understanding" for the past four years, the Board of Selectmen and Library Trustees yesterday agreed to refer their differences to their respective attorneys in hopes they can fashion a compromise.

The disparities between the personnel policies proposed by the trustees and prescribed by the town remain the outstanding bone of contention. The trustees, relying on state statutes granting them authority over the management of the library, have reserved the right to pursue personnel policies, including the hiring, discipline and firing of staff, at variance with those of the town and without the oversight of the town manager.

Town Manager Phil Warren sad yesterday that the town is the employer. "The paychecks are signed by the Town of Meredith," he declared. He explained that the town attorney has advised him that should litigation arise involving a member of the library, there is a risk the town could find itself "on the hook." He said the attorney did not say that the town could not accede and grant the trustees authority over library personnel, but did say there was a risk in doing so. "He told me there is a risk. Beware." Warren said.

Selectman Lou Kahn, a retired attorney, noted that every lawyer can always find risks to warn clients against, but cannot always tell them how they be avoided. He suggested the selectmen agree "this is a risk we're to take."

"This is becoming ridiculous," interjected Selectman Carla Horne, who chairs the Selectboard.

Rhetta Colon, who chairs the trustees, said that she she has been wrestling with the issue throughout her tenure and simply wants to reach agreement on the memorandum of understanding. She suggested referring the draft memorandum, together with the personnel policies of the town and library, to the two attorneys with a request that they resolve the outstanding issues.

NOTE: Town Manager Phil Warren said that the town has agreed to remove two fuel storage tanks at the Department of Public Works yard by the end of the year at the direction of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES). Although the town is planning to construct a new public works facility on the site, Warren said that in the interim between removing the tanks and building the facility the DPW will be without fuel storage. He said that the life of the tanks could be extended by replacing the piping, but that would cost $75,000 and the town would bear the cost of their ultimate removal. Meanwhile, the DES will contribute $25,000 to removing them along any contaminated soil. Warren said that Mike Faller, director of public works, has begun exploring arrangements with local fuel vendors to supply the DPW in the interim.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 January 2015 01:43

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Belmont Selectboard agrees to put the usual $750,000 in road fund

BELMONT — Selectmen voted unanimously last night to recommend a special article on the 2015 warrant that would appropriate the usual $750,000 for the highway maintenance capital fund and not pub $600,000 of that sum toward the restoration of the Belmont Mill.

The decision was made after the backlash selectmen got from a few residents at their December 29 meeting, when people learned the plan for 2015 was to use $600,000 that would normally go to roads toward repairs for the Belmont Mill and only put $150,000 in the highway fund for this year.

"All is not lost but the ship is sinking," said Selectman Jon Pike, referring to the historic mill and the not-to-exceed $3.6-million warrant article proposed by the selectmen to renovate the historic building into town officers.

Pike made his comment last night because Budget Committee Chair Ron Mitchell's said last week that he would only support the borrowing for the Belmont Mill if all of the cost were reflected in the bond and not moved from different town accounts like road maintenance.

Town officials had anticipated that it would cost $2.65 million to fix up the mill, however that was before an additional $600,000 in masonry work and soft-costs like electrical, mechanical and furnishings were factored in.

Selectman Ron Cormier, who argued with former selectman Donna Cilley about taking money from the roads to put toward the mill, said last night he was going to have his say and them shut up about it.

"We've been dicking around with this building for 11 years," he said. "Fix it or tear it down."

He said for all of that time, he's been hearing from residents that it would be the perfect spot for town offices but now that the time is near to make that decision, a few naysayers in town will try and stop it.

Selectmen Jon Pike noted that years ago selectmen made the decision that if they were going to repair roads they were going to repair them the right way and he feels the same way about the mill.

He said that the warrant article should go to the voters. "This is what the experts — what do you want to do?" he said.

Selectman Ruth Mooney said she thinks there are more supporters for rehabilitating the mill and converting it to town offices than either Pike or Cormier think there are. She said it goes beyond the functionality of the building and she, too, has heard for 15 years that residents want to see it used as town offices. "I haven't heard any negativity," she said.

All selectmen agreed there is no point in doing it if it can't be done correctly.

Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin reminded the board that the masonry expert told them that this repair was a 50-year fix.

Selectmen are holding a bond hearing on January 20. The Budget Committee meets tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Corner Meeting House to act on whether or not it will support  the $3.6-million bond for the mill and the $750,000 for the highway maintenance capital fund.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 January 2015 01:38

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