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House panel rejects bills aimed at county budget authority

CONCORD — The House Municipal and County Government Committee yesterday voted unanimously to recommend two bills intended to clarify the budget process in Belknap County "inexpedient to legislate."

The committee found the bills unnecessary. One member said that the county convention was seeking more control over the county budget than was appropriate while another suggested that if members of the convention wanted to manage the budget so closely they should run for the county commission.

House Bill 1373, sponsored by Representative Colette Worsman (R-Meredith), who chairs the Belknap County Convention, would affirm the authority of the convention to itemize appropriations "in detail, including specific lines within each department," and require the commissioners to seek the approval of the executive committee to transfer funds in any amount either between specific lines within a single department or from one department to another. Her bill would further provide that the convention may take the commissioners to court to enforce the law and if they are found in violation, remove them from office.

Likewise, House Bill 1120, sponsored by Representative Frank Tilton (R-Laconia), would provide the county convention with line-item authority over the budget and require the approval of the executive committee for any and all transfers of funds from one line to another without providing any enforcement mechanism.

The Belknap County commissioners testified against both bills at a hearing last week.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 02:36

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Laconia school superintendent tracks progress of $2.15M behavioral health grant

LACONIA — Superintendent of Schools Terri Forsten updated the Laconia School Board last night on progress on a federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) grant that will bring $2.15 million to the city over the next four years for a variety of programs designed to promote positive behavior, decrease drug abuse and cope with school bullying.
Forsten said that the governor and Executive Council will be taking up the grant request for the School District's program later this month and that planning is already ongoing on how the grant will be used in the city.
She said the School District is looking for a project manager to oversee the program and hopes to have one in place by the time a national conference on the program on March 4-5.
The grants are designed to support state and community partnerships to create safe and supportive schools and communities by building partnerships among educational, behavioral health, and criminal/juvenile justice systems.
The Safe Schools/Healthy Students State Program develops and implements evidence-based programs, effective policies, and innovative strategies that address youth violence and promote the wellness of children, youth, and families. The grants will support work to increase the number of children and youth who have access to behavioral health services; decrease the number of students who abuse substances; increase supports for early childhood development; improve school climates; and reduce the number of students who are exposed to violence.
She said that the state received an $ 8.6 million grant last fall which is being administered by state Department of Health and Human Services and is being split by three school districts, Laconia, Concord and Rochester with 75 percent of the money going to the three school districts.
Forsten said that a needs assessment will be conducted and a comprehensive plan will be developed which will hopefully be in place before September when it will be implemented in connection with a number of community partners, including the school district, mental health agencies, police and the justice system.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 02:29

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Gilmanton man charged with setting 3 Laconia fires

LACONIA — A 36-year-old Gilmanton man was arrested Tuesday evening and charged with 3 counts of arson in the City of Laconia. Jason E. Clairmont on Mallard Lane refused the services of a bail commissioner and is being held at the Belknap County Jail. He is scheduled to be arraigned today in circuit court.

According to police Captain William Clary, Clairmont is being charged with setting two fires in the middle of the night on January 25 — a car fire on Academy Street and a porch fire on Highland Street — and a September 4, 2013 fire that damaged a car parked in the area of the downtown garage.

Clary said police, in cooperation with N.H. Fire Marshal and the city Fire Department continue to investigate other suspicious fires in the city.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 03:13

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Belmont man charged with groping 12-year-old girl

GILFORD — An Arkansas man who recently relocated to the Lakes Region is being held on $5,000 cash bail for allegedly twice groping the 12-year-old daughter of one of his friends.

Bryan Proctor, 29, whose last known address was 663 Union Road in Belmont, is charged with two counts of felonious sexual assault.

The alleged assaults occurred between January 1 and January 7 in the Gilford home of the alleged victim and happened while the victim and Proctor were alone in the house while the girl's mother had gone to run an errand.

Police affidavits allege that Proctor repeatedly contacted the victim's mother, apparently worried that she would report the assault. He also allegedly sent text messages to the victim's mother saying he wished to stay in contact with her.

Police interviewed Proctor on January 28. He declined to take a lie detector test.

Affidavits also said that when police went to Proctor's home on Union Road on January 31 to arrest him, he arrived at the house with a moving van. He told police he was planning on moving to Old State Road in Belmont.

In court Monday, Gilford's prosecutor asked for $10,000 cash bail. He said Proctor has no connections to New Hampshire and has a conviction in Arkansas from 2004 for battery II. He said the victim in that case was 8-years-old.

Proctor's public defender said he was working full-time in Tilton and had no ties to Arkansas. She said he has cousins in New Hampshire. She suggested cash bail of $1,500.

Judge Jim Carroll split the difference. He ordered Proctor held on $5,000 cash, to have no contact electronically or otherwise with the alleged victim or her mother, and to sign a waiver of extradition.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 01:54

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