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Southworth adding to Meredith Bay

LACONIA — Southworth Development LLC, the owner and developer of Meredith Bay at The Weirs, has submitted plans to begin construction of the first of a pair of duplexes overlooking Scenic Road at the foot of Brickyard Mountain, just south of the North Lodge, which is nearing completion.
Earlier this year Southworth purchased the 2.15-acre lot, where an A-frame home stands, with plans to demolish the building and replace it with units to match The Townhomes on the opposite side of the street overlooking Lookout Rock.

More than two-thirds of the 19 Townhomes have been sold and last month Southworth began marketing the 24 single-floor condominium units at the North Lodge. across Scenic Road, which are scheduled to be complete in November. Southworth tailors the pace of construction to the pace of sales and maintains a diverse inventory of townhouses, condominiums and single-family homes priced between $500,000 and $700,000.

The duplex will house two units, each with approximately 2,800 square feet of living space and a garage, in one two-story building. The building will be finished in the Adirondack style of the townhouses across the street. Chris Duprey, project manager for Southworth, said that a second, matching duplex will be built to the north of the North Lodge.

Meanwhile, the Planning Board has approved construction of another 72 units divided among three buildings mirroring the North Lodge, which would be built opposite the townhomes. Duprey anticipated that when 14 or 16 of the units at the North Lodge are sold, work would begin on the first of the three buildings.

Southworth Development acquired Meredith Bay in 2006. The development stretches across more than 400 acres on either side of US Route 3 and consists of two elements. On the east side of Route 3, there are 129 house lots on 140 acres atop Brickyard Mountain, of which some 30 have been sold, as well as the townhouses and condominiums under construction along Scenic Road.

Another 215 acres remain to be developed on the west side of Route 3.

Last Updated on Thursday, 31 July 2014 01:03

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Man who vandalized cemetery faces second probation violation

LACONIA — A local man convicted of vandalizing some gravestones in the Union Cemetery in July 2012 is facing his second probation violation since pleading guilty to criminal mischief in August 2013.

Jagger Richer, 20, was sentenced to serve 12 months in jail but all 30 days of his sentence was suspended. He was placed on probation for two years.

In February 2014, Richer violated the terms of his probation by failing to report a change of address to his probation officer. Belknap County Superior Court Judge James O'Neill found him responsible and sentenced him to serve 30 days for the violation.

Richer is scheduled to appear this morning in Superior Court for his second alleged probation violation.

According to submissions from the Division of Probation and Parole, Richer failed to appear for a meeting with his probation officer on April 23 and May 28.

His probation officer also said he was ordered to complete 50 hours of community service, but failed to do any of it.

Richer is also accused of not reporting his contact with Gilford Police on May 1, 2014, when he was charged with driving while intoxicated and unlawful possession of alcohol.

His PPO said Richer also failed to be of good conduct, obey all laws, and be arrest free.

Last Updated on Thursday, 31 July 2014 01:03

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Hosmer briefs council on 'productive' legislative session

LACONIA — State Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) told members of the City Council Monday night that New Hampshire Department of Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement will be visiting the city on the afternoon of August 7 to look at areas of critical need on state highways in and around the city.
His announcement was prompted by a question from Ward 5 Councilman Bob Hamel about Rte. 106 and whether an improvement project currently underway in Loudon would extend all the way up Rte. 106 to Laconia.
Hamel said that the condition of Rte. 106 in the vicinity of the Lakes Region Community College on Prescott Hill is ''horrendous.''
Hosmer said he didn't think the project would extend all the way to Laconia but would check with Clement.
Councilor Armand Bolduc said that he thought that at one time there was a plan for another exit off from Rte. 106 which would funnel traffic directly to the Lakes Business Park entrance so that tractor-trailers wouldn't have to travel through the city and wondered what had ever happened to that plan.
Hosmer said he would also check to see if there was such a plan and what had happened to it.
City Councilor Brenda Baer of Ward 4 asked Hosmer, who attended the meeting to report on legislation passed in the most recent session of the state Legislature, about what he saw as challenges in the next legislative session.
Hosmer, who is running for re-election and whose likely opponent in the general election, Kathleen Rago, a former Republican state representative from Franklin, was also present at the meeting, said that the next budget will be a real challenge and said that he would oppose efforts to shift costs from the state onto local communities. He also said that he hoped to see the New Hampshire Health Care Protection Act implemented in a way which would help hospitals lower costs for uncompensated care and hopefully bring lower insurance premiums for New Hampshire citizens.
Rago, who introduced herself to the members of the council , said that she was running for the District 7 Senate seat because she believes ''government has seriously overreached and it's time to rein it in.''
Hosmer told the council that he viewed the recently completed legislative session as ''productive'', citing a budget which was balanced with no new taxes as well as bills passed that increased funding for mental health and took a step towards restoring funding for state colleges and the university system.
He said that he is still waiting for HB-333 to be signed into law. He worked to change provisions of that bill on recreational vehicles used as housing, which preserved some $200,000 revenues for the city of Laconia and was praised by members of the council for his efforts.
Hosmer said that after years of underfunding the state highway fund, a 4.2 cents per gallon gas tax increase was passed which will go directly to roads and bridges and help the state maintain a strong infrastructure.
''Having a responsive state government is very important, We are challenged in many areas and need to put partisanship and ideology aside in order to accomplish what needs to be done for the state to prosper,'' said Hosmer.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 12:55

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Some take strong exception to starting school before Labor Day

GILFORD — So far it's been a good summer for Sawyer's Dairy Bar but owner Larry Litchfield fears it may come to an early and abrupt end one week before Labor Day because he'll lose much of his summer help to the start of classes.

Because Labor Day is on September 1 this year, the first day of school for six Lakes Region School Districts is August 26. Litchfield employs about 45 to 50 local students in his restaurant and dairy bar — most of whom attend local public schools.

"The resort industry has always been plagued by the schools," he said yesterday, noting that traditionally school always started after Labor Day.

Laconia School District Superintendent Terri Forsten said the primary reason she prefers the August starting date is because of the weather.

"The nights in August are cooler and the schools stay cooler during the day in late August," she said.

She noted that students are hard enough to teach at the end of the school year and keeping them there until potentially the third or fourth week in June, coupled with hot and humid inside temperatures, would not help them academically.

However, Forsten is not unsympathetic to Litchfield's plight.

"I actually worked in a diary bar during the summer when I was in high school," she said, adding she thinks the summer work experience is an invaluable one for young people.

She said that the Laconia School District begins school on a Tuesday and the students will attend for three days. She said having Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday off should give the local businesses access to the student work force to see them through the holiday weekend.

As goes Laconia, so goes the rest of the school districts that send their students to the Huot Regional Techincal Educaiton Center on the Laconia High School campus. All of them have the same three-day entry into school in the last week of August.

Setting the school calender and designating the first day of school has always been contentious, said Newfound Regional School Board Vice Chair Vincent Paul Miglioni.

The Newfound School Board set the first day of school for September 2 — bucking the wishes of its school district administrators and teacher representatives.

"It was difficult this year," he said. "This year parents had a preference for after Labor Day."

School Board Chair Ruby Hill said the compromise for the later starting date was to give the teachers all of the professional days they wanted during the school calender. She said the input she got from the parents and the business community told her that they would prefer the later start date.

Hill also said that the Newfound area is very tourist oriented and she felt that sending school buses on the narrow roads that are crowded with tourist traffic would be less safe than waiting to start school until the tourists went home after Labor Day.

Hill came to an opposite conclusion about the role of weather than Forsten did — she said it was hotter in August and more likely to be rainy and cool in June.

Litchfield contends there is an educational component to a summer job that can't be replicated — like showing up for a shift, learning to interact with customers, self presentation, and the satisfaction of earning a pay check.

"I like to say that I teach Real World 101," he said. "Most of these kids come to me straight from mommy's house and don't even know how to wipe down a counter."

For Litchfield, one solution lies in passing a state law forbidding schools from starting before Labor Day. He cited laws in Virginia and Michigan as examples and said he has spoken to some of his local legislators about passing a similar law in New Hampshire.

And it would not be the first time the state has considered such legislation. In 2007, New London State Rep. Randy Foose, a Democrat, introduced legislation that would prohibit school from starting before Labor Day.

Now retired from lawmaking, Foose said yesterday that the bill he introduced was and is something he truly believes in.

"I think New Hampshire is making a big mistake that translates to lower summer revenues," he said. "We flourish in the summer."

Foose, whose father was a high school principal, and Litchfield agree that in this instance the state speaks from both sides of its mouth.

"The state is spending huge amounts of money to promote tourism and we have education interfering with that," Litchfield said.

"Kids need summer jobs," said Foose who said he had two grandsons who were unable to get the jobs they wanted because they weren't going to be available for the last two weeks of summer.

As to his bill, Foose said it died in the House Committee on Education when some members of the Republican majority played the "local control" card and said each school district should be able to decide for themselves.

"We should be thinking about what is appropriate for the whole state," he said, saying one other problem with each district deciding for themselves is the coordination of sports and educational opportunities like regional technical schools whose focus is increasingly on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Foose said that he still strongly believes in a statewide mandate and would serve as a statewide spokesman should there be some new impetus for legislation.

Litchfield said that hiring local student help is "what his business is all about" but lately has been adding foreign students to his staff because of the early start to the school year.

"More importantly, the left hand and the right hand of government is out of sync," he said.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 12:50

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