Sachems are Disney-bound - Teacher to march one last time with LHS band


LACONIA — Members of the Laconia High School Marching Band are full of anticipation and excitement as they prepare for next week's trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where they will be leading the Main Street Electric Light Parade in the Magic Kingdom on Thursday, April 28, at 8:30 p.m.
It's the first performance outside of New England for clarinet player Taylor Gagne, the president of the band, who says that performing before the large crowds at Disney World is "a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Gagne, a senior, has been playing the clarinet for eight years, and is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and has been selected four times to play with the New Hampshire Music Festival. He's also performed at Plymouth State University in it's All New England Festival featuring the best high school musicians from the six-state region.
"I'm definitely excited about the whole trip. It's kind of nerve racking to think about how you'll perform in such a large setting and it will be a challenge for all of us to do our best," says Gagne, who says that although he'll be far away from Laconia he won't be lonely as he'll be traveling with over 40 other band members as well as chaperones. "It's like being with a large family away from home," he says.
Gagne is the co-drum major and will be leading the marching band and along with Mariah Hawkins, the other co-drum major, who plays tenor sax, and says that she is very excited about the trip.
"It's going to be a wonderful experience for everyone involved," said Hawkins after the musicians went through a practice session Monday afternoon under the watchful eye of Laconia High School Music teacher Debbie Gibson, who has been teaching music in Laconia ever since 1988 and has led other LHS musicians on trips to Disney World. This will be her last trip with the school to Florida, as she is retiring at the end of the school year.
"Since our first trip there in 2000, we have been invited back on a regular basis," says Gibson. She says that, in addition to the marching band, complete with color guard, the school's jazz band, concert band and concert choir will also be making the trip and taking part in competitions, which will take place off grounds with the exception of a Parade March to be held on Friday, April 29, at 7:30 p.m., in the Epcot Center's Future world.
The Sachems will also be wearing new band uniforms during the trip, which were purchased thanks to a $30,000 fund raising campaign undertaken by the Laconia High School Band Boosters.
Emily Huckins, who plays the sousaphone in the band, says she has been involved in music since the sixth grade, when she started by playing a trombone, and says that all the band members are counting down the minutes until they'll be heading to Florida.
'Everyone has the countdown on their cellphone and we're staying in touch with each other and sharing the excitement we all feel about making the trip. And we're working real hard in our practices so that we'll be really prepared to good a good job when we perform," says Huckins.

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Laconia High School Band members practiced Monday in preparation for next week's trip to Disney World in Florida where they will lead the Main Street Electric Light Parade in the Magic Kingdom on Thursday, April 28. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)


The Laconia High School Marching Band will be traveling to Florida next week for performances at Disney World and the Epcot Center. (Courtesy photo)

Portsmouth fire boat set to become Gilford’s


GILFORD — Gilford may soon be patrolling the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee in a fire boat the the city of Portsmouth no longer needs.

Should the Portsmouth City Council give its blessing, a 30-foot fire boat they procured in 2006 with a with a Homeland Security grant will eliminate a major item from Gilford's Capital Improvement list.

Last week, Gilford selectmen were made aware of the potential gift of the fire boat from Portsmouth and Chief Steve Carrier said Monday the Gilford Fire Commissioners had authorized him to work with Portsmouth for the newer boat.

The city of Portsmouth cannot sell the boat because of Homeland Security grant restrictions.

"Our boat is 40 years old," said Carrier, adding it was on the department's 2017 CIP plan but he had to keep moving it out because of other needs.

The Portsmouth Herald reported the possible gift on April 15, noting that the boat did not meet the needs of the city and that it cost about $50,000 annually in maintenance and training.

According to Carrier and Portsmouth Fire Chief Steve Achilles, the annual maintenance cost comes largely from the boat being in the salt water for the entire year and only coming out of the water for a two-week annual service.

Carrier said he spoke at length with the maintenance team who told him that this year there is $12,000 in repairs – most of which involves zinc anodes, which according to a marine parts specialist John Irwin at Irwin Marine are corrosion protection for the metal parts on a boat. The rest is some work in a bearing on the jet drive. The work will be completed by Portsmouth before the town gets the boat.

With the boat coming out of the water for five months and being put in dry dock behind the Gilford Department of Public Works Department, neither Carrier nor Irwin felt the zinc anodes would continue to be the problem they are for salt-water-bound Portsmouth.

Carrier said this new fire boat has some features the existing boats do not have. For instance, it has an in-line fire pump that can pump at 1,750 gallons per minute while the boat Gilford uses now pumps at 500 gallons per minute. In addition, he said it has a jet drive and not a propeller and a significant swim platform on the back that means a person being rescued won't have to be pulled up and over the side of the hull.

It also has a larger heated cabin and a Flir navigation system.

"This boat was built for fire and EMS services," Carrier said, who said Gilford is called onto the water about 17 to 20 times a year.

When asked why he was giving up the fire boat, Achilles said that with the increasing presence of the U.S. Coast Guard and the New Hampshire Marine Patrol in Portsmouth Harbor, his department doesn't respond as frequently as it used to and most of the time one of those agencies is there when his boat arrives.

"It's incumbent for our department to look as how often we use a piece of equipment and whether it is appropriate for our department to have it," Achilles said.

He said this boat is perfect for Lake Winnipesaukee and the people on the lake.

Carrier agreed, saying this offer from Portsmouth comes at a very good time in the town's CIP long-range planning and that it is a good boat for Gilford's needs.

Achilles said the Portsmouth Fire Commission already gave the OK to give the fire boat to Gilford. He said the City Council would vote on the gift at the April 18 meeting, and he sees no reason why the council wouldn't agree with the commission.

In a similar move, last week Gilford selectmen voted unanimously to give an obsolete "V" plow to the town of Seabrook. The plow was declared surplus and Public Works Director Peter Nourse said there were no bids for it.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said Gilford took another old "V" plow and use it as a DPW sign. From what he's been told, Seabrook's plans are similar to Gilford's.

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The Portsmouth Fire Department is looking to give its fire boat to the town of Gilford. (Courtesy photo by Rich Beauchesne/Seacoastonline)

Belmont man tased after struggle with officers

BELMONT – A Horne Road man managed to grab an officer's radio and Taser during an altercation this weekend and now faces a variety of charges.

James H. Mooney, 60, of Horne Road is charged with two counts of simple assault - domestic violence, one Class A misdemeanor for resisting arrest and one Class A misdemeanor assault on a police officer.

According to a media release, police arrived at the home and escorted Mooney to a police cruiser. Mooney allegedly twisted around on the detaining officer, and continued to lunge at and yell at the victims while they were speaking to a second officer.

Mooney grabbed the restraining officer's radio and threw it on to the ground. When the second officer went to assist, Mooney allegedly grabbed his Taser and ripped the holster from the officer's belt. He never got control of it, said police, because it remained in its safety-locked holster.

A third officer secured the purloined Taser, deployed his own to rein in the still struggling Mooney and handcuffed him.

After a bit of time, Mooney met with a bail bondsman, who released him on $6,000 personal recognizance bail with multiple conditions.

– Gail Ober