5 more people want to join Meredith Selectboard

MEREDITH — The first candidate to file for election to the two open seats on the Board of Selectmen — Rosemary Landry — kicked off a parade as within days five others threw their hats in the ring — Bev Lapham, Ray Moritz, Michael Hatch, Jonathan James and Roland Tichy — before the filing period ends at 5 p.m. today. Voting will take place March 10.

A lifelong resident of Meredith, Hatch, a veteran of the United States Navy who worked in the construction industry, has been following politics and engaged in campaigns since he was a sophomore in high school. He recalled that as teenager he met Governor Hugh Gregg and on returning home told his mother "I can be governor. He had on a red checkered shirt and the same kind of jeans I wear!" His support of George H.W. Bush in the New Hampshire Primary earned him a flight on Air Force One and a visit to the Oval Office.

Hatch said that he was at Town Hall on Wednesday where City Clerk Kerri Parker asked him if he was running for selectman. He told her no, but agreed that if by Friday there was still only one candidate for the two seats, he would file. Then, after talking with some friends, he decided to run without waiting until the end of the week.

"I'd like to keep Meredith Meredith," Hatch said. "Let's improve it without spending lots of money." He served on the 3/25 Advisory Committee, but was not disappointed when the plan drew scant popular support and was scuttled by the selectmen. "If it's not better, don't do it," he declared. "Listen to the people."

Lapham moved to Meredith 26 years ago after leaving a career in banking to own a small business, Village Canvas Company, which is now operated by his son. Ever since he has been an active volunteer, as a Rotarian, director of both the Greater Meredith Program and Chamber of Commerce. He led the volunteers who financed and built the boardwalk between Scenic Park and Hesky Park and most recently chaired the created the Sculpture Walk.

Lapham said that "running for selectman has been on my mind for some time and when I saw the vacancies I decided it was time for me to step up." Noting that the town has been well governed by its selectmen and well served by its volunteers, he stressed that "I want to basically maintain the positive momentum and not the change the direction." Lapham said that if elected he intends to continue his work as a private volunteer while fulfilling his duties as a public official. "Let's try them both," he remarked.

James came to Meredith as a 14-year-old. He served in the United States Coast Guard, worked at the Spaulding Youth Center and most recently was director of buildings, grounds, housekeeping and security at the Tilton School. In Meredith he has served on the now defunct Water Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment as well as a trustee of the trust funds.

James said he considered running for selectman a year ago, before Hillary Seeger filed for the single open seat. Describing himself as "a realist in a fantasy world," he said "I try not to be an extremist, but instead to listen to everyone's point of view." James said that apart from overseeing the responsible management of the town, he had no particular agenda or priorities. However, he said that with the rejection of the traffic plan for 3/25 corridor, the Selectboard would "still need to work on a better situation for pedestrians" and questioned the wisdom of holding major events "at one of the worst intersections in the state."

Calling himself "a high-tech vagabond," Moritz who served as chief executive officer of several companies, made Meredith his home in 1995 and retired there in 2006.He is treasurer of the Lakes Region Visiting Nurse Association, a director of the Windy Water Conservancy, the successor to the Waukewan Shore Owners Association, and volunteers with the Executive Service Corps, a group of experienced professionals who offer expertise and advice to nonprofit organization for little or no cost.

"We all need to to participate and do our share," Moritz said of his decision to seek election. "I have the time, energy and , I think, the ability to contribute." Although schooled as an engineer, he said that financial management became his strong suit, a talent he believed was appropriate for a selectmen. Moritz said that recently "I see the potential for divisiveness on our Selectboard," adding that he believes the town has followed a sound course and that dissension among the selectmen and a change of direction would not be in the best interests of the community.

The sixth candidate, Roland Tichy, a business consultant, could not be reached before press time on Thursday.

The two opens seats currently are held by Carla Horne and Peter Brothers but neither is running for re-election.

Pucks drop today for 260 teams competing in Pond Hockey Classic

MEREDITH — The sixth annual New England Pond Hockey Classic gets underway at the top of Meredith Bay this morning with 250 teams with 1,800 players competing in non-stop daily action over the weekend — on 24 different rinks
Established in the fall of 2009 by recent college graduate Scott Crowder, the tournament was a vision to partner his two passions, the sport of hockey and the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Crowder, grew up in a hockey family, the son of former Boston Bruin and college hockey coach Bruce Crowder, he spent much of his time between the ice rinks in the winter and the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee in the summer.
Graduating with a degree in Sport Management and Marketing from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, he was confident with his education, prior knowledge of the hockey community and familiarity of the Lake Region that a big time pond hockey tournament could flourish in the area.
Planning for the first New England Pond Hockey Classic began in October of 2009, just three short months before the puck was to drop. By the time registration closed, the NEPHC had 77 teams signed up to compete with even more on the wait list.
Doubling in size the 2011 NEPHC saw 152 teams compete with over 100 teams on the wait list. Seeing the success of the event in N.H., Crowder quickly looked for another hockey market with cold winters to host a PHC. 2012 saw 175 teams compete in New Hampshire and an inaugural event on Lake Champlain in Colchester, Vt. which had 57 teams take to the ice.
''This is an ideal place for this kind of hockey event,'' says Crowder, noting that the proximity to the Boston area draws lots of teams and players attracted to the old time style hockey in which teams compete outdoors without a goalie. ''It's become one of the premier pond hockey events in the whole country'' says Crowder.
Last year the tournament switched from having rinks surrounded by snowbanks to using hard plastic boards which are assembled by crews and anchored with brackets and spikes to keep them in place and Crowder says the response was overwhelmingly positive.
''The players loved it and we decided that it's a worthwhile investment. It also makes the surfaces in other tournaments in Vermont, Montana and New York City consistent.'' said Crowder. The only other major tournament which uses the plastic boards is in Minnesota.
This year teams will be coming from as far away as Washington, D.C., Florida and Colorado to play here says Crowder, who say that the hospitality of the Lakes Region continues to be one of the big attractions.
''This event has an economic impact on the area of around $2 million. Not only do the players come here, but their friends and families also show up for the whole weekend,'' says Crowder.
Play starts at 8 a.m. this morning in eight different divisions and games run until around 4:30 in the afternoon. The same schedule holds on Saturday and on Sunday playoff games start at 9 a.m. and run until 12:45 p.m. Finals in all divisions get underway at 2 p.m., with an awards ceremony held at 2:45 p.m.


Pond Hockey 1
Scott Crowder started the New England Pond Hockey Classic on Meredith Bay in 2010 with seven rinks and 77 teams. This year will see 250 teams and 1,800 players taking part in the play on 24 rinks. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Pond Hockey 2..
Workers in the New England Pond Hockey Classic set up 24 rinks on Meredith Bay for the Sixth Annual New England Pond Hockey Classic which gets underway today and will continue through the championship games Sunday afternoon. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Empire students worry about parking garage security

LACONIA — City officials are once again wrestling with enhancing the safety of persons and security of property at the downtown public parking garage after a spate of thefts from vehicles.

Victoria Norton of Bristol, a student at the Empire Beauty School on Main Street, who this week expressed her concerns in a letter to The Daily Sun, said that her car has been broken into twice and money and property were taken both times. Windows have been broken and doors jimmied, she continued, estimating that at least 10 vehicles belonging to fellow students and teachers have recently
been damaged and robbed. One student found her exhaust pipe choked with refuse while another lost a Bowie knife.

Norton said that there are approximately 50 students, all but two of them women, enrolled at the school." We do not feel safe parking in the garage," she remarked, "There are often suspicious men stumbling around. " She said that the students formed a buddy system to keep each other safe. "Everyone is afraid to walk alone, so none walks up there alone," she said.

Another student, whose husband drives her to school, said flatly "I'm afraid to park in the garage."

The school, Norton explained, requires its students and teachers to park in the garage when classes are in session between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.. Kevin Sullivan, who owns the building housing the school, confirmed that the lease prohibits students and teachers from parking on Main Street or in adjacent lots, which are intended for the patrons of downtown businesses. "The garage provides convenient, free all day parking," he said.

At the same time, Sullivan acknowledged that "there has been another rash of vandalism at the garage. The girls are all running scared." he noted.

City Manager Scott Myers, who parks in the garage "98-percent of the time", said that the Police Department regularly patrols it but added that other measures to tighten security have been taken or are being considered. He conceded that the stairwell is forbidding at most times and especially after dark and commented that some people prefer to walk up the ramp that takes vehicles to the middle parking level. In addition, the lights in the garage are kept lit around the clock.

Police urge all those parking in the garage to lock their vehicles securely and put anything of value out of sight

Myers said that city employees have been encouraged to use the garage on the assumption that strength in numbers will contribute to greater security. During construction of the Main Street Bridge, he said that 10 random spaces in the garage were designated and prizes awarded to the employees who parked in them.

The city has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the purchase of as many 10 surveillance camera systems for the Police Department, some of which could be deployed at the parking garage to supplement those already in place.

'High' man transported from store bathroom

LACONIA — Police and an ambulance were called to the Irving Circle K store on Union Avenue yesterday after a man concealed three different energy drinks and went into the bathroom.

Police said the man was in the bathroom for a long time so store personnel called them.

When officers arrived, police found the man in the bathroom.

"He was obviously under the influence of something," said Capt. Matt Canfield. "He was very high."

Canfield said the man refused the services of the ambulance and a police officer took him to Lakes Region General Hospital.

Canfield said police are still investigating what happened at the store and what drugs he may have taken.