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State tells Belmont that Gale School has historical significance

CANTERBURY — Apparently, the empty Gale School is historically significant — at least to the state of New Hampshire's Division of Historical Resources.

According to a letter sent to the town on August 16 and made public at last night's Shaker Regional School Board meeting, the former school that sits up behind the Belmont Middle School was determined to be eligible for the National Register in 1985.

The letter said the Gale School "was listed...as an important Colonial Revival style building in the town. May of these resources have irreplaceable architectural detail and historic import to the town."

The state said that Gale School is part of the Factory Village (Belmont Village) Historic District that also contains the bandstand the Corner Meeting House, and the library as well as the Belmont Mill.

The Gale School belongs to the Shaker Regional School District but was briefly inspected by the town's code enforcement officer in June as part of a town-wide project that evaluated all of the public-owned property.

In his report presented on July 15, Code Enforcement Officer Steve Paquin reported to selectmen that the Building Assessment Committee said it was decayed to the point that it was likely not economically viable to be rehabilitated. The committee report also said it would likely fall down if it were to be moved and because of its size would be nearly physically impossible to relocate it in one piece.

Paquin also told selectmen that while it had sentimental value to the people of Belmont, it had no historical or architectural value.

Last night the School Board accepted the letter from the state for what it was and said they would be willing to wait until an ad hoc group of people in Belmont — comprised of Conservation Commission Chair Ken Knowlton, former School Board Chair Pret Tuthill, and Diane Marden — make a presentation about how to possibly save the school.

When reached for comment in July, Knowlton said his group was working on a plan but wasn't ready to release any details.

While the state cannot compel an owner to preserve a building, it recommends and encourages the reuse of them. The N.H. Division of Historical Resources said they offer resources than can assist municipal and private developers for rehabilitation of historic properties.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 02:40

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Inter-Lakes board may be asked to add lacrosse as high school sport

MEREDITH — Inter-Lakes High School students could have a chance play competitive lacrosse, perhaps as early as next spring, but the proposal to add yet another school sport has some school officials worried.
The suggestion which was discussed at last night's school board meeting prompted considerable discussion among administrators and board members, but no decision was made.
Inter-Lakes High School Athletic Director Jeff Cloos said that the potential for student participation in the sport appeared strong based on the turnout at a local lacrosse clinic held during the summer vacation. He said 32 boys and girls had participated in the clinic. He noted that most attending the clinic were younger children, but added that high school students were more likely to be working at summer jobs, and so would have been less able to work the camp sessions into their schedules.
Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond had concerns about the lacrosse proposal. She said she was worried about the availability of fields to accommodate the games. In addition she said she was troubled that adding lacrosse could lower student participation in those sports which the school already offers.
"Because we have a small student population ... I think it would eat into" the number of students who now go out for other sports, she said.
Some worried that participation in track and softball might suffer.
Ormond remarked that if lacrosse were to be offered it might appropriate to organize a team made up players from Inter-Lakes and Moultonborough Academy. She also wondered if the home games could be played on Moultonborough fields.

The two schools currently jointly field football and ice hockey teams.
In noting the concerns, board member Mark Billings said, "If (lacrosse) is where kids are finding their passion we have to recognize that."
Board member Lisa Merrill thought the proposal had merit. "The parents are really and truly involved," she said, and she note that the objections that a new sport would undercut existing ones sounded like those raised several years ago by those who objected to adding football.
After the meeting adjourned Ormond said that she would speak with Cloos and others to determine whether it was feasibility to organize a lacrosse team as a club sport and if it appeared ample support existed she would make a formal proposal to the board.
In other business, district Special Education Director Chuck DiCecca told the board that the cost of sending certain special education students private schools is now projected to be $65,000 more than the $178,000 earmarked in the budget. DiCecca said six more students required out-of-district placement than was anticipated when the budget was drawn up. Three of those students, however, have since been able to come back to classes at Inter-Lakes High. He said the $65,000 will either need to be found elsewhere in the budget or taken from a special trust fund.
NOTES: Ormond said that the first-day enrollment in Inter-Lakes schools totaled 1,101, a slight increase of last year's enrollment of 1,095. She said that the enrollment in kindergarten and first grade are both up. At Sandwich Central School there are 12 youngsters in kindergarten and seven in first grade, she noted. . . . . . Inter-Lakes Senior Bob Euiler attended his first meeting at the board's student representative. He said that he wanted to share with the board what the students at Inter-Lakes High School, and especially the members of the Student Council, think about certain issues.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 02:25

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Another possible drug overdose death being investigated, this one in Gilford

GILFORD — Police are investigating what could be the second drug-related death in town and fifth in the Lakes Region this year.

Police said Adam P. Andrews, 30, formerly of 9 Sergeant Place #66 died sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

"There is reason to believe this is a drug overdose and will be handled as such," said Det. Sgt. Christopher Jacques, yesterday.

He said Gilford Police and Fire Rescue personnel were called at 1:22 a.m. to the home for a report of man who was not conscious and not breathing. He said the caller noted that blood was coming from the victim's mouth and CPR was in progress.

Jacques said he couldn't comment on any other specifics regarding Andrews' death but said as a matter of policy all unexpected or unattended deaths are investigated.

He said detectives were called to the home that night by the responding officers.

Jacques said an autopsy has been completed by the N.H. Medical Examiner's Office, however the toxicology tests that will identify the cause of death could take six to eight weeks to complete.

So far this year, two people in Laconia have died from apparent drug overdoses — including one last month. Last week, Meredith Police charged a local man for selling heroin to a Moultonborough resident who died from a heroin overdose while he was in Meredith.

The most recent death of 20-year-old Lance Reason in Laconia triggered Police Chief Chris Adams to issue a bulletin about the recent spate of heroin use in Laconia. Police in surrounding communities echoed Adams by saying they have also seen an uptick in the use of what is fairly powerful heroin in the area.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 02:11

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LRPA TV looks to give public broadcasting biz model a try

LACONIA — Lakes Region Public Access television will have a new look in the future — based on the Public Broadcasting model, relying on sponsorships, grants and even membership dues, rather than fees assessed for each member community.
Dale Eddy of Gilford, a member of the board of directors of LRPA, last night described the new model as fee for service and said it will greatly reduce the fees paid by member communities, many of whom have opted to handle their own videotaping of public meetings.
Eddy said the board is grappling with a number of changes, including those being negotiated in a new 10-year contract with MetroCast  Cablevision, which will include a direct public access channel for each community. The new contract will go into effect in January of 2014.
LRPA is the public, educational and government (PEG) cable station serving central New Hampshire broadcast by MetroCast on channels 24, 25 and 26. It is a nonprofit corporation with an annual operating budget of approximately $126,000 funded by contracting municipalities, grants and sponsorships. The station's studio is located at Laconia High School.
The station is perhaps best know for its annual live broadcasts of the WLNH Children's Auction, which have been widely credited with taking the financial results of that 5-day event into the stratosphere, starting in 2000.
Denise Beauchaine, director of LRPA, said that the station's programming, via MetroCast, reaches 21 municipalities in four counties — Belknap, Merrimack, Grafton and Rockingham — encompassing more than 50,000 households.
MetroCast bills its subscribers a franchise fee, which it then disburses to the municipalities in return for being able to operate a monopoly public service within their boundaries. But there is no direct legal connection between the franchise fees and LRPA-TV.
Meanwhile, LRPA bills its contracting municipalities for services rendered. Beauchaine said that prior to the recent recession, 13 municipalities, including the 11 in Belknap County, contracted with LRPA and paid their agreed upon share the station's overhead. However, the number of contracting municipalities has shrunk to a half-dozen — Alton, Belmont, Gilford, Meredith, Laconia and Northwood — which Beauchaine said share less than a third of the franchise fees they collect from MetroCast with LRPA.
Eddy said that the old business model no longer works and the new model is designed to produce enough revenue to keep LRPTV in the black and enable it to fulfill its original mission.
''It's far more sustainable than what we have now and it will far more palatable to the communities we serve,'' said Eddy.
He and Tilton Selectman Joe Jesseman, who represents Tilton on the board of directors, recently gave a presentation to the Belmont board of selectmen on the new business plan, which both said was well received.
Eddy said that as only four of the eight board members were present at last night's meeting that the full board will need to more thoroughly review the new model at its next meeting and be prepared to look at the revenue side of the new plan.
''We have the basic outline but need to flesh out the details,'' said Eddy.
LRPA Board Chairman Ken Curley of Northwood said that the name brand of the new model will be Channel 25, which will continue to air its currently scheduled programs which have a regional focus, while Channel 24, the educational channel will be airing community bulletin board material and Channel 26 will become the local government channel for each community which chooses to broadcast its own meetings.
He said that there has been some discussion of how Channel 26 can default to the regional programs on Channel 25, such as Belknap County commission and convention meetings, rather than continue to repeat the same local government programs unique to each community.
The board also discussed a request from the Belknap Economic Development Council to shoot footage of its Business Resource Fair which will be held at the Taylor Home Woodside building on Sept. 11 from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. The board voted to approve the request and bill BEDC half of its production costs.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 02:16

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