LACONIA — The City Council this week voted unanimously to unseal minutes of two non-public meetings held on October 27, which together with an earlier non-public meeting on October 14, are the subject of litigation filed by Tom Tardif, who alleges the meetings violated the state Right-to-Know law.
When the City Council met on November 10, Mayor Ed Engler reported that the trustees of the Belknap Mill Society had informed city officials, including the City Council, that it no longer had the financial resources to sustain its ownership of the mill building and was seeking a "partner" to sell the building to. He announced that the council would host a public forum to consider the future of the mill on December 8.
In his suit Tardif said that when he read an article in The Daily Sun reporting the mayor's remarks, he requested minutes of the meetings. City Manager Scott Myers informed him that the council voted to seal the minutes of the meetings. In his suit, Tardif questions the legitimacy of the non-public meetings and alleges that the council failed to follow the prescribed procedures in convening them. He has asked the court to review the minutes of both meetings to determine if the matters discussed represent exceptions to the Right-to-Know Law as the council claims, order the disclosure of minutes that fail to qualify as exceptions and require the councilors, city manager and city clerk to undergo remedial training in the administration of the Right-to-Know law.
A hearing has been scheduled in Carroll County Superior Court on January 5. (The suit was referred to Carroll County after Belknap County Superior Court cited a conflict on interest.)
Tardif said yesterday that the release of the minutes of Oct. 27 would have scant impact on the litigation. "It's one less set of minutes the court will have to read," he remarked. "The way they entered the meetings was not correct."
Altogether the council held four non-public meetings, two on October 14 and two on October 2. Three of these meetings were to consider "the acquisition, sale, or lease of real or personal property which, if discussed in public, would likely benefit a party or parties whose interests are adverse to those of the general community," which is one of the purposes the Right-to-Know law permits to be discussed privately. The council voted to seal the minutes of all four meetings for two years.
The minutes of the first meeting on October 27, which were released this week, record that the council met privately with Christine Santaniello, president of the Board of Trustees of the Belknap Mill Society and two trustees — Allison Ambrose and Marty Ilg. The minutes record that "the Mill Society is now looking to partner with the city, BCEDC (Belknap County Economic Development Council) or a private concern to save the structure." Furthermore, according to the minutes "Budget figures were discussed regarding with or without a partner" and "Several options were considered." Finally, the minutes note that the council agreed to convene a public meeting about the situation facing the mill.
The minutes of the second meeting on October 27 referred to the acquisition of two commercial properties on Frank Bean Road, the site of a dump, which the city is in the process of cleaning up under the direction of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES). The minutes record that the council authorized Myers to purchase the properties "at a price not to exceed $325,000."
The minutes of the meetings on October 14 remain sealed. However, In a private e-mail to Tardif, which he attached to his petition to the court, Engler explained that at least one set of minutes refers to "the acquisition, sale or lease of real property," adding that "the reason was solid." He explained that prior to non-public meeting on October 14 he met with Sanataniello "several" times, sometimes accompanied by the city manager. Engler told Tardif that he briefed the city council on these earlier meetings at the non-public meeting on October 14, when no representatives of the Belknap Mill Society were in attendance. The mayor said that at both meetings, on the 14th and 27th ,"we discussed the possibility of the city purchasing the mill from the society. Specific dollar amounts were mentioned."
The subject discussed at the other non-public meeting on October 14 has not been disclosed.
Last Updated on Friday, 26 December 2014 11:39
SANBORNTON — A Knox Mountain Road woman has petitioned Belknap County Superior Court to stop a gathering-venue rental business located near her home from operating, saying it is a "private nuisance".
Laurie Graham owns a home at 170 Knox Mountain Road which is nearby to a "venue rental" business located at 195 Knox Mountain Road known as "Longlook Farm."
Graham contends that because of the weekend rental of the Longlook Farm for gatherings like weddings, she has lost the "quiet enjoyment" of her home.
Specifically, she said that she had contacted the Sanbornton Police repeatedly because of "unreasonable noise caused by music played through speakers," noises from the crowds, cars speeding by her home, and shuttle buses going past her home.
Longlook Farm is owned by Colm and Katie Brophy who also live at the site. Planning and Zoning Board records obtained online indicate that in March of 2012, the ZBA granted the Brophys a special zoning exception for allowing up to 10 (from a maximum allowed of 6) bedrooms for a tourist home and for cooking functions.
Minutes indicate that the property is in a Forest Conservation District and the Brophys plan was to rent the barn and a guest house for weekend functions — especially weddings — from May through October.
The events are limited to one rental at a time and there is a maximum occupancy of 120 people, although there is some confusion over whether the site plan granted by the Planning Board on June 21, 2012 allows for 150 total people.
In her pleading, Graham said they Brophys had already been renting the property as a venue since 2010, without proper land use board approvals.
Graham said since the proper land use board approvals were granted in 2012, the noise and number of events has escalated and because the events can last over a four-day period, the Brophys' activities have cost her the enjoyment, quiet and safety of her own home.
She has asked the court to order the Brophys to not used amplified music, to reduce the number of annual events, and to order that all events are supervised.
In the alternative, she has asked to court to stop the Brophys from using the home as a rental venue.
Minutes from the Planning Board public hearing held on June 21, 2012 indicate that Graham was at the meeting and voiced similar concerns and complaints even before the site plan was granted.
She told the board that she had lived there for four years and moved there for the beauty and serenity. She noted that she had invested money in her cars because the condition of Knox Mountain Road is not that good but, for her, it was an equal tradeoff. Her request to the Planning Board in 2012 was similar to her recent request to the court—– that the Brophys scale back their enterprise.
Last Updated on Friday, 26 December 2014 11:24
MEREDITH — A 9-year-old boy was taken by ambulance to Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia yesterday morning after being burned.
Fire Lt. Dave Parker said the incident is still under investigation but it appears two boys were playing with some gasoline along a portion of a road in Interlakes Mobile Home Park on True Road.
Parker said there was some kind of ignition and one of the boys was burned.
He said the boys were playing along the side of a road in the park that has no homes on it but were able to run to one of the boy's home, where adults called for help.
Parker said the burns did not appear to be life-threatening and the boy was talking when he was put in the ambulance.
Last Updated on Friday, 26 December 2014 11:20
LACONIA — Andrew Emanuel, senior at Laconia High School, has shown over the past few years that he is capable of anything he sets his mind to pertaining to athletics, academics and arts. Even under undesirable personal circumstances, he has excelled and become an example of excellence in the school district and the community at large.
Emanuel was going through the motions in life at the start of middle school, putting in enough effort to do well and get by; however, in the middle of seventh grade he lost his mother to lung cancer, which would forever change the focus of his life. In a matter of months, Emanuel found himself without a mother and with a grieving father, who slowly began to spend more time in Bow where he worked, than in Laconia with his son.
By the start of Emanuel's freshmen year he was primarily living alone an the family apartment with the potential to "indulge parties" and "late nights".
Emanuel, though, chose to take a more promising course, straying from parties and distractions. "I chose to behave in a fashion that I think would make my mother proud, despite how discouraging it is to think that she might not even know," he recalls.
Not claiming to be much of an athlete, but rather an uncoordinated, "chubby" teen, Emanuel chose to join the cross country team, as it was the only sport he knew of that did not him to be successful based upon natural skill, but rather dedication and effort. At the start of his freshmen year, he completed his first race with a final time of 24 minutes and 34 seconds, a far cry from where he wanted his time to be. Determined to improve, Emanuel said that going into his sophomore year he asked his coach, Andrew Mercer, what he needed to do to improve. Mercer provided Emanuel with a running schedule that he followed every day for the next year. Following the year of hard training Emanuel's technique had improved significantly, and by his senior year he was the only Laconia High School male runner to qualify for the 2014 NHIAA Meet of Champions with a personal record time of 17:42.
Emanuel continued to make strides in other facets of his life, including academics. By junior year he decided that pursuing a college education was the only way to ensure his future success; he packed his junior and senior year with rigorous AP and honors-level classes.
Although the class work did not all come easy to Emanuel, he preserved and maintained a high average in all of them, helping to raise his GPA over a 4.0 (A) by the start of his senior year, placing him 11th out of 166 in the Class of 2015.
Emanuel has also earned various academic awards, including the English Award for the Junior Class, as well as the N.H. Constitution Day Essay winner for 2013. When asked why he is so focused on academics, Emanuel replied, "I want to be able to look back and see that I couldn't have pushed myself harder, because I know a lot of adults that look back and say they wish they wouldn't have goofed off so much in high school."
In addition to Emanuel's passion for athletics and academics, he has submerged himself fully into music since his mother's death. Throwing himself into the arts, he began mastering the skills of clarinet and learning conducting skills from middle school music teacher John Cardin. After his entry high school, he began pursing excellence in band, becoming a drum major his junior year as well as band president.
Emanuel was also exposed to the art of jazz when he began playing alto sax at the end of freshmen year. The tenor sax came in his life for the first time during the middle of his sophomore year, when the jazz band was short a player. "I thought I was going to just fit into the jazz band and do my job for the ensemble, but I started to like it more and more, and was eventually appointed as section leader of the saxophones junior year."
Junior year, Emanuel made Classical All-State on clarinet sitting as eighteenth clarinet out of twenty four. This year Emanuel went out for Classical All-State again, ranking 11th on clarinet, 3rd on alto sax, and 1st in the state on tenor sax. In less than two years of playing the tenor sax, Emanuel went from a beginner to currently ranking as number one in the state. Emanuel's high rankings qualified him for the Chamber Festival, featuring the top musicians in All-State. He also was selected for Lakes Region Music Festival as lead tenor sax in the jazz band; and this fall played as part of the Plymouth State University All New England Band Festival as a first clarinet.
"My biggest inspiration has been my band director, Debbie Gibson, who has taken the role of not only my band director, but also as a mother figure," says Emanuel, "Ms. Gibson encourages me to do my best both musically and morally."
Emanuel is currently applying to colleges in New England as a Music major. He thanks classmates Michael O'Brien, Mitchell Baily, and Marissa McDermott, and their families, for supporting him and encouraging him throughout the years. When asked whether he thinks all his hard work has paid off he replies, "Yes, I like imagining how good it is going to feel to look back and see that I really tried my best to make my life and high school experience the best it could be."
Last Updated on Friday, 26 December 2014 11:17
- Gilmanton voters will be asked to approve purchase of modular classroom for $197,000
- SUV hits Union Ave. utility pole with terrific force
- Fluid Dynamics: LHS students get hands on experience controlling robotic arms
- Marine Patrol buying 1.4-acre lot at Glendale
- Gilford selectmen going to bat for shopping center owner
- Director of Nursing Asks county commissioners to reinstate Logue