LHS Coach Kozens to lose role as dean of students

10 layoffs possible as Laconia looks to cut school district expenses


LACONIA — Plans are being made to lay off 10 teachers and change the responsibilities for a popular football coach as the Laconia School District looks for ways to make future budget reductions.

Other savings could be made through job attrition as $800,000 in reductions are likely to be needed one year after $1.6 million in cuts were made, district Superintendent Brendan Minnihan said Thursday.

Craig KozensCraig Kozens said he has been advised that he will lose his role as dean of students at Laconia High School as part of the cutback plans.

He said he plans to stay on as the school's football coach and athletic director and that he is hopeful of securing a teaching position through retirement.

Minnihan said the budget process will not be completed until the summer, so cutback plans could be adjusted.

"Nothing has been 100 percent decided," he said.

The goal will be to retain as many teachers as possible, and current plans call for layoffs not to exceed 10, Minnihan said.

"We don't really have a choice, since we have to find reductions," Minnihan said.

He also said Kozens' administrative role is significant.

"The dean of students plays a pretty important role in terms of relations with students," Minnihan said. "Sometimes you have to make a change."

The district is in a pinch as it struggles under the city's tax cap at a time when costs for health care and retirement are increasing.

Kozens has been at the school for 16 years, the last four as dean of students. He declined to disclose his reaction to learning of the position change.

He is popular at the school and in the community.

Last December, Kozens was honored for his contributions to enriching and enhancing the lives of the city's children and youth as the 29th recipient of the Debra Bieniarz Award.

In nominating him for the award, David Bartlett, principal of the high school, described Kozens as kind, giving and empathetic, noting that he supports "students and families in crisis, whether they have experienced a loss in their family, find themselves homeless, or without transportation."

Kozens was also named Northeast Football Coach of the Year for 2010 by the Federation of High School Coaches Association. 

Before coming to Laconia High School, he coached at New Hampton School.

Ready to retire

03-16 Chief Adams retires

Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams, center, shakes hands with Police Commissioner Armand Maheux as Police Commissioner Doug Whittum stands by at Thursday's announcement. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)


Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams resigns, effective May 1


LACONIA — Overcome with emotion, Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams had to pause briefly as he told the Police Commission on Thursday that he is resigning effective May 1.

"It's truly been an amazing 23 years," he said. "The years have flown by. I met so many amazing people along the way."

The commission accepted the resignation. It intends to pick his successor from within the department.

Adams said he is making a recommendation for who should succeed him, but said it is too early to disclose the name.

Adams, 46, said he received his real estate license a year ago and intends to pursue a career in that field.

"I have a passion for real estate," he said.

He has been chief since 2011. He joined the department as a patrol officer in 1994.

He said the commission is supportive and experienced, including Armand Maheux, who has been on the panel for more than two decades.

In an email to the police department, Adams said his years as chief were gratifying. He said the job of police officer is different than it used to be.

"Policing in America has changed in so many ways, from the threat of foreign and homegrown terrorism, to the emergence of social media, to acts of gun violence, and in recent years, anti-law enforcement sentiment," he said. "Law enforcement is a profession that is attracting fewer and fewer candidates, which is understandable."

The commission put out a statement saying it accepted Adams' resignation with regret.

"Through his example, we are reminded that law enforcement is one of the noblest of professions, for which the majority of citizens are grateful," the statement said.

"To that end, it is the intention of the commission, in order to continue the momentum and leadership established by Chief Adams over the past six years, to seek applicants to fill the chief of police position from within the department. Officers with direct supervision experience are encouraged to apply for this position."

Bishop beats Guarino

03 17 election gilmanton bishop

Marshall Bishop speaks at a candidates' forum. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)

Gilmanton selectmen’s race was a fierce battle


GILMANTON — After a contentious campaign, Marshall Bishop, incumbent selectmen's candidate, defeated Don Guarino in a heated race, 493-311, in Tuesday's town voting.

On the town ballot, challenger Guarino and incumbent Bishop vied for a three-year seat on the board of selectmen.

The race grew acrimonious. Bishop's opponents criticized him for ongoing litigation between his business, Gilmanton Winery, and the Gilmanton Planning Board over the requirements of site-plan review. Guarino's opponents pointed to his Feb. 15 arrest for failure to appear in a civil case.

Critics of Bishop, including Guarino, have asserted that he has cost the town nearly $5,000 due to his litigation. Critics of Guarino have pointed to his run-ins with the law.

Rick Watrous, a former legislator who lives with his wife in Concord, said he hired Guarino as a contractor in November 2013 to work on the couple's sunroom and to shore up the foundation, but that much of the work remained uncompleted. In 2015, Watrous won in small claims court. The court ruled that Guarino failed to fulfill the contract. When Guarino failed to appear in court three different times, arrest warrants were issued, the last resulting in his arrest.

Previously, the former Gilmanton selectman ran afoul of the law as a selectman in late 2014. He pleaded guilty Dec. 4, 2014, in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, to a violation level charge of forging a vehicle inspection sticker.

For town offices, three people filed to run for two three-year terms on Budget Committee: Deborah Fletcher, incumbent Brian Forst and Grace Sisti. Sisti won one seat with 511 votes, and Forst the other with 495 votes. Fletcher finished with 287 votes.

In another contested race, incumbent Glen Waring faced challenger Joseph Haas in a bid for treasurer. Waring prevailed with voters, 539-149, over Haas.

Incumbent John L. Dickey was sole filer for a three-year seat on the cemetery board. Dickey and Robert E. Richards filed for re-election to two, three-year terms as trustees of trust funds. Incumbent Martha Levesque was sole filer for a three-year seat on the library board. Michelle Descoteaux, Bambi Benton and Nancy MacArthur — all appointees to the supervisor of the checklist — filed for three positions on that board of varying terms. Incumbent Debra A. Cornett was sole filer for a three-year term of town clerk/tax collector.

Funding for the Gilmanton Year Round Library passed at the polls, 465-369.

The Gilmanton Year-Round Library, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, relied on fund raising last year after a 2016 warrant article was narrowly voted down by 51 to 49 percent. The request for $48,500 was designed to supplement a total operating budget of $77,833, officials said. Tax impact from passage was estimated to be $0.11 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or $22 on a $200,000 property. The elderly exemption passed 638-160.

An article for a computer technology capital reserve fund of $20,000 failed, 327-485.

The town operating budget of $3,619,691 passed 663-134. The default budget was higher, at $3,649,393.

03 17 election gilmanton grace sisti

Grace Sisti. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)

03 17 election gilmanton forst


Brian Forst. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)