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City manager calls attention to savings brought on by council's attention to recycling

LACONIA — City Manager Scott Meyers yesterday reported that since 2011, when city officials began considering introducing aggressive measures to promote recycling, the city has reduced its costs of collecting, transporting and disposing of solid waste by nearly $227,000, of 14-percent.

Meyers noted that since 2011 the City Council has contemplated introducing a "Pay As You Throw" program, distributed recycling toters at discounted prices, added remote recycling receptacles and ultimately enacted a mandatory recycling program that began on July 1, 2013.

Since 2011-2012, when solid waste expenditures were $1,624,772, costs have fallen to $1,425,562 in 2012-2013, a decrease of 12 percent, and to $1,397,792 in 2013-2014, the first full year of the mandatory recycling program.

Meyers said that expenses have been reduced despite increases in the cost of collection and disposal contracts and said that increased recycling represented "the lion's share" of the savings. Every ton of recyclable material collected at the curbside spares the city $150 in haulage and disposal costs. Noting that just 24-percent of solid waste is being recycled, he said that on average the city disposes of 150 tons of solid waste collected at the curbside every two weeks, leaving "a reasonable portion" that could be recycled. He suggested a goal of recycling 30 percent of of the solid waste collected at the curbside and remote receptacles is "very reachable".

Last Updated on Friday, 19 December 2014 02:22

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Junior hockey team in midst of first season in Laconia has already made plans to move

LACONIA — After skating for one season at the Laconia Ice Arena, the New Hampshire Fighting Spirit junior hockey club will be taking its talent Downeast to Lewiston, Maine for the 2015-2016 season.

The team competes in a new division of the Eastern Hockey League, one of nine USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III Junior leagues in the United States, and currently sits atop the Eastern Division with a record of 19 wins and three losses.

This week the Sun Journal of Lewiston reported Rod Simmons, owner of the team, entered a five-year agreement with Firland Management, the firm that owns and operates the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, which will the Spirit's home ice. Jim Cain of Firland Management projected that if the team drew 800 fans to 25 home games and a tournament the total economic impact on the Lewiston-Auburn region could reach $1 million a year.

Lisa Simmons said yesterday that "we were under a sublease for the ice in Laconia without any agreement with the arena itself." She said that the team had a one-year agreement and was unable to negotiate a longer one. "We found ourselves without a home," she said. Meanwhile, Simmons said that another junior hockey team team expected to play in Lewiston disbanded, leaving the city empty-handed. "We tarted talking with people in Lewiston about a month ago," she said.

Rod Simmons told the Sun Journal that the team wanted "a longer term contract to create a stability and a sense of home." The Fighting Spirit played in Waterville Valley in 2013-2014 after leaving Lake George, New York. "With us, at the risk of sounding arrogant," he told the paper, "we've won and have been successful, but we've never really had a home rink since we lost our ice in New York. So this is really what we've been looking for and it's really important to us too."

The Laconia Ice Arena remains the home ice of the New England Wolves of the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League. This season the Wolves have a record of 13 wins and 13 losses and are in second place in the Francis Division.

Junior-league hockey in the United States is an amateur sport, with club rosters typically populated with post-high school age athletes who are hoping for a college scholarship, or at least a chance to continue to play the game they love at the college level.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 December 2014 02:17

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Plea deal expected for man connected to heroin overdose death in Belmont

CIRCUIT COURT — Court records show a Belmont man accused of selling "his best friend" the heroin that killed him is scheduled for a plea and sentencing date of January 2, 2015.

Jonathan Woodbury, 31, formerly or Arlene Drive is charged with one count of sales of heroin, death resulting, for selling heroin to Michael Chamberlain.

Chamberlain died at Woodbury's home on February 7 of a heroin overdose.

Affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division said Belmont emergency personnel responded to a call at 9:51 p.m. for a man who was having extreme difficulty breathing.

Two Belmont Police officers reached the home first and found a purple-faced Chamberlain laying face up on the floor and gasping for aid. Police said he had a pulse.

Affidavits said Woodbury initially told the police he didn't know what was wrong with Chamberlain. While they were talking, Chamberlain stopped breathing and one of the officers began administering CPR.

A Laconia ambulance was the first to reach the home and, after Woodbury told them Chamberlain may have taken heroin, responders administered NARCAN but were unsuccessful in reviving him.

Details of the plea agreement apparently reached between the Belknap County Attorney's Office and Woodbury's defense team are unknown at press time.

The agreement will be presented to Judge James O'Neill who will decide whether or not he thinks the recommended sentence is appropriate. According to N.H. state law, if Woodbury is convicted, he could serve up to life in prison.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 December 2014 02:13

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LPD to go slow on move to equip officers with body cameras

LACONIA — Police commissioners and command staff said yesterday that they are waiting for the the N.H. Attorney General to make a state-wide recommendation about the use of body cameras before any local-use decision is made.

Commission Chair Warren Clement said he wants to continue exploring the topic before any decisions or recommendations are made.

Clement made his statements when asked by resident Dennis Lentz about the commission's opinion about body cameras and whether or not city police officers would be wearing them any time soon.

Capt. Bill Clary said the department never rushes into anything. He noted that while the cost of the cameras is one thing, the cost of the necessary digital data storage space is exorbitant.

He explained that when Tasers first came on the market, the department did extensive research into them before making a decision to equip officers with them. He said the same approach will be taken toward body cameras.

In other police news, the Police Relief Association will be distributing Christmas presents to about 100 city families on Christmas Eve.

Chief Chris Adams said this is a long-standing tradition and much of the funding for the gifts comes from the proceeds of the NH1 Children's Auction.

Adams also said that the department has asked that the half-time position created by the department at the request of the City Council this year for a drug coordinator be made a full-time position.

He said so far the work Officer Eric Adams (no relation) has done has been extraordinary and he has helped a number of families in the city.

Chief Adams said there would be a full presentation to the City Council in mid-January about what has been accomplished so far and the police department's plans as they go forward.

The special position of drug coordinator works to integrate all of the anti-drug activities being done by various city agencies and civic groups with the efforts being made by the Laconia Police.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 December 2014 03:20

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