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Local businesses & organizations helping to provide books for children in foster care all over Granite State

LACONIA — Foster children throughout New Hampshire will receive books this holiday season through a literacy promotion initiative ''Foster a Love of Reading'' developed through N.H. Foster and Adoptive Parent Association and children's book publisher Educational Development Corporation (EDC).
"Children's books change lives," says Carol Varney, of Belmont, who works directly with EDC, a Tulsa-based distributor of Usborne and Kane Miller children's books, and who spearheaded the initiative.
Using EDC's "Literacy for a Lifetime" matching grant program, Varney was able to secure a 50 percent match from the publisher for all monies raised resulting in over $9,000 worth of award-winning books being distributed statewide to every child in N.H.'s foster care system.
"I was very encouraged when my first contact resulted in a Gold Sponsorship of $1,000 from Granite State Credit Union," Varney said. Additional $1,000 Gold Sponsorships also came in from Bank of New Hampshire, Danconia Media of Weare, and the Concord Rotary Club. Other supporters at various levels included Penny Pitou/Milo Pike Foundation, Northeast Delta Dental, Northland Restaurant in Berlin, Merchant Motors, Benson Auto, AutoServ and Andrew Hosmer, Kelley Potenza of Danconia Media, Centerpointe Church, Kiwanis of Laconia, Irwin Motors, Mr. Mac of Manchester, Merrimack Lioness Club, Casella Waste Systems, and other private donors.
Working with Kathy Companion of NH's DCYF Foster Care program and Denise Christianson of the N.H. Foster and Adoptive Parent Association, Varney was able to ensure that age-appropriate books were obtained for each child in both home-based foster care as well as those in center-based care including the Sununu Youth Development Center. Upon receipt of the large shipment, the books then needed to be sorted by age group and geographical location. This was accomplished with the assistance of volunteers at Workplace Success in Laconia, a Belknap-Merrimack Community Action employment preparation program affiliated with the DHHS NH Employment Program.
Program volunteers, aided by additional community volunteers, sorted and packed boxes of books which were then delivered to DHHS Foster Care staff, who in turn transported them to local offices where foster parents received them for the children in their care.

Helping pack children's books at the Lakes Region Family Center in Laconia Monday for shipment to foster care system offices throughout the state were representatives of local organizations which contributed, including Betty Ballantyne of Irwin Automotive Group, Meredith Horton of the Laconia Kiwanis Club, Tiffany Benton of the Bank of New Hampshire, Penny Pitou of the Penny Pitou/Milo Pike Foundation, Denise Caristi of the Granite State Credit Union and Carol Varney, local representative of Usborne and Kane Miller children's books. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 01:32

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Police looking into unattended death on Harvard St. - 51

LACONIA — Police said an unidentified 26-year-old woman was found deceased in a house at 32 Harvard Street early Monday morning.

Police said they are investigating because it is an unattended death but said there doesn't appear to be anything criminal or suspicious.

"This appears to be accidental," said Capt. William Clary yesterday.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 01:16

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Judge says plea deal in the works for man accused of serial rapes of 2 Barnstead girls back in the 90s

LACONIA — The Epsom man who allegedly raped two girls repeatedly over a period of time in the 1990s in Barnstead has apparently reached a plea deal with the Belknap County Attorney's office.

Kenneth Day, 67, was scheduled to appear yesterday in the Belknap County Superior Court for his final pre-trial hearing but he was a no-show.

Speaking from the clerk's office, Judge James O'Neill told awaiting media that Day is scheduled for a plea hearing on January 5. Details of the proposed plea agreement were not made available.

Day has been indicted by a Belknap County Grand Jury for multiple counts of rape that include two charges of pattern rape. Last month, a Merrimack County Grand Jury indicted him for seven counts of rape regarding two additional victims, including two charges of pattern rape, according to the Concord Monitor.

The case began when two people, now adults, walked into the Barnstead Police Station in July to report they had been repeatedly assaulted by Day in a school bus he had converted to a house from 1991 to 1996.

The Belknap County Sheriffs Department launched an investigation and believe Day could have assaulted the two Barnstead children as many as 300 separate times.

Even though the attorneys have reached a tentative agreement on the Belknap County charges, O'Neill must agree to the terms and conditions of any possible sentence. It is not known if the proposed plea and sentencing includes the Merrimack County charges.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 01:13

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City buying buildings located atop old South End burn dump

LACONIA — City Manager Scott Myers said yesterday that he expects that by acquiring four lots atop an abandoned, filled-over "burn" dump off Frank Bean Road and Morin Road the city can reduce the cost of addressing lingering contamination at the site.
The dump, which operated in the 1940s and 1950s, is part of a site that sprawls over some 75 acres on either side of Frank Bean Road, which also includes an abandoned landfill owned by the city. The burn dump itself extends over four lots totaling about 3.5 acres. Three of the lots abut one another on the west side of Frank Bean Road and the fourth is bordered by Frank Bean Road to the west and Morin Road to the east.
Altogether the dump stretches along Frank Bean Road for about 1,000 feet and is 250 feet wide at its widest point. The dump was between 15 feet and 20 deep. Assuming dimensions of 1,000 feet by 200 feet by 15 feet, the area is estimated to contain approximately 110,000 cubic yards of "burn dump material".
The site first drew from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) in May, 2003 while excavating for a foundation. In 2011, after several rounds of testing confirmed the presence of contaminants, DES directed the city to take remedial measures.
Earlier this year, Sovereign Consulting, Inc. of Concord submitted a plan to DES to excavate contaminated soils on the four lots and dispose of the material off-site then backfill, cap or pave the lots at an estimated cost of $1,381,200. Ongoing monitoring of groundwater and maintenance of pavement at the site for another 15 years was expected to cost an additional $293,431. The City Council included a borrowing of $1.2-million in its 2014-2015 budget to fund the clean-up project.
However, in October, the city approached DES with an alternative plan to purchase the four lots, demolish the buildings and cap the land with two feet of clean soil, sparing itself from excavating and disposing of contaminated soil, which represents the lion's share of the cost of the original proposal. DES not only agreed but commended the city for its "efforts to pursue this remedial option which has several benefits — cost effective and control of future use of the property."
Myers said that the city has purchased two of the properties off Frank Bean Road — a residential lot owned by Alexander and Beverly Paquin and a commercial lot owned by Dolphin Point, LLC — and entered a purchase and sales agreement on the third — a commercial lot owned by Richard Wiley. He said that negotiations to purchase the fourth lot, owned by James Joyal, are continuing.

The city has assessed the Paquin property at $70,100, the Dolphin Point property at $173,900, the Wiley property at $60,300 and the Joyal property at $87,600.
Myers said that the cost of the alternative proposal has yet to be estimated. But, he was confident that without the cost of excavation, haulage and disposal it would be less than the $1.4-million estimated for the original plan and hoped it would be less than the $1.2-million that the council budgeted. Furthermore, he expected that by owning and controlling the affected properties, the city could minimize the long-term costs of monitoring and maintenance.
Myers said that the council has authorized the sale of general obligation bonds to fund the work, but the bonds will not be issued until the budget for the project is prepared. "We'll issue only what we need," he said. He anticipated that work at the site could begin next summer.
Meanwhile, Myers said that the adjacent landfill remains "on our radar." He said that sampling of material on the site has been accelerated and acknowledged that "DES wants to see some progress."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 01:07

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