A new flag for the city of Laconia?

LACONIA — The city flag dominates the wall above the City Council table and hangs limply from a pole in the Mayor's office, but has never flown in a fresh breeze, lingering as a forlorn curiosity rather than serving as a proud standard.

When the City Council met last week, Bree Henderson of Polished and Proper Barber Shop and Shave Parlor suggested designing and flying a new flag that would enhance the identity of the city. She said that the existing flag dates from 1965, when it was designed by a high school student from Gilford. Apart from the facsimile hung on the wall of the city council chamber and the flag hanging in a seldom used office, she said that the standard of the city is all but invisible.

"My concern: Is it useful?" Henderson told the councilors, explaining that a well-designed flag would serve as a symbol that would "identify the city in a positive way." As an example, she offered the city of Chicago, where the city flag is not only prominently displayed, but also appears on all sorts of items like coffee cups, T-shirts, keychains, tote bags and so on. "A good design gets borrowed," she said, explaining that the symbol of the city becomes a widely distributed element of its culture.

Later Henderson said that if the council chooses to proceed with the project, a committee should be convened to establish some guidelines for the design of a new flag. She referred to a website — "Good Flag, Bad Flag" — which list five principles for designing a flag: keep it simple, use meaningful symbolism, limit the colors to three, omit lettering or seals and be distinctive.

The council took no action, but Henderson, who serves on the Downtown Tax Increment Financing Advisory Committee, said that she intends to pursue the issue.

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Wolfeboro police dog to get body armor, thanks to donation

WOLFEBORO – The Wolfeboro Police Department's K9, "Riggs," will receive a bullet- and stab-protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from the nonprofit organization, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. The vest, sponsored by an anonymous donor, will be embroidered with the sentiment "Be safe as you go into service" and will be worn by Riggs during duty hours.

According to Wolfeboro Police Chief Stuart Chase, Riggs, a Belgian-born, 22-month-old chocolate Lab, joined the Wolfeboro Police Department in March of 2015. He and his handler, Senior Patrol Officer Michael Strauch, graduated from the New Hampshire State Police K9 Academy in June and are now undergoing advanced training in tracking, evidence recovery and contraband recognition and location.

"We consider the K9 program a valuable addition to our service area and an enhancement to the public safety mission here in Wolfeboro. We are grateful to Vested Interest in K9s for providing this extra measure of protection for Riggs," Chief Chase said.

Chase noted the K9 program has been funded by private donations. Oliver, an 8-year-old boy, provided the incentive to research funding sources for K9 vests when he donated his allowance on two occasions.

Vested interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, Massachusetts, whose mission is to provide bullet- and stab-protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The nonprofit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s Inc. has provided more than 1,600 protective vests in 49 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over $1.5 million. All vests are custom made in the USA by Armor Express in Central Lake, Michegan.

The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 19 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.

The suggested donation to provide one protective vest for law enforcement K9s is $1,050. Each vest has a value of $1,795 to $2,234, has a five-year warranty and weighs between 4 and 5 pounds. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s in the United States.

For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, call (508) 824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s Inc. provides information, lists events and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at www.vik9s.org or P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718.

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Pataki a no-show at Laconia Rotary meeting

LACONIA —Rotarians  hoping to hear from Republican presidential candidate George Pataki yesterday were left disappointed when the candidate failed to show up at the appointed hour.

Pataki, who has never lost an election and served as governor of New York for three terms, the former three-term, was not invited to the GOP debate in Milwaukee this week. Despite his lackluster showing in the opinion polls, Pataki was booked by the Laconia Rotary Club to speak at the weekly luncheon meeting yesterday.

As the noon hour passed, Pataki's advance team stationed at the Belknap Mill began tracking the candidate on their cell phones. "He's 20 minutes away," one said around 12:20 p.m., shortly before he was expected to begin speaking. By 12:45 p.m. Rotarians began trickling out the door. Soon afterwards Pataki was reported just a mile away. But, when the clock struck 1, the remaining Rotarians left.

"We'll be behind 30 minutes the rest of the day," remarked one campaign staffer, who knows what it is like to be running behind.

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