Edward Jones moves Laconia office into completely renovated Union Square building

LACONIA — Twenty-three years ago, when Edward Jones, the financial services firm, moved its office from Union Square to downtown, Priscilla Kaiser, the office manager, went with it and this summer, when the firm returned to Union Square, she returned with it.

"I've gone full circle," she remarked.

Explaining the odyssey, financial advisor Ben Wilson said that last year, as the business began outgrowing its space at 588 Main Street, he began scouting around the city for new digs. He recalled that after looking at half a dozen offices and only to reject them all he found himself enjoying an ice cream cone at the Happy Cow on Union Avenue. Across the street at Union Square, he noticed an empty Victorian duplex with peeling paint and frayed shingles.

"It was really in bad shape," Wilson said. The front door led directly two staircases, each serving a separate two-story unit. "The space was unusable," he remarked," and the building had been flooded."

Nevertheless, Wilson and building owner David Livingston reached an agreement and the building was thoroughly renovated. "It was a total gut job," Wilson said, "inside and out." A winding path, which Wilson said a friend has dubbed "the yellow brick road", provides handicapped access from Union Avenue to a newly constructed side entrance leading to a foyer graced with artwork. The porch facing Union Avenue, once struck by a wayward automobile, will no longer serve as an entrance but instead will be landscaped. Edward Jones occupies the ground floor, which includes a reception area, three corner offices, a conference room and a kitchenette. While a separate entrance and staircase to the second floor was added to the building, for the moment the space is vacant.

"I had some trepidation about leaving downtown," Wilson confessed, "but we doubled our space and got access to plenty of parking. And we restored an old Victorian building and contributed to revitalizing Union Square."

Edward Jones, founded in 1922 and headquartered in Missouri, is a unique financial services firm catering primarily to individual investors and small business owners. Offices are staffed by less than a handful of people, generally with only one financial advisor, who is a licensed broker, and located in communities where large operations would not be profitable. Wilson said that while he will continue to serve the Laconia market he expects two of his associates to open offices in Gilford and Belmont in the near future. "We work as individuals with the backing of a nationwide firm," Wilson said.

Meanwhile, Kaiser, who was busy seeking to position a houseplant, said that she was pleased to return to Union Square, especially in her new surroundings.

CAPTION: Financial advisor Ben Wilson of Edward Jones is proud of his firm's new quarters at Union Square, renovated in cooperation with its owner David Livingston, which offers a fresh face on to Union Avenue. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)

Mayor & all 6 councilors appear to be running for re-election

LACONIA — Five of the six incumbent city councilors — Ava Doyle (Ward 1), Henry Lipman (Ward 3), Brenda Baer (Ward 4), Bob Hamel (Ward 5) and Armand Bolduc (Ward 6) — this week confirmed that they intend to seek re-election while David Bownes (Ward 2) said that he will "probably" seek another another term.

Mayor Ed Engler, who was first elected in 2013, said that he will run for a second term.

The filing period for the November municipal election will open at the City Clerk's Office on Wednesday morning and close on Friday, August 14 at 4:30 p.m. A primary election will be held on September 8 only in instances where more than two candidates filed for the same position.

Four of the six City Council incumbents have served for a decade or more. Lipman, Baer and Hamel were first elected in 2005 and have each served five terms. Bolduc, who is serving his 15th term, when asked if he will run again, replied "I'll walk". Doyle, who was first appointed to complete the unexpired term of Greg Knytych in 2010, has twice been elected to the council and will be running for her third full term. Bownes, who served on the council in the 1990s, was elected again in 2013.

Four of the seven seats on the School Board, where members serve staggered terms, are on the ballot this year. Three of the four incumbents are seeking re-election. Malcolm Murray, who has served two terms in Ward 1, will run for what he said would be his last term. In Ward 2, Barbara Luther, who was appointed to complete the unexpired term of Beth Arsenault, will seek election to the seat. And Michael Persson will bid for a second term as the at-large member of the board.

Joe Cormier, who has represented Ward 6 for four terms and chaired the board for the past four years, said that he will not seek another term.

Major LaRowe will now likely join Inter-Lakes School Board representing Sandwich

 MEREDITH — The Inter-Lakes School Board will recommend that Major LaRowe, a retired colonel in the United States Army, be appointed to a seat on the board reserved to Sandwich. The position fell vacant with the resignation of John Martin, who accepted a position with the Plymouth School District.

Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond said yesterday that LaRowe, the lone applicant for the position, will meet next week with the board, which will recommend his appointment to the Sandwich Board of Selectmen.

A pilot of 24 years, LaRowe earned bachelor's degrees in both education an aviation aviation technology at the University of Montana as well as master's degrees in aeronautical engineering, public administration and national security strategy. He also attended the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

"We are very fortunate to have Major LaRowe step forward," said Ormond. "He has led a life of service to his country and his community and we are especially grateful that he has chosen to join our school board."