Alton School Board approves D.C. trip with conditions

ALTON – After listening to a presentation from seventh-grade student Tuesday night, the School Board agreed the children who have raised money to take a class trip to Washington, D.C., should be able to go.

Krista Ingoldsby, flanked by three of her classmates, said they had been raising money for the trip since the sixth grade but were recently informed by the associate principal that the trip was off because most of the class wanted to go camping instead.

The trip was planned as an eighth-grade class trip.

"A teacher did an anonymous poll," began Associate Principal Linda Wilmer. She explained that the poll was done in silence and the students were asked only one question at a time to avoid confusion and so as not to influence the vote. "It was in silence."

The results of the poll, said Wilmer, were that of the 42 children in the seventh grade, eight of them voted to go to Washington, D.C.

According to Ingoldsby, the students came up with the D.C. trip when they were in fifth grade and got approval for fund-raising from former Principal Sydney Leggett when they were in the sixth grade.

Krista told the School Board and the nearly 70 people in the room that the students had been raising money through community events, a spaghetti dinner sponsored by the Lions Club, and working at Winter Carnivals. She said they have raised $4,000.

School Board members Terri Noyes and Krista Argiropolis questioned polling the children without board approval and without telling their parents. They were also upset to learn a trip that was out of state was approved by an administrator and not the School Board, as is stated in policy.

Board members also learned that some of the teachers didn't want the trip, and didn't want to chaperone it.

Krista's father Karl Ingoldsby, said there were other teachers who were willing to take the children to Washington. He said his family had contacted one of the education groups in the Capital that organizes the educational trips and were told the company would pay for the insurance if the children raised enough money and still wanted to go.

Member Stephen Miller said he felt the students should go to Washington, D.C., and was personally disappointed that more of them preferred camping to seeing the nation's capital.

Four of the members agreed the trip could go forward provided the board was given much more information about it and within the proper timeframe.

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Young man dies of apparent suicide at Community College

LACONIA — The death of an unidentified 18-year-old man found inside a car parked at the Lakes Region Community College is considered an apparent suicide, Laconia police report.

The man apparently shot himself inside the vehicle which was parked in the main parking lot at the college at 12:05 p.m. Tuesday.

Police did not release any additional information.

Police said the investigation in being conducted with the assistance of the N.H. Medical Examiner's Office.

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Save Our Gale School committee submits last-minute plan to Shaker School Board

BELMONT – The Shaker School Board received a last-minute plan from the Save Our Gale School Committee Tuesday night showing that the historic school could be relocated and renovated into SAU offices for between $1-million and $1.4-million.

Committee member Diane Marden explained the individual costs yesterday.

At no cost to the district, she said architect Chris Williams updated his 2003 plan to save the school to current-day costs.

Marden said it would cost $78,000 to move the school from where it is currently located to the corner of Concord and Memorial Streets, which is school property. An additional $10,000 would be needed for a road between the two spots and Marden said she is "pretty sure we can get donated services to decrease the cost of the road."

She said the school is planning on spending $67,500, which is on the school district warrant, to demolish it and save the bell and the bell tower. Additionally, she noted there is $5,000 in a reserve account specifically for renovations to the Gale School and Marden said that those two expenses would nearly pay for moving the school.

She said a 1982 graduate of Belmont High School who lives in town and prefers to remain anonymous has agreed to do all of the site work, which would cost between $80,000 and $115,000. 

To retrofit the Gale School for use as the SAU Offices would cost $789,450, including renovations to the exterior, the mechanical systems, the elevator and the interior.

Marden said the work could be bonded or performed over several budget years.

Advocates for saving the school said the road that would need to be built to move the building corresponds to a district strategic plan for the middle school that calls for an additional bus loop.

Because of pressing space needs and the desire of the parents and taxpayers to have full-day kindergarten and universal pre-school, Marden said the current SAU office building could be converted for use exclusively for the youngest children at a cost of $55,000.

Moving, restoring and/or demolishing the Gale School has been a topic of discussion for at least 20 years.

While many residents have expressed a desire to see the school saved, there has never been enough will among the taxpayers to pay for moving and renovating it. Yet, the few times the district has put its demolition on the warrant, the article has failed to pass.

Last year, the Save Our Gale School Committee approached the town and asked if selectmen would be interested in taking on the renovation and applying for a restoration grant. Selectmen declined, explaining that with the village revitalization project and the Belmont Mill looming over the taxpayers, the town wasn't in the position to adopt a new project.

The school district's annual meeting is scheduled for March 6 at the Belmont High School. District voting takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and the meeting usually convenes around 7 p.m.

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Phone co. says business with unfortunate number has no choice but to change

BRISTOL — Michael Capsalis of Newfound Properties, whose telephone line is choked with calls for Waste Management Inc., the firm that previously had his number until it was disconnected almost two years ago, has only one option, according to a telephone company spokesman — "change the number."

Capsalis said that upon opening his real estate agency last May he began receiving calls for Waste Management depot in New Hampton, which was closed. He said that Waste Management closed its office in New Hampton, but took no steps to reroute calls to the facility or to remove the number from its website or from telephone directories. Altogether he estimates his office has fielded some 4,000 calls for Waste Management.

Capsalis said that the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission told him that the number for a local business can be reassigned one year after it has been disconnected while the number of a national business must be disconnected for three years before it can be reassigned. He believes Waste Management, which serves 27 million residential commercial, industrial and municipal customers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, qualifies as a national company.

Jeff Nevins, a spokesman for FairPoint Communications, said yesterday that within a month FairPoint offered to change the number free of charge, but Capsalis declined, explaining that it would be costly to replace his signs and advertising, and so he is seeking compensation.

Nevins said that FairPoint "is not familiar with rules or regulations that distinguish betweeen local and national phone numbers." He said that the company distinguishes only between residential numbers, which may be reassigned after being disconnected at least 90 days, and business numbers, which may reassigned after being disconnected between at least 120 days and at most 365 days. He described this standard as an internal company policy.

"We continue to talk with Mr. Capsalis," Nevins said, "as recently as this week. We've tried and will continue to try," he continued. "But, the options are few." He added that because Capsalis has persistently declined the offer to change the number, it is "very doubtful" the company would compensate him for the costs associated with doing so.


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