Bicycle Exchange looking for executive director

By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — The Laconia Area Bicycle Exchange is looking for an executive director and is advertising for a person willing to take on the responsibility of running the nonprofit organization while holding out the hope that grants may be obtained in the near future to fund a stipend or salary for that position.
The exchange was the brainchild of John Rogers. Having worked with troubled youth in the past, Rogers would take bicycles that he found, fix them up and give the bikes away so they could get to school and get out for exercise.
Rogers says that as a result of his experience with the Landmark Education program, he realized that his idea could be expanded into the community, and brought his idea to Better Together's annual celebration in December of 2013.
"It received a positive response. From there, with support from Better Together, the city of Laconia, civic leaders, Piches, MC Cycle, and New Hampshire Charitable Foundation,the Laconia Area Bicycle Exchange was created and opened its doors two years ago in March."
Rogers says that in the two seasons that the exchange has been operating, 245 bicycles have been given out to those in need. There is currently over 125 bicycles in storage with about 25 ready to be refurbished. Funding through grants, donations and the sale of some high-end bicycles provides funds for rent, insurance, replacement parts, tires tubes and bike locks.
He says that the primary purpose of the exchange is to provide a means of inexpensive alternative transportation in the form of refurbished bicycles, made available to people who would benefit with greater mobility as it relates to work, family and personal living. A referral program is used by working with area human service organizations that refers people to the exchange. Personal referrals and demonstrated need also qualifies someone to receive a bicycle. Bikes locks and helmets are also offered.
The exchange is located at 343 Court St. and has space for a workshop and storage area. It is open from April to through mid October three times a week for one to two hours each day. Appointments are available during the off season for special needs for bicycles.
Since the exchange opened, Rogers said, he has put in about 20 hours a week and will be available to help train anyone interested in the executive director's position.

The paving of Belmont's Wareing Road brings some objections

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

BELMONT — Some people in town are now voicing opposition to paving Wareing Road, a project that has been planned for nearly a year and for which bids are scheduled to be opened at 1 p.m. today. The project is estimated to cost around $300,000.

Kevin Sturgeon, who mounted a last-minute, albeit unsuccessful write-in candidacy for the selectboard during the last election, told selectmen on Monday that it makes no sense to pave the dirt road from Route 106 to the entrance to the Parent Sand and Gravel and not pave the last 0.2 of a mile nearest South Road.

He said he would prefer to see it not paved at all, but he agreed that some draining and ditching should be done. Sturgeon added that it makes no sense not to pave the last 0.2 of a mile.

Selectmen have said the purpose of adding drainage, ditching and paving to Wareing Road to the sand pit opening is to encourage Parent to use the road to access Route 106 and not go through the center of Belmont Village to reach Route 140. There are only two families that live on Wareing Road, and one is on the corner or Route 106.

In September, Town Planner Candace Daigle said Wareing Road is unable to handle the weight of the gravel trucks in its current condition, but once it is upgraded and paved Parent will be able to use it. Parent Sand and Gravel representative Adam Towne said he wants to move his truck weight scales to the entrance on Wareing Road and has agreed to use it to move his product to Route 106.

Former Selectman Donna Cilley also told selectmen on Monday that paving the road was a mistake. She said she fears that even though it is posted "no through traffic," it will become a bypass of Belmont Village for regular drivers and that traffic will increase dramatically on South Road.

"It will give them a straight shot to Tilton," she said.

But the real objection Sturgeon and Cilley have to the project is that both believe there are other roads in Belmont that warrant attention before Wareing Road. At the recent selectman's meeting, Sturgeon pointed out that in 2007, Belmont's own road priority system rated Wareing Road a "3," or the least important rating.

Cilley said Wednesday that she spent many hours at the polls on Election Day and said a lot of people she spoke with told her they were against paving Wareing Road.

"They kept saying, 'If they're going to pave Wareing Road, why can't they pave my road?'" she said.

Selectmen have said that keeping the last 0.2 of a mile unpaved will discourage regular drivers from using the road as a cut-through for regular traffic and to keep heavy truck traffic from coming through the newly reconstructed Belmont Village.

Help Feed the Need and enjoy a Common Man meal

By GINGER KOZLOWSKI, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — There are only a few days left to "Feed the Need" and make a donation to help the Lakes Region Visiting Nurse Association while enjoying a meal at The Common Man restaurants.

Cheryl Gonzalo, executive director with the LRVNA, said they serve over 10,000 people a year in six towns in the Lakes Region - Laconia, Gilford, Meredith, Center Harbor, Moultonborough and Sandwich – and the need is great to provide services.

The fundraiser "allows us to provide care to those in need who don't have insurance," she said. Between "Medicare regulations (and) a decrease in private insurance payments, we are definitely down in funds more than ever. Medicare does a lot of take backs."

Take backs are medical reviews that can result in reimbursements being denied by Medicare.

Gonzales said Feed the Need was started when LRVNA board member Harry Viens reached out to The Common Man, and they decided to come up with fundraiser.

To participate, visit stop by the LRVNA at 186 Waukewan St. in Meredith, or go online at www.lrvna.org/need. If you donate $10 you get a $10 Common Man gift card. There is no limit to the number of cards you can buy. Donate $100 and receive 10 cards. The card is good at Lago in Meredith, Camp in Meredith, the 104 Diner in Hampton, the Tilt'n Diner in Tilton, the Italian Farmhouse in Plymouth, The Common Man Co. Store in in Ashland, The Common Man Inn and Spa in Plymouth, Foster's Boiler Room in Plymouth, the Flying Monkey Performance Center in Plymouth and The Common Man Restaurant in Ashland.

"It would be great for businesses to donate and give cards to their customers," suggested Gonzales.

The cards are only good through May 26, with no cash value or change returned, valid from Sunday through Thursday.
"The need is great," said Gonzales.

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