LACONIA — Students in the Laconia Alternative Education Program showed their appreciation for their across the hall neighbors at the Laconia Senior Center yesterday by buying them a meal and helping serve it to them.
''It was very thoughtful of them. They're nice kids, polite and respectful and we love having them around. They're doing a good job next door,'' said Lorraine Parkhurst, one of about 40 senior citizens who took part in the meal.
Seth Leavitt-Carlson, director of the program, said that the students have developed a close relationship with the senior citizens and wanted to do something special for them.
''They came up with the idea all on their own. The students are very involved with the seniors and help put together Christmas or Easter bags for their programs. Some even decorated the dining hall for Christmas and last Halloween they served as judges for the costume contest the seniors held.'' said Carlson.
The students have also made a transition in their own lives, going from classroom failure and a feeling that they don't count, to a sense of motivation and accomplishment, proving to themselves that although they may not have fit into a regular classroom they do not lack for skills and ability.
They take math, social studies, science, art and English and the small class and individualized instruction they have received is paying huge benefits and pointing the way to a brighter future for them.
''I'm doing a lot better here than at any other school I've ever gone to,'' says Nate Dumensil, who started attending classes in January. ''I did not do a single paper in middle school and was starting out my freshman year the same way. A high school guidance counselor recommended I come here and I started to get help in my courses and now I'm getting A's in most of them,'' he says.
Nina Chase has had the same experience. ''I was failing all my classes at Winnisquam Regional High School and now I'm getting high honors. Having this kind of support makes you feel confident about yourself and that means a lot,'' says Chase.
Chase listened intently as Keith Shoemaker, 64, told her how he had met the challenges of raising a large family and how he had seen young people who might have been good candidates for the Alternative School Program blossom and develop into fine educators in the Laconia school system.
Danielle Morin told senior citizens Gemma Hamel, Cecile Campbell and Lorraine Parkhurst that she is also feeling good about her development since she became a part of the Alternative School Program and impressed them when she said she wanted to become a marine biologist.
''Why that's wonderful dear. You stick to your guns and you can do it,'' said Hamel.
Tresean Small helped Dougie Horne and Tyler St. Onge serve milk and then soup to the senior citizens and got praise from them for their good manners and the respect they show for all people.
''They're great kids and it's really nice to see kids who are polite and not swearing or causing trouble,'' said Herman Kimball, who has lived all of his life in the Lakes Region on Meredith and Gilford.
Small got to hear Hannelore Spence, who was born in Germany in 1934 and now lives at Beacon Street West describe some of the interesting events in her life.
''I've always wanted to write my memoirs, but I talk too much to do that,'' joked Spence, who said it was a real treat to have the young people around and be able to share parts of her life with them.
Danielle Morin, a student in the Laconia Alternative Education Program, talks with Cecile Campbell and Gemma Hamel at the Laconia Senior Center. Students at the school bought lunch for senior citizens yesterday and helped serve the meal, which featured salad, butternut squash soup, macaroni and cheese, stewed tomatoes and cake and ice cream for dessert. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 01:21
LACONIA — In preparation to begin work on the Main Street Bridge reconstruction project next week, R.M. Piper, inc., the general contractor, has begun working around the site.
Although there will be no traffic detours this week, traffic on Beacon Street East may be delayed occasionally for short periods as the job site is being prepared. The detour plan for the first phase of the project, when Beacon Street East will be closed to through northbound traffic between the foot of Main Street and Hanover Street is expected to begin Tuesday, April 1.
A staging area has been established at the north end of the City Hall parking lot. City Manager Scott Myers encouraged commuters to park in the parking garage where space is plentiful. A construction trailer will be placed in Rotary Park this week.
Information about the project, including construction plans and detour maps, is posted on the city website — www.city.laconia.nh.us. Click on the detour sign on the home page then on "today's update" on the next page for the most current information.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 01:16
BELMONT — A fourth grade classroom at Belmont Elementary School was temporarily evacuated yesterday afternoon after a smell from a new "smart" board projector bulb caused some concern for the teacher.
Superintendent Maria Dreyer said that the bulbs were from a new supply and the teacher, who said the smell made her light-headed, evacuated the class room as a precaution.
Fire Chief Dave Parenti said often times a brand new light bulb will emit a strange odor the first time it heats up to the proper temperature and the teacher didn't recognize the smell.
He said she was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital as a precaution and the five students were temporarily relocated to a different space.
Dreyer said Principal Emily Spear was contacting the parents of the affected students to tell them what had happened.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 01:10
LACONIA — City police and the Boys and Girls Club often find themselves at the crossroads of juvenile delinquency and are working collaboratively to save young lives that may be in jeopardy.
Yesterday, Police Chief Chris Adams and Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Cheryl Avery explained how their two missions overlap and complement each other.
"We want to initially catch kids while their in middle school," said Avery, who noted that's when disruptive and potentially dangerous behavior often begins to manifest.
The Boys and Girls Club has three program goals — academic success, leadership, and supervision and structure. They accomplish this thorough sports and extra curricular activities, said Avery.
"For kids, it has to be fun," she said.
Adams said that every child who gets involved in structured and extra-curricular activities like the Boys and Girls club is much less likely to wind up in the juvenile justice system.
Statistically, the local numbers are dropping slightly. In 2011, there were 356 juvenile matters reported to the police, of which 167 were criminal matters. In 2012, of the 390 incidents reported to police, 176 were criminal matters while last year, there were 135 criminal matters of the 323 reported incidents.
For the police, crimes involve juvenile petitions, an adjudicatory hearing, and disposition that can include everything from counseling to incarceration. The Police Department has a detective specifically assigned to juveniles and many of the encounters of regular beat officers involves children under 17.
What alarms Adams is that the vast majority of the criminal reports in all three years involved crimes against persons. Typically that category includes assault, criminal threatening, and fighting. Other categories of crime include crime against property, which involves thefts, trespassing and vandalizing and crimes against society that involve drugs or alcohol.
In 2011 67 percent of reported incidents took place after 2 p.m., in 2012 65 percent were after 2 p.m. and in 2013 57 percent occurred after 2 p.m. Incidents reported during school hours were about one-third of those reported during times that school isn't in session.
"Crimes against persons are huge," said Adams. "They involve a lack of respect."
"If we show them respect, they'll should others respect," he said.
Avery and Adams hope that the Boys and Girls Club can be one of those vehicles that provides the structure and supervision children need after school and during the summer.
Adams said Capt. Bill Clary has offered to coach and teach softball while Capt. Matt Canfield has offered to teach some weight training.
Avery said along with basketball, the club has reached out the Appalachian Mountain Teen Project with the goal of getting children outside and into nature. She said the close proximity to Opechee Park means some of the children will be able to take swimming lessons and perhaps do some canoeing.
"Look where we live," she said acknowledging the lakes, mountains, and forests that should be natural playing grounds for children.
Avery said the Boys and Girls Club has a number of success stories as well including one young woman named Sara who was named Youth of the Year four years ago and who has returned to the club to do some mentoring and teaching.
Both agreed that the real focus of both the club and the police is to break the cycle of poverty, drugs, abuse, and alcoholism many at risk children encounter on a daily basis.
Avery and Adams said the Boys and Girls Club open house is Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. and this weekend is the Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast at the club with all the proceeds to go to the club. The breakfast is Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The club is located at 888 North Main Street in Laconia, across the street from Opechee Park.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 01:07