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Jewett Brook project gains federal grant funding

LACONIA — The Department of Public Works will seek authorization from the City Council when it meets Monday evening to undertake the first phase of the Jewett Brook Watershed Management Plan with a matching grant from the federal government.

Following the flooding of Normandin Square in 2006 and 2007, Luke Powell, assistant director of public works, began seeking funding for to address the situation. A study of the brook and its watershed was completed in 2011 and Dubois & King Inc., consulting engineers, prepared recommendations to lessen the risk of flooding at Normandin Square.

Jewett Brook starts in Gilford and stretches for about five miles. Less than a mile of the stream flows through the city. Near the northern entrance to the Lakes Business Park on Gilford Avenue, the main stem of the brook is joined by a major tributary that originates to the northeast, on the north side of Route 11A about halfway between the bypass and Hoyt Road. From there the brook runs westward, roughly parallel to Gilford Avenue, skirts Tardif Park and runs under Highland Street and Union Avenue before passing under the Normandin Square Apartments and Davis Place from where it empties into the Winnipesaukee River some 250 yards above the Avery Dam.

High levels of sedimentation beneath Union Avenue, Normandin Square Apartments and David Place have diminished the capacity of the brook and contributed to the recurrent flooding at Busy Corner. However, Powell said that the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) is unwilling to permit dredging until the city has taken measures to reduce erosion and sedimentation upstream of the Union Avenue bridge by restoring the brook's access to its floodplain, which has been obstructed by walls along its bank.

Powell said that the $40,000 grant, awarded under the Clean Water Act, would meet about 51 percent of the cost of removing the barriers, regrading the floodplain and planting vegetative buffers to restore the floodplain. The city would match the grant, primarily with in-kind engineering and construction services worth $38,590, to complete the $78,590 budget for the project. Powell expected the project could be designed this year and completed in 2015.

The next step, Powell explained, will be to seek permission from DES to dredge beneath the bridges at Union Avenue and Davis Place as well as alongside and underneath the Normandin Square Apartments. He said that a partial dredge, creating a channel 10 feet wide and 6 inches deep, would increase the capacity of the brook at the Union Avenue bridge by about 70 percent, which would reduce the level and frequency of flooding.

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 March 2014 12:59

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Marijuana arrest at Belmont Park and Ride

BELMONT — Police have charged a young local man with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute it after an officer encountered him in the Route 106 Park and Ride.

A media release said Ryan J. Davis, 20, of Brown Hill Road had a quantity of marijuana, a metal safe, a ledger, several glass mason jars containing loose marijuana, and packaging, grinding, and smoking paraphernalia in his truck. He also has a considerable amount of cash.

Police said Davis was parked and in control of a Ford-150 while he was in the Park and Ride and police had a voluntary written consent to search the truck.

Police said the officer stopped when he saw the truck to do a welfare check on the occupant of the truck and after a conversation with Davis, suspected him of using marijuana.

Lt. Richard Mann said Belmont Police are continuing to be vigilant about drug use within town and are asking  anyone who has any information about drugs or who suspects any drug activity in their neighborhoods to call the Belmont Police at 267-8350.

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 March 2014 01:06

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Chess bug bites 10% of students at Pleasant Street School

LACONIA — The corridor that led to the classroom at Pleasant Street School Thursday afternoon was so quiet a passerby would never had known there were 32 children between the ages of 7 and 10 packed into it. About the only clue was the multi-colored backpacks lining both side of the hall that led to the room.

Inside, the youths were hunched over 16 different chess boards — on tables, desks and even some floor space toward the back of the room.

At one table, Finnian Mousseau was deep in thought and staring intently at his board. After putting the final move on his opponent he shook her hand and went to Laconia School District Business Administrator Ed Emond looking for another opponent.

"This is my first year," said the third-grader who comes from a long line of Pleasant Street School chess champions.

He said he had won a couple of matches so far that day and was looking forward to getting another opponent.

"My brother taught me a few tricks," he said, noting with pride that his brother is the only Pleasant Street student to beat Emond — reputed to be a very good chess player.

At another table, fifth-grader Zoe Reed and fourth-grader Jonathan Duprey played to a stalemate. Zoe said she started in the Chess Club when she was 8 years old and often plays with her parents.

"I can beat my Mom, but I can't beat my Dad," she said.

Duprey said he started playing chess last year and he likes to keep practicing so he can get better. After Duprey explained the difference between a stalemate and checkmate, they both went to teacher Ernie Bownes for further directions.

For Emond, helping Bownes teach and supervise the elementary students is one of the favorite parts of his week. Normally, as the financial manager, Emond spends his days (and many evenings) crunching numbers and managing financial snafus.

On chess day, he gets to play one of his favorite pastimes as well as teaching it to a new group of young people who he hopes will grow to love the game as much as he does.

This year 10 percent of the student body at Pleasant Street School is participating in Chess Club, said Superintendent Terri Forsten. "That's an amazing number," she told the School Board at its meeting Tuesday.

While all five city schools and Holy Trinity School have clubs as well, Pleasant Street School has always worn their chess acumen as a badge of honor.

On Wednesday, the team was having its playoffs to see which four students would represent the school at the city-wide chess tournament March 29 at the Meredith Village Savings Bank Culinary Arts Center at the Huot Technical School.

"This is a very quick hour for me," said Bownes, a special education teacher at Pleasant Street School.

He said second-graders can play but only third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders can play in the tournament.

"Chess teaches sportsmanship and problem solving," he said. "It's not about winning or losing, it's about playing well."

"We win with dignity and we lose with dignity," he said.

Last Updated on Friday, 21 March 2014 11:44

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Lipman takes helm of BDC, plans more direct role in driving investments

LACONIA — Henry Lipman, the new chairman of the board of directors of the Belknap Development Council, says that the organization doesn't have to accept the aging demographics of the county as its destiny.

''We don't have to accept that as the way we are going to end up,'' said Lipman, the executive vice preside and chief financial officer at LRGHealthcare, who has also been a Laconia city councilor since 2005.

Lipman said the council plans to become a catalyst for investors and play a more direct role in driving new investment as a partner-investor and/or owner in property development in the county.

Outgoing chairman Sean Sullivan, who will return to his former seat as BDC treasurer, said that the organization has improved its financial position over the last year and is well poised to undertake new ventures.

The organization presented the Corporate Soul Award to Ryan Barton of Mainstay Technology for his leadership on the 200x2020 Initiative and former Laconia Mayor Michael Seymour for his inspired leadership in two terms as mayor, including his work with the WLNH Children's Auction.

The Winnipesaukee Playhouse was presented with the Community Impact Award for bringing professional theater to the Lakes Region. Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Dunleavy was also presented with a Community Impact Award for his work on the Downtown Riverwalk.

Former BDC Executive Director Carmen Lorentz was presented with a Founder's Award for her leadership during the last three years in which she helped revive the organization and launched many in ititiatives such as 200x2020 and Manufacturing Week. She is now Director of the State Division of Economic Development.



BDC Playhouse

Cristopher Boothby, president of the board of directors of the Winnipesaukee Playhouse and Neil Pankhurst, one of the founders of the Playhouse, accept the Community Impact Award from Randy Eifert, a member of the board of directors of the Belknap Development Council, at the organization's annual meeting held at Lakes Region Community College in Laconia. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

BDC Carmen

Carmen Lorentz, former executive director of the Belknap Development Council, accepts the Founder's Award from Mark Eddleston, former president of Lakes Region Community College and a former member of the board of directors of the BDC, and Sean Sullivan, the outgoing chairman of the Board of Directors of the BDC. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 March 2014 12:55

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