Shaker Regional voters to consider going to official ballot law

BELMONT — Eighty-three residents of the Shaker Regional School District have petitioned to have the school district adopt the provisions of the Official Ballot Law, or RSA 40:13, commonly known as SB2, which changes the annual School District Meeting to a deliberative session only, with voting to take place later along with the election of school officials.

If passed by a 3/5 majority of those voting at the polls on March 4, the Shaker Regional School District will follow the town of Belmont by joining the ranks of communities and school districts that have adopted SB2 as their form of town and school district voting. Canterbury, which is also served by Shaker Regional, is not an SB2 town.

"I want them accountable for every dime," said Belmont Selectman Jon Pike, who is leading the charge for SB2 at the school district. "I think this is a way for people to stop complaining about their taxes.

Pike and former Belmont Budget Committee member Ken Knowlton are still stinging from last year's School District Meeting, when voters flooded the meeting and added about $250,000 to implement full-day kindergarten at Shaker Regional when the administration and School Board wanted to wait until this year. Voters also added an additional $58,000 for a fourth science teacher after the School Board and administration said they could do without the position.

SB2 splits the annual meeting into two portions: the first is called a deliberative session and is where people gather in an official room and discuss and possibly change some of the items on a proposed school district budget, just like the typical School District Meeting. Any votes taken are simply to approve wording of the articles to be presented to voters.

The second portion of SB2 provides for a ballot vote, both on the proposed operating budget and any number of warrant articles that may or may not include money provisions.

Critically, to Pike, is that SB2 provides for a review by an elected Budget Committee and it is the Budget Committee's recommended budget that goes before the voters. Presumably, like the School Board, the Budget Committee would be composed of members from Canterbury and Belmont.

According to petitioner Norma Patten, this is at least the second time voters have tried to petition to move to SB2. She said it failed two years ago.

Patten, who said she is very supportive of the school district, said she is also encouraged by the fact that for the first time ever, to polls at the Belmont High School will be open for eight hours. Prior to this year, polls opens only a few hours before the annual School District Meeting began at 7 p.m.

"This way people have a whole day to vote," Patten said.

Polls for the Shaker Regional School District Election Day open at 11 a.m. and will end at 7:15 p.m. for Articles 1, 2 and 3, which are to elect School Board members, a district moderator and to vote on SB2. All voting will be at the Belmont High School. The annual School District Meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 4, at the high school.

Gilford Youth Center gears up for banner fundraiser

GILFORD — Youth Center Director Scott Hodsdon is gearing up for a banner year of fundraising in 2016 in more ways than one.

While the noise from a pickup game of basketball reverberated in to the office, Hodsdon and Derek Tomlinson, of the board of directors, said 2016 is the third year of their campaign to get businesses to support the Gilford Youth Center by sponsoring a banner for their main athletic court.

The banners are hung around the court and, in exchange for supporting the youth programs provided by the center, each banner sponsor gets some advertising.

The Gilford Youth Center was built about nine years ago as an annex to the Gilford Community church from donation from a generous family. The annex is home to the Miss Lakes Region Pagent, Gilford Got Lunch!, Santa Land, the Lunch Bunch Fitness Club, The Gilford Rotary – "Evening in Paradise" events among many other activities.

For the past six years, the center has been home to St. Baldrick's "Shave for a Cure" for cancer event.

Hodsdon said the Gilford Youth Center provides a variety of activities for area children including the pickup basketball game they had after school on Tuesday. He said about 50 percent of the kids who participate in the wide melange of programming that is also coordinated through the town of Gilford Parks and Recreation Department are on scholarships.

Although Tuesday's group insisted their homework was already done, Hodson said the location is perfect because, ideally, the students can go the library then come to the center to burn of some energy during drop-in time. He said the school bus is starting to drop more and more students off at the library or the center.

During the summer, the Gilford Youth Center becomes vital, said Hodsdon, because it gives many students a safe place to go. He said center organizes trips to Gilford Beach, Fisher Cats games and Canobie Lake Park.

He said because of the support the center gets from the community, students are exposed to the art, music and theater through Junior Picasso night and trips to the Winnipesaukee Playhouse.
So far, the Gilford Youth Center has 11 banner sponsors but still has three sides of the auditorium to fill.

Hodsdon said a 3-foot by 6-foot banner cost $1,500 annually or $3,500 for three years. A 4-foot by 12-foot banner costs $2,500 a year or $6,000 for three years. Included in the sponsorship is design and artwork assistance, a listing on the Gilford Youth Center Website with a link to the business, a company brochure in the lobby, a company logo on all program brochures and event programs.

For more information or to assist at one of the programs, people should call Hodsdon at 524-6978.

Gilford youngsters and Derek Tomlinson, left, and Scott Hodsdon, right, take a pause in their pickup basketball game Thursday to call attention to the Gilford Youth Center and their banner fundraising campaign. (Laconia Daily Sun Photo/Gail Ober)

Gilford youngsters and Derek Tomlinson, left, and Scott Hodsdon, right, take a pause in their pickup basketball game Thursday to call attention to the Gilford Youth Center and their banner fundraising campaign. (Laconia Daily Sun Photo/Gail Ober)

Correcting the record

An article that appeared on the front page of The Daily Sun on Thursday, Dec. 31 dealing with a lawsuit filed in Belknap Superior Court against Rebecca Dolan and William Fuller of Center Harbor by Rymes Heating Oils, Inc. contained a significant reporting error that is wholly the responsibility of this newspaper.

Rymes Heating Oils purchased the assets of the former Fred Fuller Oil & Propane Co., Inc. in 2014, after Fuller Oil filed for bankruptcy, and Rymes now contends that among those assets were unpaid invoices billed to Ms. Dolan and Mr. Fuller. The couple is expected to dispute that claim.

The article said that Ms. Dolan and Mr. Fuller are the former owners of Fuller Oil and that statement is incorrect. Neither of them were shareholders or had any equitable interest in Fuller Oil. Neither of them has ever, to the newspaper's knowledge, filed for bankruptcy, personally or through any corporation.

The Daily Sun acknowledges its reporting error and offers a formal and sincere apology to Ms. Dolan and Mr. Fuller. 

— Edward J. Engler