by Thomas P. Caldwell
BRISTOL — The Bridgewater-Hebron Withdrawal Study Committee has concluded that, while feasible, it would not be desirable to secede from the Newfound Area School District at this time.
Committee Chair Patrick Moriarty of Hebron and Vincent Paul Migliore of Bridgewater voted against the motion to end the study.
Bristol Selectman Rick Alpers announced the committee's decision at his board's meeting on Oct. 16, saying it means there will be no warrant article in March and no need to move ahead with the study now that the Newfound Area School Board has responded to the towns' persistent request to pull the sixth graders from the middle school and return their classes to the elementary schools.
"The school board is finally doing something, and that has appeased a lot of parents," Alpers said.
Migliore, who had predicted that directing the superintendent to come up with an implementation plan for a K-6 educational structure would appease Bridgewater and Hebron residents, said in a telephone interview that he wanted to go forward with the withdrawal in any case, "because I understand the politics of how this is going to play out".
He explained that, because the superintendent will not present her implementation plan until April, it will give those who disagreed with the decision a chance to elect new school board members who might reverse the vote. "The report won't be until after the elections in the spring, and there will be two or three new members on the board," Migliore said. "There may be enough votes to make that happen, and then Groton, Bridgewater, and Hebron will vote to go forward again with withdrawal."
Alpers who was among the selectmen serving on the study committee, said he is optimistic about the future. "What came out of these meetings was, let's bring all the selectmen together to share resources, and have a greater discussion," he said. "We have this $22 million school district with a failed business model. We need to look at what will happen if we do change, and what else we can do to save money."
Alpers continued, "We've got a problem. If the numbers continue to decline, in a few years, we will have the same number of students as when we started the district, with all these extra facilities."
Selectman Shaun Lagueux pointed out that the school board had not yet made a decision on what will happen with the middle school after the sixth graders are removed, leaving only seventh and eighth graders in the building. He added that the Bridgewater-Hebron Village School can accommodate sixth graders but some of the other elementary schools will be hard-pressed to find the space for the additional classes.
During the public comment period, resident John Sellers said his concern with the school board's decision in not addressing the future of the middle school at the same time is that it might leave Bristol with a higher educational cost.
When it made the decision to implement a K-6 educational model, the school board sidestepped the issue of Newfound Memorial Middle School's future, suggesting that the central office, currently in rented space, might be moved into the building, along with special services and other offerings by the school district. Superintendent Stacy Buckley will need to address those issues in her April report.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 12:11
CIRCUIT COURT — About 50 students from the ninth grade civics class at Prospect Mountain High School in Alton spent the morning in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division as part of a lesson on how courts and the judicial system works.
Presiding Judge Jim Carroll greeted the students and queried them briefly on their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and how those protections works.
Carroll also questioned them about the meaning of Veteran's Day.
He told them they should be especially respectful of the men and women who have served in the armed forces who have fought and died so students like them could have the rights afforded them under the Constitution.
"We have a duty as citizens to at least know what our rights are," Carroll told them.
The students were accompanied by civics teacher Kim Kelliher, substitute civics teacher Brian Stuart, a guidance councilor, Laurie Maheu and School Resource Office Sean Sullivan.
Each year, all ninth grade social studies students attend a court room session withing the N.H. Judiciary.
CUTLINE: Prospect Mountain High School ninth graders attend a session at the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday. (Laconia Daily Sun Photo/Gail Ober)
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 12:06
GILFORD — The Planning Board Monday night granted site plan approval to the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association for a sailing school on Smith Cove which will operate from a .64-acre lot with 160 feet of shorefront property at 25 Davis Road.
The association used the property for a school this past summer on the basis of a three-month temporary approval, which the planning board granted in June. The property is located next to a plot of land on Smith Cove owned by the Winnipesaukee Yacht Club, which along with nearby Fay's Boat Yard have been among the chief supporters of the non-profit sailing association since it was first formed in 1988.
The LWSA acquired the property for $595,000 earlier this year, after a seven-year search to find a location for the school, which serves youths aged 6 to 16 and also offers instruction for disadvantaged sailors. The former single-family lot is now classified as a marina, which is a permitted use in the lakefront zone.
The approval came following a public hearing Monday night at which several changes in the application proposed by abutter Jim Sawyer were mostly agreed to by LWSA President Kevin Hayes.
The association has agreed to erect a fence between their property and Sawyer's but Sawyer said he was concerned that in the future their might be efforts to use the property for socials, weddings and birthday parties. He said that it was too small for those kind of uses, as well as for the kind of clubhouse which the association had once sought permission from the state to build at Ellacoya State Park.
Sawyer said he had no objections to the association holding its annual meetings at the Davis Road location but said he didn't want to see ''something going on every weekend'' which would affect all those who live in the area.
Hayes said that there were no plans to rent out the three buildings on the property, a single-family home, a two-car garage and a small storage building, for any social gatherings, nor any plans to create a clubhouse on the property and described the Ellacoya plan as ''something that still haunts us. That's not what we're going to do here.''
He also said that Sawyer's assertion that the association had 200 members was incorrect. ''We have 20 and if we got 200 we would be moving off from Davis Road because having 200 members would mean we had a lot of money,'' said Hayes.
Joseph Bernard, who lives at 18 Davis Road, said that he was still opposed to the proposal saying that the sailing club ''started with 30 kids and could get up to 200'' and that he had heard plans for use of the property during the winter months.
''The lot is too small. It's just a postage stamp. And having the school here will affect the neighborhood as well as Smith Cove, which is the most densely populated boating area on Lake Winnipesaukee,'' said Bernard.
The board took up the site plan following two other public hearings Monday night and eventually approved it. Several conditions were attached to the approval according to Jon Ayer, town planner, who said that they were added to address concerns expressed by abutters about potential, future uses of the property.
The Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association has received approval from the Gilford Planning Board to operate a sailing school on Smith Cove. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 11:37
RUMNEY — The man who shot an area chiropractor during an altercation between the two at Stinson Lake on June 29 will not face criminal charges.
According to a report issued by the N.H. Attorney General, the state would not be able to prove that Edward Healey, 61, of Randolph, Mass. was not acting in self-defense when he fatally shot David Landseadel, 48, of Rumney.
"In light (of the investigation), Edward Healey's conduct will not be ruled justified, but no criminal charges will be brought against him for causing David Landseadel's death" concluded the report.
According to the report, Healey and Landseadel had a history of acrimony dating back to the summer of 2013 when the two men and their wives were involved in a lakeside, verbal altercation that turned physical between the two men.
Although the 2013 fight was never reported to police, witnesses said Landseadel went on to Healey's sailboat and began choking him. The two were separated but had not spoken since the incident. There was also continual tension between the two families over access to a community dock.
The 2013 incident began when wet dogs belonging to the Landseadels began shaking in vicinity of the Healeys. Ms. Healey referenced Ms. Landseadel with a vulgar four-letter noun and the fight between the men commenced.
On June 29 of this year, police investigators determined that the Landseadels had been kayaking and the Healeys had been out on their sailboat. Both David Landseadel and Edward Healey had been drinking alcohol and the coroner later determined Landseadel's blood alcohol content was .20 – or twice the legal drinking limit on .08.
Healey was armed with a .38 caliber handgun — it was in a soft container in his cooler — and held a valid concealed weapon carry permit. Investigators determined that Healey regularly carried a gun. Healey admitted to having a few drinks. His wife told police he had consumed four rum and cokes.
In the year since the 2013 altercation and the fatal shooting, Healey has suffered a minor stroke and had some residual weakness on his right side. Healey said he lacked dexterity in that he couldn't pickup a penny but could grip a coffee cup.
There were only three eye-witnesses to the shooting — Healey, his wife Christine and Lanseadale.
Police said there are some inconsistencies in Healey's own story including some spontaneous utterances during his first interview at the Plymouth Police Station and his interview 11 days later also at the same station.
Healey initially said that Landseadel had come down from his house and was sitting cross-legged on a landing between two staircases that led from the lake to Stinson Lake Road. Healey and his wife were sitting in their sailboat. He said Healey came down to his boat and knocked his tooth out.
During this interview he told police he remembered getting beaten by Landseadel the year before.
Healey had a second interview with police on July 10 and was represented by a lawyer. An attorney from the A.G.'s office was also present.
He told them that time that Landseadel was sitting cross-legged on the mid-staircase platform and that he and his wife could not return to their homes without walking past him. He said that he and his wife walked up the stairs and Landseadel jumped up and notified them that he had a right to be there.
Healey said Landseadel attacked him and knocked him down on his back on the landing. He told police that Landseadel "proceeded to beat the living (expletive) (out) of me."
He said Landseadel was kneeling on his arm and chest while punching him. He said his left arm was pinned to the ground and his right arm was weak from the stroke and he was unable to punch back.
Healey said he "felt there was no way out" and that he was going to die and his wife would be next.
Healey's cooler had dropped next to him on his right side. He told police he knew the revolver was inside the cooler, so he reached inside for it, raised his arm and fired it without aiming it.
He told police that as soon as the gun went off, Landseadel "popped off like he was having a spasm" and dropped on to his back.
He said his actions after that were unclear. Healey's wife told a similar story to his adding that she went up the stairs to a neighbor's for help.
She told police that "Eddie didn't like being beat up, so he pulled out a gun and shot him."
The physical evidence, said police, showed Landseadel was lying on his back on the landing and blood was pooling behind his head. A black gun holster was found under his leg. Blood was also found on a tree branch about two feet above the ground and police said the blood evidence was consistent with the gun being fired during a struggle on the ground.
The autopsy showed Landseadel died from a single gunshot wound to the head fired from a range of six inches to two feet.
"In summary, given the differing physical condition between (Healey) and (Landseadel), the prior incident where (Lanseadel) choked (Healey), the intoxication of both men, their history of animosity, the nature of the landing where the altercation occurred, and the fact that there are no indipendent witnesses or other evidence to refute (Healey's) self-defense claim, the State would be unable to disprove (Healey's) self-defense claim beyond a reasonable doubt at trial," concluded the report.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 11:21
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