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Council to weigh amending Bike Week license ordinance


LACONIA — The City Council will consider Monday amending the licensing ordinance to enable the city to withhold a vendor license for Motorcycle Week to any individual or business with an outstanding debt to the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association.

Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the association, said that in addition to paid advertisements in the Rally News, the magazine published by the association, the association also collects fees from those who use its logo. Although there are only a handful of debtors owing less than $5,000, he said that amending the ordinance would give the association some leverage over its debtors. He noted that the city itself is a member of the association with a representative on its board of directors.

The association is in the process of restructuring its finances in order to overcome an operating deficit and retire outstanding debts.

Several years ago the council enacted a similar measure to deny licenses to prospective vendors with outstanding debts to the city itself.

Last Updated on Saturday, 20 December 2014 01:40

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Daily Sun letter writers take a lunch break


LACONIA — There was not an awkward moment, much less an awkward silence, when nine of the most prolific and outspoken writers of letters to the editor of the Laconia Daily Sun met for lunch yesterday.

The gathering at T-Bones included those from both ends of the political spectrum, from Bob Meade of Laconia, Russ Wiles of Tilton, Steve Earle of Hill, Tony Boutin of Gilford, Gene Danforth and Dave Horvath of Gilford on the right to Jim Ververka of Tilton, Scott Cracraft of Gilford and Dave Pollak of Laconia on the left. All men of experience, their ages ranged from 59 to 80 and they were evenly divided between the retired and employed. Above all, these are the very same guys who routinely castigate and vilify one another's opinions in the letters column.

But, put together at a restaurant table they carry on like longtime members of the chummiest of fraternal organizations.

"I hope I'm not so shallow as to judge someone by their politics," remarked Boutin, who added that throughout his working life he was accustomed to "daily confrontations of interests."

Meade remarked "make an argument, not an enemy."

"They're crazier on-line than they are here," said Jim Veverka, who reports about "Tea Party Tricks" from the "National Center for Study of Absurdity." Veverka passed much of his lunch hour across the table from Earle, who recently charged him with "petty name-calling," which he found "easier then trying to defend the indefensible." Among other things they discussed how much longer Tom Brady would carry the Patriot's offense along with future draft choices for his offensive line.

Introducing himself to Meade, Pollak explained, "I ran for county commissioner and got clobbered," which drew the polite reply "That's a good thing." The pair went on to discuss Meade's forecast of the dire demographic and economic impacts of high abortion and low birth rates in China and Russia, which would leave the first with too few women and the second with too many men. "We're changing the nature of nature, Meade said. "But, we are nature," countered Pollak, taking the conversation off on a philosophical tangent.

At the other end of the table, Cracraft, Boutin and Danforth dueled over healthcare. While none fancied Obamacare, Cracraft's advocacy of a single-payer system drew a sharp but polite reminder from Boutin that every program run by the federal government — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Post Office — was bankrupt.

Much of the political conversation along the table mirrored the seemingly irreconcilable differences so forcefully expressed in their correspondence. Yet Boutin suggested dispensing with the labels of Republican and Democrat, simply branding all elected officials "politicians," and driving them to the center of the spectrum. "Most people consider themselves moderates," he noted, "but in politics the moderates have been vaporized."

Although there was little moderation and even less agreement around the table, there was a great deal of good natured camaraderie. Politically, the only common ground was a shared passion for controversy as opinions were expressed, but not tempered. But, curiously, the rancorous and acrimonious tone that tinges so much of their letters was missing from the conversation, which was not merely civil, but good-natured and good-humored. More than one said, "Let's do this again" and all exchanged names, addresses and phone numbers.

"She called us gentlemen," someone said, as if surprised, when the waitress brought the checks. And she was right.

Last Updated on Saturday, 20 December 2014 01:26

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Tanger Donates over $26,000 to LRGHealthcare

LACONIA — Tanger Outlet Center and LRGHealthcare representatives gathered on Friday at Lakes Region General Hospital to celebrate the success of this past October's PinkStyle Program and the 6th Annual Tanger Fit for a Cure 5K. The events raised a total of $26,467.84 to benefit breast cancer initiatives/imaging technology at LRGHealthcare.

Since 2006 Tanger Outlet Centers in Tilton has donated $397,721.67 to support the purchase and maintenance of state-of-the-art imaging technology and upgrades to the Oncology Suite at Lakes Region General Hospital.

The Tanger Fit for a Cure 5K Run/Walk stared in 2009 with 400 participants. Celebrating its sixth year the 2014 5K welcomed 1,002 runners and walkers.

As an added gesture of generosity during this season of giving, Tanger also reached out to LRGH Oncology staff last week asking them to identify two patients undergoing treatment for breast cancer who could use a little uplifting this year. General Manager Eric Proulx gave each patient a very generous Christmas Shopping Spree at the Tanger Outlet Centers in Tilton. The surprised recipients were taken aback by the act of kindness.

Last Updated on Saturday, 20 December 2014 12:12

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North Branch wins contract for Fire Station expansion

LACONIA — The Land and Building Committee of the City Council this week confirmed North Branch Construction, Inc. of Concord as the low bidder for the renovation and expansion of the Central Fire Station.

North Branch Construction's bid of $4,032,000 was just $85,000 above the cost of $3,947,000 estimated by Warrenstreet Architects, Inc. to complete the project. Along with the cost of construction, design, engineering and legal fees are estimated to add approximately $226,600 to the total cost of the project for a total in the neighborhood of $4.3-million altogether.

City Manager Scott Myers said yesterday that the committee has authorized him to execute the contract and in addition appropriated $115,000 furniture, fixtures and fittings at the station.

Myers said that the contractor expects to begin work at the site within the next two weeks, taking advantage of a weather forecast that indicates unseasonably warm temperatures will persist into January. The project is scheduled to be completed by late October or early November.

The 2014-2015 city budget includes a borrowing of $4.4-million for the project.The plan includes the renovation of 13,167-square-feet of the existing station to serve as an apparatus bay, training area and storage space and the construction of a two-story, 12,964-square-foot addition to house the administrative offices, emergency operations center and dormitory. The building would be reconfigured to provide public access and parking off Tremont Street, instead of off North Main Street.

Last Updated on Saturday, 20 December 2014 02:11

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