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Workers now replacing Main Street Bridge steel that was put in place about 90 years ago

LACONIA — With the second stage of the rehabilitation of the Main Street Bridge over the Winnipesaukee River well underway, the reconstruction of the original bridge has become the centerpiece of the project.

The bridge consists of three spans. The central span, built in the 1920s, aligns with Main Street and served as the lone crossing of the river until 1968 when the sections carrying Beacon Street East and Beacon Street West were added and joined to the existing bridge with the reconfiguration of downtown. Four years later the central span was improved.

The rehabilitation of the bridge is proceeding from east to west in four stages. During the first phase, which was completed last month, the concrete deck was replaced and the steel stringers and concrete abutments were rehabilitated on the Beacon Street East section. Next year, in the fourth phase of the project, the deck will be replaced and the stringers and abutments rehabilitated on the Beacon Street West section.

Meanwhile, this month and next, work will proceed on the oldest section of the bridge, where the steel stringers bearing the original deck will be replaced in the second and third phases of the project. Director of Public Works Paul Moynihan said yesterday that altogether eight steel girders, each approximately 75 feet long and weighing about 5.5 tons, will be set in place on rehabilitated abutments. The easterly stringers will be installed this month and the westerly stringers next month. At the same time, a beam that runs laterally across the Main Street Section of the bridge will be lowered.

Main Street will remain open to traffic while work progresses.

Work on the Beacon Street West section of the bridge will proceed between March and July 2015 in tandem with the construction and landscaping of the "Gateway Plaza" north of the bridge at the foot of Main Street. The entire project is expected to be finished by August next year.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 01:05

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Correction: Kim Lacasse is member of dream team supreme

Kim Lacasse, winner of the 2014 Annette P. Schmitt Unsung Hero Award, is a member of the Pub Mania Dream Team Supreme team, not the Cafe Deja Vu team, as was incorrectly reported in Friday's edition. The Cafe Deja Vu team is, however, the highest earning team for the last two years in Pub Mania, the top fundraising event that feeds into the annual WLNH Children's Auction.



Last Updated on Saturday, 19 July 2014 12:14

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2 women charge Barnstead sex attacks when they were minors, 18 or more years ago

CIRCUIT COURT — An Epsom man was ordered held on $75,000 cash bail after appearing in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday after being charged with one count of pattern rape that allegedly occurred in Barnstead more than two decades ago.

The statute of limitations for rape is typically six years, meaning the victim has six years from the time of the allegedly assault to report it to police. Recent changes in the law allow that if a person was under 18 at the time of the assault, he or she has until the age of 40 to report the assault to authorities.

Attorneys for Kenneth Day, 67, reserved their right to argue bail and a probable cause hearing has been scheduled for August 1 at 1 p.m.

The state was represented by Belknap County Deputy Attorney General Carley Ahern, who said the particulars of the case are very disturbing. At her request the court seals the complaints, the affidavits supporting Day's arrest, and issued a retracted version of his bail conditions.

She said the complaints stem from Day's allegedly acts from 1991 through 1996.

The case was allegedly triggered when two women walked into the Barnstead Police station and said Day allegedly assaulted them when they were children.

Police along with the Belknap County Sheriff's Department launched an investigation and determined there could have been as many as 300 separate alleged incidents of rape allegedly committed by Day.

Ahern said the one charge is a pattern of sexual assault charge meaning the assaults occurred twice or more over a time span of at least two months but less than five years.'

Should he post the $75,000 cash bail, Day is ordered to report immediately to the N.H Department of Probation and Parole, not to leave the state, to sign a waiver of extradition, and to not have any unsupervised contact with children under age 16.

He is also ordered not to consume any alcohol or unlawful drugs.

Day is being held in the Belknap County House of Corrections.

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 July 2014 12:07

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Belknap Co. Commission likely to argue it can't be sued by lawmakers

LACONIA — The Belknap County Commission has withheld comment on the suit brought against by it the Belknap County Convention, pending consultation with legal counsel. However, earlier correspondence about the issues at stake and prospect of litigation from Sharon Cuddy Somers of Donahue, Tucker & Ciandella, the attorney representing the commissioners, foreshadows the arguments she will present in their defense.

After wrangling over the last two county budgets, last week on behalf of the convention, Representatives Colette Worsman (R-Meredith), the chair, and Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton), the clerk, brought suit against the Belknap County Commission, asking the Belknap County Superior Court to affirm its authority over each of the individual line items within the budget and prohibit the commission from spending more from any line item than it appropriated.

In November 2013, a month after the convention voted to file suit against the commission, Somers wrote to David Horan, the attorney for the convention, questioning the authority of the convention to bring legal actions and claimed that it has no such authority. Noting that the enumerated powers of county conventions are prescribed by statute, she stated that "nowhere does the statute indicate that the delegation (convention) may bring legal actions in court on behalf of the county, let alone against the county commissioners."

Echoing Somers, Rep. David Huot (D-Laconia), a retired district court judge, also questioned whether "an appropriating authority has standing to sue an executive authority over its failure to confine expenditures to the amounts specified in particular line items. He explained that in order to have standing, a party must demonstrate they were harmed or injured by the alleged action. An individual taxpayer or group of taxpayers, he said, would have standing to compel any branch of county government to comply with the law.

Likewise, Somers challenged the authority to retain and compensate legal counsel. Although the authority to appropriate funds rests with the convention, the authority to enter contracts and approve expenditures is vested in the commission. In fact, before retaining Horan, the convention, without the authorization of the commission, sought legal advice from the Mitchell Group and incurred expenses that have yet to be paid. Somers concluded by explaining that while seeking to avoid litigation, "the commissioners will defend against the action and will seek to have those individuals who voted to proceed with the action be held personally responsible for attorneys' fees and costs."

Worsman and Burchell filed suit on the strength of a motion the convention adopted at its meeting on October 22, 2013. The motion read: "To authorize Attorney Davifd Horan to go forward with a petition for declaratory judgment in the Belknap County Superior Court concerning the legitimacy or lack thereof of the Belknap County Commissioners rewriting the 2013 county budget by making multiple line transfers without Executive Committee review and approval and to further authorize Attorney David Horan to take any and all legal action as he sees fit to protect the fiscal integrity of the County Delegation's (convention's) original budget as voted."

Ten Republicans voted for the motion, while four Democrats were opposed and four other members — three Republicans and one Democrat — were absent and did not vote.

Since the motion was adopted in October, by which time much of the funds appropriated in 2013 had been expended, the convention choose not to proceed with legal action. When the same issues arose over the budget again this year Worsman filed suit, without requesting the convention to reaffirm its intent as expressed with respect to the 2013 budget 10 months earlier. Nor did Worsman notify members of the convention of her decision to litigate at this time.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled in Belknap County Superior Court on Wednesday, August 6, beginning at 9 a.m.

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 July 2014 12:02

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