McDonald's honoring gilford volleyball champions (476)

GILFORD — Members of the undefeated Gilford High School volleyball team will be treated to a free breakfast at McDonald's on Union Ave. in Laconia this Saturday morning.
The volleyball team finished with a 20-0 mark, marking its 15th Division II state title in the last 21 years under coach Joan Forge.
"The team is very excited about being treated. We feel like celebrities," said Forge, who says that the team will arrive at the restaurant at 8:30 a.m. wearing their championship shirts and jackets.
Radio station WEMJ will be on hand to broadcast its weekend sports program starting at 9 a.m. and will interview Forge and players on the team.
Forge, who has been coaching at Gilford since 1984, said it was the first time that Gilford has ever had to go five sets to win a championship game and credited a core group of seniors, including Capt. Jordan Dean, Maddie Harris and Brooke Beaudet with providing the focus and determination Gilford needed to win.
''We came really close last year and the team put in a lot of off-season training to prepare for this season,'' said Forge.
She said it was good battle against Somersworth and the team proved its true mettle after the Hilltoppers tied the match at two sets apiece.
''We had to play a lot of defense, but we were perfect in serving, going 115 for 115 in five games,'' said Forge, whose team won the fifth set 15-8 as Maddie Currier served up six straight points.
Gilford volleyball won nine straight state championships from 1999 to 2007.
Forge was selected as Division II coach of the year and Jordan Dean was named Division II player of the year.
McDonald's spokesman Larry Johnston said that the restaurant is pleased to to be able to honor the Gilford girls and is inviting people from the community to take pictures with the team and give them their personal congratulations.
Forge said that on Sunday, January 24 she will be running the 5th Annual Amy Annis Volleyball Tournament. Annis was a member of the 1995 state championship team and died four years ago at the age of 32 to breast cancer.
"I have organized this tournament each year as a promise to Amy and her family. Amy attended the first tournament five years ago. All proceeds go to the Amy Annis Scholarship, which awards $1,000 to a Gilford graduating senior every year, and also to the American Cancer Society," said Forge.
She said 16 teams enter the tournament each year and each pay a $100 entry fee in the event which is a co-ed recreational tournament for players high school age and adults and is played on four courts in the Gilford Middle School and High School gymnasiums.
She said that many alumni come home for the weekend to play in the tournament and that Saturday's breakfast is a good way to kick off the weekend.

Budget battle - Gilford School Board threatened with legal action over determination of default budget

GILFORD — When Budget Committee member Norman Silber threatened to ask for a criminal investigation into the school district's default budget, he said it was because the budget was presented and sworn as accurate and then signed by the members of the School Board under penalties of perjury. Now the district has called an emergency meeting to address the accusations.

Calling the default budget "false" and "misleading," Silber said if the one-time expenditures identified by the Budget Committee are not remedied, or removed from the budget, he would ask the state Attorney General's Office and/or the Belknap County Attorney's Office to look into it.

His possible criminal allegations are based on state law RSA 641, which defines "unsworn falsification" and provides penalties for it.

Silber, an attorney and member of the New Hampshire and Florida Bar Associations, made his statements near the end of the Jan. 14 Budget Committee's public hearing for the town budget and not during the committee's public hearing for the Gilford School District that was held on Jan. 12.

Gilford School District Superintendent Kent Hemingway responded to Silber's threat yesterday, saying the School Board would be meeting on Monday at 6 p.m. at the elementary school to "consider" the default budget.

Hemingway said at the end of the final Budget Committee meeting on Jan. 7, he and Budget Administrator Scott Isabelle spent an hour after everyone else had left, other than committee members, while Chairman Kevin Leandro and member David Horvath Sr. repeatedly demanded that Isabelle go back and change the default budget.

Hemingway went on to say that the Budget Committee agreed to establish a co-committee with the School Board to work on future default budgets.

"My first point of business on Jan. 25 will be to request a motion that the School Board approve joining the committee," Hemingway said. He also said he and Isabelle will present a 10-year history of how default budgets have been prepared since the adoption of  the Official Ballot Law, commonly called SB2.

Silber said the Budget Committee asked in writing if all one-time expenditures have been removed from the default budget and was told they were. He said he and other members of the committee have questioned about $300,000 in line items that they believe were one-time expenditures and not removed during the default budget preparation.

One of the biggest single items questioned by the Budget Committee has been the $100,000 "seed" money for the destruction and rebuild of the Imagination Station at the elementary school.

Hemingway said that money is designated as a continuing pool of money for "special projects" and is in every budget, not a one-time expense. For example, he said, three school years ago the seats in the high school auditorium were replaced with that money and two years ago the elementary school parking lot was paved with the same special projects line. Last year, it was Imagination Station. He said that all special projects are selected from the capital improvement plan.

A default budget is basically last year's budget, increased by items like contracts and health insurance costs, and decreased by the amount of one-time expenses. The default budget was determined to be higher than the district's proposed operating budget, spurring the concerns, and would go into effect if voters do not approve the proposed budget. The default budget was set this year at $25,688,824, while the proposed budget is $25,667,251, a difference of $21,573.

Timber Hill Farm decision delayed again - Howes submit a brand new site plan; legal name of business creates confusion for Gilford Planning Board

GILFORD – A standing-room only crowd was on hand at Tuesday night at the Planning Board meeting for 2 ½ hours, only to hear that the site plan review for an agritourism proposal from Andy and Martina Howe of Timber Hill Farm will be delayed for at least two weeks for legal reasons.

Member Norman Silber said he didn't believe the application was complete because many of its documents referenced Timber Hill Farm LLC, which is not a company owned or operated by the Howe but an administratively dissolved limited liability company from Deerfield.

While the Howes have filed paperwork with the N.H. Secretary of State, Department of Corporations for a trademark registration for the name Timber Hill Farm, they do not operate Timber Hill Farm LLC.

The Howes' attorneys, Patrick and Ethan Wood, said the application for site plan review was requested by Andrew and Martina Howe and not by Timber Hill Farm LLC; however, board members unanimously agreed they would rather be careful than wrong and agreed to contact the town attorney for advice.

According to Town Planner John Ayer, who spoke to the Sun yesterday on the telephone, the application was submitted by the Howe's as individual people however the site plan review and the request for "farm-to-table" events were submitted on or about October 1 under the name of Timber Hill Farm LLC.

Last night, Ethan Wood handed out a site plan review that was dated Jan. 19, 2016, and listed Andrew Howe as the applicant. Ayer said the site plan review was delivered by email to his computer at 4:58 p.m. and he didn't get to review it until the meeting, which started at 7 p.m.

Within that packet were two documents with Timber Hill Farm LLC as the protagonist. One is signed by Isaac Howe and says he is the permittee that can have a bonfire and was issued by the N.H. Department of Resources and Development. The other is a bill from United Safety Services LLC that billed Timber Hill Farm LLC for some safety work done at 300 Gunstock Hill Road.

The packet all includes a permit to operate a place of assembly issued jointly to Timber Hill Farm and Great American Dining, Common Man Family – the third party company that actually caters the events at 285 Gunstock Hill Road. It is signed by Deputy Fire Chief Brad Ober.

Since the Board of Selectmen have ordered the Planning Board to review the site plan request within 30 days of the selectmen's last meeting, the Planning Board announced it would review the site plan at its next meeting on Feb. 8 and still be within the mandates of the selectboard.

As of yesterday at 5 p.m., the town attorney had not given an opinion to the Planning Director or Town Administrator.