Belmont Principal Clary to retire at the end of school year

Principal Dan Clary at Belmont High School sits at a special desk made for him in honor of being named vice principal of the year in 2010. He is surrounded by mementos and photos of his 12 years in Belmont. Clary will retire at the end of this school year. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

BELMONT — After 12 years at Belmont High School, with the last four in the role as principal, Dan Clary will be retiring at the end of this school year.

By Gail Ober

BELMONT — After 12 years at Belmont High School, with the last four in the role as principal, Dan Clary will be retiring at the end of this school year.

Clary came to Belmont from Concord High School at the assistant principal in 2004 and, besides his role at being mascot Buddy the Elf, he was named the New Hampshire Vice Principal of the year in 2010.

"I definitely going to miss my interaction with all of the people and the students," Clary said from his office yesterday morning. "A big part of me enjoyed being able to answer those questions and being able to help whenever anyone needs it."

"All teachers and administrators like this," he said.

Clary became an educator after trying his hand a running a family-based hardware store. He had earned his bachelor's degree in education with a history minor at Ohio State University and started teaching high school social studies in New York.
He holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from Plymouth State University.

He came to New Hampshire and taught high school history for four years in Newport and four additional years in Lebanon before taking the same job at Concord High School under now-retired Superintendent Chris Rath.

He said he was twice tapped to become the temporary chairman of the Department Social Studies and World Languages at Concord High School and "got the bug" of being an administrator from those two experiences and earned his Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from PSU.

In 2002-2003, while at Concord High School, he was asked to participate in a group of educators who were awarded $50,000 in federal grants to potentially divide Concord High School into four separate learning communities.

He said they worked on the planning portion but learned that there were too many schools ahead of them that qualified for the actual federal program, and since Concord High School was such a good school, the school would not get the grant. The next year, he joined Belmont High School, which at about 500 students was the perfect size high school for him, he said.

"I like that feeling of getting to know people very quickly," Clary said about the size of the school.
While Clary has brought a hands-on attitude to Belmont High School – he could always be seen with his students clearing the land behind the Belmont Mill or tinkering with something – he said his creation of the "power hour" is one of his better initiatives.

Power-hour is a time between classes where students have access to one-on-one conferences with teachers or to gather into study groups and master some course work. He said it's particularly important because many Belmont High School students work part-time jobs, have other activities and sports, and can't necessarily stay after school to get extra help.

He said in an age where competency-based teaching, which is what students know and how they can apply it, the district wants all of its students to reach that level even it it takes some of them a bit longer than others. Students are encouraged to use power hour to seek assistance from teachers or to gather with other students to help them reach that competency level.

"Many need more work and the teachers are there to help them," he said.

Clary said the hour has also been extremely beneficial to some of the honors and advanced placements students who are carrying very high class loads and need some extra time during the day.

"It can happen while they're all here and the teachers are willing and available," he said.

Clary also instituted a Combination Award that is given to two students each semester from each class room teacher who has seen some extra accomplishment or efforts in a particular subject area.

He said the award is not typically given to the honors students but for those who have show something special to their teachers. "We have a big ceremony and everything," Clary said, adding it's one of his favorite parts of the semester.

As for his future, it's family time for him and his wife Jackie who will retire this year from her job as an art teacher in Lebanon. He said they have a new grandchild and will be building a home near their children in South Carolina.

Tilton Dunkin’ Donuts ravaged by fire

The Dunkin' Donuts in Tilton was destroyed by fire in the early hours of Jan. 27. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

The Dunkin' Donuts in Tilton was destroyed by fire in the early hours of Jan. 27. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)


By Michael Kitch

TILTON — Fire erupting in the early morning hours yesterday all but destroyed the Dunkin' Donuts at 541 West Main St.

Employees arriving to open for business found smoke in the building and reported the fire at 2:49 a.m. Five minutes later a crew from Tilton-Northfield Fire & EMS , followed closely by firefighters from Franklin, reached the scene where heavy smoke was billowing from the eaves at the front of the building. Captain Sean Valovanie of Tilton-Northfield Fire & EMS requested a second alarm that drew companies from Belmont, Concord, Gilford, Laconia and Sanbornton to the fire while units from New Hampton and Gilmanton provided station coverage.

The first crews to arrive entered the building, but at the sight of heavy fire in the roof quickly withdrew and mounted an attack from outside. When the roof, constructed with light wooden trusses, failed the fire burned free and fire spread rapidly as firefighters deployed ladder pipes to contain and extinguish it..

"This was a large building with a significant fire load," said Valovanie, who estimated that more than 100,000 gallons of water were used to extinguish the fire.

Firefighter Justin Kantar said that the employees responded promptly and "did an excellent job of keeping out of the building, ensuring their safety and minimizing fire spread."

Because of the extent of the damage to the building, the cause of the fire has not been determined. The New Hampshire State Fire Marshall is assisting with the investigation.

More than 30 firefighters at the scene were provided with refreshments generously donated by Nick Rathosis, the owner of the building.

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Laconia Athletic & Swim Club will not reopen, set to go to auction

By Ginger Kozlowski

LACONIA — The Laconia Athletic and Swim Club, which closed Thanksgiving Day, will not reopen, and is set to go to auction soon.
"We're coming to the realization that a local investor group and trying to negotiate with a bank is not going to happen," said owner Tom Oakley on Monday.
Oakley sent an email to former members on Wednesday letting them know that their health club will not come back to serve their needs, and noted that the club is going to auction at the end of February.

Oakley said in the email that he remains optimistic that a new entity will be formed and the building will again "open its doors to this wonderful community."
Ready Cap Lending holds the first mortgage on the club, and would become the owner of the property in order to put the property up for auction, he said.
In the meantime, those who are interested in getting refunds on prepaid memberships will have to wait until the state Attorney General's office can process the requests.
"I've made a list of all who deserve refunds," said Oakley, "and given it to the Attorney General. We are working hand in hand with them."
In the email to members, Oakley said he can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or P.O. Box 1287, Laconia, NH 03247.
Oakley made a point of saying that he went to the state Attorney General and the state Employment Security to warn them of the club's closing, and both told him how unusual it was to get such notice. He said he was told by the Attorney General's Office that they typically don't sit down with owners of clubs that suddenly close; in fact, they usually hide from such contact.
Because the club is now facing auction, Oakley has begun the process of removing all sensitive records from the facility and winterizing the building so utilities can be shut off.
A local attorney has offered to help Oakley without charge, one thing that he is grateful for.
"I've been disappointed by the experts," he said. "I'm trying to do the right thing, stay optimistic. I'm faced with the reality that we have to now move on. I'm trying to remain dignified, not become bitter."

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