cell phone use causes crash on Messer Street

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — A local woman will be cited for distracted driving (use of a cell phone) after she crashed into a utility pole on Messer Street Wednesday night, causing wires to hang dangerously close to the roadway.

After striking the pole, police said Cierra Gonyea, 19, of 32 Lyford St. #2 careened across the street, went up on the sidewalk and landed about 5 feet from a house on the corner of Irving Street.

"Fortunately, no one was walking on the sidewalk and there were no kids playing in the yard," said Capt. Matt Canfield.

Canfield said that since the beginning of the year, 108 warnings and eight citations have been given to people by city police for violating the state law against the use of electronic hand-held devices since the law went into effect in July of 2015.

He said people have been given plenty of time to adjust to the law and noted there was an 18-month education campaign waged by the state police before it went into effect.

"It only takes a moment of distraction to cause a tragedy," Canfield said, who added police are going to be writing more tickets and giving less warning about the hands-free law in the future.

A portion of Messer Street was closed to traffic for several hours last night.

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Santaniello leaves LRCS for state position

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Christine Santaniello, who has served as executive director of Lakes Region Community Services for the past decade, has resigned to become director of of the Bureau of Developmental Services at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

R. Stuart Wallace, president of the board of directors of Lakes Region Community Services, said, "While we are sad that Chris is leaving, we are pleased that she will continue to work tirelessly for those with developmental disabilities and acquired brain disorders with the state." Santaniello, he continued, "has accomplished a great deal in her tenure."

In particular he noted that she has assembled "a strong team, developed high quality programs and services and kept the organization financially strong." In addition, Santaniello shepherded the organization's move to new quarters in the former Federal Building on North Main Street.

Santaniello will leave her position on Oct. 12 when Becky Bryant will assume her responsibilities as interim executive director. Meanwhile, the board of directors has begun a search for an executive director.

Lakes Region Community Services will host a reception honoring Santaniello on Wednesday, Oct. 12, between 3:30 and 6 p.m. at its main office at 719 N. Main St. RSVP to Judy Maguire at 581-1504 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Laconia School Board, union stalemate on contract talks

LACONIA — After negotiating for the past seven months, the Laconia School Board and Laconia Education Association, which represents the teachers in the five schools of the district, announced on Thursday they have failed to reach agreement on a collective bargaining agreement and will work without one during the 2016-2017 school year.

In a joint statement, the board and the union said that, despite negotiating in good faith since February, "they were unable to overcome the financial constraints imposed by the School District's approved budget for the 2016-2017 school year." Both parties intend to begin talks in January with the intention of negotiating and ratifying a collective bargaining agreement for the 2017-2018 school year.

– Michael Kitch

 

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