DOT backs of plan to build Belmont fuel station

BELMONT — The N.H. Department of Transportation has abandoned plans to build a fuel depot on property it owns at the corner of Rte. 106 and Brown Hill Road.

The decision was made in the wake of a hearing two weeks ago when selectmen told DOT engineer Ronald Grandmaison that they were concerned with the additional traffic the facility would draw.

"We also acknowledge that the condition of the existing roadway pavement through this section of N.H. Rte. 106 is less than desirable," Grandmaison wrote.

In the meeting on July 6, the board told Grandmaison that it was unhappy with the condition of Rte. 106 and faulted the DOT for not keeping its promises to improve that section. The DOT did put down a skim coat of asphalt this spring, but selectmen told Grandmaison it wasn't enough and it would be worn away by next spring.

In response, Grandmaison wrote to the board that the Seavey Road intersection was in the design phase and is still scheduled for work in 2016. He said the Seavey Road project was not likely to extend to the Brown Hill Road intersection because of a lack of crash history.

He said the DOT is considering some widening of Rte. 106 is that area to create a wider shoulder but he didn't think it would completely address the pocket created by entering and exiting traffic.

If the DOT fueling station had been built, the state would have closed the stations in Gilford, Loudon, and on Rte. 140 in Belmont as part of a plan to remove all underground tanks by 2017.

In other business, selectmen voted unanimously to include the Belmont Mill on the State Registry of Historic Places after learning that it wouldn't effect any future plans the town may have for it.

Children write letter to 'government' to complain of litter & trash along & in the Winnipesaukee River

LACONIA — Litter was uppermost on the minds of a group of five- to seven-year-olds after walking from the Laconia Early Learning Center to Opechee Park last week.

"There was all kinds of litter on the ground," said Corban, who is six, "There was a shopping cart, a rug and trash in the river."

Shari Lancaster, director of the Laconia Early Learning Center, said that the children walk from the center on Strafford Street to swimming lessons at the Laconia Athletic and Swim Club as well as to the beach at Opechee Park. They follow a dirt path from the sewer pump station at the end Strafford Street along the bank of the Winnipesaukee River and cross the bridge at Messer Street to Opechee Street.

Lancaster said that Corban was especially upset by the litter and asked Miss Jenn, the teacher, "can you tell the government?" She suggested the children write a letter to Mayor Ed Engler and sent it together with a photograph of the trash.

The letter, addressed "Dear Government," reads "Today our teacher took us on a walk. When we were on our walk we saw a lot of litter and trash in the water. It makes us sad because Miss Jenn said we can't sit by the water with all the litter. We think you should call the cops and put the people who litter in jail after they clean up the litter. Please help us keep our world clean. We love our planet."

When asked what he thought the mayor should do with those who litter, Corban fetched a book and opened it to a page showing Curious George, the ubiquitous monkey, sulking in a jail cell.

Engler said yesterday that he intends to visit with the children later this week.


CAPTION: Corban, 6, along with Shari Lancaster, director of the Laconia Early Learning Center, and his classmate Jillian, displays the letter the children sent calling on "The Government" to punish litterbugs. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch).

Acid spill closes city transfer station

LACONIA — The city's transfer station on Meredith Center Road was closed throughout the morning yesterday as the Central New Hampshire Hazardous Materials Team cleared a spill of hydrochloric acid.

Deputy Fire Chief Kirk Beattie said firefighters were called to the transfer station at 7:45 a.m. when a cloud of vapor arose from a load of demolition when it was emptied on to the floor of the shed. On arriving Lieutenant Chad Vaillancourt found a haze in the building, which subsided, enabling firefighters to enter the building in an effort to identify the source of the vapors. However, in what is known as off-gassing, the material released a fresh round of chemicals that filling the large building with vapors, prompting the crew to retreat.

The Central New Hampshire Hazardous Materials Team was summoned and confirmed that the material was hydrochloric acid. Beattie said that a one-gallon container of hydrochloric acid was apparently crushed when the demolition debris was unloaded, causing the acid to escape. The hazardous material team neutralized the acid and the building was reopened at 12:38 p.m.

Five firefighters, together with an employee at the transfer station, all of whom were exposed to the vapors, were transported to Lakes Region General Hospital where they were evaluated, treated and released.

Ann Saltmarsh of the Department of Public Works said that the load of demolition debris was delivered by Waste Management, Inc., which operates the transfer station, and apparently originated in Wilton, New Hampshire.

Gilford Fire-Rescue responded to the scene while firefighters from Meredith covered the Weirs Beach Station and Belmont Fire Department and Meredith Emergency Medical Services covered Central Station.