Titeflex to add 47,000 sq. ft. to Lexington Dr. facility

LACONIA — Titeflex Aerospace is expanding its facility at 93 Lexington Drive, enabling the firm to consolidate its operations, double its manufacturing space and create room for future growth.

Titeflex, which manufactures flexible hose and rigid tubing for a variety of applications in the aerospace industry, currently occupies 431,000 square feet on a 9.9 acre lot, but rents space in an adjacent building as well as a parking lot. The new addition will add 46,994 square feet to the north end of the facility. Beyond the addition, a 37,000 square-foot lot will provide on-site parking for 123 vehicles.

Project manager Brandon Prudhomme said that the addition will enable the firm to bring all its operations under one roof as well as reduce its production costs. "We're looking to do a lot of positive things at once," he remarked, adding that with LED and natural lighting energy costs will be trimmed and by recycling all its water discharge will be cut to zero. Prudhomme said that with the additional space and lower costs Titeflex will position itself to increase output and add employment in the future.

The parking area will be surfaced with porous pavement, the first large commercial application of the technology in the city. A filtering media directly beneath the surface will cleanse the water of contaminants before it reaches the groundwater and a network of under drains will disperse rising water during heavy rainfall to prevent flooding. The Conservation Commission applauded the firm for its investment in protecting the environment.

Prudhomme said that the project will be presented to the Planning Board when it meets in February.


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Voice of the Bruins Had Deep Ties to the Lakes Region

GILFORD — Bob Wilson, long-time voice of the Boston Bruins, spent a lot of time on Lake Winnipesaukee in his 23-foot Chris Craft ''Big Mouth'' which he kept at Fay's Boatyard in Gilford and is remembered as a friendly and unassuming man by people who knew him in the Lakes Region.
''I used to drive him to the Boston Garden after he had problems with his vision,'' recalls Merrill Fay, owner of Fay's, who said that Wilson was highly regarded by all who knew him.
Wilson, whose name was actually Robert Henry Castellon, died on Jan. 15 at the age of 85 after a courageous battle with lung cancer. A sports broadcasting legend, known as "The Voice of the Bruins," Wilson assumed his mother's maiden name in 1957 in order to have a two syllable name to fit radio station WCOP's jingles. He started broadcasting the Bruins games in 1964 and became play-by-play man in 1967, holding that position until he retired in 1994. For two seasons, 1969-71 he worked for a St. Louis radio station broadcasting the Blues games, including their loss to the Bruins in four straight games for the Stanley Cup in 1970.

His wife, Nancy, whom he married in 1950, says that she and Bob bought a year-round home in Dockham Shore Estates in 1988 and that for the last seven years of his broadcasting career he commuted to Boston to do the Bruins games.

''We absolutely loved it here,'' she said. Both were quietly active in the community and attended the Gilford Community Church and were regulars in Senior Bowling League at Funspot for the last 15 years.

She is still active in the league and says that Bob continued to stick with bowling until almost a month ago despite being legally blind for 10 years due to macular degeneration.

''He had some wonderful teammates. After he rolled the first ball they would tell him that he had the 5, 7 and 10 still standing so he would know where to put his next shot,'' says Nancy.

She says that Wilson continued to use the Castellon name locally, even though people knew him as the Bruins' announcer. ''It was a way of keeping some privacy for our children so that they could live normal lives. He was a great father and great grandfather and always treated people with respect and courtesy,'' she said, noting that for her and her family it is that part of his character which was the most important.

Nancy says that the Dockham Shore area is filled with memories for her and that she and her family had been coming to Gilford and staying summers in that area ever since the late 1930s.

''My family never had a car. They lost a lot of money in the Depression so we would come up the area on the train from Boston. We got off at Weirs Beach and take a water taxi to Dockham Shore or go up to Tarlson's store where we bought groceries and would get a ride to Dockham Shore on the store's delivery truck.''

She recalls walking over to The Weirs from Dockham Shore to go rollerskating and then walking back to the cottage the family had rented. ''We'd walk in the middle of the road sometimes because there was hardly ever any traffic.''
She says that she has fond memories of Sawyer's Dairy Bar as well as the Tamarack Drive-In ''when their lobster rolls were the best in the area.''

Nancy says that Bob was a humble person who took great pride in his work and was overwhelmed with emotion when the Bruins named the home radio booth at TD Garden after him in 2011.

Her son, Bill, who lives in Kittery, Maine, recalls that his dad was active in helping raise funds for the Gilford Skating Rink and following his retirement had an oldies program Sunday nights on radio station WLKZ and even broadcast some Laconia High School football games.

''He always had time for people. He was a very giving person and taught a lot of young broadcasters like Jack Edwards, who does the Bruins games on TV. He idolized my Dad,'' says Bill.

He said that one of the nicest tributes to Wilson came from a granddaughter who wrote on Facebook that he was known to all family members as ''Da'' and ''was the greatest grandfather a girl could ever have.''

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Boston Bruins Foundation (100 Legends Way, Boston, MA 02114) or the Bob Wilson Memorial Scholarship for Communications c/o Lakes Region Scholarship Foundation, PO Box 7312, Gilford, NH 03247-7312.

A celebration of Bob's life will be held at Gilford Community Church, 19 Potter Hill Road, Gilford, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 24. A reception will follow the service.

Every aspect of Meredith roundabouts plan questioned by critics

MEREDITH — Of all the towns around Lake Winnipesaukee, none have undergone greater change in the past few decades than Meredith, yet the prospect of reconfiguring the flow of traffic through town has met with stiff and spirited opposition in anticipation of a public hearing on the plan next week.

The U.S. Route 3/N.H. Route 25 Advisory Committee, chaired by Selectman Lou Kahn and composed of city officials, residents and business owners, has recommended constructing three roundabouts, which it believes will mitigate, but not eliminate, congestion during the summer months while slowing traffic and providing crosswalks to ease the movement of pedestrians.

Opposition to the plan is intense and widespread. A petition urging the Board of Selectmen to scuttle the proposal has collected hundreds of signatures. A handful of letter writers to local newspapers have questioned virtually every aspect of the proposal and asked residents to urge the selectmen to reject it.

The committee proposes replacing the traffic signal at the junction of Routes 3 and 25 with a single lane roundabout and constructing two other single lane roundabouts, one at Lake Street and another at Pleasant Street. The roundabout at the 3/25 intersection will have two right turn lanes to carry northbound traffic from Rte. 3 eastbound on Rte. 25. Traffic islands on Rte. 3 would forestall left turns in and out of Dover Street and on Rte. 25 would forestall left turns in or out of Meredith Village Savings Bank and the Hannaford shopping center.

The roundabout at Lake Street will enable northbound traffic on Rte. 3 to turn on to Lake Street and traffic on Lake Street to turn either southbound or northbound on to Rte. 3. The roundabout at Pleasant Street will include a driveway leading to the parking lots of both Meredith Village Savings Bank and the shopping center, enabling traffic on Rte. 25 to enter and exit without making left turns.

Each of the roundabouts will have crosswalks designed to enable pedestrians to cross one lane of traffic at a time. There will also be a crosswalk at Dover Street where a center island on Rte. 3 will enable pedestrians to cross one lane of traffic at a time. The crosswalks are not expected to significantly slow the flow of traffic on Rte. 3.

The construction costs, which the DOT estimates at $5 million, would be financed by a $4-million federal grant awarded to the DOT supplemented by state funding. The state would also fund the cost land acquisition. The town would not contribute to the construction budget, but would be responsible for the maintenance of any landscaping of the roundabouts and median strips.

Critics have fastened on issues raised by town officials at a meeting with Gene McCarthy of McFarland Johnson, Inc., the project manager, and representatives of DOT in December. Dan Leonard, superintendent of the Water and Sewer Department expressed concern about the impact on underground utilities. Fire Chief Ken Jones feared that the roundabouts and median strips would hinder the movement of emergency vehicles, slowing response times. Mike Faller, director of Public Works, questioned landscaping the median strips, recommending concrete, which would enable emergency vehicles to cross and reduce the cost of maintenance.

McCarthy indicated that these concerns could be addressed by the final design of the project. However, he noted that while every effort will be made to avoid impacts on municipal utilities, if they must be relocated, the town would bear the cost.

Other opponents have claimed that there is no data to indicate that the roundabouts will either improve the flow of traffic or enhance the safety of motiorists. "Everyone is in favor of eliminating congestion," wrote Marc Abear, but what does the engineering show about the outcome?" Likewise, Abear acknowledges that roundabouts may be appropriate at particular intersections, but insists no evidence has been presented to show that the three are dangerous, congested or complex.

Karen Sticht noted that the proposed traffic patter, by eliminating left turns, will compel drivers to circle a roundabout and backtrack to their destination. "I am prone to motion sickness and driving in circles makes me nauseous," she wrote, perhaps tongue in cheek. Moreover, she observed that roundabouts are cluttered with directional signs — 20 at each, she claimed — which will make the lakefront corridor "confusing and ugly."

Kahn, who has made the rounds speaking to civic groups in support of the proposal, stresses that it will mitigate congestion during the summer months, enhance conditions for pedestrians and improve the flow of traffic at the shopping center. He said that the committee considered a number of alternatives, including a dozen options considered "reasonable" by the first advisory committee, which convened in 2006 and reported in 2009. Traffic flows for each option were modeled using current and projected traffic volumes.

"There is no perfect solution," Kahn said, adding that "critics of the proposal insist that without am absolutely perfect solution there should be no change."

Kahn said that the system of three roundabouts "solves the issue of congestion to the extent it can be solved," explaining that none of alternatives would overcome the problem. Northbound traffic turning east on Rte. 25 on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, he said, would be much less congested while westbound traffic turning south on Rte. 3 may remain congested, but move continuously without the traffic signal.

Kahn conceded that a two lane roundabout at the intersection of 3/25 would have a greater impact on congestion, but only at the expense of properties surrounding the junction and perhaps also Scenic Park.

Kahn said DOT expects slower moving traffic will enable pedestrians to cross without causing significant delays. Likewise, the median strip will enable pedestrians crossing Rte. 3 at Dover Street to cross one lane at a time. while traffic will not stop in both directions at once.

He also said that along with improving conditions for motorists and pedestrians, he believes that with appropriate landscaping the improved roadway will significantly enhance the appearance of the waterfront. He noted that in Manchester, Vermont a roundabout faced fierce opposition from residents, whose opinion changed once the project was complete as they found it easy to negotiate and pleasing to the eye.

The town has wrestled with easing congestion on summer weekends intermittently since 1975, when the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed widening Route 3 and Route 25 to six lanes along the waterfront. In 2006 the first 3/25 Advisory Committee was convened to address the length of the corridor from the Rte. 104 intersection to the Center Harbor town line, a distance of 4.2 miles. After three years, the committee winnowed the range of options to 10 "reasonable" alternatives without offering s specific proposal. In 2013 a second advisory committee was convened and the scope of the project was shrunk to the one mile and 1,000 foot stretch from the intersection of 3/104 to Pleasant Street.

The public hearing will be held on Monday, January 26 in the auditorium at Inter-Lakes High School beginning at 6 p.m.

Alleged robber had friend working at targeted restaurant

LACONIA — The Plymouth man who allegedly robbed D'Angelo's restaurant in December may have had inside help, according to city police affidavits made available yesterday after his appearance in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division.

Police said that Brian Moore, of 34 Marie Way #17, has a female friend who is an employee of the Laconia D'Angelo's and that she was working on December 23 — the night of the robbery.

Moore faces one count of unarmed robbery, two counts of witness tampering and one count of driving after revocation.

Police affidavits filed with the court said Moore's female friend was interviewed by police and told them that in November or December the two had been joking around about possibly robbing D'Angelo's. She said at some point, the conversation progressed into something more serious.

On the day of the robbery, the woman allegedly told Moore that it was really busy as well as telling him that a co-worker would be leaving through the back door at closing time, which is the opening the robber, wearing a mask, used to gain entrance to the building.

She said Moore was driving her vehicle that night and that he parked in a commercial parking lot across Union Avenue and waited for the restaurant to close. After the unarmed robbery, she told police that Moore was the man who came to pick her up from work and that he arrived while police were still at D'Angelos conducting their investigation.

Later she is said to have told police that after he picked her up, he  told her he was the one who committed the robbery.

The woman also said that Moore allegedly asked her to lie to police twice about his whereabouts on that night. She said he asked her to say he was with his children and that he was in Plymouth.

Laconia Prosecutor Jim Sawyer argued for $5,000 cash, saying the robbery was premeditated, "brazen" and serious. He said that Moore had numerous traffic incidents in his past, including multiple convictions for driving after a license suspension.

Sawyer said he has convictions for filing a false report to police, issuing a bad check and a drug possession conviction.

Defense Attorney Eric Wolpin said Moore should be released on personal recognizance bail because he was living with his mother in Plymouth and was not a flight risk. Wolpin added Moore has four children in the area.

Wolpin also argued that Moore is not a violent man and has nothing on his record to indicate he is a physical threat to anyone.

Judge Jim Carroll said that Moore allegedly committed a premeditated robbery and that in his opinion, Moore represented a danger to society.

He was ordered held on $5,000 cash-only bail and not to have any contact with the woman who allegedly helped him, with the other employees at D'Angelos that night, and to stay away from all D'Angelos stores and property.

He also ordered him not to drive unless his license gets reinstated.

Moore's female friend has not been charged with a crime in connection with the robbery.