New LRPA-TV station manager glad to be part of children's auction

LACONIA — Grace McNamara, station manager for Lakes Region Public Access Television since July, says that she is looking forward to being a part of the annual Children's Auction for the first time ever.
"I'm really excited about our live coverage of such an fantastic event which involves hundreds of volunteers from the community,'' says McNamara Monday as she helped set up the cameras which will be providing coverage starting at nine o'clock this morning.
The 33rd annual Children's Auction, which runs through Saturday, will be telecast by LRPA-TV on TV Channel 25 Metrocast. It will also be carried by Channel 12 Metrocast and broadcast live on FM stations, 104.9 The Hawk and WZEI 101.5, the auction's new radio partners.
McNamara said that about 45 students from the Huot Center at Laconia High School will be helping out during the auction, as well as about 20 LRPA-TV supporters.
''I'm really impressed by how well organized this event is and how the volunteer efforts are coordinated,'' says McNamara.
This will mark the the first time that the auction, now in its 33rd year, will be under the direction of the Greater Lakes Region Charitable Fund for Children, a nonprofit corporation which earlier this year took sole ownership of the "Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction."
Since the first auction in 1982, which was conducted singlehandedly by Warren Bailey of WLNH, the auction has been effectively owned and operated by the radio station and its owners. Earlier this year, volunteers who devoted their time and energy to the success of the event reassessed the relationship with the station and chose to vest ownership of the auction in a nonprofit corporation — the Greater Lakes Region Charitable Fund for Children.
Mike Seymour, chairman of the board of trustees, says that the format of the action will be largely unchanged and that there will be many familiar faces, including Bailey, Pat Kelly and Chris Ialuna.
Some 61 charities have applied for support from the auction with requests totaling $580,000.
Last year the auction raised $486,575, with nearly half of that coming from the popular Pubmania event hosted by Patrick's Pub.
The auction runs from today through Saturday Dec. 12; from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, visit the auction's website at www.childrensauction.com.

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Getting ready for the 33rd annual Children's Auction, which gets underway today at 9 a.m. from the Lake Opechee Conference Center, are Ed Darling, long-time volunteer; Zack Derby, program director for FM stations, 104.9 The Hawk and WZEI 101.5 , which will broadcast the auction; Grace McNamara. station manager for Lakes Region Public Access Television, which will televise ; Tony Felch, auction volunteer, and Zack Horne, LRPA technician. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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Ed Darling, long-time volunteer for the Children's Auction, greets Grace McNamara, station manager for Lakes Region Public Access Television, who will be in charge of the live broadcast of the auction, and Zack Derby, program director for FM stations, 104.9 The Hawk and WZEI 101.5 , which will broadcast the auction and are the auction's new radio partners. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Solar Village infrastructure grant up for hearing on Monday


BELMONT —A $500,000 grant to improve infrastructure at the Solar Village neighborhood will be discussed at a public hearing Monday.

The selectmen's hearing takes place at 5:15 p.m. at the Corner Meeting House on a proposed application to the Community Development Finance Authority for up to $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for infrastructure upgrades at Solar Village, a neighborhood of 48 homes located off of Ladd Hill Road.
The town will retain up to $25,000 for administrative expenses and the remainder will be used toward the upgrades. The majority of the residences are low- and moderate-income households, which meets the criteria that all such projects must primarily benefit low- and moderate-income persons.
Up to $500,000 annually is available through the Community Development Finance Authority on a competitive basis for economic development, and public facility and housing projects, up to $350,000 in emergency activities and up to $12,000 is available for feasibility study grants.
There will also be public hearings following on the Residential Anti-displacement and Relocation Assistance Plan and progress of the Solar Village Planning Study. Pathways Consulting performed a study of the existing infrastructure to determine necessary upgrades and cost estimates for those improvements.

Comment Monday on next year’s budget

LACONIA —Belknap County commissioners are expecting to hold the tax rate steady for next year, even with plans for a new jail, but the public is invited to give their thoughts about the budget next Monday.

The Belknap County Convention's public hearing will start at 7 p.m. at the Belknap County complex on the proposed 2016 budget.
County commissioners have proposed a 2016 budget of $35,235,571 which includes $8 million for a new community corrections facility.
Commission Chairman David DeVoy said that although the total spending proposal for 2016 is up more than 31 percent, the amount to be raised by taxes is the same as this year, $13,387,714.
The commissioners will also discuss their plans for financing the $8 million bond for the new community corrections facility.
Commissioners are looking to structure the bond issue with an eye to keeping payments lower, especially during the early years while the county is still paying off $1.4 million in other debts.
DeVoy favors a bond anticipation note which would allow the county to borrow only the amount it needs, when it needs it, not the entire $8 million.
After approving the bond issue on Nov. 2, the county convention passed a nonbinding resolution to use the county's unreserved fund balance to pay off the county's current $1.4 million debt obligation over the next three years, saving $1 million in interest charges. The resolution, proposed by Rep. Brian Gallagher (R-Sanbornton) and passed by a 12-3 vote, recommends a 20-year bond issue with level payments of $530,000 per year over the life of the bond.
Convention Chairman Frank Tilton (R-Laconia) opposed the nonbinding recommendation, saying he favors a 25-year bond spreading the cost of the new jail over a longer period so taxpayers who would benefit from the new facility would be paying a larger share.
Commissioner Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton) recently reminded the commission of the convention's overwhelming vote in favor of Gallagher's recommendation.