Local Kiwanians & friends celebrate 100th birthday of organization

LACONIA — The Laconia Kiwanis Club was praised for its long history of community involvement at a gathering held at the Belknap Mill Wednesday night marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the parent service organization in Detroit.
The local club was chartered in 1927 and Laconia Mayor Ed Engler traced a link between the club's founding and the third story meeting room at the mill where the gathering was held, which he said is named the Rose Chertok Gallery in honor of the wife of one of the club's founders, Max Chertok.
He said that Max and Rose's son, Ed 'Sonny' Chertok, former Laconia Mayor and long-time Belknap County Commissioner, was one of at least five members of the Laconia Kiwanis Club to serve as mayor. That list also included Dr. Clarence Rowe, Tom McIntyre, J. Oliva Huot and Rod Dyer.
The local club had the distinction in 1965 and 1966 of having both a U.S. Senator, McIntyre, and U.S. Congressman, Huot, as members at the same time.
Engler also pointed a long list of Kiwanians who had served the city in a number of capacities such as Dick Breton, former city councilor and water commissioner; attorney Paul Normandin, a city councilor, fire commissioner and member of the Gunstock Area Commission; Carroll Stafford, former president of Laconia Savings Bank; Charlie Smith, a long-time city councilman and Buddy Daigneault, former Laconia police officer and Belknap County commissioner and administrator, as well as other club members who had many contributions to the community such as Howard Bacon, Roger Ballantyne, Warren Mitchell, Paul Cotton, Chet Cilley, and Jim Fortier.
He said that those who have made the club such a force in the city weren't necessarily those who were involved politically but ''the quiet people who take responsibility and get things done.''
First District Executive Councilor Joe Kenney presented the club with a proclamation honoring Kiwanis on its 100th anniversary and said that the club is a great example of what volunteering can contribute to local communities.
Club president John Walker said that club ''is not large, but we have a large impact on the community.'' and introduced representatives of organizations that the Kiwanis Club helps support.
Anne Marie Mercuri of Central NH VNA and Hospice said that the organization provides support to over 500 children and families in the area through its pediatric home care and immunization services and thanked the club for its support.
Pleasant Street School librarian Liz Rosenfeld and Woodland Heights Elementary School librarian Robbie Neylon said that the club's Kiwanis Kares program which brings club members to schools to read to students and distributes books to them has been in place for 14 years and benefited thousands of students.
The Rev. Paula Gile of the Got Lunch! Program said that the club played a key role in supporting the organization's efforts which got underway in 2011 to provide nutritious meals to students during the summer months and that many of the club's members have served as volunteers for the program.
Kiwanis has sponsored teams in Laconia Little League for more than a half-century and also sponsors the Key Club at Laconia High School which provides leadership opportunities for high school students.

Amelia's Got Game

LACONIA — After three quarters, the Laconia Middle School girls' basketball team held a commanding 37 to 14 lead over Bow yesterday. With 24 points and three assists, Amelia Clairmont accounted for 30 of her team's points then sat out the fourth quarter as the Sachems coasted to easy 48 to 24 win, running their unbeaten string to 14.

Clairmont, who began playing basketball in first grade, said simply, "I just love the game." She plays and practices seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, traveling to Lawrence, Mass., on weekends to join the New Hampshire Rivals, an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) club, playing eight games in two days, as well as working out under the eye of Scott Hazelton, a former McDonald's All-American who starred at the University of Rhode Island. In the summer she plays in the park, often with her older brother Alex and his friends. "If you want to get beat," she tells them, "it's okay with me."

Chick Tautkus, Clairmont's coach at LMS, said, "She exudes a passion for basketball and has a rare dedication to the game."

At 5 feet, 8 inches and about 135 pounds, Clairmont already stands tall and strong for a 14-year-old eighth-grader, but insists, "I work out and I'm trying to get really strong." Almost from the beginning she has been matched against older players, playing a year or more ahead of her age.

Despite her size, she sees herself as a point guard, even as she plays in the middle of the back line of a two-three zone. "I like to drive. Attack the rim," she said. Against Bow, Clairmont worked her crossover dribble and threaded the lane several times for easy layups, but also drained four 3-point shots from beyond the arc.

"She's a basketball player," said Tautkus, "and can play all over the floor — shoot, pass, rebound defend, steal — she does it all."

He began coaching Clairmont when she was in fourth grade and has seen her game improve during her three years on the A team.

"Her ball handling and shooting have really improved," he said. "She can take over a game."

Clairmont said that she models her game on LeBron James.

"I watch all his moves and work to copy them— spin moves, crossover dribble, behind the back and through the legs, no-look passes," she said. "I want to be shoot the three-pointer and play tough close to the riim."

And like her idol, she wears a headband.

Tautkus described Clairmont as a keen competitor, recalling that recently she fell hard and hit her head on the floor, but insisted, "I'm not coming out of this game." In a hard-fought game against Belmont, he said she took a beating then "came on like gangbusters, on a mission. You just got to love it."

For all Clairmont's talent, she is a team player, who looks for the open teammate and shares the ball. Against Bow she scored with economy and efficiency, without forcing shots. On the A Team she is accompanied by talented teammates like Hannah Dow, Caitlyn Beattie, Ellie Kelly and Skyler Tautkus who together play aggressive, pressing defense and fast-paced offense with energy and finesse.

Clairmont also shines the classroom as a straight A student.

"Her test scores are through the roof," said her mother, Erin Davis. "When we're on the road she's in the back seat with the light on and the books open."

"I like to win," Clairmont said, her blue eyes widening and a broad smile lighting her face.


Laconia man charged with threatening in Concord

CONCORD — A Laconia man, who was arrested after threatening to kill his former girlfriend and her fiancee in December, is scheduled to be arraigned in Concord District Court on Monday, Jan. 26.

Shaine Beaulieu, 21, whose last known address was Union Avenue, Laconia, is charged with two counts of criminal threatening and two counts of possession of prescription drugs.

Concord police were called to an apartment on Clinton Street on Dec. 17 at 6:25 p.m. where occupants reported a man was banging on the door and threatening to kill a man inside. By the time police arrived the man had left, but the woman and her fiancee identified him as Beaulieu, her former boyfriend, who was described as wearing a "Mossy Oak" sweatshirt and black sweatpants. The woman advised officers that Beaulieu had access to a .45 caliber handgun.

The woman told police she had ended a relationship with Beaulieu after three months. She said that Beaulieu made 10 phone calls, leaving messages threatening to kill her and her fiancee. An officer listened to one message, allegedly left by Beaulieu inviting her fiancee to meet at McDonalds and "get some" and saying "he's (expletive) lucky I didn't kill him." While police were at the apartment the woman answered a call, allegedly from Beaulieu, which she put on speakerphone for the reporting officer to hear the caller "yelling and screaming at her."

Informed that Beaulieu was at Uno's Restaurant on Fort Eddy Road, officers took him into custody at the L.L.Bean outlet nearby. He was found in possession of drugs prescribed to his former girlfriend, which she claimed he had stolen from her.

Beaulieu was recently charged with criminal trespass in Laconia and was charged with simple assault following an altercation at the Firendly Kitchen in Concord in July.

Belmont residents question bond proposal to fund $3.4-million mill renovation

BELMONT – About 20 residents came to the Corner Meeting House Tuesday night to ask questions and/or voice their views regarding the proposed $3.4-million renovation of the historic Belmont Mill.

Selectmen presented a 20-year bond payback schedule of a estimated 4 percent interest rate with the first payment coming in February 2016 of $279,740. The final payment in 2035 would be $150,000. This would add 48 cents per $1,000 of value in 2016. Total interest paid would be $1,240,490.

Interest on a 25-year bond would be 4.5 percent with the first payment coming in February 2016 of $265,676. The final payment would come in 2040 and it would be $120,175. This would add 45 cents per $1,000 valuation in 2016. The total interest charges would be $1,722,926.

Most of those who attended the hearing had questions relative to the project and the cost breakdown. One woman wanted a clearer picture of "soft costs" -- which are furnishings and costs for the estimates for things like mechanical, electrical and heating system.

Others had technical questions like what kind of heating system there is in the mill -- it's oil, but specialists are looking at a possible conversion to propane.

Others, including George and Susan Condodemetraky, said they thought the town was creating too much space for a town hall.

George Condodemetraky said he felt that the second story of the existing town hall could be renovated and that it would double the amount of work space.

"What you want in this case is the Taj Mahal," he said, adding that if the town gave him $3 million, he could engineer and build a brand new building for that kind of money. His statement prompted a different man to say that renovating the mill was like putting "lipstick on a pig."

Selectman Jon Pike said he didn't necessarily disagree with either of view, but also reminded the two men that the town has already spent $1.4 million on the mill.

"Do you want to tear it down?" he asked them. "They wanted us to save this thing."

Selectman Ruth Mooney said that they found so many things that weren't working or that hadn't been done during the first restoration that this is the only viable solution.

Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin told the attendees that the Belknap Family Heath Care Center has outgrown its space on the third floor of the mill. She said she met with LRGH recently and proposed they take over the former Northway Bank building.

She said LRGH seemed very interested in the building and was going to send an architect to Belmont to assess the structure.

"This is in the discussion stages," said Mooney, who added that the health care center "really wants to stay in (Belmont) village.

The health care center is on the third floor of the Belmont Mill. For the town to make the necessary repairs to flooring on the fourth floor, the center would have to relocate to give crews access.

Mooney noted that if the health care center were to relocate that would mean the facility would leave the village for good.

To the overall plan, Pike said it was the best plan they had seen. "If the town wants to save it, then this is it," he said.

Pike also said he was "appalled" by the small number of people who came to the bond hearing.

Belmont's SB 2 session is Saturday, Feb. 2, at 10 a.m. at the Belmont High School.