Steve Nix elected to Gunstock Commission

LACONIA — Stephan Nix of Gilford, who skied the slopes of Gunstock Mountain Resort as a child in the early 1960s, was easily elected to a five-year term on the Gunstock Area Ciommission last night, claiming 12 of the 14 votes cast by members of the Belknap County Convention.

The other two candidates, Tim Lang of Sanbornton, the supervisor of technical services at the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, and Scott Dunn, the town administrator in Gilford, each received one vote.

Nix, an attorney and land surveyor, stressed his experience in real estate development, land use planning and conservation, which he suggested would apply directly to much of the work of the commission. In particular, he reminded the convention that its Memorandum of Agreement with the Gunstock Area Commission stipulates that the Master Plan for the resort is scheduled to be updated in 2016.

All three candidates were interviewed prior to the vote. Representative Brian Gallagher (R-Sanbornton) referred to the Memorandum of Agreement and asked if they anticipated any need for changes, especially in the the annual payments the resort makes to the county. Nix acknowledged that the resort has become "something of a profit center for Belknap County," but said he would prefer to review the financial performance and future plans of the resort more closely before committing himself to specific changes. He was echoed by Lang and Dunn, who both noted that since the county owns the resort it should share the revenue.

Likewise, when Representative David Russell (R-Gilmanton) asked if the resort should develop a residential component, like condominiums, all three candidates declined to offer an opinion one way or the other, but expressed a willingness to consider the prospect. The three candidates remarked on the resort's successful transition from a winter attraction to a "four-season destination."

Nix will succeed Chuck Lowth of Meredith, who retired after serving on the Gunstock Area Commission for 17 years.

Superintendent Ormond to retire from Inter-Lakes post at end of school year

MEREDITH — After a career of 33 years in the New Hampshire public school system — the last four as superintendent of the Inter-Lakes School District — Mary Ellen Ormond will retire at the close of the school year.

Ormond succeeded Peter McCormack as superintendent of SAU #2 , which includes the Sandwich Central School and Ashland Elementary School, in 2012.

"I love it," she said of the district. "The School Board is great to work with. The administration is top notch. The teachers, the kids and the parents are all really concerned about the quality of education. We've done a lot of great things, and we've got a lot of great things to do."

She said that none of her prior experiences compared with her tenure at Inter-Lakes School District, and that she is fortunate and grateful to have worked there.

A graduate of Pinkerton Academy in Derry, she graduated from Keene State College and earned graduate degrees at Notre Dame College and Plymouth State University. She began her career teaching young pupils at Grinnell Elementary School in Derry, then turned to special education, serving as special education director in the Shaker, Merrimack Valley and Andover school districts before becoming special education director and curriculum coordinator at Merrimack Valley. Before coming to Meredith, Ormond was director of curriculum and associate superintendent at the Hudson School District.

Ormond said that aging populations and shrinking enrollments pose the greatest challenge to school districts across the state and in the Lakes Region.

"It's a struggle," she said.

Greater collaboration between districts will be required, she said, adding that "we've worked hard to do that in the Lakes Region, to pull together as a region. We can't consider ourselves silos any more."

Ormond began planning for retirement earlier in her career by topping up her retirement account with an eye to retiring around 55. Nevertheless, she said that she has no specific plans other than continuing to enjoy sports, particularly football and tennis. Last year she was in the grandstand when the New England Patriots won their fifth Superbowl, and at Forest Hills when Selena Williams beat her sister, Venus, in the U.S. Open.

Man who was selling cocaine from Laconia apartment gets 147 months in federal prison

LACONIA — A man who had pleaded guilty to charges of selling cocaine and crack cocaine from an apartment at 23 Gale Ave., which had a sophisticated surveillance system, has been sentenced to serve 147 months in federal prison.
Acting U.S. Attorney Donald Feith announced that Roger Perkins, 33, formerly of Methuen, Massachusetts, was sentenced for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base ("crack"), possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Perkins pleaded guilty to the charges on July 21 of this year.
Feith said that on March 25, 2014, Laconia Police executed search warrants on Perkins' vehicle and a residence associated with Perkins. Police had set up a surveillance team and observed him coming into town driving a black Acura MDX with Massachusetts plates. The police seized $317 cash, 42 grams of cocaine, 15.25 grams of cocaine base ("crack"), a quantity of psychedelic mushrooms, a small amount of MDMA, and a box containing 100 razor blades from Perkins' vehicle.
The search of the residence resulted in the seizure of four firearms, three of which were loaded. Police also recovered 21 grams of cocaine and 6.87 grams of cocaine base ("crack"), $1,000 cash and two digital scales from inside a safe located in a bedroom closet.
Police said the exterior of the apartment building had a video surveillance system for both the inside and the outside that was attached to iPads and televisions throughout the apartment.
As part of his plea agreement, Perkins admitted that he conspired with Windyanne Plunkett to possess the drugs with the intent to distribute them from the residence. On July 29, 2015, Plunkett appeared before Judge McCafferty and pleaded guilty to the drug conspiracy charge. Plunkett is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 11, 2016.
According to court documents, beginning on or about Jan. 1, 2014, Perkins and Plunkett conspired with others to sell drugs from their residence. When Perkins was away from home, Plunkett handled the transactions.
Perkins was prohibited from possessing firearms as a result of his Dec. 20, 2005, felony conviction in the Belknap County Superior Court of possession of cocaine.
Judge McCafferty sentenced Perkins to 87 months of imprisonment for the drug trafficking and felon in possession charges. Judge McCafferty then imposed an additional mandatory consecutive sentence of 60 months of imprisonment for Perkins' possession of firearms in furtherance of his drug trafficking.
Upon release from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Perkins will be on supervised release under the supervision of the United States Probation Office for at least five years and as much as life. Should Perkins violate the terms of his supervised release, he could be sentenced to an additional prison term.
The investigation was conducted by the Laconia Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Cole Davis is prosecuted the case.