LHS graduation date to be firmed up April 7

LACONIA — With seniors at Laconia High School reportedly concerned about the date of graduation, school Superintendent Terri Forsten said yesterday that "we're following the same process we've followed for years. We wait until the the snow stops flying, determine how many days we need to make up, consider our options and set a date."

Students expecting to graduate on Saturday, June 6 fear that to compensate for school days lost to foul weather the ceremony may be held a week later on June 13.

Forsten said that school closed for three days because of snow storms this winter, noting that a state of emergency was declared on one of those days, reducing the number to be made up to two. In addition, she said there were several late starts to be taken into account. She explained that in the past 30 minutes were added to the end of the school day and seniors took classes or performed community services on Saturdays. "We have a number of options," she remarked.

"This year there has been a bit of clutter," Forsten observed. "There are a few processes we need to go through," she continued, stressing that "no decision has been made"

Forsten anticipated that the School Board will weigh the issue when it meets on Tuesday, April 7. "That is within our normal time frame," she insisted.

Hanson will again chair Inter-Lakes School Board

MEREDITH — In a brief reorganization meeting this week, the Inter-lakes School Board unanimously re-elected incumbents Richard Hanson of Center Harbor, who has served on the board since 1998, as chairman, Lisa Merrill of Meredith as vice-chairman and Sally Whalen of Center Harbor as secretary.

The board amended its policy on fundraising by students to prohibit "door-to-door" fundraising. Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond explained that the safety of students was the uppermost concern prompting the change of policy. Proposals to amend the student dress code and the process of appointing an interim or new principal in the event of either an unforeseen or anticipated vacancy were tabled pending further consideration.

No charges will be filed in aftermath of pedestrian death in Laconia crosswalk

LACONIA — Police will not be pressing any criminal charges against a Belmont woman who stuck and killed a man in a wheel chair while he was crossing South Main Street in a designated crosswalk area last June.

The final police investigation that was reviewed by The Daily Sun said Claire Haynes struck John Guiffrida at 2:45 p.m. on June 7 as he was attempting to cross the street after shopping at Vista Foods. She was headed northbound and the weather was clear.

During their investigation, city police used the services of the Belknap Regional Accident Reconstruction Team — a group of police officers specially trained in motor vehicle crashed and their causes — for their investigation.

About 15 interviews with witnesses were completed and a video tape of the crash was obtained from a security camera owned by the nearby Meredith Village Savings Bank branch office

Police said Haynes stopped immediately after the crash and got out of her van. She stayed on the scene and cooperated with police — allowing herself to be taken to Lakes Region General Hospital where she voluntarily submitted to tests to determine in she had consumed anything that may have affected her ability to drive. She had not, said police.

After reviewing all of the information, local police determined that Guiffrida's death was tragic but Haynes role in it didn't rise to the level of criminal behavior.

"We would have to prove in a court of law that she was either reckless or negligent and there is not enough evidence for that," said Lt. Richard Simmons.

Simmons noted that Haynes was not speeding, was not distracted by a cellular phone or any other device and was not impaired by any drugs and alcohol.

Simmons added that since Guiffrida's death, the police have recommended frequent painting of the heavily used cross walk by the Department of Public Works and the addition of a "pedestrian crossing" sign that can be used when there is no snow on the ground — both of which were used last summer. He expects both will be used this summer as well.