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Gilford moves group of Gunstock Acres roads to top of repair list

GILFORD — With a room filled with concerned property owners looking on, selectmen voted unanimously Wednesday night to eliminate Saltmarsh Pond Road from the 2014 summer construction schedule and add four roads in Gunstock Acres, including Chestnut Drive.

The decision came at the suggestion of Wolcott Construction — the company that the town uses for its summer road projects — and was supported by Public Works Director Sheldon Morgan.

"(The roads) won't just get worse, they'll disappear," said Morgan who explained that the original paving of the roads in question was done about 12 to 15 years ago with a less-expensive asphalt then made available to various New Hampshire communities.

Morgan said the town got a good value for what it purchased and pavement lasted longer than he thought it would, but the roads in that area are no longer viable.

Many of those who spoke said portions of Chestnut Drive are down to one lane while one resident said every time the UPS or Federal Express driver comes to his house, he or she takes a little piece of the road away when they go.

All totaled, there a seven roads in the neighborhood that the town will reconstruct — Chestmut Drive, Falls Avenue, Balsam Drive and Briarcliff Road. He said three small roads that stem from one of the above four will also be re-paved, meaning the town shouldn't have to return to the neighborhood for a number of years.

Morgan said the rebuild of Summit Avenue will still be completed this year while Saltmarsh Pond Road will be deferred to another year.

"While Saltmarsh is rough and susceptible to frost heaving, it has a rather substantial base that allows it to move and come back to mediocre condition," Morgan wrote in a memo to the board.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 June 2014 11:25

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50 years a cop; Charlie Hopkins honored

GILFORD — Police administrators recognized Special Patrol Officer Charles O. Hopkins for 50 years of service at their annual awards meeting last night.

Hopkins, who began his career in Laconia in 1964 has been a special officer with Gilford since he left Laconia in 1984. He is currently the School Resource Officer.

"You've been a good partner," said Lt. James Leach. Someone we could always rely on."

Leach said Hopkins was always willing to get called out in the middle of the night and stay until the job got done.

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte and Gov. Maggie Hassan also sent along their best wishes and gratitude for what Hassan called a lengthy career of "exemplary public service."

Hopkins, who is a man of few words unless he has a funny story to tell, told the assembled group of officers he didn't really have anything to say except "Thank you."

He did make an aside to newly hired Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee that he was the seventh Gilford police chief he's served under.
The administration also recognized K-9 Agbar who is now officially retired.

Lt. Kris Kelley said that Agbar was the first K-9 Gilford had and his success, along with handler and partner Sgt. Dustin Parent, was critical to the success of the program.

Accepting Agbar's award was Parent who said Agbar was really going to like it.

The meritorious service of the year award went to Office Kevin Baron who used the bumper guard on his cruiser to push a burning car away from some gas pumps and other cars at a Gilford gas station,

Kelley described it as an example of good "heads-up thinking."

K-9 Officer Adam VanSteensburg was name the employee of the year for his positive attitude, willingness to take on additional responsibility, and his outreach to the community.

The supervisors award went to Dispatcher Tim Doris who Kelley described as someone who cares, gets the job done, but doesn't get or ask for any public accolades.
Patrol Officer Curtis Mailloux got the Pro-active Police Officer of the Year award for going above and beyond the call of duty every day he works.

The department also recognized many officers and detectives for their collective teamwork for solving some tough crimes and responding to some precarious and sensitive situations that were all resolved.

CUTLINE (Charlie Hopkins) Gilford Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee (right) presents Special Patrol Officer Charles "Charlie" Hopkins (center) with an award from both the Gilford and Laconia Police for 50 years of service as a police officer. Lt. Kris Kelley (left) looks on. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 June 2014 01:32

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Cyclist hit by car downtown

LACONIA — A bicyclist was struck by a car while pedaling on Main Street yesterday at 10 a.m.

Firefighters said the man was stuck by a woman who was driving near the Colonial Theater and the bicyclist landed in the middle of the street. He said the woman driving the car was uninjured.

He was taken by ambulance to Lakes Region General Hospital for what firefighters said were non-life threatening injuries.

Police apparently blocked off Main Street while they investigated the crash.

Firefighters said there were multiple witnesses and a number of onlookers.

As of press time, police had not released the names of the accident victim or the driver.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 June 2014 12:54

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Local Up With People alum dedicated to bringing renowned international ensemble to Laconia this fall

LACONIA — Beth Clay fell in love with the sound and uplifting message of hope and love of Up With People when she first saw them in a mid 1980s concert in Laconia and is now playing a key role in helping bring a multinational cast of over 100 young people to Laconia in early September as part of the 2014 Up With People Tour.
''I've always liked their music and the positive message they bring with them,'' says Clay, who is herself a member of the cast of the 2008 world tour and was honored by the organization with its James E. MacLennan Everyday Hero Award for 2013.
Originally accepted into UWP in the late 90s, Clay was ready to take the tour with Up With People when it ceased operations in 2000.
Despite the crushing loss of her hopes of performing with the group and of her tuition money, Clay persisted and declared herself an alumni despite never having spent a minute on stage.
She returned to her work and education and in 2005, when Up With People was re-launched, she again started raising her tuition money. Her persistence was rewarded in 2008 when she became a member of the UWP world tour, traveling to 19 countries, including Mexico and Thailand.
She then completed her education and graduated with a degree in Childhood Studies and Adventure Education from Plymouth State University.
She explains that teaching is part of her family background and has always been her chosen career. "My father Bob teaches math at Laconia Middle School and my mother. Jane, teaches at Campton Elementary School,'' she says. Her great aunt Frances was an elementary school teacher in Ashland. Her family is well know in Plymouth and ran Clay's Newstand for many years.
A member of the Alumni Association and of the UWP board of directors since 2012, Clay says she has experienced first hand the transformative power of Up With People and was honored with the Everyday Hero Award for her efforts on behalf of the students she taught at in poor Georgia community just outside of Atlanta.
The community where she taught as member of Teach for America, a national teacher corps of college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years and raise student achievement in less affluent public schools, served a student population of which 94 percent live below the poverty line.
''They were really poor and when I found that Atlanta was on the 2013 tour schedule I tried to find a way to get them to the concert. I talked with Up With People alumni and got the bus company to donate space so we could take kids to the concert.''
Donations poured in and she was eventually able to take 120 students to the show. She even had neckties donated so that the kids would like they were dressed as if they were going to a professional Broadway show.
''We went to a matinee and the kids had a phenomenal time. I think it helped show them that life could get better and watching the show charged them up with hope.''
She was also able to arrange for three of the students to attend an Up With People Summer Camp in Harrisburg, Virginia later in the year and says that all three of the students, who had been struggling with school, are now earning straight A's and are excited about their future.
Clay, incidentally, worked last summer at the Common Man in Lincoln and used the money she earned there to help pay for the expenses of the students.
''You fight for what you believe in and you change the life trajectory of students by getting involved. One person can make a difference and I have seen that in my life,'' she says.
When she left Atlanta she returned to New Hampshire and landed a job teaching at the Laconia Alternative Education and also worked to find local people interested in bringing Up,With People to Laconia. ''I found the most incredible partnership with Stand Up Laconia and was able to get the national tour manger to come to town. We're going to be here for concerts on Friday and Saturday, September 5 and 6 at 7 p.m. at the Laconia Middle School.''
Clay did not receive a  2014-2015 contract from the Laconia School District due to budget cuts but says she knows that she will be leaving an incredible gift with the community when she leaves.


Beth Clay clowns around while on the Up With People 2008 tour in Thailand. (Courtesy photo)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 June 2014 12:27

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