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Revenue from LHS football concession stand allowing youth football to eliminate player registration fee

LACONIA — The Laconia Youth Football and Cheer Association has dropped its registration fee for 2014 for all children interested in playing football or cheerleading.
LYFCA President Rod Roy says the organization's agreement with Laconia High School to operate the concession stand at the new Bank of New Hampshire Stadium resulted in a major increase in revenue.
Roy made the announcement at Saturday's annual dinner and awards banquet held at the high school.
He said that the organization's board of directors recently voted to waive the registration fee for all participants and is hoping to increase participation to the point where it has a full roster of teams. Last year 96 youth played for the organization's teams and the registration fee was $100.
Roy said that participation has dropped in recent years and that the association is hoping to see that increase now that there is no registration fee.
Peter and Cheryl Hebert were honored as volunteers of the year and received the Thomas Kubicki Award.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 02:42

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On the ropes, public access TV will try a new business model

LACONIA — Lakes Region Public Access television will change to a new business model later this year, one which will see sharply reduced fees to communities and which will rely on business and corporate sponsorships for revenue to sustain its operations.

Chan Eddy of Gilford, chairman of the board of directors, outlined the new business model at a meeting held at the LRPA studio at Laconia High School last night, which he has previously described as a fee or service model with sponsorships much like those seen on the Public Broadcasting System.
He said the board is grappling with a number of changes, including those being negotiated in a new 10-year contract with MetroCast Cablevision, which will include two direct public access channels (Channel 24 and Channel 26) for each community in the coverage area with Channel 25 remaining a regional channel. It is anticipated that the new contract will take effect on July 1.
One of changes in the yet to be ratified contract will see the annual $30,000 grant which MetroCast has previously provided for LRPA-TV ending. That has raised the concern of City Councilman Bob Hamel of Laconia, who represents the city on the LRPA board, that the loss of those funds, coupled with lower income from franchise fees from member communities, will mark the death knell for LRPA-TV.
''LRPA is going down,'' Hamel told members of the Laconia City Council Monday night as he expressed concern that with each individual community concentrating on its local government and education channels that there won't be enough support to keep the regional Channel 25 operating.
He also questioned whether the communities who will be running their own local channels realize how much it will cost them to do their own programming.
Nancy LeRoy of Laconia expressed concern over what will happen to the WLNH Children's Auction under the new contract but Eddy said that it will continue to be broadcast.
Meredith Town Manager Phil Warren, who represents that town on the board and is a member of the committee negotiating the regional agreement with MetroCast, says that the current LRPA model was going to die this year anyway.
''Two more towns are leaving us. It's just not sustainable to continue to operate it this way.'' said Warren.
Some 13 municipalities, including the 11 in Belknap County, originally contracted with LRPA and paid their agreed upon share the station's overhead through a portion of the franchise fees they collected from MetroCast. However, the number of contracting municipalities has shrunk to a half-dozen — Alton, Belmont, Gilford, Meredith, Laconia and Northwood — which now share less than a third of the franchise fees they collect from MetroCast with LRPA., which has an annual operating budget of $126,000.
Eddy says that budget should be at least $500,000 and has set a $300,000 fundraising goal for the first year.
He said that Laconia, which currently pays $43,000 a year will pay only $1,900 under the new model but expects that the between 50 and 100 corporations will sign on as sponsors in the $1,000 to $2,000 range, which coupled with other fundraising activities will produce the needed revenue.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 02:54

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Shaker superintendent given green light to talk football with Gilford counterpart

BELMONT — The Shaker School Board last night directed Superintendent Maria Dreyer to hold official talks with Gilford Superintendent Kent Hemmingway about creating a joint football program for high school students in both districts.
The direction from the board came after the Friends of Belmont Football met with the board to tell them about the efforts that the group has been making to raise money for the program as well as the progress they have made so far in creating interest among Belmont Middle School and Belmont High School students in playing football at the high school level.
Gilford High School currently has a football team, while Belmont High does not.
Eric Shirley, one of the key figures in the two-year-old Friends of Belmont Football told the board that the group has so far raised about $10,000 for the program. He added that the group is also taking steps to become an officially recognized charity.
Shirley said he was confident that Belmont could provide between 10 and 15 high school students toward a co-operative Belmont-Gilford program.
Shirley said that a similar co-operative arrangement with Winnisquam High School in Tilton appeared unfeasible, largely, he said, because the Winnisquam athletic director is opposed to the idea.
Shirley said that he had met a couple of months ago with Hemingway to discuss the possibility of a Belmont-Gilford venture. He said during that meeting Hemingway said that such an undertaking would require that the Shaker District pay $15,000 a year toward the Gilford program in order for Belmont students to play. Shirley said the came away from the meeting feeling the Hemingway might be open to negotiating a lesser amount. He told the Shaker board that a fee of around $500 per Belmont team member seemed reasonable.
He further suggested that Belmont could enter into a two-year pilot program with Gilford under which Belmont High freshmen and sophomores would play only on the Gilford jayvee team and then become fully integrated with the Gilford program in three to four years.

The two schools have shared a varsity-level ice hockey program for a number of years.
"We are looking for a way for our kids to succeed," Shirley said. "We are here to see if we can get a plan forward."
Dreyer told the board that the arriving at an agreeable money figure was just one of the issues that would need to be worked out. For example, she noted that Gilford's position has been that Belmont's participation in the program would need to be officially funded by Shaker District, and as at this time there is no line item in the School Budget for a high school football program.
Dreyer said she would come back to the Shaker Board with recommendations after she has a chance to meet with Hemingway.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 02:21

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City Council approves extras for bridge project; over Bolduc's objection, railings will be black

LACONIA — City Manager Scott Myers told the City Council this week that after city and state officials reviewed the bids for the Main Street Bridge project the process of awarding the construction to R.M. Piper, Inc. of Plymouth, the low bidder, is underway.

Myers explained that the cost of construction is approximately $3.3 million, of which the state will bear 80 percent and the city 20 percent. However, since the state will contribute only to the cost of replacing the existing structure, there are three elements the city has chosen to add to the project that are not eligible for matching funds, but must be funded solely by the city.

These are the widening of the approach along Beacon Street West, overlooks or "bump outs" on either side of the bridge and decorative lighting to closely match the vintage street lights downtown. The council approved the widening early last year and it was included in the design and accounted for in the bids.

The overlooks and lighting have been discussed but not approved. Four overlooks were proposed, two on each side of the bridge, extending four feet from the deck of the bridge. They will be trapezoids, tapering in length from 14 feet to 6 feet and covering about 40 square feet. A light will be placed at each overlook. In addition, there will be lights at each of the four corners of the bridge.

The widening was estimated to add between $50,000 and $55,000, the overlooks $10,000 and the lighting $15,000 — $75,000 to $80,000 altogether — to the cost of the project. However, the bid prices were $23,500, $6,800 and $18,750 respectively for a total of $49,050.

While there was unanimous support for funding all three elements, on seeing photographs of how the bridge would look, Councilor Armand Bolduc (Ward 6) expressed strong misgivings about painting the railings on the bridge black. He reminded the council that the black railings on the Elm Street Bridge soon showed signs of wear and required a fresh coat of paint. Both Myers and Paul Moynihan, director of public works, assured the council that the black paint was a suitable finish for the railings, for which the state is bearing the cost.

Bolduc was insistent, but was the lone dissenter when the council voted to approve the three elements, along with the black railings.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 02:15

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