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Franklin schools sign agreement with Boys & Girls Club to provide supplemental after-school programing

by Thomas P. Caldwell

FRANKLIN — The School Board has agreed to allow the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Concord to operate an after-school program out of the Paul Smith Elementary School, at no charge. The one-year agreement is predicted upon the expectation of serving an additional 50 students, while not taking away from the after-school program already being operated by the Franklin Parks and Recreation Department.
Superintendent Robert McKenney, who rejoined School Administrative Unit 18 in July, said he has been meeting with city officials as well as representatives of the Boys and Girls Club to see that the program would work for all parties. The agreement calls for regular meetings to assess how well it is working and to address any issues that may arise.
Crystal Alpers, who operates the city's after-school program, said there are approximately 70 students in her program. While some of them may choose to attend the Boys and Girls Club program, they anticipate having others join the city program for no net decrease in attendance.
Christopher Emond, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Concord, said he believes there are many children who return to empty homes after school and he is hoping the Franklin program will attract more of them to participate in his program.
McKenney said that, if there are only transfers from one program to the other with no net gain, he would terminate the agreement. He said transfers would not count toward the 50-student enrollment goal and that he is hoping to get more younger children involved in after-school activities.
City Manager Elizabeth Dragon agreed that the goal was to enhance what Franklin already is offering. She noted that when Casey Family Services operated in the city, it only duplicated existing services for the same population.
Paul Smith Principal R. Michael Hoyt said his main concern has been the transportation issue. If the program draws students from the high-population area to the relatively remote Paul Smith School, it may create problems for parents picking up their children at the end of the day, he said.
School board member Ed Cogan questioned the superintendent on the additional cost to the School District. McKenney said the cost of heating and lighting the building for the extra hours would be negligible and well worth it if it served a larger population of students.
When the school board voted on the proposal, Cogan was the only one to vote against it.
The agreement became effective with the Aug. 18 signing and Emond planned to have the program in place by the start of school next week. He noted that many families already have signed up for the program.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 August 2014 12:58

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Tea company finds Laconia 89% honest?

LACONIA — A nationwide social experiment conducted by Honest Tea, makers of organic beverages, found that 89-percent of people here — or at least the people visiting here — are honest, placing Laconia 12th among the 61 cities surveyed.

Kerrie Cassani-Levick of Creaxion, a marketing firm in Atlanta Georgia, explained that between July 16 and August 12 Honest Tea set up unattended racks of cold beverages, which were offered for $1 on the honor system. At each site the number of people who paid or just helped themselves, together with their gender and hair color, were observed and counted. Across the country 95 percent of people were honest compared to 93 percent in 2013.

In Laconia, the experiment was conducted on the boardwalk at Weirs Beach on Saturday, August 9 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Altogether 157 people participated, of whom 139 paid the dollar and 18 did not. Cassani-Levick said that all those who paid left currency, not bus tickets or grocery receipts.

The results indicated that honesty is on the rise in Washington, D.C., where 96 percent of people paid, 16 percent more than the year before, while in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Providence, Rhode Island the honesty index dropped by 12-percentage points to 81 percent and 80 percent respectively.

Women proved more honest than men by two points — 95 percent to 93 percent —and blondes of both genders were again the most honest.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 August 2014 12:48

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Laconia woman charged with kicking police officer

LACONIA — A South Main Street woman is charged with assault and resisting arrest after allegedly kicking a police officer in the shins three times last weekend, while he was trying to get her out of another woman's car.

Affidavits said the officer responded to the Cumberland Farms store on Court Street for a report saying that Bonnie Veilleux refused to get out of a car. She is also charged with criminal trespassing.

When he arrived, he said the driver of the car told him she didn't want Veilleux in her car. He said he spoke to Veilleux and she told him she wasn't leaving the vehicle and refused to tell him why.

The officer's affidavit said he told her to get out of the car five times.

He grabbed her arm to assist her out of the car but she allegedly "stiffened" and fought against him by putting her arms behind her back. He said she allegedly kicked him.

The officer said she kicked him two more times as he was escorting her to his cruiser.

Judge Jim Carroll ordered she be held on $100 cash bail and be medically and emotionally evaluated while in the Belknap County House of Corrections. She is scheduled for a bail review tomorrow.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 August 2014 12:40

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Planning Board says 'no' to solar panel farm in Gilford

GILFORD — Taking the advice of their attorney, the Planning Board voted Monday night to deny a request from the Inns & Motels to erect 370 solar panels at 16 Kimball Road.

While the vote occurred during the deliberation portion of the meeting, applicant Williard Drew and his attorney Phil Brouillard said only that they would waive the 65-day rule on the time frame a board has to act once it's accepted an application as complete.

The town attorney recommended the Planning Board deny the request because the proposal for the 1.4-acre site at the intersection of Routes 11-B and 11-C does not constitute a reasonable use of the land.

N.H. State law says alternative energy sources "shall not be unreasonably limited by use of municipal zoning powers or the unreasonable interpretation of such powers."

Brouillard said again that there is no ordinance in Gilford that covers solar panels and during the July meeting said the Planning Board was "making it up as it" or flying by the seat of (its) pants."

Absent an ordinance, Brouillard and Drew felt the Planning Board and the town should have worked with them to make the project a reality.

In previous meetings, members of the Planning Board have said that the sheer size of the project makes it a primary use of a residential lot and not an ancillary use as is stated in the application.

Drew has said the power generated by the panels would provide enough electricity for his home and eight other homes on the property. The rest would be sold back into the grid.

With Monday's denial, Drew can appeal the decision to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 August 2014 12:38

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