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Skate Park & Smith Track open

LACONIA — The city's skate park and Smith Track are now open for the warm-weather season. The announcement was made Friday by the Parks and Recreation Department.

The skate park is located on New Salem Street, to the rear of the Police Department. Smith Track is located in Opechee Park, off North Mail Street.

Parks and recreation officials ask that patrons of the Smith Track help keep the new all-weather surface in good repair. Spikes, cleats, pets, bikes, rollerblades, rollerskates, strollers, carriages and motor vehicles of any kind are prohibited. Patrons are also asked to keep off soft turn areas.

Questions may be addressed to 524-5046.

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 April 2014 12:36

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Huot Center Cafe open to public on selected days

LACONIA — The Meredith Village Culinary Arts Center at the new Huot Regional Technical Education Center is open to the public for lunch most Thursdays and Fridays, giving the students a chance to test their cooking skills on paying customers.

It's been almost exactly one year since chef and Program Director Jack Aldrich moved his crew into the new building on the Laconia High School campus.

As of now, he has 32 students spread out into three classes and has just recently embarked on a limited service to the general public. Because there is limited class time, there is no table service but a hot and cold buffet is served, along with a coffee bar.

Thursday he served a taco bar with salad and yesterday he featured a hot food bar with chicken with mushrooms in a brie sauce, baked haddock, and marinated steak tips that he said disappeared almost as soon as they landed in the steamer table.

"They're very expensive, but we want students to have some exposure to cooking them," he said.

So far, Aldrich said the "soft-opening" of the Culinary Center Cafe has worked well.

"On Thursday we had a group of about 15 women who came from a church group and they had a blast," he said, noting the coordinator of the event called ahead to let him know they were coming.

Because of the class schedule, Aldrich said the teachers, staff, and a few outsiders who come to eat generally come in two waves — the 10:30 a.m. student lunch hour and the noon lunch break for faculty. The facility closes at 12:30 p.m.

He said each of the three classes has a specific task. The first class prepares the first wave of food for the 10:30 a.m. opening, while the second class prepare for the noon wave. The third class cleans up and does all of the prep work for the next day's class.

Aldrich said that by Friday, the menu is limited because there is no school on weekends and he wants to limit spoilage — as would any restaurant.

He said the main idea of limited service to the general public is to raise a little money for the program that allows them to buy some foods that the program budget wouldn't otherwise allow — like steak tips. The cost is $5.75 per pound and people pay by weight.

Aldrich also asks that people check the public opening schedule on the Huot website (www2.laconiaschools.org/huot/cte-programs/culinary-arts) for days of service because sometimes the space is occupied by meetings for teachers and other agencies.

For those who plan on bringing a group of people to the Huot, Aldrich said he would appreciate a phone call ahead of time so he can make sure there is enough food for the additional members of the public.


CUTLINE: (HuotCafeChocolate) Karydan NcNutt of Gilford High School melts chocolate for cookies while Felecia Provencal of Winnisquam REgional High School mixes water and butter for a white cake. Both are students in the Huot Technical Center Culinary Arts Program (Laconia Daily Sun photo - Adam Drapcho)


CUTLINE: (HuotCafeGraham) Alea Webster of Gilford High School mixes a graham cracker crust in the sparkling new Culinary Arts Center kitchen at the Huot Regional Technical Education Center in Laconia.  (Laconia Daily Sun - Adam Drapcho)

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 April 2014 12:34

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Sisti asks for another delay to start of Lafond trial

LACONIA — Attorney Mark Sisti, who represents Amy Lafond against charges that her reckless and negligent driving caused the death of one teenage girl and severely injured another on Messer Street nearly a year ago, has again asked the Belknap County Superior to delay her trail, which is scheduled to begin with jury selection on May 5.

In a motion filed last week Sisti told the court that he had recently received information from at least three different witnesses and would require additional time to review it. He said that he has informed Belknap County Attorney Melissa C. Guldbrandsen, who informed him she has no position with respect to his request.

The final pre-trial conference in the case is scheduled for Wednesday, April 16 at 8:30 a.m.

The trial was originally scheduled to begin with jury selection on February 3, but in January Sisti, who was retained as defense counsel on November 22, successfully argued that the schedule did not afford him enough time to either "relate competent advice to his client with regard to the decision whether to plead guilty (or) to proceed to trial — let alone represent her at trial." Referring to the right to a fair trial guaranteed by the state and federal constitutions, he concluded that "to go forward ensures the defendant deficient representation that will undoubtedly spur unnecessary litigation."

At the time Guldbrandsen did not contest the request. "I do see my duty to ensure she gets a competent defense," said Guldbrandsen, agreeing that the case is complex and technical. "It's my duty to see she gets a fair trial." However, when Justice James D. O'Neill, III asked her how the victims' families felt about an extension, she replied that " they are frustrated" and submitted a memorandum expressing their desire that the trial go forward as soon as possible.
Lafond, 53, is charged with manslaughter and two counts of negligent homicide arising from an incident on April 19 when she allegedly drove into two teenage girls who were on a sidewalk bordering Messer Street, killing Lilyanna Johnson and seriously injuring Allyssa Miner. She is also charged with several drug offenses and traffic violations.

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 April 2014 12:26

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Gilford BudCom will invite residents to volunteer to serve as its 12th member

GILFORD — The Budget Committee voted unanimously last night to advertise for interested candidate who would be willing to serve the final year of the vacancy created when Richard "Rags" Grenier was elected selectman.

The special meeting was called last night by Chair Phyllis Corrigan because she wanted the Budget Committee to be at full strength before the summer vacation season scattered the members.

Typically, the Budget Committee begins its review of the annual proposed budget in October however occasionally an item will arise over the summer that requires the committee's attention.

After convening the meeting, Corrigan told the members that state law stipulates that if a Budget Committee elects its members, then it is up to the committee to determine how the seat will be filled. Since the number of members was set at 12 by annual Town Meeting, the committee must fill the spot said Town Administrator Scott Dunn.

There was some initial discussion, initially broached by School Board representative Karen Thurston, about filling the seat with Scott Davis — the candidate who finished fourth of five in the last month's election.

Most other members were against that, saying that in the past vacancies have been filled by asking for letters of interest followed by a public interview and a vote by existing members.

Corrigan said she hasn't heard of anyone who is interested, however fifth place finisher David "Skip" Murphy was at last night's meeting as an observer and said he is still interested in serving.

Thurston, who herself went through the same process when she was appointed to fill the balance of a term on the School Board, said she wanted people to know that the interview process is not "an interrogation."

Member Sue Greene agreed saying that she didn't want people to be intimidated about the public session and that it is a reasonably casual thing.

For the two years Grenier was on the board, his vote was often a swing vote in what can be called a philosophically divided Budget Committee. Rarely has the Budget Committee completely agreed on an issue except for the recent unanimously vote to support the renovation of the Gilford Police Station. Grenier will continue on the Budget Committee as the selectman's representative.

The deadline for letters of interest is May 8 and they should be sent to the Gilford Town Offices. The Budget Committee will meet on May 15 at 7 p.m. to select its 12th member.

In other business, the committee voted unanimously to re-elected Corrigan as chair. Kevin Leandro was elected as vice chair by vote of nine-to-one.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 April 2014 12:56

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