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Wetlands disturbance issue puts Laconia Airport safety fence project on hold

GILFORD — A $700,000 perimeter fence project at Laconia Municipal Airport is in a holding pattern following the denial of the airport's application for a wetlands disturbance permit issued by the state Wetlands Bureau of the Department of Environmental Services.
The project calls for installation of a 15,800-foot-long, eight-foot high chain link fence around the airport and was the primary recommendation of the study performed last year by the USDA Wildlife Service, according to airport manager Diane Terrill.
She said that the fence would have barbed wire outriggers and four-foot chain link fabric which would be buried at a 45 degree angle below ground to prevent undermining of the fence by burrowing mammals such as beavers and woodchucks.
She said that the major objections from the wetlands bureau appear to relate to the 3,080 feet of the fence that impact wetlands around the airport.
''It's a highly technical document and I'm no wetlands scientist. But we didn't expect this outcome and were looking to react appropriately. From our standpoint it's an issue of human safety and we think that should be the priority,'' said Terrill.
She said that the Laconia Airport Authority is working with Steven Smith and Associates to amend its permit application and address the objections raised by the Wetlands Bureau and hasn't yet settled on what it will propose for a solution.
Terrill said that one suggested path forward is just building whatever portion of the fence is allowed.
''But to not enclose the airfield completely would be negligent. This is more than a permitting issue, it's also about public safety,'' she said.
The fence will impact wetlands along the south side of the property next to Route 11, around the east end of the property adjacent to Gunstock River and along the north side if the property adjacent to Meadowbrook Lane. The total length of fence that impacts wetland is 3,080 linear feet of conventional wetland and 2,096 linear feet of prime wetland. Seven different areas of wetland impact would be necessary to complete the fence installation.
Cooper-Terrill said the fence is designed to keep wildlife from straying on to the runway and potentially causing a collision with the aircraft that are landing or taking off. She said burrowing animals like rabbits, moles and mice are often preyed upon by larger animals like bobcats and coyotes, which also can stray on to the airport's runways to chase their prey.
She also said Canadian geese, turkey and ducks are a significant problem but not one that can be addressed by a fence.
A report completed last year indicated "aggressive harassment" like pyrotechnics, propane cannons, and electronic scarecrows can be utilized to reduce birds in the area.
It is not the first time that the airport and the Wetlands Bureau have been at odds over issues regarding wetlands around the airport.
In April of 2006, when wetlands issues imperiled an $8.1 million federally-funded runway extension and repaving program at the airport, the N.H. Wetlands Council issued a declaratory ruling sought by the Wetlands Bureau and the airport that in the case under consideration issues of public safety superseded the need for preservation of prime wetlands.
The project affected 13 acres of wetland and as a result an agreement reached between the Wetlands Bureau and the airport some 143 acres of non-runway access property on airport authority land was placed under permanent conservation easement.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 December 2013 01:22

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LHS junior's essay wins N.H. Constitution Day contest

LACONIA — High School junior, Andrew Emanuel, has been recognized statewide for his literary and musical achievements. As the award winner for New Hampshire's Constitution Day Essay Contest, he met Associate Supreme Court Justice Carol Ann Conboy during a recent recognition event.

For an AP American Studies assignment, Emanuel was asked to write a short essay regarding whether or not the government reserves the right to invade people's privacy by reading personal e-mails, text messages, and tapping into phone calls.

Emanuel took the stand in his essay the right to one's privacy is protected by both the Constitution and ethically, therefore there is very limited right for the government to take these freedoms away. To make the argument as sound as possible, he provided evidence from both sides of the spectrum, as it gave him an opportunity to refute the opposing argument. Through his opposition paragraph, Emanuel provided the viewpoint that the government invading our privacy can be done at a steep cost, and should not be taken advantage of.

In reaction to winning the award Emanuel stated, "I was incredibly surprised because I'm not usually one to win these types of things. It was a great confidence booster for my writing."

Emanuel traveled to the Supreme Court of New Hampshire on November 11 to read his essay to a small group of people. Some of those in attendance included the five runners up for the high school contest and six individuals who participated in the middle school contest. During the event Emanuel was congratulated by various individuals, including Justice Conboy. Emanuel also received congratulatory letters from U.S. House Members Carol Shea-Porter, District 1 and Ann McLane Kuster, District 2 and from U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen.

In addition to his literary achievement, Emanuel was selected for N.H. All State for Symphonic Band for the clarinet. This event will be held in the April of 2014. Musical achievements are held in highest esteem by Emanuel, and during his career as a musician with the Laconia High School Band, under the instruction of Debbie Gibson, he has been selected for All New England Band Ensemble during both his sophomore and junior years, for the Lakes Region Music Festival as both a freshmen and sophomore (concert band) and for the jazz band (1st tenor saxophone) this school year. He attended Drum Major Academy in the summer of 2013, and played at the Shrine Bowl in 2012 and 2013.

“Winning the essay and the musical achievements have given me a better idea of what I want to do in the future,” said Emanuel. “I am now definitely aiming to pick a career that is more humanities focused."


CAPTION — Statewide Constitution Day Essay winner Andrew Emanuel is congratulated by Associate Justice Carol Ann Conboy of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. (Courtesy photo)

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 December 2013 01:19

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Barnstead ambulance involved in crash on way to Concord Hospital

BARNSTEAD — Four members of the town's Fire Department and the seriously-ill patient they were taking to Concord Hospital escaped serious injury Tuesday night after a car collided head-on with the town's ambulance just before 8 p.m.

Police Sgt. Joseph McDowell said yesterday that the ambulance was headed south on Route 28 toward Concord when one of the drivers headed northbound apparently lost control of his or her car and skidded into the southbound lane.

The driver of the ambulance was able to take some evasive action but a collision still resulted, sending the ambulance off the side of the road. McDowell said it was precariously perched on the side of the road but fortunately didn't roll over.

In a media statement, Chief Mark Tetreault said crews continued to provide care to the patient until an ambulance from Pittsfield Fire Department could transport the patient to Concord Hospital.

He said the driver of the ambulance was later taken to Concord Hospital for evaluation.

McDowell said the roads were slippery at the time with recently fallen snow. He said the accident was reported by a Carroll County Deputy Sheriff, who was transporting a prisoner. He said the sheriff helped until police and other rescue crews could get there.

The N.H. State Police are investigating the crash, said McDowell, who explained that since the ambulance belongs to the town, the town's police cannot investigate it.

Tetreault said the 2011 Ford/PL Custom ambulance has serious damage but he does not think it will be a total loss. He said Barnstead has a second reserve ambulance that will be "pressed into service" in the interim.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 December 2013 01:11

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Vets describe wartime experiences to Gilford High School history students

GILFORD — World War II veteran Ray Doucet, formerly of Hudson, told students at Gilford High School Tuesday morning that he joined the military service in 1942 when he was only 15 and was faced with the choice of joining up or going to jail.
''I was living in Arizona then and I got in a fight. The police told me that if I joined the service I wouldn't end up in jail. So I told my mother that from now on I was 18 years old and signed up,'' said Doucet, who says he couldn't qualify for the Army because he was color blind, but passed the Air Force physical.
''By the time I was 16, I was in North Africa with the 15th Air Force in the Signal Corps. We were sending up A-38s to bomb Rommell's North Africa Corps out in the desert,'' says Doucet. (The A-38 was an earlier version of what would become the famous P-51 Mustang.)
Doucet said that he later went on to serve in Italy and that one of the highlights of his time in the service was getting to see the Vatican while in Rome.
''It was an experience I would never have had any other way,'' said Doucet of his military service which covered a span of five years.
Doucet was one of a half dozen residents of the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton who attended a special program at the school which was hosted by the Gilford High School Student Council and attended by high school history students.
''It was really interesting to hear the veterans describe what their lives were like while serving,'' said Student Council President Lindsey Corsack, who moved between the guests asking questions which they answered over a portable microphone.
Marjorie Rosenqvist, originally from Wisconsin, said that she recalled living in a Florida barracks while in the Army in unbearably hot weather and that both officers and enlisted men had to do KP (kitchen patrol).
''There was a fantastic PX there where you could buy just about anything you wanted,'' she recalled.
Barbara Fay, who spent most of her life in Florida before moving to New Hampshire earlier this year, recalled that she used to live in her own trailer while on base but always had to report to general quarters both morning and night for roll call.
''The service was nice. It worked out well for me,'' said Fay.
Ray Barcomb of Goffstown, who served in Vietnam, said that his most vivid memory of war was the loss of one of his best friends on Christmas Eve, 1968, shortly after his unit arrived in the country.
''He was big guy, 6'6'' ,who weighed 250 pounds and we played tackle football a lot. I still miss him,''
said Barcomb, who was a generator mechanic.
''It was 130 degrees in the shade in Vietnam, so bad that we'd do anything to cool off. I found an air conditioner unit and fixed it up so that I could turn it on whenever I needed to sleep. A lot of other guys wanted to use it but I told them 'I found it and hooked it up and it's mine,' '' said Barcomb.
Francis Gorski of Manchester served on Okinawa during World War II. ''It was the last big battle of the war. It took all the different armed forces working together to win it,'' said Gorski, who recalled that he was still on Okinawa when the two atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bringing the war to an end.
He later got to see the bombed cities and said the sights that he saw were too ugly to describe.
John Noonan of Manchester served in the Navy during World War II and said that he recalls his ship tracking down a Japanese submarine trying to make its way into Pearl Harbor just before Japanese airplanes attacked on December 7, 1941.
He later served in the attacks on the Solomon islands and New Guinea and recalls his ship being under attack by Japanese kamikaze aircraft during the later stages of the war.
''It wasn't a lot of fun in the Navy. It was war all the time,'' said Noonan.



Residents of the New Hampshire Veterans Home spoke with students at Gilford High School Tuesday morning about their military service. Shown seated at the table are Barbara Fay, Franicis Gorski, Ron Barcomb, John Noonan and Ray Doucet. Student council members and history class students spoke with the veterans with Student Council President Lindsey Corsack, standing beside Noonan as he speaks, asking a series of questions which the veterans answered. (Roger Amsden/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 December 2013 02:20

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