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Report of layoff at nursing home turned out to be premature

LACONIA — Lower than projected health insurance costs and the retirement of the human resources director have freed funds in the 2014 Belknap County budget, enabling the the county commissioners to restore one of three positions they eliminated to cope with spending cuts adopted by the County Convention.

County Administrator Debra Shackett said yesterday that the increase in health insurance premiums, originally projected to 13.4-percent, will be 6.2-percent and with the retirement of Norm O'Neil the county will be spared a significant share of his annual salary of $96,634.

Just days after the convention adopted the budget, the commission announced that one full-time position and two part-time positions at the nursing home would be be eliminated. With the unforeseen funds, the full-time position, held by Deb White, who has worked at the nursing home for the past 39 years, was restored less than a week before what would have been her last day on the job.

Shackett said that the two part-time positions will not be restored, but added "I don't believe that there will be any more lay-offs."

Shackett said that the search for a successor to O'Neil will get underway later in the year with the intention of filling the position before the 2015 budget is prepared. In the meantime, Shackett said that she, together with Finance Director Glen Waring and Deb Laflamme of the Human Resources Department, will share and shoulder O'Neil's responsibilities.

These include negotiations with three collective bargaining units. The State Employees' Association (SEA) represents corrections officers, with whom talks are near conclusion, and employees of the Sheriff's Department, with whom negotiations are at a standstill. Shackett said that contract talks with the State Employees' Association (SEA) representing corrections officers are near conclusion, but negotiations with employees of the Sheriff's Department are a standstill. Talks with the third union, Teamster Local 633, which was certified earlier this year to represent 20 county employees described as "support staff," have not yet begun.

Last week the commission ratified an agreement reached with the SEA representing some 80 employees at the nursing home. That contract still has to be funded by the Belknap County Convention.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 01:13

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Investigation of report of 'slumped' man leads to heroin arrest in parking garage

LACONIA — City police have charged a local man with possession of heroin after someone reported they had seen him slumped over the steering wheel of his car in the downtown parking garage.

Capt. Matt Canfield said the responding officer found Kory MacDonald, 28, of 129 Meredith Center Road at 11:30 a.m. sitting in a white Subaru with what appeared to be heroin in his lap and a large knife in the center console of his car. When he got out of the car, police found a needle near the driver's seat.

Canfield said MacDonald has been charged with one count of possession of narcotics and one count of being a felon in possession of a dangerous or deadly weapon.

He said police found between eight and 10 grams of heroin in his car.

Canfield said MacDonald refused bail and will appear in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division this morning.

He said police continue to investigate and additional charges may be forthcoming.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 01:07

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Laconia woman said to have pointed rifle at Jackson Street neighbor

LACONIA — A local woman has been charged with criminal threatening Sunday night after she allegedly pointed a rifle at one of her neighbors during a dispute.

Heather L. Brewer, 23, of 51 Jackson St. was released from custody on $5,000 personal recognizance bail.

Police said they were called to 49/51 Jackson Street at 10:59 p.m. for an officer-wanted call. While en route, police learned one of the people involved had a rifle.

When they arrived, police found a group of people arguing on the front porch of the duplex and determined on person had been assaulted and had left to go to the hospital.

A second person has also suffered minor injuries.

Police said yesterday that the fight and alleged criminal threatening appear to have stemmed from an ongoing dispute between neighbors and confirmed they had been to the house before while responding to calls of a disturbance.

They said a .22 caliber rifle was taken from Brewer's residence.

Police said during the argument Brewer apparently threw a high chair from the porch at one victim who threatening to hit her "so she'd never speak again."

She allegedly went back into the house and came back outside with the rifle.

Police said they believe other people are involved an may have witnessed the incident. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Laconia Police at 524-5252 or the Greater Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 01:04

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Former Laconia board member fills vacancy on Gilford School Board

GILFORD – A former Laconia School Board member has been named to fill a vacancy on the Gilford School Board.
The Gilford Board last evening unanimously approved appointing Jack Landow to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Allen Demko, who recently stepped down from the board due to illness.
Landow, who moved to Gilford seven years ago, served three terms on the Laconia School Board during the 1990s. He was the only person who submitted a letter expressing interest in filling the vacancy, according to School Board Chair Sue Allen.
Landow is a retired state official, who worked in the Department of Health and Human Services in the field of staff development. He holds a Master's degree in education, and taught briefly at the now-defunct Belknap College.
During his time on the Laconia School Board, Landow served on the board's policy and budget committees and was also involved in contract negotiations with the school district's unions.
Recently he and his wife have been involved in the Got Lunch! Laconia program, for which they have volunteered since its inception. The Landows currently are the program's food buyers.

Jack Landow recently joined the board of the Belknap Independent Business Alliance — or BIBA — which encourages support of locally owned, independent businesses in the Lakes Region.
Landow told the board that was offering to serve on the board because "It seemed to be a good fit. ... I have the experience and the desire," he said.
Landow's appointment runs until next March's local elections.
NOTES: The board approved setting Saturday, June 14, as the date for the Gilford High School graduation. The commencement will take place at 10 a.m.at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook. The last day of school is set to occur on June 19. . . . . . The board approved allowing certain members of the high school Drama Club to participate in the New England Regional Drama Festival on April 14-16 in St. Johnsbury, Vt. The school was invited to participate in the regional competition after recently winning at the state festival. . . . . . The board also approved a trip to France for French language students next spring. The scheduled itinerary includes Paris, and other historic venues, including sites connected with the Allied invasion on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Fund-raising through various events in the coming months will help to pay for part of the cost of the trip.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 01:00

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