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Residents invited to 'Re-imagine Laconia on Wednesday

LACONIA — The Planning Department, in partnership with the Ortaon Familty Foundation and New Hampshire Listens, will host a community conversation at which residents will be asked to "Reimagine Laconia" in anticipation of preparing a new Master Plan.

The event will be held at the Belknap Mill on Wednesday, October 8 beginning with registration and refreshments between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. and closing at 8:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

The goal of the conversation is to sound residents on their values and priorities with respect to the city's natural beauty and cultural character, infrastructure and transportation, housing diversity and business prosperity and historic, social and cultural resources. Participants will also be asked to identify local assets of significance to the economic future of the community.

Those taking part will be divided into small groups of 10 or 12 . A neutral facilitator will guide the discussion within each group and designate one member to report its findings. Each group will address four questions in segments lasting about 15 minutes. The session will begin with "How do you imagine Laconia today?" with participants explaining what distinguishes Laconia from other nearby communities and identifying those features they cherish and those they would change.

During "What do we know about Laconia?", participants will be provided with data about trends underway in the city and invited to measure their impact on the future. The framing question for the session is, "What is important for Laconia to grow and thrive for a successful future?" and in answering it groups will be expected to apply the results of their earlier discussion, together with the data they have reviewed, to offer broad themes. Finally, in responding to "How would you re-imagine Laconia?", each group will rank the themes they have selected in order of importance then measure the progress toward its preferred vision of the city. Once each group has tackled the four questions it will identify the major goals, values or ideas that emerged in the course of its conversations.

In closing each group will present a brief report of its findings. along with any concerns or recommendations, ensuring that both common ground and divergent views are expressed.

The key recommendations and comments will be forwarded to the City Master Plan Advisory Team and incorporated into their preparation of the Master Plan.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 October 2014 01:20

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County jail prisoner drinks diluted bleach, needs ER care

LACONIA — A man awaiting trial at the Belknap County House of Corrections was rushed to the Lakes Regional General Hospital yesterday after drinking bleach.

Superintendent Daniel Ward said the man, who he didn't identify, drank the diluted bleach kept in a spray bottle in the shower stall.

Ward said he didn't know how much bleach the man drank but he knows the bottle was filled in the morning and was empty after the man drank it.

He said the bleach bottle is one-tenth bleach and nine-tenths water and the man is expected to survive.

Ward said yesterday's incident reflects one of the cost items that are unpredictable when it comes to budgeting. He said the jail had to call 911, will have to pay for an ambulance, and the cost of the emergency room.

As of 8 p.m. a guard said the man was not back at the house of corrections.





Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 October 2014 01:09

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Belmont, Gilford & Laconia proposing to split the cost of an animal control officer

BELMONT — Selectmen last night approved a proposed $20,500 budget item for 2015 for a contribution to a joint effort with Gilford and Laconia for a part-time animal control officer.

Chief Mark Lewandoski said the proposed request will eliminate the $5,500 the town typically pays the N.H. Humane Society and a $1,600 line in the Police Department budget for the town's own animal control officer meaning the net 2015 cost to Belmont will be $13,400.

He said the combined effort will also save the town money in overtime.

According to the support paperwork presented to selectmen from Lewandoski, the joint venture will cost the three communities a maximum of $40,100 total — not including the amount of money each community spends annually with the Humane Society.

The animal control officer will be a part-time employee who works no more than 28 hours a week so he or she won't qualify for health insurance under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

If the person chosen is a certified police officer, he or she will be paid $20 per hour. If a civilian is selected, the job will pay $15 per hour.

Lewandoski said Laconia has most of the needed equipment, including an animal control van that costs $6,000 a year to maintain. He said there are a few small equipment purchases that will be made to get the program running.

Expenses will be assessed to each community based on the historic number of animal calls fielded by each department. Laconia has the most and Gilford and Belmont have less than Laconia but about the same as each other.

Gilford Police Lt. James Leach said his department supports joining with Belmont and Laconia because it don't have an animal control officer.

He said having someone dedicated to animal control in the three-town area will be a big advantage because of all of the paperwork and followup animal calls require.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 October 2014 01:06

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Water main project in heart of downtown will re-route traffic for 3 to 4 weeks

LACONIA — The Laconia Water Works (LWW) and Busby Construction Company, Inc. began work this week replacing water lines in and around the intersection of Pleasant Street and Main Street, at the center of downtown.

Seth Nuttelman,superintendent of the LWW, said yesterday that he anticipates that the three to four weeks will be required to complete the project, during which the intersection will be closed to through traffic. The work area resembles an arrow, with the southernmost leg of Pleasant Street the shaft and the pedestrian walkway toward Beacon Street and the stretch of Main Street to Hanover Street representing the arrowhead. Pleasant Street will be open only to local traffic and motorists leaving the area will be detoured through the municipal parking lot to Main Street. The entire length of Main Street itself, from Court Street to Church Street, will remain open to northbound traffic.

Niuttelman said that approximately 350 feet of 12-inch and 8-inch water pipe will be replaced within the work zone. He explained that the existing pipe must be excavated and the new pipe laid around a dense web of other utilities — gas lines, sewer mains, storm drains, telephone conduits, and fiberoptic cable. "We've got everything under the sun down there," he said, noting the many markings in colored chalk on the pavement made to guide the excavation.

Nuttelman estimated the cost of the project at $70,000, which includes labor, materials and equipment.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 October 2014 01:03

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