LACONIA — ''It's unbelievable, it's beautiful. I never thought this would happen,'' said Jack Irwin, a member of Laconia High School's 1949 state championship football team, as he walked into the new Bank of New Hampshire Stadium last night.
An overflow crowd was on hand for the first-ever game at the sports facility, which will also be used for lacrosse, field hockey, soccer and other sports and features a FieldTurf playing surface.
''This is an outstanding facility and it was all the result of a community effort by lots of good people,'' said Paul Phelps, a 1963 Laconia High School graduate who returned to his home city to teach and was the line coach for the Sachems for many years.
Both Irwin and Phelps were members of a committee which worked to privately raise $1 million to help build the stadium, which was part of a $16.8 million Huot Center project which also saw renovations and additions to Laconia High School.
Rod Dyer, former Laconia mayor and School Board chairman and Chairman Emeritus of the Bank Of New Hampshire, which donated $250,000 for naming rights to the new stadium, said that the bank (formerly Laconia Savings Bank) has always played a big role in the community and was pleased to see the new facility opened.
Dyer spoke at a ribbon-cutting ceremony presided over by Laconia City Manager Scott Myers, who said that Laconia can be rightfully proud of ''the great community effort'' which led to building the new stadium.
Former Laconia High School head coach Jim Fitzgerald, for whom the field at the stadium will be named on September 27, said ''it's more than just a football stadium, it's going to serve as the playing surface for a lot of other sports teams and will be enjoyed by young people in the city for generations. Sports are more than just games for young people to play. They build character and teach life lessons that can't be learned in any other way.''
City Councilman Matt Lahey, who played for Laconia High School in the early 1970s and headed the capital campaign which raised the supplementary funds, reminisced with Andy Bartlett, who played on those same Laconia High School teams, how the Sachems had beaten perennial New Hampshire football powerhouse Manchester Central two years in a row and how they had a special defense designed to contain Central's big fullback Stan Pinkos.
Peter Newell, a 1966 Laconia High School grad, said he was pleased with the new stadium but thought that it should have been built years ago.
Last Updated on Saturday, 07 September 2013 02:57
LACONIA — Apart from the race from the race for mayor, the only other contested seat in Tuesday's primary election is for the City Council in Ward 2 where three candidates — David Bownes, Richard Beaudoin and Mark Templeton — are bidding to succeed Matt Lahey, who retired after serving his second two-term stint in the ward.
A lifelong resident of the city, Beaudoin described himself as a "blue collar" member of the "gray patrol, or in my case bald patrol," quickly adding that "grass never grows on a busy street". He said that he is known about town as "the doctor" for his knack for fixing things as well as designing and assembling the electrical and mechanical components of robots mostly used to train tennis players.
This will be Beaudoin's second run at the seat. In 2011, after winning a place on the general election ballot with three write-in votes in the primary, he lost to Lahey by a margin of 103 to 44, with just 11-percent of voters casting ballots. Preferring to be described as "cheap" rather than "fiscally conservative," he said that he is "tired of the waste" in city government. As an example, he pointed to plan to landscape the plaza at the Main Street Bridge. "We're not trying to turn Laconia into Greenwich Village," he remarked. "I want businesses on Main Street, not flower pots."
Beaudoin favors more and wiser investment in city streets. "Paving is just a waste of money unless we take care of what's underneath," he said. Although he supports the property tax cap, he questioned linking the increase in the amount to be raised by taxes to the consumer price index (CPI). "The CPI may go up," he said, "but pay checks do not."
Bownes, an attorney by profession and actor by inclination, was born and raised in Laconia and save for a decade spent pursuing a career in the front of the footlights has lived and worked in the city ever since. A former city councilor, Bownes was among those who led the effort to acquire, renovate and reopen the Colonial Theatre as a regional performing arts center that ultimately came to nothing. "We ran the the table," he said, "but the the theatre remains the elephant in the middle of downtown Laconia."
Bownes distinguished between "hot button" and "long-term" issues, stressing that he is most interested in addressing the latter, especially economic development, which is required to assure the city of revenue and its residents of opportunities. The city, he suggested, should work closely with the Belknap Economic Development Council and Lakes Region Planning Commission to seek state and federal funding for civic projects.
"I want to help make Laconia a good place to live and raise your children," Bownes said. "It's really that simple."
Templeton, an engineer with Electronics for Imaging, Inc. (EFI) of Meredith, is making his first bid for public office. Although he did not return telephone this week, earlier he said that when no one stepped forward to fill the seat, he decided to run, moved in large measure by the tragic accident on Messer Street that took the life of 14-year-old Lily Johnson and severely injured Allyssa Miner. "That was about all I can take," he said. "I want to improve public safety and make the city a better place to live.
Born in Laconia, Templeton was raised in Sanbornton and while enrolled at Winnisquam Regional High School, took his first steps at the Huot Regional Techical Education Center toward his career as an engineer. Before joining EFI, he worked with a Canadian firm that manufactured injection molding systems, including a stint in Luxemburg, and as a designer with Freudenburg—NOK in Bristol. Now 37, he suggested that with his relative youth and varied experience he could bring a fresh perspective to the council.
Last Updated on Saturday, 07 September 2013 02:19
GILFORD — Selectmen have weighed in on an effort to name a remote pond in the Robert Tilton Town Forest in the Belknap Mountain Range ''Moulton Pond'' and have countered with a proposal that it instead be named ''Roberts Pond.''
Town Administrator Scott Dunn said that the board took the action at its August 28 meeting and that he has since filed a request with the United States Board on Geographic Names for that name for the pond.
But there is one glaring omission in the written request, because no one is certain at this point in time exactly who the Robert Tilton for whom the town forest is named was.
''We don't know who he was,'' said Dunn, who said that the request had to be for ''Roberts Pond'', not ''Robert's Pond'' as the Board on Geographic names doesn't allow apostrophes in names.
Everett McLaughlin of the town's Conservation Commission, who originally proposed that the small 6/10 of an acre pond be named ''Roberts Pond'' at the August 14 selectmen's meeting, says that he's been researching all of the conservation land in town but still hasn't found out who Robert Tilton was.
McLaughlin said that the 130-acre town forest, which is located in the Piper-Whiteface area near both Gilmanton and Belmont, was mentioned in a town report on March 12, 1986 but that there is no record of how the town acquired the property or when the transaction took place.
''There's no record at the Registry of Deeds, so we think it must have been through the Probate Court and someone's will,'' said McLaughlin.
He said that the Conservation Commission has known about the request from Soren Denlinger, 15, of Asbury, New Jersey, a high school sophomore, to have the unnamed pond, which is located 9/10th of a mile southwest of Round Pond, declared to be ''Moulton Pond'' for several months.
''I thought at first we should name it ''Soren's Pond'' because he's shown so much interest in it. But the Board on Geographic Names says you can't name geographic features for a living person,'' says McLaughlin.
His proposal for the name ''Roberts Pond'' first came before selectmen at the August 14 meeting but no action was taken by the board at that meeting.
Belknap County Commissioners, who received a letter from the Board on Geographic Names about Denlinger's proposal on August 2, have discussed it at subsequent meetings but decided to take no action on the request when they met Wednesday morning.
The commissioners received a copy of the letter Gilford had sent to the Board on Geographic names in which it said that the Moulton Pond designation was unacceptable to the town and requested that it be named Roberts Pond.
They voted to check a box on the form they had received urging the board ''to render a decision without our recommendation.''
Commissioner Ed Philpot (D-Laconia) said at a recent meeting of the commissioners that he had talked with long-time Gilford Conservation Commission member Charles Coons and others about the pond in question and had heard about the ''Roberts Pond'' proposal and planned on writing a personal letter to the Board on Geographic Names.
Coons, who retired several years ago from the Gilford Conservation Commission, said that he had always assumed that the Robert Tilton Town Forest was named for Robert P. Tilton, who served as clerk of Belknap County Superior Court for 30 years.
Tilton retired as clerk in 1987 and his brother, Richard, was a long-time Probate Court judge in Belknap County.
Last Updated on Friday, 20 September 2013 02:34
GILMANTON – Police arrested seven people in the past two weeks, including three motorists accused of driving while intoxicated.
Gene Welcome, 56, of Gilmanton was charged with driving while intoxicated, second offense, on August 24.
William Kimball, 25, of Laconia was charged with driving while intoxicated on August 24 and Nicholas Buzzotta, 26, of Gilford was charged with driving while intoxicated on August 30.
On September 3 police arrested Caitlin Fillion, 24 on a bench warrant.
On September 5, Nancy Marando, 54, of Laconia was charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, criminal threatening, and domestic violence assault.
On September 5, Corey Scrocca, 24, of Barnstead was charged with driving after suspension or revocation.
Robert Dudley, 51, of Gilmanton was charged with driving after suspension on September 5.
Last Updated on Saturday, 07 September 2013 01:18
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