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Gilford Selectboard says investment in Kimball Castle not in town's best interests

GILFORD — With the deadline of April 30 for the Kimball Castle to be "made safe" by either demolition or fencing approaching, the Board of Selectmen yesterday announced its preference for having what remains of the structure be razed. The board would like to see a single family home developed on the Locke's Hill property and a suitable memorial placed on nearby town-owned land.

In the meantime, the board invited residents to attend a public forum of the future of Kimball Castle at the Town Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 26, beginning at 7 p.m.

In April 2013, after Building Inspector Dave Andrade told the selectmen the Kimball Castle posed a risk to public safety, the board voted unanimously to authorize its owners, David and Mary Jodoin of Nashua, doing business as Kimball Castle Properties, LLC, to demolish it. Three times since the board has extended the deadline to comply with Andrade's order.

At a public hearing in August, 2013 a group of people, among them some who were not residents of Gilford, called for the castle to preserved. The selectmen invited those seeking to preserve the castle to submit a petitioned warrant article to the Town Meeting to determine if voters were willing to take steps, including including raising and appropriating town funds, to this end. No petitioned warrant article was submitted.

However, the board noted that the Kimball Wildlife Forest Committee suggested that the town purchase the property where the castle stands, drawing on grants, donations and trust funds, so that the castle can be allowed to collapse and the 23.66 acres added to the 179 acres of the Kimball Wildlife Forest. The transaction was projected to cost between $500,000 and $700,000.

The selectmen found that "this investment is not in the town's best interest, especially when we consider the cumulative costs of town ownership (to include having to manage the care of several other structures, dealing with inevitable trespassers, potential liabilities, and the loss of tax revenues) for the sake of a dilapidated castle that would cost a fortune to rebuild."

By letter, the selectmen advised Sandy McGonagle, who chairs the Kimball Wildlife Forest Committee, they have concluded that "there is very little public support for the town to re-acquire this structure or the land on which it resides" and that the board agreed the property should remain on the tax rolls as a single family house lot. The board suggested the committee turn its attention to planning an appropriate memorial to the castle somewhere in the forest.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 03:06

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Vadney retiring from Meredith Selectboard; Seeger only candidate to file

MEREDITH — After serving one term on the Board of Selectmen, Herb Vadney, who is also serving his first term in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, has chosen not to seek re-election.

Prior to his election to the Selectboard, Vadney was long chair of the Planning Board.

Hillary Seeger, nee Jollimore, was the lone candidate to file for the Selectboard by the close of the filing period on Friday.

Seeger, whose father Ken served a town moderator and mother, Ann as supervisor of the checklist, said she has no political experience, but after watching what has been happening in Washington decided lack of experience would not put her at a disadvantage. "I'm a collaborative person," she said, "and believe representatives of the people should follow their conscience rather than their party."

Seeger served as a civil engineering technician in the United States Air Force for eight years and in the Army National Guard for another six. She is vice-president of the Laconia Kiwanis Club and was an enthusiastic supporter of Christopher Boothby's campaign for the Executive Council. Saying that as a selectman she intends to represent the will of the people, she urged anyone with questions about her candidacy to call her at 707-6821.

Last Updated on Saturday, 01 February 2014 01:23

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Understanding after Hathaway House meeting is that historic Laconia building will have to be moved to be saved

LACONIA — Following the emotional public hearing on the future of the Hathaway House last week, Pam Clark, who chairs the Heritage Commission, and City Manager Scott Myers met yesterday with Greg Nolan of Cafua Management Company, LLC, the owner of the building, in what Clark described as a "positive and productive meeting."

In September, Cafua applied for permit to demolish the Hathaway House, setting in train the process to preserve it. A public hearing was held, at which the overwhelming majority of attendees favored preserving the building. In accord with the ordinance Clark met with the owner to discuss alternatives to demolition. If an alternative cannot be found, Cafua will be entitled to proceed with demolition.

Clark said that there was acknowledgement that the interests of both the owner of Hathaway House and those seeking to preserve it, hinged on relocating the building. The entrance to the Dunkin' Donuts outlet runs close to the front door of the Hathaway House, effectively foreclosing prospects to convert the building to a either a residential or commercial use at its current location.

Although Cafua will complete its application for a demolition permit, Clark said that Nolan agreed to "provide a reasonable window of opportunity to explore the possibility of relocating the building. He said that at this time the company had no specific plans for the property. Clark said that Nolan assured her that "there is no imminent time frame for demolition" and should the company decide to pursue that course the Heritage Commission will be given ample notice."

Clark said that following the meeting she spoke with Maggie Stier of the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance who said that she would arrange for a team to assess the condition of the Hathaway House to determine whether it can be moved and to estimate the cost relocating it. "Right now the question is whether it can be moved and if so where it can be located and at what cost," Clark said, adding that the commission may issue a "request for proposals" to attract developers interested in acquiring the building and a lot to house it.

Last Updated on Saturday, 01 February 2014 01:19

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Cryans spends day campaigning in Laconia

LACONIA — Yesterday, for the second time in as many weeks, Michael Cryans, the Democratic candidate for the Executive Council in District 1, visited the city where he addressed the Laconia Rotary Club then visited the Huot Regional Technical Education Center, Central Fire Station, and the Laconia State School property before calling at several downtown businesses to end the day.

Cryans, 62, was born and raised in Littleton, where he graduated from high school in 1969 before earning his bachelor's degree at Springfield College in 1973. He returned home and taught physical education at Littleton High School for five years before joining Littleton Savings Bank as a trainee. The bank became the Dartmouth Banking Company and Cryans was its senior vice-president when it was sold 15 years later. He spent a decade self-employed, providing financial counseling to small businesses and working families and since 2003 has served as director of Headrest, a substance abuse and recovery facility in Lebanon. He has served on the Grafton County Commission for the past 17 years.

"It's a huge undertaking, a humbling experience to run for the executive council in this district," Cryans told the Rotarians. He displayed a map, explaining that the district sprawls across two-thirds of the land area of the state, reaches into seven of its 10 counties — Coos, Carroll, Grafton, Belknap, Strafford, Sullivan and Merrimack — and includes four of its 13 cites — Laconia, Berlin Claremont and Lebanon — 109 of its 221 towns and most of its unincorporated places. But, Cryans noted, 80 percent of the state's population lives in the other four Executive Council districts.

Countering a common assumption, Cryans said "I don't view this job as North County job." Instead. he said there are "pockets of population" all across the district "each with its own issues." Apart from his experience in business and government, he said that as a distance runner, who runs 10 miles every day and has covered 80,000 miles in the last decade, he has the "perseverance and sticktoitiveness" the position requires.

Cryans said that the constitutional duties of the executive council are to approve the governor's nominations for commissioners and their deputies of executive departments and agencies, numerous boards and commissions and judgeships as well as to approve state contracts amounting to some $4-billion a year.

However, he added that Ray Burton had "redefined the role of executive councilor, which "consists of three things — constituent service, constituent service and constituent service." He confessed "I'm not trying to fill Ray's shoes, which would be impossible for anyone," while insisting "I will do the best I can and represent you as best I can. No playbook comes with this job," he continued. "If you have a suggestion, I'll take it."

When the floor was opened to questions Cryans was asked what effect his party affiliation would have on his approach to the office "I'd like to think it wouldn't have any," he replied, adding that he thought the person's qualities were more important than their partisan allegiance.

Rick Lahey referred to the bill passed by the New Hampshire House of Representatives last week and asked what Cryans thought about legalizing the sale of marijuana. Explaining that that it was not a question to come before the Executive Council, he said that because he worked to overcome substance abuse he would have voted against it.

The discussion turned to Northern Pass and the possible proliferation of wind farms in Grafton County. "I don't think the towers should be built," Cryans said of Northern Pass, recalling that once the state license plates carried the word "scenic" and stressing that "the towers would drastically change the landscape forever." For the project to proceed, he said, "they must figure out a way to bury the lines."

With respect to wind farms, Cryans said that while personally he did not like the turbines on the ridge lines, he considered the permitting process was "a local issue" and believed "each community should have a greater say." That was not enough for Abe Dadian, who pressed Cryans for a commitment to forestall the development of wind farms, especially in the towns surrounding Newfound Lake.

When Cryans said he had no opinion for or against casino gambling, he was asked "do you gamble?" and answered to laughs, "I didn't say that, I came here today, didn't I."

 

CAPTION — Michael Cryans (right), the Democratic candidate for the Executive Council in District 1, said that at 62 he does not aspire to match the 17 terms served by Ray Burton. Nevertheless, during a visit to the Huot Technical Center yesterday he took time to speak with future voters, Eli (left) and Colin (center), at the Early Childhood Education program (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch).

Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2014 02:00

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