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Annual Robbie Mills 8-Ball Tourney attracts players from all over Northern NE

LACONIA — Mike Baron of Baron's Billiards and the Cafe Deja Vu Pub Mania Team are teaming up for the 7th Annual Robbie Mills Memorial 8 Ball Tournament which will be held Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Funky Monkey in downtown Laconia.
The tournament, which was started seven years ago by Baron as a benefit for the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region, will also benefit the WLNH Children's Auction this year.
Last year he got some help from Tony Felch and John Rich, who run the Tuesday night pool league in Laconia and who showed up and saw him running the event virtually single-handedly and decided to pitch in. They are members of the Deja Vu Pub Mania Team, which has been the top fundraising team in the WLNH Children's Auction for the last two years and collected over $20,000 in December.
''We thought that one super event would be more successful,'' says Baron, who says that last year there were 62 players in the tournament and that this year's goal is to have 100 players show up for the event.
The tournament gets underway with registration at 10 a.m. and those who pre-register before Saturday will receive a free commemorative T-shirt donated by Body Covers. Play gets underway at 11 a.m. and with a dozen pool tables available as many as 128 players can be accommodated.
''This has become a prestige tournament for players. Some come all the way up from the Seacoast and over from Maine and Vermont to take part. We raised $3,000 last year and are think that working together we can bring in a lot more to help the kids,'' said Baron.
He said that he has been putting on tournaments for the Boys and Girls Club ever since the organization was known as the Laconia Teen Center and and believes strongly that the Boys and Girls Club is needed to provide a safe haven ''for the kids who have been falling through the cracks. It really does take a whole village to raise a child.''
Baron says that he knows how important having a special place is, citing the example of his own father, who spent time in seven foster homes after losing his father when he was only two years old.
Brenda Ferland, owner of Deja Vu, says that she's pleased to have such a dedicated group of workers on her Pub Mania team and excited to be joining with Baron to help run the tournament.
Felch, the team captain, said he remembers Robbie Mills and saw him the day he was murdered for his bicycle near the Messer Street bridge.
''I couldn't believe that happened in Laconia,'' says Felch, who says that he greatly admires the way Wendy Mills has worked to honor her son's memory.
The event will feature cash prizes, raffles and a live auction which will include a season's Inner Circle Pass at Meadowbrook.
There will be lunch available courtesy of Sal's Pizza and Shaw's and Hannafords with trophies provided by Engraving Awards and Gifts.
For more info or to pre-register contact: Tony Felch 998-1418 or Boys & Girls Club 527-0198


CAPTION: poolbaron
Getting ready for the 7th Annual Robbie Mills Memorial 8 Ball Tournament which will be held Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Funky Money in downtown Laconia are Mike Baron of Baron's Billiards, and Brenda Ferland, John Rich and Tony Felch of the Deja Vu Pub Mania Team. Proceeds from the event will go to the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region and WLNH Children's Auction. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 02:53

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Revenue from LHS football concession stand allowing youth football to eliminate player registration fee

LACONIA — The Laconia Youth Football and Cheer Association has dropped its registration fee for 2014 for all children interested in playing football or cheerleading.
LYFCA President Rod Roy says the organization's agreement with Laconia High School to operate the concession stand at the new Bank of New Hampshire Stadium resulted in a major increase in revenue.
Roy made the announcement at Saturday's annual dinner and awards banquet held at the high school.
He said that the organization's board of directors recently voted to waive the registration fee for all participants and is hoping to increase participation to the point where it has a full roster of teams. Last year 96 youth played for the organization's teams and the registration fee was $100.
Roy said that participation has dropped in recent years and that the association is hoping to see that increase now that there is no registration fee.
Peter and Cheryl Hebert were honored as volunteers of the year and received the Thomas Kubicki Award.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 02:42

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On the ropes, public access TV will try a new business model

LACONIA — Lakes Region Public Access television will change to a new business model later this year, one which will see sharply reduced fees to communities and which will rely on business and corporate sponsorships for revenue to sustain its operations.

Chan Eddy of Gilford, chairman of the board of directors, outlined the new business model at a meeting held at the LRPA studio at Laconia High School last night, which he has previously described as a fee or service model with sponsorships much like those seen on the Public Broadcasting System.
He said the board is grappling with a number of changes, including those being negotiated in a new 10-year contract with MetroCast Cablevision, which will include two direct public access channels (Channel 24 and Channel 26) for each community in the coverage area with Channel 25 remaining a regional channel. It is anticipated that the new contract will take effect on July 1.
One of changes in the yet to be ratified contract will see the annual $30,000 grant which MetroCast has previously provided for LRPA-TV ending. That has raised the concern of City Councilman Bob Hamel of Laconia, who represents the city on the LRPA board, that the loss of those funds, coupled with lower income from franchise fees from member communities, will mark the death knell for LRPA-TV.
''LRPA is going down,'' Hamel told members of the Laconia City Council Monday night as he expressed concern that with each individual community concentrating on its local government and education channels that there won't be enough support to keep the regional Channel 25 operating.
He also questioned whether the communities who will be running their own local channels realize how much it will cost them to do their own programming.
Nancy LeRoy of Laconia expressed concern over what will happen to the WLNH Children's Auction under the new contract but Eddy said that it will continue to be broadcast.
Meredith Town Manager Phil Warren, who represents that town on the board and is a member of the committee negotiating the regional agreement with MetroCast, says that the current LRPA model was going to die this year anyway.
''Two more towns are leaving us. It's just not sustainable to continue to operate it this way.'' said Warren.
Some 13 municipalities, including the 11 in Belknap County, originally contracted with LRPA and paid their agreed upon share the station's overhead through a portion of the franchise fees they collected from MetroCast. However, the number of contracting municipalities has shrunk to a half-dozen — Alton, Belmont, Gilford, Meredith, Laconia and Northwood — which now share less than a third of the franchise fees they collect from MetroCast with LRPA., which has an annual operating budget of $126,000.
Eddy says that budget should be at least $500,000 and has set a $300,000 fundraising goal for the first year.
He said that Laconia, which currently pays $43,000 a year will pay only $1,900 under the new model but expects that the between 50 and 100 corporations will sign on as sponsors in the $1,000 to $2,000 range, which coupled with other fundraising activities will produce the needed revenue.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 02:54

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Shaker superintendent given green light to talk football with Gilford counterpart

BELMONT — The Shaker School Board last night directed Superintendent Maria Dreyer to hold official talks with Gilford Superintendent Kent Hemmingway about creating a joint football program for high school students in both districts.
The direction from the board came after the Friends of Belmont Football met with the board to tell them about the efforts that the group has been making to raise money for the program as well as the progress they have made so far in creating interest among Belmont Middle School and Belmont High School students in playing football at the high school level.
Gilford High School currently has a football team, while Belmont High does not.
Eric Shirley, one of the key figures in the two-year-old Friends of Belmont Football told the board that the group has so far raised about $10,000 for the program. He added that the group is also taking steps to become an officially recognized charity.
Shirley said he was confident that Belmont could provide between 10 and 15 high school students toward a co-operative Belmont-Gilford program.
Shirley said that a similar co-operative arrangement with Winnisquam High School in Tilton appeared unfeasible, largely, he said, because the Winnisquam athletic director is opposed to the idea.
Shirley said that he had met a couple of months ago with Hemingway to discuss the possibility of a Belmont-Gilford venture. He said during that meeting Hemingway said that such an undertaking would require that the Shaker District pay $15,000 a year toward the Gilford program in order for Belmont students to play. Shirley said the came away from the meeting feeling the Hemingway might be open to negotiating a lesser amount. He told the Shaker board that a fee of around $500 per Belmont team member seemed reasonable.
He further suggested that Belmont could enter into a two-year pilot program with Gilford under which Belmont High freshmen and sophomores would play only on the Gilford jayvee team and then become fully integrated with the Gilford program in three to four years.

The two schools have shared a varsity-level ice hockey program for a number of years.
"We are looking for a way for our kids to succeed," Shirley said. "We are here to see if we can get a plan forward."
Dreyer told the board that the arriving at an agreeable money figure was just one of the issues that would need to be worked out. For example, she noted that Gilford's position has been that Belmont's participation in the program would need to be officially funded by Shaker District, and as at this time there is no line item in the School Budget for a high school football program.
Dreyer said she would come back to the Shaker Board with recommendations after she has a chance to meet with Hemingway.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 02:21

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