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Rep. Worsman will not seek 3rd term in N.H. House

MEREDITH — Representative Colette Worsman, who has represented Meredith in the New Hampshire House of Representatives since 2010 and chaired the Belknap County Convention since 2012, yesterday announced that she will not seek a third term.

In a prepared statement, Worsman, a Republican, said "I believe in term limits, which allow for fresh ideas and renewed energy to serve you." She prefaced her remark by explaining "in order to dedicate myself to you, I chose to give freely of a tremendous amount of time and energy."

Later Worsman, who owns and operates a construction contracting firm with her husband Glenn, said that "it's important for working people to serve in the Legislature, but for someone working full-time it requires a lot. It's time to pass the baton," she continued, adding "the sacrifice was worth the investment in the lawmaking process."

Worsman served two three-year terms on the Board of Selectmen in Meredith, but in 2012 lost her bid for a third term by more than 200 votes. Meanwhile, in 2010 she was elected to the first of her two terms in the House, where she held a seat on the Finance Committee. During her first term she was a loyal and enthusiastic member of the Republican majority led by the controversial Speaker Bill O'Brien and called the "balanced budget" adopted under his leadership her proudest achievement as a lawmaker.

Worsman's second term in the House, when the Democrats regained their majority, was overshadowed by her leadership of the Belknap County Convention, which put her at loggerheads with the Belknap County Commission. This year and last Worsman, in an unprecedented show of force, not only significantly reduced but also effectively rewrote the county budgets proposed by the commission, sparking a bitter dispute between the convention and commission over their respective budgetary authority. Along with helping to squeeze the state budget, she counted "holding taxes down in Belknap County" as her major accomplishment.

A staunch conservative, Worsman did not shy from putting herself in the minority, sometimes a small minority. She was among only seven members of the House to vote in favor of legislation requiring that evolution be taught as a political theory and one of five to require all legislation refer to the Magna Carta. "I never considered myself a politician," she said. "I look back at what I've done as a service."

Worsman likened her decision to "taking a sabbatical" and declined to rule out either retiring from or returning to the political arena in the future. "I'm taking time off and playing it by ear," she said.

In the meantime, in her statement she urged "a fellow citizen who possesses strong conservative values and who believes in small government, privacy protection, personal responsibility and personal freedoms to pick up the banner I lay down. I cannot overstate," she closed, "the need for wisdom and steadfastness in upholding the N.H. U.S. Constitutions, or the need for personal and unselfish commitment to work for your constituents."

Worsman is one of four representatives elected commonly by Meredith and Gilford voters. She is currently joined by Herb Vadney (R-Meredith), Bob Greemore (R-Meredith) and Lisa DeMartino (D-Gilford).

Last Updated on Monday, 19 May 2014 11:51

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Unofficial dog park closed

LACONIA — Normally, if you want to keep someone or something out, you lock the gates, but at Woodland Heights Elementary School, where for some years dog owners have let their pets loose on the fenced and gated playing field, the administration has removed the gates to keep the canines out.

Principal Dennis Dobe said yesterday that the gates were removed — even from the outfield that borders deep woods — to discourage residents from letting their dog roam free in the enclosure. He explained that although the field was never intended as a dog park, "we've worked hard to accommodate people," including installing dispensers with bags for pet waste. He said that while responsible dog owners picked up after their pets, others did not, posing a risk to the school children and athletic teams that regularly use the field. However, he said "the situation has been out-of-hand for a long time" and had become a "health and safety issue."

"You can't co-mingle," Dobe remarked. "It was a difficult decision, but it needed to be done."

Kevin Dunleavy, director of Parks and Recreation, said that management of the field falls to the School District, which owns the property, while his department maintains the field and approves its use for youth sports. He noted that a city ordinance stipulates that "it shall be unlawful to intentionally permit any dog to run at large within the city of Laconia; to this end, the owner shall keep the dog on a leash or within an enclosure whenever the dog is not on the property of the owner."

Dunleavy said that while dogs are welcome in city parks, they must be kept on a leash and their owners must pick up after them.

Bob McCarthy, who regularly took his dog to the field, was troubled by the decision to remove the gates. He said that it followed on heels of his wife's complaint that the rubbish bins around the field were not being emptied, suggesting that the move to dispel dogs from the field was taken in reprisal.

Dobe flatly denied any connection between the two, describing it as "a coincidence." He conceded that responsibility for emptying the bins has been "ambiguous," which has caused problems, but insisted that the closure of the informal dog park and the emptying of the rubbish bins were two separate, unrelated issues.

Also coincidentally, people interested building a "Happy Tails" dog park on a tract of city-owned land in the South End are meeting tonight (Tuesday) at the Community Center at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is open to all Lakes Region residents.

Happy Tails seeks to lease four or five acres at the southeast end of the parcel located between the dead end of Spruce Street and the Lakes Business Park to house a parking area, access paths and two fenced dog parks, one of 1.3 acres divided in half for small and large dogs and another 40 feet by 20 feet for puppies.The park would be larger than most dog parks in the state and the play pen for puppies would be unique.

Last Updated on Monday, 19 May 2014 11:43

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Belmont Middle School's Destination Imagination team headed for nationals

BELMONT — For the five students who won the pandemonium challenge for the New Hampshire Destination Imagination competition, it doesn't get any better than going to Knoxville, Tenn. to compete in the global challenge.

The five — Kelly Hayes, H. Lavallee, Ian Cluett, Alexus Day, and Katherine Seiberth — Belmont Middle School students will leave with two adult chaperones for a three-day competition.

When asked what the lessons the five have learned from participating in Destination Imagination — all of them said "Teamwork."

"Sometimes we don't even have to talk to each other, we have silent cues," said H., noting the team has been together since the beginning of the year.

Destination Imagination is a public-private partnership that teaches students critical thinking, problem solving and creativity. It uses a variety of teaching tools, science, math, technology and acting to encourage a team to work as one and solve a problem.

In the pandemonium challenge, the five must act out a skit using a character from the past, a character from the present, and an in-costume character to solve a problem that is thrown at them by the judges.

For example, the team said for the state final the team had a doll, a carpenter from the past and a meteorologist from the present. Their challenge was a flooded basement and how they could address it.

"All three set characters have to work together to solve the pandemonium," said H., adding they bring the other two competitors in as needed when they decide their roles.

Although they are going down as a team to compete in a contest, the trip means other things to these eighth graders.

It's the first time most of them have been away from home without their families, although two of the students have parents accompanying them as chaperones.

None of them have ever been on a coach-type bus and a few of them have never been out of New Hampshire.
Team coach and School Board Chair Heidi Hutchinson said the team and the parents will also have some time to spend in Knoxville as well a visit some of the nearby sites.


CUTLINE: (in your in box) The Shaker Regional School District Destination Imagination Team and its coaches finished first in New Hampshire and are on their way to Knoxville, Tennessee to compete in the Global Competition. In the back row from left to right are coach Rick Glatz, Kelly Hayes, H. Lavallee, and coach Heidi Hutchinson. In the front row from left to right are Alexus Day, Katherine Seiberth, and Ian Cluett. (Courtesy photo)

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 May 2014 12:48

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Day care center owner's boyfriend charged with sex crimes

GILMANTON — The boyfriend of a former daycare center owner has been indicted by a Belknap County grand jury for allegedly asking a young girl to touch his penis.

Robert Woodbury, 58, of Route 106 is charged with one count of solicitation felonious sexual assault and one count of misdemeanor indecent exposure that occurred between June of 2010 and August of 2011 at the former Cozy Cottage Daycare.

Woodbury was arraigned last week in the Belknap County Superior Court. He is free on $50,000 personal recognizance bail, ordered to have no contact with the victim or her family, and to have no contact with minors under 16.

Chief Joe Collins said the incident was reported to his department in October of 2013 and he launched an investigation that lasted about four months. Collins said the daycare center has been closed for about a year.

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 May 2014 12:16

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