Twins arrested on drug warrants

LACONIA — On Sunday, The Laconia Police Department arrested identical twins with separate outstanding drug warrants.
Laconia Police made a traffic stop on Union Avenue.  The passenger of the motor vehicle, Jillian Moulton, was taken into custody on a bench warrant for non-appearance in court on a felony-level possession of controlled drug charge.
Through questioning officers were able to ascertain that her twin sister who also had a warrant out for her arrest was at their residence at 416 Union Avenue.
Officers responded to that address and arrested Janelle Moulton on a warrant out of the Merrimack County Sheriff's Office for failure to appear on a felony level possession of a controlled drug (amphetamine) charge.

Jillian was held at the Belknap County Jail on $1,000 cash bail and Janelle was transported to the Merrimack County Jail by the Merrimack County Sheriff's Department.

Shaker board close to approving $20k contract to evaluate school 'culture'

BELMONT — After meeting three consecutive nights this week, the Shaker Regional School Board is close to hiring PCG Education of Boston to conduct a far-reaching "culture" survey.

According to Business Administrator Debbie Thompson, the board initially approved spending up to $19,000 for a survey that will query community members, current and past employees, students, and parents.

The survey will address morale, collaboration, change and the pace of change, and community communications.

The reason for the survey is two-fold — the board has already planned on doing one this year and voters passed a non-binding, petitioned article placed on the 2015 school district warrant that requested one.

The article's sponsors wanted a separate committee to be created whose members would be appointed by district Moderator Roy Roberts — one of the titular heads of the survey request. The board decided though that they would oversee the survey but would contract it to a professional company so the questions would not be directly influenced by them.

Roberts is not thrilled that the school board took it upon itself to do the survey but said he expected it would be outsourced.

On Monday, all seven members of the board met with two consultants from PCG Education at Belmont High School.

The board has a choice between a "canned" or already prepared survey or a custom-designed survey. On of the PCG representatives said the company had never been asked to survey previous employees so there was no existing template for that.

The purpose of the meeting was to negotiate the final price for the survey and to button down the types of questions each core group would be answering. The school board will be responsible for the survey but will have no direct input into the actually framing of the questions.

Some school board members were concerned that if the employees of four schools were polled individually and then by job description, the small size of the schools could jeopardize anonymity.

PCG representatives said the survey should be brief and take no more than 15 minutes for someone who receives to respond. She said in her experience, the longer the survey means that fewer people will take the time to complete it.

Gretta Olson-Wilder said she would like a small space for people to write their own comments to address things that were not on the survey and Jill LaValley said she would like to present very cut-and-dry questions.

"If people aren't happy it would be a good time to know why," she said.

After discussion the issue at their regular meeting on Tuesday and by conference call on Wednesday, Thompson said the board made a motion to approve a contract up to $20,000 because the final best price from PCG for the type of customized survey it wanted is $19,434.

Thompson said the final price was determined on Wednesday at the conference call but, even though there was a quorum, the members who participated felt it was too important to not have all the members present.

She said the final vote on whether or not to enter into the contract is scheduled for the May 26 meeting to be held at 6 p.m. at the Belmont Elementary School Library.

Alton fire chief leaving after 30 years with department

ALTON — Fire Chief Scott Williams said yesterday that he has retired from the town's Fire Department. He has been with the department for 30 years, serving as part-time chief for the past seven.

Williams said that he and Town Administrator Russ Bailey had a conversation Thursday and he felt the two were heading in different directions as it related to the future of the Fire Department.

"The department has a lot of (future) challenges in equipment and at some point a building," Williams said, noting the department is handling 750 calls annually.

Williams said his departure from the department was not done out of animosity or anger and he said he and Bailey parted, "before we stopped liking each other."

"I have no regrets," said Williams about retirement. "I love the Fire Department."

He said because of his involvement with the department, he's done some of the most interesting things that he never thought he'd be able to do, including flying in a Black Hawk helicopter.

Williams said that it was a good time for him and his family for him to retire as chief. He said his full-time work as an excavator and builder has been growing considerably in the past few years and he'll be able to dedicate more time to that.

He added that he and his wife were in the "buttoning down" stages of their lives where he would like to begin planning for a time when they can spend their winters in the Caribbean.