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Hands Across the Table finds new home at St. Andre Bessette Parish Hall; Wed. is new free meal night

LACONIA — Hands Across the Table has a new home at the parish hall of St. Andre Bessette and new night on Wednesdays for its free weekly meals.

Kyril Mitchell, president of Hands Across the Table, said that Fr. Marc Drouin, Pastor of St. Andre Bessette Parish, offered the parish hall on Gilford Avenue after the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region acquired St. James Episcopal Church, where meals had been served since June, 2011.

Mitchell expressed his sincere thanks to the congregation of St. James Episcopal Church and the directors of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region for their warm hospitality."We were welcomed with open arms and made many friends on North Main Street," he said.

"It's what the mission of the church is all about," said Drouin of his decision to offer the parish hall as a permanent location for the program. "We'd rather have it full than empty."

Mitchell said that Hands Across the Table needs a commercial kitchen, room to serve at least 120 people and no rent. "We got that and more," he remarked, explaining the hall has a capacity of 500 and an abundance of tables and chairs. "We're set up for 120, but we can instantly seat another 24," he said.

In 2013, Hands Across the Table served more than 7,000 meals.

Meals will be served for those seeking food and friendship on Wednesdays beginning next week, May 7. Doors will open at 4 p.m. and dinner is served at 5 p.m.


CAPTION: Fr. Marc Drouin, Pastor of St. Andre Bessette Parish and Kyril Mitchell, President of Hands Across the Table, have partnered to offer weekly meals at the Parish Hall alongside Sacred Heart Church on Gilford Avenue. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch).

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 12:46

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Annual BOW WOW Fest on Laconia's WOW Trail is Saturday morning

LACONIA — Rain or shine, gussy up you best friend and join the pooch parade for the fourth annual BOW WOW Fest sponsored by the WOW Trail on Saturday, May 3.

The festivities begin with registration from 7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. at the Elm Street entrance to the trail at Lakeport Square. The registration fee is $10 and another $5 gets you a T-shirt with all monies dedicated to the K-9 unit of the Laconia Police Department. Additional T-shirts are on sale for $10 with all proceeds to benefit the WOW Trail.

There will be a puppy bowl at 8 a.m. followed by Officer Mike Armstrong and his K-9 Titan demonstrating the work of a police dog at 8:30 a.m. After the dogs are blessed just before 9 a.m., the parade will begin. Costumes will be judged as the pets and their owners take to the trail, headed for downtown. WAG-IT Games will be played awards presented between 10:15 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

Children can visit the Fire Department's ladder truck in the parking lot of Lake Opechee Inn.

Dog must be leashed with an up-to-date rabies vaccination. Owners should be dressed for inclement weather and prepared to clean up after their dogs.


CAPTION: From left, Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams, Chris Volpe, chief executive officer, and Claire Hebert both of Melcher & Prescott Insurance and Ann Saltmarsh of the Department of Public Works joined K-9 "Titan" and his handler, Officer Mike Armstrong at Lakeport Square, on Tuesday to invite dogs and their owners to the fourth annual BOW WOW Fest on Saturday morning. See story on page X. Volpe said that his firm is proud to support the K-9 Units of the Laconia and Gilford police departments as well as the WOW Trail, stressing that "public resources are essential for the economic development and quality of life of the community." (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 01:21

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Support expressed for addition of dedicated turn lanes at Rte. 106 & Seavey Road

BELMONT — About 15 residents and town employees voiced their support for proposed improvements to the intersection of Rte. 106 and Seavey Road last night.

The improvements, which are being paid for by the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program, propose to add a right-turn lane on to south-bound lane of Rte. 106 for turning on to Seavey Road, and an left-turn lane on Rte. 106 north-bound also for turning on the Seavey Road.

The proposal also recommends widening the Rte. 106 end of Seavey Road from the current 26-feet wide to about 40-feet wide.

Three guardrails and some painted islands are also part of the project.

According to state Department of Transportation and local officials, the Seavey Road intersection is one of the most dangerous ones in New Hampshire. From 2003 through 2012 there were 31 accidents there and DOT officials said all of them involved two or more cars.

Police Chief Mark Lewandoski and Town Planner Candace Daigle represented Belmont and both endorsed the project as something that would make the intersection that leads to Belmont High School safer.

Business owner and abutter Jeanne Price voiced some concerns about widening the road toward the east, fearing that the work on the steep slope through the area would negatively impact her driveway.

A DOT engineer said a representative would meet with her and her husband to look at the driveway and see if they can tweak the plans to allow her better access.

Officials said the projects is anticipated to cost $660,000 and begin sometime in 2016.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 01:13

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Detailed review of fire department overtime expense draws no reaction from City Council

LACONIA — For some timem the cost of overtime at the Fire Department has puzzled and concerned the City Council, especially Councilors Henry Lipman (Ward 3), who chairs the Finance Committee, and Bob Hamel (Ward 5). But when Fire Chief Ken Erickson broke down the cost of overtime for the councilors on Monday night, no one questioned his presentation.

Overtime at the Fire Department fell into seven categories — holiday pay, Motorcycle Week, time-off, extra duty, required training, ambulance staffing and billable details — the cost of which is shared between the city and LRGHealthcare according to their agreement for staffing and operating the ambulance service.

The total ran to nearly $600,000 in calendar year 2013; $435,610 without holiday pay and Bike Week included in the total. The city's share of the second number totaled up to $248,685.

Holiday pay, Erickson explained, is not for routine shift coverage. Since firefighters, unlike most city employees, must work all holidays, each union employee receives ten hours holiday pay for the day off with pay while those employees who work receive an additional five hours pay. In 2013 holiday pay amounted to $116,365, of which LRGH contributed $16,714.

During Motorcycle Week the city provides one extra firefighter, primarily on both weekends. Throughout the ten days of the rally LRGH provides two extra firefighters, staffing one ambulance at The Weirs for 18 shifts. On both weekends LRGH provides for one paramedic assigned to the ATV on Lakeside Avenue and another in a staff car. During the last weekend an additional ambulance is in service and one more EMT is added to each of three embulances. The cost of overtime during the rally was $45,589, of which LRGH paid $22,137.

Erickson said that the single largest component of overtime is keeping each station fully staffed 365 days a year. In 2013 there was coverage for 290 vacation shifts at $118,736, 114 personnel shifts at $45,837, 71 sick shifts at $57,469, and 87 injury shifts at $30,761, which altogether amounted to $242,743. Injury time is reimbursed by Woprker's Compensation at a rate of 34-percent, or $10,500 last year, and LRGH paid another $42,980.

The cost of extra duty, including recalls, fires, storms and distant transports, was $68,585, of which LRGH contributed $23,538. Both EMT-Advanced and EMT-Paramedic require semi-annual training for recertification while firefighters also require off-site training. Covering the stations for crews out-of-service cost $52,680. LRGH met the cost of $38,304 for training EMTs. LRGH pays the $51,282 to provide peak staffing Monday through Saturday as well as to put an ambulance in service on major summer holidays, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

Finally, the $20,321 incurred in providing special details for the circus, fireworks and some training exercises, was remibursed.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 01:10

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