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'I Love Laconia Motorcycle Week' riders show heart

LACONIA — Some 75 motorcycle enthusiasts took to the road yesterday in the first annual "I Love Laconia Motorcycle Week" ride to benefit the Laconia Motorcyce Week Association's marketing effort.

Led by two a pair of New Hampshire State Troopers, the cavalcade covered a loop from Laconia to Meredith to Bristol to Andover and back, stopping to admire the beauty of Profile Falls on the return leg of their three-hour journey.

The Iron Lillies, an foursome of ladies from Orlando, Florida riding Harley-Davidson Sportsters were at the forefront. The Lillies rode the 1,400 from Orlando to Laconia "to take over Bike Week" in partnership with Laconia Harlyet-Davidson and Hot Leathers.

Right behind the Lillies rode Ed Engler, the mayor of Laconia, on his black Harley and City Councilor Bob Hamel on his crimson Gold Wing, while Meredith town manager Phil Warren, another Harley enthusiast was back in the pack.

The ride started on Lakeside Avenue and finished at the Laconia Roadhouse, where after three hours in the saddle the riders received a T-shirt and patch to memorialize their trip and enjoyed lunch provided by Faro's Italian Grille.

Machester mayor wants to be governor who 'makes it simple and get's it done'

LACONIA — Ted Gatsas, the mayor of Manchester who is one of four Republican candidates for governor, said this week that theme of his campaign is "make it simple, get it done."

"I am the only candidate in this race with business experience, legislative experience and executive experience," Gatsas declared over coffee at the Tilt'n Diner this week.

Born and raised in Manchester, Gatsas and his brother Michael founded Staffing Network, an employee leasing company that became among the largest employers in New England. After the company was acquired by ADP Payroll, he embarked on his political career in 2000, serving in the New Hampshire Senate, including a stint as its president, and on the Manchester Board of Alderman concurrently for a decade. In 2009 he was elected the 47th mayor of Manchester and is now serving his fourth term.

Gatsas said that as mayor he manages the largest city in the state with a annual municipal budget of more $300 million , which is subject to both a tax cap and and spending cap. "It's not easy," he remarked. "I look at problems and try to find solutions." For example, Gatsas said when he found that street lighting cost the city $1.3 million a year, he negotiated with Eversource to install LED lights, sparing the city $400,000 annually.

Gatsas said that he would follow the same approach to challenges facing the state. The high cost of heath insurance, he said, reflected the lack of competition, explaining that he would require Anthem to divest itself of the business it gained by acquiring Cigna to add a third carrier to the market. He said that Manchester has frozen health insurance costs for its employees for two years without impairing benefits.

Gatsas said he would begin addressing the high cost of energy by requiring that 30 percent of the power generated by the Northern Pass be designated for New Hampshire, before even discussing the other concerns about the project. "We must not become a donor state," Gatsas said flatly.

Opioid addiction, Gatsas insisted, posed the most important and immediate problem. This week he issued what he billed as "a comprehensive plan" that began with declaring "a public health emergency" and stressed expanding treatment and recovery services, especially medically assisted programs, and introducing drug courts in all ten counties. He would also impose stiffer penalties for drug trafficking, including charging those whose trade causes death with murder with a mandatory life sentence without parole. "This is our number one problem," he said.

Referring to reducing the cost of street lighting and managing the cost of health insurance, Gatsas said "these are the things the governor should be doing." He is taking a pragmatic approach to governance based on identifying problems and applying solutions while avoiding debate on polarizing issues that he believes are not relevant to the challenges facing the state and are more likely to breed dissension than consensus. cannot be resolved.

Gatsas is vying for the Republican gubernatorial nomination against New Hampshire Senator Jeanie Forrester of Meredith, Executive Council Chris Sununu Newfields and Representative Frank Edelblut of Wilton.


CAPTION: In a chance encounter on the campaign trail, Mayor Ted Gatsas of Manchester, one of four Republican candidates for governor, ran into one of his current constituents, Jim Wallis, while stopping at the Tilt'n Diner. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)

County will sponsor Child Advocacy Center's request for $500,000 block grant

LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners on Wednesday approved applying for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant on behalf of the Greater Lakes Child Advocacy Center which would enable the center to purchase and renovate the building at 95 Water Street which it moved into last year.
The building is owned by the Granite United Way and was formerly the main office for the Lakes Region United Way, which merged with Granite United Way several years ago.
The approval came following a public hearing at which Donna Lane, who is helping to prepare the grant request for the center, told commissioners that the project is also applying for Community Development Finance Authority state business tax credits, which can be purchased by businesses and would reduce the amount of funding needed to complete the project.
Lane recently told commissioners that normally the CDBG request would have been made to Laconia but the city has already made a request for a $500,000 block grant for another project, which uses up its allotment for the current cycle.
The center is part of a statewide network of advocacy centers which helps young victims of physical and sexual abuse and has been located in Laconia since 2006.
Director Meghan Noyes said that last year the center handled 225 investigations of physical or sexual assaults involving children in the Lakes Region area.
The GLCAC coordinates child abuse investigations using a multi-disciplinary team approach. Professionals from law enforcement, child protective services, victim advocacy, the GLCAC, the Belknap County Attorney's Office, and medical/mental health professionals join together at the Child Advocacy Center to investigate child abuse and provide best practice care to children and their families. Children are interviewed by one person in a child-friendly, neutral environment by trained Child Advocacy Center staff. The child and family receive on-site support services and referrals to appropriate community resources.
Lane has previously told the commissioners that the deadline for the grant applications is July and that the funds are awarded on a competitive basis. She said that if the request is approved, the funds would be available by early next year.