Taylor Community contracts with Iowa company for management services

LACONIA — The Board of Trustees of the Taylor Community has entered a management agreement with Life Care Services (LCS) of Des Moines, Iowa to manage the operations of the venerable continuing-care retirement community.

Bob Selig, who has served as chief executive officer of the Taylor Community for the past two years and announced his retirement earlier this month, explained that the partnership is intended to ensure continuity of executive leadership. "We're no longer alone in the woods," he remarked.

Founded in 1971, LCS currently serves some 34,000 senior citizens in 132 managed communities. Selig said that in seeking a professional organization with a proven track record of managing continuing care retirement communities, the trustees met with the leadership of LCS and visited several of the firm's facilities before unanimously approving the management agreement. .

The partnership with LCS,, Selig said, will provide a number of benefits to the Taylor Community. Group purchasing and insurance programs will reduce operating costs while the affiliation will strengthen the confidence of lenders in management of long-term debt. Executive leadership will enjoy close relationships with their counterparts throughout LCS's network while educational resources and training programs will be available to staff members.

Selig stressed that the transition will be seamless with no changes to services. All staff, save for the executive director and administrator who will report to LCS while remaining answerable to the trustees, will remain in the employ and under the direction of the Taylor Community. The Taylor Community will continue to be owned by its more than 600 incorporators, including all residents, who elect the trustees, who will continue to approve the annual budget and manage the endowment fund.

Sanbornton to hold Nov. 4 public hearing on 'swap shop' issue

SANBORNTON — The Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 4, beginning at 6:30 p.m. — after their regularly scheduled meeting — to consider the petition presented earlier this month requesting a special Town Meeting to see if voters will lift the ban on dump picking through at the traditional "swap shop" imposed by the board.

The petition, signed by some 150 residents, reads "to see if the town will vote to rescind the decision of the Board of Selectmen to close the recycling facility at the transfer station and continue the operation of the center for the benefit of Sanbornton residents."

State law would appear to require the selectmen to schedule a special town meeting. RSA 39:3 provides that "In towns with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants upon the written application of 50 or more voters or 1/4 of the voters in town, whichever is fewer . . . so presented not less than 60 days before the next annual meeting, the selectmen shall warn a special meeting to act upon any question specified in such application."

However, a companion provision (RSA 39:9) has been interpreted to afford selectmen authority to refuse to convene a special town meeting, if they have reasonable grounds for doing so, though their refusal may be appealed to superior court.

As it happens, the petition misses the mark. The selectmen did not close the "recycling facility", but instead prohibited residents from swapping their cast-offs at the transfer station. The board acted on the recommendation of Primex, the carrier of the town's property and liability insurance, which cautioned that should an exchange lead to an injury, the town could find itself liable to costly litigation.
Lynn Chong, one of the petitioners said yesterday that she spoke with Assistant Attorney General Stephen Labonte who advised her that because the petition was not worded as precisely as necessary, his office would be unlikely to insist the selectmen accede to it.

Chong said that in light of the issues clouding the petition, she is encouraging petitioners to attend the public hearing with the goal of persuading the selectmen to reverse their decision and reopen what they call the "swap shop".

Tony Felch making a third effort to unseat Armand Bolduc in Ward 6

LACONIA — Armand Bolduc has served on the City Council, in Ward 3, Ward 6 and at-large, including when the councilor with the most votes served as mayor, for so long that even he pauses when measuring his tenure and seeks to extend his streak to 17 terms by holding his seat in Ward 6 against the challenge of Tony Felch. City election day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

This is third consecutive election in which Felch has tried to wrest the seat away from Bolduc.

Both candidates hail from Lakeport, where signs touting their candidacies sometimes appear alongside one another on the same front lawn.

With his brother Ernie, Bolduc has been a mainstay of the annual Christmas Village at the Community Center, represented the council on the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association and contributed significantly to the success of the Lakeport Community Association.

Like Bolduc, Felch, who lives in the home he was raised in, has become a familiar face in the city as president of the Leavitt Park Association, co-captain of the Deja Vu Pubmania team and member of the distribution committee of the annual Children's Auction.

Bolduc said that with the expansion and renovation of the Central Fire Station, following close behind construction of Laconia Middle School and Huot Technical Center, improvements at Laconia High School and replacement of the Main Street Bridge, most major projects are complete.

Looking ahead, both candidates pointed to the WOW Trail as an outstanding issue. Felch believes lauded the fundraising efforts of the WOW Trail but doubted the project can be undertaken with only private funds. Instead he said that the city must invest in the project to ensure its completion. "Once its built it becomes a city park," he said, asking "why isn't the city more involved? Not just financially, but pushing to get it done."

For Bolduc, charting a route between Lakeport and the Weirs is a challenge, not least because of the resistance of residents of South Down Shores and Long Bay to the trail following the railroad along the shore of Paugus Bay. "From what I understand, they're ready for battle," he said. At the same time, he questions whether the trail can be routed through the Weirs to Meredith and suggested instead that it skirt South Down Shores by following Ellm Street to Parade Road and running from there to Meredith. "It's going to be a tough one," he remarked.

Neither Bolduc nor Felch favored the proposal to rezone Weirs Boulevard so as to restrict commercial uses. Bolduc said that he was opposed to nightclubs operating in the area, where there are many residential properties, but saw no reason to prohibit small businesses like restaurants or even automobile dealerships.

Felch said that zoning at the Weirs should encourage diverse uses, while preserving frontage along major thoroughfares for commercial ventures, at least on the ground floor. He said that a greater effort should be made to redevelop the property at the corner of Route 11-B and White Oaks Road where the Surfcoaster operated, suggesting a hotel and resort with an indoor water park open throughout the year.

Both Bolduc and Felch believe the city should purchase the property on North Main Street than housed the Laconia State School. "The city needs to buy it at a reasonable price — $2-million or less," Felch said. He said the city should secure federal funding to overcome the environmental issues at the site, then sell it to private interests. "The city should not own it forever," he said.

Bolduc said that in acquiring the property, the city should also secure ownership of the Robbie Mills Sports Complex, which it leases from the state, while seeking to attract businesses to locate on the remainder of the property.

Likewise, both support the city partnership with the Belknap Economic Development Council to acquire and renovate the Colonial Theatre, which they believe will lead to increased business activity downtown. i

"I get calls from every ward in the city," Bolduc said,"and I take care of them. I'm happy to do it and enjoy doing it." As for how long he intends to serve, he remarked "the good Lord is going to tell us that."

But, Felch said that the "it's time for some new blood, for a councilor who is technologically savvy," adding that he while he appreciate and respects Bolduc's many years of service, "it's time for a change."

The municipal election will be held on Tuesday, November 3 when the polls will be open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.