Laconia School Board, union stalemate on contract talks

LACONIA — After negotiating for the past seven months, the Laconia School Board and Laconia Education Association, which represents the teachers in the five schools of the district, announced on Thursday they have failed to reach agreement on a collective bargaining agreement and will work without one during the 2016-2017 school year.

In a joint statement, the board and the union said that, despite negotiating in good faith since February, "they were unable to overcome the financial constraints imposed by the School District's approved budget for the 2016-2017 school year." Both parties intend to begin talks in January with the intention of negotiating and ratifying a collective bargaining agreement for the 2017-2018 school year.

– Michael Kitch


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Gilmanton Women's Club readies for Pie on the Commons Day

GILMANTON — Bakers, knitters, rug makers, spinners and other craftsmen and women are preparing for the third annual Pies on the Common fundraiser on Oct. 8. being held by the Gilmanton Women's Club.

The all-day Saturday event on the common in front of the Academy Building raises money to help support the many services agencies, including the Gilmanton Food Bank, New Beginnings, the Gilmanton Youth Organization and local Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops.

Money raised from this event has also gone to individuals and families in need in town and including helping one family purchase a service dog for one of their children, said Judy Bakos, who is one of the organizers.

But the main attraction is homemade pie.

Bakos said one woman will be making green tomato and mincemeat pies, while another long-time member of the Gilmanton Women's Club is Treasurer Helen Schricker, who hails from Germany and who makes some of the best apple pies Bakos has ever eaten.

Professional pie baker Sandy Guarino will be contributing, as will former school nurse Betty Lines, she said.

"Last year, we had 84 pies and we sold out by noon," Bakos said. "This year we'll have 100 pies."

Other vendors will included handmade items like mittens, scarves, small quilts, rugs, cross-stitched pieces and jewelry. There will be a craft table selling many holiday decorative items. Still Seeking Farm will have some late produce and other local egg and maple syrup producers will be there with their goods.

According to Bakos, the Gilmanton Woman's Club formed in 1971 for the purpose of raising money to assist local people with unexpected or emergency needs. One of their larger annual projects is to provide warm clothing and Christmas presents to some of the less fortunate families in town.

Bakos said the organization is always welcoming new members and that anyone who wishes to contribute to the Pies on the Common Event or join the organization should call Judy Bakos at 267-5056.

09-23 Gilmanton Womens Club pies

These are members of the Gilmanton Woman's club at their 2014 Pies on the Common fundraiser. This year, the Oct. 8 event is expected to feature 100 different kinds of pies baked by and for the club, which raises money to support local charities and help needy families during the holiday season. (Courtesy photo)

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Holderness Library begins addition work


The Holderness Library is starting a new chapter with construction of a new addition that broke ground on last Wednesday. Thanks to private donations and a warrant article passed by the town, the library will be doubling in usable space and become handicap accessible by the end of 2016.
Ted Vansant, chairman of the library trustees, commented on the changing role of libraries nationwide.
“Today’s libraries are much more than just places where you can get a book or a video, they’re really community centers,” he said. “Our mission is to make it a place where people can come together.”
The addition to the library will help fulfill this goal by increasing space for activities and clubs that meet there as well as events like children’s story hour which hosted up to 60 people over the summer.  
“Another very important part of what we provide is free wireless internet access,” Vansant said. “People come into the library and use it, people sit out on the front lawn and use it, there’ll now be a new deck that people can sit on and use that when the library is open or closed. It’s a resource for people to have internet access, and that’s what we’re there for.”
The warrant article, passed by a unanimous vote at Town Meeting, will cover $195,000 of the project costs in order to pay for the handicap accessibility renovations.
“We’re adding a ramp down the back and a lift to be able to get between the two floors,” Vansant explained. “It’s a great deal for the town. They’re getting a major benefit for a small amount of money.”
The rest of the project, totaling around $900,000, was paid for by private donations from Holderness residents who have been overwhelmingly supportive of the project.
“We did a mailing to the townspeople and checks were just rolling in,” Vansant said. “It didn’t matter to us whether it was a $5 check or a $50 check or a $500 check, it was the fact that we’d gotten everyone in town to agree that this was a resource that’s needed.”
The library is continuing to raise money not only for the project, but also for an endowment to help fund future programs. Currently there are a number of children-centered events and there are groups that meet to play bridge and stitch, but Vansant hopes to expand these programs more. “We’re going to continue to grow our events and programs - maybe music, music instruction, more local concerts, that type of thing - and fund that growth through this endowment,” Vansant said.
The addition to the library is due to be completed in December; however, the library will remain open throughout the construction.

009-22 Holderness library groundbreak

Ground was broken last Wednesday for a new addition to the Holderness Public Library.  (Brooke Robinson/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

09-22 Holderness library sign

A sign outside the library provides an illustration of what the new addition will look like. Construction should be finished by December. (Brooke Robinson/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

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