LMS students decorating downtown store windows for holidays

LACONIA — Some 20 downtown businesses had their windows decorated with holiday-themed items thanks to a Project EXTRA program involving about 40 students from Laconia Middle School.
Nick Resca, site director for the Middle School EXTRA program, said that the program, whose initials mean Enrichment eXpressions To Raise Achievement, has partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region to open up more paths for enrichment activities for students.
''We're looking forward to making this a holiday tradition which will enable the students to feel like a real part of the community and showcase their efforts,'' said Resca after the students had completed installing a window display at Sawyer's Jewelry which featured a holiday theme, complete with snowmen and a Christmas tree,
The students, Joeann Aldridge, Mariah Floreno, Maddy McLelland and Mayson Jenkins, worked together developing an idea for what the window display would look like and then used their artistic skills to put it together about a month ago.
Tuesday they had the display pieces brought to Sawyer's, where they went to after the school day was over and spent about half an hour putting them together. The creative work itself took about two hours to compete.


caption for windowdecoration photo


Seventh graders from Laconia Middle School created a window decoration for Sawyer's Jewelry as part of a Project EXTRA program which involved about 20 businesses in downtown Laconia. Shown are Mariah Floreno, Joeann Aldridge, Maddy McLelland and Mayson Jenkins. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

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Boys & Girls Club plans to merge into Concord clubs

CONCORD — The boards of directors for the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Concord yesterday announced that they have voted to enter into a management contract with intent to merge.

Chris Emond, executive director of the Greater Concord clubs, said that his administrative staff has already begun overseeing the Lakes Region club and once the merger closes will assume responsibility for its administration, which he stressed will achieve efficiencies of scale that in turn will significantly reduce its operating costs. The executive and administrative functions of the merged entity will be headquartered in Concord.

Emond emphasized that the merger agreement will include a provision that the property of the Laconia club, the former St. James Episcopal Church complex off North Main Street, will be "preserved in perpetuity of the benefit of the children of the Lakes Region". He explained that this provision will ensure that the merged entity cannot sell the property and, if for any reason, it were to be sold, will provide that the proceeds be placed in an endowment or trust for the purpose of serving the children of the Lakes Region.

"This is very important," Emond said, adding that the two clubs will continue to operate under their separate names and with their own boards of directors and programming personnel. Likewise, the two clubs will maintain their fundraising programs, so that money raised in the Lakes Region will be put to work in the Lakes Region. However, Emond noted that the Greater Concord clubs employ a development director and grant writer, both of whom will be able to assist the Lakes Region club with its fundraising efforts. "We're not going to leave them to their own devices," he remarked.

In a prepared statement, Walter Flinn, president of the Lakes Region club, said that "any time two entities merge, there are certain operations that can be combined that will save precious funds." The Greater Concord club, he continued, " brings tremendous experience in youth development programming and fundraising. "We feel this the right decision for families and children in Laconia."

Police Chief Chris Adams, who has served as a director of the Lakes Region club for eight years and president for two years, described the proposed merger as "a win-win. It's all about serving the kids," he said, adding that the merger promises to enable the Lakes Region club to extend its reach beyond Laconia. "We are the Boys & Girls of the Lakes Region," he noted.

Flinn said that the dialogue between the two clubs opened last summer after Lakes Region club lost its second executive director in three years. After undertaking due diligence, the directors and staff of both clubs concluded they would each benefit by merging. "Once our board had the information," Emond said, it was a pretty quick decision."

Donald T. Segal, president of the Greater Concord club, said in a formal statement that "our strategic plan includes exploring opportunities for growth, when it makes financial sense and where there is strong support in the community we are entering. Laconia met those criteria." He also noted that the community, "with exceptionally high poverty levels," needed a strong club to support its youth.

During the past 15 years, the Greater Concord club has merged with organizations in Hopkinton and Allenstown, expanded operations in Warner and Franklin and partnered with two elementary schools in Concord. Emond said that the club has has learned how to operate satellite units and rally support in the communities it serves.

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Manchester incident leads Belknap County to re-indict 20-year-old for felony reckless conduct with a firearm

LACONIA — A former Winter Street man has been indicted a second time for a single count of felony reckless conduct after allegedly discharging a firearm he was said to be using to hit a man while the two were arguing outside a Blueberry Lane apartment block in January of 2014.

Parker Cathcart, 20, whose current address is the Valley Street Jail in Manchester, is accused by Manchester police of doing a similar thing on October 26, while he was at a party in the south side of Manchester, said paperwork filed with Belknap County Superior Court by his probation officer.

In Manchester, Cathcart allegedly went to a party where alcohol was being served where he became involved in a fight. He is alleged to have left the party and returned with a stolen gun that he used to scare party goers. He is also alleged to have assaulted two people using the gun.

He is being held in the Valley Street Jail on $75,000 personal recognizance bail and $10,000 cash-only bail.

Belknap County Prosecutor Melissa Guldbrandsen said in July of 2014 Cathcart pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of simple assault for his actions on Blueberry Lane in January. She said that as part of his plea agreement, the state would not prosecute him for the felony with the condition that he obey the rules of his probation to which he agreed.

Guldbrandsen said when Cathcart's probation officer filed a report with the court about his latest arrest by Manchester Police for first-degree assault, receiving stolen property (the gun) and criminal threatening, she said those allegations are in violation of his probation so she brought forward the Laconia felony at the last session of the Belknap County grand jury.

According to the probation paperwork, when Cathcart agreed to the terms of his probation in July they included him taking a gun safety class from a sheriff's deputy, performing 250 hours of community service, and maintaining employment of at least 25 hours a week when not attending school. He was also to stay away from his victim and pay restitution.
Probation filings indicate he a made a $69 payment for restitution, had performed none of his community service and was arrested at a party in Manchester where his alleged actions resulted in additional criminal charges. He has taken a gun safety class.

As for his Laconia charges, Cathcart allegedly went to an apartment on Estates Circle around 3 a.m. on or around January 17 after his sister called him and told him she was there and her boyfriend had hit her.

Affidavits filed at the time by Laconia Police at the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division said Cathcart went to the building and waited in the foyer for his sister's alleged assailant.

A witness said she saw Cathcart grab the alleged assailant by his his neck and heard a gun fire. Until that point,the witness said she didn't know Cathcart had a gun.

Laconia Police recovered the bullet and eventually recovered the gun but not from Cathcart.

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City expects new technology in plow trucks to result in significant savings

LACONIA — After the long, hard winter of 2013-2014 — when the city bought more than 100 tons of road salt in the middle of March — punched a $95,000 hole in the winter maintenance budget, the Department of Public Works (DPW) is applying technology to reduce the cost of clearing streets.

Last year the DPW began working with Sensible Spreader Technologies, LLC of Manchester, a firm begun by Andrew Jaccoma while he pursued his Master's degree in Business Administration at the University of New Hampshire. Together with its counterpart in Manchester, the DPW equipped two of its plow trucks with a tablet mounted on the dashboard and sensors fitted to the plow and spreader. The tablet displays to the drivers where and when they have plowed while the sensors measure the amount of salt spread.

The data collected from these pilot programs, conducted at no cost to the city, indicated that between 10 percent and 20 percent of the time trucks were unintentionally plowing and salting streets already cleared and treated. The waste of both time and material adds to the cost of winter maintenance.

This year ,the city has invested $12,600 to equip four plow trucks with the tablets and sensors in order to pursue its winter maintenance operations more efficiently. Paul Moynihan, director of DPW, said yesterday that he expects the system will significantly reduce if not eliminate "overlap," or trucks retracing well plowed streets.

At the same time, because the system controls the spreader, salt can be applied in appropriate amounts with greater efficiency. For example, less salt can be spread on roads adjacent to lakes and rivers, reducing the adverse impact of chloride on the natural environment. Jaccoma expects to introduce a feature that will enable a truck to automatically switch from road salt to a non-chloride de-cer in environmentally sensitive areas. Likewise, less salt is spread as the truck slows and none at all when it stops.

Moynihan said that four trucks working four hours apiece can plow and salt the more than 100 miles of public roads and streets in the city. He estimated that if the system reduces the amount of salt applied in the course of the winter by between 5 percent and 10 percent, if will more than have paid for itself.

"This is kind of cutting edge stuff," remarked Luke Powell, assistant director of DPW.

Jaccoma took first prize in the Paul J. Holloway Innovation-to-Market competition at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at UNH in 2012 for bringing the system to market.

After spending $376,880 for 5,451 tons of salt last winter, the DPW has budgeted $331,000 for this winter and so far has used just 18 tons of the stockpile of 867 tons on hand to begin the season.

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