Cars runs up into back of paving truck on Rte. 106 in Belmont

BELMONT — A Meredith man was taken by ambulance to Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia yesterday morning after his car collided with a GMI Paving Truck.

Police said Joshua Fox was driving a 4-door compact sedan south on Rte. 106 at 6:40 a.m. when he drove into the back of the paving truck that was trying to accelerate up the hill after coming out of the GMI driveway.

The driver of the truck was uninjured.

The front end of Fox's car was heavily damaged.

Police said they don't know why Fox rear-ended the truck and are investigating the speed of both vehicle as well as the sight lines on that section of road.

If anyone witnessed the crash they are asked to call Belmont Police at 267-8350 and ask for Officer Joel Pickowicz.

Sachems stuff Plymouth's 2-point conversion try in OT, win 28-27

LACONIA — The Laconia Sachems stopped a 2-point Plymouth conversion try in overtime Friday night on Fitzgerald Field to secure a 28-27 win. 

The visiting Bobcats scored a typing touchdown with 1:20 left in the contest to send the game into overtime, in which the competing sides alternate attempts to score in four downs from the 10 yard line. Laconia scored in three plays to lead things off and then settled for a kicked extra point.

Plymouth also scored in three plays but decided to end the game on one final running play, which Laconia stuffed.

Laconia lost its only game of the season, at Lebanon, when it also failed to convert on a game-ending two point conversion attempt.

Quarterback Matt Swormstedt scored two rushing touchdowns for Laconia and Keith Schultz returned a fumble 89 yards for another second half score for Laconia.

Plymouth held a 7-0 lead at halftime but Swormstedt ran 49 yards to score on the first play from scrimmage of the second half. Regulation play ended with the teams tied at 21.

Laconia hits the road next Friday at Merrimack Valley (Penacook). The Pride has this week off after a 48-26 victory over Kingswood (Wolfeboro) last week. Merrimack Valley is currently in second place with a 3-2 record in the NHIAA Division II East Conference.

The Sachems are now 4-1 in Division II North Conference play. Plymouth is 1-4.

Hybrid roundabout proposed in Meredith

MEREDITH — The Rte. 3-25 advisory committee yesterday decided to look at a hybrid one-lane roundabout plan for the critical intersection, which would feature a traffic light as well as a roundabout configuration.
The hybrid roundabout idea was suggested by Rusty McLear, who described himself as ''a pro-roundabout guy''. He said that the light would only be operational during peak hours, which amounted to three or four hours, two days a week for about 10 weekends a year.
Gene McCarthy of McFarland Johnson, Inc., project manager for the DOT, said that he wasn't sure what the impact of a hybrid roundabout would be on traffic flow. He said that hybrid roundabouts create a pause in traffic as it enters the roundabout but that data is sketchy on how well they work.
McLear's suggestion came after Rte. 3-25 committee member Warren Clark said that he thinks that the model used by Johnson, which recently concluded that a signalized intersection at Rte. 3-25, will move more cars than a one-lane roundabout was flawed.
''I question the model,'' said Clark, who said that he wanted to see some ''pro-roundabout experts'' before making a decision on whether to support a signalized intersection or a roundabout. He said that he is convinced that a series of roundabouts are the answer .
McCarthy said that the criteria used for assessing the effectiveness of roundabouts has changed in recent years as they have become more popular. ''It used to be that the only data we had was from England. What we've found from studies in this country is that they're not as effective in moving traffic here as in England. American drivers are more hesitant and don't drive through them as fast as the English do,'' said McCarthy.
Committee member Jack Carty said that he thinks a roundabout should be as free as possible of interruptions and said that he thinks the immediate goal should be to solve the movement of traffic at the current stoplights in Meredith. He said that a series of roundabouts would actually slow the flow of traffic southbound on Rte. 3 to Rte. 104 and compound problems at the Rte. 3-25 intersection.
''If we can solve the problem at Ground Zero maybe we can tackle the other issues later,'' said Carty.
The committee decided to look at the impact of a roundabout at Lake Street which would also include a two-phase crosswalk with a raised median where pedestrians could pause halfway across the street. There would be no left turn in either direction due to the raised median.
Also under consideration is a pedestrian overpass bridge at Dover Street which would have elevators as well as stairways at both ends. The bridge would have to be 18 and a half feet high and would be covered.
It would also have to be maintained by the town and the elevators alone would cost at least $240,000 according to Meredith Town Manager Phil Warren.
The next meeting of the committee, which is chaired by Selectman Lou Kahn, is scheduled for November 6 at 3 p.m.

Near 100 take the time to Re-Imagine Laconia

LACONIA — Polishing the city's dulled image, strengthening its flagging economy and fostering a younger population were major themes to emerge when more than 90 residents from all walks of life — from high school students to retirees — gathered at the Belknap Mill Wednesday night to "Re-Imagine Laconia" by tackling the question, "What is important for Laconia to grow and thrive for a successful future?"

The community conversation was sponsored by the Orton Foundation, facilitated by New Hampshire Listens and hosted by the Planning Department. Planning Director Shanna Saunders said yesterday that "the whole process went wonderfully." In particular, she noted that "the whole tenor of the meeting was lovely," explaining that she was impressed to see so many people engaged in civil conversation about the future of the community. "You didn't have to use your voice to be heard," she remarked."The turnout was terrific."

The discussion was designed to identify major values and priorities within the community in anticipation of preparing a new Master Plan. The key recommendations and comments will be forwarded to the City Master Plan Advisory Team and incorporated into the vision statement that will lend direction to the plan.

Participants were divided into 11 groups, each seated around a table and accompanied by a neutral facilitator who guided discussion around four questions common to all groups. All participants were provided with a brief demographic and economic profile of the city. After an hour and three quarters of conversation each group reported its major findings.

"Image" appeared in four of the reports. One group stressed "spinning the positive, not focusing on the negative" while another reported "there is a lot of negativity in terms of who we are." One women remarked "Laconia has a long way to go" and another remarked "it is sad to drive through downtown." Three other groups spoke of improving the appearance, "beautifying," the city. More active enforcement of the property code was a priority of one group. One participant, discouraged to hear a litany of the city's ills from one gentleman, asked "why are you here" and was told "I love the place."

Four of the 11 groups called for the appointment of a city economic development director and virtually every group included one aspect of economic growth or another, most often the creation of jobs, among its priorities. Most groups stressed the importance of the public schools and community college in the development of a skilled workforce, some favored incentives for businesses and one recommended establishing a business incubator.

Half the groups addressed the city's aging demographic profile by highlighting the need to attract and retain young individuals and families, especially professionals. "How do we get them to stay or if they leave, how do we get them back," one man asked.Some emphasized the need for more amenities, like entertainment and dining venues, while others highlighted the arts or suggested events and celebrations.

Saunders observed that the conversation was very different from the talk at a similar event in 2005 when much of the discussion revolved around the lakes. At the same time, the city was in the midst of a housing boom that aroused concern about the management of residential growth and loss of open space. Nor did the revitalization of downtown in general and restoration of the Colonial Theater in particular command the attention it drew in the past.