Council asking public to weigh-in on when noise becomes too big a nuisance

LACONIA — The City Council will once again solicit opinion from the public about several changes to the local ordinances restricting noise and licensing loudspeakers proposed by the Committee on Government Operations and Ordinances during "an informal public input session" when it meets on Tuesday, Oct. 13, beginning at 7 p.m..

The proposed changes were introduced two weeks ago and, because there are fines associated with violating it, was required to undergo a "first reading" and public hearing, which was requested to be scheduled for October 13.

However, before the council addressed the issue, Don Richards, a resident of Timber Lane at The Weirs who has served on the Planning Board for the past 18 years, characterized the proposed changes as relaxing the restrictions on noise. In particular, he told the council that by expending the hours for outdoor loudspeakers the proposal took "a negative direction to the homeowners and condo owners and other residents. If you don't live in an area where noise is a problem" he explained, "it can seem like a light problem." He said that he preferred the ordinance as it stands with more effective enforcement. The proposal, he said caters to businesses, "but completely throws residents and homeowners under the bus."
When the council turned to the proposal, Councilor Ava Doyle (Ward 1), who chairs the committee that recommended it, expressed reluctance to proceed to a first reading and schedule a public hearing without seeking further input from the public. She moved to table the resolution to proceed to a first reading and public hearing. Instead she and Councilor Henry Lipman (Ward 3) asked to hold "an informal public input session" on the changes.

The noise ordinance, chapter 167 of the city code, stipulates that is unlawful for any person or corporation to make "any loud, unreasonable noise or any noise which would annoy disturb, injure or endanger the comfort, repose, health, peace, safety, convenience, welfare and prosperity of a reasonable person" within the city limits.
The committee suggested two major additions to the ordinance. The first, which would apply to apply to residential and commercial properties throughout the city would specify that a noise "plainly audible," in the judgment of the police, within 50 feet of the property line of the property where it originates, particularly between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday would represent a violation. The proposal closely echoes ordinances in Manchester, Nashua and Portsmouth. The second change would apply to persons "yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling or singing in the street, particularly between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., would also constitute a violation. This change would to address unruly crowds spilling out of bars and clubs at closing time.
The committee also proposed extending the hours for the operation of outdoor sound equipment. Currently, outdoor loudspeakers cannot be operated later than 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The committee recommended extending the hours to 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., respectively, and allowing loudspeakers to operate until 11 p.m. on the weekday night before federal holidays.
The committee will also recommend stiffening the penalties of repeated violations of the noise ordinance, by fining violators $100 for the first offense. $250 for the second offense and $500 for all subsequent offenses. The ordinance currently provides for a fine of not more than $250 for all offenses.

Gilford super retiring at end of school year

GILFORD — School Superintendent Kent Hemingway, who has spent the last five of his 38 years in the public school system at Gilford, has announced that he will retire at the close of the school year.

"I knew it was good," Hemingway said of the Gilford School District, "but not this good." He credited the support of the entire community, the School Board, the teaching staff, district employees and "the 1,208 kids who want to learn and grow" with making the last years of his career enjoyable and rewarding.

Hemingway graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in 1976 and that fall was teaching and coaching in Tamworth, where he rented the house which is now his home. He became a teaching principal in Harrisville then an assistant at West Yarmouth, Mass. before returning to New Hampshire for good as principal of Merrimack Valley Middle School. From 1991 until 2005 he served as principal of Kimball School, in Concord then spent the next six years as assistant superintendent of the Rochester School District before succeeding his friend and colleague Paul DiMinico as superintendent in Gilford.

"I am proud that our district has grown in its ability to deliver a 21st century education, with enhanced digital applications, personalization and engagement with the community. I have been honored, " he continued, "to have had the opportunity to contribute to this effort."

A member of the adjunct faculty of Plymouth State University, where he earned advanced degrees, since 2003, Hemingway said that "I don't intend to stop working, but added he looked forward to a retirement of "a little bit of work and a lot of family, " caring for his parents and entertaining his four grandchildren.

In a prepared statement Karen Thurston, who chairs the School Board, said that the board "appreciates all that Kent has done for the Gilford School District and while we are sad to see him go, we wish him the best in his retirement. She said that the board has approached the New Hampshire School Boards Association to conduct a search for Hemingway's successor and will solicit input from the community in the appointment process.

Fair attendance may have topped 35,000

SANDWICH — Warm and sunny weather brought out another large crowd for the third and final day of the 105th annual Sandwich Fair Monday.
Fair President Dan Peaslee said that the fair drew 11,500 people on Saturday despite cool weather and 14,500 showed up on Sunday, when the weather improved.
''There was even a good turnout Friday night when the midway was open for rides. A lot of high school students came out despite the rain,'' said Peaslee.
He said that there was another good turnout Monday and that he expected that total attendance for the three days would be 35,000 or better.
Among the more popular new events at the fair this year was a pickup truck pulling competition Monday which saw more than 500 spectators watching.
Also new this year was men's keg toss competition which was held in the same field as the popular women's skillet toss. Men were tasked with seeing how far they could toss a 22-pound beer keg.
Also new was a Lego competition held at the Smith Exhibit Hall which featured members of Lego Cubs from the Sandwich and Moultonborough libraries.
The fair attracted livestock exhibitors from all over the state, including Alex Zintel of Weare, a member of the Sugar Hill 4-H Club, who brought her 15-month old Pinzgauer, a breed of Austrian cattle, to the show. Zintel said that she has taken ''Shiloh'' to 11 fairs this year and that she has won numerous ribbons.
Dottie Bell of Waterford, Maine, brought her American Milking Devon oxen Dillon and Eddie to the fair, where they competed in an ox cart competition.
Drawing ''oohs'' and ''ahs'' from the crowd were a team of giant Swiss oxen from Ox-K Farm in Gilford, who have a combined weight of over 5,200 pounds and were led through the ox cart course by owner Ron Salanitro.
James Rines of Ossipee and his wife, Brooke, were among those impressed by the sheer size of the oxen. Rines, who runs White Mountain Survey and Engineering and is the former chairman of the Kingswood Regional School Board, said that he and his wife never miss the Sandwich Fair.
''We've been here some years when it was snowing but this day is really nice, a great day to be at the fair,'' said Brooke Rines.
Nathan Chellis, also of Ossipee, brought his tree-year-old son Jacob to the fair and took him around to all of the animal displays. ''He really likes the animals, like these goats, but his favorite thing here is the slide. It's hard to get him off from it.'' said Chellis.
Greeting visitors the Sandwich Historical Society booth was life-long Sandwich resident Joan Cook, 79, who was also selling copies of the book she wrote about Sandwich Fair in 2011 ''Sandwich Fair through the Years".
Cook who was raised in Center Sandwich at the intersection of Bean Road and Rte. 113, says that she can remember when the fair was spread out over the central part of the town rather than concentrated in the fairgrounds.
She and her husband, Wilbur, 86, and their family were honored during the 100th anniversary fair in 2010 in which they rode in the Center Sandwich Concord coach in the Grand Parade.
She said that she was motivated to write a book about the fair's history with the thought that the memories so dear to her heart would be lost to future generations.
''I kept thinking if someone doesn't wrote this down it could be gone,'' says Cook.

with pix slugged Sandfair

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Joan Cook, lifelong resident of Sandwich, holds a copy of her book abut the history of the Sandwich Fair which was published in 2011. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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A men's keg toss with a 22-pound beer keg was a new event at this year's Sandwich Fair. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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Ron Salanitro of Ox-K Farm in Gilford walks his Swiss oxen Jake and Max back into the Oxen Barn at the Sandwich Fair. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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A stilt walker makes his way past dancers in the Stage Area at Sandwich Fair. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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Dancers do their version of the 1960s Twist at the Stage Area at he Sandwich Fair to the music of Annie and the Orphans. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)