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Belknap County considers overseer for inmate workers at county nursing home

LACONIA — Belknap County Commission Chairman David DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) has proposed hiring an additional employee for the Belknap County Department of Corrections whose primary responsibility would be to oversee inmates who work in the kitchen at the Belknap County Nursing Home.
DeVoy made the proposal at Friday's meeting of Belknap County Commissioners saying that he was "concerned about the path we're being led down to hire more full-time employees to work in the kitchen at the county home."
Last month commissioners approved hiring four part-time workers for the county home kitchen after receiving a report that the use of inmate labor as dishwashers in the kitchen is not working out well.
Carolee Sliker, dietary manager at the nursing home, said at that meeting that a pilot program in which inmates are being paid $3 a day for work in the kitchen has seen "a parade of inmates coming through the kitchen who have behavior issues and do not want to work."
She proposed replacing the inmates who work in the kitchen with her own staff from 4 to 7 p.m. and hiring four part-time dishwashers who would be cross-trained as dietary aides so they could help serves the residents at supper.
She said that hiring the part-timers would cost $40,000 a year, which translates into an additional $20,000 for the rest of this year and that funds would have to be transferred for that purpose. Commissioners approved that proposal.
She also said that s that in the future the county needs to look at replacing other inmates who work in the kitchen with four full-time staff members, which she said would cost $208,000 a year.
But DeVoy says that he thinks that having inmates work in the kitchen is an important part of changing their behavior so that they can learn responsibility and prepare themselves to re-enter the community once their sentences have been served,
"Having a corrections officer there would increase their efficiency and help get better job performance from the inmates," said DeVoy.
Sliker has said that those who do want to work and do a good job are quickly lost as they qualify for work release programs, requiring the cooks to constantly train new inmates, which she said involves paying overtime for the cooks.
She also wrote in her report that "Using inmates in the kitchen is not working. My staff and I are not trained correctional officers and the kitchen is not a rehabilitation center."
DeVoy said that he is determined to see that inmates do work and that a trial program approved earlier this year by commissioners in which inmates who work at county facilities and are paid $3 a day works out.
Commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton) said that he thinks that hiring an additional corrections officer to make sure inmates are performing their work correctly in the kitchen "is money well spent."

Belmont selectmen upset at decision of DOT not to widen shoulders along a part of Route 106


BELMONT — Selectmen expressed their anger Monday night at the state Department of Transportation's decision not to widen the shoulders along the section of Route 106 between Farraville Road and Wildlife Boulevard.

The decision to redo the long-planned intersection at Seavey Road and to only widen the shoulders in the immediate area around Brown Hill Road went against what selectmen, police and fire officials understood would be done.

"This is a complete obliteration of what (Assistant DOT Commissioner William Cass) said," said Selectman Jon Pike. "This is not at all what was explained (to us) would happen."

Pike was referring to a site visit and meeting held at the intersection in the autumn of 2015 where Cass and other members of the DOT met with selectmen, local public safety officials and District 7 Sen. Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia).

The meeting was triggered when selectmen opposed a DOT plan to use state property at the corner of Brown Hill Road and Route 106 for a fuel depot. After selectmen told the DOT that its proposed plan was unwieldy, in part because of the road safety hazard and in part because the area was too wet, board members approached Hosmer with a request that he approach the DOT on Belmont's behalf to address the safety issues on that section of highway.

Selectmen, as did others, left the meeting with the understanding that the shoulders along the section would be widened for safety reasons.

According to a letter sent to Hosmer on June 3, Cass said the "discussion and concern then focused on should and safety improvements at the intersection with Brown Hill Road and we included shoulder widening to bypass turning traffic at this limited area."

Cass went on to explain that the primary project for the 5 miles from Belmont Village to the Laconia Bypass is pavement rehabilitation and the widening of the shoulders at Brown Hill Road was added to this project. The improvement of the Seavey Road intersection has been planned for about three years and is being funded through the Highway Safety Improvement Safety Program.

"While we, too, would like to see these shoulders widened for consistency, such work would entail several additional impacts (right of way, utilities, environmental) that are beyond the scope and intent of this pavement project," wrote Cass.

He added that he knows the shoulders in the controversial area are in poor condition but said that repaving them should help a great deal.

Pike said Monday that he would like to send a letter to the state explaining how angry and let down the board is, but Selectman Ron Cormier said he is concerned about how hard the town should push back. He said he feared that if they object too strongly, any Belmont project would end up on the state's 40-year plan as opposed to the 10-year plan.

"There's just going to be more people in the ditch," said Pike. "I just don't get it."

"We all feel it's not what we expected," said selectmen's Chairman Ruth Mooney. "I feel like we're barking up a tree."

Selectmen agreed to notify the police and fire department to chronicle any incidents within that stretch of road and report periodically to the board.

"If our concerns come to fruition we can say 'I told you so,'" said Cormier.

Championship bound – Sachem Girls Beat Derryfield 18-11, play Kearsarge Wednesday in quest for 2nd straight title


LACONIA — The defending Division III champion Laconia High School girls lacrosse team broke open a close game Saturday night in Bedford to post an 18-11 win over Derryfield and will play Wednesday night against third-ranked Kearsarge for the division title.
Helen Tautkus scored seven goals to lead the way for the Sachems, while Gabby Smith and Mackenzie Howe each scored four.
The Sachems fell behind 2-0 early in the game but came back strongly and held a 6-5 lead when coach Kerri Howe moved sophomore Rebecca Howe into the face-off circle. Howe responded by winning five of the next seven face-offs, allowing the Sachems to score six straight goals and give Laconia 12-5 lead at the half.
Derryfield rallied to cut the lead to 13-9 but that was as close as they could come as Laconia dominated play from that point on, outscoring Derryfield 5-2 over the last nine minutes of the game.
Wednesday's game will be played again at Bedford High School and her underway at 5 p.m. Kearsarge edged eighth-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas of Dover 9-8 Saturday to earn a spot in the Division III finale.
Boys Top Con-Val, face Hopkinton tonight
The undefeated Laconia High School boys' lacrosse team defeated eighth-ranked ConVal 17-8 Friday night and will meet fifth-ranked Hopkinton Tuesday night in a 7 p.m. game at the Bank of New Hampshire Stadium at Laconia High School.
The Sachems led 8-4 at halftime and scored seven straight goals in the second half to pull away to a commanding lead. Senior Brenden Mooney led the way with four goals, while Jordan Audet had three and Riley Roy, Drew Muzzey and Jakes Ellis all scored two goals apiece.
Hopkinton edged fourth-ranked Monadnock 12-11 Saturday night to earn a spot in Tuesday night's semifinal round.
Seventh-ranked Plymouth beat Kearsarge 9-7 Friday night while sixth-ranked Pelham beat third-ranked Trinity 13-9. Plymouth faces Pelham at 5 p.m. Tuesday night at Bank of New Hampshire Stadium.
Laconia, Belmont baseball teams lose
Both Laconia High School and the Belmont High School baseball teams were eliminated in the Division III playoffs Saturday.
Laconia, which was ranked fourth in the division, lost 7-5 to fifth-ranked Monadnock while third-ranked Belmont lost 6-2 to sixth-ranked Bow.
Laconia trailed 4-0 in the game in the third inning but rallied to take a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the inning thanks to a two-run homerun by James Salta and RBI doubles by Carter Doherty and Dominick Vaillancourt, who scored later on an error.
But in the sixth inning Monadnock struck for three runs and held on to win.
Belmont fell behind 3-0 in the third inning but scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the third to get back into the game .
But Bow scored three runs in the fourth inning to pull ahead 6-2 and held off the Red Raiders the rest of the way.

06-06 Lac girls lax Tautkus

Helen Tautkus of Laconia, in white, is fouled by O'Neill Galinson (7) and Kimmie Gosselin (10) of Derryfield late in the first half of their semifinal match Saturday. Tautkus would score on the subsequent free play. Tautkus tallied 7 goals in all to lead the Sachems to a 18-11 win and a berth in the Division III girls' lacrosse finals. (Harry Kozlowski/for The Laconia Daily Sun)