LACONIA — Members of the board of directors of Lakes Region Public Access television held a free-ranging discussion of the organization's future at last night's meeting as they grapple with changes which will be coming next year when a new 10-year contract, still being negotiated with MetroCast Cablevision, takes effect.
No clear picture emerged of that future, as only three of the eight board members were present, but there were indications that LRPA may be headed in the direction of a web-based, on-demand delivery for all three of its channels, 24 (education), 25 (public) and 26 (government) and sees the first six months of 2014 as a time of transition and opportunity.
One of the major changes, already taking place, will see local communities handling broadcasts specific to their community only, which will be aired on Channel 26.
Board member Kent Hemingway, superintendent of schools in Gilford, wasn't at the meeting but sent an e-mail in which he said that the current model of public access cable television produced, scheduled and delivered to homes is rapidly becoming extinct.
''On demand media will rule the airwaves and will be delivered to every mobile device wherever and whenever the user wants,'' he wrote, noting that the shift does not yet reach all households or consumers.
Board member Joe Jesseman of Tilton said he agreed in part with Hemingway's analysis but noted that LRPA-TV still has an obligation to elderly viewers who are not Internet savvy and rely on cable. He said that there will need to be a mix of approaches in order to satisfy traditional viewers.
LRPA Chairman Ken Curley of Northwood said that one thing which will be lost as the local government channel is devoted solely to one community is the opportunity for viewers to compare what is happening in other communities with approaches being taken to similar problems in their own town.
Curley and LRPA station manager Denise Beauchaine said that lack of regional programming on Channel 26 could be addressed by LRPA on Channel 25, which will be the regional channel for all of the towns.
''The towns will find it difficult to run their own programming and will find out that you can't do it with a laptop computer,'' said Beauchaine.
Curley said that the towns will find there are high overhead costs and that it is labor intensive to provide programming that local viewers will want to watch and that an opportunity exists for LRPA to dominate the local government news niche, even if it means sending volunteers of their own to tape the meetings.
Curley said the board will have to make a decision on additional personnel and equipment if it wants to move in that direction and said the board will call a special meeting sometime in the next month in order to reach a decision on what its future business plan will be.
Prior discussions have centered around a fee for service model which takes into account the changes in recent years which have seen towns retain a large portion of the franchise fees they receive from MetroCast rather than turn it over to LRPA-TV, which they are not obliged to do.
Beauchaine said that prior to the recent recession 13 municipalities, including the 11 in Belknap County, contracted with LRPA-TV and paid their agreed upon share the station's overhead. However, the number of contracting municipalities has shrunk to a half-dozen — Alton, Belmont, Gilford, Meredith, Laconia and Northwood — which Beauchaine said share less than a third of the franchise fees they collect from MetroCast with LRPA-TV.
Also deferred by the board due to the lack of quorum at last night's meeting was a proposal to purchase new switching equipment at a cost of $15,000 to $18,000 for broadcasting the annual WLNH Children's Auction.
At last month's meeting, technical consultant Shane Selling told board members that the aging equipment used for last year's auction is no longer serviceable and that a new switcher, which could also be used in the studio year-round, would be a good investment.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 02:22
MEREDITH — For the first time in living memory, the Inter-Lakes School Board met with representatives of the high school student body last night when they hosted a roundtable discussion with members of the Student Council.
Chairman Richard Hanson of Center Harbor explained that the board had begun reaching out to its different constituencies by holding its second meeting of the month in a different one of the three towns of the district — Meredith, Center Harbor and Sandwich. While a student, senior Robert Euler, has a non-voting seat on the board, he said that hosting the Student Council presented an opportunity to sound a broader cross-section of student opinion.
"The rules," began Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond with a smile. "We don't see this as gripe session. It's a dialogue. You can't complain about a teacher," she continued. Turning to her administrative team, she remarked "you can't complain about me. We're going to have a conversation." She reminded everyone there were pizzas, drinks and cookies, then said "tell us what's working and what's not working so well."
John Findlay, president of the Student Council and three-sport athlete, drum major and accomplished student, immediately questioned the scheduling of classes, which he said has left him with difficult choices between mathematics and Spanish while shrinking rehearsal time for the band. He was echoed by Trevor Colby, who also wanted to take more courses than fit his schedule.
Ormond reminded them that between his classes, sports and activities he probably did not reach home much before 7 p.m. and, allowing an hour to shower and eat, began his homework at 8 p.m. and did not not get to sleep much before 10:30 p.m.
Findlay agreed, noting that he knew of students who rose at 3 a.m. to complete their homework for the day.
"We can make the schedule what you want," Ormond said, but explained that in a relatively small school with declining enrollment any system of scheduling was bound to pose hard choices for curious, ambitious students. She suggested that online learning or even taking classes offered at schools in neighboring communities might expand the range of opportunities.
Ormond asked the students what could be done to bring more spirit into the school. Findlay said that there have been dances and movie nights, but suggested more activity like homecoming or winter carnival that engaged all students. Euler proposed drawing up a list and inviting the students to vote their preferences.
When it was the board's turn to question the students, Mark Billings said he wanted to assign them a "task," namely to address "texting and driving." He confessed that "we don't know the rules of the digital world as well as you do."
Colby cautioned that "scare tactics" would have little effect, but Euler disagreed. He recalled a scenario in which, unknown to the student body, two or three well-known, popular students became victims of a mock accident that interrupted the school day. He said that students were "shocked" and the effect was profound.
Howard Cunningham, vice-chairman of the board, asked if electronic devices distracted students. Findlay said that teachers permit students to use their devices to find information in class, but conceded that some students simply took the opportunity to text friends.
When the discussion closed, the students shook hands with members of the board, who along with Ormond were pleased with the outcome of the roundtable, which promises to become a staple of the board's proceedings.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 02:46
LACONIA — A bicyclist was taken by ambulance to Lakes Region General Hospital for treatment of minor injuries yesterday after colliding with a car on Union Avenue at 4 p.m. The accident occurred just north of Lakeport Square.
The bicyclist, identified by police as Cameron Lobo, 24, of Gilford was riding on Union Avenue when he collided with a southbound automobile that was turning left on to Harrison Street. The driver of the car was identified as Samantha Farricy, 24, of Harrison Street.
Fire Lt. Jason Bean said a Lifeline ambulance — a private ambulance company — happened to be on Union Avenue at the time and said their people kept the man still until crews from the Laconia Fire Department arrived.
The front end of the man's bicycle was damaged and the tire appeared to be bent.
This is the third bicycle-car accident in that area of Union Avenue in recent months.
Police said speed and alcohol do not appear to have been factors in the accident. Laconia Police are continuing their investigation and ask that anyone who may have information about the incident call 524-5252.
CAPTION (Bicyclist hit by car) Laconia Fire Fighters and a crew from Lifeline Ambulance tend to a bicyclist who collided with a car yesterday afternoon at the intersection of Harrison Street and Union Avenue around 5 p.m. yesterday. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 02:37
LACONIA — A local man was arrested by the Belknap County Sheriff's Department yesterday afternoon and charged with two counts of possession of narcotics after he fled from a car involved in a routine traffic stop at 4 p.m.
Sheriff Craig Wiggin said Joseph D. Morrissette, 23, of 205 Court Street ran from the sheriff's deputy who chased after him. The driver of the car apparently drove away.
He said Deputy Justin Blanchette caught up with Morrissette in the municipal parking lot off Main Street and Morrissette refused to obey his commands to stop.
Morrissette resisted arrest and Blanchette used pepper spray to try and subdue him. When Morrissette refused to cooperate, Blanchette zapped him with his Taser stun gun.
Police said they found heroin and cocaine in Morrissette's possession.
Morrissette is charged with one count each of possession of heroin and cocaine, one count of possession of narcotics with intent to distribute, resisting arrest, and simple assault. He is also charged with breach of bail.
During the arrest procedure, Blanchette suffered a scrape to his left knee and a small cut on his chin. Morrissette also had some scrapes to his arms.
Both men were evaluated by Laconia Fire Department personnel.
At the time of his arrest yesterday afternoon, Morrissette was free on $15,000 personal recognizance bail for an arrest on April 19.
In that incident he was stopped for allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road at 3 p.m.
When police stopped him, they noticed a strong smell of marijuana coming from the car. A K-9 from Gilford was requested and police allegedly found between one and two ounces of marijuana packaged for sale as well as a significant amount of money.
Morrissette was indicted by a Belknap County grand jury for possession of marijuana with intent to sell and for possession of marijuana. The case is still pending.
He was also charged with one count of driving while intoxicated.
Wiggin said that after his arrest yesterday, Morrissette refused the services of a bail commissioner and will appear this morning for arraignment in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division. Wiggin said the sheriff's prosecutor will be requesting some amount of "high cash bail."
CAPTION:(Morrissette) Belknap County Sheriff Sgt. William Wright escorts Joseph Morrissette into the back seat of his cruiser. Morrissette is charged with possession of narcotics with intent to distribute. He was arrested by a Belknap County Sheriff's deputy yesterday afternoon on Main Street in Laconia after a routine traffic stop. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)
CAPTION: (Morrissette2) Belknap County Sheriff Craig Wiggin catalogs the things taken by police from Joseph Morrissette yesterday afternoon after his arrest for possession of narcotics with intent to distribute. Inside the blue rubber glove is evidence, some of which Wiggin said will be forwarded to the N.H. Crime Lab for further testing. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 02:12
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- Legally mandated investigation of Nov. 2012 voters who showed no ID continues
- Modest population growth trend thought troubling sign for Lakes Region economy
- Cigarettes & a bicycle stolen after separate Laconia business break-ins