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Desite downward national sales trend, 2 dollar stores want to build in Moultonborough

MOULTONBOROUGH — Family Dollar, Inc. announced this week that it will close 370 stores and lower prices on 1,000 items to counter shrinking sales and flagging earnings while its major competitor, Dollar General, disappointed Wall Street last month when growth of sales and profits fell shy of projections.

Nevertheless, both corporations are seeking to open stores in this town within three miles of one another. Jonathan White, who recently developed a Family Dollar store in Bristol, submitted a proposal to the Planning Board last year to build an 8,000-square-foot store on a 10.7-acre commercial lot at 278 Whittier Highway (NH Route 25), near the junction with Redding Lane.

Meanwhile, in March, Zaremba Program Development, LLC, the development partner of Dollar General, requested a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment to construct a 9,100-square-foot building on a 5.5-acre lot at 929 Whittier Highway, opposite Blake Road.

For Tara Shaw, who has mounted a petition against both projects on her Facebook page, one "dollar store" in Moultonborough is one too many.

Town Planner Bruce Woodruff said that Family Dollar operates both corporate and franchise stores and that he understands the Moultonborough store would be owned and operated by a franchisee. The Dollar General store would be owned and operated by the corporation.

Since last August, the Planning Board has held four hearings on White's proposal for a Family Dollar store, most recently in February when the matter was continued for a fourth time until no later than August 27 — for want of a complete site plan.. By then the board requires approvals of a driveway permit and off-site improvements by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT), a stormwater management report and completion of a peer review by the town engineer. Both White and the board have been frustrated by the failure of his engineer to submit a complete set of plans in a timely manner.

Woodruff said that apart from the lack of appropriate plans, stormwater management and traffic control are the major issues raised by the project. Last October Jane Fairchild, president of the Lake Kanasatka Watershed Association, told the board that 93 percent of the members were opposed to the project, which they believed threatened the water quality of the lake. To address westbound traffic on NH Route 25 turning left into the site DOT agreed that a bypass lane offered the best solution. The Planning Board asked that the width of the driveway be sufficient for both left and right turn lanes and DOT requires a connection to the abutting property to alleviate congestion.

Carl Johnson, representing White, said that he expected the documentation and information the board requires would be provided before the August deadline, perhaps in time for a public hearing in May or June.

Meanwhile, Zaremba is seeking variances from the requirements that the rate and volume of stormwater run-off after development not exceed prior levels for a 50 year storm event and that the groundwater recharge Volume not be diminished by development. Erin Lambert of Nobis Engineering explained that detention ponds would be constructed to capture stormwater, but the high groundwater table and poorly drained soils would slow infiltration. The rate of run-off will be the same or less, she continued, but the volume will be greater because it is being collected and disbursed over a longer period of time.

With more than 11,000 stores in 40 states, Dollar General is the largest chain of "dollar stores" in the country while Family Dollar operates some 8,100 stores in 46 states.


Last Updated on Saturday, 12 April 2014 12:41

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Skate Park & Smith Track open

LACONIA — The city's skate park and Smith Track are now open for the warm-weather season. The announcement was made Friday by the Parks and Recreation Department.

The skate park is located on New Salem Street, to the rear of the Police Department. Smith Track is located in Opechee Park, off North Mail Street.

Parks and recreation officials ask that patrons of the Smith Track help keep the new all-weather surface in good repair. Spikes, cleats, pets, bikes, rollerblades, rollerskates, strollers, carriages and motor vehicles of any kind are prohibited. Patrons are also asked to keep off soft turn areas.

Questions may be addressed to 524-5046.

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 April 2014 12:36

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Huot Center Cafe open to public on selected days

LACONIA — The Meredith Village Culinary Arts Center at the new Huot Regional Technical Education Center is open to the public for lunch most Thursdays and Fridays, giving the students a chance to test their cooking skills on paying customers.

It's been almost exactly one year since chef and Program Director Jack Aldrich moved his crew into the new building on the Laconia High School campus.

As of now, he has 32 students spread out into three classes and has just recently embarked on a limited service to the general public. Because there is limited class time, there is no table service but a hot and cold buffet is served, along with a coffee bar.

Thursday he served a taco bar with salad and yesterday he featured a hot food bar with chicken with mushrooms in a brie sauce, baked haddock, and marinated steak tips that he said disappeared almost as soon as they landed in the steamer table.

"They're very expensive, but we want students to have some exposure to cooking them," he said.

So far, Aldrich said the "soft-opening" of the Culinary Center Cafe has worked well.

"On Thursday we had a group of about 15 women who came from a church group and they had a blast," he said, noting the coordinator of the event called ahead to let him know they were coming.

Because of the class schedule, Aldrich said the teachers, staff, and a few outsiders who come to eat generally come in two waves — the 10:30 a.m. student lunch hour and the noon lunch break for faculty. The facility closes at 12:30 p.m.

He said each of the three classes has a specific task. The first class prepares the first wave of food for the 10:30 a.m. opening, while the second class prepare for the noon wave. The third class cleans up and does all of the prep work for the next day's class.

Aldrich said that by Friday, the menu is limited because there is no school on weekends and he wants to limit spoilage — as would any restaurant.

He said the main idea of limited service to the general public is to raise a little money for the program that allows them to buy some foods that the program budget wouldn't otherwise allow — like steak tips. The cost is $5.75 per pound and people pay by weight.

Aldrich also asks that people check the public opening schedule on the Huot website (www2.laconiaschools.org/huot/cte-programs/culinary-arts) for days of service because sometimes the space is occupied by meetings for teachers and other agencies.

For those who plan on bringing a group of people to the Huot, Aldrich said he would appreciate a phone call ahead of time so he can make sure there is enough food for the additional members of the public.


CUTLINE: (HuotCafeChocolate) Karydan NcNutt of Gilford High School melts chocolate for cookies while Felecia Provencal of Winnisquam REgional High School mixes water and butter for a white cake. Both are students in the Huot Technical Center Culinary Arts Program (Laconia Daily Sun photo - Adam Drapcho)


CUTLINE: (HuotCafeGraham) Alea Webster of Gilford High School mixes a graham cracker crust in the sparkling new Culinary Arts Center kitchen at the Huot Regional Technical Education Center in Laconia.  (Laconia Daily Sun - Adam Drapcho)

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 April 2014 12:34

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Sisti asks for another delay to start of Lafond trial

LACONIA — Attorney Mark Sisti, who represents Amy Lafond against charges that her reckless and negligent driving caused the death of one teenage girl and severely injured another on Messer Street nearly a year ago, has again asked the Belknap County Superior to delay her trail, which is scheduled to begin with jury selection on May 5.

In a motion filed last week Sisti told the court that he had recently received information from at least three different witnesses and would require additional time to review it. He said that he has informed Belknap County Attorney Melissa C. Guldbrandsen, who informed him she has no position with respect to his request.

The final pre-trial conference in the case is scheduled for Wednesday, April 16 at 8:30 a.m.

The trial was originally scheduled to begin with jury selection on February 3, but in January Sisti, who was retained as defense counsel on November 22, successfully argued that the schedule did not afford him enough time to either "relate competent advice to his client with regard to the decision whether to plead guilty (or) to proceed to trial — let alone represent her at trial." Referring to the right to a fair trial guaranteed by the state and federal constitutions, he concluded that "to go forward ensures the defendant deficient representation that will undoubtedly spur unnecessary litigation."

At the time Guldbrandsen did not contest the request. "I do see my duty to ensure she gets a competent defense," said Guldbrandsen, agreeing that the case is complex and technical. "It's my duty to see she gets a fair trial." However, when Justice James D. O'Neill, III asked her how the victims' families felt about an extension, she replied that " they are frustrated" and submitted a memorandum expressing their desire that the trial go forward as soon as possible.
Lafond, 53, is charged with manslaughter and two counts of negligent homicide arising from an incident on April 19 when she allegedly drove into two teenage girls who were on a sidewalk bordering Messer Street, killing Lilyanna Johnson and seriously injuring Allyssa Miner. She is also charged with several drug offenses and traffic violations.

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 April 2014 12:26

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