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Paper will remain free but Daily Sun to begin offering fee-based home delivery service

LACONIA – Early-morning home delivery of a local daily newspaper will once again be available in the Lakes Region area under a program being introduced by The Laconia Daily Sun.
Beginning tomorrow The Daily Sun will begin taking subscriptions for home delivery in the 16 communities where the paper is distributed, Sun Publisher Adam Hirshan, and Ed Engler, the paper's president and editor, announced earlier this week.
"Now that (the) Laconia (area) doesn't have a home delivered paper, we feel it is an excellent time to offer this service to our readers," Hirshan said.
The Daily Sun is offering the home delivery service through a contract with the Concord Monitor, which this week began distributing the Sun. One immediate effect of that partnership is that the newspaper is now available at hundreds of locations earlier in the day than has often been the case in the past several years.
"The paper is now out earlier, and it will be available everywhere no later than 6:30 a.m.," Engler explained.
Starting tomorrow readers can begin signing up for home delivery by calling a special toll-free number, 1-866-665-6068. The cost for the home delivery will be $2.25 a week, starting December 3. Subscriptions will be offered for 13-, 26- and 52-week periods, Hirshan said.
Engler and Hirshan stressed that The Daily Sun remains committed to its original mission of providing comprehensive local news coverage — both in print and online — free of charge, but was now offering a home-delivery option in response to reader demand.
"The paper remains free," said Engler. "What you are paying for is the delivery service."
"We're now offering our readers the opportunity for the convenience of having the paper delivered right to their door," Hirshan added.
Readers can continue to pick up the paper free of charge at hundreds of locations, as they always have.
The partnership with the Concord Monitor allows The Daily Sun to take advantage of the Monitor's already-existing newspaper delivery routes throughout the region. As a result, The Sun will now be available for the first time in Loudon, and it will be available in more places in Moultonborough than has been the case up until now. In addition, there are plans to distribute The Sun to communities on the east side of Lake Winnipesaukee, including Wolfeboro, in the future.
The Laconia Daily Sun began publishing in June 2000. At the beginning it printed 2,000 copies a day. Its readership has increased several-fold over the years, and today The Sun prints 18,000 copies Tuesdays through Saturdays. In addition about 2,000 people view the online version of the printed paper every day, said Engler.
For the past five years The Daily Sun has been printed at a large Dow Jones-owned plant in Portsmouth. Starting in January, the newspaper will be printed at the Concord Monitor plant off Interstate 93, near the Concord-Loudon line.
Hirshan said that The Daily Sun is excited about its partnership with the Monitor because of that paper's reputation for providing quality newspaper delivery service through a professionally managed circulation system. Hirshan said that the two papers are also exploring ways that they can team up to offer advertising programs to benefit both newspapers' advertising customers.
In addition to offering the opportunity to have The Daily Sun delivered to individual residences, professional offices and other businesses can also take advantage of the new delivery service to have bundles of up to 50 papers delivered for a charge of $10 a month.
Hirshan said The Daily Sun would like to sell 1,000 home delivery subscriptions in the first year.
Laconia's other local daily newspaper, the Citizen of Laconia, ceased conventional home delivery one year ago. That paper is delivered to about 1,500 subscribers via U.S. Mail, according to a recent report The Citizen filed with the U.S. Postal Service. The rest of The Citizen's circulation is through single-copy sales. The Postal Service report says The Citizen sells about 4,800 copies per day in addition to those delivered by mail.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 03:59

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Inter-Lakes board agrees to take a year to study full-day kindergarten

MEREDITH — All-day kindergarten in the Inter-Lakes School District will not begin until the 2015-16 school year, at the earliest.
The Inter-Lakes School Board concurred last night with Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond's recommendation to give school administrators a year to study the effects an all-day kindergarten program would have.
The board did not take a formal vote on Ormond's recommendation. But board chairman Richard Hanson noted that no board members had any objection to the superintendent's proposal.
Two weeks ago the board held an open forum regarding all-day kindergarten. At that session, held in Center Harbor, public reaction to expanding kindergarten was mixed. Some favored the change, citing education and childcare benefits, while others questioned if such a move was the best way to improve early childhood education and development.
Last night Ormond requested the board's support to conduct a survey of parents whose children would likely be immediately affected by any change in the kindergarten program. She said she also wanted administrators to have time to confer with local day-care providers and also to explore various options that might be available to parents under whatever changes that might be approved.
"We need this year for examination and planning," she told the board.
The only reaction to Ormond's request came from board member Howard Cunningham of Sandwich who signaled disappointment at the superintendent's request for more time.
"My only comment is that every other district around is already there (with a full-day kindergarten program)," he said.
At the Center Harbor meeting some urged the board not to implement all-day kindergarten for the coming 2014-15 school year which would have meant including money for any costs involved in next year's school budget.
Board member Howard Cunningham of Sandwich announced that he would not be running for re-election. Cunningham called the decision a difficult one. He said he was announcing his decision four months before the school district election in hopes the advance notice would result in a pool of candidates.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 03:59

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Man who allegedly strangled housemate on McGRath Street in June indicted

LACONIA — A Belknap County grand jury had indicted a former McGrath Street man for two counts of second-degree murder for allegedly strangling his former housemate while the two were living at an unsupervised residential home.

Each count represents a different theory of the June 10 murder — one that Kasey Riley, 20, allegedly recklessly caused the death of Zachary March and one that he negligently caused the death of Zachary March.

Little is known about Riley other than his family's statements that he had been living at the residential home that is managed by Genesis Behavioral Health for a short period of time.

Riley's family members have also said that he had checked himself into to the Emergency Room at the Lakes Region General Hospital a short time prior his March's death and was taken to the N.H. State Hospital in Concord but was released after one day in Concord.

N.H. Assistant Attorney General Geoffrey Ward is prosecuting the case. Riley is being held without bail at the Belknap County House of Corrections.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 03:57

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Eric Grant trial begins with testimony of alleged victim

LACONIA — The 17-year-old girl who is accusing Eric Grant, the lead singer and namesake of a local country music band, of penetrating her digitally at a New Year's Eve party in 2006 was the first to testify in his trial yesterday.

The alleged victim, who lives in North Monterey County in California, is now a senior in high school. She is Grant's niece. Poised, wearing a black suit and with long, dark blond hair, she spent most of yesterday afternoon telling the 12 members of the jury her recollections of that night.

In front of about 20 of Grant's friends and family who were in the Belknap County Superior Court room yesterday — some of them wearing blue oval buttons that read "TRUTH" — the girl said Grant slipped his hand down the back of her pajamas and put his finger in her while she sat next to him. She said Grant's legs were stretched out on the couch and she was sitting between them.

Under direct examination by Assistant Prosecutor Carley Ahern, the girl told the jury that she "felt violated, it hurt."

During her opening arguments, Ahern had prepared the jury by telling them that "New Year's Eve began a hellish time in which (the victim) kept a secret, believing her family had betrayed her."

"She might not remember what she ate, who was there," Ahern said. "But she'll remember the defendant touched her vagina."

During her testimony the girl recalled she was wearing her pink pajamas and was sitting on an "L" shaped couch next to Grant. She said he reached into her pajama bottoms and put his finger in her. She said she went upstairs to the bathroom and when she wiped herself she saw "streaks of blood."

She said the alleged assault happened before the fireworks she and her family lit off that night.

Grant's lawyer Emily McLaughlin spent most of yesterday afternoon trying to discredit the girl's story by questioning her about different things she told different people after she told her story to her therapist about six years after the alleged incident.

McLaughlin had already presented the jury a family tree and a home video of that night for visual aids during her opening statements to the jury.

The video showed the girl wearing blue jeans and a jacket, playing outside of Grant's home that night. She was waving sparklers and the snippets of the video spanned the hour from 9:34 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.

McLaughlin had told the jurors in her opening arguments they would hear the alleged victim's testimony and find the girl's statements "inconsistent, contradictory, unbelievable, and untrue."

When McLaughlin asked the alleged victim whether she remembered telling certain details to a specific person she often didn't. She admitted that she didn't tell anybody about the alleged assault until she started seeing a therapist nearly six years later and four months after she started therapy.

The girl admitted under cross-examination that she had had some personal problems including failing grades and marijuana use during the time she made her statements — her sophomore year. She said she was having problems with her mother during this time.

She said she didn't remember all the things she told every person who interviewed her — including her therapist, her therapist in the presence of her mother, a California Police Officer, and a Community Action Counselor.

At several points during the cross examination, McLaughlin showed the girl excepts of statements she made and question her as to whether she remembered making them or not. Often, the alleged victim didn't remember making the particular statement.

The alleged victim answered all of McLaughlin's questions — sometimes speaking very softly other times speaking loudly and clearly.

She testified that she told her therapist about the alleged digital penetration when she learned that Grant and his wife (the girl's mother and Eric Grant's wife at the time, Erica, are sisters) had divorced. She said she waited nearly six years in part because she didn't want to be accused of breaking up the family.

McLaughlin also cross examined the girl about the blood in her underwear. She testified yesterday that she didn't remember if she was wearing underwear that night and that she didn't remember what happened to the pink pajamas.

McLaughlin told the jury during her opening arguments that they would hear that no adult who was in the room will testify that they saw the digital rape of an 8-year-old. "At most, they saw a wedgie," she said, telling the jury that the family would later talk of the "wedgie incident."

McLaughlin also told the jury in her opening argument that the girl passed gas in Grant's face and he pushed her away and called her a "stinky butt" and a "fart face" and gave her a wedgie and this likely caused the girl some embarrassment and lasting hurt feelings.

The "wedgie incident" is expected to be the first thing the jury hears today when the trial reconvenes at 10 a.m. and McLaughlin continues her cross examination of the alleged victim.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 03:56

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