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Alternative source for Meredith senior meal to be explored

MEREDITH — Robert Franks, speaking for those who volunteered their services for the Inter-Lakes Senior Center, told the Board of Selectmen yesterday that he was appalled by the recent decision of the Community Action Program of Belknap —Merrimack Counties, Inc. (CAP) to close the center and pressed the board to support its revival.

Since 2006, CAP has rented space and use of the kitchen at the Community Center between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, when activities are offered to seniors, including a congregate meal.

In a prepared statement, issued last week, the agency explained that it was "faced with making this very difficult decision due to rising costs and funding reductions." Later Pam Jolivett, director of elder services, said that as pressures on its funding have mounted the agency reviews the costs and utilization of all its cost centers, including its 10 senior centers. She said that the agency "deeply regretted its decision and offered its "sincere appreciation" to the volunteers, civic groups, businesses and town officials whose contributions ensured the success of the center for so many years.

When the board met yesterday, Selectman Peter Brothers said that the issue was first first broached last September as the board began the 2014 budget process. CAP approached the board with a request to lower the annual rent for the Community Center from $14,400 to $8,000. He said that after much deliberation, the board agreed to reduce the rent to $12,000.

"We regret that CAP made the decision they felt they had to make," Brothers said. "It wasn't a decision that we made. We tried to do our level best."

Franks said that volunteers were told by officials from Concord "we can't afford this anymore" and that senior citizens from Meredith were welcome to share a congregate luncheon at the Laconia Senior Center. "Why should the people of Meredith have to go to Laconia?" he asked. "What happens to the seniors of Meredith who want to get together?"

Franks proposed arranging for meals to be prepared and served at the Community Center by local volunteers, noting that they would be able to offer a luncheon superior to the "institutional food" provided by CAP, which was prepared in Concord and warmed up in Meredith. He stressed that the program would be operated by Meredith volunteers for Meredith seniors.

Brothers said that he was "disappointed" and interested in considering a proposal. He explained that the town provides financial support to a number of non-profit agencies, about half of which serve seniors in different ways. He suggested that Franks and his group frame a formal proposal with a business model and "go through the same process as other outside agencies. I'm willing to listen," he continued, but I also want you to understand that we didn't shut down the program."

"Is the board willing to step up to the plate to do the things that need to be done?" Franks asked.

Jim Hughes, a former selectman who championed the construction of the Community Center, asked "if it is a Meredith program for Meredith residents, what would be the rent?"

Carla Horne, who chairs the board, replied "that's another discussion" and encouraged Franks and his group to prepare a proposal and return to the board. "I'm sure we can work something out," she said.

"To be continued," remarked Selectman Nate Torr.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 May 2014 01:27

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Mass. man pleads guilty to disobeying Gilford police officer after Sat. arrest

LACONIA — A Waltham, Mass., man pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of disobeying an officer after he gave false information to a Gilford Police officer who was trying to arrest him Saturday night.

Fourth Circuit Court Judge James Carroll sentenced Jeffrey Redfern, 43, of 63 Plymtom St. to serve 30 days in the Belknap County House of Corrections with all of it suspended and to pay a $1,000 fine with $500 of it suspended. A $120 fee was added to the $500 fine.

Carroll gave Redfern until July to pay the fine.

According to the complaint, Redfern was wanted on a bench warrant, but when police went to 366 Old Lakeshore Road where he was staying, he gave them a false name, Social Security number and initially refused to come out of the trailer.

He was wanted on a bench warrant out of Littleton.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 May 2014 01:19

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ATV rider okay after hitting trees

SANBORNTON — A man riding an all-terrain vehicle on Caulback Road escaped serious injury Friday afternoon when he lost control on some soft sand and struck some trees.

N.H. Fish and Game Officer Ron Arsenault said the man was riding on a trail very near the Meredith line and his daughter was riding a separate machine behind him. Arsenault said the man turned around to look at her and lost control of his ATV.

The man struck some trees, but Arsenault said he was wearing a helmet and aside from a nasty bruise on his stomach and some cuts and bruises, he was okay.

The man's daughter — an adult — went to a nearby home to call for help.

Arsenault said that the Fish and Game Department wants to remind people to register their ATVs — he said this man's was registered and legal — and to wear a helmets

"Without a helmet, this guy could have been seriously injured," he said.



Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 May 2014 01:13

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Meredith Code Enforcement Officer Bill Edney dies suddenly at age 65

MEREDITH — Town officials and residents were sorrowed and stunned by the sudden passing of Bill Edney, 65, who served as the Code Enforcement Officer for the past 13 years, who suffered a fatal heart attack while splitting wood on Saturday.

Wrestling with her emotions, Carla Horne, who chairs the Board of Selectmen, asked for a moment of silence before the board met yesterday. "He was definitely Bill," she said afterwards. Herself a building inspector, she said "I rode shotgun with him many times. He was terrific to work with, easy going, never got riled up. He knew his stuff, she continued. "You could always call him at any time with a question and if he didn't know the answer, he'd find [out] and get back to you in five minutes."

Upon settling in Meredith in 2001, Edney quickly became a fixture in the community, known for his generous spirit and friendly manner. John Edgar, Director of Community Development, said that "his passion was playing music." An accomplished guitar player, he enjoyed a wide circle of fellow musicians, both acoustic and electric, who shared his skill and enthusiasm. He also delighted in sharing his proficiency in the kitchen. "When ever there was a pot-luck supper," recalled Karin Nelson, who worked alongside Edney, "we couldn't wait to see what he would bring."

Professionally, Edney was held in high esteem by his peers. He served on the Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Building Officials Association for 15 years and initiated its annual golf tournament to benefit the organization's scholarship fund. In 2006, Edney was honored as "Inspector of the Year" for his outstanding service in promoting safety and welfare through education and code enforcement. Apart from code enforcement, Edney's responsibilities included building inspections and zoning administration while serving as the health officer in Meredith.

People soon began paying their respects on the Winnipesaukee Forum when an obituary was posted yesterday, Pine Island Guy remembered Edney's "wry sense of humor" and noted that "he helped this homeowner to keep myself from getting into a pickle!" The Phantom Gourmand described Edney as "a real gentleman," who made "what could have been a very painful situation a lot less difficult."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 May 2014 02:42

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