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Laconia school psychologist receives ‘Excellence in Education’ award

LACONIA — Christina Flanders, a school psychologist with the Laconia School District, has earned herself a New Hampshire Excellence in Education Award — or "ED" ie — as the school psychologist of the year. The award will be presented this evening at the 21st annual awards ceremony at the Center of New Hampshire in Manchester.

Flanders, who grew up in the Lakes Region, has worked in the city's elementary schools for the past nine years and this year added Laconia High School to her responsibilities. She said that the New Hampshire Association of School Psychologists solicited nominations and school Superintendent Terri Forsten put her name forward.

"I'm very proud and excited to have been selected," she said.

Flanders is in the process of completing her docotoral degree in school psychology at the University of Southern Maine and recently joined the adjunct faculty of Plymouth State University. She lives with her husband and two sons in Sanbornton.

Last Updated on Friday, 06 June 2014 11:41

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School district responds to threats scrawled on bathroom wall

LACONIA — For the past week, school officials and police officers have been investigating two messages found on bathroom walls at the High School, which though somewhat unclear could be taken to threaten a shooting at the school on Tuesday, June 10.

In a formal statement issued yesterday, school Superintendent Terri Forsten said that the investigation will continue and meanwhile school will be open on Tuesday, June 10 with "an increased police presence throughout the school day at Laconia High School." Twice in her statement she said that neither school nor police officials considered the messages to represent a "credible" threat to the safety of students, teachers or staff.

Forsten said that the first message was discovered on Friday, May 30 and the second on Wednesday, June 4. Speaking yesterday, she described the first message as "cryptic, but the second as "more clear," adding that it referred specifically to June 10.

Students are scheduled to be taking final exams on that date.

Captain Matt Canfield of the Laconia Police said while the first message was "small" and not easily legible the second was "much larger and more noticeable."

Canfield said that police have reviewed video footage as well as spoken to students and teachers in the course of their ongoing investigation. He stressed that when the person or persons responsible are identified appropriate criminal charges will be filed. In the meantime, he said that the police presence will be increased at all the school, but particularly Laconia High School on Tuesday. "We will be very visible," he said.

Forsten said that recently a similar threat was made at Exeter High School and, on comparing notes with her counterpart there, became more comfortable with the situation. She said that for her the most difficult task was "rocking everybody's boat" by advising the community of the threatening messages.

"We're going to be safe. We're going to be fine," she said.

Last Updated on Friday, 06 June 2014 11:54

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Laconia man indicted on three felony drug charges

LACONIA — A Belknap County grand jury has indicted a Meredith Center Road man for three felony drug charges relating to a incident where he was found slumped over in his car while in the downtowon parking garage.

On April 7, 2014, police said at 11:30 a.m. an officer found Kory MacDonald, 28, slumped while sitting in a white Subaru with what was allegedly heroin in his lap and a large knife in the center console.

When he exited the car, the officer allegedly found a needle in the front seat.

MacDonald has been indicted for one count of possession of heroin, one count of falsifying physical evidence for attempting to hid a spoon, a lighter, and a while baggy while being questioned by police, and for one count of being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon.

MacDonald is being held on $20,000 cash bail imposed by 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division Judge Jim Carroll following his appearance there the day after his arrest.

An indictment is not indicative of guilt or innocence but a consensus by an independent grand jury that enough evidence exists to warrant a trial.

MacDonald is also currently on parole for a 2012 felony drug conviction. He served one year of a two year sentence.

Last Updated on Saturday, 07 June 2014 12:31

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Kale Poland becomes one the few to ever complete the Peak 500 mile Ultra Marathon

LACONIA — "Overall I would definitely do it again," Kale Poland of MC Cycle & Sport told the interviewer from WCSH-TV of Portland, Maine, just days after becoming just the fourth man to finish the Peak 500 Ultra Marathon.

The event, which began on May 22, consists of hiking 50 circuits of a rugged 10-mile course up and down Joe's Mountain in Pittsfield, Vermont in less than 10 days.

Poland, whose business card reads "Kale like the veggie, Poland like the country," said that since "entering a triple triathlon on a whim, I've always had a passion for this kind of thing." In 2012, he finished the Deca Triathlon in Mexico, completing 10 triathlons in 10 days by swimming 24 miles, running 262 miles and cycling 1,120 miles.

"You can't really prepare for this physically," Poland remarked. "You have to be inside your own head and suffer. It's a mental game."

The Peak 500 Marathon is run on property owned by Joe DeSena, a Wall Street investor and endurance athlete who created "The Death Race," a 24-hour competition over obstacles and the more popular, less demanding "The Spartan Race," also run over obstacles. Poland said that 50 times around the course on Joe's Mountain is the equivalent of climbing the 29,029 feet to the summit of Mount Everest four-and-a-half times. Since the Peak 500 Marathon began five years ago only four competitors have finished, two this year.

"It's pretty bare bones event," Poland said. This year there were five entrants, three of whom failed to finish. "The attrition rate is huge. You're on your feet between 18 and 20 hours a day and you never get a full night's sleep."

Poland found himself competing against Nick "Storm Trooper" Bautista, who after dropping out on his first try spent the year in planning and preparation. An account of the event, written by Margaret Schlachter for the blog "Dirt In Your Skirt," noted that he plotted his strategy, prescribed his diet, rationed his sleep and equipped himself to the teeth with the latest gear. "He looked like he was going into battle," Poland recalled. With assistance from a pair of pacers, he never wavered from his plan. Schlachter likened him to a machine.

With a small Jansport backpack, Poland arrived alone with a pair of Sketchers that he abandoned for sneakers from Walmart midway through the event and an assortment of food that would turn a nutritionist pale . "Nothing healthy," he confessed," but lots of dense caloric intake. I don't think you can eat enough." And he had no plan. "It's too much to think about all at once," Poland explained. "You just take it day-by-day."

But, Poland did attract a crew of supporters. "The locals just helped me out," he said. "I had no idea who these people were. Now they're my best friends." He said that there was always someone to bring him food or Red Bull when he needed it. "Without their help I would have had a hard time finishing," he confessed.

Although it rained heavily the first two days, Poland recalled that "after the first 100 miles I thought 'this is great.'" He said that first two nights he slept about four hours, but then three, then two until he was resting an hour every 20 miles. "When I got sloppy and staggering," he said, "I slept."

Poland said that he covered the last 350 miles "absolutely, completely solo" and found himself hallucinating on the last two laps around the course. "It's definitely a mental thing," he said. He finished in time to enjoy the barbecue set out for contestants in shorter races and to welcome Bautista, who arrived a few hours later.

Poland estimated that he shed at least 10 pounds. "My ring doesn't fit on my finger, my legs are smaller and my clothes fit differently," he said. At the same time, his feet are much the worse for wear. Not a week has passed since the event and he is still wearing sandals on his swollen feet and taking anti-biotics to chase an infection. "Right now I'm just recovering," he smiled. "But, it was a confidence builder."

Poland said that he is eying the Appalachian Trail, expecting to go from one end to the other in about 45 days, as well as the Long Trail, 275 miles through Vermont, which will take less than a week. "There's something about covering a large amount of mileage," he remarked.

Last Updated on Friday, 06 June 2014 02:18

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