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Live entertainment, yes, but strippers will have to wait

GILFORD — Selectmen voted unanimously to give the Lakes Region Cafe and Tavern — the former King's Grant Inn — a live entertainment license with the exclusion of so-called exotic dancing.

Selectmen said exotic entertainment was left out of the license because owner Willard Drew hadn't answered three questions posed by Town Administrator Scott Dunn regarding how Drew and his business partner Tom Lyons planned on preventing illegal drug activity that led to a raid on the premises — then doing business as Mardis Gras North — in October of 2011.

The questions are what steps Drew and Lyons will take to ensure exotic dancers won't be selling drugs; how Drew and Lyons will provide safety for the dancers in the private show area; and how Drew and Lyons will prevent a recurrence of the issues that led to a drug raid by state narcotics officers in October of 2011.

"Frankly I'm disheartened we won't be discussing exotic dancing," said Attorney David Bownes last night. Bownes represents Drew and Lyons.

He said that when Drew re-opened his club last during the summer of 2012, he had to answer 14 questions posed by selectmen and the three questions that Dunn said weren't answered to his satisfaction were included in the first explanation.

Bownes said he only received Dunn's questions earlier in the day and hadn't yet had a chance to reply in writing, even though he contends Drew and Lyons have answered the question. "You've heard it before," Bownes said.

It's been a long and winding road for Drew to reopen the building since the raid on Mardi Gras North, which was leased to a separate business in which Drew had no active participation.

Initially, Drew had to repair the damage done to the inside of his building by members of two SWAT Teams who conducted the raid with the N.H. Drug Task Force and the Gilford Police. Holes were smashed in walls and locked coolers and a safe were forcibly opened even though the manager at the time said she offered keys for the locks. The video security system was ripped out and all of the operating cash was seized by the N.H. State Police.

Although the owners of the Mardi Gras vacated the building, it was Drew who had to face the N.H. Liquor Commission that, after a three-day hearing, revoked his license for three days for three separate offenses of over-serving one customer, of serving a drink to a dancer who was working, and of giving away a free drink. He was exonerated of the most serious charge of allowing his building to be used for criminal activity.

Drew fixed the damage and upgraded the inside to meet the Fire Department and code enforcement requirements and reopened in late July of 2012. He closed the club in September and has remained closed for all of 2013 — even though he had a valid license to operate, without exotic dancing.

Bownes said he hopes the exotic dancing matter will be placed on the selectmen's agenda in November and said he is prepared to address their three questions as well as the First Amendment and other concerns about exotic dancing.

He also said he would respond to the three questions in writing before November and will send copies individually to all three selectmen.

In a separate action, the board also voted unanimously to allow the Lakes Region Cafe and Tavern sell alcohol as soon as the N.H. Liquor Commission issues the liquor license and a copy of it is filed with Dunn at the Town Offices.

Bownes said last night that the building inspector had inspected the property yesterday and the health inspector was scheduled to come within the next few days. He said once those inspections are complete Drew and Lyons should have their liquor license as soon as late this week or early next week.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 October 2013 02:55

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West Nile Virus found in Belmont horse

CONCORD — A horse in Belmont has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), the N.H. Department of Health & Human Services announced late Wednesday. This finding necessitates, the agency said, increasing the risk level in Belmont from "Remote" to "High."

Towns surrounding Belmont, including Northfield, Tilton, Sanbornton, Laconia, Gilford, Gilmanton and Canterbury will be raised to "Moderate Risk."

"Though parts of the state saw frost last night, we are not through with the mosquito season yet," said Dr. José Montero, Public Health Director at DHHS. "There are still mosquitoes around and we are urging residents to continue to take precautions against mosquito bites including using a repellent."

So far this season New Hampshire's Public Health Lab has tested 5,174 batches of mosquitoes. Of those, 14 have tested positive for WNV and 20 tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). One person was also diagnosed with WNV, and three other horses were found positive for EEE earlier in the season.

Symptoms of WNV disease often appear 4 to 10 days after being bitten. If you or someone you know is experiencing flu-like symptoms, including fever and headache, contact your local medical provider.

Questions about EEE and WNV can be answered by calling the toll free EEE/West Nile Virus information line at 1-866-273-6453. You can also find extensive information about both diseases online at www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/arboviral/index.htm.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 October 2013 02:53

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Franklin Savings Bank Fund honors 9 organizations

TILTON — The Franklin Savings Bank Fund for Community Advancement honored nine local organizations who are working to make a difference in their communities at an awards gathering held at the Greenside Restaurant at Lochmere Country Club Tuesday evening.
Jeff Savage, bank president and CEO said that Fund for Community Advancement was formed with a one million dollar investment in 1997 to provide support for substantial projects by non-profit groups that significantly enhance the lives of people in the communities that make up the primary market area of the bank.
He said that fund has been established as a fund within the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and that the Fund Committee is comprised of members of both the bank's trustees and management. Savage said the fund has distributed 146 grants totaling $753,000 in 32 different rounds of grants and distributed over $34,000 in its most recent round.
Savage thanked Rob Steady, bank treasurer, for serving as chairman of the fund since its inception and introduced Mary ''Meg'' Miller, new fund chairman, who said that the grant process is streamlined to meet the needs of groups seeking assistance and doesn't require that they hire a grant writer.
Ron Magoon, executive vice president and chief operating officer, said that the fund has contributed to the quality of life on central New Hampshire, helping make it a great place to live and to work.
He announced the award recipients who included:
American Red Cross of New Hampshire, represented by Alice Walton, development coordinator.
Central N.H. Special Operations Unit, represented by John Duval, Concord Police Chief.
The Circle Program, Kathy Kearns, executive director.
Gordon-Nash Library, Cathy Vincvic, library director.
N.H. Food Bank of N.H. Catholic Charities, Melanie Gosselin, executive director of the Food Bank.
N.H. Special Olympics, Mary Conroy, president and CEO.
Town of Tilton Senior Center, Selectman Pat Consentino, co-founder.

Veterans Memorial Recreation Area, Michael 'Mike' Mullavey.
Youth Assistance Program, Dawn Shimberg, director.


CAPTION: cut slugged FSB

Jeff Savage, president and CEO of Franklin Savings Bank, watches as Ron Magoon, executive vice president and chief operating officer, displays art work presented to the bank by the Circle Program, one of the non-profit organizations awarded a grant by the bank's Fund for Community Advancement. Presenting the art work were Paula Ferenac and Kathy Kearns of the Circle Program. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 03:18

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Owner says no underground leaks from tanks at former gas station site on South Main Street

LACONIA — After closing the gas station at the corner of South Main Street and Garfield Street, Jeff Pierson, president of Foley Oil Company, said yesterday that he is working with the Department of Environmental Services (DES) to prepare the property for redevelopment.

Contrary to a recent report in The Citizen, Pierson said that there are no failed underground fuel tanks on the site. He explained that in 1993 the existing tanks were replaced in anticipation of stiffer regulations that became effective in 1998. The double-wall tanks, approved and authorized by DES, were equipped with monitoring system that operated 24 hours a day seven days a week and sounded an alarm if the outer wall was breached by groundwater or the inner wall by fuel.

"In 20 years we never had a leak," Pierson said. "We have always been in compliance and to this day there is nothing wrong with the tanks in the ground."

However, Pierson said that when new regulations become effective in 2015 the company would have to invest as much as $100,000 in both tanks and pumps to remain in compliance with state and federal environmental regulations. He said that since sales at the location would not warrant the expenditure he chose to close the station. "This was our choice as a company," he said.

Pierson said that the company will decommission the station by removing the tanks, along with other material tainted by petroleum products during the approximately 50 years the property has housed a gas station and repair shop. "Quite a bit of material will be removed then replaced with clean fill and paved," he said, stressing that the company will fund the work, which will be performed to standards set by DES.
Meanwhile, DES will remove contaminated materials from an area around the property, including a section of Garfield Street, where several other service stations operated in the past. The project will be financed by the New Hampshire Petroleum Reimbursement Program, which draws on four separate funds accrued from surcharges on the sale of petroleum products.

Pierson said that because Foley Oil Company enjoyed an unbroken record of compliance, DES was authorized to share in the cost of remediating the effects of past fueling operations in the vicinity of the station.

Planning Director Shanna Saunders said that Pierson first approached her about a year ago about redeveloping the property, indicating that he would prefer a use that served the neighborhood. He said that the building will be renovated so it is suitable for rent, but otherwise he has no specific plan for the property other than improving it to do justice to its prominent location.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 03:10

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