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Alton man says all 10 cars in his yard belong to his family and they are all properly registered

ALTON — The Church Street man who has been accused of operating a junkyard and a car repair operation from his residential-zoned property said yesterday that charges against him are all a lie.

Mark Hanson said either he or his wife owns every car on his property and that all of them are registered to one of them.

"I have cars. Six are for my wife and four are for me," Hanson said yesterday.

He said when he first spoke to Building Inspector John Dever, he was told that he could have two unregistered vehicles on his property. He said he had two at the time but after he got a voice message from Dever saying the limit was one car, he went and registered one of the two that were unregistered.

As fo rDever's claim that he was operating a car repair facility, Hanson said he does some work on the cars that he owns and takes his old cars to the junkyard.

"I'm not the junkyard," he said.

He said when he got the first notice to stop operating a junkyard and a repair shop he was "flabbergasted."

When asked about an an alleged sale on Craig's List (an online exchange and sales website) he said he tried to sell one motor. "Everyone sells stuff on Craig's list," he said.

Hanson said at one point he had a few old oil tanks on his property that he was making into a pig-roaster for his stepson and during the process, the building inspector asked him questions about them, telling him the tanks had to be inspected.

He also said that at one point he had a couple of rear axles for one of his cars and believed they could be viewed from the nearby First Congregational Church, where he thinks the complaints originated.

"Now I'm told I'm a repair shop," he said.

"He (the building inspector) complained about oil spots on my driveway," Hanson said.

When asked why he didn't put up a fence between his property and the church, he said he is working on it.

"I have put all my stuff in one place and put it under a tarp," he said, calling himself a nice guy who doesn't want to bother anybody.

He said he was being forced to fight the town in court and has had to borrow money to hire a lawyer.

"I'm just working on my stuff," he said. "It's my stuff in my yard."

Last Updated on Saturday, 09 November 2013 02:46

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Recently discovered diary of WWII soldier to be featured on Veteran's Day radio program

LACONIA — Steve White, owner of Wild Bird Depot store in Gilford, will be reading a recently discovered diary that his father, Irvin White, kept during World War II on his live, radio show, Bird Calls, as a special Veteran's Day program on Monday.
''I just wish I could have known about this before. I would have loved to have him share this with us,'' says White, who said that the diary was discovered after his father died in 2004.
He said that his father started the diary, which was written in a letter format, shortly after he entered the army at the age of 17 in September of 1940 and it vividly describes his father's thoughts about the war.
''He grew up in Whitman, Mass. and was the youngest of four brothers. He wanted to volunteer but he needed his parent's permission. The first time he went to the Brockton recruiter's office he was turned down because he didn't weigh enough. He was a pound and a half under the minimum weight, so the next time he went he ate a pound of bananas and drank a gallon of water before he was weighed and just made it,'' says White.
''He wanted to enlist rather than being called up and wait for the draft. Everyone knew the war was coming and it was just a matter of time before we would be in it,'' said White.
He says that his father was sent to Fort Devens, Mass., for training and was shipped out of New York for duty in the Middle East on June 3, 1942.
''The diary describes how they had to wait to ship out and made several aborted attempts because the German U-boats were hitting so many ships right off our coast. They finally made it down to the Carolina coast out and went all the way around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa and up into the Indian Ocean and to the Suez Canal.''
His father was a staff sergeant with Company B of the 84th Organized Mechanical Battalion,which was stationed in Damascus, Syria and whose task was to load and drive trucks and supplies all the way up to the Russian border..
''He never saw combat, but the conditions in the Middle East were brutal. One hundred and twenty degrees was considered comfortable,'' says White, who said that as many as 500 vehicles would be in the convoys, which would take a week to 10 days to reach the Russian border where they were turned over to the Red Army.
''Dad said that the Russians weren't really all that friendly and the Americans didn't trust them very much. And the people who lived in the areas where the convoys passed through were really poor. There was a lot of poverty and despair in that part of the world and he wrote a lot about that in his diary,'' said White.
He said that he would have loved to have had his dad share those things with him that he wrote in his diary, but noted that he was like other men of that generation, who, once they came home from the war, never talked about it.
''He was my hero. He did what he knew needed to be done and then put it behind him. He never made a show of being a veteran,'' said White.
He said that he has read excerpts from his father's diary on his radio show in the past but that this will mark the first time the entire 30 plus pages will be read on air. The program begins at 8:15 a.m. on WEZS 1350-AM.



white medals

Steve White, owner, Wild Bird Depot, holds a diary that his father, Irvin, kept during World War II and the medals that his father was awarded for his wartime service. He will read from the diary during his Monday morning radio show on WEZS, 1350 AM. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Irvin White served as a staff sergeant in a mechanized battalion during World War II which was based in Syria and delivered trucks to Russia. (Courtesy photo)

Last Updated on Saturday, 09 November 2013 02:40

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Falling revenues from sources other than property taxes putting real strain on Belknap budget

LACONIA — After completing their first pass at the 2014 county budget this week the Belknap County Commissioners found themselves with a preliminary plan that would increase appropriations 2.4-percent to $27,013,237 and the amount to be raised by taxes 7.2-percent — to $14,887,599.

Although the commissioners pruned appropriations requested by county departments by $2.1-million, they stressed that their work was not done. The commission will present its recommended budget to the Belknap County Convention next month.

The amount to be raised by property taxes represents the difference between the total appropriation and revenue from sources other than property taxes, which may include monies drawn from the undesignated fund balance.

The projected increase in the tax commitment is less a function of increased expenditures than of eroding revenues.

Although the total appropriation of $27 million represents an increase over the current budget, it is $2.7 million, or 9.1 percent, less than was budgeted in 2008 and $2.0 million, or 6.8 percent less than was budgeted in 2009. (Total appropriations of $30.3 million in 2010, $32.1 million 2011 and $30.8 in 2012, were supplemented by federal funds distributed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.)

The 2013 budget soured relations between the commission and the convention. The commission proposed expenditures of $26.8-million, which were not only much less than the three previous budgets but also $2.9 million, or 9.9 percent, less than in 2008 and $2.2 million, or 7.6 percent, less than in 2009. However, the commission recommended augmenting revenues from sources other than property taxes by $2,100,000 compared to $3,750,000 the year before, which increased the amount to be raised by property taxes 8.9 percent. The convention reduced spending and adjusted revenues, trimming the tax commitment to $13.8 milion, 1.1-percent less than the $14 million raised in 2012.

Since 2008 revenues, exclusive of fund balance, have declined from $13.4 million to $10.1 million, almost 25 percent. Meanwhile, the tax commitment has risen from $14.3 million to a projected $14.9 million, an increase of 4.3 percent. In 2008, $2 million of fund balance was added to revenues and the commission recommends applying an equal amount in 2014.

Earlier this year Moody's Investor Service affirmed its AA2 rating on the county's outstanding debt, dropping its qualified "negative outlook." The report noted that "the county has managed to constrain expenditure growth in recent years, but the growth rate is estimated to continue outpace revenues."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 03:03

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Inter-Lakes students hear from local soldier in Afghanistan during Vet Day program

MEREDITH — Students and guests at the Inter-Lakes Elementary School Veteran's Day program got to hear first hand Friday morning from a soldier from their community who is currently serving in Afghanistan.
Second Lt. Erik Miller, the son of I-LES 4th grade teacher Wanda Miller, took part in a video teleconference in which he answered questions from students about his daily routine in Afghanistan and what the weather is like in that remote, mountainous country.
A 2008 graduate of Inter-Lakes High School, Miller graduated from Texas A&M University in 2012 and told the students he is an intelligence officer and leads a platoon of 21 soldiers who gather information about enemy activities in order to predict where they will attack next.
He said that some of the information which is gathered helps Allied forces know when and where roadside bombs will be placed.
Miller, whose father Robert is a Vietnam veteran, says that he usually works 15 hours a day and is up at 5 a.m. to start his day with an hour-long workout.
''It's really, really hot here or blistering cold and very dry. It's a harsh environment. But the standard of living in the area controlled by American forces has grown a lot in recent years,'' says Miller.
He told the students that he decided to join the Army after an 9th grade Spanish class and that he is happy that he chose the Army because it provided him with leadership opportunities that were not available in other branches of the service.
Also speaking at the program, which featured patriotic songs performed by the elementary school band and chorus, were Griggs-Wyatt Post American Legion Commander Robert Kennelly and Master Sgt. Elliott Finn, both of whom served in the Korean War.
Kennelly talked about World War II and described how the war began for America with the attack on Pearl Harbor and saw Japanese forces in the Pacific rapidly capture American and British bases in the Philippines and Malaya.
Kennelly recounted how President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the famed Doolittle raid on Tokyo in 1942 using B-24 bombers launched from an American aircraft carrier, which led to a decision by the Japanese to try and take Midway Island and push the American fleet even further away from Japan and the islands it was capturing,
He said that the American aircraft carriers were able to launch a strike in early June of 1942 which destroyed three of the four Japanese aircraft carriers in a five minute attack (a fourth was sunk the next day), ending the Japanese attack and forcing their invasion fleet to retreat.
''It took three more years to end the war, but after that battle the Japanese never again were able to take the offensive,'' said Kennelly.

Last Updated on Saturday, 09 November 2013 02:19

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