Gilford selectmen OK pond engineering study

GILFORD — The Selectboard gave Fire Chief Steve Carrier permission to spend $13,400 for engineering services for preparing for work on the fire pond on Alvah Wilson Road that serves the high school and middle school campus.
Carrier said the brook that feeds the pond was rerouted right through the pond about five years ago, and the pond is now filled with silt making it less effective for firefighting purposes.
He said part of the answer is dredging the pond, but the real solution is to reroute the brook back to its original banks and keep the pond clear of silt.
Carrier noted the entire area where the pond is located is swampy, so the pond will still fill with water even if the river doesn't run through it.
Selectmen agreed that is it a key firefighting pond in that area and said the expertise is justified.

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First Student lauded by police and managment for job well done in Friday school bus accident

BELMONT – Local police and the manager of the First Student Bus company are lauding the actions taken by their driver last Friday at 4 p.m. when her bus was rear-ended by an alleged drunk driver at the railroad tracks that cross Route 3 near Dutile Shore Road.

Lt. Rich Mann said not only was the driver able to maintain control of her bus, but she was able to calm the elementary-aged Belmont children and still manage to get the license plate and identification of the car that hit them and fled.

With her assistance, said Mann, Sanbornton Police were able to arrest Raya Sar, 29, of Laconia Road in Sanbornton and charge him with driving while intoxicated. Sar, who was released on personal recognizance bail, also faces one count of leaving the scene of an accident. His court date is Jan. 7 in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division.

Sar admitted to police that he had been at a Christmas party at his job and had consumed alcoholic beverages.

One child was taken by ambulance to the Lakes Region General Hospital with a minor head wound and was released later that night. Mann said the rest of the students were upset but "in good hands with that driver."

Student First Belmont Location Manager Joyce Howard-Sigler said she couldn't identify the driver according to company rules but noted that she "is an amazing job" and the company is proud of her and all their drivers.

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Children's Charitable Fund distributes $157,500 to local groups

LACONIA — The Greater Lakes Region Charitable Fund for Children distributed $157,500 in checks to 17 different organizations in a ceremony held at Lakes Region General Hospital Monday morning, Mike Seymour, chairman of the charitable fund which earlier this year took over ownership of the Greater Lakes Region Children’s Auction, said that the funds were distributed to those organizations that are meeting immediate needs of families and children in the Lakes Region.
“It was the 33rd year of the Children’s Auction but our first as an organization owned and operated by the members of the community. It was local people making local decisions. It was a very challenging year, but we saw how generous and committed people in the Lakes Region are to good causes,” said Seymour.
He said that in its first year under the new organization’s leadership the Children’s Auction raised $469,609, the third-highest total ever.
He praised the good work being done by the organizations which received checks and said they reflect the depth of concern and caring which is evident across the entire area.
The largest recipient was the Got Lunch! program of Laconia, which received $33,000, and was started to meet the summer nutrition needs of students in the Laconai schools in 2011.
Paula Gile, associate minister of the Laconia Congregational Church, who helped found the program, said it was inspiring to see how the program became the model for similar programs in 14 or 15 New Hampshire communities, many of them right in the Lakes Region.
“We saw a need to go out there and do something,” said Gile.
Other Got Lunch! Programs to receive funds were Inter-Lakes $6,000, Gilford $5,000, Ashland-Holderness $2,000 and Campton-Thornton, $2,000.
The second largest sum went to the Santa Funds of the Greater Lakes Region, which received $25,000. Saint Vincent DePaul food pantry and thrift shop received $20,000.
The Tilton-Northfield-Sanbornton Christmas Fund received $15,000, which Christine Raffaelly, in her first year at the helm of the charity, said represents about half of the funds raised by the organization.
Other recipients included the Salvation Army, $12,000; the Laconia Police Relief Association, $10,000; the Inter-Lakes Christmas Fund, $7,500; the Lakes Region Food Pantry, $5,000; Health First Family Care Center, $5,000; Christmas Village, $3,000; Hands Across the Table, $2,000; People Investing in Community and Kids (PICK), $1,500 and Operation Warm, a program to provide winter coats to children which is supported by the local firefighters union, $1,500.
The Greater Lakes Region Charitable Fund for Children had received over 60 requests from community organizations for a total of nearly $700,000 in funds.

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