Baldwin St. fire quickly extinguished

LACONIA – Fire Chief Ken Erickson said too much insulation likely caused the thimble for a wood stove to overheat and ignite some woodwork between the walls last night at a home at 48 Baldwin Street at 7 p.m.

"There was nowhere for the heat to dissipate," he said.

Erickson said a woman and her child noticed some smoke coming from the wall and called 911.

Firefighters responded, noticed the smoke and determined the cause.

Erickson said there was a small fire in the wall that was extinguished. He said the damage to the home is minimal and the family will be able to stay there.

Gilford school budget proposal features signs of the times

GILFORD — The School Board voted unanimously Monday night to submit a $25,441,632-million budget for school year 2015-2016 to the Budget Committee.

The general fund budget — that portion of the budget that excludes food service and federal projects funds — is up 2.95 percent ($696,094), from $23,618,677 in this school year to a proposed $24,314,771.

Using a PowerPoint presentation, Superintendent Kent Hemingway explained the main drivers behind the hike are the increase in the school district's contribution to the N.H. retirement system, which is $266,247 and a maximum increase of 8 percent ($288,047) for health insurance.

The district is in the second year of a three-year contract with the Gilford Education Association and salary increases account for $251,451 of the increase. Non-union salaries are budgeted at 2.5 percent, which accounts for $104,275 of the increase.

Hemingway said the total increases in the 2015-16 budget that are being driven by items beyond the district's control amount to $976,616. In response, the district is eliminating six support positions through either retirement or resignation, saving about $300,000.

"This is not going to be a reduction in force and nobody is getting pink-slipped," said Hemingway, in a phone interview yesterday afternoon. He said is is normal for the district to lose an average of five to seven non-teacher, non-custodial positions annually and he is working with building administrators to redefine some job expectation and descriptions for existing support staff to compensate for the loss of the six positions.

Hemingway also noted that the in the past eight years enrollments in the Gilford School District have dropped by about 10 percent and the number of employees has dropped by about nine percent. Projecting into next year, Hemingway expects staff reductions of about 11 percent and similar drops in enrollment.

In school year 2008-09 there were 1,324 students enrolled in Gilford schools. This year there are 1,187. In school year 2008-09 there were 241.2 teaching positions. This school year there are 219.7.

To keep the budget under the 3-percent target increase, the School Board is proposing $48,000 in total maintenance projects, to include $10,000 in parking lot repairs at the middle-high school campus; evaporators at the elementary school and middle school for $7,500, the removal of the Imagination Station playground equipment for $6,500 and a new carpet for the Gilford High School Library for $24,000.

There is one capital project for $100,000 — to replace the playground equipment at Imagination Station. Hemingway said there is an active and ongoing fund raising campaign for additional equipment for the playground being conducted by the Gilford Elementary School PTO and the Gilford Rotary Club, among others.

The School District also deferred until 2016-2017 paving the parking lot at Gilford Elementary School, resurfacing the High School track, and updating the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing infrastructure at the Elementary School. Those three projects alone are expected to cost the district $490,000 in the future.

Hemingway said the budget approved Monday night will be forwarded to the Budget Committee, which is expected to hold hearings beginning in early December.

OT goal sends Prospect Mountain past Gilford & on to Division III soccer final

LACONIA — Prospect Mountain's Alex Bennett last evening sent the Timberwolves to the NHIAA Division III championship finals on a header that finally found the back of the net 3:31 seconds into the second overtime against Gilford. The game was played at Laconia's Bank of New Hampshire Stadium

"We had our opportunities early but couldn't finish," said Gilford head soccer coach Dave Pinkham of the 1-0 end result.

The Golden Eagles pressured the Timberwolves early in the first half. The best opportunity came off a corner kick served by Keaton Quigley was headed toward the net and past the Timberwolves goalkeeper before a defender ran in behind and cleared the ball out. Gilford players celebrated before the official confirmed it was not a goal.

"If someone asked me prior to the game if it would go to overtime I would have said probably a 90 percent chance we would be playing extra soccer," said Pinkham in not be surprised by the scoreless draw at the end of regulation time.

Prospect Mountain had an a shot to win the game late in the second half when Matthew Hamilton found Bennett inside the defense who banked it off the right post for a goal that was waved off for offsides.

The Timberwolves will play the winner of the second semi-final between Somersworth and Hopkinton at SNHU in Manchester on Saturday at 1:45.

"After a 2-2 start I think a lot teams wrote us off but we found where our kids fit in well and made a good run at it," concluded Pinkham. " I am proud of this group, not only on the field but in the community. They are great kids all around."

The Golden Eagles finished the season 16-3 winning twelve games in a row to finish the regular season and two more in the playoffs before the semi-final loss. "We have a lot of good talent waiting in the wings. Our JV team didn't lose a game and I think we will compete again next season."

Weirs Blvd. water main break emptied about 200k gallons into Paugus Bay

LACONIA — Laconia Water Department crews spent 12 hours Friday night into Saturday morning fixing a broken 12-inch water main that dumped about 200,000 gallons of water back into Paugus Bay.

Superintendent Luke Powell said a cast iron pipe under Weirs Boulevard burst at 5 p.m. Friday and crews worked until 5 a.m. Saturday to repair it.

He said they isolated the gates and shut down the water to an area along the roadway around Pier 2 Condominiums during the repair.

"We cut a section out of the pipe and replaced it," he said, noting the new section is ductile iron which is less brittle than cast iron. Powell said the section of water piping was installed in the 1960s.

Powell said there was some significant undermining of the southbound side of the road. Crews put a temporary patch across the entire road but he said the Department of Public Works will be putting a permanent patch on the area before snow flies.

He said people in the area may have seen some discoloration of their water because of the low water levels. He said crews tested the water and there is nothing wrong with it but some residents may need to run their cold water until it is clear.

CUTLINE: (Water pipe) A section of water pipe broke that broke Friday evening causing about 200,000 gallons of water to run from Weirs Boulevard down into Paugus Bay. Traffic was rerouted around Weirs Boulevard via White Oaks Road for the 12 hours it took to replace it. (Gail Ober/for The Laconia Daily Sun)