Work Out World gets green light to open downtown


LACONIA — Work Out World Laconia got approval from the Planning Board last night to open a fitness center in the space beneath the downtown parking garage, which most recently housed the Grace Capital Church.
Steven Borghi of Alton, whose identical plan foundered amid dissension with his partners in 2008, has renewed his effort to purchase the property and proceed with the project.
Architect Rob Turpin, representing Borghi, told the board that the 24,000-square-foot building is easily suited for conversion to a fitness center and that apart from lighting and signage there will be no significant changes to the property.
Borghi did not attend the meeting, but earlier said that the locker rooms and showers have been installed and, other than removing walls raised by the church to create offices, little construction is required.There will be space for cardiovascular machines, free weight lifting and an aerobic studio, along with rooms for child care and a tanning salon.
In September 2008, Borghi, who then owned more than 30 Work Out World fitness centers throughout the county, first purchased the property in partnership with Daniel Di Sangro of Roslindale, Massachusetts; Joanne DiSangro of Needham, Massachusetts; and Gabrielle Susi of Canton, Massachusetts; together doing business as Downtown Crossing LLC and Downtown Fitness LLC.
Borghi began advertising for memberships for Work Out World Laconia in November 2008 in advance of a scheduled opening in January. However, when the center failed to open, the New Hampshire Attorney General began receiving complaints from those who paid for memberships. In May 2009, Borghi was charged with two misdemeanor and two felony violations of the Consumer Protection Act. Borghi pleaded guilty in August and was given a 30-day suspended sentence and ordered to refund 240 memberships, while Downtown Fitness LLC was fined $15,000.
Meanwhile, Borghi's partners, the DiSangros and Susi, filed suit against him, alleging he misappropriated funds for his personal use. In February 2010, the partners reached a settlement resting on an exchange of assets. Borghi left the partnership and paid an undisclosed amount of money while the DiSangros acquired the property, which they have now agreed to sell to Borghi.
Along with the space intended for the fitness center, Borghi also intends to acquire the other six commercial units in the complex as well as the parking spaces on the ground floor of the parking garage.

Ms. Senior America contestants strut their stuff


LACONIA — The adage "age does not define beauty" is embodied by two New Hampshire women who are current competitors for the Ms. Senior America pageant held in Atlantic City this October, a pageant for women over 60.

Last week, Carolyn Cottrell of Manchester and Fran Owens, formerly of Salem, met at the Lakes Region Public Access television headquarters at Laconia High School for a preview recording of what is to occur at nationals. The video is due to appear on Channel 25 in the upcoming weeks, featuring a preview of the contestants' talents, philosophy of life and crowning for their state titles.

Entering her fourth pageant to date, Owens is feeling confident and honored to represent New Hampshire at a national level. As a professional musician, Owens has traveled around the country pursuing a career in entertainment, which eventually led her to Salem and Nashua, where she raised her children. Continuing to travel and perform around the country in her later years, Owen's never expected that she would enter pageantry after the age of 60; however, her decision to pursue this hobby has allowed her to expand her music business, and has helped her continue to grow as a person.

"Since starting pageants," she said, "I have gone from a show girl to understanding the dignity and elegance from being a queen." Although the competition is fierce, she said there is much support and encouragement from everyone who participates.

The encouragement and camaraderie could be seen in the recording studio, as Owens was accompanied by contestant Cottrell, who will be representing the state of West Virginia this year as a contestant at large. Cottrell had not had any experience in pageantry prior to the Ms. Senior America competition. Rather, for the past 21 years, Cottrell has taught dentistry at TUFTS University in Boston, with prior experience in private practice including work done with incarcerated youth and in Saudi Arabia. Cottrell hopes that her past career partnered with her present pursuit of pageants will her inspire other women to express their talents and wisdom on a larger scale.

"This is a great way to showcase that women over 60 years of age are still talented, capable, and can give a lot back to their community. I hope more people continue to get involved," said Cottrell.

Any woman over the age of 60 is able to take part in the Ms. Senior America annual pageant. Through the pageant, women are able to volunteer in communities, speak publicly and share a talent. The talents participants choose can be anything from a narration of women in history as Cottrell intends to do; singing, as Owens will showcase; or oxen therapy, as a past New Hampshire nominee who was selected to go to nationals demonstrated. If crowned Ms. Senior America, winners are able to travel to state pageants and publicly speak about the pageant to women around the country.

Kathy Salintro of Gilford, the state winner of the Ms. Senior America in 2011 and current state director for the pageant, hopes that next year more participants will come forward so a pageant can be held for the region. The state is currently lacking the necessary money to put on a full pageant, and is seeking sponsorship and additional volunteers.

"Both men and women of all ages are welcome to get involved in the organization, we are always looking for additional board members and help to make this event possible," said Salintro, encouraging people to visit to find out ways to become involved.

LRPA was able to record and broadcast this showing for free, as Gilford is part of the Lakes Region municipality the studio is contracted to work with free of charge. For more information on how to get involved in LRPA, or how community members can utilize the studio, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

08-02 Ms Senior America

Carolyn Cottrell of Manchester is to represent West Virginia, and Fran Owens, formerly of Salem, is to represent New Hampshire in the upcoming Ms. Senior America competition this fall. (Alana Persson/Laconia Daily Sun)

Meredith Library move concerns LCHIP

$70,000 grant may have to be repaid if building does not meet requirements


MEREDITH — The Board of Trustees of the Meredith Public Library are expected to reach a decision about where to construct a new library in next several weeks. Meanwhile, the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program has expressed its concern about the future of the Benjamin M. Smith Memorial Library, which has served the town since 1901.

Duncan McNeish, now in his 34th year as a trustee, said Monday that he expects the board to reaffirm its intention to build a new library and choose a site for the facility in the next several weeks. Earlier this year, the trustees hosted several public meetings at which the structural deficiencies and spacial constraints of the existing building were presented along with conceptual designs of a single story library built on a 4-acre lot with adequate space for parking. Since then, the trustees have considered several locations, including a 4-acre parcel at the junction of Barnard Ridge Road and Pleasant Street set aside by the Conservation Commission in the course of its initiative to add some 200 acres to the Page Pond Forest.

Meanwhile, on July 29, Dijit Taylor, executive director of the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program wrote to the library trustees to say that the directors of the program were "taken aback to learn of the possible plan to relocate the library."
She reminded the trustees that in the course of seeking a $70,000 grant toward improvements to the Benjamin M. Smith Memorial Library in 2013 they assured the program that the library "was, and would continue to be, an important part of the fabric of downtown Meredith."

Taylor said on the strength of such assurances the grant was awarded and that "the current proposed change in the use of the Meredith Library building is directly opposite that expected when the grant was made." The board of the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, she continued "strongly urges the Meredith Library Trustees to reconsider the option of retaining the library in its historic downtown building and location." Moreover, Taylor added that should the trustees "pursue the change in use," the town must advise the program "to be sure the requirements and possible costs triggered by a change in use of the building are well understood."

Taylor's letter came as no surprise. Earlier this summer, when the library trustees advised the Board of Selectmen of their intentions, attorney Andrew Livernois explained that if the library building were not put to another public purpose, the town could be required to repay the $70,000 grant. Likewise, McNeish said that the trustees have every intention of working with the selectmen to put the library building to an appropriate public purpose and maintain its architectural integrity to ensure the town neither incurs unnecessary costs nor compromises its relationship with the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program.