Canal St. closed tonight for a fresh coat of orange paint

LACONIA — Canal Street in downtown Laconia will be closed from 5 p.m. Wednesday evening until 7 a.m. Thursday morning to accommodate a crew of some 20 volunteers who are going to paint the street orange in preparation for Saturday's Pumpkin Festival.The sidewalks that line the street will remain open to the public.
Canal Street merchant Larry Frates said the actually painting will be done between 5 and 7 p.m. and the paint will need the overnight period to dry.

For Pumpkin Festival, the one-way street that connects Main Street and Beacon Street East will be renamed "Pump-Canal(y)".


Cormier, stepping down as school board chairman, honored at reception

LACONIA — Laconia School Board Chairman Joe Cormier, who is stepping down after serving 12 years on the board, was honored at an informal reception held at the Huot Culinary Arts Center at Laconia High School Tuesday evening.
Past and present school board members and members of the school administrators attended the gathering to thank Cormier for his service.
Cormier said that he was pleased to be a part of the Joint Building Committee which worked to build a new Middle School during his time on the board, as well as to expand the Huot Center, renovate portions of Laconia High School ,and build the Bank of New Hampshire Stadium and artificial surface playing field at the high school.
Laconia City Councilman Bob Hamel, who co-chaired the JBC, said that Cormier was a hard worker who took a lot of pride in his work and always looked to move the project along while keeping in mind what the city could afford to spend.
Former School Board Chairman Marge Kerns said Cormier has always been ''a great guy to work with. He did his homework in order to get the job done and was always a peacemaker when it came to differences of opinion. He always reached out.''
She noted that Cormier has also played an active role in the community by coaching and officiating in youth sports.
Cormier said that Kerns was his mentor when he first joined the school board, as was former board chairman Bob Dissatti.
''I was a little green when I first joined the board but they helped me a lot, just like former Superintendent Bob Champlin.''
Cormier, who has worked in purchasing at New Hampshire Ball Bearing for the last 18 years and prior to that was purchasing agent for the city of Laconia, says that he will continue to remain active in board activities until a new superintendent is selected.

Laconia chief reports overall arrests about level with '14 so far but drug arrests way up

LACONIA — The number of arrests for drug/narcotic violations in the city has nearly doubled for the first nine months of the year according to Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams.
A police department report submitted to Police Commissioners when they met last Thursday at Laconia City Hall showed that arrests in that category has increased from 80 last year to 151 this year.
Most of the narcotics arrests are for heroin laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opiate which is more potent than morphine.
Adams said that local increase in narcotics arrests mirror the statewide increase, which has been labeled a ''heroin epidemic'' by law enforcement officials and drug treatment professionals.
He said that the number of drug overdoses his department has responded to this year is also up substantially.
''We've responded to 75 to 80 overdoses with eight deaths so far this year. Last year we responded to 50 overdoses and there were 10 deaths,'' said Adams.
He says that the department follows what he calls a balanced enforcement approach when it comes to drug and narcotic violations and doesn't arrest those whose overdoses are reported and tries instead to point them towards treatment for their problems while working hard to arrest those who are selling narcotics.
He noted that recently Laconia Police completed a drug arrest sweep which saw 25 individuals arrested.
''We're dong both,'' says Adams, who says that the lack of treatment facilities in New Hampshire ''is a ''big part of the problem. We're the second worst state in the country when it comes to treatment for drug and alcohol addictions.''
Adams says that the increase in drug and narcotic doesn't mean that there's been a big spike in criminal activity in the city. ''We've had 1,090 physical arrests this year, up from 974 last year, so we're pretty much on par.''
Nearly 60 percent of the increase in physical arrests this year, 71 out of 116, are accounted for by the major increase in drug and narcotic law violations.