Colonial Theatre project nearing fundraising goal

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — With the end of the year fast approaching the Belknap Economic Development Council is putting together the final elements of the $14.6 million financial package to restore and renovate the Colonial Theatre.

Randy Eifert, president of the council, said Monday that the capital campaign to raise at least $2 million from private sources, including corporations, foundations and individuals, represents the outstanding piece of the puzzle. He said that $1.3 million, or 65 percent of the original goal, has been collected and that he expects to reach the goal, but hopes to top that target by raising at least another $700,000.

Eifert acknowledged that because some costs have exceeded initial estimates, the scope of the project may be trimmed to meet the budget. In particular, he said that plans to fit the auditorium with the projection equipment and sound system to show movies, at an estimated cost of nearly $200,000, will depend on the success of the capital campaign and generosity of private donors.

"We want to have a state-of-the-art, fully restored, multi-use facility," Eifert said, adding that the alternative could be to undertake portions of the project in phases.

The project will be financed with some $4.7 million in New Markets Tax Credits and $2.4 million in Historic Tax Credits, both federal programs providing tax credits to investors in return for their investment in civic projects. The New Hampshire Community Development Investment Program has contributed $520,000. Grants from the New Hampshire Community Development Block Program, the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program and the Brownfields Program administered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency have yet to be awarded. The city has loaned the Belknap Economic Development $3 million for the project.

Eifert said that with all the other pieces falling into place, the focus is on meeting or exceeding the $2 million goal of the campaign.

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Luther, Hayward elected to Laconia School Board

LACONIA — In the elections for the School Board last week, Barbara Luther, who ran without opposition, was elected to her second term in Ward 2 with 887 votes, and in Ward 3 Aaron Hayward topped Scott Knowles by a vote of 645 to 505.

After filing his candidacy, Knowles asked to have his name removed from the ballot and did not campaign for the seat, leaving Hayward to be elected virtually by default. Hayward succeeds Scott Vachon, who served on the board for 13 consecutive years.

— Michael Kitch

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Fugitive Moon arrested by Tilton Police

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

TILTON — Police have arrested a man wanted in connection with an officer-involved shooting that occurred in the early morning hours of Oct. 28.

11-02 Hayden MoonThe U.S. Marshal's and Belknap County Joint Fugitive Task Force had been looking for 24-year-old Hayden Moon since he allegedly dragged a Belmont Police officer during a traffic stop at 1:38 a.m. on Stone Road.

The Belmont officer, said Belknap County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen, fired his weapon in a effort to stop Moon from fleeing. He is on paid administrative leaving pending an investigation by the New Hampshire State Police into the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

Moon's car was recovered in Loudon by Loudon Police, said Major Crimes Lt. Scott Gilbert, a few days later. He said Guldbrandsen later confirmed that Moon was not injured during the shooting.

Moon is wanted for one felony count of reckless conduct and one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest in relation to the October incident.

According to the New Hampshire Judiciary, Moon was convicted for possession of a controlled drug in Merrimack County in 2013 and for the same offense in Belknap County in 2015. He is also facing one count of being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon after his arrest in August. He has a hearing scheduled in the Hillsborough North Superior Court on Nov. 14.

Tilton Police Chief Robert Cormier said he believes Moon's arrest was the result of a traffic stop by two of his patrol officers and that it was uneventful.

"(My officers) were at the right place at the right time and are to be congratulated for their heads-up work," said Cormier.

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