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Belknap delegation divided on beginning of life

CONCORD — Although a bill declaring that life begins at conception failed in the New Hampshire House of Representatives Tuesday by a margin of more than two-to-one — 214 to 95 — it won a narrow majority of nine-to-seven among the 16 voting members from Belknap County.

Eight Republicans — Reps. Richard Burchell of Gilmanton, Guy Comtois of Barnstead, Jane Cormier and Stephen Holmes of Alton, Don Flanders, Bob Luther and Frank Tilton of Laconia and Bob Greemore of Meredith — were joined Democrat David Huot of Laconia in support of the bill. Two Republicans — Charles Fink of Belmont and Colette Worsman of Meredith were absent and did not vote.

The remaining four Democrats in the delegation — Reps. Beth Arsenault of Laconia, Lisa DiMartino of Gilford, Ruth Gulick of New Hampton and Ian Raymond of Sanbornton — and Republicans Dennis Fields of Sanbornton and Michael Sylvia of Belmont voted against the bill.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 March 2014 12:46

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'Personalized learning' at heart of Inter-Lake's new strategic plan

MEREDITH — The first formal presentation of an Inter-Lakes School District Strategic Plan, which has been nearly two years in the making, stressed that personalizing each student's education while focusing on effective communication and critical and creative thinking inspires learning and maximizes successes.
The plan was unveiled Tuesday evening before the Inter-Lakes School Board when it met at the Inter-Lakes Elementary School and it identified five core values: Personalized Learning, the Arts, Wellness, Involvement and Resources.
Kathleen Hill, I-L school district curriculum director, and Patricia Kennelly, I-LHS principal, co-chairs of the personalized learning committee, said that it was important that teachers and students be provided with resources and training to participate in continuous, anywhere, anytime learning and that a mentoring system be developed that supports students in a variety of venues and helps them develop different competencies.
School Board member Mark Billings, also a member of that committee said that he and other members of the committee believe personalizing education ''is transformational. It changes the one size fits all model we've had for too long and gets to the individuality of each student.''
As part of the change, an assessment system would be used which is based on a demonstration that competence exists and would include student self-reflection that identifies strengths and weaknesses as well as specific feedback for improvement.
Board member Howard Cunningham asked if there was any timeline on when the strategic plan would be implemented and Hill said that it currently was like looking down from a hot air balloon at the objects on the ground and was going to take a lot of work to move from generalities to specifics on how how it would be implemented.
Christina Gribben, guidance director and co-chair of the the Arts Committee, said that while the school district has a wide variety of arts offerings they are not consistently integrated throughout the curriculum.
The committee urged that the district sponsor an annual Arts Celebration Week which would conclude with a district-wide show of performance, language and fine arts and that extended learning opportunities be provided through internships in the arts involving local artists and arts organizations.
Wellness was seen as encompassing safety of students and staff in reacting to emergency situations as well as health education and implementing a comprehensive training program for all staff and contracted employees was rated a top priority.
When it comes to involvement, the district is being asked to develop a district-wide program to recruit, train, support and recognize volunteers which will be known as a Volunteer Improvement Program and will be headed by a VIP leader,. The district will also seek to involve families in the district's curriculum, instruction, assessment and educational programs.
The discussion of resources, led by Allan Hale, school district technology chair, and Kay Mulcahy, Inter-Lakes Elementary School assistant principal, touched on aggressive recruitment of well qualified teachers and prompted a discussion of developing a Master Teacher Program which would reward accomplished teachers with a greater scope of responsibility at the building level and higher pay.
John Edgar, Meredith director of Community Development and a member of Personalized Learning Committee, said that developing a program for exceptional teachers was ''central to a lot of elements of the strategic plan'' and that it would need further development down the road.
The school board welcomes public comment on the strategic plan and will take it up again when it meets in May and may set out priorities for implementation when it meets in August.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 March 2014 12:42

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Tilton cop has been paid $24k not to work, so far

TILTON — It's been just over five months since Det. Cpl. Matt Dawson has been collecting a paycheck but not working at the Police Department.

Dawson earns $30.48 an hour, meaning he has been paid about $24,380 since he placed on paid leave.

Selectboard Chair Pat Consentino said yesterday that the issue is a personnel matter and she is not able to publicly address it.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 March 2014 12:38

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$100k bail holding man LPD calls 'significant' drug dealer

LACONIA — A man who splits his time between his wife and children in Massachusetts and his girlfriend on Gale Avenue was held on $100,000 cash-only bail after appearing yesterday in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division on drug charges.

Roger R. Perkins, Jr. 31, who has listed addresses in both Methuen, Mass and Laconia, is charged with possession of cocaine and crack cocaine with the intent to distribute them. Police estimated he had as much as two ounces of cocaine in various forms inside his glove box.

The Police Department issued a statement indicating it viewed Perkins as "a dealer of significant amounts of illegal drugs in the Laconia area."

Police affidavits filed with the court said that city drug detectives applied for a warrant to search Perkins, his car, and an apartment at 23 Gale Street, including any of its occupants.

Around 2 p.m. on Tuesday, police said a surveillance team saw Perkins, who was alone in the car, enter the city driving a black Acura MDX with Massachusetts license plates. They followed the car to 23 Gale Avenue where they detained Perkins.

Police searched the car and obtained a key to the locked glove box that allegedly contained the cocaine.

They found a second baggie with a glassy substance and white powdery residue yet to be identified.

Once inside the apartment, police found two bags of psilocybin mushrooms, a bag of hashish, numerous drug paraphernalia. They also found two safes they were unable to open and two handguns — one of which was loaded.

Police said the apartment had what they described as a "sophisticated surveillance system with cameras both on the exterior of the building and throughout the interior of the building." The cameras were attached to an iPad and televisions throughout the apartment and were digitally recorded.

In court yesterday, Prosecutor Jim Sawyer asked for high cash bail saying Perkins has convictions for drugs, second-degree assault, and was deemed an habitual offender for driving purposes. He said he hadn't appeared in any New Hampshire Courts since 2008. Sawyer said there was some information from Massachusetts but he hadn't verified all of it yet.

Perkins's public defenders asked for $5,000 cash bail saying he would be hard-pressed to raise that amount. They also said he had family in New Hampshire with whom he would stay and had promised not to leave the state.

The defense also said Perkins supported his wife and children in Massachusetts and was working in an overhead aerial imaging company in the Boston area until it closed in November of 2013 and he became unemployed.

His attorney argued this was the first trouble he had been in since 2008 and was trying to get his life back in order.

Judge Jim Carroll said he agreed with the state's contention that Perkins was a danger to the community and ordered the $100,000 cash bail with a hearing to determine the source of the funds should he be able to post it.

His Laconia girlfriend, Windyanne Plunkett, is also charged with one count of possession of a controlled drug. She was released on personal recognizance bail the day she was arrested.

Affidavits said she described herself to police as Perkins's girlfriend but told police she didn't know he was married. She said she knew he lived in Massachusetts.

Perkins is scheduled for a probable cause hearing in Circuit Court on April 3 at 8:30 a.m.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 March 2014 02:34

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