I-L class to move graduation site

MEREDITH — After the classes of 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 at Inter-Lakes High School failed to move their graduation venue from Prescott Park, this year's graduating seniors succeeded when the School Board last voted to hold the ceremony on the artificial turf field at the school.
"This was bigger than getting graduation on the turf field," said Erik Boquist, who, with Julia Eifert shares the class presidency. He explained that students and parents had pressed the administration for years, only to meet resistance.
"When we got no cooperation from the administration, we became the first class to take it to the School Board," he said.
"I hope this encourages other classes to fight for what they believe in," echoed Thomas Ainsworth, the class vice president.
Eifert and Boquist, who share the class presidency, reminded the board that 377 students, parents and residents, some 50 of whom added written comments, had petitioned to change the venue from Prescott Park. Then they countered the arguments against the change offered by the school administration.
Noting that the administration warned of the excessive heat generated by the synthetic turf, Eifert pointed out that students, including the helmeted and padded football team, regularly practice and play on the field in the heat of summer days, while the ceremony would be held on a June morning. She also suggested pitching a shade tent, with a water station, and indicated that the class might donate the tent for classes to follow.
Boquist addressed concerns that an outdoor ceremony would require scheduling a rain date that would complicate renting a sound system, by proposing that the school purchase a sound system that could be used again and again for a variety of occasions rather than incur repeated rental costs.
Randy Eifert, who Boquist would call "the man," sought to assure the board that seating for 1,200 on the field would not pose an unmanageable risk. The weight, he said, would be dispersed and high heels, which could puncture the turf, could easily be prohibited. He referred to the manual for the field that specifically indicated it was an appropriate setting for "graduation ceremonies."
"It's an athletic field, not an event field," said Chris Wald, the facilities director, who warned that the weight of the audience would exceed the recommended would exceed the recommended pounds per square inch, or PSI. Mark Billings of the board expressed similar concerns, explaining that shortening the life of the field would accelerate its replacement at a significant cost.
"Why can schools and colleges all over the country hold graduation ceremonies on artificial turf, but not us?" Julia Eifert asked.
Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond recommended they hold the ceremony on Friday, June 10, at 4 p.m., on the turf field with a rain date of Saturday, June 11, at 9 a.m., with the proviso that if rain was falling at 6 a.m. the ceremony would move to the auditorium.
"I think we should try it," said Merrill. Susan Palmer-Ansorg said that "It's their graduation and they've made their case," and added she thought the board should "empower" young people who have advocated so responsibly.
But the board, with one member absent, divided evenly with Chairman Howard Cunningham, Craig Baker and Billings voting against and Merrill, Palmer-Ansorg and Duncan Porter-Zuckerman in favor. In part the motion failed because of the date, not the venue, as Baker expressed concern that Friday is a difficult day to travel for family members coming from a distance.
When a second motion to hold the ceremony on the turf on Saturday also failed by a three-to-three vote, Ormond recommended returning the event to Prescott Park, but no board member would offer a motion. With that, Billings revived the original motion, which carried with only Cunninham appearing to dissent.

‘Out of control’ 10-year-old arrested at Pleasant Street School


LACONIA — A 10-year-old city boy was arrested by police Tuesday after Pleasant Street School officials called the school resource officer for assistance around 1 p.m.

Capt. Matt Canfield said the SRO told him that the child, who was not identified, was "seriously out of control" and was "swinging, kicking and punching" at administrators who were trying to calm him.

Canfield said the child had to be restrained by the officer and eventually calmed down before his release to his grandmother. The child was charged with disorderly conduct, although Canfield said the police won't be moving forward with the charges.

"I've been doing this (police work) a long time and have rarely heard of a child this out of control," Canfield said, adding that Laconia School District policies are very strict when it comes to school officials and teachers physically restraining children.

The Laconia School District policy follows state law, which reads: "Restraint will be used only when the physical action of as student creates a substantial risk of harm to self or others; and/or as a last resort when all other positive interventions have failed, or the level of immediate risk prohibits exhausting other means."

The law also says: "School administration may elect to contact the local law enforcement agency for support if necessary."

Laconia School Assistant Superintendent Kirk Beitler said he wouldn't comment directly on the incident but said that school officials felt that intervention by the school resource officer would be the best solution for everyone involved. He said no one was injured.

Beitler said school administrators are trained and have a variety of resources at their disposal should a child act out to a serious degree. He said Laconia's school resource officer is another support they have to help students deal with the issues during the day.

Beitler said all of the reporting requirements mandated by school policy and state law have been completed including a discussion with the child's family members. He said that the administration at Pleasant Street School notified the superintendent's office immediately after the incident.

"It is unfortunate when we have to get the police involved," Beitler said. "This was definitely an unusual moment."

"It doesn't happen very often. This is very rare," echoed Canfield.

Winnipesaukee Muskrats announce 2016 coaching staff

LACONIA — Winnipesaukee Muskrats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL), a Summer wood bat league consisting of 13 member teams across the six New England states, and featuring some of the top college talent in the country, announced that Bill Clay, a longtime baseball coach and former professional scout from Texas, will take the helm as head coach for the coming season. The team has also hired Gary Calhoun, Jason Kalber and Markus Kalber as assistant coaches.
Clay has more than 30 years of experience coaching top-rated college, high school and professional teams, such as Tarleton State University and the Fort Worth Cats of the American Association. Over his career, Clay has accumulated 603 victories. In addition, Clay has served as an associate scout with the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets.
"The NECBL offers a unique opportunity to work with some of the most talented young baseball players in the country," said Clay. "My experience as a Division 1 and 2 collegiate coach and professional scout positions me to groom these young men to reach their full potential as athletes on the field and positive role models within the community."
Gary Calhoun will serve as assistant coach of the Muskrats. He recently retired after 28 seasons as head coach of the Hillsborough Community College baseball team located in Tampa, where he guided countless players during his tenure, including more than 50 athletes that went on to play professionally.
Jason and Marcus Kalber, currently volunteer coaches at Saint Anselm College, will also serve as assistant coaches for the Muskrats. As 2009 graduates of Chandler High School in Arizona, the Kalber brothers led the Wolves to the state semifinals. They went on to play junior college ball at Cochise College in Douglas, Arizona, and then on to Indiana UniversityPurdue University at Fort Wayne of the Division I Summit Conference.
The Winnipesaukee Muskrats organization is a Summer collegiate baseball team that brings the best college baseball players from across the country to play at Robbie Mills Field in Laconia, New Hampshire. The Muskrats are a member of the 13-team New England Collegiate Baseball League, and operate as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation that depends on community support and volunteers for its existence and continued operation.
For more information or to join the Muskrats team as a volunteer, host family or sponsor, contact: Kristian Svindland, General Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; (603) 303-7806; or