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24 condo units overlooking Scenic Drive approved by planning board

LACONIA — The Planning Board last night approved the plan of Southworth Development, LLC, the managing developer of Meredith Bay at The Weirs, to add a mid-rise building with 24 condominium units to its growing inventory along either side of Scenic Road.
North Lodges at Meredith Bay is planned on a 6.7-acre lot at the foot of Brickyard Mountain, across Scenic Road, just north of the Town Homes at Meredith Bay, which line the shoreline northward from Look Off Rock. The four-story building will house units of one-bedroom units of 1,400-square-feet and two-bedroom units of 1,900-square-feet, both with dens. There will be six units on each floor served by elevators from the underground parking garage that open directly into the individual units.

Chris Duprey, project executive for Southworth Development, said that 5.4 acres of the steeply sloped site will be left undisturbed as the building will be constructed on a shelf overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. The building will resemble the Town Homes, 19 two-bedroom townhouses on three levels divided among five buildings along the shoreline, accented with timbered trusses, stone work , clapboards and shingles.
Duprey told the board that two issues arose in the planning process. Although obliged to install sidewalks on Scenic Road, he said that a deep drainage swale along the front of the property renders a sidewalk impractical. Instead, he proposed extending the sidewalk built on the east (lake) side of Scenic Road to serve the Town Homes northward to the entrance to to North Lodges where a crosswalk would be installed. The existing sidewalk would also be extended southward to the entrance to Akwa Marina. Alternatively he suggested setting aside funds, based on the estimated cost of a linear foot of five-foot-wide sidewalk, for the construction of sidewalks to the city's design. The Planning Board agreed to both alternatives pending further design work by the Department of Public Works.
Duprey also requested that the board waive development impact fees in return for a contribution toward increasing the capacity and efficiency of the sewer pump station on Scenic Road to accommodate the additional development. In addition to the Town Homes and North Lodges, Southworth Development has received approval to construct three mid-rise buildings, each with 24 condominium units on four stories on the west side of Scenic Road just south of the North Lodges.

The cost of upgrading the pump station is estimated at $230,000. Southworth Development agreed to pay half the cost up to $115,000 and in return impact fees of $41,000 will be waived.
Southworth Development expects to break ground for the North Lodges in six weeks.
Duprey explained that with the construction of the North Lodges, Southworth Development will diversify its inventory to include single-family homes and house lots at Meredith Bay, townhouses on three levels at the Town Homes and condominiums on one level at the North Lodges. He said with the completion of the three remaining mid-rise buildings, which have not been scheduled for construction, development the firm's shorefront properties would be virtually complete, leaving space only for a few single-family homes or duplexes.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 October 2013 02:18

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After fire, LRGHealthcare must replace ability to do 1 million pounds of wash a year

LACONIA — With the loss of its laundry facilities in the fire that destroyed the commercial building at 161 Court Street 10 days ago, LRGHealthcare has begun looking for a new space where it can wash its dirty linen.

Sandy Marshall, director of public relations for the hospital company, said yesterday that the laundry operates two shifts seven days a week, processing approximately a million pounds of wash a year. The laundry serves all the corporation's facilities, including the two hospitals — Lakes Region General Hospital and Franklin Regional Hospital — Laconia Clinic, Hillside Medical Center, Inter-Lakes Medical Center and physician practices.

The laundry operated in 6,616-square-feet at the Fair Street end of the building. Although much of the equipment was damaged or destroyed by smoke and water, the laundry was the only one of the seven businesses in the building spared from the flames. Marshall said that three of the four dryers were ruined, the folding machine was damaged and all the laundry carts were lost, but the washing machines escaped intact. "Of course, everything must be cleaned," she said. Trucks garaged in the building were also spared severe damage and firefighters salvaged much of the finished laundry that was packaged for return to the facilities.

Marshall said that the hospitals have linen supplies for two or three days on hand. After the fire LRGHeathcare contracted with Kleen Linen of Lebanon to do their wash and kept the laundry employees on the payroll by reassigning them to other duties.

Marshall said that the search for new space to house the laundry has just begun. Since the bulk of the laundry is generated by facilities in and around Laconia, she expected the facility would be located in or near the city.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 October 2013 02:13

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Laconia schools awarded $2.2M grant to target wide array of behavioral goals

LACONIA — The school district has been awarded a collaborative community federal grant that will bring about $2.2-million to the city schools to promote positive behavioral education over the next four years.

Superintendent Terri Forsten said Laconia teamed with Rochester and Concord to apply for the N.H. Safe Schools, Healthy Student State Program, N.H. Communities for Children grant and have been working on it for a number of months.

"This is going to make a difference," she told the School Board at its regular meeting last night.

The purpose of the four-year grant in Laconia is to provide support for the district's ongoing work in the areas of early childhood and court liaison programs as well as supporting student assistance programs, behavior models, and a health and wellness academy, said Forsten.

Laconia's primary agency support came from Genesis Behavioral Health — the regional mental health agency — and Forsten said she worked closely with Lisa Morris who is the executive director of the Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health, which partners with others to provide expertise, information, and tools to protect people's health.

Forsten said the district identified six goals for the four-year grant, including creating and sustaining a state-level collaborative cross-agency structure for sharing data and evidenced-based results and improving the social and emotional skills and preparedness for the educational success of children from birth to age 5.

She also said the grant will be used for improving the mental and behavioral health of children to reduce school violence, bullying, substance abuse, and other disciplinary problem by targeting the children with the highest needs.

Engaging families is key to the success of the program said Forsten and the program will also work to reduce risk factors such as alcoholism and drug use within families of school-aged children.

Board member Scott Vachon said he wanted to make sure the coordinator's position that will be created with grant funds will be one that doesn't supplant any existing programs or personnel within the district.

"I hope it comes with that stipulation," he said, making of point of saying that the $550,000 annually is not to be considered as part of the annual school budget.

Forsten assured the board that the grant would also be used to only develop and implement the program to continue beyond the four-year term of the grant.

"We have a great window of four years and we'll use the money to look at resources to continue," Forsten said.

Board member Mike Persson said he already sees a great deal of "cross-agency" work in the city and he is excited that the grant will bring more opportunities for that type of coordination.

"I hope you bring all the agencies in, like the United Way, to use and develop the program over the four years," he said.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 October 2013 02:10

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Alton School Board's 'rejection' of Common Core has no consequence at this point; curriculum 'will not be undone'

ALTON — After a lengthy discussion at its August meeting, the Alton School Board voted three to two not to adopt the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative, but it appears that the vote will have no immediate consequences.

School Superintendent William Lander said this week that prior to his appointment, administrators and teachers invested significant time in realigning Alton's curriculum in anticipation of the introduction of the CCSS. "We are teaching the curriculum we've adopted that was approved by the School Board," he said, "and that will not be undone."

The CCSS, sponsored by the United States Department of Education and a consortium of states, have been adopted by 45 states, including by the New Hampshire State Board of Education in 2010. The program sets standards for measuring mastery of English language arts/literacy and mathematics at each grade level that by stressing problem solving and critical thinking are designed to ensure that high school graduates are prepared to enroll in college or enter the workforce.

Beginning in the spring of 2015, the state will replace the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP), the test administered to elementary and secondary school students since 2005, with Smarter Balanced, an assessment developed by a consortium of states that is aligned with CCSS.

When the School Board discussed the CCSS in August, State Rep. Jane Cormier (R-Alton) urged the board to reject it, claiming that because the federal government set the standards, which in turn would shape the curriculum, the program would erode local control of the schools. Likewise, Doris Hohensee of Families in Education, a group founded in 2010 to advocate for greater parental control of education, told the board that the CCSS was developed and adopted without the participation of parents or approval of the Legislature. Local and parental control would be lost, she warned, if the CCSS were adopted.

When the issue reached the board again last month, the majority — Terri Noyes, Krista Argiropolis and Carlos Martinez — expressed concern about the intrusion of the federal government and the threat to local control while Sandy Wyatt, who chairs the board, and Steve Miller favored a program they believed would raise standards. 

Heather Gage, director of instruction at the New Hampshire Department of Education, said yesterday that local school boards are not required to adopt the CCSS and there are no financial consequences of refusing to do so. However, school districts are required by state and federal law to administer the assessment prescribed by the state or seek waivers from the state and federal governments to administer a different test.

Gage explained that although federal funding is not contingent on a particular assessment, any alternative must be consistent with the assessment administered by the state. If it is not, she said that federal funding to support the education of low-income students, distributed under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Act, would be at risk.

In withholding its endorsement of the CCSS, the Alton School Board has yet to raise the prospect of refusing to administer the Smarter Balanced assessment in 2015.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 October 2013 01:54

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