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Couple that summered in Laconia donates $400,000 to Boys & Girls Club fund drive

LACONIA — Gladys and Tony Sakowich have no children of their own, but through their extensive and thoughtful generosity, the couple is blessed with a large and ever-growing adoptive family that now includes the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region.

Married in 1955 in the former Our Lady of the Lakes Church of Lakeport, the Sakowiches, who once had a seasonal home in Laconia but now reside year-round in Andover, Massachusetts, recently donated $400,000 to the Boys and Girls Club.

Late in 2013, club officials announced that they are seeking to raise $2.4 million to purchase and transform the former St. James Episcopal Church campus on North Main Street into the club's first real and permanent home.

"The kindness of the Sakowiches is astounding, we are stunned and delighted," said Chris Adams, who is president of the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region and the chief of the Laconia Police Department. "We are honored, we are grateful and we are just so happy that our efforts to build a 'forever home' have gotten off to such a wonderful start," Adams added.

Adams pointed out that the Sakowiches are no strangers to helping a variety of causes that help others.

In 2012, the Sakowiches were honored by the Andover Village Improvement Society for donating their nine-acre homestead on Oriole Drive to the society and, ultimately, to the public, which for years, with the welcome of the Sakowiches, has hiked, snow-shoed and cross-country skied on the property.

Not far from what is now known as the Sakowich Reservation is Merrimack College in North Andover, which is home to more of the Sakowiches' largesse: the 130,000-square-foot Gladys Sakowich Campus Center whose amenities include the Anthony Sakowich Recreation Complex.

Also supporters of the Merrimac Valley Boys and Girls Club in their home state, the Sakowiches have previously been identified by the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region at the club's June 2013 Community Leaders Breakfast as major donors to its upcoming capital campaign, but only within the past week has the size of their donation been made public.

Addressing the Sakowiches in a video message, Al Posnack, who chairs the Capital Campaign Committee, told them that while many of those at the breakfast didn't personally know them, the nonagenarians nonetheless are "part of the family to us."

Paul Gaudet, Sr., who is the founder of the AutoServ family of automotive dealerships, and has known the Sakowiches for decades as friends and neighbors, explained that about four years ago he was approached by Tony Sakowich who informed him that he and his wife were selling their vacation home in Laconia.

Before Sakowich and his wife departed the Lakes Region, however, Tony — who many years ago developed the process to manufacture kitchen laminates and who counted the Sears and Formica companies as customers — told Gaudet that he wanted to leave a legacy to the area, stressing that "You know, I love the Boys and Girls Club. Let's do something for them."

Soon after that conversation, a trust fund was established to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region, whose directors, after exploring several possibilities, including building a brand-new facility from the ground up, decided to purchase and renovate the St. James property.

The Sakowiches are "just wonderful caring people," said Gaudet, who is trustee of their boys-and-girls club trust fund. "This is what they do. They're just huge givers."

Gaudet told the attendees at the Community Leaders Breakfast, who included New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, that Gladys Sakowich instructed him to tell them that she and her husband "don't want any praise," since the real work was done by others,

Posnack, in introducing Gaudet to the audience, respectfully disagreed.

"Their generosity," Posnack said of the Sakowiches, "has made it possible for us to be here."

For more information about the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region or to make a tax-deductible donation to its capital campaign, contact the club at 528-0197 or go to www.lakeskids.org.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 February 2014 10:09

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Warren Bailey installed as new president of Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce

MEREDITH — Veteran Lakes Region radio personality and WLNH Children's Auction founder Warren Bailey took over as the new president of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce board of directors at the chamber's annual meeting and awards luncheon held at Church Landing here yesterday.
Bailey, who works for Comcast Spotlight, hailed the Lakes Region as ''the most generous and and caring community on earth'' and said that the chamber will remain a vital part of the economic development efforts in the area.
He succeeds Christine Harris of Meredith Village Savings Bank, who said that in the last year the Chamber has had 64 new businesses join, held 18 Business After Hour events and six educational seminars. It also took part in six ribbon cutting events for member businesses, sponsored five large events providing marketing and sponsorship opportunities and sponsored a trip to China in which 40 people took part.
She said that the work of 20 volunteer board members, 30 Chamber Ambassadors and numerous other volunteers helped make the chamber a driving force for economic growth over the last year.
Lindsay Cota-Robles, of the Bank of New Hampshire was elected first vice chairman; Bob Strang of Mill Falls at the Lake, second vice chairman; Penny Raby of Malone, Dirubbo & Company, treasurer; and Ginger DuBois of New Hampshire Employment Security, secretary.
Golden Trowel awards for outstanding renovations were presented to the Water Street Cafe in Laconia; 405 Pub and Grill, Laconia; Woodlands Tavern, Alton; Central Gold Realty, Franklin; Lawson, Persson, Weldon-Francke PA, Laconia; the Belknap Mill, Laconia; Wicwas Grange Hall, Meredith.
Golden Hammer awards for new construction were presented to the Bank of NH Pavilion at Meadowbrook, a $3 million project which increased seating capacity to 8,300; Crosspoint Associates of Meredith, which redeveloped the Hannaford Brothers Supermarket; Lakes Region Community College, Laconia, which opened a new 24,000-square-foot health and science building, the Huot Technical Center/Laconia School District, which completed a 32,000-square-foot addition and renovations as well as a new athletic field as part of a $16.8 million project; and the Winnipesaukee Playhouse, which opened a new 194 seat main stage theater as part of a $5 million project at the former Anna Lee Doll campus in Meredith.
Environmental awards went to the Lakes Region Party & Gifts, which underwent a $50,000 renovation to improve energy efficiency; and Laconia Country Club which made a major investment in landscaping.

Warren Bailey, new president of the board of directors of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, presents Christine Harris, outgoing president, with a bouquet of flowers. (Roger Amsden photo/The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Friday, 17 January 2014 02:48

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Boothby outspending Kenney by 4 to 1

CONCORD — With just five days until the Republican primary for the Executive Council seat in District 1 Christopher Boothby has outspent Joe Kenney of Wakefield, his closest rival for the nomination by a margin of four to one.

According to financial reports filed with the New Hampshire Secretary of State this week, between January 2 and January 15, Boothby collected $10,010, bringing his total receipts to $53,805, while spending $31,579 to raise his total expenditures to $39,959 and leave him with a balance of $13,846. .

During the same period Kenney raised $20,850, $20,000 of which came from his own pocket. Initially Kenney lent his campaign $10,000, received $8,200 in in-kind contributions and raised $1,860 in cash. With the second loan and $850 in cash donations, he has collected $40,910, including in-kind contributions and spent $10,071. His balance of $30,839 more than matches his loans to the campaign.

Mark Aldrich of Lebanon, the third Republican in the race raised $550 and spent $560, which with his prior expenditures of $85 left him with a deficit of $95.

The primary election will be held on Tuesday, January 21. The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Michael Cryans of Lebanon, a Grafton County Commissioner, in the general election on March 11.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 January 2014 02:40

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Force used during only 2.5% of arrests made by Laconia police

LACONIA — City police reported a 2013 decrease in the percentage of times they needed to use force during an arrest in the annual update to the Police Commission yesterday.

Capt. Bill Clary said the of the 1,377 arrests made by police last year, police used force in 36 incidents, or 2.5 percent of the time. In some of the those incidents, multiple police officers filed a use of force report, meaning multiple officer were there and used force.

In Laconia, a use of force is defined as anytime an officer displays his or her weapons, deploys any of his or her weapons, or puts their hands on an individual in order to make an arrest. With the exceptions of shooting an animal, he said there were no firearms discharges.

Clary credits the department becoming certified by the Commission on Law Enforcement Accreditation for providing educational tools to reduce the number of use of force incidents in the department.

He said the historical average is about 3 percent.

During the review process, one report resulted in an Initial Personnel Complaint which was investigated internally and conduct was determined not to be improper.

In addition, Clary said an internal "early warning system" triggered one investigation when an officer had five displays of his or her weapons. He said two officers last year hit the five displays level. One had 11 reported uses and one had six reported uses. No other officers had more than four.

Clary also reported that over last year, five officers were suspended, one received a letter of reprimand and one report of unsatisfactory performance was investigated and found to be unfounded.

The five suspensions were one each for a violation of request for assistance, one for unsatisfactory performance, one for use of department equipment, one for courtesy, and one for violations of the rules.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 January 2014 02:29

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