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Pavilion gets approval for more camping


GILFORD — The Planning Board approved a request from The Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion (formerly Meadowbrook) to expand the number of events at which it could offer camping from 12 per year to all shows in a given year.

Restrictions included that the live music venue cap the number of campsites to 250 at all events except for a maximum of 1,000 sites at four events per season. The Pavilion must also discuss with the selectboard the detail rates charged by police and reach some sort of agreement as to how Gilford Police would be reimbursed by should the department need to call in extra officers for an emergency.

According to R.J. Harding, the owner of the venue, the goal is to be able to offer package deals to people attending shows over a two- to three-night period of time. For example, the Dave Matthews Band is playing two shows over two consecutive nights and the venue wants to be able to offer camping as part of a two-day package. He added that both shows are sold out.

Harding told the board that if, during one of their larger events, he reaches the point where the campers number more than is recommended by Chief Anthony Bean Burpee, he would pay for overnight police details. He also said that he has not reached that point yet, but would like to have the approval in place so he can try and book more events.

Bean Burpee, as well as many board members, expressed some concern with the number of potential campers. With 1,000 sites and up to six people per site, the potential for having as many as 6,000 people in one place is overwhelming to him. He said that, unlike the fire department, he has no financial ability to pay people for "on-call" status and should he need help from his own officers it would depend on a number of circumstances for each officer called.

As an example, he said he could call in officers, but if it's their day off, they can consume alcohol, leave the area or be otherwise unavailable. He allowed that there is some mutual aid response for emergencies from surrounding departments, the state police and the Belknap County Sheriff's Department.

Bean Burpee said he also fears a large increase in the number of people who attend shows will drink to excess because they know they don't have to drive.

Harding said he thinks this year the Pavilion could come close to 40 shows and his goal is to be able to offer a camping option for all of them. His site plan already allows for 1,000 campsites.

Realistically, he said the last year's average number of campsites was about 100 and the majority of them had only two campers, usually a couple. He added that while, other than The Dave Matthews Band, he has no back-to-back shows scheduled for this year, he would like the opportunity to do so as he continues filling the venue for the summer.

The Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion has a maximum seating capacity of 9,600 but Harding said they usually only book to 9,200 when they can.

Dog on the run after hoax call is back safe with her owners


LACONIA — Schnitzel, the dog who fled his home during the March 4 "swatting" on Cleveland Place returned home early Monday morning.
Animal Control Officer Michelle King said the missing female German shepherd returned home at 4 a.m. after spending three days on the loose after members of the Belknap Regional Special Operations Group inadvertently let her out of the house.
The group, along with the Laconia Police Department, went into Eric Charbonneau's home with his permission after getting what ended up being a hoax call reporting that a woman was in the home and a man had a gun to her head.
As it turned out, said police, Charbonneau was at work, his girlfriend was out of the state and only Schnitzel was in the single-family home.
Lt. Dave Perkins of the Belknap County Sheriff's Department and commander of the BRSOG, or SWAT, team said they were told the dog was in the home but that she was very friendly.
Perkins said that when they went in, Schnitzel was not aggressive but rather had her tail between her legs indicating fear.
He said the team tried to stop Schnitzel from leaving the home but she wriggled around them. Perkins said she stuck around in the immediate area for about 45 minutes but wouldn't come to any members of the team who had to first make sure nobody was in there, and secondly worry about the dog.
"I guess there were too many of us and we were all dressed kind of funny," said Perkins, referencing the physical demeanor of the team and its entry into the home. He said that if he was the dog or even a human being put in that position, he would be equally terrified.
In an effort to find the dog, the Laconia Police almost immediately posted a picture of Schnitzel on its Facebook page.
According to website Granite State Dog Recovery, Schnitzel was trapped by the someone in November 2015 who reported her capture to the agency. Charbonneau and his girlfriend adopted her after no one came forward to claim her.
King said Charbonneau sent a message of thanks to all the people in the community who reached out to him and his girlfriend through the Internet personally and who helped look for Schnitzel.
Laconia Police continue to investigate the hoax call and ask that if anyone has any information to call 524-5252 or 524-1717.

Gilford FIRST team wins district championship


Gilford's Drive Team with the winning banner - left to right top: Joe Bonnell, Drive team Coach Mike Andrews; Bottom Left to right : Tim Rice, Connor Craigie. (Courtesy Photo)

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A few of our team members that brought the competition ball, signed by every team member and Mentor, to Brad Parker upon their return to town Sunday night after Parker had to leave the competition early Sunday morning due to coming down with the flu and missing the actual win. Parker is the team's production manager) From left are Parker, Connor Craigie, Joe Bonnell and Logan Essaf. (Courtesy Photo)



GILFORD — The Gilford Screaming Eagles, with alliance partners, TJ (Squared) from Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and The Robotics Team from Dublin, N.H., won the Granite State FIRST Robotics competition held over the weekend in Windham.
The team pulled off a real underdog victory by outscoring 31 other exceptional teams according to Jackie Drever, one of the team's mentors.
''It came down to the final seconds on Sunday," said Drever, who said that the team also received the 2016 Granite State Entrepreneurship Award, sponsored Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers for their community outreach and fund raising strategies.
"It was quite a weekend and a real team effort. Each member of our team had their own assignment and deserves equal credit for our success. Everything fell into place for us over the weekend," said Connor Craigie, a junior who worked with a computer-assisted design program to help design the robot, and was strategist and co-driver over the weekend.
This year's game, FIRST Stronghold, is played by two alliances of three teams each. Alliances compete against each other to breach their opponents' defenses, known as outer works, and capture their tower. They score points by crossing elements of their opponents' outer works, scoring boulders in their opponents' tower goals, and surrounding and scaling their opponents' tower.
The competition sees teams involved in a six-week project in which they build a robot from a kit which is provided for them and requires them to use their math, science, technology and engineering skills to design and program the robot to perform certain tasks which are required as part of the competitions.
"We worked well with the other teams. We attacked with the TJ Squared team and sent Dublin back on defense until we needed their help late in the game to scale the walls," said Craigie.
He said that the Golden Eagles and their partners played 12 rounds in Saturday's qualifying round and won six of their seven matches on Sunday.
In the finals they met an alliance composed of the Cruising Crusaders from Manchester, Air Strike from Newport, Rhode Island, and the Duct Tape Dragons from Portland, Maine.
"We were ahead 98-93, and after the buzzer beeped, the scoreboard read 98-98. But the tally was still going on and we gained five points and when that flashed on the scoreboard our entire team erupted. It was a great win," said Craigie.
The team is preparing for it's next event, the UNH District Competition, March 25-26. The victory over the weekend means that they have already qualified for a spot at the New England FIRST New England District Championship, to be held April 13-16 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. The world championship will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, from April 27 to 30.
The team is one of 3,000 from around the world with an estimated 78,000 students involved in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology competition, which was launched in 1989 by New Hampshire inventor and technological innovator Dean Kamen, with an eye to inspiring students to explore science and technology as future careers.

03-0Gilford High FIRST Robotics Team 1831, The Screaming Eagles, work with technicians to resolve communication issues during District Competition, in Windham. From right to left, Driver Tim Rice, Lead Mentor Mike Andrews, Design Lead Connor Craigie, and FIRST Robotics volunteers. (Courtesy photo)
Gilford High FIRST Robotics Team 1831, The Screaming Eagles, work with technicians to resolve communication issues during District Competition, in Windham. From right to left, Driver Tim Rice, Lead Mentor Mike Andrews, Design Lead Connor Craigie, and FIRST Robotics volunteers. (Courtesy photo)