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Smith Track open - 31

LACONIA — Smith Track renovation is complete and the Opechee Park amenity is again open to public use. Parks and Recreation officials say they keep the facility open until the snow sticks.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 04:02

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Shaker Board hears yearly meeting with selectmen is not enough

BELMONT — At a Shaker Regional School Board meeting last night to which the Belmont Selectmen were invited, Selectman Jon Pike said that one meeting annually was "inappropriate."

"You've asking us for policies and plans we haven't discussed yet," Pike said in response to Chair Heidi Hutchinson's request that the selectmen tell her board what is happening in the town that effects the school.

He said he was "bewildered" because in his recollection this meeting was only the second one he can recall in his years as selectmen.

The meeting is the second in two years where the two boards were scheduled to get together and discuss commonalities between the town and the school district. Last year's selectmen's meeting between Superintendent Maria Dreyer and the selectmen produced a more cooperative use of the school's sports facilities and the town's Department Parks and Recreation.

Selectman Ruth Mooney said she thinks there should be a school district budget committee, like the one the town has had for years. She said taxpayers automatically assume that if their bills go up "it must be the school."

"A second set of eyes can't hurt," she said noting that a school district budget committee could also take the blame off the school board for its budget.

Pike said the town was "out of money" and he and Mooney agreed that since they learned that Gilmanton's tax rate went down, Belmont taxpayers have been contacting them about why Belmont's rate didn't also drop.

Pike also mentioned that if everything was "for the kids" he was on board but if things were such that someone was "making money on the kids" then he was out. With that statement he left.

School Board members took the comment in stride, saying little to Pike's commentary or Mooney's budget committee suggestion.

Hutchinson said the Shaker Board was looking at its long-term capital budget as it prepares for the upcoming budget year. She said there is a "bubble" of students in the Belmont Elementary School and the Belmont High School is at 93 percent of its student capacity.

As for updates on the town side, Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said the town had altered the employee insurance plans with an eye toward 2014 and the time that the town could face tax penalties under the Affordable Care Act for so-called "Cadillac" insurance plans.

All agreed that the two boards should be meeting at least four times a year so policy and planning especially for budgets can be consistent.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 04:01

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Paper will remain free but Daily Sun to begin offering fee-based home delivery service

LACONIA – Early-morning home delivery of a local daily newspaper will once again be available in the Lakes Region area under a program being introduced by The Laconia Daily Sun.
Beginning tomorrow The Daily Sun will begin taking subscriptions for home delivery in the 16 communities where the paper is distributed, Sun Publisher Adam Hirshan, and Ed Engler, the paper's president and editor, announced earlier this week.
"Now that (the) Laconia (area) doesn't have a home delivered paper, we feel it is an excellent time to offer this service to our readers," Hirshan said.
The Daily Sun is offering the home delivery service through a contract with the Concord Monitor, which this week began distributing the Sun. One immediate effect of that partnership is that the newspaper is now available at hundreds of locations earlier in the day than has often been the case in the past several years.
"The paper is now out earlier, and it will be available everywhere no later than 6:30 a.m.," Engler explained.
Starting tomorrow readers can begin signing up for home delivery by calling a special toll-free number, 1-866-665-6068. The cost for the home delivery will be $2.25 a week, starting December 3. Subscriptions will be offered for 13-, 26- and 52-week periods, Hirshan said.
Engler and Hirshan stressed that The Daily Sun remains committed to its original mission of providing comprehensive local news coverage — both in print and online — free of charge, but was now offering a home-delivery option in response to reader demand.
"The paper remains free," said Engler. "What you are paying for is the delivery service."
"We're now offering our readers the opportunity for the convenience of having the paper delivered right to their door," Hirshan added.
Readers can continue to pick up the paper free of charge at hundreds of locations, as they always have.
The partnership with the Concord Monitor allows The Daily Sun to take advantage of the Monitor's already-existing newspaper delivery routes throughout the region. As a result, The Sun will now be available for the first time in Loudon, and it will be available in more places in Moultonborough than has been the case up until now. In addition, there are plans to distribute The Sun to communities on the east side of Lake Winnipesaukee, including Wolfeboro, in the future.
The Laconia Daily Sun began publishing in June 2000. At the beginning it printed 2,000 copies a day. Its readership has increased several-fold over the years, and today The Sun prints 18,000 copies Tuesdays through Saturdays. In addition about 2,000 people view the online version of the printed paper every day, said Engler.
For the past five years The Daily Sun has been printed at a large Dow Jones-owned plant in Portsmouth. Starting in January, the newspaper will be printed at the Concord Monitor plant off Interstate 93, near the Concord-Loudon line.
Hirshan said that The Daily Sun is excited about its partnership with the Monitor because of that paper's reputation for providing quality newspaper delivery service through a professionally managed circulation system. Hirshan said that the two papers are also exploring ways that they can team up to offer advertising programs to benefit both newspapers' advertising customers.
In addition to offering the opportunity to have The Daily Sun delivered to individual residences, professional offices and other businesses can also take advantage of the new delivery service to have bundles of up to 50 papers delivered for a charge of $10 a month.
Hirshan said The Daily Sun would like to sell 1,000 home delivery subscriptions in the first year.
Laconia's other local daily newspaper, the Citizen of Laconia, ceased conventional home delivery one year ago. That paper is delivered to about 1,500 subscribers via U.S. Mail, according to a recent report The Citizen filed with the U.S. Postal Service. The rest of The Citizen's circulation is through single-copy sales. The Postal Service report says The Citizen sells about 4,800 copies per day in addition to those delivered by mail.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 03:59

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Inter-Lakes board agrees to take a year to study full-day kindergarten

MEREDITH — All-day kindergarten in the Inter-Lakes School District will not begin until the 2015-16 school year, at the earliest.
The Inter-Lakes School Board concurred last night with Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond's recommendation to give school administrators a year to study the effects an all-day kindergarten program would have.
The board did not take a formal vote on Ormond's recommendation. But board chairman Richard Hanson noted that no board members had any objection to the superintendent's proposal.
Two weeks ago the board held an open forum regarding all-day kindergarten. At that session, held in Center Harbor, public reaction to expanding kindergarten was mixed. Some favored the change, citing education and childcare benefits, while others questioned if such a move was the best way to improve early childhood education and development.
Last night Ormond requested the board's support to conduct a survey of parents whose children would likely be immediately affected by any change in the kindergarten program. She said she also wanted administrators to have time to confer with local day-care providers and also to explore various options that might be available to parents under whatever changes that might be approved.
"We need this year for examination and planning," she told the board.
The only reaction to Ormond's request came from board member Howard Cunningham of Sandwich who signaled disappointment at the superintendent's request for more time.
"My only comment is that every other district around is already there (with a full-day kindergarten program)," he said.
At the Center Harbor meeting some urged the board not to implement all-day kindergarten for the coming 2014-15 school year which would have meant including money for any costs involved in next year's school budget.
NOTE:
Board member Howard Cunningham of Sandwich announced that he would not be running for re-election. Cunningham called the decision a difficult one. He said he was announcing his decision four months before the school district election in hopes the advance notice would result in a pool of candidates.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 03:59

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