Horne to retire from Meredith Selectboard

MEREDITH — Carla Horne, who chairs the Board of Selectmen, announced yesterday that she will not seek re-election to a second term on the board.

"I have absolutely loved serving on the board," Horne said yesterday. "I enjoyed working with my colleagues and especially with the many volunteers on our board and commissions and the town employees."

Horne said her business, Grand View Home Inspections, LLC, requires more of her time and energy and that she is developing a program designed to prepare young people for some of the responsibilities of adulthood. "I've also begun taking piano lessons," she remarked. "I'm taking some time for me."

Horne, who has stood in as the town health officer since the passing of Bill Edney, said that she will continue as deputy health officer.

Horne was elected to a three-year term in 2012 in something of a surprise by topping incumbent Colette Worsman by a margin of 579 to 371.


Firefighters rescue 2 men from Lake Winnisquam

LACONIA — In what Fire Chief Ken Erickson called "an absolutely spectacular job," firefighters rescued a snowmobiler from the waters of Lake Winnisquam on Sunday evening after two machines went through thin ice near the middle of the lake.

Two snowmobilers — Terry Threlfall and Andrew Grant , both of Belmont — drove on to the lake at Ahern Park and traveled south before the ice failed off Shore Drive around 7:30 p.m. Threlfall managed to escape the water and reach the shore where he met residents of 350 Shore Drive, who reported the incident, then returned to the lake to help his companion. When firefighters arrived they could hear the two men calling for help.

Four Laconia firefighters in ice rescue suits and tethered by ropes went on to the ice. They encountered Threlfall and directed him to the operations post some 300 feet from shore where Lt. Jeff Desrosiers was managing the rescue. Firefighters Chris Beadoin and Kevin Pierce could hear but not see Grant, who was in the water shouting. Erickson said that Beaudoin and Pierce broke through thin ice then swam some 200 feet across a stretch open water to reach Grant, who was 1,470 feet from shore. They placed him in a harness, pulled him on to firm ice, put him in a sled and ferried him to land.

Erickson said that Grant had been in the water nearly an hour and keeping himself afloat by clutching his helmet to his torso. He was suffering from hypothermia and while still shaking from cold had stopped shouting and was not coherent when rescued.

Gilford Fire Rescue transported him to Lakes Region General Hospital where a helicopter was prepared to take him to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. However, his condition improved and he remained at LRGH.

"This was one of the most significant ice rescues I've ever been part of," said Erickson. He explained that Beaudoin and Pierce were so far from shore that their flashlights could barely be seen, while several relay points and rescue ropes were required to keep them tethered.

"This is what we train for," he said, "and the training paid off. They did a great job."

The snowmobiles sank in at least 130 feet of water.


Public Access TV board fires station manager to cut costs

LACONIA — The board of directors of financially challenged Lakes Region Public Access TV fired station manger Denise Beauchaine Friday afternoon.
''The primary reason is that we couldn't afford her anymore. Her compensation was about half of our budget,'' said Chan Eddy of Gilford, chairman of the LRPA-TV board of directors.
Beauchaine, who has been station director for a little over 10 years, was paid around $40,000 a year.
Eddy said that Shane Selling, who has served as a consultant on technical issues with LRPA-TV, has been named interim program director and will handle the position part-time while members of the board of directors will take over some of the responsibilities handled by Beauchaine.
Beauchaine said that she was presented with written notification of her dismissal Friday afternoon by Eddy and Trish Laurent, another member of the board of directors. She said the letter said that the board had met Tuesday night and voted unanimously to terminate her as of the end of the business day on Friday.
She said that she was presented with a check to pay for her services through Friday but refused to accept it and is looking at discussing her firing with an attorney to see what her options are. She said that she will be at Monday's meeting of the Belknap County Convention, filming it along with Bob Daniels.
The board of directors of Lakes Region Public Access television, faced with the prospect of going out of business at midnight on Wednesday, October 22, elected to throw a Hail Mary pass at an emergency meeting held in mid-October.
Directors voted unanimously at that meeting to send out bills to member communities requesting the original amounts that would have been paid rather than those adopted as part of a new business plan the board had hoped to implement earlier this year.
At the time Eddy said that the board had been wrong to push for an early implementation of it's plan and in November the board changed its emphasis to include more of its traditional funding rather than relying on obtaining corporate sponsorship.
As early as February, the board of directors of LRPA anticipated that its funding would be eroded when new community franchise agreements were signed with MetroCast Cablevision and began drafting a new business plan, with the goal of generating $300,000 in income the first year. Sponsorships from between 50 and 100 businesses at between $1,000 and $2,000 a year were projected to provide much of the revenue with fees for service accounting for the balance. But the plan has never been implemented.
In November the Laconia City Council agreed to pay $20,000 and the selectmen of Belmont and Meredith approved funding of $7,500 and $17,991 respectively. Alton and Northwood also made payments last year.
LRPA-TV has asked Gilford to contribute $21,393 toward the operation of MetroCast Channel 25, which provides public access programming. But Gilford Selectmen have not agreed to pay and has asked the directors of LRPA-TV for a detailed operating budget along with an assurance that the operations of the station have been "streamlined".
The selectmen also requested evidence that LRPA-TV had sought and obtained financial support from at least one or more of the members of the municipal consortium that negotiated the renewal of the franchise agreement with Metrocast that have not made payments to LRPA-TV in recent years. Those municipalities are Franklin, Deerfield, Gilmanton, New Durham, Northfield and Tilton. Finally, the board asked LRPA-TV to demonstrate that it had solicited one or more corporate sponsors, in keeping with the business plan the station developed earlier this year.
LRPA had an annual operating budget of about $130,000 and employed five people: station manager Beauchaine as well as one full-time and one part-time worker and two contractors.
LRPA has been drawing from its reserves to sustain operations since July 1, when member municipalities entered a new 10-year contract with MetroCast. Under the new contract each municipality will operate educational and governmental channels (24 and 26), which broadcast only to the municipality where the programming originates while LRPA would provide public access on channel 25, airing programs from individuals and organizations from the member municipalities. However, the municipalities, which had contributed to funding the operation of LRPA, withdrew their support. and, at the same time, MetroCast withheld its annual $30,000 grant to LRPA.

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