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Plan for weight room in drama space put on hold

LACONIA — Any plans the school district had to renovate the storage and classroom spaces around the high school auditorium and re-purpose a portion of them for a weight room have been put on hold until the district can complete a space-needs assessment of the building said School Board Chair Joe Cormier.

Cormier made his statements last night before a group of about 10 people who came to the School Board meeting to show their support for the performing arts programing at the high school.

Public statements supporting the performing arts were led by Josh Ross – a 2013 graduate of Laconia High School and former member of the Drama Club who continues to be active in theater.

"A community space like the theater is as valuable as any sport space you have," Ross said, noting that the performing arts is as important to the students who participate in them as sports are to the athletes who participate in them.

Ross noted a number of deficiencies in the stage area – all of which Superintendent Terri Forsten agreed with – and said that the school has spent enough money on sports and now it needs to focus more on the arts.

Public participation at last night's meeting was largely spurred by suspicions – that were apparently true - that the school was planning to convert the two rooms currently used by the drama program to a weight room and an aerobics studio. The issue gained momentum when the lights failed at a Laconia Street Car Company performance of A Few Good Men and company director Jessica Alward contacted School Board member Barbara Luther about the condition of the auditorium.

A posting later made on Facebook fueled the controversy about the drama program. School Administrators told the Daily Sun last week they were unable to comment about the rumors because the concerns had already be brought to the attention of the School Board.

Anticipating a contentious meeting, the School Board asked for a police officer to be present.

Sharon and Mike Pond – self-described empty-nesters whose children were very active in the performing arts – both said they would volunteer to raise money for some much-needed auditorium repairs. The Ponds spearheaded the fundraising to replace the sound board in the auditorium after it failed 18 months ago.

They both told the board that, in their opinion, the arts had been forgotten during the renovations and additions over the past three years and hoped the school district would now focus some money and attention to the auditorium and the areas surrounding it.

School Board member Mike Persson said he was happy to see such positive support for the arts programs but said he wished the people who were posting on social media had come to the meeting.

Forsten said the space needs study would be performed in the spring of 2015.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 02:36

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United Way thanks Terrill for service, vision

MEREDITH — Jack Terrill, who for 10 years was the face of the Lakes Region United Way, serving as its executive director until it merged with Granite United Way in 2013, was presented with the Live United Award last night at Church Landing at a celebration honoring his efforts on behalf of the organization.
Terrill is leaving the agency, where he has been the Senior Vice President of Community Impact for the last two years, to join his wife, Diane, in Naples, Florida, where she has been named as airport manager.
He joined the United Way in 2002 after a long career with Pike Industries and was praised by Randy Eifert of Cross Insurance, who was on the board of directors which hired Terrill, as ''one of our greatest community leaders of the last 25 years.''
He said that during Terrill's first 10 years, the amount of money raised locally and positioned the Lakes Region United Way for its merger with Granite United Way – a more centralized version that has been able to streamline its overhead expenses and reach more people in the community.
Eifert praised Terrill for his vision and leadership skills and his ability to encourage collaboration as a model for social change.
Christian Zimmermann, CEO of Pike Industries, recalled working with Terrill at Pike Industries in the late 1970s, when their jobs involved patching cracks in highways and later when Terrill was in charge of transportation in his dispatch center duties and then when Terrill was a project manager.
''Jack's a likable guy. He was always a master of details and earned the trust of all the blue collar guys who worked for us,'' said Zimmermann. He said that Terrill was able to convince the workers of the importance of the United Way and set in motion the momentum which has seen Pike increase its United Way contributions to over $80,000 last year.
Zimmermann said that he always thought Terrill would do well with the United Way when he left Pike in 2002 and said it was a great move for the non-profit to hire him.
Terrill was instrumental in merging Lakes Region United Way with the Carroll County United Way and the Whole Village Family Resource Center in Plymouth.
Granite United Way Board Chair Mark Primeau said Terrill played a key role in the "success of merging Lakes Region United Way and Granite United Way into the strong organization it is today'' and noted that Terrill also brought the Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement to New Hampshire where it presented its first national conference on community impact.
Primeau said that he first met Terrill eight years ago when he first came to what was then Laconia Savings Bank. Terrill invited him to lunch and persuaded him to join the United Way board. ''He twisted my arm. It's not easy to say no to Jack,'' said Primeau.
Terrill said that he was humbled and moved by the tributes, which were very much appreciated, and said that the key to success ''is always to keep trying.''
Also speaking at the event were Denise Tucker of LRGHealthcare, a member of the Granite United Way campaign cabinet, who described how United Way had helped her family when she was growing up in Oklahoma, and Erica Brough of Lakes Region Child Care Services, who described how the local United Way helped her and her children and enabled her as a single mother to advance her career.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 01:44

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Drug use suspected to have caused death of 50 year-old woman found on Tuesday morning

LACONIA — Emergency responders suspect drugs played a role in the death of a 50 year-old woman, whose body was found inside a parked motor home on Kingsley Avenue at 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 18. Officials have not yet identified the name of the woman who died.

A press release, issued by Laconia Police yesterday evening, reported that police as well as members of the city fire department responded to 30 Kingsley Ave yesterday morning for the report of an unresponsive person. Upon arrival, police found the deceased woman and interviewed two people on the scene. The release states, "The case remains under investigation and appears to be drug-related." An autopsy was scheduled to determine the case of death.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the police at 524-5252, the Laconia Crimeline at 527-1717 or to leave an anonymous tip at laconiapd.org.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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Suspected drunk driver airlifted to hospital after hitting New Durham cruiser head-on

NEW DURHAM – State Police say it appears alcohol may have been factor in a head-on crash early yesterday morning that resulted in minor injuries to a New Durham police officer on patrol and serious injuries to the driver of the second vehicle.

State Police said the cruiser was traveling east on Old Bay Road when the driver, Patrol Officer Michael Joy, saw a pickup truck being driven by Christopher Bean, 28, of New Durham headed toward him and driving erratically.

Police said Joy pulled off to the right and onto the shoulder, but was unable to avoid the crash.

Bean was taken by helicopter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center with what police described as serious injuries. Joy was taken by ambulance to Frisbee Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

Police from Alton, Farmington and Milton assisted at the scene as well as rescue crews from Farmington and New Durham.

State Police said it appears alcohol was a factor in the crash. They are asking anyone with any information to call N.H. State Trooper Christopher Storm at 223-8607.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 12:34

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