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Public comment will be back near the top of the Sanbornton Selectboard agendas

SANBORNTON — Members of the public will once again be able to raise questions or voice concerns at the beginning of Selectboard meetings, according to Chairman David Nickerson.

Nickerson said he was making the change, which will take effect at the Board of Selectmen's next meeting on Wednesday, May 27, in response to criticism he had received from some townspeople who said placing the time for public comment later in the meeting made it more difficult for those who want to raise an issue with the board, but were unable to sit through other, sometimes lengthy, portions of the meeting.

Although not required to do so, public bodies such as school boards and boards of selectmen typically designate a time during the meeting when any member of the public can ask a question or air a concern about an issue that is not already on the agenda for that particular meeting.

Sanbornton selectmen had long placed that time at the beginning of their agenda, immediately after the Pledge of Allegiance. However, beginning with the meeting of March 18 — the first meeting following Town Meeting — the public comment was placed further down the agenda, after new business.

In early April, town resident Bill Whalen wrote a letter to The Daily Sun criticizing the change and urged selectmen to reconsider.

"I've had about eight or 10 phone calls," Nickerson said about moving the public comment to later in the meeting, prompting him to place public comment back where it had been. "I'll let anyone speak at the beginning of the meeting who wants to."

Nickerson said it is the chairman's prerogative to set the order of agenda for the selectmen's meeting. "It was my call to change it," he said of the decision to move public comment back to the first part of the meeting.

He said he understood that some people who want to bring a matter to the selectmen's attention have other commitments, and so might find it a hardship to sit through other parts of the meeting when discussion can sometimes drag on.

"They're the residents. They're the ones you sent us here. Whatever they want is fine with me," said Nickerson.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 22 May 2015 10:47

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Memorial day services planned monday across lakes region

LACONIA — Memorial Day, a federal holiday for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed services, will be observed throughout the Lakes Region on Monday with parades and ceremonies .
Formerly known as Decoration Day, the holiday originated after the Civil War to remember the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in that war, the most deadly in American history, which claimed over 600,000 lives.
The origin of the practice of decorating the graves of soldiers who died in that war is traced by many historians back to the early days of that war in the southern states and it was established as a national observance by General Josh Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1868.
According to the on-line Wikipedia encyclopedia the first widely-publicized observance of a Memorial Day-type observance after the Civil War took place 150 years ago in Charleston, South Carolina on May 1, 1865.
The article states ''During the war, Union soldiers who were prisoners of war had been held at the Hampton Park Race Course in Charleston; at least 257 Union prisoners died there and were hastily buried in unmarked graves. Together with teachers and missionaries, black residents of Charleston organized a May Day ceremony in 1865, which was covered by the New York Tribune and other national papers. The freedmen cleaned up and landscaped the burial ground, building an enclosure and an arch labeled "Martyrs of the Race Course." Nearly 10,000 people, mostly freedmen, gathered on May 1 to commemorate the war dead. Involved were about 3,000 school children, newly enrolled in freedmen's schools, as well as mutual aid societies, Union troops, black ministers and white northern missionaries. Most brought flowers to lay on the burial field. The site of the remembrance celebration would come to be called the "First Decoration Day" in the North.''
The Lakes Region Memorial Day ceremonies are as follows:
LACONIA
The Laconia VFW Post #1670, in conjunction with the Wilkins-Smith Post #1 American Legion will be having a Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 25 at 10 a.m.
The parade will be starting at Wyatt Park on South Main Street and marching up Main Street, ending at Veteran's Square, where there will be a ceremony as well as guest speakers, including Laconia Mayor Ed Engler.
GILFORD
The Town of Gilford observance will be held Monday, May 25 with the parade organizing at the Community Church parking lot at 9:15 a.m. The parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. and proceed along Potter Hill Road for observances at the World War I & II Veterans Memorial and then onto Belknap Mountain Road for observances at Pine Grove Cemetery.
MEREDITH — American Legion Post 33 has announced the schedule for Memorial Day services on Monday, May 25: 8 a.m. Oakland Cemetery, Meredith Center, with service by Rev. Robert Lemieux, 9 a.m. Meredith Village Cemetery, Rte. 3, with service by Rev. Dennis Audet, 9:30 a.m. assemble at Post 33 parking lot on Plymouth Street, 9:50 a.m. parade to library for 10 a.m. ceremony.
10:15 a.m. ceremony at Swazey Cemetery, Lang Street, 10:30 a.m. Hesky Park band stand; 10:45 a.m. POW/MIA Memorial with speech by Bob Jones, 11 a.m. back to Post #33 for ice cream for scouts and lunch for everyone.
BELMONT
American Legion Post #58 in Belmont announced that this year's Memorial Day parade and ceremonies will be held on Monday, May 25 at 1 p.m.
The parade route runs from the Belmont Middle School parking lot down to Main Street and then along Main Street to the Veterans Memorial by St. Joseph's Church, where there will be a ceremony and guest speakers.
Post 58 and Jordan's Ice Cream are once again providing tickets for an ice cream cone to all children 12 and under who attend the parade and ceremonies.
CENTER HARBOR

Center Harbor's Memorial Day parade will be held on May 25 at 12 noon. The parade will start at Chase Circle and stops at three points: the library, the town docks and the Congregational Church. Wreaths will be laid at the library monument and at the old church cemetery. At each stop, there will be remembrance services conducted by various Center Harbor religious affiliations.

MOULTONBOROUGH
The annual Memorial Day parade starts at 10 a.m. at Blake Road near Moultonborough Central School and continues down Rte. 25 to the Town Hall. The celebration will include a medley by the Moultonborough Academy and a speech by Jim Duddy of the Marine Corps.

ALTON
Alton will hold Memorial Day services on May 25, with marchers gathering at Monument Square at 9:30 am to line up in the order of marching. There will be an Invocation, and the parade will start at 10 am. and go to Riverside Cemetery for brief remarks and a firing detail and playing of taps. The procession returns to Monument Square to conclude the ceremony. There will be placing of the wreaths on the war memorials, as well as readings and music from the Prospect Mountain High School band.
TILTON

Tilton's Memorial Day parade will form at 8:30 a.m. in the student parking lot at Winnisquam Regional High School and get underway at 9 a.m. with ceremonies at Park Cemetery, the Winnipesaukee River and at the monument in front of the Tilton Town Hall.
There will be a coffee social at the New Hampshre Veterans Home at 10:15 a.m. and a Memorial Day ceremony with guest speakers at 11 a.m.

BRISTOL

The Newfound Lake area will celebrate Memorial Day with a traditional parade in Bristol on May 250. According to commander Ron Prebble, the parade gathers at the Freudenberg parking lot on Rt. 104 and proceeds at 9:30 a.m.to nearby Homeland Cemetery for a laying of a wreath and a brief ceremony. The parade then proceeds to Musgrove Bridge for a firing detail and wreath laying. The parade will then proceed to Newfound Middle School.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 May 2015 01:06

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2-1 votes mark Belknap Commissions' decisions to hire attorney and add to team that negotiates with county unions

LACONIA — Attorney Paul Fitzgerald of the Wescott Law office was named as legal counsel for the Belknap County Commissioners when they met Wednesday morning at the Belknap County Complex.
Fitzgerald, a former mayor of Laconia, has served in the same capacity in recent years for Belknap County and was named by a 2-1 vote.
Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) and Hunter Taylor (R-Alton), commission vice chairman, voted for Fitzgerald and Commissioner Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton), who said he wanted to interview other people first, voted no.
Burchell said that one of he reasons he wouldn't support Fitzgerald is because he drafted the employment contract that former commissioners approved for County Administrator Debra Shackett, which he maintained was not in the public's interest.
But Commissioner Taylor said that it should be remembered that an attorney works for his clients, in that case the commissioners, and shouldn't be held responsible for the details of the contract.
He also said hat he had seen Fitzgerald work and that he is highly competent and knows county law. He said he worked in cooperation with Fitzgerald when the lawyer represented Commissioner Dave DeVoy and himself in defending Burchell's early 2015 lawsuit to overturn the action of his fellow commissioners in ousting Burchell as chairman of the commission. The request was denied and DeVoy remained as the new chairman.
Gordon Blais of Meredith asked if he could provide public input on the nomination and said that he believed ''you people are not interested in the best interests of the county''and maintained that the contract ''pretty much guaranteed employment for life".'
Burchell was also on the short end of another vote when commissioners DeVoy and Taylor voted to add Shackett to the county's collective bargaining negotiating team.
Taylor, who is a member of the negotiating team, said that there was movement in talks with all four unions representing county employees, but the team needed someone with experience in previous negotiations.
Burchell said he was disappointed by her nomination but DeVoy said ''we need her insight".
Commissioners approved a request from Brian Loanes of the Restorative Justice Department to hire a case manager to replace Katie Laux, who will be leaving June 1 to start an internship for her Master's degree. He said that Laux will be available for 8-10 hours a week in the coming months.
The commission also approved a request from Corrections Superintendent Dan Ward to apply for a grant which would provide up to $55,000 for training programs for inmates at the Belknap County House of Corrections.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 May 2015 12:59

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At EMT dinner, honors for those who save lives and one who saved Christmas

LACONIA — A heart attack victim who was revived by emergency medical personnel came to the annual EMT awards dinner to thank those who saved his life.

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them," said Bill Wasuta, a state Department of Transportation employee who suffered a heart attack last Aug. 20. Wasuta was attending a seminar at the Franklin Waste Water Treatment Plant when he was stricken.

According to Franklin Fire Chief Kevin LaChapelle, the plant had just installed a defibrillator and DOT CPR Instructor Sean Byron remembered seeing the sign and knew it was in the next room.

Byron immediately began CPR while others got the defibrillator and others called for assistance. LaChapelle said crews were returning from another call but within six minutes assembled a team consisting of Capt. Bruce Goldswaith (paramedic). Capt. Gary Hicks, FF/EMT Mike Foss, Capt. Chuck Bodein, FF Randy Danforth, FF Greg Stetson, FF Brad Kerry, Richard Vaughn and Justin Hinds to the facility.

Wasuta's pulse came back in the ambulance on the way to Concord Hospital and returned home.

Wasuta and the team who saved him received a standing ovation from the crowd. He said he is working with a cardiologist and others to get back to work but he is living at home and with his family.

At the awards dinner held at the Beane Conference Center and attended by physicians and other staff members from LRGHealthcare, a special award from the NH1 Children's Auction went to Laconia Firefighter Steve Hanser.

Hanser lives in New Hampton and after a fire heavily damaged a home just prior to last Christmas, he recruited a group of area firefighters, many from Laconia, to raise money and go to the home to rebuild it so the seven children in the family would be home and be able to enjoy Christmas.

"He never wanted recognition," said emcee Shawn Riley. "I had to beg him to come.

"The true definition of a hero is someone who does something without any expectation of recognition," Riley said.

Hanser also received a standing ovation.

The EMS provider of the Year was is Sam Schlemmer of the Center Harbor Fire Department. Introduced by Dr. David Mattice, he noted Schlemmer's 20 years of experience as a first responder and as a emergency room nurse at LRGH.

The Paul Racicot Award for Excellence went to Dwayne Mann of the Laconia Fire Department. Mann was unable to attend Wednesday's ceremony but Racicot described him as smart, methodical and very kind.

Another unit citation went to the Gunstock Safety Services for saving the life of a man who had a heart attack while skiing.

The award was presented by Kyle Griffin, the head of safety services and ski patrol who mustered a team of ski patrol/first responders who began CPR, radioed for resources and had the man breathing again when the Gilford Fire and Rescue team arrived and transported him to LRGH from where he was taken to the cardiac unit at Concord Hospital.

The life-time achievement award was present to Alton Deputy Fire Chief Richard Brown, who has been with the Fire Department for 30 years as a part-time or call-firefighter. The award was presented by Alton Fire Chief Ryan Ridley who was just named chief about a week ago.

The Service of the Year Award went to the New Hampton Fire Department and Chief Paul Drake for a multitude of different services they provide including a training facility for other departments and sharing equipment garnered through a federal grant.

The department was also singled out for their action in Ashland during a Jan. 2, 2015, "white out" on Interstate 93 that caused a 35-car pile up for both its response times and the number of personnel they were able to muster quickly.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 May 2015 11:44

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