Interim president appointed at Lakes Region Community College

Larissa Baia LRCC

LACONIA — Dr. Larissa Ruiz Baia has been named by the board of trustees of the Community College System of New Hampshire to serve as interim president of Lakes Region Community College, effective July 1.

Baia has served as vice president of Student Services and Enrollment Management at the college since 2012, having previously been associate vice president of Enrollment Management at Manchester Community College. She also had served as director of Graduate and Evening Admissions at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.

She currently teaches a section of LRCC’s College Essentials, a course to acclimate new students to the college environment, and she has taught courses in political science and international relations at other colleges.

CCSNH Chancellor Ross Gittell had recommended Baia for the interim president position, based on her leadership and involvement in several college and system-wide initiatives.

Baia is a member of the system-wide marketing team and a past chairman of the CCSNH admissions team, and has served as a management representative on collective bargaining teams. She has overseen budget development for the college and works with other members of the leadership team on preparation of the college’s operational and capital budgets. 

She has served on the board of directors of the Women in Higher Education Leadership and Genesis Behavioral Health, as well as other boards and organizations.  

“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Larissa Baia to this leadership position at Lakes Region Community College and within the Community College System,” said Gittell. “Dr. Baia has already proved herself to be a deeply engaged leader who brings very sound ideas, perspective and experience to her role at the college. I am confident she will be a tremendous asset to LRCC and CCSNH and will work well with the faculty and staff at the college and across the system.” 

Steve Guyer, a CCSNH trustee from Gilford whose career was in education, endorsed the selection, saying, “Dr. Baia was appointed with the unanimous and enthusiastic approval of the trustees, and we are pleased that she has accepted this role and responsibility. She will sustain and strengthen very important efforts at the college to support student success, partnerships with regional employers, and innovative approaches to meeting the community college’s invaluable mission.”

“As a first-generation college student, I know first-hand some of the obstacles that students face when attending college,” said Dr. Baia. “Those challenges are part of the reason why community colleges and Lakes Region Community College specifically are integral to the higher education landscape and the economic growth of the regions they serve. I am honored to be given the opportunity promote LRCC’s mission of expanding access to quality, affordable education and professional readiness for all residents of the Lakes Region and beyond.”

Baia is a native of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and earned a PhD in Political Science and a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Florida, with a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Brandeis University. She resides in Concord.

The interim appointment is for one year, through July 2018. The trustees will conduct a search in early 2018 to fill the president position at the expiration of the interim term.

Meters no more

Parking kiosks going live at Weirs Beach


LACONIA — Workers installed the last of 15 parking pay stations in The Weirs on Tuesday and the new system was set to go into operation on Wednesday.

The computerized solar-powered parking kiosks, which accept coins and credit cards, but not paper bills, replaced more than 200 meters that were in place throughout the area.

The parking system cost about $100,000 and is part of the $4.3 million Lakeside Avenue Improvement Project, which included placement of electrical lines underground, installation of new streetlights, resurfacing of the roadway and upgrade of sidewalks.

Luke Powell, assistant Public Works director, said the system was undergoing final testing on Tuesday. The kiosks have many advantages over parking meters, he said.

“The convenience is huge,” Powell said. “A lot of people don't carry the coins they need to feed a meter for the length of time they'd like to park. There is less maintenance. The coins don't have to be emptied as often. They look good.”

Parking fees along Lakeside Avenue will be $1 an hour, double what it cost to use the meters.
Kiosks installed at the Endicott Beach parking lot will be $2 an hour. The previous rate was $10 per day.

Parking spaces are numbered. Motorists will go to the kiosk near their spot, enter the parking space number and pay for their time.

If you're cruising Lake Winnipesaukee on the Mount Washington and notice your parking time is about to elapse, no problem. There's an app for that. Using a cell phone or a tablet, you can buy more time.

Likewise, police can monitor parking compliance by looking at an app. Those parked in a space without proper payment could face a $10 parking ticket.

The kiosks, which will be in operation from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., will be unbolted after Columbus Day and placed in storage until next year, when they will re-installed for Memorial Day Weekend.

06 20 Kiosk Unveil

Steve St. Pierre uncovers one of the new parking kiosks along Lakeside Avenue at The Weirs. The covers were installed for Motorcycle Week, making parking free at that time, but they will be active through Columbus Day. Parking will be $1 an hour. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)

  • Written by Rick Green
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Arson at apartment

06 20 southmainfire 2

A fire at 391 Main St. Tuesday morning is believed to have been set deliberately by the tenant of the apartment. No other apartments were damaged, though the business below got wet. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Neighbors say tenant set fire to city building,  police wait to charge man

LACONIA — Police have determined that yesterday morning’s apartment fire at 391 Main St. was intentionally set but said they cannot make an arrest until their suspect is medically cleared. Police had transported a tenant of the apartment complex from the scene to the hospital for an evaluation while firefighters were tackling the fire.
Neighbors said it was a second-floor tenant who moved in two weeks ago who started the blaze, which the Laconia Fire Department quickly contained.
Fire Chief Ken Erickson said firefighters responded within minutes of the 8:50 a.m. call, and the crew was in and out in less than an hour. A hydrant just across the street gave easy access to water, but very little was required to bring the fire under control.
Erickson, who was the first firefighter to arrive, noted that, although Belmont and Gilford also were dispatched to the fire, both departments were out handling other calls, and the Weirs crew was out for service training.
He said that, although no fire was visible when he arrived, plastic blinds in the windows were melting.
All tenants were out of the building when he arrived, and one of them told Erickson that his apartment was on fire.
Landlord David Gilbert said the tenant had moved into the four-room apartment just two weeks ago and described him as having behavioral problems. He said two small fires had been set under the windows in two of the rooms, damaging the baseboard and mini-blinds.
When other firefighters arrived, they stretched a hose up to the apartment and raised a ground ladder to vent a window. A crew from Belmont arrived to assist with a search of the building.
Smoke and water damage was minimal, and Gilbert said the apartment would likely be repaired within a week or two. Erickson estimated damage at $20,000, saying the response resulted in a $150,000 save.
Danny Keene, another tenant of the building, had called the fire in after seeing flames in the window, and he went around knocking on doors to alert the other residents and get them out of the building.
He said the new tenant, whose name he did not know, was insisting that they needed to call the police, instead of the fire department.
Gilbert said the tenant apparently tried to put the fire out by turning on the faucets in the apartment. When firefighters arrived, water was pouring out of the ceiling on the first floor, where accountant Rose Archambault has a business office. Firefighters covered the computers and office furniture with tarps to protect them, Gilbert said.
Gary DeNauw, who works for Gilbert, said they opened all the doors to give firefighters access to the building, which enabled them to keep damage to a minimum.
Dang and Asia Tammavong, who reside in a rear apartment on the second floor, said they were surprised when they returned from their morning workout at Planet Fitness to see South Main Street blocked off by police and several fire trucks in the street in front of the apartment building.
"Firefighters told us the fire started upstairs. We were worried, but we saw our landlord, David Gilbert, while we were waiting outside, and he told us our apartment wasn't damaged."
Dang said he could hear noise from the other upstairs apartment throughout much of the night. "He must have stayed up all night," he said.
Gilbert praised the fire department for its quick response and the care firefighters took to minimize the damage. All of the other units were undamaged, so the tenants could return immediately, he said.
He said the parents of the tenant in the damaged apartment had been very helpful. He declined to identify the tenant because of the ongoing investigation.
Gilbert Realty Trust has owned the building for about 20 years. Built in 1880, the building formerly housed Paul’s Barbershop for many years.
This was the second fire recently for Gilbert, who also owned the 150-year-old apartment building on Orange Court where a woman who was smoking while using medical oxygen set the building on fire, causing extensive damage, on May 31.
“When I heard this building was on fire, I thought it was a prank,” said DeNauw. “I got here and found out it wasn’t.”
"This was not a random crime and the public should not have any ongoing concerns," police stated in a press release. "Anyone with any information regarding this incident should call Detective Sergeant Kevin Butler at the Laconia Police Department at 603-524-5252."

  • Written by Tom Caldwell
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