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Gilford tables request for Public Access TV funding

GILFORD — Selectmen voted unanimously last night to table a request from Lakes Region Public Access television to fund the station at the same amount as it did during last year — about $18,000.

Selectmen said they wanted to see a different business plan before they make a decision on funding.

On Monday, Belmont selectmen also voted to table a similar request from LRPA for about $15,000 — again the same amount the town authorized in 2013.

The Board of Directors of LRPA have said that the station does not have the money to continue to operate and the lights could be turned off as early as Thursday (October 23).

According to Chan Eddy, the chair of the board who spoke at at LRPA directors' meeting last week, the operating costs of the agency are about $130,000 annually. There are two full-time employees including the station manager, one part-time employee, and two contractors.

As part of the newly negotiated contract with cable service provider MetroCast that went in effect on July 1, local municipalities control content on Channels 24 and 26. LRPA is scheduled to operate Channel 25 and would air programming created by individuals and organizations within the member towns.

The board directors has been slow to execute a business plan that would sustain programming with a goal of generating about $300,000 annually from sponsorships from businesses and small contributions from the governments of the member communities.

The plan has never been put together or implemented and The Sun reported last week that Eddy said they needed an additional year to get the new plan off the ground.

LRPA was sustained by contributions from its six remaining member communities — Laconia, Gilford, Belmont, Meredith, Alton, and Northwood. Until the new contract, it also received a $30,000 annual grant from MetroCast.

In other business, selectmen voted unanimously to permanently remove the speed bumps from Cat Path.

Two weeks ago, about 100 residents submitted a petition to the town requesting it remove the speed bumps and re-allow two-way traffic.

About four residents said last night that Cat Path should be two ways because they have seen residents of the small route going the wrong way and think one rule should be in effect for all.

Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee said he has stepped up patrols on Cat Path and said anyone caught going the wrong way would be ticketed — regardless of where they live.

Despite a direct request from two residents, none of the selectmen would make a motion to change the directionality.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 October 2014 12:56

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Rotarians to assist Belmont Police with purchase of lock-box for collection on unwated pharmaceuticals

BELMONT — The Belmont Police, Belmont Rotary Club and the CVS Pharmacy are teaming up to put a drug take-back box in the lobby of the Police Station.

Chief Mark Lewandoski told selectmen Monday night that having a permanent box — much like the ones at Laconia and Gilford police departments — would alleviate the need for people to hang on to unwanted medications for a year while waiting for the annual drug take-back day.

He said this is safer because the unwanted drugs are less likely to fall into the wrong hands and people are less likely to flush them down the toilet and into the water supply.

Lewandoski told the board that Belmont recently participated in the National DEA Drug Take Back Program and in four hours collected two industrial sized trash bags of unwanted pharmaceuticals. The drugs were taken to a collection site where they are collected by the DEA and destroyed at the government's expense.

Lewandoski said the box would be emptied only by authorized police personnel and the contents will be treated and store like evidence is the secure evidence room.

He estimated Belmont would collect about four to five medium-sized boxes annually and that there would be plenty of room for them in the evidence room.

The town maintenance department will complete the secure installation and the in-house camera will monitor its use.

Selectmen agreed it would be a good project and thanked Rotary and CVS for their efforts.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 October 2014 12:29

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Meredith grants street number for vacant lot

MEREDITH — Reversing its earlier decision of a year ago, the Board of Selectmen yesterday agreed to grant Glen Feener, a resident of Chapman Island, on Lake Waukewan in New Hampton, a street number for his vacant lot on Sawmill Shores Road in Meredith.
A year ago Feener explained that the sole access to his seasonal island home is the southernmost lot on Sawmill Shores Road, where he parks his car. He likened it to a driveway. But, without a street number, he said that the Post Office, United Parcel Service and Federal Express will not deliver to him.
At the time Feener appealed to the Selectboard after Fire Chief Ken Jones, Police Chief Kevin Morrow and Director of Community Development John Edgar denied his request and were upheld by Town Manager Phil Warren. Their decision was endorsed by a three-to-two vote of selectmen.
Yesterday Jones reminded the Selectboard that 911 insists that only lots with buildings qualify for street numbers, but conceded that Feener's circumstances are "unique." He repeated that the Meredith Fire Department and Stewart's Ambulance Service would be the first to respond to an emergency at Feener's property. If an emergency call were made from a cell phone, he said that the GPS system would enable the emergency dispatcher to pin-point the location of the caller within 10 feet.
Feener said that because he only uses a cell phone the concerns of the emergency services are misplaced.
Last night, the board voted four-to-one to provide Feener with a street number. Selectman Lou Kahn, who championed Feener's cause on both occasions, cautioned others against taking the decision as a precedent while Selectman Peter Brothers, the lone dissenter, remarked "but they will."

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 October 2014 12:41

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Insurance companies trying hard not to cover lawsuit against Humane Society

SUPERIOR COURT — The N.H. Humane Society finds itself in a classic Catch 22 situation with two insurance companies because each refuses to provide coverage needed to defend the agency against a wrongful termination suit filed by former director Mary DiMaria.

According to a petition for declaratory judgement, the Humane Society has petitioned the Belknap County Superior Court to determine which of Liberty Insurance Underwriters, Inc or Philadelphia Insurance Companies should be the insuring party.

Each insurance company has provided insurance to the Humane Society at different time and claims the other is responsible because the dismissal occurred on the other's watch.

DiMaria was fired on December 11, 2013 and filed suit for wrongful termination in September of 2014.

Liberty Insurance further claims that when the Humane Society applied for Directors and Officers Insurance, it knew or should have known and disclosed the potential claim for wrongful termination.

In fact, it was Mary DiMaria in her capacity as executive director who applied for coverage at Liberty Insurance and the application was processed by her husband who is Liberty Insurance agent Mark F. Dietta.

The Humane Society claims it could not have known DiMaria was going to file suit against them at the time of the application to Liberty Insurance and that even if it did, the company would have had constructive knowledge through its own agent, Dietta.

The Humane Society is asking that under the terms of the insurance policy with Liberty it is responsible for providing coverage.

In the alternative, should the court determine that the alleged claim by DiMaria occurred arose when Liberty says it did and under the circumstances claimed by it, then the court should order Philadelphia Insurance to provide the coverage.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 October 2014 12:32

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