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Laconia Police go without phones for 5 hours

LACONIA — City police were without telephone service from about 7 p.m. Sunday until shortly after midnight Monday morning.

Capt. Bill Clary said yesterday that, for reasons that haven't been completely explained to him, many customers other the same Portsmouth-based service provider (BayRing) were without telephone services, including the Fire Department.

Clary said a Twitter feed went to all Laconia Twitter subscribers informing them about the problem and telling them if they needed any police services at all to call 9-1-1.

He said 9-1-1 calls were forward to the Gilford Police Department – that does not use BayRing – and those calls were directed to Laconia via Gilford's phone system to a cell phone used by a Laconia dispatcher.

Since the dispatch center was working, Clary said the city was able to direct officers to where they were needed.

He said police responded to a few car accidents however the night was generally not busier than they would have expected.

Laconia Fire Captain Bob Landry said he was only in the fire station briefly Sunday night on a station coverage emergency call back but said the dispatch center at the Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid was not affected.

He said the the telephone system within the two fire houses was not working property and the department was unable to get a faxes.

The systems was restored just after midnight on Monday but Clary said he wants to know more about why it when down and how future episodes like this can be eliminated.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 September 2014 10:21

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2,000 students settle into PSU campus on Labor Day

PLYMOUTH —  "My parents have always spoken so highly of Plymouth State, so I am so excited to be here," said Beau Dykstra of Lebanon, who was one nearly 2,000 Plymouth State University students to move into the school's seven residence halls on Monday.

Move-In is the busiest day of the year for the campus and surrounding communities, with nearly half the student body and their families converging on campus for the annual event. Dykstra's parents, Mark and Laura Dykstra of Lebanon, are Plymouth State alumni and they are thrilled to see their son attending their alma mater.

"We've always believed in the school, and this is a wonderful next step for Beau," said Laura Dykstra '89, '00G.

"I think Plymouth State is a gem, there's so much to do here and explore," said Mark Dykstra '89. "There is an immediate sense of community right out of the gate when you get here. . .  it is amazing,"

PSU President Sara Jayne Steen said it is heartening to see a legacy student with their family arriving on campus.

"It's a great thing when people who have had an education here trust us with the most precious thing in their lives," said Steen. "That's a huge statement about the quality of the education they received and their faith in this institution and what it will mean in the life of their child."

President Steen has personally welcomed students and parents each year during her nine-year tenure. She noted this year's move-in went like clockwork.

"Beautiful day, so much excitement and energy and it's such a wonderful time to see the campus, said Steen. "This has gone incredibly smooth."

PSU move-in allows students to quickly and efficiently fill the university's seven residence halls with the help of staff, students and families. PSU's athletic teams, including the entire football and wrestling teams, as well as sororities like Delta Zeta, help incoming students park, unload and move their belongings. By Labor Day evening, more than 90 percent of the students are moved in to their on-campus residences.

First-year student Samuel Millard of Kingston, N.H., said he was happy to be on campus. "Lots of changes, a new environment, I love the campus and the location," said Millard.

Sophomore Eva Daniels of Westfield, Mass., said she was thrilled with how easy the moving process was. "I'm so excited–it's great to be back," Daniels said. "I made a lot of friends here, it's a great place. I just love the feeling of a new school year."

Having move-in on Labor Day allows more parents to join their students and offers students a seamless transition to the start of the academic year. Convocation and a final orientation for first-year students occur on Tuesday, September 2. Classes begin Tuesday at 5 p.m. and the first full day of classes is Wednesday, September 3. PSU has more than 7,000 students, including approximately 4,200 undergraduate students.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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Boat strikes Winnisquam shore; pilot arrested for DWI

LACONIA — A Massachusetts man was arrested and charged with boating while intoxicated after his pontoon boat struck a tree along the shore of Lake Winniqsquam late Saturday night.

Richard Degregory, 51, of Tyngsborough, Mass. was cruising with two adult passengers aboard at approximate 20 miles per hour around 11:30 p.m. when the collision occurred. Sergeant Joshua Dirth and Officers Scott McClain and Thomas Reneau of the New Hampshire Marine Patrol, together with firefighters from the Laconia Fire Department and officers of the Laconia Police Department, responded to the scene of the accident, which left the vessel heavily damaged.

The passengers suffered only minor injuries and refused treatment.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 September 2014 10:04

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Belmont casino for sale for $3.5M; gravel deposits valued

BELMONT — For the second time in less than a decade the property on Route 106 that originally began as greyhound race track and ultimately became a charitable gaming venue is for sale.

Last weekend the Manchester Union-Leader newspaper reported that Ryan Goddy, the general manager of the Lakes Region Casino, confirmed that the 213-acre property has been on the market for the past two months at an asking price of $3.5 million.

The venue is owned by Potts Gaming, LLC, whose principal Craig K. Potts of Scottsdale, Arizona, the former president and chief executive officer of Cash Systems, Inc., then the largest provider of cash access services to the gaming industry, operates gaming establishments in Alabama and the Caribbean. Potts could not be reached for comment.

The facility has rooms for table games — roulette and craps— and bingo and stages two poker tournaments, some with guaranteed winnings of $1,000, nightly. It employs about three dozen people and contributes to about 20 charities in the region.

The property has been a gaming venue since 1975 when it opened as Berenson's Belmont Greyhound Track. In 1991, it was acquired by a partnership led by Al Hart who changed its name to Lakes Region Greyhound Park. By offering rebates, or returning a share of wagers — win or lose — at the end of the day, and telephone betting, Hart turned a $10-million business into a $75-million enterprise. But, in 2005, he was compelled to surrender his gaming license and negotiate the sale of the track after two employees were indicted in New York for their part in an illegal gambling conspiracy.

Potts partnered with Marlin Torguson, of the Torguson Gaming Group, which owns casinos on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, to acquire the track for $4.1 million, an investment in anticipation that the Legislature would authorize casino gambling and slot machines. In 2006, after investing $1.5 million to renovate the 35,000-square-foot facility, the venue opened as The Lodge at Belmont, offering live greyhound racing, simulcast wagering on greyhound, thoroughbred and harness racing as well as as dining and live entertainment.

However, the Legislature repeatedly refused to authorize an expansion of gambling and with the prohibition of live greyhound racing and taxation of gambling winnings in 2009 revenues at the venue plummeted. Pari-mutuel wagering, Since 2011, when the Lodge at Belmont became the Lakes Region Casino, it has operated primarily as a charitable gaming hall, with dining and live entertainment.

Rick Newman, former general manager of the Lodge at Belmont, estimated that Potts has approximately $8 million invested in the enterprise. Although the property is grandfathered as a pari-mutuel venue, Newman doubted that it would ever become more than a charitable gaming venue. "It is one of the three or four largest charitable gaming operations in the state," he said. But, he explained, in the unlikely event the Legislature agrees to introduce casino gambling with video slot machines, Belmont is even less likely to become a venue.

While the property is no longer a gambling gold mine, it does lie between two sand and gravel and its atop significant deposits of its own.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 September 2014 09:52

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