Restorative Justice to expand Payday Food Drive


LACONIA — Belknap County Restorative Justice, a program which provides court diversion services for both adults and juveniles, has been conducting a twice-a-month Payday Food Drive for over two years and now is looking to expand it even further.

"Our director, Brian Loanes, came up with the idea in October of 2014 as a  community service project for our clients. It's gone so well that we'd like to make it even bigger," said Mike MacFazden, case manager for the department who is in charge of the program.
He said the food drive sees pickups made on the first and third Friday of each month from 14 drop-off points around the city with deliveries made to food pantries all over the county the same day.

"In January we had our biggest ever food pantry month. We delivered 65 cases to the Salvation Army, which feeds 135 people a  week." said MacFazden.

He said that the drive collects nonperishable food and personal hygiene items, such as shampoo, soap and toothpaste, as well as pet food for families that have animals.

"We like to work with the small, church-based food pantries because they know who needs the help but may be too proud to ask for it," said MacFazden.

The program delivers food to Calvary Bible Church, the Center Harbor Church and Saint Charles Borremo in Meredith; the United Baptist Church in Meredith; the Commmunity Action Program; and the Sanbornton Food Pantry.

Collection points include the Belknap County Nursing Home, Belknap County Commissioners office, Belknap County Superior Court and Laconia Circuit Court, the Wescott Law office, Horizons Counseling, Lakes Region Community services, the SAU 30 office on Harvard Street, Laconia City Hall, the Public Defender's office, Normandin, Cheney and O'Neil law office, Uniformly Yours, Boulia Gorrell Lumber  and Tremblay's  Touch Painting.

For more information contact MacFazden at 527-5493.


Food Drive 2-24-2017

 Skyla Farquharson, a college intern with Belknap County Restorative Justice, stands next to a van full of items collected in the Payday Food Drive, conducted twice a month by the department. (Courtesy photo)

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Man dies after collision with utility pole

LACONIA — A local man died after the vehicle he was driving struck a utility pole at the junction of Union Avenue and Messer Street very early Thursday morning.

Dennis Rudzinski, 25, of Laconia was found inside the vehicle but unresponsive when police came upon the scene of the collision at 12:29 a.m. on Thursday. Firefighters attended to him at the scene then transported him to Lakes Region General Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Police have not determined the cause of the accident, which remains under investigation. Anyone who witnessed the collision or has information shedding light on the incident should contact Officer Anna Brewer-Croteau of the Laconia Police Department at 524-5252.

– Michael Kitch

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Safety urged following deadly ice accidents on lake waters

02-25 pier on lake


The ice and snow has been melting fast as temperatures rose into the 60s this week, despite several snowstorms the previous week. This pier in Meredith show the water on one side and ice on the other. (Courtesy Jennifer Lea Reynolds)



02-25 Col. Kevin JordanIn his more than 20 years with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, Col. Kevin J. Jordan has never seen a day as tragic as Saturday, Feb. 11, when three people died after their snowmobiles broke through the ice of Lake Winnipesaukee and plunged into frigid water.

He calls that day "a perfect storm" of bad conditions on a lake that never completely freezes anyway, but he remains concerned about the potential for ice accidents in the closing weeks of winter.

"I'm going to worry until the snow cover goes away," he said Friday. "When everything gets covered up with snow, people make mistakes. They don't realize they're on thin ice. People from out of town may not know that and they get into trouble."

Jordan urges people to test the ice to make sure it's stable. This is especially important on Lake Winnipesaukee.

"It is one of the more unpredictable lakes, in terms of currents, land mass, prevailing winds, depth," he said. "You can have an area with 10 inches of ice and then it just goes down to open water.

"You can't go flying across the lake and assume everything is OK. You can end up in open water."

Killed in one of the accidents on Feb. 11 in Alton was Arthur Remy, 15, of Mamaroneck, New York.  Mark O'Connell, 62, of Moultonborough and David Crosier, 67, of Westborough, died the same day in Moultonborough.

"It was a horrible tragedy, the worst one we've ever had," Jordan said.

With unseasonably high temperatures of about 60 degrees in recent days, lake ice is melting fast, which presents another problem. People can get into trouble when driving onto frozen lakes to retrieve their ice fishing shelters, or "bob houses."

02-25 bob house on melting iceVehicles used to retrieve these huts sometimes break through the ice. Occasionally, one of the shelters will fall through the ice and sink to the bottom of the lake.

"We've made cases on people who leave them and they go down," Jordan said. "They are full of things like propane heaters. The debris can be a hazard to boats that come out in the spring."

Jordan said recent years have included warmer winters that could limit the thickness of ice.

National Weather Service spokesman John Jensenius said the long-term average winter temperature at Concord since record-keeping began in 1868 is 23.3, while the average for the period from 1981 to 2010 was 23.9.

"So, overall, there has been a slight warming trend," he said. "However, if you consider the past 10 years, five of the winters have averaged above normal and five of the years have averaged below normal, one just barely below normal."




This bobhouse in Meredith may still be on solid ice, but the open water is encroaching. (Courtesy Jennifer Lea Reynolds)

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