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Performers say staying in homes of local people a big part of the Up With People experience

LACONIA — The international cast of 100 young performers that will present two Up With People concerts here over the first weekend in September includes 21-year-old Likung Tang of China.

Tang says he looks forward to entertaining in America because this country has "a special position in my mind". "It's about democracy, liberty, and respect for personal property," he said. "And it's a really good chance for me to experience these things in the native people's lives."

Tang and his fellow cast members will arrive in Laconia on Monday. All are staying with local families. Throughout the week they will perform community service projects while taking advantage of opportunities to interact with Lakes Region residents.

On both Friday and Saturday nights (Sept. 5 and 6) at 7 p.m., Up With People will perform in concert at the Laconia Middle School. Their spectacular, 2-hour "Voices" show will feature both original and popular music and is dynamic blend of feature soloists, full-cast production numbers, fast-moving choreography and colorful costumes.

Tickets are priced at $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens and are on sale at all Meredith Village Savings Bank locations. Additionally, tickets may be purchased online at www.upwithpeople.com/Laconia.

Net proceeds from the concerts will benefit three local not-for-profit organizations: Stand Up Laconia, Gilford Got Lunch and Got Lunch! Laconia.

An Up With People ensemble will also perform a special, free 20-minute show in Rotary Park at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning (Sept. 6) as part of the opening ceremony for the city's annual Multicultural Festival.

Based in Denver, Up With People casts have performed in 38 countries around the world over the last 48 years. Performers vary in age from 17 to 29.

In addition to Tang, the cast coming to Laconia includes Lotta Lundell of Finland.

"One of the major things I am looking forward to is staying with a host family," said Lundell. "I think that host families are bringing the culture from where we are so much closer by just being able to show their everyday life. Host families are a way to learn to see life from different perspectives, as well as see many types of raising children. I  think that those are possibilities to make lifelong friends."

Yinjun "Elaine" Shen, also from China, says she has already traveled to both coasts in the United States but she still really wants to see what the real New England looks like "and have a more regional experience there".

A number of the cast members, of course, are Americans, such as Nicole Magloire of Harrisburg, PA. "The Up With People program is perfect for all different types of people but especially my favorite type," she said, "east coasters". "But wherever you go," she continued", you get to live with host families and and meet the most amazing people who end up being so helpful for you and the future decisions you make. You may have a host parent who works in the same professional field that you want to go into one day or one who knows someone who can be a resource for you."

Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 12:48

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Construction underway on 1,152-sq.-ft. greenhouse at Inter-Lakes Elementary

MEREDITH — A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday morning for the Inter-Lakes Elementary School's "Living Classroom" greenhouse project, during which all of the school's students gathered outside the school to take part.
Dr. Steve Kelley, principal, said the project was made possible by a $65,000 fund drive which was launched last September and gained wide community support.
''We reached our goal in less than a year,'' said Kelley, who cited support from local service organizations like the Meredith Kiwanis, Altrusa and Rotary clubs for the success of the fund drive.
A donation of $10,000 from the Meredith Rotary Club, which was matched by $10,000 by the Inns at Mills Falls, pushed the total to $50,000 in May, when the school board voted to contribute $20,000 to the project, putting it over the top.
He said the 24 foot by 48 foot rigid-frame poly-carbonate greenhouse will promote active learning for students and provide learning experiences in all academic areas. With a supplemental heating design utilizing subterranean heat and solar energy, the greenhouse will operate year round with a minimal amount of purchased electricity. The space will include creatively designed outdoor garden beds, a composting center and will be large enough to hold 20 students and their educators for classes.
Helping with groundbreaking were second grader Molly Bernier, who last fall became the first student to donate to the project when she met Kelley in the hallway and gave him a dollar bill for the fund, and Inter-Lakes School Board member Lisa Merrill.
''This is a unique project which will enable students to learn and have fun at the same time,'' said Merrill, while Bernier, asked for her reaction to the groundbreaking said ''I feel very excited.''
Work has already started on the project with the excavation of the foundation area and is expected to be completed within a month according to Kelley, who said that students will be asked to take part in a ceremonial ribbon cutting ceremony when the work is completed.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday morning for the Inter-Lakes Elementary School's "Living Classroom" greenhouse project. Taking part were Molly Bernier, a second grader who made the first student contribution to the project; Dr. Steve Kelley, principal of the Inter-Lakes Elementary School; Lisa Merill of the Inter-Lakes School Board; Everett Bennett, principal of the Inter-Lakes Middle Tier; and Chris Wald, the school district's building and grounds superintendent. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 12:37

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Defense argues police can't prove what drug was being sold during video-taped transaction

CIRCUIT COURT — The attorney for Matthew Perkins, a local man charged with two counts of sales of narcotics drugs, argued yesterday that there was no probable cause for his arrest because the type of drugs he was allegedly selling are not identified in the complaints. The move came at a hearing yesterday in 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division.

After watching about an hour of home video footage showing Perkins, 24, formerly of 57 Holman St. appear to make two separate drug sales to two separate people at his brother's apartment on Gale Avenue, attorney Eric Wolpin challenged the arresting officer to identify the drugs that he sold using only the confiscated video.

Wolpin said while there is probable cause to indicate some kind of drug transaction took place with some kind of off-white or white substance packaged the way illegal drugs are often packaged, he challenged the arresting officer to identify the actual drug that was sold.

Matthew Perkins is Roger Perkins's brother. Roger Perkins was arrested in a drug raid at his Laconia home on 23 Gale Avenue on March 25. Drugs, including cocaine, crack cocaine, and methylone or MDMA were seized from his car and his apartment.

All of the items were tested at the state crime lab.

When police searched the apartment, they found what they described as a "sophisticated" video system hooked up to a laptop computer.

While reviewing what a detective described as nearly 100 hours of footage, police discovered that on March 23, Matthew Perkins was seen going into the back bedroom of his brother's apartment and making two drugs sales to two separate men.

The video, that was played in parts in court, clearly shows Matthew Perkins entering the apartment on March 23, going into the back bedroom, reaching into a closet in a back bedroom where police allegedly found Roger Perkins's drugs two days later, and selling packaged substances to two different men at two different times.

The detective said that when police interviewed the two alleged "buyers" both admitted to some degree to buying drugs. Neither, said the detective, could remember if he bought crack cocaine or cocaine.

City Prosecutor Jim Sawyer amended the complaints twice — the first time to include "cocaine, crack cocaine, methylone or other narcotic drug."

At the end of Wolpin's challenge, he amended it again to say crack cocaine or cocaine — eliminating "methylone or other narcotic drug." He also argued that both crack and cocaine are the same substance but in different forms so he wouldn't necessarily need to specify which one on the complaint.

Wolpin said that New Hampshire case law is vague on when drug must be identified, but offered two Massachusetts cases that showed some other kind of identification must be there to support an arrest before any seized drugs are tested at a lab.

Wolpin also said there is no way to tell if the drugs police found in the safe during Roger Perkins's arrest on March 25, were the same drugs as those being charged against his client for sales that allegedly took place two days earlier.

Because Sawyer hadn't had a chance to read the Massachusetts case law, Judge Jim Carroll made no ruling yesterday. He also allowed Sawyer time to file a written response to Wolpin's submissions.

Matthew Perkins is being held on $5,000 cash bail regarding the new charges. According to its website, Matthew Perkins is being held at the N.H. State Prison.

Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 12:33

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Police chief may ask City Council to ban sale of synthetic cannabinods ('spice')

LACONIA — Police Chief Christopher Adams said earlier this week that the Police Department is looking into whether or not a ban on selling of "spice" (synthetic cannabinods) in the city is warranted.

Adams said the discussion has been triggered by a recent spike in "spice" overdoses around the state. There has been no fatalities but Adams said the 10 to 12 people who called emergency services in Laconia were sickened enough by the drug to call for help.

Recent increases in "spice overdoses" caused Gov. Maggie Hassan to issue a state of emergency that allows public health officers to investigate and quarantine on particular brand (Smacked) and flavor (bumblegum) flavor of spice.

Adams said that to the best of his knowledge, there are no merchants in Laconia selling spice. He said he may be sending undercover officers into local stores to try and buy it but said no stores in the city have spice on open display. For the duration of the governor's state of emergency, he said police have the right to seize it.

"Spice" is a street name for what is marketed as herbal incense that is often sprayed or treated with synthetic chemicals that can create a marijuana-type high when smoked.

Medical professionals say smoking "spice" can cause hallucinations, extreme anxiety, nausea, and possible cardiac arrest.

The packaging says that "spice" is not for human consumption and while federal authorities have made many of the chemical ingredients illegal, manufacturers of the incense often make small changes to the chemical composition to skirt federal law.

In her state of emergency declaration, Hassan noted that federal authorities fear the money sold from online "spice" purchases has gone to organizations in Yemen, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Last year the town of Gilford followed the towns of Tilton and Franklin in banning the sale of synthetic cannabinoids. Belmont Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said the selectmen adopted a similar ordinance on June 16 at the recommendation of the police chief.

Adams said that should his department feel it is necessary to ban the sale of the drug, the ordinance would have to be approved by the City Council.

He also said he would hope that local merchants would not sell a product that is clearly dangerous.

Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 11:49

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