No snowmobiles on Weirs bridge

 By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — The city will continue to restrict snowmobiles from traveling on sidewalks, despite a request from snowmobilers to adjust the policy.

The City Council decided on Monday to go along with a staff recommendation not to alter the restriction.

Snowmobilers have been using a sidewalk on the Route 3 (Endicott Street North) bridge to get across the Weirs Channel and access a designated trail along nearby railroad tracks.

They sought city support for leaving the bridge unplowed so they could use it. Consideration was also given to posting the bridge as legal for snowmobile use.

However, pedestrians who use the one sidewalk on the bridge asked for it to be plowed. There are also safety concerns about pedestrians and snowmobiles using the same sidewalk.

Public Works Director Wes Anderson even explored the idea of putting a floating bridge in the channel for snowmobiles.

Then the state weighed in.

In a letter to Belknap Snowmobile Club President Tyson McKenna, Fish and Game Department Conservation Officer Chris Brison expressed concerns with a floating bridge. The department enforces snowmobile laws and rules.

Brison said in the letter that even if the City Council were to designate the Route 3 bridge as a snowmobile crossing, there are no legal snowmobile trails leading to it or to a potential floating bridge.

He was also concerned that snowmobilers who sometimes illegally skim their machines across the surface of the water could hit such a floating bridge and be badly injured.

The City Council was set to vote to continue to restrict snowmobile use of sidewalks in its meeting on Oct. 10, but decided to hold off so that any concerned party could testify at Monday's meeting.

Nobody from the public wanted to speak on the subject Monday, so the council decided to retain the existing policy.

Page Pond expansion is complete, now encompasses 1,000 acres

By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
MEREDITH — The town has completed the purchase of 198 acres of woodlands, fields, and wetlands off Barnard Ridge Road, adjacent to Page Pond, which expands the Page Pond Community Forest to nearly 1,000 acres, spanning nearly the entire width of Meredith Neck.
Voters at Town Meeting agreed to spend $159,000 from an expendable trust fund and the Meredith Conservation Commission’s permanent fund as the town’s share of the purchase. The town received $300,000 for the purchase from the United States Forest Service’s Community Forest and Open Space Grant Program, $250,000 from the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, $107,500 from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services’ Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund, $20,000 from the State Conservation Committee’s Mooseplate program, and a number of private donations.
Selectmen signed the warranty deed on Oct. 2, and the purchase became final this week.
Meredith residents had long identified the 19-acre Page Pond and its surrounding forest and wetlands as an important natural resource and, when the original 567-acre property came up for sale in 2007, the Trust for Public Lands worked for three years to facilitate its preservation. The trust transferred the land to the town in 2009 and the Conservation Commission opened the property for year-round hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, fishing, canoeing, bird-watching, and other low-impact recreational uses.
The trust began working toward the present purchase in 2015, citing its importance in protecting water quality in Lake Winnipesaukee in addition to its recreational benefits.
The Community Forest Program grant came after a national competition ranked the Page Pond project as the number one project in the nation.
“Preserving and protecting our great outdoors and public lands is one of the best investments we can make,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. “In New Hampshire, we know that investing in our natural treasures is good for the environment and a smart way to lift our outdoor recreation economy.”
Sen. Maggie Hassan commented, “I am proud to support the expansion of the Page Pond Community Forest Project, which not only provides added recreational opportunities for the community, but builds on our efforts to ensure that all Granite Staters have access to clean, safe drinking water.”

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Belmont Police issue Halloween candy warning

BELMONT — Trick-or-Treat hours in Belmont will run from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31, and the Belmont Police Department is making sure it is a safe and pleasant Halloween.
Lt. Richard Mann issued a warning about the potential for receiving spiked candy, saying, “My intention ... is not to be an alarmist ... but I think in this instance information is the key to prevention. After all, knowledge is power.”
Mann was referring to a flier from a New Jersey health collaborative that warned of marijuana candy being passed out on Halloween.
“I think this flier ... has some very good information I think our Lakes Region residents ... would benefit from,” Mann said.
The flier notes that marijuana candy often imitates hard or gummy candy or chocolate and can contain a much higher concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than marijuana plants. Some children have gone to their hospital emergency room for symptoms that can include paranoia, anxiety, depression and short-term forgetfulness.
“If a parent is aware drugged/spiked candy is a potential risk and they exercise due diligence over the candy bag, they are more informed to keep their children safe,” Mann said.
He advises parents to look over any candy to make sure it is properly sealed in its original packaging. Candy that has been repackaged or is homemade should not be consumed unless the parent knows it is from a reliable source, he said.
He also urges adults to accompany children while they are trick-or-treating, and he said children should not accept an offer to enter a stranger’s home.

– Tom Caldwell

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