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Belmont, Gilford & Laconia proposing to split the cost of an animal control officer

BELMONT — Selectmen last night approved a proposed $20,500 budget item for 2015 for a contribution to a joint effort with Gilford and Laconia for a part-time animal control officer.

Chief Mark Lewandoski said the proposed request will eliminate the $5,500 the town typically pays the N.H. Humane Society and a $1,600 line in the Police Department budget for the town's own animal control officer meaning the net 2015 cost to Belmont will be $13,400.

He said the combined effort will also save the town money in overtime.

According to the support paperwork presented to selectmen from Lewandoski, the joint venture will cost the three communities a maximum of $40,100 total — not including the amount of money each community spends annually with the Humane Society.

The animal control officer will be a part-time employee who works no more than 28 hours a week so he or she won't qualify for health insurance under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

If the person chosen is a certified police officer, he or she will be paid $20 per hour. If a civilian is selected, the job will pay $15 per hour.

Lewandoski said Laconia has most of the needed equipment, including an animal control van that costs $6,000 a year to maintain. He said there are a few small equipment purchases that will be made to get the program running.

Expenses will be assessed to each community based on the historic number of animal calls fielded by each department. Laconia has the most and Gilford and Belmont have less than Laconia but about the same as each other.

Gilford Police Lt. James Leach said his department supports joining with Belmont and Laconia because it don't have an animal control officer.

He said having someone dedicated to animal control in the three-town area will be a big advantage because of all of the paperwork and followup animal calls require.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 October 2014 01:06

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Water main project in heart of downtown will re-route traffic for 3 to 4 weeks

LACONIA — The Laconia Water Works (LWW) and Busby Construction Company, Inc. began work this week replacing water lines in and around the intersection of Pleasant Street and Main Street, at the center of downtown.

Seth Nuttelman,superintendent of the LWW, said yesterday that he anticipates that the three to four weeks will be required to complete the project, during which the intersection will be closed to through traffic. The work area resembles an arrow, with the southernmost leg of Pleasant Street the shaft and the pedestrian walkway toward Beacon Street and the stretch of Main Street to Hanover Street representing the arrowhead. Pleasant Street will be open only to local traffic and motorists leaving the area will be detoured through the municipal parking lot to Main Street. The entire length of Main Street itself, from Court Street to Church Street, will remain open to northbound traffic.

Niuttelman said that approximately 350 feet of 12-inch and 8-inch water pipe will be replaced within the work zone. He explained that the existing pipe must be excavated and the new pipe laid around a dense web of other utilities — gas lines, sewer mains, storm drains, telephone conduits, and fiberoptic cable. "We've got everything under the sun down there," he said, noting the many markings in colored chalk on the pavement made to guide the excavation.

Nuttelman estimated the cost of the project at $70,000, which includes labor, materials and equipment.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 October 2014 01:03

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Bicycle Exchange moves to location on Court Street

LACONIA — The Laconia Area Bicycle Exchange moved to a new location this week at 343 Court Street, located in part of the Eased Edges building owned by Brian Flander.

Bike Exchange organizer John Rogers says that over 80 bikes, many wheels and parts and a work bench, were all moved to the new location on Saturday and Monday.

''Saturday I was able to borrow a special trailer that holds up to 30 bicycles. It is being loaned out by Ken Boylan, who lives on Winter Street and sells used bicycles. One trip was made on Saturday and the other bikes were moved Monday,'' said Rogers.

Since early May the exchange had been located in a  20 foot by 20 foot former motorcycle garage next to the Big Banana Store at 229 Messer Street.

Rogers said the new location's work area is much smaller with storage behind the work area in a warehouse setting and that there is plenty of room outside for testing bikes. Rogers plans to construct platforms and racks to hold and store many of the bicycles. He said that to date the exchange has given out over 90 bicycles.

''The next step for the exchange is to advertise for a volunteer or paid position, with grant funding to take over the publicity, advertising, and communications activities. Since April I have devoted about 20 hours a week to keep this program moving and serving the community. Your suggestions and input will be greatly appreciated,'' said Rogers.

Hours of operation will be the same, Tuesday from  4-5:30 p,m.,  Thursday  12-1  p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The last day of operation will be Saturday, October 11. After that by appointment only by calling 630-7571.

The purpose of the Laconia Area Bicycle Exchange (LABE) is to provide a means of inexpensive alternative transportation in the form of refurbished used bicycles, made available to people who would benefit with greater mobility as it relates to work, family and personal living. The focus of the exchange is for people who have no means to afford an automobile or who have no valid drivers license.

Rogers says that providing a means of greater mobility for those in the community with limited means helps with stable employment and meeting personal responsibilities such as doctor's appointments and also provides family and recreational benefits.

Last Updated on Saturday, 04 October 2014 12:09

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With pot farm evidence seized in Governor's Island raid deemed inadmissible, state drops charges against renter

GILFORD — A Belknap County Superior Court judge has dismissed the case against a Governor's Island resident accused of growing and processing marijuana and hashish at his rented home.

Corey LaPlante, 29, formerly of 47 Blueberry Hill Road was charged with two counts of manufacturing a controlled drug and possession of the same drug with the intent to distribute it.

Judge James O'Neill's dismissal came after he determined the N.H. State Attorney's Drug Task Force Officer who investigated the case had made "material misrepresentations" on his affidavit to support a search warrant for the home.

After O'Neill's determination that the evidence seized was not going to be allowed into evidence, Asst. N.H. State Attorney James Vara noted the "state doesn't have the evidence to proceed forward."

In this case, "the evidence" included 12 pounds of marijuana and hashish and $34,000 in cash.

Also charged with the same crime is LaPlante's former housemate, Janelle Noftle.

Although the cases were to be tried together, she has a different attorney than LaPlante and he has has recently filed a motion to reconsider O'Neill's initial refusal to dismiss the evidence against her.

Noftle's first motions to dismiss were denied but that was before LaPlante's attorney Mark Sisti was able to locate the police informant — who is the owner of the home — subpoena her, and get her to New Hampshire to testify.

During her testimony, she refuted much of the information the detective stated in his affidavit in support of a search warrant.

Noftle's lawyer requested that O'Neill reconsider his refusal to dismiss the evidence by saying that since the evidence issues Sisti raised for LaPlante pertain to her as well, the state has the same limitations for her as it had for him.

Vara did not object to her motion but as of yesterday, O'Neill had not made a ruling.

Last Updated on Saturday, 04 October 2014 12:05

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