Marine Patrol's new headquarters gets high marks from boaters

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This is the new state Department of Safety Marine Patrol building, which hosted an open house on Saturday morning.  (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

By ROGER AMSDEN, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILFORD — More than 100 people turned out for an open house Saturday morning at the New Hampshire Marine Patrol's new 32,000-square-foot headquarters building in Glendale.

“It was a very good turnout and there were a lot of positive comments,” said Lt. Crystal McLain, who oversaw all the details of the building's construction as project manager.

She said people were impressed with the boat maintenance facility used for the Marine Patrol's fleet, as well as the two state-of-the-art classrooms for public boating education courses, one of which was closed off because a boating safety class was being held.

The new headquarters building includes office space, a dispatch center and a lobby for issuing boat registrations. Along with areas for training and testing boaters, the building also has a booking area and a holding cell, where violators can be held before being taken to the Belknap County Jail.

Ground was broken on the $9.38 million project in September of 2015 and it was completed and opened in late October last year. It is named the David T. Barrett Marine Patrol headquarters in honor of the man who was the director of the Division of Safety with the New Hampshire Department of Safety from 1993 until his death in 2011.

As part of the project the state also purchased an adjacent 1.4 acre lot where Glendale Marine had been located for $1,345,000 to provide additional space for the bureau's operations.

The new facility features storm water filtering by underground drainage, filtered roof run-off drainage, porous concrete, green spaces designed to capture and filter run-off, energy-efficient LED lighting, a modern and efficient HVAC system, and sun tunnels. The building provides ADA compliant accessibility.

The facility was built on the site of the former Marine Patrol headquarters which was acquired by the state from Goodhue Boat Yard in the 1960s. John Goodhue II had built the boat yard in 1950 and rebuilt it after it was destroyed by fire in 1960.

A 2011 study of the former building identified numerous issues, including serious structural problems, lack of ADA compliance, excessive energy costs, and poor drainage and run-off containment from the parking lot.

The opening of the new building last November enabled the state to close a storage facility in Belmont and the temporary headquarters on the old State School property in Laconia, where operations were moved to during the construction period.

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Captain Tim Dunleavy gives visitors a tour of the headquarters during their open house on Saturday morning.  (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

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The Marine Patrol fleet stands ready as the Memorial Day weekend welcomes the beginning of summer to Lake Winnipesaukee.  (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

  • Written by Roger Amsden
  • Category: Local News
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Bristol officer felt threatened, kills bear

State Fish and Game warns against leaving food out that tempts wildlife

By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN

BRISTOL — A police officer shot and killed a bear with his sidearm in an incident that is prompting authorities to urge people not to leave food out or accidentally lure the animals to their property.
Police Chief Michael Lewis said Thursday that, on May 13 at 12:25 a.m., officer Thomas Seager responded to a 911 call from a resident on Riverdale Road about a bear breaking into a garage.
When the bear advanced toward Seager, he fired a “scare” shot, causing the bear to leave the area, Lewis said.
Seager reported the incident to the state’s Fish and Game Department but, nine minutes later, the property owner called to say the bear was back and up in a tree.
The second time the officer responded, the bear came down out of the tree and advanced on Seager again, according to Lewis.
“One round was fired, terminating the bear,” Lewis said.
The animal was killed with the officer’s .40-caliber Glock handgun.
Lewis said that, had the call arrived during business hours, the department would have called Fish and Game to handle it.
“We’d respond, but we’d advise them of it,” he said.
In some situations, Fish and Game would simply advise the police about best practices, and other incidents would require Fish and Game to respond to the scene, Lewis said.
“Where we live, we do have wildlife in the area,” he said. “Recently, there was a moose on the high school grounds for a couple of days.”
The shooting of the bear and this week’s relocation of problem bears in Hanover prompted Fish and Game bear biologist Andrew Timmins to ask people to take precautions.
He said bears and humans can easily co-exist as long as the bears do not become accustomed to finding meals at people’s homes.
Timmins said there has been bear activity around trash containers in Ashland, although the Lakes Region normally does not see problems with bears until the tourist season is in full swing.
“It starts to heat up when there are a lot of people recreating, the restaurants are doing a lot of business, and Fourth of July arrives,” he said.
The problem in Hanover has been ongoing, he said, due in part to the number of student residences where there are absentee landlords and the trash containers have plastic lids, rather than bear-safe closures. A number of local residents also leave their bird feeders up, believing the birds still need seeds.
The town of Hanover has worked with Fish and Game to inform the public about the dangers of leaving food where it is accessible to bears, but the effort has not been successful, Timmins said.
“A sow that has been living in Hanover for several years came front and center last year with three newborn cubs getting into food around houses. We tried to get people to understand those apartments needed to be cleaned up, and some residents followed the suggestions, and others didn’t,” Timmins said.
“This year she got involved again, and two yearlings got into some homes, so we were obligated to relocate them,” he said.
Three young bears were captured and relocated on Tuesday, and Fish and Game is urging homeowners and campers throughout the state to be vigilant if they do not want to experience similar problems.
“The third biggest attraction for bears is raising chickens without an electric fence around them,” Timmins said. “A lot of bears get shot at chicken pens because state law allows people to protect their property.”
Fish and Game offers to set up fences for those raising chickens, “but we can’t fence every chicken coop in the state; there are only so many hours and so many fences we can set up. We have to rely on people to be more proactive,” Timmins said.
According to Timmins, there are hundreds of bear complaints annually throughout the state, with 38 percent of them attributable to unsecured garbage. Bird feeders and the presence of unprotected poultry account for most of the rest of the bear-human conflicts.
In 2011, a bear injured a Center Harbor resident on her deck, resulting in Fish and Game having to shoot the aggressive animal.
While the loss of bear habitat to development was considered to be a contributing factor in the increase of conflicts with bears a couple of decades ago, Timmins said research has shown that the bruins are highly adaptable.
“Many years ago, we wouldn’t have expected that,” Timmins said. “They can adapt, even with development taking away good bear habitat. It puts them in closer proximity to humans, and many people have a low tolerance for them, but they’re easy to co-exist with. It just takes us to be more responsible.”
Fish and Game and U.S. Wildlife Services now offer bear abatement equipment loans and they hire summer bear technicians to work with residents in preventing and resolving bear-human conflicts.
“I’d just make a plea for bears,” Timmins said. “They have a tough go of it.”

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A young bear enjoyed a meal from a trash container. This is not the one shot in Bristol. (NH Fish & Game/Lynn Buth)

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Bears share a meal after raiding some trash. A different bear was shot in Bristol. (Courtesy photo/NH Fish & Game)

 

 

  • Written by Tom Caldwell
  • Category: Local News
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Shaheen touts federal aid now at risk of Trump cuts

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U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, center, speaks with Ryan Cardella, operations manager of East Coast Flightcraft, Inc., during a tour of the Winnipesaukee Pier yesterday. Laconia City Manager Scott Myers is walking behind Shaheen. (Tom Caldwell/Laconia Daily Sun)

By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was in the Lakes Region yesterday to emphasize the importance of federally funded programs threatened by the Trump administration. During stops in Laconia and Franklin, she emphasized the successes of Brand USA in promoting tourism, Medicaid and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in dealing with the opioid epidemic, and local redevelopment projects that rely upon federal funding.

Speaking of some people’s reluctance to accept help from the federal government, Shaheen advised simply, “Take the federal dollars.”

Joined at the Weirs Beach boardwalk by Susan Presby, who serves on the board of Brand USA, Shaheen pointed out that tourism is New Hampshire’s second-largest industry, supporting more than 60,000 jobs.

Brand USA is a public-private marketing partnership established through the Travel Promotion Act that seeks to increase international visitation. Marketing is important, adding $9 billion to the economy, Shaheen said.

“It’s important to attract people and keep them here,” she said. “We want them to stay longer and spend more money.”

Funding for Brand USA is recommended for elimination in President Trump’s budget proposal.

Although Shaheen’s visit was political in nature, it gave the senator a chance to view the improvements taking place at Weirs Beach and the renovations that are underway at the Winnipesaukee Pier.

City Manager Scott Myers pointed out the improvements that have taken place on Lakeside Avenue, and what is to come in the $4.3 million revitalization project, which included sewer and drainage improvements, road reconstruction, placing electrical lines underground, and installing new streetlights. While the project was driven by the need for water system upgrades, Myers said the city took the opportunity to give Weirs Beach a facelift that makes it more pedestrian-friendly, as well as replacing parking meters with payment kiosks and upgrading the boardwalk. By the end of the week, he said, new brickwork will enhance the appearance of the new sidewalks opposite the boardwalk. Final paving will take place in the fall.

“We’re hoping this spurs additional development,” he said, noting that most of the cost of the renovations is being covered through tax increment financing. Some general funds were used, but will be repaid through the TIF mechanism, in which the increased taxes that result from infrastructure improvements are dedicated to cover the up-front expenditures.

Shaheen’s tour continued with a walk-through of the Winnipesaukee Pier, recently acquired by East Coast Flightcraft, Inc., a recreational boat dealer that has been rehabilitating the structure and working to attract new businesses.

Operations Manager Ryan Cardella explained that his goal has been to make the wharf more child-friendly, with lower benches and higher railings, while expanding the offerings to include higher-quality businesses. There is an inviting new Winnipesaukee Pier sign created in Colorado, and he replaced the dockside fuel pumps with a new system that he said goes well beyond the required standards and allows boats to fill up there rather than travel to a marina with gas pumps.

Cardella pointed out some of the forward-thinking features East Coast Flightcraft has included, such as installing lighting under the pier to allow them to shut off lights that would interfere with the viewing of fireworks, and providing additional seats with views of the lake.

From Weirs Beach, Shaheen continued her tour at Navigating Recovery, a peer-to-peer support center for those with substance misuse problems, and Franklin’s Mill City Park project, aimed at rehabilitating the city’s downtown area.

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U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen speaks with Laconia City Manager Scott Myers, as businessman Allan Beetle looks on, during her tour of Weirs Beach. (Tom Caldwell/Laconia Daily Sun)

 

  • Written by Tom Caldwell
  • Category: Local News
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