Area pauses to remember those who gave all in war

05 30 Laconia Memorial Day 1 Karen Bobotas

Laconia Mayor Edward Engler speaks to the crowd gathered at Veterans Square during the Memorial Day services yesterday. (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun) See videos online on the Sun’s Facebook page.

By GINGER KOZLOWSKI, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Somber thoughts were offered by Mayor Ed Engler at the Memorial Day ceremony yesterday under equally somber skies, as many people gathered around the city’s war memorials.
Engler brought attention to a national newspaper’s editorial that complained of the inconvenience of Memorial Day remembrances.
“No!” said Engler. “No! You and I are here today because we know we are supposed to be thinking about the men and women who paid the ultimate price in defense of our country and it’s not too much to ask that all of us pause, if not for the whole day, at least for this hour to remember our war dead, and to draw a straight line between their sacrifices and the liberties we continue to enjoy.”
Engler recounted his childhood memories of solemn parades following World War II, and noted the restored World War I memorial in the park. He ended the speech by reading the names of the 11 Laconians who died in the Vietnam War.

05 30 Laconia Memorial Day 3 Karen Bobotas

Riders from the NH Patriot Guard lead the Memorial Day parade down Main Street.  (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

05 30 Laconia Memorial Day 4 Karen Bobotas

Youngsters watch the wreath ceremony honoring those lost at sea at Riverside Park during Laconia’s Memorial Day parade.  
(Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

05 30 Gilford Memorial Day 1 Alan Macrae

Members of Gilford Boy Scout Troop 243 place a wreath at the Gilford Veterans Memorial during Memorial Day ceremonies yesterday. (Alan MacRae/for The Laconia Daily Sun) 

05 30 Gilford Memorial Day 2 Alan Macrae

The Gilford Police Department Honor Guard pays respect as the stars and stripes are raised to half mast during Memorial Day ceremonies yesterday.  (Alan MacRae/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

05 30 Belmont Memorial Day 1 Alan Macrae

Boy Scouts Vincent Butka, left, and Keith Cameron pay respects after placing a wreath on the veterans monument during Memorial Day services in Belmont yesterday.  (Alan MacRae/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

05 30 Belmont Memorial Day 2 Alan Macrae

A Belmont Police cruiser and the Belmont Police Honor Guard escort members of the American Legion and the Belmont High School marching band toward Monument Square for Memorial Day ceremonies.  (Alan MacRae/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

  • Written by Ginger Kozlowski
  • Category: Local News
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Man, unaware of fire, is rescued in Tilton Saturday

TILTON — Firefighters rescued a man from fire at his apartment building, finding him unaware there was trouble because he was unable to hear smoke detector sirens over his headphones.

The fire at 27 Grant St. began when cigarettes were improperly disposed of on the porch. Tilton-Northfield Fire and EMS were called to the scene at 1:48 p.m. on Saturday, and found smoke and fire coming from the porch of the large ranch-style home, which had an apartment above the garage.

Capt. Sean Valavanie said he "found a man with no shoes on, standing in the smoke-filled living room with no idea what was happening." He lived in the apartment above the garage.

The fire had quickly extended into the roof, causing extensive damange, according to Tilton-Northfield Fire. Crews from Tilton-Northfield, Frankln, Belmont and Laconia were required to pull down ceilings, walls and insulation to be sure the fire was extinguished.

No firefighters or civilians were injured, but six occupants and a dog were displaced by the fire. They are being assisted by the Red Cross.

This is the second home in Tilton that has sustained significant fire damage from discarded smoking material in the last four months.

“You can’t put cigarette butts in just any container," said Tilton-Northfield Firefighter Derik Ogg. "They need to be fully extinguished by dousing them in water or sand before disposing of them in a properly rated container.”

– Ginger Kozlowski

05 30 Tilton fire 1

There was extensive damage to this home at 27 Grant St. in Tilton Saturday when cigarette butts caught fire. (Courtesy Tilton-Northfield Fire Dept.)

05 30 Tilton fire 2

  • Written by Ginger Kozlowski
  • Category: Local News
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City, school leaders find way to boost Laconia teacher pay

By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — City and school leaders have identified a funding mechanism for a 5-year teacher contract containing significant salary hikes.
In a work session Friday afternoon, four City Council members and three members of the School Board discussed a plan under which the city would fund a reserve account to be used to cover the difference between what the contract costs and money available under the property tax cap.
Councilor Henry Lipman presented the plan. Also present were councilors Ava Doyle, Brenda Baer and Robert Hamel, along with School Board members Michael Persson, Aaron Hayward and Mal Murray. The group is to meet again next Friday, before the proposal is formally considered by the council on June 5.
Also present was School District Superintendent Dr. Brendan Minnihan. He supports the new proposal.
“This is a brilliant idea that takes the stress off the City Council and the School Board and creates a lack of tension,” he said. “Teachers and staff would have a level of certainty they haven’t seen in years.”
Lipman predicted the plan would win City Council support.
“It allows us to solve this problem in a less contentious way,” he said. “There should be enough votes to pass it.”
Money from the sale of two city properties is expected to bring in nearly $1 million. Some of that money could be used for the account, which could be replenished in years when there is sufficient revenue growth under the salary cap formula.
Last year, the School District made $1.7 million in budget cuts, and this year nearly $900,000 in cuts are anticipated. Teachers, who are among the lowest-paid in the region, are working without a contract. Yearly salary step increases for experience have not been granted in four out of the last 12 years.
The tentative contract, approved by the teachers' union and the School Board, would ultimately put Laconia teacher salaries at or above most other districts in the area, but the plan requires City Council approval.

Earlier discussions had centered around whether the City Council would override the tax cap to fund a School District budget increase of at least $850,000.

A tax-cap override is a non-starter for most council members.
Growth provided under the tax cap inflation factors will provide $508,000 in additional money that could be applied to pay raises in the school district in the first year of the new contract. The district now estimates it wouldn need no more than $200,000 in additional money to fund the new contract. 
The city is selling the Lakeport Landing marina along Union Avenue to Irwin Marine for $508,000 and the former Lakeport Fire Station to the present owner of Lakeport Landing for more than $475,000, less certain expenses.
City Manager Scott Myers said no use has been designated yet for this money, beyond holding it in reserve.
Participants in Friday’s meeting suggested an approach in which the current tentative contract before the council would be withdrawn and replaced with a new contract that would utilize the reserve fund proposal.

  • Written by Rick Green
  • Category: Local News
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