LACONIA — Laconia Mayor Mike Seymour hailed the success of Laconia's Got Lunch! at an ice cream social Monday afternoon honoring the program's volunteer workers.
Seymour, who was presented with a ''Mayor Mike'' plaque at the event, said he couldn't be more proud, of the efforts of those involved in the program, which since it started three years ago has delivered 61,567 lunches to hundreds of school age children during the summer months. The program has now spread to 14 New Hampshire communities. Saymour called Got Lunch! ''a revolution which started right here in Laconia.''
John Walker, who along with the Rev. Paula Gile, associate pastor of the Congregational Church of Laconia, UCC, helped start the now widely emulated program, said that Seymour's support and encouragement, along with that of former Superintendent of Schools Bob Champlin, were crucial in getting the program up and running and involving the community in supporting it.
Seymour said that it now seems surprising to him that no one else had devised a summer program for feeding school children when nearly 70 percent of the city's school children qualified for free or reduced lunch programs.
Walker said that more than 25,000 meals were distributed by the program to more than 500 children this summer during the weeks when schools are not in session and that more than 70 volunteers helped pack and assemble shopping bags filled with groceries, including fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as delivering them to more than 300 households across the city.
''When we got together to start the program the first person I called was Ed Engler at the Laconia Daily Sun and he said he'd be glad to help us get the word out about it. The first call I got after the story ran was from Mayor Seymour and he's been a strong supporter since that time,'' said Walker.
He said that there are now 14 similar programs in the state and the latest community to start a Got Lunch! program is Gilford, where Tom Francouer has volunteered to lead the effort.
Walker praised Seymour's work as mayor, calling him ''the best small-city mayor in the country,'' and said that his leadership will be missed when his term of office ends in January.
Got Lunch! Laconia program co-founder John Walker presents Mayor Mike Seymour with a plaque honoring his efforts on behalf of the Got Lunch! program. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 04:04
MEREDITH — Nearly two dozen residents, most from Bear Island, urged the Board of Selectmen to take steps to correct flaws in the design of the new docks at Cattle Landing when the board met last night.
""We're delighted with the new dock," began Don Morrissey of Gilford who summers on the island, "but it does have some problems."
The floating concrete dock is 80 feet long. It is anchored by three piles projecting from the side of the dock, one at the end and two on the south side, bracketed to the dock by four-foot by six-foot timber frames or guides. It is lined with posts, set flush to the dock, with cleats between them.
Morrisey said that not only did the piles limit the capacity of the dock but also posed a hazard to boats, which struck the guides. The pile at the end of the dock, he said, eliminated what had traditionally been a "drop off and pick up" spot, available when both sides of the dock were occupied.
He proposed framing and decking the docking to enclose the projecting piles.
"I haven't run into anyone who is pleased with the dock," said Michael Robinson, who said his Boston Whaler was damaged when it slipped under the dock, then struck it when lifted by wave action. He said that such incidents were common with the small boats that represent much of the traffic at the dock.
Others pointed out that the posts, which are flush with the dock are of little use when tying up or stepping ashore, while the cleats are a hazard to those getting in and out of their boats. One man noted that the ramp is not properly matched to the dock, hindering the use of wheelchairs.
The selectmen directed Warren to present the issues to the manufacturer and ask what can be done to address them and, at the same time, to approach the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to determine if Morrissey's proposal would represent an expansion of the dock requiring the agency's approval.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 03:36
CONCORD — Midway through her second term in the New Hampshire Senate Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) could find herself chairing the powerful Senate Finance Committee with the reshuffling of the Senate leadership following the decision of Senator Peter Bragdon (R-Milford) to resign as President of the Senate.
Bragdon resigned the presidency amid controversy triggered by his original decision to keep the position while simultaneously serving as executive director of the Local Government Center (LGC). Almost at once Senator Chuck Morse (R-Salem), chairman of the Finance Committee, announced his bid to succeed Bragdon and was immediately endorsed by Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro), who equally quickly endorsed his candidacy. Morse is serving his fourth term in the Senate and his third as chairman of the Finance Committee.
Forrester, who was the lone freshman to serve on the Finance Committee in her first term became vice-chairman in her second. Yesterday Forrester acknowledged that she has been the subject of speculation, but declined further comment.
Meanwhile, Harrell Kirstein, communications director of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, charged that Forrester was tied to controversy surrounding Bragdon's acceptance of the post with the LGC. According to Kirstein, Bragdon, speaking on WMUR-TV last weekend, indicated that he began considering the position with the LGC on July 12 while flying to a conference in Seattle. A week later he appointed Forrester to committee studying the LGC and the statute governing the management of risk pools.
"Why, days after he decided to seek the LGC job did he abuse his powers as Senate President to stack an oversight committee with Senator Forrester?," Kirstein asked. "What promises did Forrester make to Bragdon in exchange for being appointed to a committee overseeing the LGC?," he continued. "Did she know that he was seeking a publicly funded $180,000 per year job with the organization at the time?"
Forrester flatly denied suggestions that there was anything improper about her appointment. She said that that she was not aware that Bragdon had taken an interest in the job with the LGC when he appointed her to the study committee. As the vice-chair of the Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee and a former town administrator in Tuftonboro and New Durham, she considered the appointment appropriate. She said that she had a significant interest and extensive experience of the controversy surrounding the LGC and during the summer hosted several roundtables in her district with George Bald, the LGC's interim executive director.
"The LGC did some things that must be corrected," Forrester said, recalling that the issues by the Bureau of Securities Regulation, especially the refund of excess premiums to municipalities, were raised when she was a town administrator. However, she added: "If these problems can be corrected, I don't want to to see the LGC go away." Likewise, she insisted that the New Hampshire Municipal Association provides valuable services to cities and towns and is no longer bound to the LGC.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 03:05
MOULTONBOROUGH — Paul Punturieri, a member of the Planning Board who as "Moultonboro Blogger" operates the website "Moultonboro Speaks," has begun soliciting signatures on a petition urging the Board of Selectmen to abandon removal proceedings against two members of the Planning Board — Josh Bartlett and Judy Ryerson.
The petition, posted on-line at "Moultonboro Speaks," reads: "We the undersigned citizens of Moultonboro, New Hampshire hereby petition the Moultonboro Board of Selectmen to cancel the scheduled public hearings to remove two elected Moultonboro Planning Board members and immediately refer the matter directly to the Moultonboro Planning Board for any action they so choose."
By press time, there were 31 signatories to the petition. Punturieri's goal is to collect 500 signatures.
On July 18, after conferring the town counsel Peter Minkow, the selectmen agreed to exercise the authority granted them by statute to remove elected members of the Planning Board after a public hearing. After Bartlett and Ryerson declined an offer to resign, the selectmen scheduled a public hearing on Sept. 9 to determine if there is sufficient cause to remove them for "inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office."
Last week the Planning Board, after a lengthy discussion at a special meeting, approved a resolution not to support the removal of Bartlett and Ryerson by a vote of three-to-one.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 02:37
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