Halloween masquerade wedding developed into haunted house attraction in town of Hill

HILL — Bruce Perkins says that the impetus for the haunted house events that he has held at his home off from Rte. 3-A just north of Hill Village for many years was actually his own wedding.
''My wife and I were married at a Halloween masquerade wedding in 1995. It was the idea of the Justice of the Peace, who said that she had officiated all all kinds of weddings, but never one at which everyone was in costume. So all of the guests wore costumes and the Justice of the Peace was the only person at the wedding without a costume.''
Perkins said that he and his wife, Barbara, decorated their home for other anniversaries in years that followed. ''It just kept getting bigger and bigger every year. People liked it so much that they asked us to open our home to the public and we did one year and invited the whole town.'' says Perkins.
He says that after that he was encouraged to start charging admission in order to raise funds for the Franklin Animal Shelter and other charities and started at $1, then raised it to $5. Then, with the idea that the event would be able to help even more people, the admission price was raised to $10.
He says that he and his wife, who died last October, have had a lot of help in putting the haunted house together over the years. ''There are a bunch of volunteers who have helped us and hey keep coming back year after year.''
Perkins said that Barbara worked at the Jenny Blake School and at the Hill Village Sore and was a strong supporter of events which bring the community together.
The haunted house opened last weekend and drew large crowds, with many people telling him that this year's version is the best ever.
Contributions this year go to the area Boys and Girls Club, the Franklin Animal Shelter and a Christmas fund. Those who bring non-perishable canned goods or pet food receive a dollar off the price of admission.
The haunted house is open to the public on weekends through November 1. Friday and Saturday hours are 7-11 p.m. and Sundays 7-9 p.m.

CAPTION: Pix slugged haunted house

A haunted house at the Bruce Perkins residence on Rte. 3-A in Hill raises funds for local charities. (Courtesy photo)

Commission concerned that budget overruns not being caught ahead of time

LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners endorsed five 2015 budget transfer requests when they met Oct. 7 at the Belknap County Complex and are anticipating several more requests in the coming weeks.
The new transfer requests bring the total to 27 so far this year and must be approved by the Executive Committee of the Belkap County Commission before they can be made official.
Commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton) said that he is concerned that the requests are being made after the budget line for the accounts have been over expended, pointing out that it is a violation of state law to expend more than has been appropriated for a budget line as well as a violation of a court order issued last year by the Belknap County Superior Court, which prohibits transfers of more than $300 between budget line items without approval of the Executive Committee.
''It is imperative that we catch these before they go over,'' said Taylor, who repeated his concerns later in the meeting when County Administrator Debra Shackett pointed out that there were several budget lines already over expended for which no transfer requests have yet been made, several of which were at the nursing home.
Commissioners asked that Nursing Home Administrator Mathew Logue be brought back to the meeting to explain the apparent need for further transfers which had not been requested. Earlier in the meeting Logue had explained the need for two transfers, one of $800 for vehicle maintenance and repair and another for $2,000 for medical service supplies.
It was pointed out that no transfer requests had been made for several accounts which an up to date budget report had shown were exceeding the budget line item.
When Logue said that he had used an August 31 budget report as the basis for his earlier requests, Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy asked ''why would you be working off an August report in October?''
He asked Logue if he reviewed the real time budget which is available every single day on the county's network and available to all department heads and Logue said that he did.
''I would suggest that you pay attention to this,'' Taylor told Logue after the exchange.
Other budget transfer requests are expected from the Sheriff's Department for wages for part-time deputies and the House of Corrections for travel.

Weirs Action Committee's annual request for MC Week parking concession not a slam dunk this year

LACONIA — The request of the Weirs Action Committee (WAC) to gain the proceeds at the lot at Endicott Rock Park during the 2016 running of Motorcycle Week, a concession the City Council has routinely granted for years, promises to arouse some debate when it is presented to councilors tonight. The group apparently enjoys gross income of about $25,000 a year through the running of the lot during the rally.

Two weeks ago, the Weirs Community Park Asociation made a similar request to raise funds from the parking concession at the lots adjacent to the Weirs Community Center. Councilor Brenda Baer (Ward 4), mistaking the Weirs Communty Park Association for the WAC, challenged the request for the parking concession, referring to the WAC's decision to leave the Laconia Motorcycle Weeks Association rather than pay increased membership dues. Although Baer aimed at the wrong target, her shot echoed a round fired earlier by Mayor Ed Engler.

Speaking at council meeting in August, Engler scolded those who profit from Motorcycle Weeks for failing to invest in the success of the rally. "What is unacceptable," he said, "is to take money from Motorcycle Week and the people it draws and put nothing back into it. That's unacceptable! I'm not giving anybody a pass," he continued. "The city is as guilty as anybody. We're mad this year because we didn't make any money." He noted that the WAC, which reaps significant returns from the parking concession on city property, left the LMWA when the dues were increased from $2,000 to $5,000 per year.
The mayor's statement prompted a sharp rejoinder from Joe Driscoll, III of the WAC, who in a letter to The Daily Sun, wrote: "The WAC did not leave the LMWA board so much as we were shown the door. At $5,000 these dues would typically represent 20 percent of our funds raised each year. We determined that this was more than we could afford and would create much hardship in successfully pursuing our mission, but in recognition of the substantial financial difficulties of the LMWA we offered to increase our dues to $3,000. We were turned down flat."
At the request of City Manager Scott Myers, the WAC has supported its request with a profit and loss statement for the 18 months between January, 2014 and September 2015, which includes parking revenue for two Motorcycle Weeks,  and a list of the contributions, in money and kind, the organization has made to the community over the years.
The WAC reported total income of $58,496, of which parking income represented $53,225, and total expenses of $48,894 while contributions for fireworks of $24,985 fell $344 short of expenses, leaving total net income of $9,258.
Over the years, the WAC has made cash contributions of almost $135,000 to a variety of projects, many but not all at The Weirs. For instance, the WAC donated $5,000 to the reconstruction of the Laconia Public Library and another $2,000 for the purchase of books, $3,500 to the Police Department for acquisition of equipment, $2,000 to the Fire Department to train divers and $2,500 to the Parks and Recreation Department for cleaning municipal beaches. Not surprisingly, most of the WAC's resources have been applied to improving the infrastructure and enhancing the appearance of The Weirs, including $55,000 to commission the statue of the Native American atop the Endicott Rock Monument.