Belmont police promote Boulanger to corporal

By THOMAS P. CALDWELL

LACONIA DAILY SUN


BELMONT — Evan Boulanger, who has served eight years as an officer with the Belmont Police Department, took the oath of office as a corporal during a ceremony yesterday at the Corner Meeting House.
Police Chief Mark Lewandoski, in introducing Boulanger, noted that three highly qualified officers had applied for the position. "All of them are qualified to be corporal and would do a great job," he said. "Officer Boulanger came out with the top score."
The department's sergeants created the test, administered at the Primex facility in Concord, according to Lt. Richard Mann. With oral, written, and essay components, the comprehensive test called upon knowledge from basic police procedures to field training to supervisory capabilities.
In addition to those scores, officers got points for community affiliations and involvement, educational training, and service awards, Mann said. In all, the candidates completed an eight-hour vetting process.
Boulanger came to Belmont after serving with the Gilmanton Police Department and, in 2014, he became the town's K9 handler when his four-legged companion "Vito" joined the department. He will continue as K9 handler as he takes on his new duties.
Belmont's corporal position is a first-line patrol supervisor position. Boulanger will work under the supervision of two sergeants.
Town Clerk Cynthia DeRoy administered the oath, after which Boulanger's wife, Sara, placed the pin on his uniform.

Winni Derby returns thanks to partnership with Boy Scouts

LACONIA — After a one-year hiatus, the Winni Derby, Lake Winnipesaukee's spring salmon and lake trout tournament, will be held for the 34th time May 19 through 21.
The Daniel Webster Council of the Boy Scouts of America has partnered with the Laconia Rotary Club to promote and produce this year's tournament. The Laconia Rotary Club took over management of the Winni Derby from the Lakes Region Inland Fishing Association and tournament founder Rick Davis in 2011. Davis intended to support the Rotary Club and the tournament in an advisory capacity at the time, so his death in November 2011 was a blow to tournament organizers. After producing the Winni Derby for four more years on its own, the Laconia Rotary Club canceled the 2016 derby and announced that they were looking for a partner to help bring back the tournament for 2017.
The Daniel Webster Council responded and has committed to keeping the Winni Derby going on an annual basis.
"We are pleased that the Scouts stepped up to help us bring back the Winni Derby and look forward to seeing it grow under their leadership," said Jon Nivus, treasurer of the Laconia Rotary Club. Proceeds from the tournament will benefit the character-building youth programs of the Boy Scouts of America.
The 34th annual Winni Derby will introduce new elements to the tournament, including a women's division and a Friday evening social and expo at the Merrill Fay Arena in Laconia on May 19. Admission to the expo is included in the price of a derby ticket and will feature food, entertainment, and exhibitors as well as door prizes and announcement of Friday's daily awards.
This year's tournament will also include a return to material prizes. First place in the salmon division wins a 16-foot 2017 Tracker Pro Guide fishing boat with a Mercury 75 horsepower motor and custom trailer. First place in the lake trout division wins a 2017 Polaris Sportsman 450 ATV. First place in the junior division wins a $1,000 fishing package from A.J.'s Bait & Tackle in Meredith. First place in the women's division wins a $1,000 gift card package from various retailers, including Bass Pro Shops. Runner up prizes include Lowrance touchscreen fish finders/chartplotters.
New Hampshire Fish and Game officials are looking forward to the Winni Derby as part of their ongoing effort to monitor the health of the fishery and educate fishermen about ways to be good stewards of Lake Winnipesaukee's limited population of landlocked salmon.
"The Winni Derby has been an important part of our management of the salmon fishery for over 30 years and we look forward to partnering with the Boy Scouts to continue our efforts," said John Viar, biologist with the Inland Fisheries Division of New Hampshire's Fish & Game Department.
Alan "A.J" Nute, owner of A.J.'s Bait & Tackle in Meredith, said there is a lot of excitement among fishermen and Lake's Region business owners about the Winni Derby's return.
"The Derby's going to be a busy weekend for all of us on the lake. We're thrilled that it's back," said Nute.
Tickets to participate in the derby are available at select retailers around the state or online. Sales locations and online registration can be found at www.winniderby.com.

Complication arises in funding for city teacher contract

By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — As the City Council prepares to consider a newly negotiated teachers' contract Monday, a complication has arisen with a potential funding mechanism.
The five-year contract, approved by teachers and the school board, calls for significant pay raises. School officials want the City Council to override a restrictive property tax cap to provide required funding.
However, that's a controversial suggestion and a non-starter for some councilors.
A potential solution had emerged recently in the form of a bill moving through the state Legislature that would fund full-day kindergarten.
Since Laconia already pays for kindergarten, the idea was that this state money could free up as much as $400,000 that could then be used to fund the contract without the need for a tax cap override.
The complication is that the school district's cost in providing kindergarten is defrayed by as much as $200,000 in federal Title 1 funds for low-income school districts, and that money can't be applied to the contract, Laconia School District Superintendent Dr. Brendan Minnihan said Wednesday.
School district officials are waiting to see if the full-day kindergarten legislation, Senate Bill 191, wins final passage. It has won initial votes in the House and Senate and is supported by the governor.
If it becomes law, district leaders would need to see if they would be permitted to use the money to help defray contract costs, or whether it would need to be spent strictly on kindergarten.
"That's the hard part of all of this," Minnihan said. "There are so many pieces in the air. A lot of things are in flux."
City Manager Scott Myers said city officials are interested in knowing what level of funding the state will provide, how the money can be used and the exact details of the school district's budget, which is still to be provided to the City Council.
The tax cap, approved by voters in November 2005, limits increases in property tax collections for the city, school and county budgets based on a formula tied to changes in the Federal National Consumer Price Index (urban) and new building permits less demolitions.
Under the tentative contract, teachers at all experience steps are to get a $700 salary increase in the first year of the contract. Teachers at the top step are to receive an additional $1,000, resulting in a total increase of $1,700 for teachers in this category in the first year.
In the second year, all steps are to be given a $1,200 increase. Teachers in the top step would receive an additional $1,300.
The council will meet in City Hall at 6 p.m. Monday.

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