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John O'Brien will not seek 3rd term on selectboard

GILFORD — Two-term Selectman John T. O'Brien will not be seeking a third term in March.

Phyllis Corrigan, whose term as chair of the Budget Committee has expired is the only candidate to sign up for selectmen as of Wednesday morning, said Town Clerk Denise Gonyer.

Tom Space, the incumbent Trustee of the Trust Funds is seeking a new term and Diane Tinkham and and Jack LaCombe are each seeking one of the two vacancies on the Board of Library Trustees.

There are three openings on the Budget Committee. Incumbent Norm Silber is seeking his first full term after being appointed last year and Joy Hall and Sean Murphy are also seeking terms. Gonyer said she has not heard from incumbent Alan Voivoid and Corrigan will be seeking election as Corrigan.

Incumbent Susan Leach is seeking an additional term as cemetery trustee and, although he hasn't signed up yet, Fire Engineer Bill Akerley said yesterday afternoon he was going to seek an additional term.

Gonyer said the Town Clerk's Office will be open until 5 p.m. Friday for residents to sign up for elected office.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 January 2015 02:27

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Frates, as 'Nascimento' partners with Putnam Fund to bring positive messages to Laconia students

LACONIA — In the character of "Nascimento", magician, Larry Frates will bring magic with a message to the schools in the city in a series of performances from January to March sponsored by the Putnam Fund.

Along with the magic, Frates, a former teacher at Laconia Middle School who owns and operates Frates Creative Arts Center, will draw on his talents as a cartoonist, storyteller and puppeteer, to entertain while addressing timely issues confronting his audiences. For example, some shows will tackle bullying and substance abuse while others will aim at making choices, encouraging reading, inspiring creativity and nurturing talents. He said that teachers and students will participate in the interactive performances.

Frates said that he offered the schools a menu of options and they chose the topic. Programs have been offered to Laconia High School, Laconia Middle School and all three elementary schools — Pleasant Street, Elm Street and Woodland Heights — as well as Holy Trinity School.

"I'm local, the Putnam Fund is local and the schools are local," Frates said. "The shows are designed to the specific needs of Laconia."

Since 1962 the Putnam Fund, originally endowed by Perley and Ellen Putnam, has sponsored musical, theatrical and other cultural events without charge to residents of the and its environs. Jim Rogato, a member of the advisory committee of the fund, said that the fund has always sought opportunities to work with the schools. "We're always looking for a need," he remarked, "for ways to provide enrichment."

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 January 2015 02:24

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Laconia to hold Feb. 11 hearing on pot store zoning

LACONIA — The Planning Board and Zoning Task Force will hold a public hearing on a proposed ordinance to regulate the location of a medical marijuana dispensary on Wednesday, Feb. 11 at City Hall beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to operate Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) in four geographic zones, one of which consists of Belknap, Strafford and Rockingham counties in accordance with a statute authorizing the use of the drug to treat a specified number of medical conditions. Each ATC would be licensed to dispense and cultivate marijuana, as well as process the plant into edible products. With the support of DHHS, legislation (Senate Bill 22) has been introduced that would enable each licensed dispensary, with the approval of the department, to operate one satellite facility, which could only dispense, not cultivate or process, marijuana.
DHHS has issued 70 pages of rules regulating the ownership and operation of the facilities, but where and when such a facility could operate are questions for the city to address.
Planning Director Shanna Saunders has suggested that rather than propose different regulations for dispensing, cultivating and processing, she suggested the same regulation apply to all three.
She recommended that ATCs be confined to the Industrial Park, Industrial and Airport Industrial districts and prohibited elsewhere. The Industrial Park District refers to the O'Shea Industrial Park on Lexington Drive. There are three Industrial Districts in downtown, two beyond the south end and another near the north end of Union Avenue. The Airport Industrial District lies east of White Oaks Road and borders the Gilford town line. ATCs would be prohibited in residential districts and within 1,000 feet of schools, daycare centers and places of worship. The dispensaries would be allowed to operate between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Eric Borrin of DHHS said that the department received 14 applications to operate ATCs before the period for responding to the request for proposals closed at 2 p.m. yesterday. He said that at least one application has been received for each of the four geographic areas, but declined to specify how many applications were submitted for each area. The RFP prescribes that the applications — and the identity of the applicants — will remain confidential until 10 days after the successful applicants have been notified.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 January 2015 02:17

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County will pay Luther's legal bill

LACONIA — The Belknap County Convention's Executive Committee Monday agreed to several 2014 budget transfers sought by Belknap County Commissioners, including $5,200 to pay legal fees incurred by former Belknap County Register of Deeds Barbara Luther in 2011, when she was sued by the previous commission in an effort to make her comply with recommendations made by an auditing firm hired by the county.
In 2013 the county convention appropriated $5,200 to pay Luther's fees but the former commissioners refused to release a check to her.
Commission Chairman Richard Burchell said that since the lawsuit was brought against her in her capacity as Register of Deeds that it was appropriate that the county should reimburse her for those costs.
''Apparently the money we put in the budget was spent somewhere else,'' said Burchell.
Transfer requests also approved were $11,291 for inmate medications and medical services at the Belknap County Jail, $6,530 for natural gas heating fuel charges for December, $260 to pay for legal expenses incurred by Burchell in fees paid to Belknap County Superior Court in filing a lawsuit on behalf of the county convention against the commissioners and $71.84 to pay former representatives Colette Worsman (R-Meredith), and Robert Greemore (R-Meredith) to attend a Personnel Committee meeting.
A total of 56 budget transfer requests have been made by county commissioners for the 2014 budget year, the vast majority of which came after the county convention obtained a temporary injunction in Belknap County Superior Court in late summer which prohibited county commissioners from transferring more than $300 from one line item in the budget to another without the approval of the Executive Committee.
Still awaiting action by the Executive Committee are some $60,000 in unpaid legal bills which Belknap County Commissioners put off consideration of until a third commissioner had been appointed to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Commissioner Steve Nedeau of Meredith effective as of January 1.
Hunter Taylor of Alton, a retired lawyer who was also a law professor at Rutgers University and moved to the Lakes Region from New Jersey in 2010, was named by the Belknap County Convention to fill the remaining two years of Nedeau's term on Monday night.
During an interview of Taylor conducted by members of the convention, Brian Gallagher of Sanbornton, convention clerk, expressed the view that the legal bills, many of which were run up in the battle between commissioners and the convention over line item budget authority, should be paid so that the county could put the issue in the past.
He asked Taylor, who has in the past suggested that the county convention should conduct an investigation into the possibility that the previous commissioners had broken the law by having the county incur legal fees for which no funds had been appropriated, whether it was wise ''to be spending taxpayer dollars to get the same conclusion'' already rendered in the court's decision.
Convention Chairman Frank Tilton cut off that line of questioning before Taylor could answer, saying ''we don't want to go that deep'' and suggested that the questions should focus on qualifications, not on specific issues the candidate for the position would be dealing with.
Last week Burchell revealed that the county now holds nearly $30,000 in recently received legal bills, $5,456 from the Drummond Woodsum law firm which represented the commission at a hearing on the dismissal of Belknap County Nursing Home Administrator Mathew Logue, $12,600 from the lawyer who represented the Belknap County Convention in its lawsuit against the commissioners over line item budget authority and another $10,429 in a personnel matter case. The source of the last bill was not mentioned.
Prior to receiving the latest bills last week the commissioners declined to endorse a 2014 budget transfer request to the convention's Executive Committee for $31,852.54 to pay the county's legal bills which had been received between October 31 and the end of the year. That request had been made by the board that left office on December 31.
Legal bills which have been paid through the end of the year total $39,574.59 and many of those relate to the year-long struggle between the former commissioners and the convention over line item budget authority.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 January 2015 02:10

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