Belmont selectmen approve bid to pave Wareing Road despite opposition

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

BELMONT — Despite opposition, selectmen approved a bid of $316,020 from DBU Construction of Epsom to reconstruct and pave Wareing Road as part of an attempted to eliminate gravel trucks from traveling through the recently redeveloped village area.

Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said yesterday that the bid came in significantly lower than engineer projections of as much as $380,000.

She said multiple town departments including hers, the Public Works Department and the Planning Department have been working with Parent Sand and Gravel to have them move their scales from Shaker Road to Wareing Road and use that to access Route 106 and points north or south since its purchase of a former Nutter Excavating lot.

Opponents of the projects have said that with paving, even though the road will only be paved to the Parent access, will create a speedway and a short cut around Belmont Village. They have also contended that spending $300,000 on a road with only two residents is a poor use of money allocated to town road projects through the annual budget.

Selectman Jon Pike noted Tuesday that as many as 25 loaded trucks can pass through the village daily.

"Our goal," said Beaudin, "has been to protect the pavement and pedestrians in the village."

Beaudin said the selectmen expect the project is completed by early summer.

LASC sold - Optiline Enterprises wins $735,000 bid, Executive to run health club

04-05 LASC auction

Former LASC owner Tom Oakley, center, shakes hands with Tommy Bolduc, the owner of Optiline Enterprises, which bought the facility. Looking on is Mick Bolduc, Tommy Bolduc's partner and cousin. In Tommy Bolduc's left hand is the key to the front door. (Laconia Daily Sun Photo/Gail Ober)

 

 

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA – The Laconia Athletic and Swim Club sold at auction yesterday for $735,000 to Optiline Enterprises of Hudson, a building company, bringing to a close a five-month-long saga of seeing one of the flagship businesses in the city fall to financial stress.
Former owner Tom Oakley said it was great news for the Lakes Region.
"It's not even bittersweet," he said, "because we had a great run."
Aside from the opening bid of $725,000 made by auctioneer Steven Calheta, who represented first mortgage holder ReadyCap Lending LLC, there were no other bids offered and Calheta, after speaking with ReadyCap via telephone, passed on a chance to up the bid to $745,000.
"We're trying to give local people back their health club," said top-bidder Optiline co-owner Tommy Bolduc, who said they plan on completely rebuilding the building and leasing it to The Executive, which is a company that operates health clubs in Hooksett and Manchester.
Executive's CEO, Michael Benton, said yesterday that he is working with Optiline to re-create a health club that will concentrate on families, the individual and preventative health care. He said Optiline will own the property and The Executive will operate the health club.
"We are very, very excited to come up to Laconia," he said.
"We feel strongly we can build a very upscale but not overly priced offering," Benton said yesterday, adding there will be a daycare.
Benton said his team will be designing the interior and directing the renovations of the building according to the goals of creating a smaller version of the 130,000-square-foot health club in Manchester. He said he would be working with people in the area to see what kind of health club they want to have.
"We have a lot of members who also have homes in the Lakes Region who have be asking us to do something there," Benton said. "We also want to get the swim team back."
Benton said he is also involved in Genavix and hopes to continue Oakley's relationship with LRGHealthcare for preventative care. He said Genavix offers corporate wellness services to families and individuals.
The "swim club," as it was affectionately known throughout the Lakes Region, was owned and operated by Oakley for 24 years. Built in 1962 as a YMCA, the club was sold to him 1991 and operated continually until its sudden closing the day after Thanksgiving of 2015.
Yesterday's auction was the second attempt at selling the building at foreclosure. The first failed in late February when no auctioneer showed.
According to Oakley's attorney, Jeff Philpot, rules governing the sale of corporations at foreclosure auctions is that the opening bid, in this case the bid made by ReadyCap LLC, must be at least 60 percent of the fair-market value of the property. That would be $1,225,000. The city of Laconia has the property assessed for $1,287,400.
There were three bidders at yesterday's auction. One was Rusty Bertholet of Meredith, who was prepared to bid but didn't after hearing the opening offer. The other was unidentified and never bid.
Philpot said Optiline has 30 days to pay ReadyCap or the sale is nullified and the property would go back to auction.
"My wife and I were ecstatic to hear who bought it," said Oakley. "The Executive health and sports clubs are premiere facilities. You couldn't ask for a better outcome."

Anger in Alton - Parents shocked as officials walk out of school meeting

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

ALTON — The controversy pitting parents and teachers on the one hand against the school board and superintendent on the other, which has roiled the Alton School Board for months, boiled over again this week when, after the board deadlocked over electing a chairperson, Superintendent Maureen Ward recessed the meeting and left the room, followed by two board members — Steve Miller and Sandy Wyatt.
After a mere seven minutes, the abrupt end of the meeting left parents eager to address concerns expressed in a petition presented to the board in February dismayed and frustrated.
"The message they sent was loud and clear," wrote Kim Mochrie in a letter to The Laconia Daily Sun. "They do not want to hear from the community, nor do they respect us, and will take any measure to avoid hearing our concerns or answering our questions." She said that she was "disgusted," found their conduct "deplorable," hoped "this event is addressed by state authorities and dealt with accordingly."
The first item on the agenda was the reorganization of the board following the election last month, including the election of a chairperson. The policies of the board prescribe that "this meeting shall be called to order by the Superintendent, who shall preside during and until the election of a Chairperson."
Four members of the board were present: Miller, the outgoing chairperson, and Wyatt, an incumbent member, as well as two newly elected members, Michael Ball and Peter Leavitt. The fifth member, incumbent Terri Noyes, was ill. Ward called for nominations for chairperson. Miller and Leavitt were nominated and seconded. Each received two votes.
"Is there any chance of reconsideration?" Ward asked. "I don't believe so," Ball replied. "No," said Miller.
Ward opened a public hearing on the acceptance and expenditure of anticipated funds, which passed without comment, then announced "I am not comfortable continuing as your chair" and recessed the meeting "until a full quorum of the board can be here to elect a chair."
"You have a full quorum," Leavitt countered. "No, I don't," Ward responded. "I have a two-two." Leavitt repeated that a quorum was present while Ball asked "Doesn't the board have to vote on this?" Miller reminded him that "We don't have a chair or a vice chair."
Miller, stressing that he was speaking only for himself and not for the board, said yesterday that Ward had no choice but to recess the meeting. Her authority, he explained, began and ended with conducting the election of a chairperson. Without a chairperson, he said, the superintendent has no authority to proceed further.
"We have a legal opinion," he said.
However, Anna Ransom said that Ward failed to fulfill her duties. She insisted that the policy of the district requires the superintendent to chair the school board meeting until a chairperson is elected.
"Instead of working through a tie vote, she walked out," she said. "It's unacceptable."
The episode was the latest skirmish in a conflict that erupted on Feb. 15 when a petition expressing no confidence in Ward as well as with the principal, Cris Blackstone, and special education director, Jennifer Katz Borrin of Alton Central School, was presented to the School Board. With more than 250 signatories, the petition called on the board to impost a moratorium on reductions in personnel, freeze scheduling changes, reinstate laid-off staff, restore the preschool program, maintain the after-school program and keep the current schedule of 180 school days. The petition also urged the board to scuttle the contract with Ward to serve as a consultant and mentor her successor, Pamela Stiles, who will become superintendent on July 1.
Miller, who then chaired the board, told the petitioners that the board would consider their concerns when it met on April 4.

04-06 Alton SB walkout

Alton school officials pack up and leave the Monday night School Board meeting minutes after it began. With a 2-2 deadlock on choosing a chairman, they determined the meeting could not conitinue, much to the dismay of those in attendance. (Screenshot from YouTube video)