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Community Action Program closing senior center in Meredith

MEREDITH — The Community Action Program of Belknap-Merrimack Counties, Inc. (CAP) this week announced the closure of the Inter-lakes Senior Center, which operated for many years at Trinity Episcopal Church before moving to the Community Center in April 2006. The center served the towns of Meredith, Center Harbor and New Hampton.

In a prepared statement, the agency explained that it was "faced with making this very difficult decision due to rising costs and funding reductions."

The CAP rented space and use of the kitchen at the Community Center between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, offering a congregate luncheon that in recent months regularly drew less than a dozen seniors.

Pam Jolivette, director of elder services at the CAP, declined to specify the operating budget for the center. However, last year the CAP, which was paying $1,200 per month in rent, approached the Board of Selectmen with a request to halve the rent. The board chose to reduce the rent by a third, to $800.

Jolivette said yesterday that as pressures on its funding have mounted the agency reviews the costs and utilization of all its cost centers, including its 10 senior centers. She said that the agency "deeply regretted its decision and offered its "sincere appreciation" to the volunteers, civic groups, businesses and town officials whose contributions ensured the success of the center for so many years.

Jolivette hastened to stress that "the Elder Services Department of the CAP "will continue to provide all current services for residents of Meredith, Center Harbor and New Hampton." Meals-on-Wheels will be delivered five days a week. The Rural Transportation Program will continue to offer rides for medical appointments, grocery shopping and other errands.

Senior citizens from the three towns are welcome to enjoy lunch at any of the agency's other nearby senior centers in Laconia, Belmont, Tilton, Franklin and Alton. In addition, the CAP is exploring the possibility of offering a community luncheon once or twice a month in the area.

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 April 2014 11:56

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Radar speed warning board will go up on Rte. 11-A at intersection of Alvah Wilson

GILFORD — Selectmen voted unanimously last night to install a newly purchased radar warning sign near Alvah Wilson Road that they hope will slow traffic on Rte. 11-A as it approaches the village from Laconia.

The sign, which cost $4,300, was approved in late 2013 but selectmen had initially waited to install it until the village intersection could be improved by a N.H. Department of Transportation project scheduled to begin on June 1.

Police Lt. Kris Kelley said that he thinks the sign will benefit the people working on the intersection by slowing down motorists as they approach the construction site.

"I think where we put will slow things down," Kelley told selectmen.

The sign is one of the type that has the posted speed limit and it also flashes the driver's speed as he or she nears it. It is solar operated and although it is "hard mounted" can be relocated if needed.

The intersection of School House Hill Road, Belknap Mountain Road and Route 11-A was rated by the state of New Hampshire as one of the most dangerous intersections in the state, which qualifies it for some state administered highway intersection improvement money.

According to William Oldenburg of the N.H. Department Transportation who spoke at a public hearing about the project in 2012, there were 28 accidents at the intersection from 2002 through 2009 that resulted in one death (in 2010), and 17 injuries.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 April 2014 01:19

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Rx Take-Back-Day in 6 municipalities set for April 26

LACONIA — More than half-a-dozen police departments in the Lakes Region will be participating in the eighth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. sponsored by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

The police departments in Laconia, Belmont, Gilford, Meredith, Sanbornton and Tilton in Belknap County are participating. Drugs will collected at the CVS Pharmacy on Lake Shore Road in Gilford and at the police stations in other municipalities. Unwanted prescription medications can be disposed of throughout the year at the police stations in Gilford and Laconia, where drop boxes are located in the lobbies.

All solid and liquid medications, whether prescribed or over-the-counter, may be disposed of anonymously, but injectable liquids and syringes will not be accepted.

This is an opportunity for residents to empty their homes of potentially dangerous expired and unwanted medications properly and safely, ensuring that they do not fall into the hands of those who might abuse them or find their way into the natural environment with adverse impacts on water quality. Studies indicate that most of the prescription medications that are abused originate from the medicine cabinets of families and friends. Likewise, medications left in the home contribute significantly to the high numbers of accidental poisonings and overdoses.

Common methods for disposing of prescription medications such as flushing them down toilets or drains or putting them in the trash threaten both public health and the natural environment.

Last October, more than 324 tons of prescription medications were collected at 4,114 sites and the over 1,700 tons of pills and tablets have been collected at the first seven Take-Back Days.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 12:54

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Survey suggests support for higher parks budget

LACONIA — To date, the 120 responses to the "Budget Survey," which invites residents to register their opinions on how their property tax dollars are spent, indicate that while a minority believes the city is spending too much, most consider current levels of funding about right or too low.

The survey asks residents to rank 11 city departments — administration, planning, city clerk, parks and recreation, library, public works, police, fire and water and sewer — in order of priority and indicate whether they think the funding for each should decrease, increase or stay the same.

The Parks and Recreation Department attracted the strongest support from respondents. While a minority of 53 or 46 percent of all respondents, deemed the budget sufficient, a majority of 60 or 52 percent called for it to be increased and only 3 respondents wanted it cut.

Similarly 56 respondents or 48 percent favored maintaining current spending at the Department of Public Works, but another 58 or 50 percent favored increased spending on maintaining and improving infrastructure. Only 3 respondents found the department's budget excessive.

Likewise, the current budget of the Fire Department found support from 56 or 48 percent of respondents, but another 50 or 43 percent opted for increased expenditures for emergency services and just 11 or 9-percent .

The results were much the same for the Police Department. Only 14 respondents or 12 percent favored reduced spending while 63 or 54 percent considered the budget sufficient and 39 or 34 percent though it should be increased.

Administration, which includes the city manager, assessing department, legal expenses, finance office and welfare department, drew the highest number of responses in favor of reducing expenditures — 47 or 40 percent — and the fewest in favor of raising expenditures — 8 or 7 percent.

Only 21 respondents, or 18 percent, called for cutting spending by the Planning Department, which includes code enforcement, while 69, or 59 percent, found current funding sufficient and 27, or 23 percent, though it should increase.

Three-quarters of respondents found the budget of the City Clerk's office appropriate while only 13, or 11 percent, considered it excessive.

A majority of 55 percent favored maintaining the library budget at its current level while the 20 percent of respondents wishing to reduce it were outnumbered by the 26 percent preferring to raise it.

The City Council will resume its discussion of the 2014-2015 city budget recommended by City Manager Scott Myers when it meets on Monday, April 28 at 6 p.m.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 12:50

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