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Local man charged with failing to register as sex offender

LACONIA — A local man was ordered held on $15,000 cash-only bail after allegedly failing to register as a sex offender with the Police Department.

Michael D'Amore, 45, of 192 Union Ave. is also accused of failing to register a change of address with the Laconia Police, as it required of all Class III sex offenders.

In 1989, D'Amore was convicted on one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault on a victim who was younger than 16-years-old. He is required to register his address with local police four times a year.

Police affidavits filed with the court said on March 5, Parole Officer Seifu Ragassa went to D'Amore's address and learned that he hadn't been living there since February.
Ragussa called the Laconia Police to see if D'Amore had registered a change of address with them and learned he hadn't.

Affidavits said D'Amore's wife said she hadn't seen him but told police that he wasn't "doing very well" and was likely using drugs again.

Ragassa said he and Laconia Police heard D'Amore was hiding out in a friend's apartment on Strafford Street and on Wednesday night Ragassa, members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Joint Task Force, and the Laconia Police went to that address and arrested him.

In court yesterday, D'Amore's attorney waived a bail argument reserving it for a date to be determined later.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 March 2014 12:43

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Steen outlines new programs in ‘State of University’ address

PLYMOUTH — Noting this week that the "higher education landscape is shifting," Plymouth State University President Sara Jayne Steen asserted that the University is "nimble enough to make significant decisions" in order to deliver on the promise of its historic mission to New Hampshire. PSU has the talent and the resources to make innovative and enduring efforts in providing access to excellent educational opportunities, on campus and online, for a diverse population of students who seek to be successful in the global marketplace.

Steen's remarks came during her annual "State of the University" address on Wednesday afternoon.

"PSU offers outstanding undergraduate and graduate programs," she told an audience of faculty, staff, students and visitors. "That means hands-on learning with exciting research and creative opportunities that often involve service and engagement with our wider communities."

According to the National Study of Student Engagement (NSSE), a higher rate of PSU students have professional experiences as an element of their education compared with their peers (94 percent to 86 percent) as evidenced, Steen said, by the more than 800 PSU students who participated in internships or a program capstone experience last year with regional businesses and community agencies. She also noted that more than 560 course sections from across the University involve service learning. "The region should be better for PSU's presence."

Steen reminded the audience that PSU's regional impact is central to its mission, and that PSU has a direct impact on the economic health and cultural opportunities in the White Mountains and Lakes Region and throughout rural New Hampshire. She noted several strategic partnerships that leverage university resources to promote community growth and investment while at the same time providing increased engagement for students. These include joining with the Mount Washington Observatory to sponsor a professor who will lead Meteorology students in research projects using observatory data. Students in the Department of Language and Linguistics assisted local agencies in creating a Tourism Development toolkit to make them more welcoming and to entice Québécois visitors to stay longer in northern New Hampshire. The Enterprise Center at Plymouth is now open, with the College of Business Administration (COBA) students and the Grafton County Economic Development Council assisting 18 firms in the building and others through online programming. And the Museum of the White Mountains continues to attract visitors as its board and staff work with researchers and residents alike to preserve and promote the history, culture and legacy of the region.
New academic programs also reflect the region's priorities. A nursing program was added two years ago in response to a pressing need for health care professionals. The first Doctor of Education graduates from 2012 are now having an impact as leaders in local schools. And construction begins this spring on ALLWell-North, a multi-use health science facility that will provide much needed space for recreation and athletics as well as additional classroom and research space for several health and wellness disciplines.

"These initiatives sound diverse, but they are focused in mission," Steen said. "They reflect both short-term and long-term strategic thinking." Each contributes substantively to the future success and growth of the University. The future, however, is not without its challenges. Some of the shifts in the higher education landscape include increased financial pressures on students in a difficult economy, potential shifts in federal funding guidelines and a projected long-term demographic decline of high school graduates throughout New England, unlike other areas of the country and globe.
"Those institutions that will thrive by staying ahead of the confluence of these current challenges in higher education are thinking in focused, strategic ways with data-driven goals. Our PSU colleagues have been and are moving forward in an integrated manner to meet those challenges."

Last Updated on Friday, 28 March 2014 12:36

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Hill School Board exempts two missed days - 411

by Thomas P. Caldwell

HILL — With two unexpected school closings adding to the four snow days the district has experienced so far this year, the Hill School Board last week elected to exempt those two emergency days from the makeup calendar.
Hill schools closed Dec. 18 when the fuel oil ran out and the school could not get an immediate delivery. The superintendent called off school again on Feb. 7 due to a frozen pipe. With the snow days that had occurred prior to the meeting, that left just two snow days on the calendar and, with a storm moving in that evening, officials were concerned about being able to hold to the June 19 final day of classes.
Dr. William Compton, who is serving as the interim superintendent for School Administrative Unit 18, said he would like to get Hill back in line with the Franklin School District, and he suggested a way to do that. He said that RSA 189.1, which requires 180 days of school, offers a choice of using school hours instead of days. The requirement for an elementary school is a minimum of 900 hours of instruction. He noted that Hill's calendar contained approximately 1,000 hours and, with the closings so far, the district still has 993 hours available within the existing calendar.
Dr. Compton recommended that the board vote to exempt the two emergency days which still leaves Hill "well beyond 900 hours" and allows the district to realign with Franklin, with four snow days still available.

Curriculum Coordinator Tracy Bricchi pointed out that making sure the district ends the same day as Franklin also allows the teachers to participate in a professional development day that Franklin holds the day after classes end.

The school board also discussed participation in Franklin's Class Day Parade, an annual, community-building end-of-school event in which the students and staff of all Franklin schools march up Central Street to a crowd of parents and friends. In a poll of Hill parents, 15 indicated support of the event, two were opposed, and five were undecided.
Chair Shelly Henry said that, when one looks at the cost of transportation to Franklin and the loss of class time, it did not make sense to her. She noted that Hill students already do a Halloween walk and other local events, and board member December Fortin suggested that they might do a town parade, perhaps on Memorial Day.
The board directed Principal Jay Lewis to look into the cost of participating in the Class Day Parade.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 March 2014 12:27

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Eclectic Ellacoya Barn & Grill to be at Taste of the Lakes Region on Sunday

GILFORD — Among the 20 restaurants taking part in the 24th annual Taste of the Lakes Region at Church Landing in Meredith on Sunday, March 30, will be the Ellacoya Barn & Grill, which has developed a reputation for an eclectic, wide-ranging menu and has in recent years been adding space for its loyal customers.

''We've added an upstairs function room and a downstairs addition made with beams and wood from a barn from the 1700s, as well as a new entrance,'' says Ken Choice, who has managed the Route 11 restaurant for the last nine years.

Choice, who was born in New Mexico and started cooking when he moved to Texas at the age of 14, has also worked in Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey before he moved to New Hampshire and worked for the Common Man in Meredith before becoming manager of Ellacoya.

''It's less corporate and more creativity is involved. We want to make our menu unique, just like the building, and we always have lots of fun,'' says Choice.

''We have a lot of steaks and seafood and our all-American burgers and pizza and more than 90 percent of our food is made from scratch. We create our own dishes and sauces and have weeknight specials to keep our customers coming back. The idea is that you can eat here seven nights a week and never have the same dish,'' says Choice.

Monday features $5 burgers, Tuesday at a $10 pizza and wine specials, Wednesday is half off Mexican items and Thursday features a $14.95 prime rib dinner.

He said that aside from the burgers the most popular item on Ellacoya's menu are its fish tacos.

''I didn't realize they were that popular until the kitchen staff told me and I checked out the total and I was amazed,'' says Choice, who adds that the menu is full of other items such filets, strip steaks and sirloins, as well as chicken, pork and shrimp scampi.

The Laconia Altrusa Club's Taste of the Lakes Region has raised nearly $300,000 for the club's charitable activities since it started 24 years ago.

This year it will be held from 4-7 p.m. Tickets cost $25 per person and can be purchased at Hart's Turkey Farm in Meredith or in Laconia at Hector's Fine Food &Spirits or at the Coldwell-Banker Residential Brokerage. Because there is a cash bar at the event, no one younger than 21 will be admitted.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 March 2014 12:17

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