5K race memorializes murder victim

WOLFEBORO — The Stacey Burns Memorial Scholarship 5K will be held Saturday, May 13,  starting at 9 a.m. at the Carpenter School.
Proceeds from the walk-run will be used for a scholarship given in her name to a student pursuing a career in nursing. Burns was a nurse at Carpenter School, the local elementary school.
The event has been held since 2009 to honor the memory of Burns, whose 2009 Mother's Day murder shocked this close-knit community.
The mother of five, Burns, 41, was found stabbed to death in her bed on a Sunday morning. No one has ever been charged in connection with her death, despite extensive investigation by the New Hampshire State Police, who interviewed more than 50 people in the months after her death.
Her death is now listed as a cold case on the state's Department of Justice website.
The case drew national attention and was featured on ABC's 20-20 program on Jan. 21, 2011.
That show featured interviews with her former husband, Ed Burns, and former boyfriend, Jim Vittum, as well as close friends who were devastated by her loss and said that they believed her death was motivated by jealousy.

Gilford satisfied with dispatch, but not with town hall

By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — As the town looks ahead to campus improvements at the town hall, selectmen crossed off one to-do item that had been on the police chief's agenda.
Town Administrator Scott Dunn said that, when Gilford hired Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee three years ago, one of the goals the selectmen set for him was to evaluate the use of the Belknap County dispatch service. Subsequently, the town renovated its police station, installing a state-of-the-art dispatch center that eliminated the need to look elsewhere — but the search remained on Burpee's official list of goals.
"The chief asked the selectmen to relieve him of that search, saying it's no longer productive to evaluate the sheriff's dispatch," Dunn said.
The town has four full-time dispatchers, with two others trained to fill in as needed, Dunn said.
While several other Belknap County towns rely on the Sheriff's Department for their police dispatch needs and are facing the possibility of losing that service or having to pay fees because of the county's budget constraints, Gilford and Laconia have their own dispatch centers. Dunn said Gilford's is working out quite well for the town.
Of greater concern to the selectmen right now is how to address issues such as the heating and cooling fixtures and water system issues at the town hall, Dunn said.
Voters at town meeting approved a $385,000 warrant article to cover town hall improvements — a reduction from the $450,000 in the original article, which the budget committee already had reduced from the selectmen's initial $525,000 request.
Dunn said the HVAC system is the most urgent need, and the costliest to address, but being 30 years old, something must be done. At town meeting, Selectman Richard Grenier put the cost at $250,000.
In addition to the water system, Dunn said other needs include new flooring inside and landscaping outside the town hall. The sidewalks are in terrible shape, he said.

Attorney reviewing Gale School proposal

By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
BELMONT — Members of the Shaker Regional School Board have asked the district's legal counsel to review a draft request for proposals that would seek bids for building removal and site cleanup at the Gale School property.
School Administrative Unit 80 Superintendent Michael Tursi declined to release the draft document until the district's attorney has had a chance to review it, but he said it calls for the relocation of the historic school building and complete cleanup of the building site.
The school district had hoped to move the building to property at the corner of Memorial and Concord streets, and then to turn it over to the nonprofit Save Our Gale School Committee for $1, but attorney James O'Shaughnessy ruled that out, saying the $71,000 expenditure of district money that voters had authorized to move the building could legally be used only for school district purposes, and not for historic preservation.
Residents interested in saving the school have been meeting for years to determine a way to preserve the historic structure, including looking at ways it might be renovated to serve the school district, but they have not come up with a workable plan.
The school board has been trying to divest itself of the building since 2001, calling the building dangerous and saying it would cost too much to renovate it. Citizens have consistently advocated for its preservation, deflecting every attempt to raze the building.
Tursi said the current proposal stipulates that the building would have to be moved to another site, but the district would have no control over what the buyer does with it after that. The new owner might still tear it down.
The school was built in 1894 and later was named after Napoleon B. Gale, who had left $10,000 to the town. The school ceased operations in 1985 when the new Belmont Elementary School opened.

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