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Hunter Taylor of Alton Unanimous Choice as New commissioner

LACONIA — Hunter Taylor of Alton, who 49 years ago was the youngest and lowest paid member of the faculty at the University of Georgia law school, was unanimously appointed by the Belkanp County Convention Monday night to a two-year term as Belknap County Commissioner.
Taylor fills a vacancy created when Steven Nedeau of Meredith resigned effective Jan. 1. as Distict 3 commissioner with two years left in his term.
Taylor is professor emeritus at the Rutgers University School of Law and held his own private practice in New Jersey until he retired in 2010 and moved to the Lakes Region. He had previously served nine years on a New Jersey school board and three years as a land use planning board member.
He has has been a high-profile critic of the previous board of commissioner's plan to build a new county jail, writing any number of long letters on the subject to editors of local newspapers, as well as being critical of the commission in its two-year long legal battle wit the convention over line item budget authority.
He joins new commissioners Richard Burchell of Gilmanton and David DeVoy on the board, both of whom were also critics of the previous commission and whom he endorsed in his letters to the editor.
Taylor joins his wife, Ruth Larson, in holding public office. She is also a retired lawyer and was named to the Gunstock Area Commission a little over two years ago.
He said that he became interested in local politics in 2012 after reading about the dispute between the county convention and the commissioners over line item budget authority in the Laconia Daily Sun. He said that his own reading of the relevant statutes convinced him that the commissioners were wrong.
Taylor also faulted the previous commissioners for what he said was the creation of an aura of crisis and said that the duty of the convention is to represent the taxpayers while that of the commissioners to oversee the day to day operations of the county.
He said that he supports the county jail plan endorsed by both Burchell and DeVoy modeled on Sullivan County's and said that he had always opposed the plans of the former commissioners for more expensive versions, ranging from $42 million down to $25 million.
He noted that Sullivan County had spent $2 million on repairs and upgrades to its old jail and $5 million on a new 72-bed, 20,000 square foot community corrections center.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 02:14

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City braces for storm, trash collection delayed

LACONIA — The team of 19 people which operates the city's dozen plow trucks and three sidewalk plows will be working around the clock until the major nor'easter storm passes.

"We'll play as we get it," Jon Neal, general foreman at the Department of Public Works, said yesterday as the crews prepared for the storm which was expected to start last night and continue throughout today. "It will be a long haul. Nobody goes home. We've got plenty of salt and sand," he continued, "and all the equipment is working."

Meanwhile, City Manger Scott Myers announced that the City Hall, Public Library, Community Center and Water Department will be closed all day today. He advised residents with problems or questions arising from the storm to call the Police Department at 524-5252 and, as always in the event of an emergency to dial 9-1-1.

He said that city officials will monitor the course of the storm and post appropriate information on the city website — www.city.laconia.nh.us — as well as inform the local media.

The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative anticipates that heavy snow and strong winds will increase the likelihood of power outages. Seth Wheeler, spokesman for NHEC, said that the utility has stocked its nine operating districts with emergency supplies and secured additional resources to supplement its full complement of line crews to assist with restoring power if necessary. Power outages, he said, can be reported to NHEC's 24-hour outage line at 1-800-343-6432 and power outages and restoration efforts will be posted on the website nhec.coop.

Due to the storm there will be no curbside collection of trash and recyclables today, Tuesday. "Everything will be one day late this week," said Ann Saltmarsh, who explained that what would have been collected on Tuesday will be collected on Wednesday, and what would have been collected on Wednesday will be collected on Thursday and so on through Saturday.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 01:40

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Lakeport Opera House building to be sold at auction

LACONIA — The white, frame building at the corner of Union Avenue and Clinton Street in Lakeport, which houses a small theater, is scheduled to be sold at suction on Wednesday, March 4.
The building sits on a 0.2-acre lot and was originally constructed in 1885. It was known as the Opera House Block and for a time was home to the International Order of Odd Fellows. The first floor consists of 4,552-square-feet of retail space, most recently leased to a pawnbroker, but now vacant. The Lakeport Opera House is on the upper story where there is 9,240-square-feet of space. The property has an assessed value of $224,800.

"I would love to see someone restore it," Gerard Horn, the longtime owner of the building, said recently. "Demolition is the last option." He recalled that "20 or 30 years ago" members of the Streetcar Company approached him about acquiring the building and restoring the theater, but abandoned the project when the community theater group learned the cost of renovating the theater alone was $1 million.

Earlier this month members of the Heritage Commission toured the building.

Astride a busy intersection with limited on-street and off-street parking, the location has posed a challenge for commercial enterprises. The single story brick building next door stood empty for several years before a restaurant opened more than a year ago only to close in less than three months.

F.D. Peverly & Sons, auctioneers and appraisers, of Northfield are conducting the sale.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 01:26

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Family of man buried in wrong lot at Bayside counter sues cemetery association

LACONIA – The family of a local man who was buried in a plot that was allegedly already sold to a Tilton man has been allowed to intervene in the lawsuit filed by the Tilton family against Bayside Cemetery.

Maria Shapiro, Savannah White and Lina Girardi would like to be heard by the judge who will hear the case of Kenneth Dame vs. Bayside Cemetery Association.

The three, Michael Girardi's mother and his two sisters, say they arranged for a funeral and burial in Bayside Cemetery when Girardi died unexpectedly in August 2013.

Girardi was buried in a plot that records show was already sold to Dame as part of his family plot at Bayside.

Dame has sued the cemetery demanding that Girardi's remains be moved to a different plot. As evidence, he has offered a bill of sale for the plot at 42A section 8 and documented that he paid $500 for it on June 6, 1987.

Once granted the motion to intervene, the Giradi family filed a cross claim for injunctive relief against Bayside Cemetery and Dame.

"The burial of Michael Giradi was done in a Catholic religious ceremony and relatives and other interested persons traveled long distances, (including as far away as Italy) to participate in the funeral and burial service," read the complaint.

The Girardis further said that Catholic funeral ceremony, especially for the family of the deceased, learn to live within communion with one who has fallen asleep in the Lord and "in the Body of Christ of which he is a living member..."

The Girardis said once Bayside Cemetery trustees told them about the mistake and offered to relocate Michael Girardi's remains at no cost to them, the family contacted the Laconia Police.

The family says the news of the burial mixup has caused them ''extreme and unthinkable mental and emotion pain" and was devastated to learn that because of a bookkeeping error their loved one is burial in a plot that belongs to another.

They claim that any attempt to disinter Michael Giradi will cause "severe emotional distress and trauma" to his family including his minor child.

The Girardis also claim that there is a plot for Kenneth Dame, when he dies, that is "in close proximity" to his family plot.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 01:23

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