Ready to run

‘City on the Lakes’ triathlon proposed for August


LACONIA — Looking to support local athletes after the loss of the Timberman Triathlon, a city committee gave tentative approval Wednesday to a proposal to hold a new event Aug. 12-13, with a swimming portion in Lake Opechee and running and bicycling segments in and around Laconia.

03-02 City on the Lakes triathlon logoJan Buitendag, the chief executive officer of Tritanium Sports of Gilford, said his plan has the potential for attracting hundreds of participants and boosting the local economy, while filling a void left by the departure of the annual Timberman Triathlon.

I just feel it would be such a big loss not to go ahead with another triathlon in our area because of the impact it had not only on the athletes but also on the community and the economy of the area,” he told the city's Special Events Committee.

He is calling it the “City on the Lakes Triathlon.”

The City Council will now consider the matter.

Buitendag has organized dozens of athletic events. Ironman Corp., which owns the Timberman Triathlon, decided to replace it this year with an event at Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

"The Timberman was a tradition in this part of the world and it had a huge impact on the local economy,” Buitendag said.

He said it would be good to have a locally run event at a time when many marathons are now run by big companies.

We would like to go back to the roots of the thing, triathlons presented by locals, supported by the locals for ultra-athletes,” Buitendag said.

The first day of competition would be an event featuring a 400-yard swim, a 16-mile bicycle race and a 3.1-mile run. The second day would have a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bicycle race and a 13.1-mile run. Charge for participation will be about $250.

Runners would race on roads around Lake Opechee, the same route used by the Runaway Pumpkin 10K race. The bicycling portion would be an out-and-back along New Hampshire Routes 106 and 104 from Laconia to Bristol.

Laconia Fire Chief Ken Erickson said the triathlon has traditionally been a boon to local businesses.

This is a big event,” he said. “This particular weekend in August, the hotels around here are filled up and so are all the restaurants. These runners eat a lot of food before they start running.”

Part of the planning to be done before such events involves emergency medical response.

Erickson said sometimes runners get severely dehydrated and need intravenous fluids.

The standing orders are that if we have to give them one IV, they are fine,” he said. “If we have to give them two IVs, they have to be transported to the hospital.”

Buitendag, 70, said he has run in more than 100 marathons, and many other ultra-athletic events.

He has frequently competed in the New York City Marathon, and takes inspiration from one particular person he saw compete in that race.

One year, there was an athlete and it took him four days to complete the marathon,” Buitendag said. “You know why? He had no legs. He did it on his hands. If that man can do it, that's an example for us all.”

03-02 City on the lakes triathlon color route

03-02 City on the lakes triathlon bike route

03-02 City on the lakes triathlon route

Alton officer fired at car

Officer shot at car as it approached accident scene


ALTON — An Alton police officer who was apparently finishing up an investigation at the scene of an accident on Route 140 Saturday night fired his gun at a second car which approached the scene after he became concerned over the way in which the vehicle was being operated.
Lt. Scott Gilbert, commander of the State Police Major Crime Unit, said that the driver of the first vehicle, who was charged with driving while intoxicated, had already been taken from the accident scene near Youngstown Road when the second incident took place.
He said the police officer fired a single round "because of the manner in which the vehicle was being operated." Gilbert said the vehicle came to a rest and that driver was taken into custody.
The arrest was made by Gilford police, who had been called upon for assistance by the Alton police.
Gilford police arrested Erik Klerk, 50, of Alton, who was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated.
Gilbert said it would be premature to release the name of the Alton police officer who fired the shot as the investigation of the incident has not yet been completed. He said that the Belknap County Attorney will make a determination about the officer involved shooting, not the state Attorney General's office, because no one was injured in the shooting.
He said a police request for public assistance has paid off. State Police on Sunday said they wanted to speak to the driver of a U-Haul truck who might have driven by at the time of the shooting.
"The person came forward, as did two or three others," said Gilbert.

Blizzard to acquire old Lakeport Fire Station


LACONIA — Lakeport Landing Marina will begin construction its offices and showroom on the site of the former Lakeport Fire Station before the year is out.

After reviewing four proposals to acquire and develop the property, on Monday the City Council authorized city manager to enter a purchase-and-sales agreement with Blizzard Inc., owner of the the marina, for the former fire station and two adjacent parcels. Erica Blizzard offered $475,000 for the properties, more than twice the second-highest bid, and intends to invest between $800,000 and $1 million in renovating and converting the fire station to office, storage and display space.

Blizzard plans to wrap an L-shaped glassed display space around the front and west side of the fire station, which will remain visible from the outside while serving as a showroom. The station itself will house office and storage space as well as an area commemorating the station itself.

"Lakeport Landing marina is excited to move forward with this opportunity," Blizzard said in a prepared statement. "Our new showroom will preserve a historically relevant building and also enhance and improve the appearance of Lakeport Square. The existing fire station will be used for offices and the glass showroom will allow the fire station to be visible from the outside. The expansion of our operations will give us the ability to continue to serve our customers and the Lakeport community will benefit as well as we continue to address and support the needs of the area."

Altogether, Blizzard acquired three lots. The lot housing the Lakeport Fire Station is 0.32 acres and the lot abutting it to the rear of the building is 0.195 acres. The third lot, an approximately 0.27-acre strip between Union Avenue and the railroad is what the city retained of an 0.81-acre parcel, which the city had leased to Lakeport Landing Marina since 1985.

In acquiring the property, Blizzard accepted a boundary line adjustment that preserved Railroad Avenue as a public street and granted the city an easement to maintain the retaining wall along Union Avenue. Likewise, she agreed to the closure of the curb cut along Elm Street and to the construction of a sidewalk on Elm Street and, if necessary on the east side of Railroad Avenue. At the same time, the city abandoned its right-of-way in front of the fire station and added it to the lot.

Furthermore, Blizzard agreed to a half-dozen other conditions. The marina will allow public parking in its lot outside when the business is not operating and will not segregate the two parking lots on the property with a fence or gate. During Motorcycle Week the Lakeport Association will be permitted to sell tickets for train rides and charge for parking when the marina is not operating. Finally the marina agreed not to store customers' boats along Union Avenue during the winter.

"This is a satisfactory resolution to what has been a very long and complicated process," said Mayor Ed Engler.

In 1985, Lakeport Landing leased part of an 0.81 acre parcel along Union Avenue where the firm built its offices and showroom. The last of three of ten year leases expired in November, 2015 and by the terms of the original lease could not be renewed. Blizzard sought to purchase the property, but was outbid by Irwin Marine. Blizzard challenged the pending sale in court and the court granted Irwin Marine's petition to intervene in the litigation and urged all three parties to seek a settlement. edition Irwin Marine was admitted as a party to the case. Before the case came to trial Blizzard and the city reached a tentative settlement. Although the terms were never disclosed, it appears that the the opportunity to purchase the Lakeport Fire Station was an element of the settlement.

In November, the council invited bids and proposals for the three parcels. Bidders for the property were required to explain how and when they intended to redevelop it as well as whether the fire station would be incorporated in the redevelopment of the property. Proposals were required to include the lot housing the fire station, but not necessarily either of the other two parcels.

Apart from Blizzard's proposal, there were three others. Charles Avery, owner of CJ Avery's restaurant on Railroad offered $226,000 for the fire station, which he proposed converting into a restaurant. Lakeside Landscaping bid $100,447 for the three lots, which it planned to use for storing equipment and materials. Scott Everett of Dallas, Texas, who owns a home on Paugus Park Road as well as Big Island in Paugus Bay, bid $275,000 for the three lots, but offered no proposal to develop them.

Lakeport Landing Rendering

This is an architect's vision of the old Lakeport fire station, remodeled into offices and showroom space for Lakeport Landing marina. Construction is expected to begin this year. (Courtesy graphic)