Talks between school bus drivers & FIrst Student will resume on Dec. 2

BELMONT — Talks between First Student, Inc. and the Teamsters union will continue on Dec. 2, said a spokesman for the Cincinnati company on Friday.

Chris Kemper said there will be no work stoppage while talks continue.

Teamsters Local 633 of Manchester represent the drivers at the Belmont facility and have been unable to negotiate a contract since earlier this month. The drivers have threatened to strike the company, meaning school buses for Laconia, Gilford, Gilmanton and Belmont would not run.

Negotiations appear to be stalled over a pension contribution issues while paperwork obtained from a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire indicates there are claims by the union that the company didn't pay some employees for hours worked.

Meanwhile, local school superintendents have been scrambling to make alternative plans to get their students to school should there be a strike or to make the decision that absent the school buses, they won't be able to have school.

First Student is the only provider of school bus services in the Lakes Region but Belmont-based drivers are the only ones currently working without a contract.

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Gilford Commons has new look; second entrance on the way

GILFORD – With the restoration of the exterior of the Gilford Commons shopping center nearly completed, Stuart Scharff of WJP Development says it time to start working on a site plan for the rest of the project.

Scarff said the work done over the summer included a complete upgrade of the interior of the Gilford Cinema 8, which renewed it's long-term lease recently.

"They've spent quite a bit on money, "Scarff said.

"They have digital projection, new seats, a whole new lobby and new fabric in the walls," Scarff said. "It looks wonderful."

Gilford Commons, or what used to be know as the Airport Plaza, is now ready for a major expansion said Scarff.

He said the N.H. Department of Transportation has signed off on allowing them to create a new entrance just opposite end of the Laconia Bypass on Route 11.

"The long eared bat and the spotted begonia will live on," he said, referring to the work the company did with various conservation stakeholders in Glford and with the state to protect some endangered species in the proposed new road way.

He said that now the company is working on a complete site plan that includes the new entrance off Route 11 and upgrades to the parking lot and the lighting.

As for new tenants, Scharff is playing those cards very close to his vest.

He said he has had considerable interest from a few major chains as well as some local businesses who may look to relocate to the expanded shopping plaza once it is complete.

Scharff said his team of engineers continues to work with the Gilford Planning Department and the Planning Board and that the relationship between them has been very productive.

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Tools & dealer plate stolen from Belmont auto shop recovered

BELMONT — In a joint effort with other police agencies, police recovered a stolen dealer license plate and a number of other tools reported stolen in a burglary at an auto shop in Belmont Tuesday night.

Lt. Rich Mann said the perpetrator or perpetrators used forced entry to access the business. He said details about the stolen license plate and the items were dispersed to neighboring departments and a neighboring agency recovered the plate, along with several of the reportedly stolen items early on November 25.

"The amount of thefts in the general area is alarming and multiple police agencies are working on it," said Mann, who added that a number of local individuals have been identified as possible suspects.

Mann said the vehicle with the stolen plate is being held in a secure police facility and they are waiting for a search warrant to search it.

"We are hopeful we can recover some stolen property and get it back to the business owner so he can continue to provide service for his customers," Mann said.

Earlier this week and last week, Belmont and Laconia Police reported a number of thefts from vehicles in Laconia and from unsecured outbuildings like garages and sheds in Belmont.

Police encourage people to write down the serial numbers of all of the electronic items, like tools and generators, they purchase because in the event they are stolen, it helps police identify them sooner.

Mann said it can also help when dealing with a loss through theft or a fire to insurance companies.

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