Shaker forced to accept shorter term for debt financing of energy upgrade project

BELMONT — The Shaker Regional School Board approved changing the terms of an energy equipment lease for $2,533,000 from an 18-year bond to a 15-year bond at its June 9 meeting last week, following a public hearing.

Superintendent Maria Dreyer said the company managing the energy upgrade project that will be for all four schools told them it was unable to get an 18-year-lease because of declining enrollments in New Hampshire schools. The project was approved at the March District Meeting.

Mike Davey, from Energy Equipment Investments, Inc. told the board that national bond investors are reluctant to buy school bonds for greater than 15-year terms for fear of school closings because of declining enrollments.

The project will upgrade all of the energy systems in all four Shaker Regional School District buildings. Wood pellet boilers will be added to all four and the Canterbury Elementary School will remove an old oil system and its tanks and replace it with a propane system.

Dreyer said that by shortening the term of the bond, the overall interest paid by the district will likely be less than the longer term note. The issue at hand, she said, is the annual payments on a 15-year bond will be higher than they would be for an 18-year bond.

She said Davey shopped the 18-year bond at a number of banks but was unable to get one to finance it for the whole term.

Dreyer explained yesterday that there are still some unknowns that Davey has yet to provide, including at what interest rate the bond can be financed. In addition, because of the conversion to alternative energy, the school is eligible for utility company Renewable Energy Certificate and Dreyer said the amount of energy savings credits can't be predicted because nobody knows what kind of winters the area will see over the 10 years the school is eligible for them.

She said it is possible the energy credits could compensate for the higher annual payments but again she had no idea how much the credits will be as it will depend on the severity of the winter.

The School District also received $212,000 in energy grants to offset some of the costs of the wood pellets boiler installation.

The school board also voted on June 9, following a public hearing, to use $45,891.75 from the Conservation Upgrades Expendable Trust Fund for some of the lead costs once the financing in the project is completed and is approved by the board.

Local man held by police on several warrants &, now, for resisting arrist

LACONIA — A local man is being held on $700 cash bail after being charged last weekend for breaking free of the wrist hold of a police officer and running through a back yard before he was caught.

Christopher Greene, 22, of 51 Elm. St. Apt. 2 has outstanding warrants dating back to March 21 for possession of a dangerous weapon — brass knuckles, for possession of heroin, and possession of drugs in a motor vehicle while he was on Summer Street in Laconia.

Greene also had bench warrants from other circuit courts in the state for drug possession and robbery.

At 11:22 p.m. on June 13, an police officer on routine patrol on Highland Street near Lafayette Street spotted Greene and verified he was wanted on outstanding warrants. The officer told Greene to stop and he did.

Affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division said Greene put his hands behind his back as told and the arresting officer had one hand on one of his wrists and was reaching for his handcuffs. As the officer snapped open the handcuff case, Greene allegedly swung his wrist forward and then quickly backward, breaking the officer's hold.

He began running and the officer caught up to him and ordered him to stop repeatedly or he would be shot with an electric shock stun gun. When Greene refused to stop, he was zapped with a Taser. Police said he fell to the ground landing on his back but kept trying to get up. The two were face to face and the officer sprayed him with pepper spray and Greene was taken into custody.

Along with the charges mentioned above, Greene faces an additional charge of resisting arrest.

In court on Monday, Laconia Prosecutor Jim Sawyer listed Greene's previous convictions in Manchester for theft by deception and receiving stolen property and simple assault in Salem. Sawyer argued that even though Greene was young, he had amassed a number of convictions and was being charged with several more. He asked for $1,000 cash bail.

Public Defender Lauren Breda argued her client was living in Laconia with his father, had earned a GED, and was working in landscaping.
When Judge Jim Carroll asked which company he worked for, Greene said it was "off the books".

Breda said Greene would make a good candidate for Compliance Court and should be released on high personal recognizance bail.

Carroll did both. He ordered Greene held on $700 cash bail for the drug possession and resisting arrest and $5,000 personal recognizance bail for the remainder of the charges.

Commissioners name Gray interim jail superintendent (283)

LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners have named Keith Gray, assistant superintendent at the Belknap County House of Corrections, as interim superintendent of the facility.
Gray will head the department as the county conducts a search for a permanent replacement for Superintendent Dan Ward, whose last day on the job will be this Friday.
'It's more of a retirement than a resignation,'' said Ward, who has held the position for five years and been in law enforcement and corrections for well over 20 years.
He says that his wife, Sheila, has accepted a vocational rehabilitation position with the Florida Department of Education in Tallahassee, Fla., which is located in Florida's panhandle region.
''I'm going there to support Sheila,'' said Ward, whose son D.J., who is entering the ninth grade and is the youngest of his six children, who will also be making the move.
Ward said that he is proud of the work that he has done in Belknap County to refocus corrections on providing treatment for offenders which will help them re-enter the community once their jail terms are completed.
Commissioners also agreed yesterday to hire a full-time replacement for Administrative Assistant Eileen Gaudette, who has been working 32 hours a week. Ward recommended that the position become full-time as it is a key position and Gray's position will remain unfilled until a new superintendent is hired.
The commissioners also revoked a private-pay rate increase for the Belknap County Nursing Home which Nursing Home Administrator Mathew Logue had recently announced in a letter to patient families. The increase would have hiked the daily rate from $290 to $300.
Commissioners said Logue had made the increase without informing them or seeking their approval.

Handsome results of GHS student's flag box project reach N.H. Vet Home

TILTON — For some time, when residents of New Hampshire Veterans Home passed away, their families were given an American flag, properly folded to mimick the tricolor hat worn by the colonial soldiers during the War of Independence and encased beneath glass in a handsome wooden box. Then the stock of boxes ran out.

Yesterday the inventory was replenished thanks to the ingenuity and generosity of two teachers at Gilford High School — Steve Riordan, who teaches business, and Sean Walsh, who teaches woodworking — and their students. They presented Margaret LaBrecque, commandant of the Veterans Home, with nearly two dozen boxes made by the students of woodworking with materials purchased with the capital raised by their counterparts studying business.

Riordan recalled when his daughter Marti Bolduc, who then worked at the Veterans Home, told him that although families were given flags but no boxes, he thought "the tradition had lapsed for want of boxes, he took the initiative. He asked Walsh if his students could make the boxes and what it would cost. Walsh assured him that his classes could make 60 boxes a year for $25 apiece.

Riordan then set his business class to raising the money by forming a company that packaged and sold brownie mix. "We got jars and layered the ingredients, like doing sand art, and called it Sand Art Brownie Mix," he explained. Students began selling the brownie mix in anticipation of Valentine's Day. "We called it the gift that gives twice," he laughed. "Your mom makes you brownies and we raise the money for the boxes." Altogether the firm raised $800, enough for materials to make 32 boxes.

"It was a really good project, " said Tyler Thibodeau, a sophomore from Gilmanton, He said that students learned not only to "measure twice and cut once" and other woodworking skills but also "to pay attention costs by not wasting materials."

Kaitlyn Marcella of Gilford, one of nine girls in a woodworking class of eleven, said "it was definitely a wicked-fun class." She said that Walsh was surprised so many young women in the class, but he soon found that "we were there and ready to work." Marcella said she confined herself to supervising the sanding while her colleague Evelyn Johnson of Gilmanton preferred cutting the pieces to size. Apart from woodworking, Johnson remarked that she also learned "you better not wear black in the shop."

Both Thibodeau and Johnson had grandfathers who served in the armed forces and were especially pleased to put their talents to work for the benefit of veterans.

Riordan and Walsh intend to continue the program and expect to deliver another two dozen boxes in the autumn. But, Riordan said that while the boxes would remain the same, his students will be producing, marketing and selling a new product.

Bill Bertholdt, president of the New Hampshire Veterans Home Resident Council, said "it feels really good that the kids are putting the effort into this. We'll all wind up with one someday, with our colors folded up inside," he continued. "It's a beautiful thought."