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Laconia schools will pay half the cost of reconstructing half-circle drive at LHS

LACONIA — As part of the Union Avenue reconstruction project, the city has offered to pay one-half of the expenses involved in replacing the half-circle school bus drop-off lane in front of the High School.

Business Administrator Ed Emond told the School Board's Budget and Personnel Committee Tuesday night that the estimated cost of redoing the half-circle — which includes widening it and rebuilding the curbs on the sidewalk portion — is between $35,000 and $40,000.

He recommended spending between $15,000 to $20,000 from the School District's contingency fund.

Committee Chair Scott Vachon said he was a little confused because he thought the city had agreed to fix at its own cost whatever damage was done during the course of the roadway construction.

Emond said that was true. However, he noted that the curbs along the side walk portion have crumbled over time and have been beveled. He added that the semi-circle is not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.

Committee member Joe Cormier said he thought a student had fallen getting of a school bus within the past few years and had suffered a broken leg.

Committee members said that since it appears the semi-circle needs repairing to become ADA compliant and with the city's help they can get half of it paid for, then it makes sense to do it and do it properly.

However, all decided that the district should wait until the engineering is complete before committing the money to the project.

Emond said he should have more information for the next meeting.

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 September 2014 01:28

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Gilford argues officer lawfully ordered Baer to leave school board meeting

GILFORD — In his response to a motion to dismiss three counts against a local man who was arrested during a May School Board meeting, Town Prosecutor Eric Bredbury said Friday that a school board meeting is not an opportunity for a "heated discussion" but rather a chance for those interested in school business to make a brief statements about policy.

In Gilford's case, each person is allowed, by board policy, two minutes to speak their mind.

Bredbury wrote the monthly school board meeting is a business meetings and not an open air political forum and that the stated business of the board would not have continued unless Lt. James Leach removed William Baer, who he said was disrupting the meeting.

Baer's attorney, Mark Sisti argued that the meeting continued and two more residents spoke while Leach was encouraging Baer's to leave. Sisti noted the interruption lasted 27 seconds.

Sisti, had argued that the three charges faced by Baer — two counts of breach of the peace and one count of disobeying a police officer — are unlawful because they violated his client's constitutional rights to speak his mind at a public forum.

Baer was a short-lived media sensation after his arrest for speaking out against the mandatory reading of N.H. author Jodi Picoult's novel "19 Minutes." Baer's daughter was reading the book as part of a class assignment for her freshman honors English class.

In general, the book described the prelude and aftermath of a school shooting in a fictitious New England town. Specifically, Baer objected to a passage that he described as pornographic that graphically describes a rape scene between the book's two youthful protagonists.

When he verbally interrupted another town resident who was speaking at the meeting, Bredbury said the School Board Chair Sue Allen and Superintendent Kent Hemingway motioned to Leach using head nods that Leach apparently interpreted as a request from them to escort Baer out of the room.

Although Allen continually ordered Baer to "desist" or stop talking, she never verbally requested Leach to remove him.

Baer said aloud, "Why don't you have me arrested? Why don't we do that as a civics lesson?" when Leach approached his seat.

Bredbury said Baer disobeyed a legal order from a police officer to leave the meeting. Sisti argues Baer was under no obligation to obey an illegal order from the police because he was in a public forum held specifically to discuss the book.

As to Sisti second argument that Allen was not the "moderator" of the meeting, Bredbury responded that she was the chair of the School Board and empowered to keep order during the meeting at her discretion.

Judge Jim Carroll is reviewing the motions and will be issuing a ruling.

Should the case not survive Sisti's motion to dismiss, presumably it will go to trial.

All three charges faced by Baer are Class B misdemeanors and there is no possibility of incarceration.

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 September 2014 01:22

Hits: 456

Gilford argues officer lawfully ordered Baer to leave school board meeting

GILFORD — In his response to a motion to dismiss three counts against a local man who was arrested during a May School Board meeting, Town Prosecutor Eric Bredbury said Friday that a school board meeting is not an opportunity for a "heated discussion" but rather a chance for those interested in school business to make a brief statements about policy.

In Gilford's case, each person is allowed, by board policy, two minutes to speak their mind.

Bredbury wrote the monthly school board meeting is a business meetings and not an open air political forum and that the stated business of the board would not have continued unless Lt. James Leach removed William Baer, who he said was disrupting the meeting.

Baer's attorney, Mark Sisti argued that the meeting continued and two more residents spoke while Leach was encouraging Baer's to leave. Sisti noted the interruption lasted 27 seconds.

Sisti, had argued that the three charges faced by Baer — two counts of breach of the peace and one count of disobeying a police officer — are unlawful because they violated his client's constitutional rights to speak his mind at a public forum.

Baer was a short-lived media sensation after his arrest for speaking out against the mandatory reading of N.H. author Jodi Picoult's novel "19 Minutes." Baer's daughter was reading the book as part of a class assignment for her freshman honors English class.

In general, the book described the prelude and aftermath of a school shooting in a fictitious New England town. Specifically, Baer objected to a passage that he described as pornographic that graphically describes a rape scene between the book's two youthful protagonists.

When he verbally interrupted another town resident who was speaking at the meeting, Bredbury said the School Board Chair Sue Allen and Superintendent Kent Hemingway motioned to Leach using head nods that Leach apparently interpreted as a request from them to escort Baer out of the room.

Although Allen continually ordered Baer to "desist" or stop talking, she never verbally requested Leach to remove him.

Baer said aloud, "Why don't you have me arrested? Why don't we do that as a civics lesson?" when Leach approached his seat.

Bredbury said Baer disobeyed a legal order from a police officer to leave the meeting. Sisti argues Baer was under no obligation to obey an illegal order from the police because he was in a public forum held specifically to discuss the book.

As to Sisti second argument that Allen was not the "moderator" of the meeting, Bredbury responded that she was the chair of the School Board and empowered to keep order during the meeting at her discretion.

Judge Jim Carroll is reviewing the motions and will be issuing a ruling.

Should the case not survive Sisti's motion to dismiss, presumably it will go to trial.

All three charges faced by Baer are Class B misdemeanors and there is no possibility of incarceration.

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 September 2014 01:22

Hits: 339

Up With People experience allows young performers to stretch their comfort zones

LACONIA — Members of the international Up With People cast who arrived her Sunday say that one of the things they value most about their experience is that they have had to reach out beyond their comfort zone and develop new skills.

Five young-adult performers from around the world were interviewed at The Daily Sun office on Tuesday.
''I was so shy I was unable to speak in front of my classes in college. Joining Up With People was the best decision I could have made,'' says Pablo Arechauala of Mexico City, who has been with the organization for a year and is now a staff member,.
''I've always planned on a career in business and that's what I've been working for. I'm not a natural performer and I'm super shy. But I had to learn how to talk with people and find ways to feel more comfortable around them. The kind of experiences I've had with travel and performing have helped me to do that. I'm now planning to move to Belgium and learn a new language after I leave Up With People,'' says Arechauala.
T.J. Neilson of Edwards, Colorado, says that he loves musical theater but an intense stage fright has always held him back. ''I always loved performing, but not audiences. But now I'm totally into performing in front of people and may even end up with a solo,'' says Neilson, who lives several hours west of Denver, where the Up With People Cast undergoes orientation and training.
He says that he got into community service before joining the organization by tutoring young trumpet players and that is one of the things he is looking forward to doing.
Alejandra Hernandez Aguirre of Mexico says that she had never really spoken in public in her native Spanish language but is now doing readings, in English, and feels comfortable doing it. ''My cousin told me about Up With People and his experiences with it and said I should look into joining. I'm really glad that I did.''
Riann Lippe of Philadelphia, Pa, says that she really enjoys the community service aspect of Up With People . She's a student at Spellman College who says that while her long-term goal is to direct theater production she's had to overcome her reluctance to participate on stage and now has found an inner confidence that allows her to take part in dancing and singing without being self-conscious.
''I'm so glad we came to the Lakes Region. It's such a wonderful place to visit.''
Dan Wang of Beijing, China, has a background in tourism and holds a Masters degree in business management but says she had no experience at all in performing on stage.
''When we first started rehearsals I thought that 'this is too professional. I can't make it.' But I kept trying and it's worked out. It's a self-achievement I'm very proud of.'' says Wang.
While staying in the Lakes Region with their host families this week the 100 young performers will be involved in a variety of community service project, including painting a mural, working with members of the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region and other non-profits.
On both Friday and Saturday nights (Sept. 5 and 6) at 7 p.m., Up With People will perform in concert at the Laconia Middle School. Their spectacular, 2-hour "Voices" show will feature both original and popular music and is dynamic blend of feature soloists, full-cast production numbers, fast-moving choreography and colorful costumes.
Tickets are priced at $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens and are on sale at all Meredith Village Savings Bank locations. Additionally, tickets may be purchased online at www.upwithpeople.com/Laconia.
Net proceeds from the concerts will benefit three local not-for-profit organizations: Stand Up Laconia, Gilford Got Lunch and Got Lunch! Laconia.
An Up With People ensemble will also perform a special, free 20-minute show in Rotary Park at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning (Sept. 6) as part of the opening ceremony for the city's annual Multicultural Festival.

CAPTION:
Up With People cast members enjoying their stay in the Lakes Region include Pablo Arechauala of Mexico City; Alejandra Hernandez Aguirre of Mexico; Dan Wang of Beijing, China; Riann Lippe of Philadelphia, Pa, and TJ Neilson of Edwards, Colorado. (Roger Amsden photo for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 12:47

Hits: 206

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