LACONIA — Paul Moynihan, director of public works, was grilled by Councilor Henry Lipman (Ward 3), who chairs the Finance Committee, about his management of the Department of Public Works (DPW) fleet when the City Council met last night.
Lipman was surprised to learn that the DPW decided to keep four vehicles that he expected would be retired when the council authorized borrowing $170,000 to replace equipment in the 2014-2014 city budget. During discussion of the budget Lipman expressed concern about the cost of insuring and maintaining vehicles that had outlived their useful life.
Moynihan told the council that since 2008 the department had added 20 vehicles and a snow blower attachment and scrapped, traded or auctioned a dozen vehicles. Four of eight vehicles — two salt and sand trucks and two Bobcat sidewalk plows — represented net additions to the fleet. The other four vehicles — two new pickup trucks, a new street sweeper and a new dump truck — were intended as replacement vehicles, but Moynihan said that the department had retained the existing vehicles.
"I have problems with this," said Lipman, who reminded Moynihan that he had requested an analysis of the cost of insuring and maintaining vehicles designated for replacement.
Moynihan replied that the cost analysis was included in his report and that the four vehicles "more than paid for themselves." The pickup trucks were used by seasonal employees, he said, while the dump truck will serve as an extra plow truck if necessary as well as a source of spare parts. The old street sweeper, which costs $2,554 to retain, he claimed more than paid for itself by reducing the amount of contracted street cleaning services.
"Two street sweepers for a city our size seems pretty rich," Lipman remarked. "When we make an investment we need the whole picture," he continued. "I don't want to drive by Messer Street and see lots of equipment parked and not being used."
"We're very concerned about not keeping anything that's not paying for itself," Moynihan responded.
Lipman said that he wanted "a plan," and after assuring Moynihan there was nothing "personal" about his remarks, told him that he presented one plan to the council then chose to take a different course. "You need to come back to us," he said.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 02:48
LACONIA — Volunteers and staff at the Congregational Church of Laconia, United Church of Christ are spending the early part of the week preparing for the free 45th annual Hazel Duke Thanksgiving Dinner.
Beginning at 11:30 a.m. for hor d'oeuves and at noon for a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner, the hope, said Rev. Paula Giles, is to serve about 150 meals.
"This year we've raise the money and are buying the food," said Giles who said she specifically wanted to single out St. Andre Bessette Parish for making a "considerable" donations to this year's dinner.
Giles said Hannaford Supermarket is working with the church to help them provide the ingredients for the meal.
Giles said Hazel Duke was a single woman and a parishioner who taught for years within the Laconia School District. She said Duke felt that no one should be alone at Thanksgiving.
"She believed there should be a place for people who would otherwise be alone," Giles said.
She said people are welcome to bring pies for dessert but for the most part the dinner is being cooked by a core group of about 40 volunteer — some of whom have been volunteering for years. She said Emily Clement and Mike and Susan Izard are this year's coordinator.
Giles said reservations are not necessary but encourages those who want to attend to call 524-0668 so they can get an idea about how many people will be attending.
CAPTION: The annual free Hazel Duke Thanksgiving Dinner tradition continues thanks to a small army of volunteers associated with the Congregational Church of Laconia, UCC. (Laconia Daily Sun file photo/Ed Engler)
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 02:48
GILMANTON — A Gilmanton man is free on $25,000 personal recognizance bail after allegedly pointing a home-made toy revolver at a police officer.
Affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division on Monday said Daniel Walker, 57, of Chestnut Avenue is charged with one count of felony reckless conduct for "purposely" placing another in imminent bodily danger and one count of felony reckless conduct for "recklessly" placing another in imminent danger. The charges represent different theories of the same Saturday night/Sunday morning crime.
When the officer asked why Walker pointed a gun at him, he said he thought it was his neighbor or one of his neighbor's friends and was "stand(ing) his ground."
Police said the story began earlier when the officer responded to Walker's home at 1:28 a.m. after being dispatched there and being told there was a report of someone standing on the porch shooting a gun into the air.
The officer, who had police backup coming from Belmont, drove down Chestnut Avenue and initially drove past the actual house, said affidavits. When he turned around in his marked cruiser, he said he saw Walker move quickly to the corner of his deck, take an aggressive stance, and bring his hands to his face like he was pointing a gun at him.
The officer backed away about 100 feet for "his own safety" and got out of his cruiser, removing his duty pistol from its holster. Affidavits said when he saw Walker walking toward him, he gave him specific orders to "walk slowly," to "place his hands on his head," and to "get to his knees" — all of which Walker did.
A Belmont officer handcuffed him.
When the Gilmantion officer asked Walker what he was doing, Walker said he was lighting fireworks off from his deck. Then he said he was using a toy revolver to "light off caps" to annoy his neighbors because he doesn't like them.
He said it was a toy revolver but that it was capable of firing real bullets. Walker gave police permission to go into his house and secure the weapon, warning them there was a "live round ball" in the gun.
Police found the revolver. Affidavits said Walker apologized repeatedly about allegedly pointing it at the officer, telling him he was a former corrections officer and that he understood what was happening to him.
In court yesterday, Walker appeared by video and said nothing.
Although the police prosecutor and Walker's attorney agreed on $5,000 personal recognizance bail, the prosecutor mentioned that Walker had apparently been drinking that evening.
Judge Jim Carroll said he would set bail at $25,000 personal recognizance and ordered that until the case was adjudicated, he was not to drink alcohol, not to possess any firearms or explosive devises, and to sign a waiver of extradition.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 02:48
LACONIA — The Middle School JAG Class last week hosted a Empty Bowls Banquet in conjunction with Stand Up! Laconia's presentation, "Let's Talk About Drugs and our Community". During the presentation the School District's resource police officer, Steve Orton reaffirmed that the community is experiencing a drug epidemic that requires the community's immediate intervention.
The Empty Bowls Banquet was conceived to benefit local charity organizations. Madelina Morris, a 7th grade student, took on the project as an independent study, and received help and support from various organizations and individuals within the schools. Working in collaboration with Tavern 27, the group was able to get soup donated for the event.
"The project helped me see that a little bit can go a long way, and that you need to need to think of others before yourself," said Morris. "This year we raised over $700 and next year we hope to raise even more."
Stand Up! Laconia is a grassroots coalition that is standing up against drug and alcohol use among the youth and actively promoting an increase in positive and healthy peer and family relationships in the community. Clare Persson, chair of Stand Up! Laconia introduced the guest speakers for the presentation: Traci Fowler of Lakes Region Community Services, Orton of the Laconia Police Department and Detective Chris Noyes of the Narcotics Unit at LPD.
"N.H. has a drug and alcohol epidemic" was the statement that kicked off the presentation. Using this statement as a platform for discussion, Fowler showed recent statistics placing New Hampshire as the second ranked state for monthly marijuana use in the age 12-17 category, and first in the country for past month alcohol consumption between the ages 12-20. In addition to the high national averages, state surveys have shown that the Lakes Region is above the state average for past 30 day consumption of alcohol and substance abuse in all categories.
Fowler stressed the importance of parents becoming involved in the lives of their children and the local youth at large. "Nine out of 10 people struggling with an addiction started before age 18," stated Fowler. "If we can prevent drug abuse at a young age, we can help prevent long-term drug addiction."
As school resource officer for Laconia High School, too, Orton sees first hand the effects drugs and alcohol have on the youth in the community. In both the school and the widespread community there is generally 10 percent of the population who has significant disciplinary and abuse problems, yet this small population has a large effect on the other 90 percent. The cultural shift constantly promoting the use of drugs and alcohol through television shows, commercials, songs, and other media outlets has caused the vast majority of people to become dull to the messages inundating the lives of the youth.
With a small group of people assembled, Orton stated that it will be impossible to fight the 10 percent with 1 just percent of the 90 percent "strong". The other 89 percent of the "strong" community must take the initiative to wake up to the issue and become involved in they wish to see the issues dissipate, he said. "We are not going to combat this problem until the community stands up, fills and room, and works to make a change."
For a broader look at the substance abuse epidemic, Detective Noyes exposed critical information regarding prevalence of man-made drugs on the market. It was made known that after the first six months of prescription drug disposal at the new drop-off box in Laconia, there was over 412-pounds of prescription drugs collected. This number was first in the state, with Nashua next with a collection of 290- pounds. In addition to the disproportionate amount of prescription drugs prevalent among the community, there is a also a high demand for synthetic drugs such as "Spice" and "K2", which can be purchased over the counter in various surrounding towns.
"Parents need to be aware of the products on the market and be a part of their kids lives," said Noyes. "Every person who does something is going to effect someone you know, so turning a blind eye toward the issue will help no one."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 02:47