Pollution protest

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Students at Gilmanton School (from left) Ethan Rodrigue, Logan Rouse, Jared Beale, Gracey LeBlanc, Kendal Heyman and Declan Angle will continue functioning as a committee after raising money to replace plastics in the cafeteria with silverware. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)

Gilmanton students help rid school of cafeteria’s plastic ware, which ends up in oceans

By DAVID CARKHUFF/THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILMANTON — When fourth-grader Jared Beale sat down with classmate Logan Rouse for lunch one day, they shared an epiphany of sorts.
The plastic kitchen ware they were using could end up in a water body and ultimately in the ocean, potentially harming or killing sea creatures. This idea, stemming from a movie they had watched in school, prompted a schoolwide conversion to silverware.
"We watched a video called 'A Plastic Ocean,' and it was about how 80 percent of the world's plastic was thrown into the ocean," Beale recalled. "So when Logan and me were sitting together at lunch and he had a plastic fork, and he was about to throw it away, I told him not to because it would go into the ocean and hurt an animal."
Then, a teacher encouraged them to start a petition to get rid of plastics and restore metal silverware to the school.
The petition was a first step, but Rouse said they saw the need for more than signatures. The students decided they needed money so the school didn't front the costs of replacing cafeteria items such as trays and kitchen ware, he said.
"We raised money at a bake sale, and we earned about $650, and we decided we wanted to use the money for silverware and lunch trays," Rouse said. "So we don't have to use Styrofoam and dispose of it because that's worse than plastic."
About $100 has gone toward silverware, the students estimated. The rest of the money will help pay for trays and buckets so students can have somewhere to put their used metal silverware.
In addition to money raised at the bake sale, donations of silverware poured in from students and family members, the students noted.
Many students agreed it's a good idea to use silverware, and they're happy with the decision, Rouse said.
Beale said, "The teachers are proud because we did it by ourselves."
"We had a little bit of help from our parents and at the bake sale," Rouse said.
Courtney Phillips, fourth-grade teacher, said, "They've seriously done it on their own. They've had a little support and guidance from parents and teachers. They organized and planned everything."
The students formed a committee with classmates called the Save Our Seas Committee. They gave up recesses to hold meetings. The group plans to continue meeting to find other ways to make the school more environmentally friendly.
"The plastic is gone," Phillips said. "We have an abundance of silverware now. The money will be there, hopefully things won't get thrown away, but we can replace any of it."
One of the students, Declan Angle, agreed, "We have enough money to buy extra silverware if we need to, if kids throw it away."
Student Gracey LeBlanc said, "A good thing is kids aren't really throwing it away. We haven't had many incidents."
Brynn Koulovatos, the art teacher who showed the video about pollution of oceans, received praise for galvanizing the effort. Parent Melissa Beale said Principal Carol Locke and kitchen staff also were supportive. Bethanne Day, Beale's fourth-grade teacher, supported the effort and provided guidance, she said.
Jared Beale received a Jan. 10 letter of commendation from John Fauci, superintendent of schools, which read: "It has recently been brought to my attention that you have been instrumental in advocating that our school cafeteria go back to using silverware rather than the plastic we are presently using. I must say that I am impressed that you not only care about the effect that plastic has on our environment but you also are willing to do your part in helping to keep our school green."

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Gilmanton School now provides silverware rather than plastic ware, in response to a student-led effort to prevent ocean pollution. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)

Police charge man with robbing Petro Mart

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Police used a broken tail light and a cashier's description to locate a Northfield man who allegedly robbed the Petro Mart convenience store on Lexington Drive in the north end at gunpoint Saturday night.

01-30 Benjamin KelsoBenjamin Kelso, 22, of 117 Rand Road is charged with one count of armed robbery and is being held on $25,000 cash-only bail at the Belknap County House of Corrections.

Affidavits said the cashier left the building at 7:33 p.m. but was immediately accosted by a white man with a gun wearing a black winter hat, a black scarf and a black hooded sweatshirt over a gray sweater and a red undershirt. Surveillance footage also showed his jeans were faded in the front and rear around the thighs.

Video showed the cashier go back in the store, empty the cash register and cede to the robber about $700. The man fled on foot from North Main Street toward Lexington Drive.

The tape, according to affidavits, also showed that the robber got out of a black Toyota Corolla that had a passenger-side tail light that was not working. The car left the parking lot.

Within minutes of the robbery and the description of the car being broadcast over the police radio, Gilford Police called to say that they had been in contact with a car just like that on Jan. 27 and gave city police the license plate number they had run through their system.

The plate number led them to the owner of the car and her address on Batchelder St. After finding the car parked in front of 12 Batchelder St., police went to the owner's apartment where they found Kelso, who was wearing the same clothing as was shown in the video.

Because he was wearing shorts, police allowed him to dress and said he donned pants that looked like the ones in the surveillance footage.

Police searched the apartment and found a black handgun, a hat, a scarf, a sweater and hooded sweatshirt that all matched what he was allegedly wearing in the surveillance video. No mention was made of the $700.

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This is from surveillance video of a robber at the Petro Mart in Laconia Sunday night. (Courtesy Laconia Police)

Two from Laconia named to Union Leader’s ‘40 Under 40’

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — The New Hampshire Union Leader has placed two young professionals at work in the city in distinguished company by naming Tate Aldrich, chairman of the English Department at Laconia High School, and Justin Slattery, executive director of the Belknap Economic Development Corporation, to its annual "40 under 40" list for 2017.

Justin SlatteryA native of Pelham, Slattery, 36, graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in political science and earned his master's degree in business administration for Plymouth State University. He joined John Lynch's successful campaign for governor in 2003 and served on his staff during the first three of his four terms. After spending two years with Hire Vision Staffing of Concord recruiting software engineers, Slattery returned to public service at the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development. In 2014, he came to the Belknap Economic Development Council where he has played a key role in the project to renovate and restore the Colonial Theatre.

"It's a very nice and very humbling honor," Slattery said of earning a spot among the 40 under 40. He said that he is moved to contribute the community because "New Hampshire is my home" and has "provided me many opportunities." He serves as a director of Winnipesaukee-Opechee-Winnisquam Trail and the 200 X 2020 Workforce Development Initiative as well as a member of advisory committee of the block grant program of the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority while chairing the board of directors of the Alliance of Regional Development Corporations. "I've got plenty to do here," Slattery said. "I'm not going anywhere."

Tate AldrichAt 30, Aldrich is among the youngest to be honored. In 2009, five years after graduating from Laconia High School, he returned with his degree in English from the University of New Hampshire to teach and his year was named New Hampshire Teacher of the Year. He considers his career both "a big honor and a big responsibility" as well as an opportunity to contribute to the community where he was raised. Sharing his origins with his students, he said, enables him to appreciate their circumstances and moves him to enrich their lives.

Outside the classroom, Aldrich has played a part in both "Stand Up Laconia," a coalition of volunteers from all walks of life come together to tackle substance abuse, and "Got Lunch!," a pioneering program to prove needy young people with nutritious meals during the summer vacation. He said that he hopes he is setting an example of civic responsibility for his students. Aldrich has also working with "Stay, Work, Play," the organization aiming to encourage more young people to pursue their careers in New Hampshire.

"It's not only an honor to represent the city of Laconia," said Aldrich, one of two teachers among the "40 Under 40." "It's an honor to represent the educators of our state. Real teaching," he continued, "requires educators to immerse themselves fully in their communities. He added that he represents all the teachers at Laconia High School and elsewhere "who've committed themselves to improving the lives of young people. I hope our 40 stories serve as an inspiration to others."

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