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Gilford finds it will take $5,300 to bring power to a $4,545 sign that tells motorists how fast they are travelling

GILFORD – An electronic message sign that indicates how fast a vehicle is driving has been installed on Rte. 11-A near the intersection of Alvah Wilson Road but it's not the original sign the town purchased.

The initial purchase, completed in April of 2014, was a electrically operated speed sign that cost $4,545; however, when the town learned that Public Service of New Hampshire was going to charge them $5,300 to run the necessary power line to a transformer that was two poles away.

The solar-powred sign that was installed yesterday was purchased for about $300 more than the first one.

The electrical traffic sign is for sale at a discounted rate of $4,100 or best offer, Town Administrator Scott Dunn told Selectmen Wednesday night, but nobody seems to want it.

Dunn told selectmen that he contacted the company that sold the town the sign and asked them if they would sell it on consignment for them but was told no.

"They want to sell brand new units still in the box," said Dunn.

Selectman John O'Brien said he would like to see a speed sign on Rte. 11-A on the other side of the Gilford village as well and wondered if there was a pole with a transformer where the town could install it.

Selectman Gus Benevides said he only wanted one sign and would need to know the costs of electricity and installation.

Department of Public Works Director Sheldon Morgan said that PSNH charges about $250 to connect it to a meter and Lt. Kris Kelley said that once installed, it would use about the same amount of electricity as a 40-watt light bulb.

Both Morgan and Kelley said they were working on a way to retrofit the electrical sign with a solar panel. Selectmen Richard Grenier said he has a solar panel that he thinks will work.

"Do we keep it, do we reduce the price, or do we keep trying to settle this?" asked Benevides.

Grenier said he favored tabling the matter until he, Morgan and Kelley could see if they could retrofit it and the other two agreed.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 01:02

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Sanbornton man gets one year in jail for stealing $90k worth of timber

LACONIA — A Sanbornton man has been sentenced to serve 12 months in the Belknap County House of Corrections for stealing $89,900 of timber from two separate victims.

Gary Bardsley, 51, of Eastman Hill Road pleaded guilty this month to one count each of theft by unauthorized taking and deceptive forestry practices for failing to pay a Gilmanton land owner $64,869 for trees he cut from the victim's land between 2011 to 2013, and then sold to a lumber mill.

He was sentenced to serve 12 months with three months of his sentence suspended. He was also ordered to undergo counseling and to reimburse his victim through the Department of Corrections.

Bardsley also pleaded guilty to one count each of theft by unauthorized taking and deceptive forestry practices for failing to pay a Sanbornton land owner $25,030 for timber he took from her property between 2011 and 2013.

He was sentenced to 12 months in the Belknap County House of Corrections to be served at the same time or consecutively as his sentence in the Gilmanton matter.

He was ordered to pay restitution to the victim through the Department of Corrections.

According to an article published in the Concord Monitor in January of 2009, the Attorney's General's office had sought a way to prevent Bardsley from logging in the state until he filed a detailed plan to protect wetlands and gets approval from the state before he went to a site.

The Monitor reported that as of 2009, Bardsley had paid about $40,000 in fines for poor logging practices and had been cited nearly 80 times.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 September 2014 02:29

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Judge declines to take 2 years off sentence of Laconiaman who murdered his wife

LACONIA — A Belknap County Superior Court judge has denied a former Laconia man's request to suspend two years of his 35-to-life sentence for gunning down his wife on Court Street in September of 1984.

In his ruling Judge James O'Neill said Richard Pliskaner Jr. has not shown remorse and has not acknowledged the substantial impact his actions had on his late wife's Debra's family.

O'Neill also determined that Pliskaner is not sufficiently rehabilitated to the degree he would no longer be a threat to Debra's family.

Pliskaner represented himself in court Tuesday afternoon. Tall, wearing thick glasses, and a green prison suit, his hands shook as he tried to convince the judge that he was remorseful for his actions and that he was no longer a threat to his wife's family or society in general.

"I can't make this wrong into a right," he said, saying he wished he could bring back Debra and "remove the pain he has caused."

He referred to Debra as a very special loving person. "Please forgive me. I am a changed person," he said.

While Pliskaner spoke, Debra's daughter and sister sat in the courtroom but refused to look at him. They were assisted by victim's advocated from the N.H. Attorney General's Office.

Senior Asst. Attorney Jeff Strelzin said Pliskaner committed the worst kind of domestic violence there was. He detailed how Pliskaner stalked his wife in the days after she left him and how police removed guns from him once only to have him buy another one with a false name and address.

Indicted for one count of first degree homicide, Pliskaner pleaded guilty to second degree homicide and was sentenced to 35 years to life in prison. He is eligible for parole in five more years.

Strelzin emphasized that almost one half of the homicides committed in New Hampshire are the direct result of domestic violence. He asked Judge O'Neill to send the message that in New Hampshire "We won't tolerate domestic violence in this state."

Statements against Pliskaner's early release from Debra's daughter and her sister were read into the record by one of the victim's advocates.

"He killed my mother and I became an orphan," said Debra's only child who was 10-years-old when her mother was murdered.

She said she needed her mother to be with her during all of her life experiences and Pliskaner took her life with a mother away in "one cowardly act." She said that he killed her mother with conviction and purpose and she and her family continue to live in fear of him.

The statement from Debra's sister Donna noted that before Debra's murder, Pliskaner had threatened to kill all of them.

Her statement recalled a day when she and her sister were eating at the Soda Shoppe when they looked out a window and saw Pliskaner "whistling, smiling and laughing" while patting his waist band where they knew he kept a gun.

She said her and Debra hid in a stall in the ladies room and they could hear Pliskaner walking down the hall whistling and looking for them. She said they stayed hidden until another woman came in and verified that he was gone.

She noted that they called the police that day for what she said was about the fifth time.

At the time, said one local attorney who remembered the case, police didn't have the ability to place a 72-hour domestic violence holds on someone who has threatened harm to another in a domestic violence case.

He noted that there were about three or four domestic violence related homicides in the state during that same time period that provided the Legislature, the courts and the police with the impetus they needed to rewrite and enforce some of the laws regarding domestic violence.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 September 2014 12:39

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City Council does U-turn on fire station project; straight bids will be accepted

LACONIA — The City Council this week reversed its decision to hire a construction manager rather than a general contractor to undertake the renovation and expansion of the Central Fire Station amid concern that the selection process slighted local firms.

Unlike a general contractor, who is awarded a contract through a bidding process once the project is designed and engineered and works to the prescribed specifications, a construction manager is hired for a fee, participates in designing and engineering the project, chooses the general contractor and sub-contarctors and oversees the work.

To chose a construction manager a select committee of four — City Manager Scott Myers, Deputy Fire Chief Charles Roffo, Purchasing Officer Jonathan Gardner and Jonathan Halle of Warrenstreet Architects — was formed and invited applicants to submit their qualifications. A dozen firms applied. Each member of the committee independently scored the firms based solely on their qualifications, not the cost of their services. The shortlist of four firms chosen by the committee, excluded all of the local firms that applied.

The reaction prompted the council to reconsider its decision to hire a construction manager. When the council met this week Councilor Brenda Baer (Ward 4) expressed her displeasure that four "fully qualified" local contractors were not shortlisted. She said that local contractors employ local residents, who spend their earning with local businesses. "Think local," she declared. "That's the fair and right thing."

Myers reminded the councilors that the process of awarding contracts is prescribed by a city ordinance and cautioned that openly giving preference to local firms could dissuade others from making applications or submitting bids, which by dampening competition could raise costs.

However, Councilor Henry Lipman (Ward 3) countered that "the advantage of being local should be incorporated in the bidding process."

Meanwhile, the council unanimously voted to reconsider its vote to hire a construction manager in favor of awarding the contract to a general contractor through a straight bid process. Myers noted that completed drawings and specifications would be complete in two or three weeks and a bid package could be prepared by the middle of October with an eye to opening the bids, awarding the contract in the middle of November and beginning work in early December.
He suggested that winter conditions could add to the cost of the project.

Lipman suggested that the site work, which is most liable to weather conditions, could be put to bid separately and earlier. He also proposed expanding the selection and building oversight committee to include the three members of the council, appointed by the mayor.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 September 2014 12:31

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