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Public Access TV will offer Franklin special deal to try and lure them back into fold

LACONIA — Lakes Region Public Access television is hoping to bring the city of Franklin back on board as a paying member and is prepared to offer that city a six-month trial period for providing services, which would include broadcasts of city council meetings.
LRPA-TV's board of directors agreed Friday to Chairman Chan Eddy's suggestion that Franklin be offered a ''test run'' from July through December at a cost of a little over $5,000.
Eddy said that he will make the offer in writing to Franklin City Manager Elizabeth Dragon so that she can include that amount in the city budget before her May 4 deadline for submitting the budget to the council.
Eddy said that he made a presentation in February to the city council and is hoping that the city, which has 1,975  MetroCast Cablevision subscribers and would pay $10,389,75 a year under the new formula recently adopted by the LRPA-TV board of directors, will see the benefits of supporting local public access television.
Last month the board of directors approved a new fee schedule which will see member communities billed $5.25 per MetroCast subscriber, a rate which will see Laconia pay $26,772.50 compared to the $40,000 it has been billed in recent years. Laconia has 5,090 MetroCast subscribers.
Gilford, where Eddy was recently elected as selectman, recently approved $21,939.75 in funds for LRPA-TV, a vote he abstained on because of his affiliation with the organization. Gilford has 2,727 subscribers and based on the new fee will be billed $14,316 in the future.
Meredith, which has 2,216 subscribers and will be billed $11,634 and Belmont, which has 1,652 subscribers, will be billed $8,673.
Board member Nancy LeRoy of Laconia said that it is important that the 2016 contracts with subscribing communities be sent to them in May so that the board will know where it stands financially.
The board of directors also received a report Friday on progress in hiring a part-time station manager, according to Eddy, who says that the job has been offered to a candidate who has a strong sales and marketing background.
The station has been managed in recent months by interim Program Director Shane Selling, who is also a consultant to LRPA-TV. Selling was named to that position in early January after the directors, citing financial challenges, fired long-time station manager Denise Beauchaine.
The board recently voted to withhold its programming from MetroCast customers in 13 towns in the Lakes Region that declined its offer to dues and contribute to the LRPA-TV operating budget.
Alexandria, Alton, Barnstead, Bridgewater, Bristol, Deerfield, Gilmanton, Hebron, New Hampton, Northfield, Pittsfield, Sanbornton and Tilton all went dark as of March 20. Only Alton had been a paying member of LRPA in the past The other towns did not provide programming to the public access channels, but received the signal via MetroCast channels 24, 25 and 26.

Last Updated on Saturday, 25 April 2015 01:18

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Sandwich selectmen will pick new school board member

MEREDITH — After representing the town of Sandwich on the Inter-Lakes School Board for the past four years, John Martin has tendered his resignation, explaining that he has chosen to pursue a professional opportunity that would hinder his ability to be an effective member of the board.

The board would have accepted Martin's resignation at its regularly scheduled meeting earlier this month, but the meeting was cancelled for want of a quorum. Once the resignation is accepted the position will be advertised and applicants, who must be residents of Sandwich, will be invited to submit a letter of intent together with their qualifications to the district.

However, the school board will not fill the vacancy. A statute enacted in 2013 prescribes that in a cooperative school district the remaining members of the board representing the same town or towns as the departed member shall fill vacancy, provided there are at least two such members. Since there is only one remaining member of the board from Sandwich — Howard Cunningham — the statute requires the Sandwich Board of Selectmen to make the appointment and if they cannot do so, the responsibility falls to the moderator of the cooperative school district. The appointee will serve until the next school district election in 2016.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2015 12:40

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Laconia Country Club celebrates renovated club house

LACONIA — Laconia Country Club teed up its 93rd season yesterday with an open house, offering members their first taste of the renovated club house.

Tim James, president of the club, said that the club house was built in 1965 after its predecessor was destroyed by fire, and has not undergone a significant renovation since. The bar has been enlarged with the addition of a spur overlooking the deck on the west end of the building. Work is beginning to double the size and triple the seating on the deck, which will offer expansive views of the golf course. The deck is expected to be complete by Memorial Day.

Inside a new ceiling, featuring paneled sections and new lighting, has lent spaciousness to the dining room without expanding its dimensions. A sliding divider, glazed with tempered glass, enables the room to be split in two without denying natural light to either section.

The renovation was the work of Opechee Construction Corporation of Belmont, whose president Mark Woglom modestly remarked that the replacement of the tired oaken furniture represented a significant contribution to the success of the renovation. Woglom is also a member of the club.

James said that the club counts some 440 members, noting that about 60 percent are year-round local residents and the balance are seasonal residents. He said that the course is rated among the best in the state. Gene Sarazen, one of only five golfers to win all four major championships, played the course along with entertainers like Jack Benny, Mickey Rooney and Alice Cooper and athletes like Bobby Orr and Rico Petrocelli.

James said that the New Hampshire Golf Association recently announced that the club will host the New Hampshire Amateur Championship, the premier golf event in the state, in 2016.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2015 12:36

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Number of homeless students in city schools said to have topped 100

LACONIA — The number of homeless children attending Laconia schools has been increasing in recent years according to Mollie Greeley, homeless coordinator for the Laconia School District, who says that this year there were a total of 106 students who at one time or another during the school year were without a home.
Greeley, who is also a guidance counselor at Woodland Heights Elementary School, outlined the extent of the problem of homeless school children in the city at Tuesday night's meeting of the School Board.
Woodland Heights Elementary School reported the most incidents of homeless students, 36, followed by Laconia High School, 23; Laconia Middle School, 22, Pleasant Street Elementary School, 17, and Em Street Elementary School, 8.
Greeley said that she works closely with other school districts in the area as part of a regional network of homeless coordinators and that Franklin schools reported 45 incidents of homeless children and Gilford had 24. The largest number in the state was 665 incidents in Manchester, the state's largest city.
She said that her role is to remove barriers for homeless students in order for them to have access to education and that involves providing immediate access to educational services, transportation, counseling as well as free and reduced school programs.
Greeley said that federal guidelines from the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, which was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, are used to define homeless students and the services for which they are eligible.
She said that in many cases the students or their families lack the documentation normally required and in those cases the requirements are waived in order to provide immediate access. ''We need to provide stability to the students,'' says Greeley, who says that she works closely with guidance departments at all of the district's schools to identify students eligible for services.
She said that intake meetings with new families in the School District help identify many of the needs and that in some cases of homeless children who are runaways or have been abandoned by their families immediate needs are often clothing and footwear.
Children who have been classified as homeless in the School District are often able to continue attending Laconia schools even if they obtain temporary housing in another nearby community is it is deemed in the best interest of the student she says.
Greeley said one recent success story involved a family with two young girls who had been living in the Salvation Army's homeless shelter at Carey House and was finally able to rent an apartment.
''The only catch was they had no beds for the girls. But a quick call to my Meredith counterpart helped get the beds they needed,'' said Greeley.
Another situation she is currently dealing with involves a family which has had to move out of their apartment because their electricity has been shut off and the children are staying in different homes.
''We have a moral obligation to help them.'' says Greeley, whose work was praised by School Board Chairman Joe Cormier and Superintendent of Schools Terri Forsten.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2015 12:23

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