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Alton Winter Carnival canceled because of looming storm

ALTON — The annual Winter Carnival on Alton Bay has been canceled this year because of the impending snow storm this weekend.

Carnival Committee Chair Roger Sample said yesterday that the decision was made by Tuesday night because Wednesday was the last day to ordered food and beverages.

Sample said because all of the recent snow ,plus the weight of the trucks on the ice from last weekends fishing derby, the ice in the bay isn't very good.

"The weight pushes up water through the cracks and the ice is very slushy," he said.

Sample said there are some "die-hards" who are very upset but said most people understand.

He said because there are other events in the area, the Winter Carnival will not be rescheduled.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 13 February 2015 01:58

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New Hampton man allegedly threatens family members with a knife

NEW HAMPTON — A Kelly Pond Road man is being held on $10,000 cash-only bail after allegedly threatening his brother-in-law with a knife last Sunday during a family fight.

Police affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday said Scott Batchelder, 31, drove a knife through a door behind which the victim was hiding. Witnesses said the knife came within inches of the alleged victim's head.

Batchelder faces one count of criminal threatening, one count of endangering the welfare of the child, one felony count of being a felon in possession of a dangerous weapon after being convicted of felonious sexual assault in 2003, and one count of felony count of criminal threatening.

Police affidavits filed with the court said the incident began at 7:15 p.m., when 9-1-1 dispatch reported a call from the address saying someone was going to "kill us".  Moments later the caller said to forget about it and don't come.

When an New Hampton officer arrived, he saw "large amounts of blood inside and outside the residence and bloody knives in the kitchen sink and on the kitchen floor but no one in the family was cooperating or answering any questions.

On Tuesday, a New Hampton detective returned to the home and spoke to four of the people who were there that night.

One of them said Batchelder allegedly punched a male family member in the mouth and became angry when the victim fought back. The person who spoke to police said Batchelder had been drinking and using heroin that night. Police said there were four children in the room during the altercation.

Batchelder left the house where he allegedly slashed the tires of a different family member's car and returned inside. The rest of the members of the family had allegedly taken refuge in a bedroom and that's when Batchelder is said to have thrust the knife through the bedroom door.

Affidavits also said that other members of his family told police that he has drug and "rage" issues.

Judge Jim Carroll ruled that should Batchelder post bail he is not to return to the family home.

According to the N.H. Sex Offender Website, Batchelder was convicted in August of 2014 for a violation of the state's reporting requirement and simple assault; had two driving while intoxicated convictions in 2012, and was convicted being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon in 2006.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 February 2015 01:50

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Some parents critical of Hill School Board's proposal to leave Franklin for Newfound

By Thomas P. Caldwell

HILL — As the annual School District meeting approaches, parents whose children currently attend Franklin schools are expressing anger and frustration over the School Board's efforts to conclude a tuition agreement with the Newfound Area School District, based in Bristol, without giving Franklin another chance to keep the students.
Many of them appeared before the School Board on Feb. 11, asking why the board is not considering Franklin's late offer to renegotiate the terms of the current Authorized Regional Enrollment Area (AREA) agreement to bring the cost of sending Hill students to Franklin below the amount Newfound would be charging in tuition.
The Hill board rejected Franklin's offer last month because it came just weeks before the board had to finalize its budget for the coming year, and opening up the AREA agreement would mean suspending the current negotiations with Newfound. Hill voters last year asked the School Board to look into withdrawing from Franklin and to report back this year.
School Board Chair Shelly Henry said there is no guarantee that the offer Franklin put on the table would be honored if they did agree to open up the AREA agreement, so the promised savings might not materialize. She said voters who want to remain with Franklin need only reject the article at the school meeting.
Under the current agreement, total tuition for students to attend Franklin would rise to $864,847 next year, while Newfound's formula would cost $839,917, based on the attendance numbers at the time of the discussion. Franklin on Jan. 6 offered to use Newfound's tuition calculator which would bring the cost down to $736,182.
Distrust between Hill and Franklin is playing a part in the process, with Franklin having used its weighted vote on the School Administrative Unit 18 Board to see that Hill had no real voice, even though Franklin's representation was large enough to have its way even without a weighted vote. Franklin chose not to send any representatives to serve on the withdrawal study committee and only got involved after the state had accepted the Hill report.
The city's long-standing financial problems as a property-poor community have created problems in properly funding education and Hill had previously looked at withdrawing from Franklin because of concerns about the quality of education. In the early 1990s, when Hill considered its options for realigning with another community, Newfound did not have the space to accommodate Hill students and the withdrawal effort was dropped.
The parents attending Wednesday's school board meeting challenged the assertion that Franklin's educational quality was inferior to Newfound's, citing test scores and statistics on college-bound students. They also said that, while the terms of the withdrawal allow parents to continue sending students currently attending Franklin to the city schools, the school district will not be providing transportation and that will be a hardship for some.
They also questioned whether the tuition would remain low or whether they would be paying much higher amounts in the future. Several expressed the view that a 10-year agreement was too long a commitment.
Henry noted that, in negotiating the terms with Newfound, they were able to lower the basic tuition figure even more, although the actual cost will be determined by what services the Hill students need. Special education costs, for instance, will be assessed separately from the basic tuition.
The School Board accepted the draft tuition agreement with Newfound without sharing the details with the audience. Formal acceptance of the agreement will be part of the warrant at School District meeting and also will appear on the ballot in the Newfound Area.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 February 2015 01:44

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Kahn officially resigns from Meredith board; Seeger explains her own sudden departure

MEREDITH — Not long after walking out of a workshop session on Wednesday, Lou Kahn formally resigned from the Board of Selectmen.

Following the resignation of Hillary Seeger earlier the same day, Kahn's departure leaves the board with three members, two of whom — Carla Horne and Peter Brothers — are retiring when their terms expire next month.

Kahn, who chaired the U.S. 3/N.H. 25 Advisory Committee, left the workshop after a resident critical of the committee's recommended traffic plan, told him "you are the problem". When Kahn asked his colleagues "am I the problem" and sought their support, they did not respond and he left the room. Shortly before 7 p.m. he sent an e-mail to Town Manager Phil Warren tendering his resignation "in view of the unwillingness of the members of the Selectboard to offer any support for me in the face of a personal attack at the last meeting."

A longtime member of the Planning Board, Kahn was elected to the Selectboard in 2013 and had one year remaining on his three year term.

Earlier on Wednesday Seeger wrote to her colleagues explaining that "the time constraints placed on me by my full-time job make it difficult for me to fully participate in an endeavor which is largely scheduled during normal business hours." She urged the selectmen to consider scheduling their regular and committee meetings "outside of normal closing she wrote that "it has been a pleasure to serve the town I love so much" and thanked the people for electing her.

Town Manager Phil Warren said yesterday that the two seats opened by the retirements of Horne and Brothers will be filled by the election on March 10. There are eight candidates on the ballot — Rosemary Landry, Michael Hatch, Jonathan James, Bev Lapham, Raymond Moritz, Roland Tichy, Michael Pelczar and David Bennett, Sr. — and the two with the most votes will be declared the winners.

Warren said that after the election the new board will appoint two persons to fill the remaining seats. He anticipated that when the board meets on March 16 the three selectmen will invite applications, without limiting the field to the unsuccessful candidates in the election, then proceed to appoint two of the applicants.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 February 2015 01:25

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