Search for city planner comes up empty

LACONIA — City Manager Scott Myers said this week that the formal search for a planning director has been suspended after interviews with three of seven applicants failed to produce "quite the right match" for the position.

Instead, Myers said he will seek someone with experience, perhaps a retiree, to take the position on a part-time basis.

Meanwhile, the city has contracted with a private firm to assist with the review and technical analysis of plans submitted to the department. Brandee Loughlin, assistant planner, will continue to served as interim planning director. The position opened in April when Shanna Saunders resigned to take the position of Director of Planning and Community Development in Somersworth.

Myers said that he has begun seeking to fill the position of zoning technician, which supports the work of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, which fell vacant with the departure of Kris Snow in April. .

With the process of updating the Master Plan and the strengthening economy spurring more development the workload of the Planning Department is expected to increase, Myers said,adding that filling at least one of the two vacant full-time positions is a priority.

The city has also begun a search for an assessor to take the place of Jon Duhamel who resigned to become chief assessor for the city of Nashua. Myers anticipated interviewing a shortlist of candidates next month.

Finally, Director of Public Works Paul Moynihan has announced that he will retire on August 1. Myers said that the position has been advertised and applications will be accepted until June 24.

No decision yet on crematorium lawsuit


LACONIA — The hearing in Belknap County Superior Court Friday on the petition of Peter Mayhew, the owner of Mayhew Funeral Home, Inc., to silence his neighbor, Doug Frederick, owner of the American Police Motorcycle Museum, who has repeatedly and publicly complained that emissions from the crematorium litter his property with ash, ended without an announced result.
Justice James D. O'Neill III opened the hearing by asking the attorneys, Marc van Zanten, representing Mayhew, and William Woodbury, representing Frederick, to approach the bench. After the three conferred, the opposing counsels left the courtroom together. When the court reconvened, the attorneys again conferred with O'Neill, who then recessed the proceedings.
Afterward, Woodbury said he expected O'Neill to issue a brief order, perhaps later the same afternoon. However, the justice left the courthouse without issuing an order.
Last week Justice David Ruoff denied Mayhew's ex parte motion, or motion filed without Frederick's knowledge or presence, seeking a temporary restraining order against Frederick and his wife, Leslyee. Mayhew contends that there is no evidence for Frederick's claims that "human ash" is falling from the crematory chimney and and fouling his property, yet Frederick and his wife "loudly and publicly continue their groundless complaints." Mayhew's suit asks the court to forbid the Fredericks from making any statements that are published in a public medium that bear on the character, credibility and reputation of Mayhew; his wife or his funeral home; or that reflect directly or indirectly on the operation of the crematory at the funeral home.
On three occasions Frederick has complained to the Meredith Board of Selectmen about the operation of the crematorium and his remarks have been published in local newspapers and aired on television. He has lodged similar complaints with the Office of the Governor, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, New Hampshire Attorney General and Board of of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers as well as with the Meredith police and fire departments.
Mayhew claims that Frederick's statements, which have been widely disseminated, defame his character and impair his business.

Master carver - John Connors employs chainsaw with surgeon’s precision


MEREDITH — Shorter, warmer winters may have thinned the moose population, but nothing has stayed the skilled hands and sharp eyes of John Connors, who described his most recent rendering of the iconic beast as the best he has ever carved.

Connors has been carving wildlife sculptures with an arsenal of chainsaws for the past 18 years, with black bears in a variety of poses accounting for the majority of his menagerie. He said he enjoys carving fish as well, but is puzzled they are not more popular.

The moose, standing stolidly at Connors" outdoor studio on NH Route 14 took two months to complete. Sculpted to life, the moose stands some six feet at the shoulder and weighs about 1,500 pounds. Connors, who operates a sawmill at his home in Belmont, fashions his sculptures from native white pine. Apart from the hump, the body and head of the moose were carved from a single log while each of the legs are attached to the torso. He said that he roughed out the moose upside down, then attached the legs and righted the sculpture to finish the carving from its hooves to its nose. Once carved, the sculpture is finished with several costs of stain and polyurethane by Steve Edwards, who put the final touches to all his works.

Connors said that he has spoken with three prospective buyers and expects the moose will soon have a permanent home, but not, he added, until he has completed another one to peak the fancy of visitors flocking to the Lakes Region, some hoping to catch sight of a moose.

05-27 John Connors moose

John Connors of Sculptree LLC, known for his chainsaw sculptures and carvings as well as rustic furniture, stands aside his latest creation at his open air workshop on NH Route 104, where the lifelike moose all but stops passing traffic. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)