Bicycle Exchange helps LRCC students


LACONIA — The Laconia Area Bike Exchange, now in its third year, has been able to provide about 300 bicycles to those in need of transportation during that time.
It now faces a major challenge in the days ahead as it looks to come up with 18 bicycles for exchange students who are staying at Lakes Region Community College this summer and will need them to get to and from work at Dunkin' Donuts.
Nick Walton, residence director of LRCC, stopped by the exchange Tuesday afternoon to talk with John Rogers, founder of the exchange, about the need for the bikes and Rogers said he would be reaching out to the community in an effort to locate bikes for the students.
Rogers said that the exchange is benefiting this summer by having a college student help out with repairs and operating the exchange, which is located at 343 Court St., next to Eased Edges.
Jack Schrupp of Gilford, a Williams College student, says he heard about the exchange during the winter and contacted Rogers about working there.
"It's a good cause and there are lots of people in need of transportation, to get to work or doctor's appointments," said Schrupp, who is a graduate of St. Paul's School in Concord and has skied with Gunstock Nordic Federation. "There's a lot of work to do here."
The exchange was the brainchild of Rogers. Having worked with troubled youth in the past, Rogers would take bicycles that he found, fix them up and give the bikes away so they could get to school and get out for exercise.
As a result of his experience with the Landmark Education program, Rogers said, he realized that his idea could be expanded into the community, and brought his idea to Better Together's annual celebration in December of 2013.
"It received a positive response. From there, with support from Better Together, the city of Laconia, civic leaders, Piche's, MC Cycle, and New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the Laconia Area Bicycle Exchange was created and opened its doors two years ago in March."
He said the primary purpose of the exchange is to provide a means of inexpensive alternative transportation in the form of refurbished bicycles, made available to people who would benefit with greater mobility as it relates to work, family and personal living. A referral program is used by working with area human service organizations that refers people to the exchange. Personal referrals and demonstrated need also qualifies someone to receive a bicycle. Bikes locks and helmets are also offered.
Rogers says that new this year will be a $10 fee for the bicycles, which he says will give those receiving them a sense of ownership about the entire process.
He said that long-time volunteers Cliff King and Peter Bixby have helped repair the bikes the last couple of years and that Joe Bush of Belmont, another adult volunteers, has been extremely helpful in repairing and stripping bikes which have been donated.
Rogers said the greatest need is for adult mountain bikes of any condition.
Hours at the Bike Exchange are Tuesday, 4 to 5:30 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 1 p.m.; and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

05-24 bike exchange

Jack Schrupp of Gilford, a volunteer with the Laconia Area Bike Exchange, is working to repair bicycles at the exchange's workshop on Court Street. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Meredith ponders new library locations


MEREDITH — A week after the Board of Trustees of the Meredith Public Library voted to leave the Benjamin M. Smith Memorial Library, a panel charged with selecting a site Tuesday appeared to question the vote to move to a new location in its report to the Library Planning Committee.
The panel wrote "we must be absolutely sure the public approves the abandonment of this historic town facility" and continued, in italics for emphasis "Before that decision can be openly and transparently made, we need a robust dialogue on whether to abandon the present site and a reliable quantitative measure of what the public wants."
Meanwhile, Duncan McNeish said that four criteria were applied to prospective sites for a new single-level library. The lot should between three and four acres in size with frontage on one or more major thoroughfares with prominent visibility. In addition, the panel sought a property within easy reach of Meredith Center.
The panel recommended three properties in order of preference — one on Barnard Ridge Road, another on Plymouth Street and a third, known as the Robertson property, at the southwest corner of the roundabout between US Route 3 and Parade Road.
A number of sites were considered only to be eliminated as either too small or too distant from the town center. These included the former home of Aubuchon Hardware at the junction of US Route 3 and NH Route 25, the Lang Street School, the Orthopedic Clinic at NH Route 4 and Winona Road the former Department of Public Works on Daniel Webster Highway and lots on on Upper Ladd Hill Road and Jenness Hill Road.
The Planning Committee will meet again on Tuesday, May 31, to further consider the panel's report.

City wants state school property to be sold


LACONIA — The City Council unanimously adopted a resolution Monday urging the New Hampshire Department of Administrative Service to proceed with the process of offering the former Laconia State School for sale as stipulated by the companion bill to the 2016-2017 state budget.

Mayor Ed Engler proposed the resolution in the wake of a proposal introduced by state Sen. Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith), who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, to repeal the directive to sell the property and instead lease it to private party for a substance abuse treatment and recovery facility.

The resolution recalled that in December Michael Connor, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services told the mayor and city manager Scott Myers that a broker would be hired and the property would be listed for approximately six months before granting the city an opportunity to exercise its right of "first refusal" to purchase it, if necessary by matching the highest and best offer submitted.

Engler said that following the process is in the best interests of the city, explaining that marketing the property could provide an indication of its value as well as how private owners might redevelop it.