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Commissioners look to get everyone on same corrections-planning page

LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners agreed Wednesday morning to form a committee which would seek input from all parts of the county's criminal justice system in order to foster a cooperative approach to the functioning of a new "community corrections" facility.
The commissioners will be receiving proposals from architectural firms on May 8 for a schematic design and cost estimates for a 64-bed community facility. Preliminary estimates place the cost, as well as renovations to the existing Belknap County Jail, at around $7 million.
One of the key elements of the community corrections plan is the creation of programs to help ease the transition back into the community of released inmates and the involvement of all elements of the criminal justice system in that process.
Commissioner Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton) initiated the discussion of forming the committee by saying that he felt that the recommendations of the Bennett Report, which was completed under the previous commission, for a study which would place all of the expenses of the criminal justice system on the same page had never been completed.
He said that he was concerned recently that county officials were not on the same page when he learned from a discussion with Belknap County Corrections Superintendent Dan Ward that a request for a release with electronic monitoring he had made for five inmates had not been supported by the Belknap County Attorney Melissa C. Guldbrandsen's office. Burchell said that eventually the request for electronic monitoring for four of the five inmates had been granted by a judge.
He said that he thought it important that the commission form a committee in order to get all of the players on the same page and was supported by Commissioner Hunter Taylor, who said ''a team effort is very important'' and noted that in the Sullivan County Community Corrections model which the county is trying to implement, the county attorney is a key player.
Taylor said that he thought it important that before a committee was formed that the commissioners contact those who would be involved, like the county attorney, county sheriff, the courts and local law enforcement departments.
That prompted Sheriff Craig Wiggin, who had been a member of the Jail Planning Committee named by previous commissioners and who was familiar with the process, to point out that there had been a meeting at which the county recidivism rate had been discussed by about 10 or 12 people from the criminal justice system. He said that the focus as the committee moved along, focus switched from that area to the size, cost and programs at a new facility.
Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy also supported the proposal, which led Taylor, who had earlier urged delay, to make a motion that the committee be formed with input from Wiggin, Ward and County Administrator Debra Shackett in putting together a list of possible participants.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 April 2015 12:15

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Gilford studying more erosion damage at town beach

GILFORD — Selectmen decided last week that having an engineer look at the erosion problems at the town beach before doing any additional repair work would be a good idea.

But before hiring an outside engineer, selectmen recommended having Public Works Director Peter Nourse, an engineer, take at look at the beach an offer his opinion.

Parks and Recreation Director Herb Greene said so far the town has spend about $7,500 on what are called "minimally invasive socks" that are planted with natural materials and placed along erosion areas to try and naturally contain it.

Last year in February, selectmen approved the above erosion measures along with some beach-sand replenishment. However, when the ice finally melted, Greene said he and contractor Belknap Landscaping found there was much more damage done in the winter of 2014 than expected.

Greene said he hadn't gone to the beach this year but expects to go shortly and evaluate what damage was wrought by this year's equally rough winter.

One of Greene's suggestions was a possible retaining wall on the "left" side of the beach while facing the water. Last July, six old pine trees in the same area blew down during a particularly vicious summer storm.

Gilford Beach experiences two kind of erosion — one from water as the levels of Lakes Winnipesaukee rise and fall and the second from wind that blows directly onto the beach and pushes much of the sand into the tree line.

Greene said he has just over $20,000 in the Parks and Recreation Capital Reserve Fund.

Once Nourse has formed an opinion, selectmen said they would revisit an outside engineer or just accept bids based on what he reports.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 April 2015 12:25

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City Council will hold public hearing on proposed Weirs zoning changes on May 11; Margate's request to extend outdoor Harry Potter Ball to 11 p.m. tabled

LACONIA — The council this week deferred consideration of the changes to the existing boundaries and permitted uses in the Commercial Resort (CR) District recommended by the Planning Board. Instead, councilors scheduled a public hearing on the proposal during its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, May 11.

Councilor David Bownes (Ward 2), who serves as the liaison to the Planning Board, told his colleagues that the proposal raised some controversy when it came before the Planning Board last week. Other councilors noted that many of the property owners and seasonal residents most affected have yet to return to the city and should be given an opportunity to express their opinions of the proposal contribute to to open their seasonal businesses

The Commercial Resort District begins on Lake Street, just south of its junction with White Oaks Road, extends northward along Weirs Boulevard, includes the center of the Weirs and runs either side of Rte. 3 to the Meredith town line. It also includes property along both sides of Route 11-B, including the former Surf Coaster property.
The proposal recommends rezoning two areas. First, the southernmost part of the CR District, from the Bayside Cemetery to the junction of Weirs Boulevard and White Oaks Road, would be added to the commercial district that extends southward along Union Avenue. Second, the eastern shore of Paugus Bay northward to the Naswa Resort would be removed from the CR District and added to the Shorefront Residential (SFR) District. In addition, the Planning Board has recommended changing 10 land uses in the CR District.
NOTE: The council tabled a request from the Margate Resort to extend the hours for amplified music outdoors from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday, May 24. Caroline Snyder, event manager, told the council that some 400 aficionados of the Harry Potter novels would cap their meeting with a masquerade ball on the lakeside lawn of the resort. However, she offered few details of the event and conceded that nearby property owners had not been informed. The ordinance limits the use of outdoor sound equipment to 9 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, except during Motorcycle Week. . . . . . The council voted unanimously to increase the pay of the volunteers who staff the six polling stations on election day. The moderators, ward clerks, selectmen, ballot clerks and supervisors currently receive $7.25 or $7.50 per hour. With the exception of ballot clerks, who will be paid $9 per hour for the first six hours and $10 per hour for each additional hour, all election officials will be paid $150 for each election and $10 per hour for training and working when the polls are not open. . . . . . . The Police Department received three grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety totaling more than $14,150 to mount patrols at red lights and stop signs, curb speeding, and stop impaired motorists as well as enforce the child passenger safety law and encourage all drivers and passengers to use seat belts. . . . . . .The council will hold a public hearing on an extensive amendment to the city ordinance regulating the operations of pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers during its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, April 27.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 April 2015 12:21

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Barry Ladd closes Meredith Center Store he's owned for 18 years

MEREDITH — "I feel bad for our good, loyal, steady customers," said Barry Ladd, who yesterday confirmed that he was closing the Meredith Center Store to retail trade. Ladd said he will continue to butcher animals, domestic and wild, by appointment, but shutter the remainder of the business he has owned and operated for past 17 years.

"There are so many more stores in the area," Ladd said of the mounting competition, "and every year I end up putting more and more money into the store just to keep it going." He said that expenses, particularly utilities and insurances, rise every year and there is a growing burden of regulation and paperwork. "It's not a good business climate for the small business person," he remarked.

"I've reached retirement age,"Ladd continued. He said neither his son, a college student, nor his son-in-law was interested in carrying on the business. "I hated to do it," he said, "but I couldn't keep it going myself."

Ladd recalled that the store first opened in the 1920s. After working as a butcher at Walter's Market in Laconia for 14 years, he acquired the store from Joe and Cynthia Pelczar in 1997.

With half-a-century of experience in the meat business, Ladd featured a wide array of select cuts along with freshly made sausage, corned beef and jerky, winning accolades from his customers. "We became a specialty store with the butcher shop and delicatessen," Ladd remarked.

Noting that a number of traditional country stores have closed, Ladd said that he heard regularly from vendors that the small stores they served in rural communities were struggling to make reasonable returns on the investment of time and money required of their owners.

"I'll miss it, " Ladd said. "I'll miss the people coming in. But, I'll also enjoy my retirement."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 April 2015 12:13

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