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Gilmanton Academy building repairs to cost $137,000

GILMANTON — Town Administrator Arthur Capello said yesterday that the town, its insurer and general contractor Conneston Construction, Inc. have agreed on $137,000 for repairs to the Academy building cause by a broken sprinkler pipe in January.

Capello said that with the agreement in place, crews have been working for about a week and he is optimistic employees could be back in the building by the end of March.

He said the entire hardwood floor in the attic needed replacing as did the ceiling and many of the electrical fixtures. On the main level, the ceiling and carpeting are being replaced as are the computer ports and insulation.

"The inside of the building in literally being painted from top to bottom," said Capello yesterday.

He said the town will get a new server, new computers and a new copier has been ordered.

Capello said he and selectmen are very happy with the pace and the quality of the work done so far by the contractors.

Capello said selectmen will be meeting Thursday at the Gilmanton School following the public hearing to revoke SB-2 that is scheduled for 6 p.m. One of the topics will be additional insulation in the roof and a few items that have little to do with the flood but should be addressed while the ceilings and wall are still open.

He said there is some money in a non-capital building maintenance account that could be used for these items should selectmen vote to have them done.

The Gilmanton Academy was heavily damaged by a frozen and broken pipe in the attic sprinkler system at 10 p.m. on January 11. Water cascaded through the attic to the third floor meeting room and down into the first floor offices, damaging or destroying all of the computers and furnishings in the building.
All of the town records were backed up and the town archives were in a secure vault in the basement and were undamaged.
Town employees have been working from a modular unit behind the Academy Building.

CAPTION: CCI project manager Ron Downes talks with Town Administrator Arthur Capello in the main room of the Gilmanton Academy builidng. Repairs are ongoing and officials hope to be back in the building by the end of March. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 February 2015 12:59

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Gilmanton woman asks court for her gun back

GILMANTON — The live-in girlfriend of a Bean Road man who was found guilty of reckless conduct with a deadly weapon — a firearm — has petitioned the Belknap County Superior Court to get her gun back.

Paula Pelchat, of 8 Bean Road, has asked for Judge James O'Neill to return her .40-caliber Sig Sauer to her. She said the gun was hers and was purchased in her name.

In her handwritten letter to the court, Pelchat said she understands that her boyfriend Jeffrey Sargent cannot have access to firearms as the result of his conviction and told the court she was giving the gun to her father, who lives at a different address.

The gun was confiscated from Sargent on April 16, 2014 after he fired it twice in the air to scare two people from his property.

Sargent rents the property and two of his landlords friends had been given permission to bury one of their recently deceased pets on his property.

When the couple arrived, Sargent, who was outside his home at the time, went inside, grabbed the gun, and fired two warning shots into the air.

Police recovered two spent .40-caliber rounds and Sargent gave them the gun that had 11 of 13 rounds left in the magazine. He said he never felt as though he was in any danger and just wanted the people to leave the property.

Sargent was given a suspended prison sentence.

Deputy Belknap County Attorney Carley Ahern said she had no objection to returning the gun to Pelchat. Gilmanton Police couldn't be reached for comment.

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 February 2015 12:43

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Quebec mushers post 4 fastest times on first day of Sled Dog Derby

LACONIA — Veteran Quebec musher Rejean Therrien, third place finisher in last year's Laconia World Championship Sled Dog Derby, jumped out to a 24 second lead on the opening day of the 86th annual event on Friday.

Times for races on Saturday and Sunday will be added to the musher's first-day totals to determine the overall champion.

Therrien, who has been racing sled dogs for 38 years, posted a time of 47 minutes and 11 seconds on the 15 mile course, a 19 mile per hour pace. He raced a team of 16 dogs, Alaskan Husky and German Pointer crosses. Last year was his first Laconia race and he finished only 56 seconds behind the winner after losing precious time on last year's opening day when his team became tangled.

In second place is Guy Girard of St. Thomas de Joliette, Quebec, with a time of 47:35. He also races a Husky-Pointer mix team,.

“Today's speeds are unbelievable,'' says Girard, a musher for over 30 years who is also a marathon runner who has taken part in 10 of the grueling 26.2 mile races in recent years.
''I put my dogs through the same training regimen I use,'' said Girard. His team has been clocked at 25 miles an hour and two years ago averaged 20.5 miles an hour in a 14 miles race in Quebec.

Another Quebec musher, Jack Trottier, who was last year's runner-up, was in third place with a time of 48:38, only three seconds ahead of last year's winner and three-time champion winner Claude Bellerive of Charette, Quebec, who posted a time of 48:41.

Jim Blair is in fifth place with a time of 49:06 with Diane Marquis is sixth with a time of 49:19. Doug Butler of Vermont is seventh with a time of 49:37, followed by Steve Long with a time of 49:40.

In ninth place is Keith Bryar Jr. of Moultonborough with a time of 52:16, followed by Chris Carter at 53:19, Samuel laForce 53:23, Rob Worden 53:46, Randy Dekuiper, 58:46 and Hermel Bergeron 62:38.

The derby resumes today with six-dog teams getting underway at 10 a.m., the three-dog junior class at noon and the open class at !;30 p.m.

The same schedule holds for Sunday and there will be an awards ceremony at 4 p.m. at Laconia Country Club.


Last Updated on Saturday, 14 February 2015 12:33

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Mill Society looks to volunteers to raise funds for repairs & operations

LACONIA — The executive committee of the Belknap Mill Society will recommend that the Board of Trustees accede to the will of the majority of voting members by suspending discussion of selling the historic building and undertaking an effort to overcome the financial challenges overshadowing its future.

Twice in as many months, first at an informal meeting in January and at the annual meeting this week, overwhelming majorities of the non-board members present opposed the trustees' proposal to negotiate the sale of the mill to the city. Allison Ambrose, who has succeeded Christine Santaniello as president of the society, said that the trustees would not pursue a course opposed by the membership.

Ambrose explained that at both meetings members were asked if they would volunteer their services to efforts at sustaining the society's ownership and management of the mill. She said that "a couple dozen volunteers" stepped forward. "We are very encouraged by the support we've received from the community and membership," Ambrose said.

The executive committee, Ambrose continued, will recommend that the volunteers be assigned to a committee to mount a capital improvement campaign and membership drive as well as "make the attempt to generate additional operating income." Ambrose expected the trustees would meet soon and if they endorse the recommendation of the executive committee, a letter outlining the initiative and committee assignments will be sent to the members.

"Time is of the essence," said Ambrose, who said that the society has sufficient financial resources to operate for several more months and, through the marketing efforts of managing director Beth San Soucie, perhaps longer.

Attorney Pat Wood, who is among those most opposed to selling the mill, said he was confident the society could muster the resources required to own and operate the mill. He estimated that $300,000 would be required to fund the most urgent repairs to the building, including the installation of a new boiler, renovation or replacement of the roof and refurbishment of the windows.

Wood suggested that income from leasing office space on the second and fourth floors, together with fees from renting the function rooms on the first and third floors, would represent about half the annual operating budget. Some of the balance, Wood suggested, would be met by increasing memberships and decreasing expenditures, especially by persuading the City Council to forgive the $6,000 in property taxes levied on the rented space in the building. Wood anticipated that the society might require financial assistance from the city, perhaps as much as $50,000 a year, "for a limited period of time."

"Everything is possible," Wood said. "We can move mountains, if we want to. I'm guardedly optimistic."

Less sanguine, Ambrose said "it's absolutely worth giving it a try and definitely worth the effort."

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 February 2015 12:20

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