GYRL to appeal to voters for funding

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Operators of the Gilmanton Year Round Library raise the balance of funds through donations, grants and fundraising efforts but hope voters will support an article on this year's town warrant. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)


GILMANTON — On Saturday, backers of the Gilmanton Year-Round Library will hope to avoid a repeat of last year, when voters decided not to fund the library.
But ultimately, the community will be the one to decide the fate of the library, one way or the other, according to Chris Schlegel, member of the board of directors.
The Gilmanton Year-Round Library, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, relied on fundraising last year after a 2016 warrant article was narrowly voted down by 51 to 49 percent (523-505).
Article 24 on this year's warrant is a petitioned article to raise $48,500 for the library. Tax impact is 11 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or $22 on a $200,000 property.
The deliberative session of Town Meeting is Saturday, Feb. 4, at 10 a.m., at the Gilmanton School.
A survey performed by The Survey Center at the University of New Hampshire last summer gave a snapshot response, with about 20 percent or 343 of the 1,715 surveys returned, but some ambiguity resulted about whether the town should own the library.
"A large part of the reason that we did the survey that we did with the UNH Survey Center was to see what kind of support there would be with that," Schlegel said. "What we got back from the survey was actually mixed. If it was going to be town owned, they did want to see a 501(c)(3) partnership, which is what we are thinking. I do think it's a possibility that that could happen at some point. We do have support. Town officials are quite supportive of the library right now."
But Schlegel added, "It would have to happen through the community, not just town officials."
This year's town vote, Schlegel said, is "very important."
"In order to operate as a full-service library, which is our mission, we really do need that funding," she said.
The request for $48,500 would supplement a total operating budget of $77,833, she said.

NHDES puzzled by air quality data


LACONIA — Data collected by the air monitoring station at Wyatt Park indicate that while air quality has remained well within safety standards during the winter months, sporadic spikes in particle pollution have piqued the interest of Dr. Jeff Underhill, chief scientist at the Air Resources Division of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

Underhill explained that fine particulate pollution is a function of temperature inversions, which occur when the normal pattern of warm air below and cool air above is reversed, a phenomenon common to valleys in the winter months. Particulates, primarily from the smoke of wood-burning heating devices, instead of being carried aloft and dispersed by rising warm air, become trapped as the warm air acts as a lid.

Fine particles are generally no more than 2.5 micrometers around, which is 30 times smaller than a strand of hair. Concentrations of particles are measured in micrograms per cubic meter and the health standard of 35 is akin to one grain of salt in a liter bottle of air. Fine particulate pollution poses a risk to those with heart and respiratory disease, who may experience shortness of breath, chest pain and palpitations. Underhill said that for air quality to be considered unhealthy, the concentration of particles must be at or above 35 for a 24-hour period.

Concentrations measured at Wyatt Park have not approached this level. For instance, for 60 of the 72 hours ending at 1 p.m. on Thursday concentrations reported at Wyatt Park were seldom above 10, easily within the range of "good" air quality. However, on three occasions concentrations reached 20 and once, at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, climbed to 25, the highest level recorded so far but within the range of "moderate" air quality." Underhill said that the highest concentrations are usually reported at night, when the winds are generally calm and residents are heating their homes.

Underhill said that although the readings give no cause for immediate concern, "if the data looks interesting enough the monitoring program, which is scheduled to end in March, could be continued. He noted that this has been a relatively mild winter with higher than normal temperatures.

"In a colder winter," he said, "we could see higher concentrations."

He said that the concentrations recorded exceeded those reported in Concord and Manchester and "We're not sure why." Stressing that there was no need to issue an advisory, he said monitoring may be extended to find an explanation for the high concentrations.

The Department of Environmental Services installed the monitoring station last October. The station records both weather conditions and particle concentrations with the intention of developing a capacity to forecast the likelihood of poor air quality and issue advisories before they arise.

Pair sought in MVSB robbery are arrested


LACONIA — The woman who allegedly robbed the Meredith Village Savings Bank on Jan. 11 could be arraigned in the Belknap County Superior Court as early as Friday afternoon.

01-11 Riley401-11 Chaka1Detective Sgt. Kevin Butler said Kristi Riley, 31, of Laconia, and her companion Chaka Meredith, 41, of Laconia were caught around 7 p.m. Wednesday night as they were walking down the street in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

He said Riley is expected to be charged with robbery, has waived extradition and will be returned to New Hampshire.

Butler said he was told a patrol officer and supervisor recognized them thanks to photos from bank surveillance cameras, including two Lawrence banks that Meredith allegedly robbed. The two were arrested without incident.

He said Meredith has allegedly confessed to his role in robbing a total of seven banks, which include his role as accomplice to the MVSB robbery and a second robbery in Plaistow.

"I believe he has confessed to seven bank robberies, including ours," Butler said.

Butler said the two remained on the run for a month and that various police agencies in New Hampshire, Massachusetts along with the FBI are still sorting out what charges each will face in their jurisdictions.

He said Meredith is alleged to have committed bank robberies in Laconia, Plaistow, two in Lawrence, at least two in Boston and one in Pepperell.

WMUR-TV reports that Meredith's attorney said his client has no criminal record and in fact was a police officer previously. He said Meredith was injured and became addicted to Percoset and then heroin.

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