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Commissioner DeVoy will ask lawmakers to reconsider decision to lower county home revenue estimates

LACONIA — Belknap County Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) says that he is disappointed in the decision made Monday night by the Belknap County Convention to cut $470,00 from a proposed increase in revenue estimates for the Belknap County Nursing Home from the prospective 2015 budget.
''I thought we made a strong case that these increases were reasonable,'' said DeVoy, pointing out that the revised revenue estimate of $8.8 million developed by the commissioners for the nursing home was actually $500,000 less than the nursing home received in revenues last year.
He noted the vote on the largest increase, $370,000 to the Medicaid Home Care line failed by one vote, 7-6, and that many key legislators who might have supported the increase were not present Monday night.
He said that that would have brought the revenue line to $3,370,000, which is $200,000 less than was actually received in 2014.
''We're hoping to revisit that when the convention meets again on the budget on Monday night. I'm going to be talking with convention Chairman Frank Tilton about it and I'm hoping there will be more support for our plan,'' said DeVoy, pointing out that the options are either deep cuts in a budget which he said is very lean already or a tax increase much higher than the 2 percent limit Tilton has hoped to achieve.
He said that the commission will not be meeting again until after former chairman Dick Burchell's request for ex parte relief from his replacement as chairman of the Belknap County Convention is heard in Belknap County Superior Court next Wednesday.
Burchell, who was apparently replaced as chairman at Monday morning's meeting of the commission, is seeking to have the commission's action in ousting him set aside by the court.
DeVoy said that he has hired Paul Fitzgerald to represent him at the hearing, while fellow commissioner Hunter Taylor, who is a lawyer, will represent himself.
During Monday night's convention meeting DeVoy told Rep. Brian Gallagher (R-Sanbornton) that he wanted to have a $98,338 human resources director position left in the budget, even though the commissioners have no intention of filling it, in order to give him some leeway in union negotiations.
''Having that money available will give us flexibility in negotiations. We want to be able to get a handle on health insurance costs so that we won't be facing a 40 percent Cadillac tax in a few years. And we need to have something to put on the table in those negotiations,'' said DeVoy.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 March 2015 02:51

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Laconia man guilty of possessing child pornography

CONCORD — Daniel Petrin, 51, of Laconia, was sentenced in United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire to 6 years in prison for possession of child pornography, said United States Attorney John P. Kacavas.
The investigation began in July 2009, when the FBI received information that Petrin was among many individuals who had purchased images of child pornography from an individual in Italy who was operating a website featuring sexually explicit images of female children. Undercover law enforcement in Vermont and Oklahoma traced images of child pornography detected in a file sharing network to Petrin.
United States Attorney Kacavas said, "Identifying, finding, and prosecuting predators like the defendant has been, and will continue to be, among the highest priorities of my office."
Petrin was fined $5,000, will be required to register as a sex offender in any state in which he lives or works and will be supervised by United States Probation for ten years after he is released from prison.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New Hampshire and Vermont Crimes Against Children Task Forces and the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Helen White Fitzgibbon.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 March 2015 02:40

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Laconia schools looking at security camera system upgrade

LACONIA — The School District is evaluating whether or not it wants to spend $33,000 for a district-wide security server that could be viewed by administrators or the police, if needed.

Information Technology Director Jeff Twombly said he could design the platform such that up to 150 cameras could be viewed through a single server.

Right now, said Twombly, the district has 125 cameras spread over 10 different servers. While the cameras can always be viewed, they cannot be viewed at the same time or with the same software.

"This would put it under one umbrella," he said.

Twombly also said that of the 125 cameras in the schools, about 50 of them are "good cameras". Most of those cameras are at the Huot Technical Center and the Laconia Middle School. While the other 75 are still operating, he said their resolution is fuzzy and many are using outdated software.

He described it as a "big, disjointed network".

For the future, the district would look to systematically replace and, in some cases, relocate cameras using technology that would work with the single data platform.

Business Administrator Ed Emond said each camera costs about $500, including installation and licensing.

Board Chair Joe Cormier suggested the school treat security cameras like it does computers and set up a rotation whereby some percentage of cameras is replaced every year so the system can stay reasonably current.

Twombly said he would be working with the Police Department when he designs the new platform because, ideally, he would like police to be able to view the schools from the police station and not have to go from school to school to review footage.

Emond said the money will come from an $18,000 from the Middle School equipment budget line and $15,000 from the high school technology budget line.

Two years ago and in the wake of the Sandy Hook, Conn. school shooting, the board spent $57,000 on security upgrades. Cormier said those upgrades were for doors, windows, locks and some internal cameras so visitors could be identified by school administrators before they are allowed into the building.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 March 2015 02:38

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Edwards St. home hit by daytime burglar(s)

LACONIA — City police are investigating a burglary that took place during the day yesterday on Edwards Street.

Police said the homeowner reported it at 4:16 p.m. and that the burglar(s) broke a window to access the house.

He said miscellaneous items were taken and that it was mostly small things.

City police have seen a significant drop in the number of burglaries in 2014 and to date in 2015.

At a recent commissioners meeting, Chief Chris Adams credited community policing efforts plus the fact that during 2012 and 2013 there were three people who committed most of the burglaries in Laconia and the surrounding areas.

All three were caught by police — including the two "bedtime burglars" — pleaded guilty in the Belknap County Superior Court and are currently incarcerated in the N.H. State Prison.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 March 2015 02:35

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