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Boys & Girls Club brought green flag into life of Laconia teen who aspires to a career in auto racing

LACONIA — Sara Palmer says that when she was in the sixth grade she was headed in the wrong direction and would most likely have continued on that path if it hadn't been for the adults she met at what is today the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region.
''I was hanging out with a not very good crowd of people and before I came here I felt that my life would never amount to anything. I had the attitude that 'I'm from Laconia, so I'm never going to go to college.' I was shy and awkward and didn't have any interest except race cars, which not many girls relate to,'' says Palmer.
But when she started going to the Boys & Girls Club some six years ago she found something she had been looking for, the companionship of other young people and support from caring adults who got her pointed in the right direction.
''I used to feel that I couldn't succeed at anything and I was afraid to try. But now I've learned that I do have something to contribute and I'm not afraid of anything any more,'' says Palmer, who this fall will be attending the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, North Carolina, where she will be learning the skills that could someday put her on one of the top racing teams in the country.
''For a long time it was discouraging. People would tell me you're a girl, you'll never get into racing. But I stuck with it and have learned a lot by working with Jeremy Davis' Racing team,'' says Palmer, who on Tuesday of this week was something of a guest instructor in her automotive tech course at the Huot Regional Technical Education Center at Laconia High School, where she explained to all of the other students in her class the type of adjustments race teams make to their cars to get better performance out of them.
''She's a perfect example of what this club can do for young people,'' says Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams, president of the board of the board of directors of the club. "When she first came here she was painfully shy. Now she can get up in front of a room of adults and speak about her experiences and the things that motivate her. It's really remarkable and we're fortunate to have her here as a part-time employee,'' says Adams.
Palmer says that the staff brought her under their wings and made her feel important by letting her help out. ''I had no siblings and always wanted to have some. They let me help out with the young kids and I started to form friendships and things grew from there. If it wasn't for this club I don't know where I'd be. They made me a better person and helped me gain confidence in myself''
She works about 20 hours a week at the club and says that since she only has two classes her senior year at Laconia High School, automotive tech and applied physics, she is able to have a part-time job and help young people, many of whom are dealing with the same issues she faced and look upon her as a role model.
The children have had fun lately in their art program signing her names on engine hood of Jeremy Davis's pro stock car which the Tamworth driver will race in the Granite State Pro Stock Series.
''We're good friends and I've helped out with other race teams'' says Palmer, who says that she's looking forward to the 63 weeks of training that she will receive at the NASCAR Technical Institute.
''Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s garage is right behind the institute. It's right in the center of the stock car racing world,'' says Palmer, whose dad is a retired NASCAR race team worker who once worked for Mark Martin's team.
She already owns two trucks, a 2002 Chevy Silverado, which,she enjoys working on, and 1969 Chevy truck that her father will work with her to restore, and says she's familiar with working on all parts of automobiles, from transmission and brakes to engines and alignment,
Palmer says once she graduates from the NASCAR school she hopes to find a spot on a race team and work her way up.
''She's just one example of the good things the Boys & Girls Club is accomplishing,'' says Adams, who says the club is very grateful for the support it has been receiving in its $2.4 million capital campaign, which earlier this year reached the $1 million mark.

CAPTION:
Sara Palmer, a part-time employee of the Lakes Region Boys & Girls Club, and Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams, president of the board of the board of directors of the club, hold the hood of a race car which has been signed by art students at the club. Palmer has been honored by Boys and Girls Club of New Hampshire for her activities at the local club. (Roger Amsdeb/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 11:02

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City Clerk's Office passes state inspection with flying colors

LACONIA — City Clerk Mary Reynolds, who registers motor vehicles as a municipal agent of the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), was audited by the DMV in December and found in compliance with all relevant statutes, rules and procedures.

The auditing team reviewed registration logs and deposit receipts, as well as other documentation, from the date of the last audit in June, 2012 to the date of the current audit in December, 2013. In addition, the auditors interviewed Reynolds about the operation and management of her agency and visited her office.

City Manager Scott Myers said described the audit as "very positive" and complimented Reynolds and her staff for a "job well done."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 01:35

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Inter-Lakes board member says vote for slate of officers was prearranged, violating spirit of the law

MEREDITH – The Inter-Lakes School Board's vote last night to elect its officers for the coming year was nearly unanimous. But one member declined to vote because she believed the action violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the state's Right-to-Know law.
Richard Hanson was re-elected board chairman, Lisa Merrill was elected vice chairman, and Sally Whalen was re-elected secretary.
The sole dissenter was board member Carol Baggaley, of Center Harbor, who abstained from voting on all three motions. As the votes were being conducted, she said only that she was abstaining on the grounds of RSA 91-A:2-a.
RSA 91-A is the statute number for the state's Right-to-Know law, while Subsection 2-a requires that a public body discuss and decide matters in public, unless the topic is one that can be discussed in executive decision.
After the meeting adjourned, Baggaley said that she abstained because she believed that other members of the board had effectively decided to elect Hanson, Merrill and Whalen before the meeting took place, making last night's vote merely a formality to ratify what had already been decided in private. She felt that was inconsistent with the spirit and purpose of the Right-to-Know law.
NOTES: The board approved using up to $5,000 in School District funds to help defray the cost of the Inter-Lakes High School Destination Imagination team to travel to Tennessee to compete in the Global Final Tournament. The team consists of seven students. While the School District appropriation will help with the cost, the team will be doing fund-raising in order to come up with the balance . . . . . . The board approved allowing Inter-Lakes High School French students to participate in a joint three-day field trip to Quebec City with students from Newfound Regional High School. Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond said that having the two high school collaborate on the trip made the cost more affordable.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 01:31

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Belmont to get $212,000 cash rebate from regional solid waste cooperative

BELMONT — Selectmen learned Monday night the town is getting $212,000 in cash from the Concord Regional Solid Waste Resource Recovery Coop this year as its portion of the distribution of an old reserve fund.

Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin told Selectmen Monday night the town has three options for using the money — it can use it to offset the property tax commitment, to set it aside and appropriate it through through a warrant in the 2015 budget process, or to divert the money to a special purpose after holding a public hearing.

Belmont is not renewing it's contract with CRSWRRC or "the co-op"  and the money will come to the town in the form of a check. She said the town should get another distribution in 2017.

Beaudin said the money is part of a distribution of some old reserve assets and the coop management has determined it has enough in reserves to cap the Franklin ash dump and do any other contractual arraignments.

The co-op is under contract to dump its ashes in Franklin through 2014 or until the dump is full. Member communities, including all who have been members before, bear a share responsibility for capping the Franklin ash dump once it can no longer be used.

Belmont is one of seven communities who chose not to renew it's co-op-related contract with the Wheelabrator-operated incinerator in Penacook and as of January 2015 will contract with Bestway, which is now owned by Casella Waste Management. Beaudin said the town received a favorable "home field" contract that includes curbside recycling with Casella, who has a recycling transfer facility on Rte. 140.

In 2013, town voters approved allowing Casella to expand to a solid waste transfer facility however a formal application for the expansion has yet to be made to the Planning Board.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 01:21

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