Community college lays off 7 full-time faculty members

LACONIA — Seven full-time faculty members and two non-teaching staff members are being laid off from Lakes Region Community College. The staff reductions were made in response to declines in student enrollment, a spokesperson for the state's community college system said yesterday.

Shannon Reid, director of communications for the Community College System of New Hampshire, said that the lay offs were implemented on Monday and will become effective in late June or July 1, depending on the position.

"In order to balance the college's budget, they needed to reduce expenses," said Reid. She said that at Lakes Region Community College, as well as at many of the other schools in the community college system, enrollments for the Spring 2015 semester did not match projections, leading to a shortfall in revenue. The layoffs, she said, were necessary to prepare for the possibility that enrollments will continue to slump in the coming semesters. "We are the stewards of public funds and student tuition dollars. We are responsible for a sustainable cost structure."

Prior to the layoffs, Lakes Region Community College employed 36 full-time faculty, 100 adjunct faculty and 38 non-teaching staff members. No adjunct faculty were included in the layoffs, said Reid, noting that the part-time adjunct professors help the college adjust to what she called "elasticity of enrollment."

Many of the seven community colleges including in the state system have experienced low enrollment and will also experience staff reductions, said Reid. She said layoffs would be made to programs that had seen weak enrollment, yet she declined to say which programs at LRCC will be effected by the layoffs, explaining, "I don't think it's appropriate to be that specific."

Dave Pollack, a professor of psychology at LRCC, said he wasn't shocked to hear that there would be staff reductions within the community college system. However, he was still surprised to learn on Monday that he was losing his job. "I've been teaching there for 10 years, I love teaching there. I would say that I did a good job for them."

Pollack, who in addition to psychology teaches courses in philosophy, sociology, government and law, didn't think that budgets or declining enrollment were to blame for his job being reduced. Yes, there was a slight drop in enrollment lately, but over time he said enrollment in his classes had been stable. Instead, he saw the reductions as a transition toward a different form of instruction.

"They laid all of us off to replace us with adjunct faculty. They have recently given large raises to the chancellor, the members of his staff in Concord, and to all of the presidents of the colleges. I believe they've spent nearly four million dollars in an upgrade to their Banner software. One might question where their values are, whether they're in software or people."

The college system had been moving toward a model of centralized, online education, Pollack said, an initiative he saw as for "no other reason than to reduce faculty members."

"I think they devalue full-time faculty. I think they believe they can get the same value from adjunct faculty. Obviously, I would disagree with that. I've been an adjunct. I know the difference."

Reid said the college system is "focusing efforts on growing programs where there is strong enrollment and industry demand." She also referenced the dormitory project being build near the LRCC campus, which will provide housing for out-of-state students. "We're really focusing on those areas where we can grow enrollment."

Belknap Mill Society celebrates return of finial, weathervane & flag pole to prominent places

LACONIA — The Belknap Mill Society received some good news at Thursday morning's ceremony celebrating the return of the building's historic finial and weathervane and the long-absent stair tower flagpole when Mayor Ed Engler announced that Aavid Thermalloy corporation and a pair of its employees had recently donated a total of $15,000 to the society.
He said that the gift comes on top of $5,000 the society received as a result of last fall's $20,000 donation Aavid and CEO Alan W. Wong made in celebration of the company's 50th anniversary celebration. That money was split equally among four recipients, picked by the mayor.
Engler noted that Aavid is a world-wide business which two years ago relocated its corporate headquarters back to the city where it was founded and that it shows the level of commitment that Aavid has demonstrated to the city .
He that the mill represents ''the soul of the community'' and what unites the entire city ''is the love for this building.''
Allison Ambrose, president of the mill society's board of directors, said that the decorative finial and the weathervane it supports are original features of the building, while the flagpole was a later addition.
''The return of these iconic pieces to the Lake City's skyline complete much-needed restoration work to the cupola and dome; critically important to prevent water leaks that threatened the building's historic fabric and contents,'' she said.
Ambrose said that grant funding for the project was provided by N.H. Land & Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) and Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and that the project of preserving this historic landmark was undertaken and completed by J.P. Paquette Construction of New London. She praised the work done by Paquette, as well as Littleton Millworks and Belknap Landscaping.
She also thanked building task force members David Stamps, Steven Weeks, Sr., and Fred Callaghan for their efforts on behalf of the project.
Paquette said that while undergoing cupola repairs to correct water leaks and a faulty roof, heavy rotting was discovered in the dome's finial, with the rot so extensive that a crane was brought in to remove the weathervane for fear that the finial and weathervane resting on it would collapse.
He enlisted the assistance of Littleton Millworks in re-creating the finial, which is made of rot resistant African mahogany, and PLP Composite Technologies, Inc. to manufacture a new flagpole, which is made of fiberglass. The Belknap Landscape Company provided crane services. While the weathervane was in storage, Paquette took on the task of having it painted and is donating the gold leaf to honor the long-standing, commitment and volunteer support of the Society by his parents, Andre Paquette of Laconia, and the late Margaret Paqeutte.
He also thanked City Councilman Armand Bolduc for agreeing to store the old finial and weathervane in his garage, where it has been for the last year and a half.
The society's managing director, Beth San Soucie, said ''we are delighted to have the finial, weathervane and flagpole once again gracing the rooftop of the mill; to see them as you make your way into the city showcases the historical importance of our community landmark.''
One of the first listed buildings on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, the Belknap Mill shows how preservation and history can combine in a community-based museum and cultural arts center. In 1976, the Belknap Mill was designated as the Official Meetinghouse of New Hampshire due to the architectural, geographical and historical significance of the building.
The Belknap Mill, which, built in 1823 is the oldest, unaltered brick textile mill in the United States. The Belknap Mill Society showcases a permanent exhibit that interprets the history of the textile industry in Laconia as well as educational programs for all ages.

2 men survive end-to-end car flip on Parade Road

LACONIA — Two men escaped serious injury yesterday afternoon when the car they were in left upper Parade Road and landed in some trees.

According to a media release, police said a Pontiac Sunfire was on Parade Road when the driver, identified as Christopher Levreault of Warren Street, struck a culvert on the east side of the road.

Police said the preliminary investigation indicates the car went into the air and rolled end to end at least once before coming to a stop. The car was headed south on the east side of the road when it came to a stop.

Firefighters assisted Levereault in getting out of the car and he was taken by ambulance to Lakes Region General Hospital and was likely going to be held overnight for observation.

Leverault's passenger Robert Moody of Endicott Street was able to get out of the car on his own. He was also taken by ambulance to the Lakes Region General Hospital. Police expect he was going to be released last night.

Police said there was no indication that there was any braking or evasive action before the car left the road. It also doesn't appear speed or alcohol were factors in the crash.

Police continue to investigate and ask that if anyone saw the crash or has any information about it to call 524-5252.

Muskrats offer $300 stipend for host families

LACONIA — With a little over two weeks remaining until the Laconia Muskrats report for their sixth season at Robbie Mills Field, general manager Noah Crane is looking for local families to step up to the plate to provide homes for 13 college-age ballplayers.
"We're short of host families," Crane said, adding that the Muskrats are offering a $300 stipend to help families with the cost of feeding the players.
''If we don't get these 13 beds we will have to cancel our season, which would be devastating.'' said Crane, who added "The community has always stepped up and I'm sure it will again.".
He said that players will be arriving in the city on May 31 with the first practice scheduled for June 1 and that the season will open on June 4 with the Muskrats hosting North Adams, Mass., in a 6:30 p.m. game.
All players are college students on summer break as the Muskrats compete in the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
Crane said that all that is expected of host families is "a spare bed, access to laundry and occasional meals, especially breakfast and that can be a bowl of cereal, not bacon and eggs every morning," In return, family members receive free admission to all games — home and away — discounts on Muskrats' merchandise and a seat at the host family dinner and other special events.
"And they enjoy the company of a potential major league ballplayer for two months," he said.
Crane said that more information, including testimonials from past host families, is posted on the team's website, under "get involved."
Anyone interested hosting a player for the season should contact Crane at 1-864-380-2873 or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..