Road work resumes on two bridges


LACONIA — Work resumes this week on a $7.2 million project to rehabilitate a pair of bridges, state transportation officials said Monday.

The New Hampshire 106 bridge over the Laconia Bypass and the Laconia Bypass bridge over New Hampshire 107 will remain open while work is being done, said Chuck Flanders Jr., a state Transportation Department contract administrator.

Traffic lanes will be shifted to accommodate the work, while allowing two-way traffic to continue.

Traffic backups are not expected, Flanders said.

"One specific traffic control situation that motorist should be aware of will occur during the rehabilitation of the Laconia Bypass bridge over NH 107," he said.

"Currently, traffic using the on-ramp from NH 106 northbound to the Laconia Bypass eastbound enters the Laconia Bypass under a yield condition. Due to the required shifting of lanes on the Laconia Bypass, the on-ramp traffic will now encounter a stop sign at the end of the ramp. This will provide ramp traffic the opportunity to more safely enter the Laconia Bypass within the shifted lane configuration."

The work will focus on repairs to the decks of the bridges, or the surface the motorists use.

Some railings and fencing will also be replaced. Steel beams will be painted. Five miles of road paving work is also part of the project, which began last July and is to be completed by Oct. 27.

Alcohol fund rally planned at state Capitol


LACONIA — Legislation passed in 2000 called for 5 percent of the gross profits from alcohol sales to be placed in a fund to fight drug and alcohol problems in New Hampshire, but this fund has not been operating as intended.

In every year but one since establishing the fund, either the governor or the Legislature has not fully implemented the 5 percent formula, advocates for full funding said at a recent Stand Up Laconia meeting in the Huot Career and Technical Center.

Kate Frey, vice president of New Futures, which advocates for treatment and prevention efforts to fight drug abuse and alcoholism, elaborated on the funding situation Monday.

Currently, 1.7 percent of the gross profits from alcohol sales goes into the fund. The House budget, to be voted on Wednesday, calls for a continuation of this percentage. Funding it at the full 5 percent level would provide an additional $10 million, she said.

The organization plans a rally Thursday at the state Capitol to urge full funding as the budget process continues and the Senate considers spending levels. Also to be pushed at the rally will be full-day kindergarten and quality affordable child care.

"A fully funded alcohol fund would allow us to broaden our approach with prevention," she said. "Recovery housing is also a huge issue in this state."

She said this money doesn't come with the kind of strings that are attached to federal funds, and so can be used for more innovative approaches to preventing and treating substance abuse.

Spelling Bee to challenge LHS students Thursday

LACONIA — In partnership with "Got Lunch! Laconia" program, the English Department of Laconia High School will host the second annual Team Spelling Bee on Thursday, April 6, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

Teams of four — a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior — will have 30 seconds to spell words chosen from the school's vocabulary program and presented by a team of official announcers — Tara Madison from WLNH, Karen Bassett of Wayfarer Coffee Roasters, Gregory Packard of Burrito Me and Brian Burn of Hannaford Supermarket. Four dozen students will be competing for prizes donated by a number of local businesses.

The price of admission is an unopened jar of peanut butter or jelly that will be added to hundreds of other jars collected by all five schools in the district and donated to the "GotLunch! Laconia!" program. The Hannaford Supermarket in Gilford will match the donations from the schools.

Tate Aldrich, New Hampshire's reigning Teacher of the Year who chairs the English Department, said that "the spelling bee offers a unique opportunity to celebrate the academic success of our student and contribute to the well being of our community.