Ben Black named LPD's Officer of the Year

LACONIA — City police honored some of their own Wednesday night in a ceremony at Pitman's Freight Room that was not open to the general public.

According to statements released to the media on Thursday, the recognized Officer of the Year was Master Patrol Officer Benjamin C. Black.

The lifesaving award went to Officer Richard Bassett for performing CPR on a man who overdosed on heroin until a fire/rescue crew arrived on the scene.

The volunteer of the year award went to Officer Richard Bassett for his work in Special Olympics and reading to school children.

Honorable Service awards went to DARE Officer Michelle Cardinal, Master Patrol Officer Jonathan R. Howe, for his work in training and for being well-rounded, and Master Patrol Officer Kevin Shortt for growth in his job performance.

The first distinguished unit award went for Black, Officer Austin Schilling and Officer Richard Carlson for a traffic stop that led to a drug arrest.

The second distinguished unit action award went to Master Patrol Officers Joseph R. Marquis and Robert E. Sedgley, Jr. Officer Holly Callanan, Officer Kyle Jepsen, Officer Richard Bassett, Officer Bryan Moynihan, Officer Austin C. Schilling, Det. Kendra Neri, Dispatcher Marnel A. Dilorenzo, Dispatcher Timothy M. Brunelle, Dispatcher Wayne W. Swearingin for their actions in the Thanksgiving snowstorm.

Meritorious service awards went to Holly Callanan for her work in investigating a fatal accident, Sgt. Christopher R.A. Noyes for his previous work in narcotics, Det. Kevin Butler for the arrest of a flasher, and Officer Joseph Tucker for finding two young people who were stealing from cars in Lakeport.

Rewarded for time in service were Commissioner Armand Maheux (20 years), Det. Kevin Butler (15 years), and Officers Gary Allen and Holly Callanan (5 years). Administrative Secretary Colleen J. Richardson was also recognized for five years of service.

Officers who didn't use their alloted sick time were Chief Christopher Adams, Officer Tyler Babineau, Det. Kevin Butler, Capt. Matthew Canfield, Capt. William Clary, Officer Megan Denutte, Sgt. Michael Finogle, Dispatcher Amanda H.D. Mountford, Officer Austin Schilling, Det. Sgt. Thomas Swett and Det. Jeff Wholley.

Commissioners Warren Clement and Doug Whittum did not attend the awards ceremony so the gathering did not constitute an official meeting of the Police Commission.

Over time, Meadowbrook will pay 40% of cost of second-point access road

GILFORD — Selectmen tacitly approved an agreement with the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook in which the outdoor music venue will contribute 40 percent of the construction costs of the access road on Kimball Road in 10 separate annual payments of $3,900.

At the time of Meadowbrook's most recent expansion — approved by the Planning Board in 2012 for the 2013 season — there was a condition that there be a second egress and that the venue would contribute to its cost.

"It (the Planning Board approval) said we were to share but it wasn't really defined then," said Chief Operating Officer Mike Seymour who attended Wednesday's meeting.

Seymour went on to explain that it would be "challenging" for Meadowbrook to pay the entire $39,000 in one year but if it was done over 10 years it "would be more palatable."

Selectman Chan Eddy was on the Planning Board at the time and said Meadowbrook representatives said they were "perfectly willing" to contribute.

Seymour said some of the people in the Meadowbrook organization thought that they would be expected to contribute to the upkeep of the road after it was built.
However, Seymour said the second egress has worked very well and has considerably eased the congestion during concerts.

Both Dunn and Seymour described the 10-year arrangement as a "satisfactory resolution".

Selectmen did not officially accept the arrangement on Wednesday because Dunn advised them they should have a written contract before the vote. Dunn said he expects to have the contract ready for the next meeting.

In other business, Selectman Chan Eddy suggested to the board that the town offer its assistance to the City of Laconia as it prepares to host the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in October.

Eddy asked Police Lt. Jim Leach to contact the Laconia Police to see if there was any detail assignments Gilford could help with and asked Dunn to reach out to organizers to see if the town could assist with parking.

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.