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Marina's 30 year lease of city property running out

LACONIA — The City Council will weigh the future of a strip of land along Union Avenue owned by the city and leased to the Lakeport Landing Marina when it meets on Tuesday night.

The property, 0.81 acre, lies between Union Avenue and the parallel railroad tracks and runs from Elm Street northward to halfway between Harrison Street and Walnut Street. In 1987 Lakeport Landing constructed a 35,284-square-foot building on the lot. The property has an assessed value of $331,400, of which the building represents $263,200.

The property was leased to Lakeport Landing in 1985 for 10 years with two ten 10-year renewal periods, which have been exercised. The lease expires on November 1, 2015 and cannot be renewed or extended. At the termination of the lease all buildings and improvements on the lot become the property of the city. In a memorandum to the council, Purchasing Officer Jonathan Gardner explained that the owner of Lakeport Landing had asked about the city's intentions in anticipation of the expiration of the lease.

Gardner explained that the council may choose to sell, lease or hold the property. To sell the property the city manager would be required to certify that it has no immediate or foreseeable use and declare it surplus. Then a public hearing would be held, after which the council may reconsider or reaffirm its decision to proceed with a sale.

Gardner recommended that the council chooses to lease the property that a public advertisement, including the terms of the lease, be placed and the city seek the highest rent for the property.

Last Updated on Monday, 13 October 2014 11:16

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Fried dough aside, fair stays close to its agricultural roots

SANDWICH — There were 184 yoke of oxen exhibited at the very first Sandwich Fair back in 1886 and that tradition continues today with agriculture and farm animals still at the heart of the fair, which features competitions involving every imaginable kind of farm creature, from sheep, pigs, goats and chickens to draft horses, oxen, milking cows and beef cattle.
Mike Brooks of Chocorua View Farm in Madison had his Angus beef cattle at this year's Sandwich Fair, which he's been attending as an exhibitor for over 30 years. He watched from the stable area as his 6-year-old daughter Alyssa hitched a lead line to a three-month old calf, Missy, and led up her up and down between the buildings.
Alyssa had to give Missy a tug to get her to leave the comfort of her mother's side at first but showed composure and command as she led Missy back and forth.
And while she was a bit too young to show an animal on her own she did get to get into the beef cattle show ring with her 13-year-old brother Jonathan as he showed one of the farm's 16 cattle in the 4-H Beef Show.
Nearby, members of the Torsey family from Breezy Ridge Farm in New Hampton continued their 48 year tradition of showing milking shorthorns at Sandwich Fair.
Family matriarch Patricia Torsey, 81, said that the family had done well in Sunday's open dairy show and that her nephew, Stephen Uhlman, 23, of Ashland, had handled the farm's cattle.
Her late husband, Ken, who died in 2011 and who was honored by having that year's Sandwich Fair booklet dedicated to him that same year, drove the family of five all the way to northern Maine in 1966 to pick up a milking shorthorn calf because there none in New Hampshire at that time. That was the start of the family tradition.
At the oxen barn Tyler Enos, 13, of Jaffrey had his team of Brown Swiss, Willey and Jack, entered in the under 2,500 pound class in the Oxen and Steer Cart Obstacle Course. He's been showing oxen at the fair for seven years and hopes to compete in future years in the over 2,500 pound class as they're a little over a year old and still have lots of time to get bigger.
Jenna Brown of Strafford had a pair of Holstein oxen, Snoopy and Peanut, taking part in the same competition. She's been showing oxen for Willey Pond Farm for over 10 years and says that it's fun getting the large animals to cooperate with each other and pull at her command.

CAPTIONS:
fair 1 and fair 2
Alyssa Brooks, 6, of Madison shows her calf handling skills by leading Missy, a three-month-old Angus, through the cattle barn area at the Sandwich Fair. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

fair 3
Jenna Brown of Willey Pond Farm in Strafford with her team of oxen, Snoopy and Peanut, took part in the Ox and Steer Cart Pulling competition Monday at the Sandwich Fair. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Fair 4

A competitor urges his team on in the oxen pulling matches Sunday at the Sandwich Fair. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Fair 5

A judge hands out grades in the 4-H sheep show at the Sandwich Fair Sunday. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Monday, 13 October 2014 11:13

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Public Access throws up 'Hail Mary' to stay on air

LACONIA — The board of directors of Lakes Region Public Access television, faced with the prospect of going out of business at midnight on Wednesday, October 22, elected to throw a Hail Mary pass at an emergency meeting held Saturday morning at the station's studio at Laconia High School.
Directors voted unanimously to send out bills to member communities requesting the original amounts that would have been paid rather than those adopted as part of a new business plan the board had hoped to implement earlier this year.
''We really needed more time to put this together. I pushed for a shorter schedule and I was wrong,'' said Chan Eddy of Gilford, chairman of the LRPA board of directors.
It is expected that the bills, with a cover letter from Eddy explaining the stations' financial problems, will be mailed to member communities today.
LRPA has an annual operating budget of about $130,000 and employs five people: station manager Denise Beauchaine as well as one full-time and one part-time worker and two contractors.
LRPA has been drawing from its reserves to sustain operations since July 1, when member municipalities entered a new 10-year contract with MetroCast Cablevision. Under the new contract each municipality will operate educational and governmental channels (24 and 26), which broadcast only to the municipality where the programming originates while LRPA would provide public access on channel 25, airing programs from individuals and organizations from the member municipalities. However, the municipalities, which had contributed to funding the operation of LRPA, withdrew their support. and, at the same time, MetroCast withheld its annual $30,000 grant to LRPA, leaving the station without a revenue stream.
At Saturday's meeting Beauchaine said there was only $14,000 left in LRPA's checking account and that $4,000 plus an additional $1,000 cable tax is required for each pay period.
Former LRPA board chairman Ken Curley of Northwood said ''time is running out and we haven't gotten any support from some of the towns,'' and added he hoped that sending out the bills would generate enough funds to help the station get to the point where it can get through until the new business plan can be implemented.
As early as February, the board of directors of the LRPA anticipated that its funding would be eroded when the new contract was signed and began drafting a new business plan, with the goal of generating $300,000 in income the first year. Sponsorships from between 50 and 100 businesses at between $1,000 and $2,000 a year were projected to provide much of the revenue with fees for service accounting for the balance. But the plan has never been implemented.
''I have to take responsibility for this. We needed another year to put it together,'' said Eddy, who said that the board of directors are as individuals too busy to be able to market the new plan to potential sponsors and donors.
Laconia City Councilman Bob Hamel, a member of the LRPA board, said ''we all kind of knew this was coming when LRPA was left out of the new contract. We lost a tremendous amount of money and now we have a real mountain to climb. We need someone full-time to work getting the new plan into place but don't have the funds to hire anyone.''
The impending closure of the station has already caused concern over how the popular WLNH Children's Auction will be handled this year. Binnie Media, new owner of the local radio station, had a cameraman at Saturday's meeting from WNIN-TV.
Beauchaine said she had been approached by Binnie Media over what it would cost to get LRPA TV through December, when the auction is broadcast.
She said that it costs about $10,000 a month to operate the station and said that the potential funds which would be available if all communities paid the bills which were sent out would be about $129,000.
Eddy said that the station would also be appealing to local banks to help them weather the current storm and help stabilize the revenue stream until the new business plan can take effect.

Last Updated on Monday, 13 October 2014 11:07

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Police charge Belmont man with sexual assault of 13-year-old

BELMONT — Police have charged a Laconia Road man with four counts of felonious sexual assault for allegedly having sexual contact with a girl who was 13 when the assaults began.

Police said Steven Price, 64, was taken into custody at his home without incident and later released on $10,000 personal recognizance bail

The woman making the allegation said the assaults began when she was 13  and continued for a number of years.

Police declined to release any further information.

Last Updated on Saturday, 11 October 2014 12:46

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