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2nd Community Conversation on Year-Round Library set for April 7

To The Daily Sun,

I would first like to express my sincere thanks to those who voted in favor of the articles that would have provided the requested partial town funding for the Gilmanton Year-Round Library. While the vote did not go in favor of town funding, we remain very optimistic about the future of the GYRL.

The GYRLA Board of Directors has spent many hours meeting and discussing options to overcome the shortfall from the lack of town funds. I assure you that we are listening to your views and taking them into consideration. We made the decision to close on April 1 unless we received $47,500 in donations that would offset our shortfall. We simply do not feel that it is responsible to operate on a month-to-month basis. Our goal is to secure adequate funding to allow us to reopen and remain open until next March.

The donations and pledges that have been received since March 8 have far exceeded our expectations. We are so grateful to each and every one of you for your support. We have received in excess of $33,000 since March 8. If it does become necessary to close on April 1, it likely will not be for an extended period. We ask all of our patrons for your understanding and patience.

We are holding a second Community Conversation on Thursday, April 7, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the GYRL. We are repeating the agenda from the first session in order to provide an opportunity for those who could not attend the March 18 meeting.

These meetings are focused on discussing options to make the GYRL a sustainable and permanent resource in Gilmanton. We would like to hear from as many residents as possible. We will be holding additional Community Conversations in the near future to continue to develop a long-term plan for the GYRL

Chris Schlegel
GYRLA Board of Directors


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For the love of being a Sachem, let's stick together during these tough times & be proud

To The Daily Sun,

As Laconia grapples with the reality of a very difficult budget situation, I feel it is important to offer some perspective and recognition to those who have been instrumental in supporting the community-wide process that ensured improvements to Laconia High School and the Fitzgerald Field at Bank of New Hampshire Stadium. I would also like to once again thoughtfully and respectfully thank all of those who worked so diligently to make that project a reality for our community, region and state. It took the better part of a year, a year filled with meetings, logistical planning, constant community fundraising, and significant financial commitment from individuals, agencies and local businesses to make the athletic stadium at Laconia High School the best school stadium in the state for athletics and extra-curricular events.

Former Laconia mayor (and proud alumnus) Matt Lahey and (former) superintendent Bob Champlin took on the initiative that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to make this project come to fruition. Fellow City Council member Bob Hamel oversaw each detail through its entirety with pride and passion. Former School Board chair Joe Cormier and current school board member Malcolm Murray were pivotal in making the science wing and athletic field a reality.

The football field is actually a multipurpose athletic facility that hosts the following: boys and girls' soccer, unified soccer, field hockey, football, boys and girls lacrosse, occasional baseball and softball preseason practices, physical education classes, band classes, graduation, freshman orientation, homecoming, and numerous youth organizations and events throughout the entire calendar year. The NHIAA has held New Hampshire's state championship soccer and lacrosse tournaments at the stadium. These events bring thousands of visitors into our city each year. Not only is this stadium utilized far more than the old stadium, its multi-purpose functionality takes a lot of stress off of the other athletic fields in the city and as a result, they are in the best shape AND more accessible to community leagues than they have been in for some time.

The stadium was a component of an overall project that was priced at $5 million. Parking lots, road and sewer construction, two practice fields, a much needed renovation to the LHS science wing, and a roof replacement were part of that package as well. Through this extensive project, hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised to support the beautiful, finished educational campus that serves our community, its learners and athletes both here and across the state. The Dearborn Family, owners of Eptam Plastics, specifically supported a state of the art, brand new science wing to Laconia High School. This wing supports all learners throughout the day and in our adult education programs as well. As we seek to engage students in aspiring toward STEM post-secondary opportunities, this support represents excellence in our community's commitment to education in Laconia.

In the area specific to the beautiful athletic stadium, our lead sponsor, Bank of New Hampshire, led the huge support we received for this initiative with a $250,000 donation. The "Fitzy Silver Sachems" (a group of alumni who took on a challenge of naming rights for the field in honor of their beloved coach) raised over $150,000. We were privileged to have Mas-Con Corporation (led by the Bartlett and Brewer family alumni) build the press box and concession stand that was over $100,000 in kind services. Gilford Well (led by alumni Trevor and Norm Harris) completed (in-kind) all of the irrigation on Bobotas Field above the turf facility and the lower practice field by the parking lot. The Irwin Automotive Group (led by alumnus Chris Irwin) donated $50,000 for the naming rights to the Press Box. Irwin Marine (led by alumnus Jack Irwin) served as a committee member in researching the field as well as a $25,000 donor. Laconia Youth Football and Cheer committed $10,000 to the construction of the concession stand. Drew's Affordable Roofing (owned by proud LHS alumnus Blaine Drew) completed the roof on the concession stand. These proud Laconia businesses and alumni gave unselfishly to this wonderful facility that is used by many, many youth throughout this region. Not mentioned are the hundreds of proud, supportive community members who have bought "bricks and pavers" to support the initiative. I would be remiss if I did not remind the community of these gracious donors, folks who MADE this community resource happen, and once again thank them.

With great pride and love of being a Sachem, let's stick together through these tough times and be proud of what we have. While financial struggles will continually challenge our character at times, let's persevere through challenges together and united. We are ALWAYS stronger together than when we are apart.

Go Sachem Nation!

Craig Kozens

Athletic Director/Dean of Students

Laconia High School

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