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Need to focus on educational opportunities in manufacturing

To The Daily Sun,

The front page of The Laconia Daily Sun for Thursday, Oct. 13 provided a cornucopia of important issues that deserve the rapt attention of legislators and people like me who aspire to join them. Two of the three lead stories on the front page dealt with manufacturing and education. An excellent piece by Michael Kitch dealt with positive steps manufacturers in our area are taking to attract high school students to manufacturing and the enthusiasm this instills in students.

The other article was coverage by Roger Amsden of an event sponsored by Titeflex Aerospace, and hosted by the Belknap County Economic Development Council and the Belknap Mill Society, aimed at raising awareness of how important education and training programs are in changing the ancient image of manufacturing and attracting qualified workers. Practically every study of business, in general, and manufacturing in particular, as far back as I can remember when my dad was mayor in the 1950s and '60s, found that the first thing they looked at, in evaluating potential expansion sites, was the schools.

I agree with state Sen. Andrew Hosmer, who spoke at the event, that when this fractured election is over, legislators at all levels, beginning at the bottom in our smallest communities, need to focus on supporting and improving educational opportunities aimed at promoting manufacturing. It's not about taxes, it's about people.

David Huot
Democratic Candidate for state House of Representatives

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More restrictions on what you can build at the Weirs are not needed

To The Daily Sun,

City Councilor Brenda Baer missed the point of my letter.

First, I am speaking for myself and not my husband. I am an individual with my own thoughts. I will only respond this one time for clarity.

I was upset with the mayor's presentation, his way to bypass normal procedures of a zoning change and his attitude. There are starting points and there are approved, sensible starting points. It should have been presented to the boards, city departments for their expertise, not riddled with questions and his assumptions.

The Number 1 issue is, is there a need for a zoning change? This "corridor" is already zoned commercial. Currently there are more than 10 lots for sale. Anyone can ask for variances. It's not a situation of "if we build it they will come." The proposal is only asking to put more restrictions on property that is having difficulty selling already.

I disagree with no residential. There are three large parcels that would make great residential/rental areas, high value ones. Great lake views are highly desirable. The walk to proximity to Weirs Beach and the resort amenities could add greater interest.

Convention/wedding venue would make a hotel very, very much needed. The view of the lake, islands and mountains is incredible year-round. A place to get snowmobiles on the lake would be a great marketing tool. Hotels could make special packages with the ski areas and even run a bus service to be sure they return to them for dinner or night life. Increase population increases commercial development.

I also disagree with no green requirements. It prevents the city to require it when needed; i.e. anything endangering our water supply, if someone prefers to build football field-size buildings here instead of the industrial parks available, green space could protect the view. Visitors come to New Hampshire to see the woods.

Lakeport Landing did a beautiful job on Lily Pond Road. Landscaping in front, that is well maintained and no one can realize how big the two boat storage buildings are. Look next door to see the contrast of what outdoor storage is and how much worse without a green area to block the view.

The Lakes Region Panning Commission is a place; 30 towns surrounding the lake get much of their information for planning. They have the expertise (land planners, engineers etc) and can finish the Master Plan soon. Why put the cart in front of the horse?

Winnipesaukee is special. I believe this proposal will stifle growth and hurt exactly what everyone wants, a larger tax base. The Weirs could become the maximum tax return to Laconia.

As mentioned, Bike Week must be discussed with its declining numbers.

Yes, Laconia has/is spending money on the infrastructure in The Weirs; caused by several 100-year storms in the same summer. Flooding took the boardwalk, part of the street, the railroad tracks and beach out. A conservation technician felt it was a combination of rain plus so much land was strip cleared, leaving little green to help prevent the devastation.

I have heard that story about Rusty McLear, mostly during the secession attempt of The Weirs. Yesterday I was told he did not go forth because the area is filled with Indian relics and the cost to deal with them. Rusty McLear started the successful Meredith process by doing what was needed ... and the people came and the results are obvious. Don't hurt the chances of growth with this proposal, more restrictions are not needed. Having a PR person to promote Laconia would help.

Lastly, I'd like to thank the many who complimented my testimony; also, to thank those that praised my letter. Please, it is important to tell any or all councilors or write letters to the editor. Many councilors have been there so long, they need to hear new voices. The other meeting she referred to ... the council denied the proposed zoning for the Weirs Boulevard. The council appeared unprepared, as did some business owners. The zoning was protecting what was there, versus adding used car dealerships in this waterfront residential/resort area.

Mary Hutchins


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