Ashland awarded $250,000 grant for septage expansion

By BROOKE ROBINSON, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

ASHLAND — Ashland's wastewater plant capacity will increase 30 percent with no cost to taxpayers due to a $250,000 grant awarded by the Northern Border Regional Commission on Friday. The grant will fund the construction of a new septage receiving station which will increase the revenue brought in by the Water and Sewer department. This added revenue will be used to improve water and sewer infrastructure in order to provide Ashland's mill area with much needed support. Construction will likely begin in the spring and be completed within the next three years.
Eli Badger, Ashland Water and Sewer Department Commission chairperson, explained that the upgraded septage receiving station will make room for 30 percent more septage haulers from around the area. "Ashland, like every small town in New Hampshire, has an infrastructure that needs repair. The new receiving station will supply some of those funds needed to help the infrastructure without putting a burden on the citizens of Ashland," Badger said, stressing that because of this grant there will be no tax implication on town residents.
This was the second year the Water and Sewer Department applied for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) grant and their first time receiving it. Badger worked with fellow commissioners Alan Cilley and David Toth to make their grant application this year successful, receiving one of 13 grants awarded in New Hampshire out of 23 total applications, the largest pool yet.
"Our presentation this year was better," Badger said. "We learned from our presentation mistakes from last year. We got help from more outside sources than we did last year." The project received support from the Ashland Board of Selectmen, current haulers and the Lakes Region Planning Commission.
The NBRC is a federal-state partnership founded to assist the most distressed counties of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York with economic and community development and generating employment opportunities. In New Hampshire, Carroll, Coos and Sullivan counties are all eligible to receive NBRC funding, but only certain "isolated areas of distress" in Grafton county such as Ashland, Plymouth, Holderness, Campton and Lincoln qualify for NBRC aid.
Jeff Rose, Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development and New Hampshire representative in the NBRC, said, "It's truly a federal and state partnership, but it only happens because of the work that takes place on the ground. I give my kudos to the commissioners here for putting forward a good, quality grant application." Rose also stated that these are the types of infrastructure grants that the NBRC wants to address.
"It is a positive experience, and I'm hoping that other places see that and use the resources of grant providers like (the NBRC)," Badger said. "It's amazing to me that there are so many good people that are willing to see other people succeed in these sorts of projects."
Ashland's grant came from the NBRC's Economic and Infrastructure Development program, the funds for which come from the federal government. This program funds projects such as transportation, public and telecommunication infrastructure; workforce, business and technology development; basic health care; conservation, tourism and recreation; and renewable and alternative energy. In addition to state and local governments, eligible applicants for these grants include public and nonprofit organizations as well as Indian tribes.

08-27 NBRC group

Ashland Water and Sewer Commissioners Eli Badger, David Toth, Alan Cilley; executive director of the Lakes Region Planning Commission Jeffrey Hayes,; Ashland Water and Sewer Plant manager Russell Cross; NBRC Program Manager Christopher Way; Federal Co-Chair of the NBRC Mark Sacarno; the NH Rep for the NBRC Jeffrey Rose; representatives from Senators' Kuster and Ayotte offices; and others gather in front of the Ashland septic lagoons. This is where construction will take place to expand capacity. (Brooke Robinson/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Owner of smoke shop in Laconia busted for drug sales at Epsom store

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

CONCORD — Brett Scott, the owner of a chain of smoke and vape shops including Smokers Haven at Busy Corner in Laconia, this week pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to a federal charge arising from the sale of improperly labelled synthetic cannabis, commonly known as "spice" or "K2."

The U.S. Attorney reported that agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration found that synthetic cannabis products, branded as "Colorado Kush" and "Ultra Peak," were being sold at Smoke N Discount in Epsom, one of the four stores owned and operated by Scott. In his plea agreement Scott agreed to forfeit $30,000 to the federal government. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 12.

Synthetic cannabis is a leafy green material sprayed with chemicals that mimic tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive agent in marijuana, commonly known by its street names of "spice," "K2" and "Smacked." It is generally marketed as incense or potpourri in attractive packaging. Although often labelled "not for human consumption," these products are smoked to get high. The chemicals, which produce the high, are either illegal controlled substances or analogues of them, which may cause harmful side effects and have led to numerous hospitalizations.

Federal prosecutors charged that the synthetic cannabinoids sold at Smoke N Discount were labelled incorrectly in several ways. The products were described as not for human consumption when they were intended for just that. The labels indicated what the packages did not contain to suggest the products were not unlawful, but failed to identify the ingredients they did contain. The packaging bore no information about the manufacturer, packager or distributor of the products nor did carry adequate directions or warnings for using the products.

Last year Scott opened Smokers Haven at the corner of Winter Street.The inventory ranges from the conventional to the exotic, to include tobacco, cigarettes, rolling papers, pipes, water pipes, vaporizers, electric cigarettes, incense and other accessories. The store also houses a hookah lounge, or shisha bar, where patrons can enjoy as many as 100 flavors of mu'assel or shisha, a syrupy tobacco mix laced with molasses and flavored with fruits, herbs and even gummy bears.
In the summer of 2014, Gov. Maggie Hassan declared a state of emergency after 40 residents of Manchester suffered severe reactions to synthetic cannabinoids. A year later the New Hampshire Legislature prohibited the possession and sale of synthetic cannabinoids. Under the state law, possession of synthetic cannibinoids is a Class B misdemeanor that carries a fine. The sale of synthetic cannabinoids, is a Class A felony punishable by fines of up to $2,000 and sentences of up to 15 years in prison.

Potter Hill Road residents want to slow speeders with unpaved road

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILFORD — In an unusual twist to local road woes, the residents of Potter Hill Road have asked the town to maintain their road as a "country road."

In effect, this means letting the pavement degrade to gravel, which would save the the town $250,000 next year, and reduce the speeding along the perceived shortcut to Gilford Village.

"We have a speeding problem," said Gary Kiedaisch, who spoke for the people who live along the road, many of them who were at Wednesday's meeting.

Statistics provided by Kiedaisch and obtained from the police who used a JAMAR radar unit from Aug. 4 to 22 indicate that 35 percent of the total of 1,757 cars that passed the unit were traveling 11 mph or more over the posted limit of 25 mph.

Thirty-nine percent of them were traveling at these rates while headed toward Gilford Village and 32 percent of them were traveling away from Gilford Village.

Recordings in July 2014 were slightly higher and showed that 37 percent headed into the village were speeding while 41 percent going away from the village were speeding.

Notably, said Kiedaisch, 13 percent of the traffic in July 2014 and 11 percent of the traffic in August 2016 were traveling at 41 mph or greater, or about 60 percent higher than the speed limit.

Residents believe that reconstructing the road will only make people more inclined to use it and will add to the speeding problem that already exists.

The five-year local road maintenance plan calls for the reconstruction of Potter Hill Road and includes a "T" intersection at the eastern side. All agree that eliminating what looks like a ramp access to Potter Hill from Cherry Valley Road will reduce some of the problem.

Kiedaisch also said that the speeders on Potter Hill are local people.

"We can tell you who they are," he said, indicating that traffic increases in around school time in the mornings and afternoons in the winter and when the Community Center opens and closes in the summer time.

Kiedaisch said permanent police patrols with officers who give tickets instead of warnings would send a strong message to people and would ultimately deter speeding along Potter Hill Road.

Police Chief Tony Bean Burpee said at the meeting he had no statistics at hand but would provided them to selectmen.

"We can and have stepped up directed patrols," he said, adding that his department makes at least 4,000 traffic stops a year.

He said his one fear is that ticketing will take speeders off Potter Hill Road and push them to Cherry Valley Road.

"Directed patrols work while we're there," he said.

Public Works Director Peter Nourse said letting the road degrade to gravel is not a good idea, but supports a "T" intersection with Cherry Valley Road.

He said gravel roads create dust control issues and won't correct some of the drainage issues that exist on Potter Hill Road.

"I don't want to fix the drainage and leave a wreckage of a road," he said.

Selectmen said they would meet at 6 p.m. on Sept. 14, which is an hour before their scheduled meeting, to look at the road and decide what to do.