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Gilford discussing logistrics of closing Gilford Ave. intersection with Laconia Bypass for repairs in 2015

GILFORD — Three years after the N.H. Department of Transportation scrapped a proposal to replace the concrete deck of the bridge on the Laconia Bypass that spans Gilford Avenue because of cost, DOT representatives told selectmen last night they were going to bid the project again.

Design engineer David Scott said they have made some design adjustments to the project and expect that it can be done for $1.7 million.

Three years ago, the DOT tried to get the project done for $1.6 million but canceled because the all of the bids were too high.

The project, said Scott, will take 60 hours and selectmen again decided that one weekend of 24-hour labor is preferable to spreading the project over five 12-hour days.

The plan is to create a large, temporary traffic circle from the four ramps that access the bridge and close the bridge section to all traffic. Scott noted that setting up the temporary detour will take place before they actually replace the deck and there will be some Jersey barriers and workers on site before the deck replacement.

Selectmen agreed on the three-day construction window but didn't initially agree on whether the construction should be done mid-week or on a weekend.

Scott said the construct targets are either early May or late September of 2015 or perhaps similar time periods in 2016. He said any summer construction was off the table.

Selectman Gus Benevides said he would prefer to stick to a weekend schedule because he wanted minimal disruption to the commuters and school buses. He asked that the DOT give as much notice as possible to the operators of the nearby Marriott TownePlace Suites so they could inform their guests.

Selectman John O'Brien initially favored a midweek construction schedule because it would effect the hotel less.

When Town Administrator Scott Dunn told the DOT representatives and reminded the selectmen that the excavation at the Liberty Hill coal tar site was occurring during the week, both agreed that a weekend would be preferable.

All agreed that the DOT should appraise the operators of Gunstock Mountain Resort about their plans.

Police Lt. Kris Kelley asked that they not do construction during NASCAR weekend or during Laconia's annual Motorcycle Week and DOT representatives agreed.

When asked Kelley said that if they were to do the construction over the Winni Fishing Derby weekend traffic would be manageable.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 September 2014 01:42

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Open mic tonight at Wolfeboro's Poets in the Attic meeting

WOLFEBORO — The Poets in the Attic monthly meeting and open mic gathering will be held at the The Country Bookseller, on Thursday, September 25 at 7 p.m. Wolfeboro Community Television records the first hour to broadcast later, and then the poets continue their open reading for another hour.

“We had two of my favorite readings this summer,” said host Gordon Lang. “Once in the Durgin Stables courtyard and once at Azure Rising. But as the weather starts getting nippy, I’d rather duck in to the Bookseller and have a nip of coffee.”

Local poets also use this as a chance to socialize, to try out new material, and even to discuss their craft. “It’s not a workshop,” Lang said, “but we do talk about what we’re trying to do and how we might go about it. Every now and again I throw out a prompt to work on for next month. They call it homework."

Anyone can drop in at a Poets in the Attic gathering, whether to read or play a song, or just to enjoy the good work. The Country Bookseller is on North Main Street in the Durgin Stables complex of shops. Free off-street parking right next to the store is available via Mill Street.

For more information about joining the Poets in the Attic, contact Gordon or Cheryl Lang by phone at 539-4472 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 September 2014 01:26

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Pastor Mark Warren taking over leadership of Grace Capital Church - 268

PEMBROKE — Pastor Mark Warren, who was been serving as the campus pastor for the Laconia location of Grace Capital Church will be appointed the new lead pastor for the entire congregation, which also has campuses in Manchester and Pembroke. The announcement was made Sunday in conjunction with word that founding Pastors Peter and Lisa Bonanno will be stepping down from their position of church leadership after 18 years.

Grace Capital Church belongs to a larger denomination known as the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. It has grown from a living room containing 12 people (1996) to the largest Foursquare church in the Northeast. Thirteen hundred people now attend services at one of the three campuses.

The church's extensive Laconia campus is located in the downtown parking garage building.

Under the leadership of the Bonannos, the church has sent out missionaries, planted other churches, built a church facility in Pembroke and raised up many leaders who are in full-time ministry today.

In a letter to the congregation, Pastor Peter Bonanno stated, "You may ask, why would someone choose to leave when things are going so well, but actually, isn't that the best time? When there is a strong vision, great opportunity and capable leaders, the most courageous thing for someone to do is to let others rise to the occasion."

More information regarding the future steps of the founding pastors is expected to be announced later in October. A celebration of Pastors Peter and Lisa Bonanno will be held at the Pembroke campus, Saturday, October 18, at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend their send-off party.

For more information, please visit http://www.gccnh.com.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 September 2014 01:24

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Judge declines to order meeting but county crisis eases a bit

LACONIA — After the Belknap County Commissioners met with county department heads yesterday the fiscal crisis threatening operations eased somewhat despite the refusal of Justice James D. O'Neill, III of Belknap County Superior Court to compel the executive committee of the Belknap County Convention to consider transfers of funds before next week.

Last month, O'Neill prohibited the commissioners from either spending in excess of any line-item appropriation made by the convention or transferring more than $300 from one line-item to another without the approval of the Executive Committee. When appropriations for wages of part-time employees, overtime and medical expenses were exhausted, the commissioners feared for sufficient line-item budget room to staff the nursing home, county jail and sheriff's department and to provide inmates with required medications.

Anticipating that without transferring funds the staff of the nursing home would have to be halved at 11 a.m. on Friday, the commission asked the court to compel the executive committee to meet Thursday to approve the transfers. Yesterday morning O'Neill denied the request. However, he closed his order by reminding the convention and the commission that both are obliged "to responsibly fund the essential services at issue in this case.'" He went on to say that they can "work in concert" and offered to approve any agreement between them to transfer the funds required until September 29 when the executive committee meets to consider the commission's request for transfers. The commissions, then, would not be in contempt of the judge's order for transferring budged amounts between line items without them officially being approved by the executive committee.

In response, Representative Frank Tilton (R-Laconia), chairman of the executive committee, said last night that in response to concerns about providing medications to inmates, he has convened a meeting of the committee at noon tomorrow to address "this one particular item. It is an emergency," he continued, "and we recognize that." He said that he has contacted four of the seven members of the committee, who would constitute the quorum required to act.

In denying the commission's request, O'Neill questioned whether, in light of the separation of powers, a judicial officer could compel a legislative body to act in a specific way. Moreover, noting that the executive committee has scheduled a meeting on Monday, September 29, the judge found no indication that it has acted in bad faith so as to warrant direction by the court.

Likewise, O'Neill declined to relax his original order and allow the commission to transfer enough money to fund essential services until the executive committee meets on Monday. He said that the commission was unable to specify just how much was required to fund services through the weekend.

When the commission addressed what they called "the imminent and dire consequences" of the court orders with department heads yesterday, Commissioner Ed Philpot of Laconia said that "we have been told we cannot do our job," but insisted "we can't violate the court order in letter or in spirit."

Commissioner Steve Nedeau of Meredith agreed, saying "I don't know what we can do other that follow the order of the court."

John Thomas, the third commissioner, was traveling abroad and unable to attend the meeting.

Charlotte Flanagan, administrator of the nursing home, said that the full-time employees of the nursing home have volunteered to work overtime and assured the commissioners that adequate staffing can be funded until Monday. "I'm very grateful to our staff," she said.

However, Dan Ward, Superintendent of the county jail, remains concerned, especially about his ability to provide inmates with medications and treatment ordered by the court, which Tilton has agreed to address for the short term. He said without the requested transfers of funds he cannot ensure inmates, at least one with diabetes who requires regular insulin and others needing cardiac medications, will receive the medical services and supplies they need. He reminded the commissioners that the medical needs of inmates changes almost daily with the jail population. Failure to provide medicines, he said, represents "gross negligence" and the first person refused medication could appeal to the federal court.

"We can't put someone in a life-threatening situation," interrupted Sheriff Craig Wiggin. "If it comes down to a question of public safety, I'll do what has to be done and worry about it later.

"We're not going to let anyone die," Philpot said.

Ward told the commissioners that although he expects the jail can be adequately staffed, "I can't hang a 'no vacancy sign on the door," and cautioned that changes in the number or mix of inmates could place severe pressure on available personnel. He explained that if necessary the jail would be locked down by curtailing visitations, suspending programs and confining inmates to their cells. He said that he has notified both the county sheriff and Laconia Police to be prepared to provide assistance and said that in the event of a significant emergency he would summon the Belknap Regional Special Operations Group.

Wiggin said that lack of funding for overtime is weighing on the ability of the Sheriff's Department to provide dispatch services, but he does not expect they will be interrupted or curtailed. He also is short of funds for vehicle maintenance, but anticipates no immediate problem. Neither Barbara Luther, Registrar of Deeds, nor County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen foresaw urgent funding issues.

Philpot said that during the court proceedings the day before he sensed "an undercurrent that the county was badly managed" in that the requests for transfers reflected the failure of department heads and commissioners to accurately project operating costs. He said that the costs change with the changing populations of the nursing home and jail and cannot be projected with precision.

"If they want someone to blame," Philpot said. "Blame me, but let's get past the blame and get on with providing the services we're here to provide."

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 September 2014 01:09

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