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Laconia Planning Board chairman silent after re-appointment controversy

LACONIA — Warren Hutchins, the chairman of the Planning Board, declined to comment on remarks following the decision of a narrowly divided City Council to reappoint him to another three year term on the board earlier this week.

Just before the vote, Councilor Henry Lipman (Ward 3) referred to phone calls he had received from constituents about the planning process, which he took to say that "the tone and tenor is not always as supportive of getting things done as it should be. The situation needs to be fixed," he continued, "but blowing it up is not the course for for correcting it ." In particular, he remarked that "taking out the current chairman is not the best way to get where we want to get to."

Although Hutchins was not present, Lipman closed by saying "you need to take stock of what's been said here tonight. You're the leader of the Planning Board."

Asked if he wished to comment, Hutchins said flatly "I don't. I want to end it."

Last Updated on Friday, 31 July 2015 10:31

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City looking for more than a few good men & women

LACONIA — There are currently 21 vacant positions — seven alternate seats and 14 regular seats — on a dozen municipal boards and commissions. City officials are encouraging residents to contribute to the governance of their community by volunteering to serve as either an alternate or regular member of a board and commission suited to their interest, experience and talent.

Regular members are those entitled to vote whenever they are present while alternate members may attend all meeting, but are only entitled to vote when there are an insufficient number of regular members present to constitute a quorum. Many volunteers consider serving as an alternate a way of preparing to become a regular member when the opportunity presents itself.

There are two vacant alternate positions on three boards — the Board of Assessors, Library Board of Trustees and the Zoning Board of Adjustment — and one alternate position to be filled on the Heritage Commission.

The Highway Safety Commission, Personnel Advisory Board, Trustees of the Trust Fund and Conservation Commission are all seeking to fill one regular position and there is a vacant alternate position on the Heritage Commission.

The Building Code Board of Appeals seeks two public members, one of whom must be an architect and the other an electrician.

There are five seats to be filled on the Lakeport Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) Advisory Board and three vacancies on the Weirs Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Advisory Board. Tax increment financing allows municipalities to define the boundaries of TIF districts, then apply a portion of the future tax revenues that accrue from the increase in assessed value generated by new construction, expansion or renovation of property in the district to either provide funds or service borrowings for public improvements within it. The advisory boards identify projects to be undertaken and recommend them to the City Council. Members of the TIF advisory boards must own property, reside in the district or own, manage or represent a business entity in the district. Residents of the city must constitute a majority of the advisory board.

In addition to these vacancies the terms of some members of boards and commissions will expire at the end of August. Although incumbents may request to be reappointed, members of the public are encouraged to apply for the positions if they are interested.

The terms of two regular positions on the Conservation Commission, one regular position on the Downtown TIF Advisory Board and two regular positions and two alternate positions on the Zoning Board of Adjustment are due to expire.

Anyone interested in applying for any of these positions should contact the City Manager's Office at 527-1270 or by e-mail ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) to request an application or seek more information.

Last Updated on Friday, 31 July 2015 10:26

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Man accused of shooting through open door of Meredith home involved in bizarre Laconia incident 5 days earlier

LACONIA — Police have confirmed that the man held in Belknap County Jail after allegedly loosing two shots into a Meredith residence last Sunday morning was also involved in a bizarre incident on Pleasant Street five days earlier.

Jesse Lohman, 33, of Lempster was held in lieu of $100,000 cash bail following his arraignment this week on charges of reckless conduct, being a felon in possession of a firearm and receiving stolen property — all felonies — arising from the incident in Meredith.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Richard Simmons said yesterday that Lohman is the man a homeowner found in his driveway when he returned to his home on Pleasant Street in Laconia around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21. Lohman, who he did not know, told him someone had broken into the back door of his home around 5:30 p.m. that same day and he entered the home after a neighbor advised him that the homeowner was away.

The homeowner, accompanied by Lohman, went to the police station at 11:18 p.m. where he explained he returned home to discover that Lohman had raised two windows, run an extension cord outside and was charging a cell phone. He also had belongings on the front porch and a bag in the front hall of the house. Police searched the house, but found no one. Statements were taken from both men, who were also fingerprinted. Lohman was not detained, but an investigation was begun.

Five days later Lohman was arrested in Meredith after appearing at a home on Corliss Hill Road in search of a woman. Told he had come to the wrong house, he returned to his vehicle, a Toyota Rav4 stolen from the Circle K in New Hampton, and, allegedly fired two rounds through the screen door while the homeowner and his wife were inside. The couple fled to safety and called the police, who took Lohman into custody without further incident. When he was arrested police seized a firearm, magazines, loose rounds, two knives and a hypodermic needle containing what officers believed was methamphetamine.

Prosecutor Jim Sawyer said yesterday that Lohman has not yet been arrested and charged in connection with the incident on Pleasant Street. He is next scheduled to appear in 4th Circuit Court-Laconia Division for a probable cause with respect to the charges filed by Meredith police hearing on Tuesday, August 4.

Last Updated on Friday, 31 July 2015 10:04

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Sawyer's Marks 70th anniversary

GILFORD — Sawyer's Dairy Bar marks its 70th anniversary this year and one thing that hasn't changed in all that time is the favorite ice cream of its customers.
Black Raspberry still is the favorite according to Larry Litchfield, who along with his wife, Pati, purchased the Lakes Region landmark 10 years ago and have succeeded in keeping alive the traditions of the iconic establishment int Gilford Meadow.
But there's more variety in the Black Raspberry area than there used to be according to Larry, who points out that it's also offered as Black Raspberry Chip, Black Raspberry Truffle and as Black Raspberry Yogurt.
And Sawyer's now offers 50 varieties of ice cream and churns out 10,000 gallons a year with Pati heading up the ice cream-making operations.
Litchfield says that he and his wife made a series of subtle changes to Saywer's since they acquired it, all of which were designed to keep the character of the beloved landmark while bringing customer-friendly operational changes.
''We gutted the back and completely rebuilt and modernized the kitchen and established a point of sale system and a kitchen management system and expanded the outside seating and remodeled the porch. We pushed the front wall out giving us a six foot by 30 foot addition which made us more efficient,'' said Litchfield.
He said the goal of Sawyer's is to get the food to the customers within eight minutes of it being ordered, a goal which has been met and has allowed Sawyer's to cut down on long customer lines and has enabled the restaurant to double its business since he and his wife took over.
''We couldn't do this without the young people who work for us. They learn a lot here and could run the place by themselves,'' says Litchfield, pointing out that some of the workers have six or seven years of experience.
Seafood has been a staple of the Sawyer's menu for years during which the restaurant earned a reputation for having the best lobster rolls on the Lakes Region. That tradition continues with the lobster rolls, fish sandwiches and haddock, scallop and clam plates along with a fisherman's platter and lobster bisque, and clam and corn chowders.
''We also go through a lot of hamburg and chicken,'' says Litchfield, who grew up in Chelmsford, Mass., and fell in love with the Lakes Region while attending Tilton School. He graduated from there in 1955 before heading to the University Denver, where he earned a degree in hotel and resort management. He went on to enjoy a successful career in business and finance.
He says that he and his wife enjoy the challenge of the business and are totally dedicated to making it a success with both working 15 hour days, seven days a week.
As part of the 70th anniversary, Sawyer's held a contest to name a life-size plastic cow which was in front of the restaurant for weeks. The cow, which was eventually named ''Scoops'', has been showing up in different spots all over the Lakes Region, most recently on Cow Island on Lake Winnipesaukee, which is only fitting as ice cream mix from Sawyer's was for many years delivered to Camp Idlewild for the camp's ice-cream making operation.
As part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary, Sawyer's will be holding a reunion at a date yet to be determined on a night during the middle of week in August for former employees.
Sawyer's was opened in 1945 by George and Ruth Sawyer as a small ice cream stand using milk from their own cows and was so small that only one worker was needed. Ruth convinced George that they should also sell coffee and it soon grew into a take out food business featuring fried food as well as ice cream. It soon became a popular destination for both tourists and locals and over the generations employed hundreds of local youths.
Judy Buswell of Gilford recalls working there in the summer of 1954 when a hurricane hit the area in August and blew down a sign across Rte. 11 from Sawyer's. She says that her mother called her at work as said there was a hurricane and that she was coming to Sawyer's to bring her home. She says that by the time her mother arrived, the sky had cleared and the sun was shining.
Ruth MacDougall, author of ''The Cheerleader" recalls working at Sawyer's during the summer of 1955 and says that she was stunned to see the changes made by the Litchfields when she visited Sawyer's in 2013 and told them that she had once scooped ice cream there.
John Cole of Laconia recalls working at Sawyer's in the summers of 1950 and 1951 and once spilling five gallons of strawberries and on another occasion pulling out of Sawyer's with two cases of bottled milk on the tailgate of the pickup truck he was driving being spilled on the highway.
But the most memorable event was striking up a conversation with two young ladies in a Massachusetts car one evening and arranging a date for the following evening with one of the young ladies who would within a few years become his wife. They have now been married for 60 years.

Last Updated on Friday, 31 July 2015 09:06

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