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Laconia Firefighters spearhead effort to rebuild family home in New Hampton

NEW HAMPTON – Pickup trucks line one side of Kelly Pond Road yesterday and the sound of hammer pounding and saws whining punctured the quiet country air.

Like any other construction site, this one had a bright orange dumpster, stacks of drywall and other building materials and the constant drone of a generator.

What made this one different is that it is an all-volunteer effort led by Laconia Firefighter Steve Hanser to rebuild a home that was damaged by a fire that left 12 members of the Batchelder family homeless.

Hanser, who started his firefighting career with the New Hampton Fire Department as a call firefighter, said it was a suggestion he made that snowballed into a massive rebuilding effort by other Laconia Firefighters, some personal friends of his, and donations of good and services from local businesspeople throughout the Lakes Region.

The goal, said Hanser, is for the Batchelder family to be able to return to their home before Christmas Day.

Hanser said the family didn't have any insurance and he said he knew they needed help. So he told them that he didn't have any money either, but would help to put things back together for them.

He said the project "started to snowball" and by Thursday people were calling and helping with donations or services for the project. Yesterday the crew was hoping to finish the framing.

The elder Batchelders both have some health issues but provide a home for 10 of their family members, including seven children between the ages of 1 and 12. Right now the entire family is staying at a nearby hotel likely being paid for by the Red Cross.

New Hampton Town Administrator Barbara Lucas stopped by the site to thank Hanser and to tell him others in the area are gathering Christmas presents for the family. She said the selectmen agreed to waive the building permit fees for the family.

Among those dedicating their time, money or equipment to the Batchelders' cause are Dumpster Depot, Rowell Sewer and Drain which supplied a port-a-potty, Superior Insulations and Lowe's Home Improvement Stores.

Hanser said Alex Ray of the Common Man Restaurant and the 104 Diner in New Hampton is holding fundraisers for the family as well.

Anyone wishing to help should contact the Common Man Restaurants, the 104 Diner or the Laconia Fire Department.


Last Updated on Saturday, 20 December 2014 12:59

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Heroin overdose nearly kills Laconia 19 year-old

LACONIA — Police are investigating the near fatal heroin overdose of a 19-year-old man on Winter Street on Wednesday afternoon.

Fire officials said the unnamed teen had a pulse rate of 4 beats per minute when firefighters were able to revive him with NARCAN, a drug is administered to counter the effects of heroin overdoses.

Officials said the individual came very close to dying.

Local police said there were a number of people in the area when they responded and they are investigating. The man's name is not being released.

Last Updated on Saturday, 20 December 2014 01:31

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City manager calls attention to savings brought on by council's attention to recycling

LACONIA — City Manager Scott Meyers yesterday reported that since 2011, when city officials began considering introducing aggressive measures to promote recycling, the city has reduced its costs of collecting, transporting and disposing of solid waste by nearly $227,000, of 14-percent.

Meyers noted that since 2011 the City Council has contemplated introducing a "Pay As You Throw" program, distributed recycling toters at discounted prices, added remote recycling receptacles and ultimately enacted a mandatory recycling program that began on July 1, 2013.

Since 2011-2012, when solid waste expenditures were $1,624,772, costs have fallen to $1,425,562 in 2012-2013, a decrease of 12 percent, and to $1,397,792 in 2013-2014, the first full year of the mandatory recycling program.

Meyers said that expenses have been reduced despite increases in the cost of collection and disposal contracts and said that increased recycling represented "the lion's share" of the savings. Every ton of recyclable material collected at the curbside spares the city $150 in haulage and disposal costs. Noting that just 24-percent of solid waste is being recycled, he said that on average the city disposes of 150 tons of solid waste collected at the curbside every two weeks, leaving "a reasonable portion" that could be recycled. He suggested a goal of recycling 30 percent of of the solid waste collected at the curbside and remote receptacles is "very reachable".

Last Updated on Friday, 19 December 2014 02:22

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Junior hockey team in midst of first season in Laconia has already made plans to move

LACONIA — After skating for one season at the Laconia Ice Arena, the New Hampshire Fighting Spirit junior hockey club will be taking its talent Downeast to Lewiston, Maine for the 2015-2016 season.

The team competes in a new division of the Eastern Hockey League, one of nine USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III Junior leagues in the United States, and currently sits atop the Eastern Division with a record of 19 wins and three losses.

This week the Sun Journal of Lewiston reported Rod Simmons, owner of the team, entered a five-year agreement with Firland Management, the firm that owns and operates the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, which will the Spirit's home ice. Jim Cain of Firland Management projected that if the team drew 800 fans to 25 home games and a tournament the total economic impact on the Lewiston-Auburn region could reach $1 million a year.

Lisa Simmons said yesterday that "we were under a sublease for the ice in Laconia without any agreement with the arena itself." She said that the team had a one-year agreement and was unable to negotiate a longer one. "We found ourselves without a home," she said. Meanwhile, Simmons said that another junior hockey team team expected to play in Lewiston disbanded, leaving the city empty-handed. "We tarted talking with people in Lewiston about a month ago," she said.

Rod Simmons told the Sun Journal that the team wanted "a longer term contract to create a stability and a sense of home." The Fighting Spirit played in Waterville Valley in 2013-2014 after leaving Lake George, New York. "With us, at the risk of sounding arrogant," he told the paper, "we've won and have been successful, but we've never really had a home rink since we lost our ice in New York. So this is really what we've been looking for and it's really important to us too."

The Laconia Ice Arena remains the home ice of the New England Wolves of the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League. This season the Wolves have a record of 13 wins and 13 losses and are in second place in the Francis Division.

Junior-league hockey in the United States is an amateur sport, with club rosters typically populated with post-high school age athletes who are hoping for a college scholarship, or at least a chance to continue to play the game they love at the college level.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 December 2014 02:17

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