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Zoning board says no to 'Pecker' the rooster

LACONIA — With one dissenting vote, the Zoning Board of Adjustment last night denied the Leroux family a variance that would enable them to keep "Pecker," their pet rooster, at their home at 58 North Street in Lakeport.

The rooster was brought to the city's attention when a neighbor complained about crowing.

Jeffrey Leroux told the board that he was unaware of the zoning regulations when he purchased the rooster at the Sandwich Fair as a pet for his wife Bridgette, just as his father Armand did for his mother Mary Ann years ago. He explained that the rooster lives in the house, where he plays with the family's dogs.

Armand Leroux said, "I don't see the big issue. The rooster makes no more noise than a barking dog. He's definitely a pet."

Lorraine Carrignan, Jeffrey's mother-in-law, confessed she was initially uneasy, but said she was taken when "Pecker" jumped on his cage, danced for me and talked to me. He's like a baby."

Dan Ouellette, the neighbor who complained about the rooster to the Planning Department, said flatly "it's a noise issue." He said that he lives 150 feet away and heard the rooster crowing in December, when the windows were closed. "If I hadn't heard the rooster crowing," he insisted, "I wouldn't have complained."

Board member Suzanne Perley stressed that when the Zoning Task Force researched the question of keeping chickens in residential zones, it found that while several municipalities permit small flocks, all forbid keeping roosters because of the noise they make.

Kate Geraci, an alternate member of the board, suggested that the rooster was a pet, not a farm animal kept for agricultural purposes. But, Planning Director Shanna Saunders disagreed, explaining that the department ruled that by keeping the rooster the Leroux family was engaged in an agricultural use prohibited in the residential zone.

Steve Bogert, chairman of board, said that while he sympathized with the family, their application for a variance failed to meet any of the six criteria necessary. Michael Foote of the ZBA, said simply "it is emotionally driven, not practically driven."

Only Orrie Gibbs dissented when the ZBA denied the variance by a vote of 4 to 1. She said that the rooster is a pet and no more of a nuisance than a barking dog.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 01:59

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Troop 12347 Girl Scouts mark Earth Day with activities at Laconia Transfer Station

LACONIA — Girl Scouts from Laconia Troop 12347 took part in an early Earth Day event Saturday morning at the Laconia Transfer Station, which has been operated by Waste Management company since 1980 and was recently re-certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council under its 'Wildlife at Work' program in recognition of its many environmental achievements.
The Girl Scouts completed a a recyclable art project by using recycled cans to make wind chimes, planted native shrubs like blueberry bushes that provide food for local wildlife and took part in a groundbreaking for a new information kiosk at the facility.
Cathy Parriera, business process manager, of Waste Management, Inc., welcomed the Girl Scouts and talked about some of the projects they have been involved with in recent years, including the use of recyclable products to create beehives, putting up bird houses which attract bluebirds and plants which attract butterflies.
She noted that milkweed plants, which are viewed by farmers who us their fields to produce hay as nuisance plants, are a vital part of the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, whose larvae can only survive by eating the milkweed plant's leaves.
Lisa Morin and Marnie Schulz of the Laconia Conservation Commission distributed materials on invasive species, plants animals, marine life and insects, which are pushing native species out of their natural habitat because they thrive in a new environment which lacks the natural predators which would keep them in check.
Morin brought along a sample of oriental bittersweet, which she said produces bright orange berries which are very attractive but grows rapidly by wrapping itself around trees, killing them and taking over large areas at the edge of forests and fields.
She said that bittersweet stems and roots can be burned but cannot be composted as they will regenerate. One way to ensure they do not grow again is to place the uprooted bittersweet plants in a trash bag and leave the bag in a sunny area for three weeks where they will decompose into a slimy mixture.
Since 1980 Waste Management has operated on the 25 acres of freshwater wetlands, grassy meadows and dense forests at the transfer station, which is adjacent to the Huston-Morgan State Forest owned by the city.
Employees of the company, Department of Public Works, the Laconia Conservation Commission, along with Scott McPhie of the Planning Department took part in Saturday's event.
The transfer station was named the Wildlife Habitat Council's "Rookie of the Year" for 2012, as the outstanding new participant in the council's program to restore and preserve wildlife habitat on corporate property.
An upgrade to the transfer station, which was started in 2007-08, has made it an environmentally friendly area according to Laconia Public Works Director Paul Moynihan. He said that the project, 55 percent of which was paid for by Waste Management, which contracts with the city for the right to use the transfer station for its own operations, was largely initiated by Waste Management itself and cost $2.6 million. The city paid 30 percent of the cost, $780,000, and Gilford, whose residents and businesses can also utilize the transfer station, paid 15 percent, or $390,000.
''The site used to be borderline acceptable to the state. It was open face and all gravel and there were nearby wetlands. The changes made it a much better location and there's a long-term agreement with Waste Management for use of the site,'' says Moynihan.

CAPTION:
Shia Rankin and Emily Lemay of Girl Scout Troop 12347 from Laconia make wind chimes from recycled cans at an Earth Day event held at the Laconia Transfer Station Saturday morning. (Roger Amsden/ for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Monday, 20 April 2015 11:53

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Troubled Meredith shopping center sold to Rhode Island discount retailing firm

MEREDITH — Olde Province Common, the shopping center at 71 Route 104 that filed bankruptcy last year and was foreclosed on last month, has been acquired by Ocean State Job Lot of North Kingston, Rhode Island for $2,050,000.

The 42,554-square-foot center  includes 13 units along with a freestanding building of 3,668-square-feet that houses a branch office of Meredith Village Savings Bank. It was built in 1989 by Scottland Associates, whose principal was David Sticht. Olde Province Common, LLC, whose managing principal was Thomas Farley of Gilmanton, purchased the property in 2006 for $4.3 million. Jackson's Star Market, the anchor tenant, closed in February, 2009 and last August Olde Province Common filed for bankruptcy.

The current tenants include a New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet, Unique Ambiance Hair Studio, Carter Mountain Flooring and Design and Garden Island Laundromat, Tanning and Dry Cleaning. The New Hampshire Liquor Commission plans to close its store at that location and has begun constructing a new 12,000-square-foot outlet further west, at 325 Route 104, near Exit 23 on I-93, where the Tedeschi Food Shop operated before it closed in 2013.

Ocean State Job Lot owns and operates 115 discount retail outlets in the six New England states, including a dozen in New Hampshire, New York and New Jersey. The company sells overstocked and discontinued inventory as well as some new products.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 April 2015 11:47

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New Hampton man pleads guilty to misdemeanor obscentiy charge

NEW HAMPTON — A former firefighter and member of the zoning board pleaded guilty recently to one misdemeanor count of obscenity for having conversations with what he thought was a under-aged girl via the Internet.

Robert Joseph, 67, had been charged with two felony counts of prohibited use of computer services for allegedly trying to engage a child under 16 to engage in intercourse in October of 2013.

In exchange for the single guilty plea to a misdemeanor, the felony charges with dropped.

Joseph was reported to authorities by his ex-wife who set up an account from her new home in Pennsylvania to attract him and when he conversed back, she reported him to Homeland Security.

An agent continued to converse with him while pretending to be a young girl in Maine and trying to entice Joseph to come to Maine and meet her, however he made no overt act to go to Maine nor to procure a hotel room.

Joseph's first trial ended in a mistrial after his ex-wife made a statement on the stand that Joseph's attorney Public Defender Steve Mirkin found objectionable.

Mirkin had said that the charges against Joseph were the product of a vindictive ex-wife and an overzealous Homeland Security agent.

Joseph was sentenced to one-year in jail all suspended, to have contact with no minors, and to limit his internet use to email only. He was placed on probation for three years. In addition, he was ordered to undergo an sex offender evaluation and if no ongoing treatment is required, one year of probation is suspended.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 April 2015 11:41

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