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Rx Take-Back-Day in 6 municipalities set for April 26

LACONIA — More than half-a-dozen police departments in the Lakes Region will be participating in the eighth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. sponsored by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

The police departments in Laconia, Belmont, Gilford, Meredith, Sanbornton and Tilton in Belknap County are participating. Drugs will collected at the CVS Pharmacy on Lake Shore Road in Gilford and at the police stations in other municipalities. Unwanted prescription medications can be disposed of throughout the year at the police stations in Gilford and Laconia, where drop boxes are located in the lobbies.

All solid and liquid medications, whether prescribed or over-the-counter, may be disposed of anonymously, but injectable liquids and syringes will not be accepted.

This is an opportunity for residents to empty their homes of potentially dangerous expired and unwanted medications properly and safely, ensuring that they do not fall into the hands of those who might abuse them or find their way into the natural environment with adverse impacts on water quality. Studies indicate that most of the prescription medications that are abused originate from the medicine cabinets of families and friends. Likewise, medications left in the home contribute significantly to the high numbers of accidental poisonings and overdoses.

Common methods for disposing of prescription medications such as flushing them down toilets or drains or putting them in the trash threaten both public health and the natural environment.

Last October, more than 324 tons of prescription medications were collected at 4,114 sites and the over 1,700 tons of pills and tablets have been collected at the first seven Take-Back Days.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 12:54

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Survey suggests support for higher parks budget

LACONIA — To date, the 120 responses to the "Budget Survey," which invites residents to register their opinions on how their property tax dollars are spent, indicate that while a minority believes the city is spending too much, most consider current levels of funding about right or too low.

The survey asks residents to rank 11 city departments — administration, planning, city clerk, parks and recreation, library, public works, police, fire and water and sewer — in order of priority and indicate whether they think the funding for each should decrease, increase or stay the same.

The Parks and Recreation Department attracted the strongest support from respondents. While a minority of 53 or 46 percent of all respondents, deemed the budget sufficient, a majority of 60 or 52 percent called for it to be increased and only 3 respondents wanted it cut.

Similarly 56 respondents or 48 percent favored maintaining current spending at the Department of Public Works, but another 58 or 50 percent favored increased spending on maintaining and improving infrastructure. Only 3 respondents found the department's budget excessive.

Likewise, the current budget of the Fire Department found support from 56 or 48 percent of respondents, but another 50 or 43 percent opted for increased expenditures for emergency services and just 11 or 9-percent .

The results were much the same for the Police Department. Only 14 respondents or 12 percent favored reduced spending while 63 or 54 percent considered the budget sufficient and 39 or 34 percent though it should be increased.

Administration, which includes the city manager, assessing department, legal expenses, finance office and welfare department, drew the highest number of responses in favor of reducing expenditures — 47 or 40 percent — and the fewest in favor of raising expenditures — 8 or 7 percent.

Only 21 respondents, or 18 percent, called for cutting spending by the Planning Department, which includes code enforcement, while 69, or 59 percent, found current funding sufficient and 27, or 23 percent, though it should increase.

Three-quarters of respondents found the budget of the City Clerk's office appropriate while only 13, or 11 percent, considered it excessive.

A majority of 55 percent favored maintaining the library budget at its current level while the 20 percent of respondents wishing to reduce it were outnumbered by the 26 percent preferring to raise it.

The City Council will resume its discussion of the 2014-2015 city budget recommended by City Manager Scott Myers when it meets on Monday, April 28 at 6 p.m.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 12:50

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Grants headed to Laconia & Gilford total $1.4M

CONCORD — The New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) yesterday announced the the award of four Community Development Development Block Grants to augment financing of three projects in Laconia and one in Gilford.

The Laconia Area Community Land Trust received a $250,000 grant, which it will apply toward the construction River's Edge, the three-story apartment building with 32-units overlooking the Winnipesaukee River near the downtown Avery Dam.

Another $250,000 grant was awarded to the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region to defray part of $700,000 cost of purchasing the former St. James Church, which is being converted into the first permanent home the club has enjoyed in seven years.

A third grant of $500,000 was given to the Laconia Housing Authority for the renovation of the Strafford House, or The Tavern, at the corner of Main Street and Church Street. The 100-year old building provides 50 units of low-income housing, which require electrical, heating and plumbing improvements. Lower operating costs, especially energy efficiencies, will offset the cost renovation.

In Gilford, the Old Lake Shore Cooperative, a manufactured housing park, received a grant of $418,000 for improvements to the infrastructure, particularly the water system which suffers from leaks and contamination and fails to comply with federal environmental regulations.

Altogether the CDFA awarded 14 CDBGs with an aggregate value of $5.27, of which the grants to Laconia and Gilford represented $1.4-million. State Senate Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia), whose district includes both municipalities, noted that "these are competitive grants, so it is a testament to our communities that we have been granted such a large portion of the the total funds allocated in this round."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 12:46

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Shaheen helps send PMHS robotics team off to St. Louis

ALTON — U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen on Tuesday joined the entire student body of Prospect Mountain Road High School for the send-off of the school's first robotics team to qualify for FIRST — the world robotics championships in St. Louis.

For 18 years the robotics team has been working on some form of Bob 319 — the nickname for the Prospect Mountain robot. "319" is the number assigned to the school's entry.

Although the school has won a number of regional contests, this is first time the school will go to the championship and compete against 399 of the best robotics teams in the country.

"In New Hampshire alone, we need 43,000 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) jobs for the jobs we're going to create," said Shaheen addressing the student body.

"We need them in this county if we're going to compete internationally and I hope Big Bad Bob does well," she said to cheers from the audience.

Joining Shaheen was N.H. Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein — a former CEO of defense contractor BAE Systems, one of the sponsors of the Prospect Mountain Robotics Team.

"I've watched 319 go from being a regional competitor to a world competitor," said Havenstein who lives in Alton.

In his remarks, he reminded the group of students who are going to St. Louis to remember the 17 teams of students who preceded them and their contributions to the robotics program.

Prospect Mountain High School showed spirit and style at yesterday's second period pep rally and send-off. The high school band played, the choir sang the Star Spangled Banner, and many of the students and parents who were there sported orange T-shirts with BOB emblazoned across their chest.

According to Principal J. Fitzpatrick, the the team did very well in at a competition in Lewiston, Maine and took Bob 319 to Boston where they finished "on the bubble", or on the waiting list.

He said four teams were unable to come up with the $5,000 entry fee so Prospect Mountain was contacted and the students went on a "blitzkrieg" of fund-raising coming up with the entry fee in just three days and raising just shy of $14,000 in a week to pay for the transportation and lodging in St. Louis.

Fitzpatrick said the Barnstead School Board alone contributed $5,600.

"I can't tell you if it was from their own pockets or what but all I can say is thank you very much," Fitzgerald.

Fitzpatrick also said that the high school's participation in the St. Louis FIRST competition adds a new dimension to this year's school accomplishments. He noted the schools athletic teams have done very well but succeeding in a non-athletic competition has brought the school together in an even more profound sense.

"There are some very diverse students on the robotics teams," Fitzpatrick said, adding the team includes athletes, musicians, honors math students, welders, computer programer and woodworkers.

Fitzpatrick said once the team returns, they are scheduled to bring BOB to the elementary school for a demonstration in the hopes that more younger students participate in FIRST Lego which is the elementary version of the middle and high school robotics teams.

CUTLINE: U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (brown suit) joins the Prospect Mountain High School Robotics Team at a pep rally at the school on Tuesday morning. Later in the day, team members left for their FIRST Robotics World Championship in St. Louis. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 12:31

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