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Stagging for Main Street Bridge project in works in preparation for April 1 start

LACONIA — In preparation to begin work on the Main Street Bridge reconstruction project next week, R.M. Piper, inc., the general contractor, has begun working around the site.

Although there will be no traffic detours this week, traffic on Beacon Street East may be delayed occasionally for short periods as the job site is being prepared. The detour plan for the first phase of the project, when Beacon Street East will be closed to through northbound traffic between the foot of Main Street and Hanover Street is expected to begin Tuesday, April 1.

A staging area has been established at the north end of the City Hall parking lot. City Manager Scott Myers encouraged commuters to park in the parking garage where space is plentiful. A construction trailer will be placed in Rotary Park this week.

Information about the project, including construction plans and detour maps, is posted on the city website — www.city.laconia.nh.us. Click on the detour sign on the home page then on "today's update" on the next page for the most current information.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 01:16

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Smell from 'smart' board sends BES teacher to hospital

BELMONT — A fourth grade classroom at Belmont Elementary School was temporarily evacuated yesterday afternoon after a smell from a new "smart" board projector bulb caused some concern for the teacher.

Superintendent Maria Dreyer said that the bulbs were from a new supply and the teacher, who said the smell made her light-headed, evacuated the class room as a precaution.

Fire Chief Dave Parenti said often times a brand new light bulb will emit a strange odor the first time it heats up to the proper temperature and the teacher didn't recognize the smell.

He said she was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital as a precaution and the five students were temporarily relocated to a different space.

Dreyer said Principal Emily Spear was contacting the parents of the affected students to tell them what had happened.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 01:10

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Police & Boys & Girls Club team up at critical crossroad

LACONIA — City police and the Boys and Girls Club often find themselves at the crossroads of juvenile delinquency and are working collaboratively to save young lives that may be in jeopardy.

Yesterday, Police Chief Chris Adams and Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Cheryl Avery explained how their two missions overlap and complement each other.

"We want to initially catch kids while their in middle school," said Avery, who noted that's when disruptive and potentially dangerous behavior often begins to manifest.

The Boys and Girls Club has three program goals — academic success, leadership, and supervision and structure. They accomplish this thorough sports and extra curricular activities, said Avery.

"For kids, it has to be fun," she said.

Adams said that every child who gets involved in structured and extra-curricular activities like the Boys and Girls club is much less likely to wind up in the juvenile justice system.

Statistically, the local numbers are dropping slightly. In 2011, there were 356 juvenile matters reported to the police, of which 167 were criminal matters. In 2012, of the 390 incidents reported to police, 176 were criminal matters while last year, there were 135 criminal matters of the 323 reported incidents.

For the police, crimes involve juvenile petitions, an adjudicatory hearing, and disposition that can include everything from counseling to incarceration. The Police Department has a detective specifically assigned to juveniles and many of the encounters of regular beat officers involves children under 17.

What alarms Adams is that the vast majority of the criminal reports in all three years involved crimes against persons. Typically that category includes assault, criminal threatening, and fighting. Other categories of crime include crime against property, which involves thefts, trespassing and vandalizing and crimes against society that involve drugs or alcohol.

In 2011 67 percent of reported incidents took place after 2 p.m., in 2012 65 percent were after 2 p.m. and in 2013 57 percent occurred after 2 p.m. Incidents reported during school hours were about one-third of those reported during times that school isn't in session.

"Crimes against persons are huge," said Adams. "They involve a lack of respect."
"If we show them respect, they'll should others respect," he said.

Avery and Adams hope that the Boys and Girls Club can be one of those vehicles that provides the structure and supervision children need after school and during the summer.

Adams said Capt. Bill Clary has offered to coach and teach softball while Capt. Matt Canfield has offered to teach some weight training.

Avery said along with basketball, the club has reached out the Appalachian Mountain Teen Project with the goal of getting children outside and into nature. She said the close proximity to Opechee Park means some of the children will be able to take swimming lessons and perhaps do some canoeing.

"Look where we live," she said acknowledging the lakes, mountains, and forests that should be natural playing grounds for children.

Avery said the Boys and Girls Club has a number of success stories as well including one young woman named Sara who was named Youth of the Year four years ago and who has returned to the club to do some mentoring and teaching.

Both agreed that the real focus of both the club and the police is to break the cycle of poverty, drugs, abuse, and alcoholism many at risk children encounter on a daily basis.

Avery and Adams said the Boys and Girls Club open house is Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. and this weekend is the Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast at the club with all the proceeds to go to the club. The breakfast is Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The club is located at 888 North Main Street in Laconia, across the street from Opechee Park.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 01:07

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County Reps Split on Medicaid Plan

CONCORD — The Belknap County Delegation split largely along party lines when the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 202 to 132 in favor of the Senate plan to use federal Medicaid funds to provide private health insurance for adults earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty limit, or $15,856 for a single person.

Ten of the 11 Republican members present voted against Senate Bill 413 when it came up for a vote last week — Reps. Richard Burchell of Gilmanton, Guy Comtois of Barnstead, Jane Cormier and Stephen Holmes of Alton, Dennis Fields of Sanbornton, Bob Greemore and Herb Vadney of Meredith, Bob Luther and Frank Tilton of Laconia, and Michael Sylvia of Belmont. Reps. Colette Worsman of Meredith and Charles Fink of Belmont were absent and did not vote.

Rep. Don Flanders of Laconia, the other Republican present, joined the five Democrats in the delegation — Reps. Beth Arsenault and David Huot of Laconia, Lisa DiMartino of Gilford, Ruth Gulick of New Hampton and Ian Raymond of Sanbornton — in support of the bill. Flanders was among only a dozen House Republicans who voted for the plan, which earlier carried the Senate by a bipartisan majority of 18 to 5.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 April 2014 12:56

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