Laconia's deputy fire chief finishes third in Concord City Council election

CONCORD — Shawn Riley, Deputy Chief of the Laconia Fire Department, finished third in the field of five seeking two at-large seats on the Concord City Council in last week's municipal election.

In his second bid for elective office, Riley polled 1,248 votes, but trailed two well known incumbents, Steve Shurtleff,, the Democratic leader in the New Hampshire House of Representatives who topped the poll with 2,425 votes, and Mark Coen with 1,960 votes.

Riley said that on election night he was disappointed with the result, but recognized he was running against tough competition. He said he took some solace in recalling that some years ago he topped Shurtleff when the two ran unsuccessful write-in campaigns for a seat in the New Hampshire House of Representative. He said that if one of the other two at-large seats on the Concord City Council is open in two years time, he will consider making a bid for it.

"I learned a lot through this process," Riley said. "Although I sincerely wish I was part of it; I can honestly say the city of Concord is in good hands with its newly elected city council."

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Two injured on Roller Coaster Road

LACONIA — A car traveling westbound on Roller Coaster Road yesterday morning crossed the double yellow line, struck a mailbox and collided with boulders, injuring the female driver and her male passenger.

According to police, Tracie Fitzpatrick was driving a 2005 Toyota when the accident occurred on a relatively straight stretch of shortly after 8 a.m. near Footes Pond and 222 Roller Coaster Road. Fitzpatrick suffered serious injuries and was flown to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center by helicopter. Her passenger, Douglas Poirier was also injured, but declined treatment.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation and anyone with information should contact Officer Bryan Moynihan at the Laconia Police Department, 524-5257.

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Summit Avenue residents denied new stop sign to deter speedersNo new stop sign on Summit Avenue

LACONIA — Despite concerns over speeding traffic, no new stop sign will be installed at Summit Avenue.

On the recommendation of its Public Works Committee, the City Council this week agreed to shelve a request from residents of the street to erect a three-way stop sign at the intersection with Wentworth Cove Road in an effort to slow through traffic between Weirs Road (NH Route 11B) and Governor's Island.

Although the speed limit on Summit Avenue was reduced from 35 mph to 25 mph some years ago, in September residents petitioned the council for a stop sign, claiming the speeding problem continues to this day, and the efforts of the Police Department have brought "little relief to our neighborhood."

Police Chief Chris Adams presented data collected by a traffic recorder mounted on Summit Avenue on two days last month. More than 1,000 vehicles were tracked each day and although a half dozen vehicles were clocked at more than 50 mph, the average speed on both days was slightly below the posted speed limit.

A report by MacFarland Johnson Inc. of Concord found that the peak traffic volume at the intersection was insufficient to warrant a stop sign. The report noted that "numerous studies have shown that stop signs are relatively ineffective as a speed control measure."

Undeterred, Richard Homsi of 84 Summit Ave. told the committee that motorists spotted the recorders and reduced their speed. He said that someone was even seen trying to dismantle the recorder. "This is very, very important to us," he said, noting that eight of the ten residents of Summit Avenue signed the petition. He warned that pending improvements to the roadway would lead to higher speeds.

Homsi's opinion was echoed by Phil Lepine of 60 Summit Ave., who said, "We see speeding every day," and Brian Iske of 39 Summit Ave., who conceded that "most drivers are respectful, but a few ruin it for the mass."

Sue Greene of Governor's Island countered, saying "The situation is not as dire as it is being painted," and called it "a nonissue." A stop sign, she said, would deprive motorists of the momentum required to cross the bridge in snowy weather.

City Manager Scott Myers said that while speed bumps would be an impediment to plowing, a speed table, or raised portion of the roadway about the length of an automobile with gradual approaches and yellow striping, might offer a more practical alternative.

The committee voted unanimously to reject a stop sign as "imprudent," but, on the advice of Councilor Armand Bolduc of Ward 6, who chairs the panel, asked Myers to explore the cost of installing a speed table.

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