Carly Fiorina fills Wicwas Grange

MEREDITH — "It is my calling to return this nation to a citizen government," Carly Fiorina told a crowd that stretched the capacity of the Wicwas Grange to its limits on Thursday evening, proclaiming that "it is time to take our future back. It is time to take our politics back. It is time to take our government back. Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to take our country back."

Casting herself as "conservative, outsider, leader," Fiorina, the former chief executive officer of Hewlett Packard Company, has pursued a campaign promising to wrest power from the "professional political class and special interests that control it" and return it to the people. Three times during her appearance at the Grange he repeated the refrain "it is time to take our country back."

"It's not quick and easy," Fiorina acknowledged. "It's hard work. But, I'm prepared to do the heavy lifting." She outlined a "blueprint," consisting of a half-dozen priorities. She would begin by shrinking the 73,000 pages of the tax code to three, lower all tax rates and introduce a flat tax for individuals and corporations. Next she would require all federal departments and agencies to justify every dollar of expenditure applying "zero-based" budgeting. She would repeal Obamacare a replace it with a "common sense" health care system that would lower costs and improve quality. She would prohibit abortion after five months and deny funding to Planned Parenthood. Finally, Fiorina would secure the borders and reform the immigration system while denying a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

"We can do all these things," Fiorina said. "Every problem we have can be solved. All our wounds can be healed." She said that she would compel Congress to act to leveraging the power of citizens by speaking from the Oval Office, asking people if they want a three-page tax code, then saying "take out your smart phones, and press one for yes and two for no."

"We need a president who understands what leadership is," Fiorina insisted, adding that the "the highest calling of a leader is to unlock potential of others."

When Fiorina invited questions from the floor, Holly Tetreault, a Blue Star Mother from Meredith, changed the mood by challenging her — "mother-to-mother" — to restore the designation of POW/MIA, which was replaced by the less forthright term Missing/Capture in 2000, during the first 100 days of her presidency. "I am challenging you to show the world that you will be the woman who had the courage that the men didn't have," Tetreault said.

"I accept," Fiorina replied, as the two embraced amid thunderous applause.

After rising in the polls in September following strong showings in the first two televised debates, Fiorina has back among the also-rans. In a poll of New Hampshire voters released this week Public Policy Polling placed her with 4 percent of the vote. Headlines asking "What Happened to Carly Fiorina?" have appeared more than once in last several months.

Pundits have suggested that by repeatedly touting her international travels and relationships with foreign leaders, including Vladimir Putin, Benjamin Netanyahu and King Abdullah II of Jordan, she has compromised her claim to be an "outsider." Since October, Fiorina has struggled to capture significant attention from the media. The super PAC, CARLY for America, which is funding and managing much of her campaign, only began purchasing television time after her polling numbers fell to single digits. She stoutly defends her record at Hewlett Packard Company, but the performance of the firm under her leadership casts doubt on the value of her tenure to her campaign.

Undaunted, Fiorina said that when she announced her candidacy she was 17th in a field of 16.

"New Hampshire has listened to me and carried me this far," she said. "I hope you are going to carry me all the way."

Two Belmont teens arrested for pot, endangering minors

BELMONT — Two local teens have been charged with endangering the welfare of a child after police found then near Pout Pond allegedly smoking marijuana in a car with two minors in it.
Jason A. Reistrom, 18, of Belmont is also charged with possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute, and driver Tishara L. Rollins, 18, of Belmont was charged with transportation of a controlled drug in a motor vehicle.
Lt. Richard Mann said police have been watching for slow-moving cars because of the recent BB gun vandalism spree and an officer noticed Rollins' car near Pout Pond.
He said there were four occupants in the car he found in the town parking area. The officer noticed a strong smell of marijuana coming from the car when he approached it.
Reistrom and Rollins have been released on personal recognizance bail and the two minors were released to their parents. Both are expected to appear in Laconia District Court on Feb. 18.

Belmont, Laconia police ask for help solving BB shootings

BELMONT — Police have received eight more complaints about windows, outside walls and cars being damaged by someone or some people with a BB gun.

Lt. Richard Mann said officers have been following up on all of the shootings, which appear to be random and largely on weekends, by reviewing video recordings taken by businesses and residential cameras.

"Due to the transient and very fast nature that these crimes are committed, the general public is our best hope of identifying those responsible," said Mann. "If you see something, we are asking that you say something."

Mann wants to remind people that even though New Hampshire is an "open carry" state, it is still unlawful to point or shoot a weapon, even a BB gun, at any person, business, car or home. It is also unlawful to aim or point a weapon out of a car window.

He said police believe these crimes are being committed by people in cars and ask that residents be aware of any slow-moving or suspicious vehicles in their neighborhoods.

Capt. Matthew Canfield of the Laconia Police said people have reported similar kinds of shootings in the city as well.

Mann also wanted residents to know that these random acts are very dangerous and asks that anyone who knows anything about them to call the Belmont Police at 267-8350. Laconia Police can be reached at 524-5252.