Bolduc wins again - Whittum & Tarr claim spots on Police Commission

LACONIA — In the two contested race for City Council in yesterday's municipal election, the voters of Ward 6 returned Armand Bolduc for his 16th term while in Ward 2 incumbent David Bownes held his seat.

In their third rematch Bolduc topped Tony Felch by a margin of nearly 100 votes, 232 to 139 and Bownes withstood the challenge of Richard Beaudoin by a margin of 109 to 62.

The only contest for a seat on the School Board was in Ward 2 where incumbent Barbara Luther with 126 votes easily beat James McCoole, who polled 52 votes.

The election of two of three Police Commissioners provided the only real drama of the day. Incumbent Doug Whittum carried four of the six wards to top the poll with 713 votes. But, Tom Tarr and Jonathan Muller ran a close race for the second seat on the ballot, with Tarr emerging the winner by 20 votes, 544 to 524. With Wards 1,2, 3, 4, and 5 reporting, Tarr led Muller by 19 votes then added a single vote to his margin as the two ran a near dead heat in Ward 6, the last ward to report results, where Tarr polled 154 votes to Muller's 153.

Incumbent Mayor Ed Engler and City Councilors Ava Doyle (Ward 1, Henry Lipman (Ward 3), Brenda Baer (Ward 4), and Bob Hamel (Ward 5) all ran unopposed and were easily re-elected.

In the School Board election incumbent Malcolm Murray (Ward1), Heather Lounsbury, a newcomer running for the open seat in Ward 6, and Michael Persson, the incumbent at-large member, all ran without opponents and were elected.

There were 1,246 ballots cast, representing 13 percent of the city's 9,781 registered voters. The turnout was highest in Ward 6, where the most hotly contested city council race was run, with 375 ballots cast, which amounted to 18 percent of the electorate. Ward 3, where 249 voted, was the only other ward with more than 200 ballots cast and turnout was lowest in Ward 5 at 8 percent with just 107 voters going to the polls.

State searches for orphaned black bear cubs in Jackson

By Daymond Steer

JACKSON  — New Hampshire Fish and Game officials this week did an about-face on their previous announcement that they would not try to find the four orphaned black bear cubs whose mother was shot by a hunter last month.

The bear family, seen frequently near the town over the course of the summer, was affectionately known as the Jackson Five.

While the sow and her cubs became popular with residents and visitors in Jackson, the female also had been identified as a nuisance bear who had started breaking into homes looking for food because she had become habituated to people.

Of the cubs, which are estimated to weigh between 30 and 50 pounds, state Fish and Game Biologist Andrew Timmins said: "We are going to try and scoop them up this week. That is our priority."

Along with Fish and Game, members of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wild Live Services New Hampshire will also be seeking the young bears.

Timmins said the effort is being made because "people simply won't leave them alone."

Authorities are afraid that if the bears grow up being fed by humans, they will tart showing the same bad behaviors their mother did.

The plan is to capture the bears and move them to Ben Kilham's bear enclosure in Lyme, a town on the west side of the state just north of Hanover.

According to Timmins, Kilham has released about 130 bear cubs over the past 30 years.

The plan is for the cubs to hibernate in Lyme. In the spring, they will be released into the wild.

Timmins said the mother bear would have "kicked the cubs out" in springtime anyway.

Timmins believes the siblings are physically healthy and their chances of survival are great. He said they are staying together.

Efforts to track them down started on Monday, though Timmons said finding the bears will be easier than actually catching them. They will either be trapped in cage traps or pulled out of trees (after being tranquilized), he said.

He said that while Fish and Game does encourage hunters not to kill mother bears with cubs, the mother bear was legally shot.

He took the opportunity to remind people not to feed bears. "We have to keep our bears wild in New Hampshire," he said.

The mother bear, who was believed to be between 6 and 8 years old, had never shown interest in ransacking homes for food until this year, according to Timmins, and this occurred despite an abundance of natural food such as apples and acorns being available this season.

"I can only surmise people in Jackson were encouraging the bear by feeding it," he said.

Lauren Orsini, animal control officer for Jackson, said she encountered the mother bear this summer breaking into a home and called it "the scariest encounter she ever had with a bear."

Anyone with leads on the cubs' location can contact Timmins' office at 788-3164 or Orsini at 986-0115.