Sanbornton selectmen agree to explore regional fire service

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

SANBORNTON — The Board of Selectmen is expected to appoint a committee to study regionalization of the fire and emergency medical services when it meets on Wednesday, July 20.

Town administrator Charlie Smith said Monday that six residents — Roger Grey, Dave Nickerson, David DeVoy, Evelyn Auger, Steve Ober and Andy Sanborn — have offered to serve on the committee together with Fire Chief Paul Dexter.

The initiative traces its origins to Town Meeting in March, when voters soundly rejected a warrant article that would have appropriated $135,000 for the salary and benefits of two firefighters/EMTs. The additional personnel would enable the department to staff a 12-hour daytime shift from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. seven days a week, with one full-time firefighter/EMT and one part-time per diem firefighter/EMT.

During the debate, Nickerson, then the outgoing chairman of the Board of Selectmen who voted not to recommend the article, told voters that the Tilton-Northfield Fire & EMS Department was building a new station.

"There is an opportunity here," he said, suggesting that Sanbornton could join in a regional department. "The door is open to talk to Tilton-Northfield before jumping into hiring two firefighters."

Selectman Johnny Van Tassel discounted the prospects of a regional department, but DeVoy, chairman of the Belknap County Commission, countered that "regionalization can happen as fast as the selectmen want it to happen."

Although there were informal conversations between town officials and members of the Tilton-Northfield Fire Commission, no specific negotiations have taken place.

Dexter said Monday that he is more than happy to participate in the work of the committee, but hastened to note that as a member of the Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid Association, which includes 35 municipalities in the region, the Sanbornton Fire Department is already regionalized. He pointed out that apart from the chief, Sanbornton has no full-time fighters and therefore little to offer a neighboring department in a regional partnership.

Dexter said that as the only full-time firefighter/EMT in the department, his challenge is to ensure the daytime shift from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., which represents about a third of the department's call volume and when call fighters are often not immediately available, is properly staffed seven days a week. He questioned how a regional arrangement address this issues, especially since Sanbornton, with its area, 47.3 square miles compared to the 40 square miles of Tilton and Northfield together, is such a large area to cover.

DeVoy said he expects the committee will explore all the options, including the cost of having a neighboring department provide daytime coverage for the town compared to that of adding full-time firefighter/EMTs to the Sanbornton Department.

Later, louder hours for Pretty Lights show at BNH Pavilion called unlikely

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILFORD — Allowing longer and louder hours at a Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion show seems unlikely, Town Planner John Ayer told a representative from the concert venue formerly known as Meadowbrook on Monday. 

Should the Planning Board allow the Pretty Lights electronic concert to extend its hours for two shows in August, Ayer said, members could want the volume lowered between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. on back-to-back shows on Aug. 5 and 6.

"I did mention this was coming at the end of the last meeting," said Ayer. "The reaction was strong that they weren't likely in favor."

Ayer chaired a town department head meeting Monday morning in which Pavilion CEO/CFO Mike Seymour presented plans for the request that will be heard at the July 18 Planning Board meeting at 7 p.m.

Four members of the public went to Monday's meeting to express their opposition to the request, but since it was not a public hearing, no public input was taken.

"When an artist comes to us, we feel as though we should at least put it through the process," said Seymour.

He told the department managers that there are five electronic bands scheduled for the two-night Friday and Saturday show and the lead band, Pretty Lights, had requested extended hours so all of the bands could play a full set.

Seymour said there were no vocals and no singing so, aside from an announcer, there would be no additional voice noise. The band is known for complex laser and lighting displays.

Seymour also said that Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion is not trying to sneak anything by anyone and that the Planning Department knew about the proposal a month ago, something Ayer confirmed.

Note: The date of the Planning Board meeting in a story that ran in the Laconia Daily Sun on Saturday was incorrect.

Franklin woman charged after Belmont crash

BELMONT — After crashing her car Monday morning on Brown Hill Road, a Franklin woman has been charged with circumventing a alcohol system and possession of narcotics, among other charges.

Katie Nelson, 24, of Victory Drive was not seriously injured when the Volkswagen Jetta she was driving left the roadway and struck a tree near at the intersection of Farrahville Road at 8:10 a.m. A witness reported she was driving at a high rate of speed.

Police also charged her with reckless driving. Lt. Rich Mann said after getting a search warrant for the car, they found amphetamines and that she was driving the car without an alcohol interlock system, which she is ordered to use. The car, said Mann, belongs to a relative.

Nelson was held at Belknap County Jail on a retainer from the Merrimack County Superior Court.

— Gail Ober

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