Mechanical failure suspected in Center Harbor roll over

CENTER HARBOR – A Meredith man escaped serious injury yesterday afternoon when his car rolled over on Route 25B yesterday afternoon.

Police Chief Mark Chase said the crash occurred on Route 25B and he said there is no reason to think it was anything but an accident.

"It looks like it could have been something mechanical," he said, noting that this time of year there is a lot of loose sand on road shoulders that can cause slippery conditions.

The driver, who was alone, was able to get out of the Toyota RAV 4 on his own, and wait for police.

Chase said one side of the road was closed for about an hour while police investigated. The vehicle was towed from the scene.

Laconia students hope ‘Sticker Shock’ will keep alcohol out of young hands

LACONIA — When the next case of beer gets sold at Vista Supermarket, the buyer will see a bright yellow sticker that reminds him or her that it is not legal to purchase for or give alcohol to anyone who is under 21.

The stickers were placed on the cases of beer by a group of 7th and 8th grades from Laconia Middle School who wore red T-shirts over turtle necks and  braved the snow and cold yesterday morning to participate in the Sticker Shock Campaign – a national effort to remind adults that it is unlawful and dangerous to provide alcohol to minors.

"If kids don't change what's happening around them, not many adults will take the initiative," said 8th grader Tony Collings who was carefully placing his yellow stickers on the cases of beer in the center of the beer display.

Store manager Bob Fitzpatrick said he was thrilled to be one of the local business managers who was chosen to participate in Sticker Shock. Fitzpatrick said his store has a hard and fast rule about asking everyone who purchases alcohol to provide some identification. Reminding them that it is also illegal to give to or buy alcohol for a minor adds a powerful message, he said.

Assistant store manager Jordan Swanson said Sticker Shock was "awesome" and is "a great way to get kids involved."

Eighth grader Brooke D'Amico said that placing the stickers on the cases shows there are consequences for giving alcohol to minors and Dante Parker, also an 8th grader, said he wanted to raise awareness for giving alcohol to minors.

"It's important to me and some of my peers who are doing so well," said Jordan Poire, also from the 8th grade. "I don't want to see any of them get off track by using alcohol."

Helping the group get out their message was Clare Persson who organized Sticker Shock as part of her role in Stand Up Laconia. She was assisted all day by Belknap County Restorative Justice Director Brian Loanes, N.H. Liquor Enforcement Officer Glen Ballock, Prevention and Education Police Officer Eric Adams and Juvenile Officer Peter "Tony" Horan of the Laconia Police Department and Rick Frost of the U.S. National Guard.

Other city stores participating in Sticker Shock were Cumberland Farms, Premium Mart, Circle K, Case & Keg, Sunoco, and the Laconia Spa. The students and their adult assistants ended the day with a pizza party at the middle school with pizza provided by Sal's Pizza of Belmont.

Forsten to head Concord School District

LACONIA – Terri Forsten has accepted the position as superintendent for the Concord School District and will be starting on July 1.

Forsten has been the superintendent of the Laconia School District for two years and its assistant superintendent before that. She has been with the Laconia School District for 20 years.

"I wanted it, I applied for it and now that it happened I'm taking pause and realizing just how my life and career has been shaped by Laconia," she said. "I am so grateful to have had this chunk of my life here."

Forsten started with Laconia Schools as the principal of Pleasant Street School in 1995 and in 2005 was promoted to assistant superintendent. In 2013 she was promoted to superintendent in the wake of former Superintendent Bob Champlin's retirement.

Before coming to Laconia, she was with the Hollis, Candia, and Concord School Districts as a special education teacher and curriculum coordinator. She also worked as a special education teacher at Concord State Hospital.

She said Laconia was a district that was just small enough to be able to move with the times and just large enough to be able to take advantage of many federal and state programs.

"A piece of Laconia will always remain with me," she said.

Forsten graduated from Keene State College with her teaching degrees and earned her master's at the University of New Hampshire. She has taken graduate courses at Harvard University and Plymouth State University and earned her certification to be a superintendent.

A unanimous Concord School Board decision to make her the next superintendent came as no surprise. Forsten lives in Concord and was the selection committee's first and only choice presented to the full board.

As to Laconia, Forsten said that the School Board has posted a meeting for April 15 at 6 p.m. to interview companies who have submitted applications to do a superintendent's search.

She also said that Assistant Superintendent Kirk Beitler and Business Administrator Ed Emond and the rest of the school district staff will be in place and she has every confidence in them.

Last week, School Board Chair Joe Cormier sent an email to all staff and School Board members saying the same thing and reminding them that the leadership team is a team and not just one person.



In Laconia, Sen. Graham urges re-authorization of Export-Import Bank

LACONIA — Lindsey Graham, the senior United States Senator for South Carolina, spent the last couple of days in the Lakes Region, testing his political credentials with the Belknap County Republican Committee one evening and rallying support for the Export-Import Bank the next afternoon, all the while stirring speculation about his presidential aspirations.

"We've got a mess on our hands," Graham told some two dozen fellow Republicans, who as snow fell waited more than half-an-hour for him to join their monthly meeting at the Top of the Town in Belmont. Speaking in his genteel drawl, he inventoried the challenges facing the country, highlighting the risks to national security and importance of national defense.

Best known for his hawkish approach to foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, Graham began with a survey of the threats posed by what he called "radical Islam. I've never been more worried than today, " he continued. "Allah is bad news for us." Quipping that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry "probably have never bought a car," he deplored negotiating with Iran to forestall its nuclear program. Graham said that Iran is sponsoring terrorism and fomenting unrest throughout the Middle East and insisted no agreement should be negotiated until its conduct changes.

ISIL, Graham said, was a threat to American security second only to Iran. In particular, he warned that if Iran developed a nuclear weapon, it would spark an arms race in the Middle East, which would lead to nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorist organizations. Calling for more aggressive intervention, he said, "I don't know to defend America with all of us staying at home" and added: "Some must die."

As president, Graham said he would have one overriding goal "to make large terrorist organizations small, rich terrorist organizations poor and leave terrorists no place to sleep at night without worrying about bombs dropping on their heads."

At home, Graham stressed the need for energy independence so the United States would no longer borrow money from Chinese, who he said "don't like us," to buy oil from the Middle East, where he repeated "people don't like us."

Social Security, he remarked, represented an unfunded liability of $70 trillion. When he asked those born before 1950 to raise their hands, most did, but when he asked those born since 1980 to follow suit, only one hand went up. "You're screwed," he remarked, adding that reform is required to ensure benefits for future generations. Graham noted that with retirement of the Baby Boom generation and the aging of the population the workforce is shrinking, highlighting the urgency of a "rational immigration policy."

The next day, Graham, accompanied by U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, visited New Hampshire Ball Bearing's plant on Lexington Drive to pitch the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which for 80 years has financed the export of American products abroad, but finds itself under attack from conservatives as a mainstay of crony capitalism..

Stepping into the conference room, Graham picked up a placard picturing the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is built in South Carolina. The aircraft industry purchases almost half and Boeing nearly a fifth of NHBB's output of precision machined components. Graham explained that airlines in developing countries, where sales are facilitated by financial packages, represent a major market for Boeing's products and that eight of ten Dreamliners are eligible for financing through the Ex-Im Bank.

Scuttling the Ex-Im Bank, Graham said, "has become a cause celebre for certain conservative groups," which have invested heavily in their effort.
He calculated the odds on reauthorization at "50/50 politically."

Graham warned that without the Ex-Im Bank American producers, like Boeing, will be at a severe competitive advantage with China, which operates a similar bank with resources greater than the United States, Germany, France and Britain. He said without the financing the bank offers Boeing, NHBB and General Electric, which builds aircraft engines "will be out of business." Boeing, he noted, "is the tie between New Hampshire and South Carolina."

"To my conservative friends," said Graham, "you picked the wrong program. If you're running president, you should come to New Hampshire and tell these people why they need t lose their jobs for your ideological purity."

Ayotte remarked that the bank "returns money to the treasury and creates American jobs" and asked "how common is that in Washington."

Graham and Ayotte, who he dubbed "the Margaret Thatcher of the Republican Party" the night before, also advocated increased defense spending in what he said is "a time of great peril."

This was Graham's third visit to the state.

"I'm looking for spring and apparently I have to keep coming," he remarked, adding that he expected to decide whether or not to run for president by the end of May.