Race is on for Belmont selectman, budget committee, planning board

By Gail Ober

BELMONT — There will be a three-way race for the Selectboard this year as incumbent Jonathan "Jon" Pike faces challenges from George Condemetraky and James Spiller.

On the Budget Committee there are five candidates – Eric Shirley, Albert Akerstrom, Tracey LeClair, Donald McLelland Sr. and Ronald Mitchell – for four open spots.

There is a three-way race between James Spiller, Michael LeClair and Ward Peterson for two seats on the Planning Board.

Cynthia DeRoy is running for Town Clerk Tax Collector, Alicia Segalini is running for a two-year term as Town Treasurer, Alvin Nix Jr. is running for Town Moderator, Gregg McPhearson is running for a three-year term as Trustee of the Trust Funds, Diana Johnson is running for a three-year term as Library Trustee, and Mark Masterbrook is running for an seat on the Zoning Board of Adjustments. All are unopposed.

The candidates for the Shaker School Board are Sean Embree from Belmont and Jodie Martinez from Canterbury. The election for School Board candidates is March 4 at the Belmont High School and the polls open at 11 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. when the business portion of the meeting begins. This was incorrectly reported at the end of a story that ran on Page 15 in the Feb. 3 Laconia Daily Sun.

Talk of cuts to BEDC, Genesis, UNH and more put off by county

By Roger Amsden
LACONIA — The Belknap County Convention plowed through the proposed county budget in a two-and-a-half-hour work session Monday night before a virtually full house but put off until its next work session in two weeks any prolonged discussion of budget cuts proposed to outside agencies.
Last week, the convention's subcommittee on outside agencies recommended withholding the entire funding of $75,000 in the 2016 budget from the Belknap Economic Development Council and the entire $34,200 for Genesis Behavioral Health.
It also significantly reduced appropriations for the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Service, cutting the request for $152,217 by $35,000; the Belknap County Conservation District, cutting $43,000 from the $92,400 request; the Community Action Program Belknap-Merrimack Counties, cutting $35,000 from the $89,905 request, and Greater Lakes Region Child Advocacy Center, which saw a $550 cut in its $11,000 request. It also eliminated a first-time request for $5,000 by the Court Appointed Special Advocates program.
Representatives of the agencies affected by the cuts were at Monday's work session but were not able to speak during the meeting. Rep. Frank Tilton (R-Laconia), chairman of the Belknap County Convention, said that the cuts will be discussed at the next work session of the convention which is scheduled for Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.
He said the next work session will not be a public hearing but invited the affected agencies to provide more information to the members of the convention.

"It will be useful to get more detail out to us," he said, noting that summaries of the scope of the agencies' work would be useful. "It's not a public hearing, but we can ask questions," said Tilton, indicating that the agencies might be called on for comment by legislators at the work session.
Tilton said that there will be time for public comment at a yet-to-be-scheduled public hearing on the budget which will be held once the convention has finalized the budget.
State Rep. Guy Comtois (R-Barnstead), the owner of Sticks and Stones Farm, said he is opposed to the proposed cut to the UNH Cooperative Extension Service, noting for every dollar the county puts in, UNH nearly triples that amount.

"It would be a huge blow to the agency," said Comtois.
A show of hands on further discussion on the Extension Service cut saw only two legislators opposed to reconsidering it with 15 favoring revisiting it. A similar show of hands on reconsideration of the cut to the Belknap County Economic Development Council showed a slim majority favoring reconsideration,
The convention adopted several budget changes made by the commissioners which included reducing a number of the group health insurance lines in several department budgets, reflecting changes in department's personnel and new insurance coverage for about 20 members of the Teamsters union who switched to a new point of service plan.
It also approved adding wages for two employees in the Sheriff's Department and wages for receptionists at the Belknap County Nursing Home.
Other changes included adding wages for converting eight part-time positions in the nursing home to three full-time positions and for changing a part-time cook's position at the county home to a full-time position.
The bottom line of the budget proposed by the commissioners calls for spending $35,235,571, $13,764,301 of which would be raised through local property taxes, some $72,872 less than last year.

Reproducing the Roar - Gilford man building reproduction of Edsel Ford's custom speedster

GILFORD — Steve Pierce of One-Off Technologies has been building hot rods, customs and promotional vehicles over the last 40 years and his latest project, a reproduction of Edsel Ford's 1934 Model 40 Special Speedster, has taken him nearly 3,000 hours of work already, but won't be completed until next year.,
Recognized as one of the leading interior trimmers in the country, Pierce has taught himself nearly every phase of the coach building craft with his work winning awards at auto shows all over the country.
His projects have included cars that competed for the Most Beautiful Roadster Award as well as an art deco Delahaye, which was heralded in the 1930s as the world's most beautiful automobile. And there were three-award winning vehicles for Gilford auto collector Dick Metz, including a 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster named "Oh Boy" which took third place at the Detroit Autorama in 1999 and won the first-ever Sam Radoff's Yosemite Sam's Sculpture Excellence award the same year.
Others that he built for Metz included a 1966 Ford F-100 pickup, which was customized by Pierce with a fiberglass trunk and body and includes matching accessories and won awards as the best radical pickup at the Autorama, and a 1955 Ford Courier, a light duty sedan delivery truck, that has won awards as the best truck at a half dozen different shows, including Boston's World of Wheels and the Detroit show.
He also building a car for himself that he can drive year-round, a 1932 Ford reproduction hot rod with a fiberglass body, which is powered by a 1968 Ford 302-cubic-inch engine. The car features a five-speed stick shift, a shift-on-the-fly transfer case and, most unusual for a hot-rod, is a four-wheel drive vehicle.
Pierce says that one of the more interesting cars he worked on was the art deco Delahaye. He served as he chief technical officer for the project, building a custom tailored rolling chassis for the vehicle, which is powered by an all aluminum BMW V-12 which is connected to an all aluminum C-5 Corvette rear-mounted transaxle and front suspension.
He says that when he first started building hot rods in 1976, people from all walks of life were having him build them, but over the years they have become too expensive for the average working man and and that the craft now is geared toward an upscale market.
Pierce, who has immersed himself in automobile history, said Edsel Ford, the only son of Henry Ford, was probably America's first hot rodder and at the age of 7 was driving around Detroit streets and being ignored by local police, who knew who his father was.
In 1934, Edsel, who was by then the president of Ford Motor Company, had a sleek roadster based on European styles built as his own personal roadster. Known as the Model 40 Special Speedster, it had custom touches, including an alligator-style hood with louvered side panels, low-mounted headlamps molded into the body, an enclosed radiator with a concealed cap, a starter button on the instrument panel, no running boards, and long, low proportions.
Following Ford's death in 1943, the car changed hand several times and in 1958 was sold for only $603. Several years ago after a complete restoration, it sold for $1.76 million at the Pebble Beach and is now on display at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan.
Pierce said he decided in 2009 to build a reproduction of the car and was able to obtain full-size drawings from a Detroit firm, which he used to build a template to work from. He said that the wheelbase of his vehicle will be 122 inches, 10 inches longer than the original, which allows him to make the driver's seat larger and more comfortable.

"I've stretched out the cockpit and widened the body," said Pierce.
He said the roadster will be powered by a 362-horsepower Ford V-10 Triton truck engine which will be coupled to a five-speed stick transmission. The car's aluminum body has already been built and Pierce will be spending the next year working on the interior and painting the car.
"I'm building it as a spec car" said Pierce, who plans to trailer the car across the country in the  summer of 2017 and sell it at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance auction in August.
"I'll drive it up and down the Pacific Coast Highway with my wife before going to the auction,'' said Pierce, and after that he'll turn his attention to his own hot rod.


Steve Pierce with the reproduction 1934 Ford Model 40 Special Speedster.

Steve Pierce stands beside a 1934 Ford Model 40 Special Speedster reproduction that he's building at One Off Technologies in Gilford and will be ready to take part in the 1917 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

An actual 1934 Speedster. (Photo courtesy Conceptcarz.com)

An actual 1934 Speedster. (Photo courtesy Conceptcarz.com)