Bill Clinton draws crowd at LRCC

By Michael Kitch

Bill Clinton, whose presidency included a growing economy and balanced budget, told a crowd at Lakes Region Community College, “We can do it again!” by electing his wife, Hillary. (Michael Kitch Photo/Laconia Daily Sun

LACONIA — "As you can tell I haven't had a lot sleep," Bill Clinton began. "When you win by a landslide you go to be early. You win by a little and you stay up."
Hours after his wife, Hillary, barely edged Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, the 42nd president was back on the stump, speaking on her behalf to an overflow crowd at Lakes Region Community College last evening.
"Her first instinct," Clinton said, "is always what can I do to make it better for somebody else." Drawing the contrast with Sanders, who calls for "a political revolution," he said that the course of American history demonstrates that more is achieved by "progressive reform" than by revolution.
"We are where we are," Clinton said. With maldistribution of income and wealth, coupled with flat and falling wages, he continued, "the golden door to the future feels closed to most Americans." Younger people, saddled with debt and searching for work, are apprehensive, he said, while the scourge of drugs and threat of terrorism are "driving us crazy."
For those who believe in the power of government, Clinton said, the task is "to make the private economy work better for everyone, to raise incomes and reduce inequality." At the same time, he said "we must provide safety, security and peace without giving up our values."
Hillary, Clinton stressed, has a history as a progressive reformer stretching back to when she left law school to work on behalf of women and children in several southern states then, when he became governor of Arkansas, to become the architect of educational policies that improved the performance and prospects of schoolchildren throughout the state. He recalled that during his presidency, Hillary's effort to reform health care failed, but she partnered with Sen. Ted Kennedy to introduce the children's health insurance program, which drew support from 75 Republican senators.
Clinton defended Hillary against the charge that she is too close to Wall Street by pointing out that she warned the banks about their reckless lending and investment practices before the financial crisis and contributed to enacting stiffer regulation. While Sanders calls for breaking up the big banks, he said that the government already has that authority, but claimed that the shadow banks, which Hillary seeks to regulate, pose the greatest risk.
While Sanders would provide fee college tuition to all, Clinton said that Hillary prefers to pay the tuition — and all other expenses – of those in greatest need, but let those with sufficient means pay some or all of their own costs. Meanwhile, she would make it possible to refinance existing student loans to ensure all debt is manageable.
Clinton said that the Affordable Care Act has provided some 90 percent of Americans with health insurance and is approaching goal of universal healthcare set by President Harry Truman in 1947. Rather than start from scratch to create the single-payer system Sanders favors, he said that "it's easier to go from 90 percent to 100 percent than from zero to 100 percent."
Hillary's response to the crisis arisen over lead in the water of Flint, Michigan, Clinton said reflects her differences with Sanders. When the mayor told her he was only given 10 percent of the funds required to address the crisis, Hillary spoke about it on television and the money was forthcoming. "Bernie's heart was in the same place, " Clinton said. "He was mad. He called for the governor to resign."

Three escape Belmont house fire Saturday

By Gail Ober

Staff Reporter

BELMONT — Three people escaped serious injury Saturday afternoon after a fast-moving fire of indeterminate origin gutted the top floor of their home at 110 Elaine Drive. The fire was reported at 1 p.m. and firefighters stay on the scene until 4:10 p.m.

Fire Chief Sean McCarty said the homeowner initially tried to extinguish the fire with a garden hose and singed some hair.  Two other adults escaped the home with minor smoke inhalation. All three were evaluated but not taken to the hospital.

Two cats and one reptile were saved by firefighters. A second reptile died.

McCarty said the first engine that arrived was from Laconia because Belmont crews were returning from a medical call. A supervisor on the Belmont ambulance arrived, saw heavy black smoke coming from the upstairs and call for a first alarm. When conditions didn't improve, firefighters called for a second alarm.

McCarty said the home was equipped with smoke detectors. He said damage is estimated to be about $100,000 but believes the home is repairable.

CUTLINE: Firefighters from Belmont and surrounding communities battle a two-alarm fire Saturday Saturday afternoon on Elaine Drive. Officials said the home sustained about $100,000 in damage. (Laconia Daily Sun Photo - Gail Ober)

Firefighters from Belmont and surrounding communities battle a two-alarm fire Saturday Saturday afternoon on Elaine Drive. Officials said the home sustained about $100,000 in damage. (Laconia Daily Sun Photo - Gail Ober)

Former Gilford woman in custody on pill smuggling charge

LACONIA — A former Gilford woman who allegedly tried to smuggle 70 pills sewn into her bra into the Belknap County House of Corrections in July of 2014 was taken into custody without incident in Milford on Friday.

Sheriff Craig Wiggin said Selina Armes, 34, was originally arrested by the sheriff's department on July 25, 2014, after they received a warrant for her arrest from the Worcester, Massachusetts, County Sheriff's Department for probation violations regarding a previous conviction for forgery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and possession of a Class B substance. While waiting in the Belknap County jail for Massachusetts authorities to come get her, a corrections officer allegedly found the pills during a thorough search.

During the winter of 2015, employees at the New Hampshire state lab determined the pills were morphine buprenorphine and alprazolam. On Jan. 14, 2016, Armes was indicted by a Belknap County grand jury for three counts of possession of controlled drugs and a notice of indictment was sent to her former address in Gilford.

When she failed to appear for her arraignment in Belknap County Superior Court last week, a warrant was issued for her arrest. Wiggin said the sheriff's department got information from Massachusetts officials that she was no longer in their custody and provided an address in Milford where she could be found.

She is being held without bail pending an appearance in Superior Court.

— Gail Ober