Gilford votes to accept fire boat from Portsmouth

GILFORD – Should the Portsmouth City Council agree, the town will have a new-to-it fire 30-foot fire boat to replace the 40-year-old "Snuffer."

Selectmen voted unanimously to accept the boat after hearing positive comments from the public and being told by Chief Steven Carrier that the Portsmouth Fire Commission voted to give it away.

There had been some concern of late that some smaller communities in the seacoast area wanted the boat to stay in Portsmouth. Some had said they would contribute to the maintenance but that proposal apparently didn't come to fruition.

As to the costs of operations, Carrier said that Portsmouth spent about $12,000 annually on maintenance largely related to replacing zinc anodes that protect connectors but that corrode rapidly in salt water. With the boat coming to fresh water, he said the "zincs" would likely never need replacing.

Additional costs to Portsmouth that won't be incurred in Gilford are attributed to union contracts that provide stipends and additional pay to boat operators. Carrier said their contract has no such provisions.

Carrier said training initially would be costly. He said he is working with the N.H. Marine Patrol about getting boat operators through one of their classes they offer for similar boats owned by the agency.

Speaking for the boat was Jim MacBride, the chairman of the Gilford Island Association. A long time boating enthusiast, he said one of the problems Portsmouth likely had that Gilford will not, was navigating the boat in the currents of the Piscataqua River when tides go out.

John Goodhue, who has a home on Mark Island, said he is familiar with a double jet stream boat and, while in favor of the acquisition, said that the department must put the appropriate time and money into training the people who will operate it.

"This is a very sophisticated piece of equipment compared to Snuffer," he said.

He also said that the maintenance of the boat must be upkept to which Selectman Chair Richard "Rags" Grenier said that he has faith in the department because they kept Snuffer in shape for 40 years.

Goodhue said that the new boat will be infinitely better for assisting the fire department for fires along the water, where Snuffer could never get close enough or could pump enough water to be truly useful.

The Portsmouth City Council meets Monday and will vote on whether or not to dispose of the boat by giving it to Gilford.

Laconia police search for missing man

LACONIA — The Laconia Police Department is asking for assistance in locating the following missing subject:

David Demers, 26, a white male, 5-feet 9 inches, 160 pounds, blue eyes, brown hair.

Demers was last seen two days ago when he left on foot from his apartment on Jewett Street heading to the Laconia Spa convenience store located on Church Street. Demers was wearing a black Monster energy drink sweatshirt, black T-shirt, black jeans and work boots. Demers has been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as a missing person.

Anyone with information of Demers's whereabouts is asked to contact the Laconia Police Department at 524-5252.


Partying PSU students draw police response


PLYMOUTH — No injuries were reported and no arrests were made during an incident Saturday night in the Winter Street area which involved about 300 partying college students.
Police Chief Stephen Lefebvre said about 35 police officers were called to the scene around 11 Saturday night due to noise and fireworks and reports of Plymouth State University students in the roadway.
He said that the street was littered with broken glass bottles and there was minor damage to several vehicles parked in the area which were hit by bottles which partying students had tossed into the air.
He said that it took abut 90 minutes to clear the area and that Winter Street was closed to traffic during that time and that public works crews were called out to clean the street of glass before it was reopened at around 1:30 a.m.
He said that some of the glass bottles which were tossed in the air landed near police officers but there no reports of any being hit by the bottles.
"It was a celebratory crowd, not a resistance crowd," said Lefebvre. He said that in addition to Plymouth police there were officers from the Plymouth State University police, State Police, Grafton County Sheriff's Department, the Fish and Game Department and Bristol, Ashland, Holderness, Campton, Laconia and Woodstock police departments.