Burchell concedes DeVoy is chair until he has his day in court

LACONIA — County Commissioner Richard Burchell acknowledged in a motion filed in Belknap County Superior Court on Friday that fellow commissioner Dave DeVoy should continue to serve as commission chairman until Burchell's suit seeking to reverse his March 2 ouster as chairman has been decided in his favor.
Burchell's motion to withdraw his request for a preliminary injunction against his fellow commissioners was granted by Judge James O'Neill III.

The judge also granted Burchell's request for additional time for his attorney, David Horan, to file responses and objections to motions and requests made by his fellow commissioners that his complaint be dismissed.
O'Neill set a deadline of March 20 for Horan's filing and a date for a final hearing on the merits of the case is being scheduled.
Granting the request removed the need for a hearing on the injunction request.
Commissioner Hunter Taylor, who is an attorney and has been representing himself in the proceedings, had asked the court to view a video of the March 2 meeting at which he and DeVoy voted to reorganize the commission.
At that meeting, Burchell presided and attempted to block any motions made by the other commissioners by repeatedly rapping the gavel and exclaiming that they were "out of order".
Burchell later on March 2 filed a motion in Belknap County Superior Court seeking ex parte relief from the action of the other two commissioners, claiming that there is no statutory basis for his removal as chairman, which he maintains will be ''an invitation to chaos". He had unsuccessfully sought an injunction before the meeting to prevent the other commissioners from taking any action.
DeVoy's filing, made by attorney Paul Fitzgerald, maintains that New Hampshire RSA 28:1 indicates that all powers of the commission can be exercised by a majority vote.
It also maintains that without the right to remove the chairman, the commission risks becoming dysfunctional if a chairperson is unwilling to allow the appropriate methodical discussion and disposition of agenda items or attempts to stifle discussion through the use of repeated and erroneous parliamentary rulings.

Squirrel girl: Young Meredith snowboarder will represent Granite State at nationals

MEREDITH — Known on the slopes of Gunstock Mountain Resort as "Squirrel Girl" for the stuffed rodent — "Frosty Nuts" — atop her helmet, Alexa Mailhoux of Meredith will be competing in the national championships sponsored by the United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA) at Copper Mountain, Colorado at the end of the month.

Alexa, who began snowboarding when she was six and will turn 13 this summer, posted the highest mark among 12 and 13 year old girls in New Hampshire in the slopestyle discipline and is ranked 17th in the country in her age group by the USASA for the event. Her ranking reflected her performances in competitions at Attitash, Loon and Ragged mountains this season. She will be joined in Colorado by Tucker Johnson of Dover, who topped the rankings among the boys her age.

Alexa said that slopestyle consists of completing a course marked by natural features and punctuated with obstacles like jumps and rails. Like figure skaters, contestants are judged on the degree of difficulty of their run, height of their jumps, and execution of their tricks. "My specialty is the jumps," she remarked, explaining that mounting sufficient speed entering the jump to clear the flat and land past the "knuckle", where the down slope continues, is the key to success.

Rails, Alexa said, are more challenging. "I over think things," she confessed.

Riding the rails, she noted, requires evenly distributing weight and maintaining balance while navigating the obstacle.

Alexa's mother Jen, a state champion high school gymnast and trainer at the Laconia Athletic and Swim Club, said that Alexa inherited her athleticism from her parents, adding that her father Adam was a state champion high school wrestler. Alexa, she observed, has the "body control" competitive snowboarding requires.

Above all, Alexa is passionate about her sport. "I'm hyper and happy snowboarding," she exclaimed. After suffering a mild concussion in a fall, she recalled thinking "of course, I'm going to get back on the mountain." She works out with the Gunstock Free Style Academy under the direction of Patrick Morrison on Saturdays and Sundays as well as gets to the mountain after school on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the winter. In the summer she takes to a skateboard.

The competition at Copper Mountain promises to be a test. Her mother said that Alexa's performance will determine the next steps in her career.

"I would love to try the half-pipe," said Alexa, who has begun working on tricks like grabs and spins in anticipation of moving beyond slopestyle to other disciplines.

At Copper Mountain, Alexa will be competing in a field of 30 girls in her age group. "We'll see how it goes," he mother said, "then begin to think about what to do when the snow is gone."

At the mention of summer camps in the western states, where the snow lingers on the slopes through June, Alexa's eyes lit up and a smile crossed her face. "I'm so passionate about snowboarding," she said.

Telephone pole tax relief bill, stronly opposed by Laconia, passes House

CONCORD — Eleven of the 18 members of the Belknap County Delegation — all of whom are Republicans — voted with the majority when a bill that will spare telecommunications companies a share of their property tax liability carried the New Hampshire House of Representatives yesterday.

House Bill 547 would enable telecommunications companies — chiefly FairPoint Communications, Inc. — to depreciate the value of their poles and conduits to 20 percent of their market value. The Laconia City Council urged the city's five representatives to vote against the bill, which would enable FairPoint to shed more than $30,000 in property taxes, which would instead be born by other taxpayers. Moreover, the precedent could lead other utilities to seek similar treatment.

Three of the city's representatives — Representatives Frank Tilton, Bob Luther and Peter Spanos — were joined by Representatives Russ Dumais of Gilford and Herb Vadney of Meredith in opposition to the bill. Robert Fisher, who represents Laconia and Belmont, voted with the majority for the bill and Don Flanders, the city's fourth representative, did not vote.

Representatives Glen Aldrich and George Hurt of Gildord, Guy Comtois of Barnstead, Dennis Fields and Brian Gallagher of Sanbornton, Valerie Fraser of New Hampton, Ray Howard and Peter Varney of Alton, and Shari LeBreche and Michael Sylvia of Belmont voted for the bill.

Representative David Russell of Gilmanton did not vote.

Narrow majority of Sanbornton voters decides to stick with 3

SANBORNTON — The Board of Selectmen will continue to made up of three people as a petitioned warrant article that would have upped the number to five failed on Tuesday by four votes.

The final tally was 244 against the increase and 240 for it.

The petition was signed by nearly every member of the Budget Committee and all three sitting selectmen.

The most compelling reasons people cited for expanding the board were to lighten the load for each individual selectman in terms of other boards and commissions for which they are responsible.

One of the more compelling reasons against, cited by the same people, was there are not enough people in Sanbornton willing to volunteer for the many boards and commissions that already exist.

Voters did approve an operating budget that was $5,000 higher than the Budget Committee recommended. The difference was a $5,000 annual raise for the Town Clerk Tax Collector.

Article 4 asked the voters to approve two additional firefighters and was defeated by four votes after a secret ballot was requested in writing by five voters.

Voters approved a $542,000 capital outlay for the town as well as a $31,000 police cruiser. Police Chief Steve Hankard said he would only buy the cruiser if and when he absolutely needed it.

The Fire Department will get its utility truck for $40,900 and the voters approved $225,000 of transfers to capital funds.

Voters approved changing the purpose of the Town Hall Restoration Fund so that it can be used for planning, engineering and design as well as construction.

An Article for a noise ordinance failed, however all five recommended zoning changes passed.