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CruCon: From mom's basement to all of this

MOULTONBOROUGH — It was a special night for a special person Saturday as friends, co-workers, clients, and town officials joined president and CEO of CruCon Cruise Outlet Sandy Cleary at an open house for her recently expanded company.

Cleary, who began her on-line cruise search company from her mother's East Boston home, chose Moultonborough as its world headquarters because she spent her childhood summers on Paugus Bay and wanted to return to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.

A former aerospace engineer in California, Cleary said she went on weekend cruises for relaxation while working in that industry. Nineteen years ago, she gave up her job as an engineer to return to East Boston to care for her recently widowed mother.

Without a job, and working form the basement of her mother's three-store brownstone, Cleary and her sister started brokering online reservations for people who wanted to cruise. She said it had to be an Internet company because her mother wasn't excited about people coming in and out of the house. The two daughters staffed the initial call center themselves.

When she accidentally forgot a Pop Tart in her mother's toaster and burned down the kitchen, she said her mother told her to get an office.

Staying in East Boston, she said they worked from a small commercial building and gradually her company began to grow. Cleary said the day a senior vice-president from Carnival Cruise Lines called her and thanked her for her business, was the day she knew she was on the right path.

Cleary eventually moved her company to Moultonborough and has spend the better part of a year constructing the company's new building.

Three stories tall, CruCon Outlet has an entire floor dedicated to its employees — from a kitchen that serves three meals a day, a gym with state-of-the-art workout machines to a "Zen" room used for resting. The top two floors are office space, storage space, booking rooms and executive suites.

CruCon also constructed the entire building including furnishings from New Hampshire companies using the "greenest" or most environmentally sensitive materials available.

Joining Cleary at her grand opening were top level executives from a number of cruise companies including Celebrity Cruises, Vacation.com, Royal Caribbean Cruises Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Holland-America Cruise Lines.

Travelzoo.com North American President Shirley Tafoya named CruCon Outlet the 2014 Travelzoo Advisor of the Year Award for the sixth year in a row in a surprise announcement that even Cleary didn't see coming.

Cleary also said Moultonborough's local government has been very supportive of her and her building project since she first made her proposals.

She said for her entire 19 years, space has been the limiting factor in her company's expansion. With the new world headquarters, she said she will be able to increase staff to up to 150 people.

Heading a company with over $100-million in sales, Cleary has been recognized as one of the top five women business owners in New Hamphire

Selectman Russell Wakefield said CruCon Outlet's expansion in Moultonborough has been a wonderful addition to town. He said they've brought decent paying jobs to the town and worked very well with town officials in building the offices.

"They've done everything we asked them to do," he said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 01:19

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Prosecutors continue to push for 2nd competency hearing for man accused of strangling roommate in Laconia

LACONIA — The state continued its push for a second competency hearing for a the 20-year-old man who has been charged in the strangulation death of his roommate on June 13, 2013. The homicide occurred at a behavioral health group home on McGrath Street.

Kasey Riley, 20, allegedly choked Zachary March to death around 2 a.m. after an argument over something Riley was watching on his cell phone.

Attorney John McCormack represented the N.H. Attorney General's Office and argued that the competency evaluation done by Dr. Daniel Comiskey was "stale" since the interviews were done in July and September of 2013 but the report only came to the prosecutor's office in May.

He also said Cominskey opined that Riley's competency to stand trial and assist in his own defense could be restored within 12 months of his evaluation and it is almost 12 months since his first examination.

McCormack also said that state law allows for either side to have a second opinion regarding competency and the state has requested that Dr. Albert Drukteinis — a psychiatrist and a neurologist — perform a second competency evaluation.

N.H. Public Defender Tracy Scarvelli said the state already has its evaluation because Comiskey works for the state of New Hampshire. She also said that if the court finds that a second competency evaluation is to be done, that the defense and the prosecution should agree on the doctor.

She said the reason it took so long for Comiskey to complete his evaluation was because of the thousands of pages of clinical and psychiatric history involving her client.

Making his case that Riley could be found competent, McCormack said that Riley understood that if he were to be found guilty of second-degree homicide that he wouldn't be able to own any guns or go hunting even if he were to be released from prison some day.

McCormack also argued that while Riley's first statement to police was consistent with what witnesses and evidence indicated, his second statement minimized his role indicating that he understood enough to try and mitigate his own circumstances.

Scarvelli said Riley's concerns about hunting are just an example of how Riley doesn't fully comprehend what he is facing or what the ramifications would be if he were determined to be competent — that he is facing up to 30 years in prison and all he worries about is hunting.

Typically, it is in the state's interest to have a court determine a defendant is competent while it is in the defense's best interests to have an incompetent determination.

Judge James O'Neill asked if either side would object to Comiskey performing a second evaluation.

McCormack said he would object but said the law says the state has a right to its own evaluation as well.

O'Neill said he would take the motion under consideration.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 01:08

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Sailing school has 90-day permit to operate on Smith Cove

GILFORD — Last week the Planning Board gave the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association a temporary three-month approval to operate a sailing school from their new 25 Davis Road location, on Smith Cove.

The property is classified as a single family home and the applicant is seeking a change of use and a site plan. Classified by the town as a marina, the property is in a Resort Commercial Zone where marinas are a accepted use.

The temporary approval addresses only the change of use. LWSA will appear before the Planning Board on July 21 to further discuss and answer board questions about us of the site itself.

The LWSA, which was established as a non-profit in 1988 and gives sailing lessons to both adults and children. Until this year, the LWSA operated from Faye's Boat Yard, with the support of the Winnipesaukee Yacht Club.

The club has been seeking a permanent home for seven years, said President Tom Mullen, and has recently purchased the property at 25 Davis Road for $595,000.

The property is just over one-half an acre and has a small beach, a fairly long dock, and two outbuildings for storage. Inside is room for classroom space. There are portable toilets for the students.

Draft minutes from a public hearing held last week, indicate that most of the members of the Planning Board and many of the abutters who came to the meeting supported the idea of the sailing school but wanted to see the LWSA follow the town and state regulations like set back requirements, site plan submissions, and the Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act.

Meryl Fay brought up many things that the Planning Board and Mullen should think about, including traffic on Davis Road, signs, and whether the boat house is to close to the neighbor's property.

Fay also said that architectural rendering of the site plan should be augmented by a professional survey before any permanent approvals are given.

Other neighbors expressed concern about traffic and the next door neighbor said he thinks LWSA should install a fence between its property and his.

Draft minutes read that Mullen said the LWSA is very much aware they are moving into a residential area and understands that peace and quiet are important to the residents.

He said the primary traffic times will be when students are dropped off by their parents in the morning and picked up in the afternoon. He said efforts will be made to keep residents appraised about those times with an eye to staggering arrival and dispatch times so there won't be a lot of traffic at one time.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 01:03

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Local Republicans get high grades from conservative political advocacy group

LACONIA — Eight of 13 Republican members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives from Belknap County received perfect marks from the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which scored the votes of lawmakers on 15 bills to come before the House this year.

Americans for Prosperity is a nationwide political advocacy organization that promotes limited government, lower taxes and individual freedom. It claims 29,000 activists in New Hampshire.

Reps. Jane Cormier and Stephen Holmes of Alton, Charles Fink and Michael Sylvia of Belmont, Bob Greemore, Herb Vadney and Colette Worsman of Meredith and Bob Luther of Laconia all scored 100 percent to earn grades of "A.". Rep. Guy Comtois of Barnstead was also graded "A" with a score of 93-percent. Reps. Richard Burchell of Gilmanton and Dennis Fields scored 86-percent and Frank Tilton of Laconia 80-percent to earn grades of "B." Among the Republicans Rep. Don Flanders of Laconia posted the lowest score of 72-percent, which was worth a "C."

All five Democrats from the county — Reps. Beth Arsenault and David Huot of Laconia, Lisa DiMartino of Gilford, Ruth Gulick of New Hampton and Ian Raymond of Sanbornton — consistently voted against the recommendation of Americans for Prosperity to receive scores of zero and grades of "F."

Earlier this month, the House Republican Alliance, which grades the voting records of lawmakers according to how closely they match the GOP platform, awarded the 13 Republican members of the House an average score of 87.8-percent, the highest among the 10 county delegations.

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 June 2014 12:12

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