Belknap County Sheriff's Department union agrees to contract

LACONIA — Employees of the Belknap County Sheriff's Department, who earlier this year switched to the Teamsters Union to represent them in contract negotiations, have approved a contract with the county.
Belknap County Commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton) said that the contract is similar to that approved earlier this year by the Belknap County Corrections Department. That contract provided a 1.4 percent pay raise in each of the two years as well as step increases, which could increase total compensation by 4.4 percent each year for eligible workers.
It also provided for health insurance changes from an HMO plan to a "site of service" plan.
Taylor told his fellow commissioners when they met Friday at the Belknap County Complex that he thinks the contract which was agreed to is a good deal for both the workers and the county.
The contract was approved by the commissioners, who now will bring it to the Belknap County Delegation for approval.
Commissioner Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton) pointed out that members of the delegation have been critical of recent changes in health insurance plans which have resulted in employees no longer paying a portion of premium costs. Taylor said that issue could be looked at again in three years if the proposed contract wins approval.
Both Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) and Taylor have said that the cost savings to the county from the change from an HMO plan to a site of service plan outweigh the added costs to the county of paying the entire premium. Current health insurance plans require employees to pay between 5 and 6.5 percent of the total health insurance premium.
Commissioners approved acceptance of a $22,395 grant from the New Hampshire Department of Education for the Belknap County Corrections Department. The funds will be used for the purchase of laptop computers for a female inmate computer programming class ($15,395) and to pay for instruction ($7,000).
The commission also approved using funds within the Belknap County Nursing Home budget to provide wireless internet access at the home for seven residents at the home who have who have laptops but no access.
Country Administrator Debra Shackett said that residents at the home have expressed displeasure with losing a service which was previously provided. She said it will cost $280 a month for a temporary fix with Verizon, which would set up a "hot spot" for free to provide access. She said that the county should look at installing a fiber optic system for $15,000 which would provide wireless network access for the entire county home.
She said that the change would double the county's internet costs from the current $600 a month to $1,200.

Hosmer files for re-election along with other candidates

CONCORD — On the second day of the filing period, Andrew Hosmer, a Democrat from Laconia, filed for re-election to his third term in the New Hampshire Senate, representing District 7, consisting of the cities of Laconia and Franklin and towns of Belmont and Gilford in Belknap County and Andover, Boscawen, Canterbury, Northfield, Salisbury and Webster in Merrimack County.

Harold French, a Republican from Franklin who is serving his first term in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, has also filed as a candidate for the Senate in District 7.

Meanwhile, two of the three incumbent Republicans representing the six wards of the city of Laconia — Don Flanders and Peter Spanos — have filed for re-election to the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Frank Tilton, who holds the third seat, has yet to file.

– Michael Kitch

Route 106 crash in Belmont sends one to hospital (134)

BELMONT — Police at the scene of a car crash around noon yesterday said a woman headed north on Route 106 said she blacked out and woke to find her car careening into the woods at the intersection of Concord Street.

Police said Carolyn Heoker, 69, of Gilford told them she didn't remember what happened or how.

The car struck a number white birch trees, uprooting one through the force of the crash. The car landed about 100 feet off the road and at the bottom of 25 foot embankment. Police said a passerby reported the crash.

Firefighters needed to cut the passenger door off the car to extricate the woman and said it took them about 10 to 15 minutes. She was taken by ambulance with what firefighters said appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries.

Guide wires to a telephone pole were also ripped out in the crash and crews from Eversource came out to repair them.

Police said they are looking into whether driver inattention or a distraction could have been a cause of the crash and the crash remains under investigation.

— Gail Ober

06-03 Belmont crash