Vast majority of local representatives favored constitutional amendment scuttled by state legislature

CONCORD — Just three members of the 18 member Belknap County Delegation voted with the majority yesterday when the House scuttled a constitutional amendment (CACR 1) to require a supermajority of three-fifths to levy any new tax or fee or to raise any existing tax or fee.

The delegation consists of the county's 18 representatives in the state House. All are Republicans.

The House rejected the proposal by a vote of 226 to 128. Of the 14 members of the county delegation who voted, only Reps. Dennis Fields of Sanbornton, George Hurt of Gilford and Frank Tilton of Laconia voted with the majority in favor of the motion "inexpedient to legislate."

The House Ways and Means Committee reported the bill "inexpedient to legislate" by a vote of 18 to 1.

Reps. Glen Aldrich and Russell Dumais of Gilford, Valerie Fraser of New Hampton, Brian Gallagher of Sanbornton, Ray Howard, and Peter Varney of Alton, Shari LaBreche and Michael Sylvia of Belmont, Bob Luther and Peter Spanos of Laconia, and Herb Vadney of Meredith voted with the minority against the motion.

Representatives Guy Comtois of Barnstead, Robert Fisher and Don Flanders of Laconia and Dave Russell of Gilmanton were excused and did not vote.

Lily Pond Road also on DOT's tentative list for 2015 paving projects

LACONIA — Rte. 11-C, best known as Lily Pond Road in Gilford, which provides access to Laconia Municipal Airport, is scheduled for improvement this year by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. City Manager Scott Myers said this week he got word of the planned upgrade from Gilford Town Administrator Scott Dunn.

Altogether some 23 miles of roadway in the environs of the city is tentatively slated to be paved this season. Along with the 1.7 miles of Lily Pond Road, the other include the 6.8 miles of Rte. 106 (Parade Road) from Lexington Drive to the Meredith roundabout; 5.9 miles of Meredith Center Road between its intersections with Rte. 106 (Parade Road) in Laconia and Rte. 104 in Meredith; 3.5 miles of Rte 11-B from its intersection with Rte. 11 (Sawyer's Dairy Bar/Patrick's Pub corner) to the Weirs roundabout; and 5 miles of Rte. 106 South from South Main Street in Laconia to its intersection with Rte. 140 in Belmont village.

The scheduled projects are subject to sufficient funding and pavement conditions.

Last August Mayor Ed Engler and City Councilor David Bownes (Ward 2) City Manager Scott Myers, state Sen. Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia), met with then commissioner of the DOT Chris Clement at City Hall. Their major concerns included Routes 106, Meredith Center Road and Lily Pond Road.

LRGHealthcare joins with other providers & Tufts Health Plan to form insurance company

LACONIA — LRGHealthcare, together with the other four members of the Granite Healthcare Network, LLC, have joined with Tufts Health Plan to form an insurance company — Tufts Health Freedom Plan.

Rachel Rowe, executive director of the Granite Healthcare Network, described the insurance company as "unique" and "innovative," a the first health insurer wholly owned by healthcare providers. "The partners have a shared vision," she said, explaining that each seeks t provide the highest quality of treatment at affordable costs.

In addition to LRGH, Granite Healthcare is comprised of Catholic Medical Center, Concord Hospital, Southern New Hampshire Health System and Wentworth-Douglass Health System.

"Tufts Freedom Health Plan was created to meet the needs of the residents of New Hampshire, " said Thomas Crowell, president and chief operating officer of Tufts Health Plan. He added that the company will "provide superior care management along with innovative health insurance products, all with the commitment to stabilize health care costs for our members and the business community."

Rowe said the company has filed with the New Hampshire Insurance Department and expects to provide a broad network that will include all 26 hospitals in New Hampshire. She anticipates that operations will begin on January 1, 2016 with the immediate enrollment of the approximately 15,000 employees, spouses and dependents of the five hospitals of the Granite Healthcare network.

The Granite Healthcare Network was formed four years ago to leverage the resources of the members to enhance the quality and control the cost of care by managing common risks, sharing best practices, exchanging information and making joint purchases. Founded in 1979, Tufts Health Plan, which counts more than 1 million members, was ranked the top private health plan in the country by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Brian Wells has been named president of the new company. Wells, a New Hampshire resident, recently served as chief executive officer of Houston-based Memorial Hermann Health Solutions after working for CIGNA Healthcare and Coventry Healthcare.

Correction: Linda Wilman is Alton associate principal

ALTON - Associate Principal Linda Wilman's name was incorrectly spelled in an article that ran in yesterday's paper about the Alton Central School and its board. In addition, Alton Teachers Association President Joan Cross said only one teacher didn't participate in her survey, not two as was reported.