Candidates make last-chance pitches to Lakes Region voters


Marco Rubio in Laconia

LACONIA — "This election is not like any other," Marco Rubio told a crowd that filled the Belknap Mill to capacity and beyond yesterday. "It is an referendum on our identity as a nation and a people."

Fresh from his strong showing in Iowa, where he captured nearly a quarter of the vote in the caucuses and joined Donald Trump and Ted Cruz at the front of the Republican presidential field, Rubio looks to confirm his position as the most electable alternative to the most controversial and most conservative candidates in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary next week.

Rubio reaffirmed the exceptional character of the United States, then, sounding an ominous note, warned that "The things that made us special are slipping away. We are on the verge of being a great nation in decline, and it began with the election in 2008." President Obama, he said, has sought "to change America." But he protested to clamorous applause "We don't want to be like the rest of the world. We want to be the United States of America."

"Our greatest days are before us," Rubio said, "but only if we make the right choice. Anger is not a plan. Frustration is not a plan," he explained, offering himself as the one candidate who can unite both the conservative movement and the Republican Party. ""If we are not together, we won't win,"

Rubio emphasized that among all the candidates for the GOP nomination, he was the one the Democrats feared the most. "They do not want to run against me," he said. "But, I can't wait to run against Hillary Clinton."

After taking the oath of office, Rubio said he would go straight to the Oval Office in the White House where right away he would repeal all the "illegal" executive orders issued by President Obama, revoke the "crazy EPA rules," halt federal intervention in public education and scrap the nuclear accord with Iran. He also vowed to repeal Obamacare and "put you back in charge of your health care decisions." And he said he would lower taxes and ease regulations to spur economic growth and reduce the national debt.

Rubio said that, as a Cuban-American, his experience with the issues arising from immigration is unmatched.

"I live it every day," he said. "Nothing can happen until illegal immigration is under control," he insisted.

To ensure terrorists do not enter the country in the guise of immigrants or refugees, he said entry would be denied to anyone whose identity could be be verified and purpose could not be confirmed. He emphasized that he would oppose granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. Finally, he said that the entire immigration process must be reformed, proposing a system based on "merit," or what the individual immigrant would contribute to the country. "Are you coming to be an American or are you coming to live here," he said, "are two different things."

As president, Rubo said would "rebuild" the armed forces, which he claimed have been shrunken in numbers and weakened in strength by the Obama Administration, despite the severe threats posed by hostile states like China, Russia, North Korea and Iran and terrorist organizations like ISIS. The world, he stressed, is less dangerous and more peaceful when the United States is the strongest military power in it.

Returning to his candidacy, Rubio assured the crowd, "If you vote for me, we will win this election."

First overdose in city this year discovered


LACONIA — City police said yesterday that they responded to their first fatal overdose early yesterday afternoon, at an apartment building at 736 Union Ave.

Canfield said so far this year, city police and emergency crews have responded to 10 overdoses of some kind, averaging 3.4 per day.

Capt. Matt Canfield said the identity of the 42-year-old man is being withheld pending notification of his family members. He said the cause of death appeared to be opioid-related and an autopsy is scheduled for today.

According to The Union Leader, there were 399 confirmed fatal opioid overdoses in New Hampshire in 2015, leading state, local and federal officials and even presidential candidates to rail against the crisis and demand action.

Locally, the City Council approved an additional police position two years ago to work with heroin users and help them to get what treatments is available to them though local and state private and not-for-profit agencies.

IN addition, the Police Department in conjunction with the School District has had DARE programs for years in the elementary schools and is working to expand the DARE program to the middle school.

Voters add $250,000 to budget at Alton School District Meeting


ALTON — Voters added $250,000 to the Alton school district's operating budget at the deliberative session of School District Meeting at the Alton Central School Saturday.
The proposed amendment, which supporters said is needed to preserve teaching staff levels at the school, passed by a vote of 45-26 after more than a half hour of discussion.
Voters increased the proposed operating budget, which will go on the ballot on March 8, to $15,174,547. If the budget article is defeated, a default budget of $15,020,238 will take effect.
The budget reflects $4,637,339 towards the operating budget of Prospect Mountain High School, which is jointly operated by Alton and Barnstead.
Voters will also decide the fate proposed one-year contract with the Alton Education Association, which will add $104,521 to the school budget,
Also on the ballot will be a warrant article seeking a $479,500 appropriation for roof repairs at Prospect Mountain High School. The sum represents half of the $959,000 roof repair project and will require a similar amount from the Barnstead school district.
School Board Chairman Steve Miller said that the two school districts made a major mistake in 2003-04 in their choice of a contractor and subcontractor for the high school, and that the roof is still leaking despite piecemeal repairs. He said that a structural roof engineer has been hired to oversee the project, which will see a metal roof installed at the high school.