Gov. Sununu, GOP brass demand Laconia rep. resign

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Gov. Chris Sununu led a chorus of prominent Republican leaders who joined their Democratic counterparts in calling on Rep. Robert Fisher of Laconia to resign his seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives following disclosure that he founded and contributed to a online forum reviled for its misogynistic content.

On Tuesday, the Daily Beast released an extensive report identifying Fisher as the creator of The Red Pill, which included numerous statements he has made disparaging the character, status and behavior of women as well as appearing to condone gender discrimination and sexual violence against them.

In a prepared statement on Tuesday, Fisher, who is 31, acknowledged that the painful dissolution of a relationship when he was in his 20s led him to make "injudicious" statements about women, which he claimed were taken out of context, and charged the conclusions drawn from them "border on slanderous." Fisher did not return calls yesterday.

Sununu found the remarks attributed to Fisher "horrendous and repulsive" and told WMUR-TV that his resignation "is certainly in order."

The governor was echoed by Rep. Shawn Jasper, the Speaker of the House, who said while he lacked the authority to compel Fisher to resign, "I wish he would resign. It would be the honorable thing to do under the circumstances.

Jeanie Forrester of Meredith, who chairs the New Hampshire Republican Party, said Fisher's "comments are offensive and the fact that he made them under the shadow of internet anonymity tells you he knows they are offensive." After initially on Tuesday saying that Fisher's future in the House rested with his constituents, not with her, a day later she joined the governor in urging him to resign.

Likewise, Jennifer Horn of Nashua, Forrester's predecessor as chair of the GOP, called Fisher's statements "despicable" and described him as "an embarrassment to our state," who "contributes to a society that minimizes sexual assault and makes it more difficult for women to report these crimes and seek justice."

Not long after the report appeared, Rep. Steve Shurtleff of Penacook, the House Democratic Leader, approached Jasper about removing Fisher from the House and the New Hampshire Democratic Party ensured that the report reached the media throughout the state.

Fisher, who first ran for one of the four House seats in Laconia as a Democrat in 2012, was elected to a seat representing both Laconia and Belmont in 2014 and re-elected last year.

The urge to purge

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On Thursday, April 20, Arthur Lee deposits cardboard into a recycling bin at the Gilford Transfer Station. Lee said he uses the facility about once a week, for both recycling and brush disposal. (David Carkhuff/Laconia Daily Sun) 

Spring cleaning fever floods area  transfer and recycling stations

By DAVID CARKHUFF, LACONIA DAILY SUN

SANBORNTON — A burst of spring cleaning may account for a surge of people flocking to transfer stations with their trash and recyclables.
In Sanbornton, so much material flooded into the transfer station, located at 184 Shaw Hill Road, during a Saturday in mid-April that the transfer station crew had to stop trying to process recyclables.
The single-stream recycling bin filed up, and "at 12 o'clock, I had to shut that down," transfer station manager Kevin Austin told selectmen on April 19.
Crews started using the solid waste and household trash canister for single-stream recycling material, and that filled up by 3 p.m., Austin said. Then they changed to a construction and demolition material container to accommodate the continued overflow, he said.
"We had a lot of residents coming in on Saturday with trailer-loads of recyclables, and I would say more than seven or eight people said they had held it all winter and brought it in on a nice day," Austin said.
Fire Chief Paul Dexter said, "I noticed it on my road. You may have had a big influx because the roads have been posted, and people have had their trash in their front yards and I think they probably got tired of that and decided to take it to the transfer station and get rid of it."
This urge to purge hasn't abated across the Lakes Region.
At the Gilford Transfer Station, 150 Kimball Road, staff reported last week, "We're really busy. It will be like this until after Thanksgiving."
At the Laconia Transfer Station, located at 385 Meredith Center Road, operator Don Smith said, "This place is hopping."
The transfer station in Laconia hosts two free days, 8 a.m. to noon on the first two Saturdays in May, May 6 and 13. Everything but electronics is free.
More than 300 people come up on a free dump day, Smith estimated.
"It looks like the Beverly Hillbillies are moving in," he said, noting the influx of loaded-down vehicles.
Ann Saltmarsh, solid waste/recycling coordinator for the Laconia Department of Public Works, said, "We put 400 cars through there in four hours."
The free dump day promotion is not for commercial use, Saltmarsh said, and only for households.
Also, on May 8 and May 22, the city will offer leaf and yard waste pickup for residents. A contractor will pick up an additional 10 bags during these two weeks, the city reported. All materials must be placed in paper compost bags for pick-up on the resident's normal trash day. Yard waste will be collected by a separate truck, and not the normal trash collection truck.
At the Gilford Transfer Station, 150 Kimball Road, a residential spring cleanup push continues now through Sunday, April 30, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents can bring items to the Gilford Recycling Center, including appliances (accepted upon inspection), brush (limited to 5-inch diameter maximum only), demolition material (small amounts from residential homes), furniture, leaves, lumber, scrap metal and vehicle and utility batteries.
In Gilmanton, the recycling facility at 284 Province Road is open to receive waste and recyclables Wednesdays 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sundays noon to 5 p.m.
In Meredith, a 2017 spring cleanup push will take place Friday, May 12 through Sunday, May 14. The cleanup is open to Meredith and Center Harbor residents, and prices are waived or reduced on a variety of items. The spring cleanup will be held 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the three days.

For more information on transfer station and recycling facilities in the Lakes Region:

Belmont, Casella Waste Systems, 43 Industrial Drive, (603) 524-5881.
• Gilford Transfer Station, 150 Kimball Road, (603) 293-0220.
• Gilmanton Recycling Facility, 284 Province Road, (603) 267-6070.
• Laconia Transfer Station, 385 Meredith Center Road, (603) 528-5822.
• Meredith Solid Waste Facility, 17 Jenness Hill Road, (603) 279-8480.
• Sanbornton Transfer Station, 184 Shaw Hill Road, (603) 934-7173.

‘Michael Kitch Day’ declared for Friday

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Laconia Daily Sun reporter Michael Kitch is congratulated by Laconia Mayor Ed Engler following the reading of a proclamation marking Kitch’s 14 years of covering the Laconia City Council on Monday.  (Alan MacRae/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Sun reporter ends 14-year career

By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Veteran reporter Michael Kitch, who is seldom at a loss for words, found himself tongue-tied Monday night at the Laconia City Council meeting after Mayor Ed Engler honored him for his dedicated coverage of civic affairs.
Kitch, 75, is retiring Friday after 14 years with The Laconia Daily Sun.
Engler read a proclamation noting Kitch’s distinguished and tireless reporting.
“Michael Kitch is a widely respected journalist who has earned accolades for the intelligence, fairness and clarity of his many articles,” Engler said.
The proclamation designated Kitch, a Concord resident, an honorary citizen of Laconia and declared this Friday Michael Kitch Day in Laconia.
Given a chance to speak publicly to the city officials he has so dutifully covered, Kitch opted for a round of handshakes.
On Tuesday, Kitch extended appreciation to those who have helped him cover the city.
“I want to express thanks to city officials, city employees, volunteer members of boards and commissions and everyone else in this city that I’ve dealt with for being unfailingly cooperative, helpful and generous with their time because without that you can’t do your job,” he said. “I consider a lot of the people, in fact most of the people I’ve dealt with over the years as more than just sources of news but as friends.”
Kitch said it has been exciting and gratifying to work for a publication that has thrived at a time when the newspaper industry has struggled with declines in circulation and advertising.
He recalled the early days of his career with The Laconia Daily Sun when the newspaper started under the direction of Engler, who is now president of the Sun.
The Laconia Citizen was the long-established newspaper in the city.
Kitch said 15-hour days were not unusual in the early days.
“Here comes a new newspaper in the only town north of Boston with two dailies,” he said.
“It starts in a competitive market and just puts the legacy paper out of business and thrives. I think it’s pretty remarkable and it’s really been a lot of fun to be a part of that.”
One of his fondest memories is of reporting the controversy about exotic dancing in Gilford, which ended with the decision of the U.S. District Court that nothing could be done to stop it. Although he seldom wrote headlines, he took credit for “Gilford strippers covered by First Amendment,” which topped the front page the next day.
Engler said Kitch “brought almost instantly a level of credibility to the newspaper when he started writing for us. Because he was clearly very intelligent and a very good writer who could not only write fairly but also understand and cover very complex issues. That gave the paper a significant advantage because it’s rare to find someone writing at the small city level who can do that.”
He added that Kitch was “obviously helped tremendously by the fact that he had such an easygoing, winsome personality. People just liked him. And that opened a lot of doors.”
“I’ll miss his biting humor and knowledge of the area as a reporter,” said managing editor Ginger Kozlowski. “Michael will be a hard guy to replace.”
Kitch hold’s a master’s degree in history from Indiana University and an undergraduate degree from Duke. He did graduate studies at Oxford in England and taught at the University of London for 12 years.
He plans an active retirement that will include freelance writing and consulting work.

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Laconia Daily Sun reporter Michael Kitch shakes hands with Laconia city councilor David Bownes as councilor Henry Lipman, right and Ava Doyle, left look on following the presentation of a proclamation by Mayor Ed Engler recognizing Kitch's 14 years of covering the council on Monday. (Alan MacRae/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

 

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