Laconia firefighters had no idea recent 'boot drive' on city streetswas illegal

LACONIA — Members of the city's Firefighter Relief Association said yesterday they had no idea they would be violating a state law when they held last week's "boot drive" in the roadways at Lakeport Square to benefit the Children's Auction.

The firefighter's boot drive, where people place change and small bills into firefighters' boots, has raised money for years for what is now known as the NH1 Children's Auction and they have typically conducted the drive in the center of downtown Laconia.

Because of the downtown construction this year, the association moved the drive to Lakeport Square and set up orange cones and signs warning vehicular traffic that there was a solicitation effort ahead. The association also put notice of the boot drive on their Facebook page.

Police said they received one anonymous complaint about the fund raising effort.

Police Chief Chris Adams said that after reviewing RSA 265:40 he agrees that the "boot drive" should probably not been in the roadway at Lakeport Square.

He said he was aware of a similar issue that stemmed from boot drives in Gilmanton and said he would have to agree that it is a non-permitted use of roadways, according to state law.

There was some confusion as to whether or not the Laconia Relief Association had gotten a permit to solicit in the street and who or what agency would have issued it, but The Daily Sun has been unable to locate a written permit or find anyone within the city who would have issued it.

Other area fire departments held their "boot drives" in parking lots of private businesses.

The Tilton-Northfield Fire DEpartment joined forces with Franklin and held a drive in the Tanger Outlets while the Gilford Fire Department held their drive on private property near stores around McIntyre Circle.

Tilton says election of Jasper as speaker was 'terrible' day for Republican Party

LACONIA — "It was terrible," said Representative Frank Tilton (R-Laconia) of the Wednesday election of Shawn Jasper, the Republican from Hudson, as Speaker of the House of Representatives. "It was a divisive party becoming more divisive."

Drawing unanimous support from Democrats in the House, Jasper topped fellow Republican Bill O'Brien of Mont Vernon, who was the nominee of the Republican caucus, by seven votes, 195 to 178 to claim the speakership on the third ballot after six hours of debate.

Since the election of the speaker is conducted by a secret paper ballot there is no record of either how individual members voted or how parties divided. A candidate must receive a majority of the votes, including write-in votes and blank ballots, cast by the members present. There are 239 Republican, 160 Democrat and one Independent in the House. At least a quarter of the Republicans shunned O'Brien on the decisive ballot.

Tilton likened the vote in the Republican caucus, where O'Brien edged former Speaker Gene Chandler of Bartlett by 116 to 112, to a primary. Tilton supported Chandler in the caucus, but said that once the caucus nominated a candidate all Republicans should have supported him as the party's candidate for speaker. He said that the same elements of the GOP have reacted similarly in general elections by failing to support the party's nominees in the general election.

Tilton said that he spoke with Jasper in the days before the vote on Wednesday. "He was looking to eliminate O'Brien," he said and suggested that he decided to step forward when others, like Chandler and David Hess, a veteran lawmaker from Hooksett, declined to do so. Jasper, he said, believed that the election of O'Brien, whose previous tenure as speaker many believe enabled the Democrats to regain a majority in the House, would again cripple the GOP at the polls in 2016.

After mulling it over, Tilton said that he reached the opposite conclusion, namely that dividing the party over the speakership by raising and perpetuating dissension within the party will have a more adverse impact on its fortunes in 2016 than the election of O'Brien as Speaker.

"There is a lot of outrage," he remarked.

Tilton said that he had not spoken with all 18 of the representatives from Belknap County, but suspected that most, if not all, voted for O'Brien.

Representative Herb Vadney (R-Meredith) agreed "there is a lot of emotion and a lot of varying opinions," but said that the immediate challenge will be for Jasper to assemble an "effective management team" in a short period of time. He noted that O'Brien had been preparing to become speaker for some time and likely had chosen committee chairmen and vice-chairmen and perhaps even made committee assignments. Jasper, he said, will have 15 or 20 days. "I wish him well," he said. "It is a difficult job in the best of conditions and these are not the best of conditions."

LRCC student arrested in aftermath of Keene riot

LACONIA — As yet officials at Lakes Region Community College (LRCC) have taken no disciplinary action against one of its students who was arrested by Keene police after the rioting amid the annual Pumpkin Festival on October 18 and 19.

Scott Kalicki, president of the college, speaking through his assistant Tanya Lindquist, said yesterday that  officials would await the outcome of the adjudication of the criminal charges brought against the student, who has not been identified, before contemplating disciplinary action.

Police arrested 84 individuals during the rioting and another 16, including the student from (LRCC), afterwards following an investigation that drew heavily on pictures posted on social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. At the same time, 170 students of Keene State College were disciplined for their conduct during the rioting.

Region will have 2 senators on vital finance committee

CONCORD — Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) has been named to the Senate Finance Committee, joining Senator Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith), who chairs the panel, to assure the Lakes Region a strong presence on the committee during the 2015 session of the New Hampshire Legislature.

The Finance Committee will play a huge role in the development of a new, biannual state budget

Hosmer, who served on the Ways and Means Committee during his first term in the Senate, said yesterday that he requested a seat on the Finance Committee following his re-election in November. He noted that the retirement of Senator Sylvia Larsen of Concord, created an opening for a Democrat on the committee. He described the budget as "the nuts and bolts of state government" and anticipated it would be the "biggest challenge of the session. The budget affects the interests of everyone," he continued. "This is an opportunity to represent all my constituents."

Forrester, who was named to the Finance Committee in her second term, last year succeeded Senator Chuck Morse (R-Salem) as chairman when he became president of the Senate. She also serves on the Public and Municipal Affairs Committee.