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Friday evening fire strikes Hospital Hill home

LACONIA — Fire severely damaged a small, single-story home, the last on the north side of Taylor Street where the pavement ends, around 6 p.m. yesterday.

Originally the fire was reported on Girard Street, then Stephen Street, one block to the north of the actual blaze, which left firefighters scrambling to locate it. An engine from Gilford drove to the end of Stephen Street, where flame could be seen from the back of the burning building on the adjacent street. Gilford firefighters ran hose and threw water on the fire. Although the fire was brought under control, it continued to smolder and flare as firefighters stripped walls and ceilings.

Fire Chief Ken Erickson said that while the fire appeared most intense at the back of the house it spread throughout much of the small building. The outside of the house above the front door was blackened and firefighters removed the windows on either side of the front door.

Crews from Gilford, Belmont and Tilton-Northfield assisted at the scene, relieving those working with breathing apparatus in intense heat.

Deputy Chief Kirk Beattie said that the where and how the fire started has not been determined, but Deputy Chief Charles Roffo and the State Fire Marshall will be investigating the source of the blaze.

Last Updated on Friday, 05 September 2014 11:53

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WEEKEND - Up With People to perform twice in Laconia today

LACONIA — Colorful, energetic, exciting, entertaining and reflective.

Typically, reporters don't use adjectives to describe events, but those are just a few of the ways to portray an abbreviated 45-minute version of the Up With People show presented to the students at the Laconia Middle School on Friday afternoon.

A musical extravaganza that features young adults from around the world, Up With People delighted the students, most of whom were wearing T-shirts sporting the red and white school colors and danced in place as the performer entertained them.

The 100-strong cast of Up With People has been in the city all week rehearing for several concerts and working on community service projects. The will make two public appearances today (Saturday), the first at the opening ceremony of the Laconia Multicultural Festival in Rotary Park at 10 a.m. At 7 p.m. at the Middle School, the performers will be on stage to deliver their second full (2-hour) show of the weekend. Tickets for the Saturday night concert are available at all Meredith Village Savings Bank locations and will be for sale at the door ($15 general admission and $10 for students and seniors).

For the shortened concert version yesterday, the Up With People cast chose musical numbers that emphasize cultural diversity by performing dances and music from South Africa, Ireland, India, and the United States — Tennessee to be exact — reflecting some of the places the cast has visited in its 50-year existence.

Students also got a good laugh from a 1990s through today retrospective that featured songs from artists as diverse as Green Day and Psy — a South Korean phenomenon who made Gangnam style known throughout the world.

Up With People also musically address bullying by performing music with the Albert Einstein quote "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." scrolling on a screen behind the cast.

The crowd was also amused by a text message conversation about spread the word about Up With People that ended up showing a official video of twin babies babbling at each other with English subtitles that purport them to be talking about joining the troop.


Last Updated on Friday, 05 September 2014 10:04

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Swinford & Howard competing for GOP nomination in 3-town House district

ALTON/BARNSTEAD/GILMANTON — Elaine Swinford of Barnstead and Ray Howard of Alton are seeking the Republican nomination in Belknap County House District 8, which encompasses the towns of Alton, Barnstead and Gilmanton.
Swinford, who served two terms in the New Hampshire House from 2008 to 2012, is the welfare officer for the town of Barnstead, where she also runs the town thrift shop and community pantry, while Howard, a self-employed small business owner, serves on the Alton Planning Board and as a cemetery trustee.
Swinford, who served as chairman of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee during her second term, says ''I want to go back to the House. I think I did good job there and can continue to do a good job. I will work to represent all of my constituents, not just those who voted for me, just as I have done in the past.''
Howard says he is running because he believes that government spending has ''gotten out of control and it's time to put a lid on it'', citing the expansion of Medicaid at the state level as a program that he believes can't be sustained and will prove too costly for New Hampshire taxpayers.
He says that he is old-fashioned New Englander whose roots go back for generations and that he believes in self-reliance and hard work and that those are values he will bring to the Legislature is he is elected.
Swinford, who holds a Master's degree in mental health from Springfield, College, says that she owns the thrift shop and community pantry in Barnstead and created them because she saw the need in the community for those kind of services through her job as welfare director.
Swinford says she doesn't believe that the 4 cent a gallon gas tax increase approved by the legislature was really needed and maintains that highway improvements should be funded through highway trust fund money which is being diverted to law enforcement.
Both candidates say they have reservations about plans for a proposed new Belknap County jail, which, according to a preliminary estimate, could cost as much as $42 million.
''We don't need a Taj Mahal,'' says Swinford, who says that an earlier plan for renovation and expansion of jail carried an $18 million estimate at the low end of the cost spectrum.
She says that she favors an in-house approach to dealing with the mental health and addiction problems that many of the county jail inmates suffer from, having witnessed the success of such programs while doing an internship at the mens' state prison in Massachusetts while attending Springfield College.
Howard notes that Swinford, who lost a race for re-election in the Republican primary in 2012, voted for an appropriation of $160,000 to fund the study by Ricci Greene Associates which came up with a plan for a 94,500-square-foot, 180-bed facility with an estimated cost of $42.6 million.
He says that he is still learning a lot about then details of the county jail debate and says that he is interested in a 1987 plan which would have added a third wing to the jail which might prove to be the most economical solution.
''All of this is going to be looked at and debated. I want a workable plan which will be fair to the taxpayers. I don't want them burdened with bells and whistles,'' says Howard.
He says that he thinks the current county convention has done a good job on holding the line on spending and would stick with that approach.
They are seeking the nomination for the District 8 seat which was won by Republican Jane Cormier of Alton two years ago. Cormier, who served as clerk of the Belknap County Convention, resigned earlier this year after moving to Hooksett, where she is now a candidate in the state senate race in the GOP primary running against incumbent Republican David Boutin.

Last Updated on Friday, 05 September 2014 01:33

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Former sheriff endorses Hurt for N.H. House

GILFORD —George Hurt's candidacy for state representative in the N.H. House District (Belknap 2) that includes Gilford and Meredith has received an endorsement from former Belknap County Sheriff Steve Hodges.

Five Republicans are running for the party's four spots on District 2 general election ballots and primary election day is Tuesday, Sept. 9.

"I have known George for 16 years and I am enthused that George is stepping forward and choosing to run," said Hodges. "George is known as a well-respected businessman and that respect has earned him a reputation as a hardworking and trusted individual. His prior legislative experience representing Gilford will mean he will be able to hit the ground running.

"I am endorsing George because of his sincere commitment in finding a workable solution to the Belknap County Correction complex that all taxpayers of the county can support," added Hurt. "I urge voters in Gilford and Merediht to vote on September 9 for George."

Hurt, a Gilford resident, said he was honored to have received a public endorsement from "one of the Lakes Region's well recognized and respected former law enforcement officials".






Last Updated on Friday, 05 September 2014 01:19

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