Taylor, Waring elected to County Commission

County Commission chair sees restoration of civility in election results


LACONIA — The Belknap County Commission, which is in recent years has captured headlines because of continuing conflicts between commissioners, including the ouster of its chairman and continuing public disputes, is on the verge of becoming a more congenial place to do business.
That's the view of Commissioner David DeVoy (R-Sanbornton), who chairs the three-member commission, who said he believes that victories in Tuesday's Republican primaries by fellow commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton) and former Belknap County Finance Director Glen Waring (R-Gilmanton) will create a unified team which will work together "in a productive and civil manner, placing policy above personality."

Hunter Taylor 2016Taylor  Glen WaringWaring
Taylor defeated Jonathan Smolin of Alton 2,035 to 591 in the District 3 commission race for a two-year term and Waring defeated incumbent Belknap County Commissioner Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton) 1,078 to 678 for a four-year term.
DeVoy had supported both Taylor and Waring while Burchell and Smolin, who had support from several members of the County Delegation, including Rep. George Hurt (R-Gilford) and Mike Sylvia (R-Belmont), had expressed support for each other.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Taylor said "In our decision making, Dave DeVoy and I have always tried to be guided by the best interests of the people of our county. Yesterday's vote says that our efforts have been well received. I want to thank the voters of the 2nd and 3rd Districts for the wonderful support we have going forward as we continue our efforts, as always subject to fiscal responsibility limitations, to make our county government even better and more responsive to the needs of the citizens of Belknap County. We now have a team that can work together and when we disagree, do so with civility."
Waring said that he is pleased by the response to his candidacy by the voters who saw his experience in county government, where he served as finance director from 2011 to 2015, as a plus. He said he is looking forward to working in a professional and collaborative manner with his colleagues, provided that he is successful in November's general election, where he faces opposition from Democrat Cherie Willoughby of Belmont.
He defeated Burchell 243-185 in Gilmanton, 201-180 in Barnstead, 182-126 in Tilton and 452-187 in Belmont.
Burchell became commissioner after defeating incumbent Commissioner John Thomas (R-Belmont) in the 2014 GOP primary 808-671 and winning an uncontested general election.
After Burchell was elected to the county commission, Commissioner Stephen Nedeau (R-Meredith) resigned his seat, saying he was unable to work with the new commissioners, leaving only Burchell and DeVoy, both of whom were newly elected. Burchell became chairman, but when the county delegation appointed Taylor to fill the vacant seat, he soon found himself a minority of one. At a clamorous meeting in March 2015, Burchell was ousted as chairman by a two-to-one vote, which he challenged without success in Superior Court.
The relationship between the three current commissioners continued to remain stormy. At a June 4 meeting last year, commissioners Taylor and DeVoy censured Burchell for leaking information from a nonpublic meeting to former Belknap County Nursing Home Administrator Matthew Logue, held while Burchell was still chairman .
DeVoy and Taylor again censured Burchell in May of this year for what they said was official misconduct in connection with his attempts to access protected medical records in the state Department of Health and Human Services database. Burchell maintained he was only seeking the information in order to find out how state reimbursements to county homes are determined.
Smolin, a surgical assistant at Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro, had campaigned by saying that he would bring significant private business experience to the commission and was concerned about keeping the services provided by county government affordable.
In recent weeks Smolin's business experience claims were disputed by Taylor, who cited several bankruptcies which Smolin had filed, as evidence that Smolin lacked the background to oversee county policy and budget matters.
Taylor defeated Smolin 139-31 in Center Harbor, 500-153 in Alton, 708-217 in Meredith and 688-190 in Gilford.

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November House contests shaping up following primary

Contests for the November election have now taken shape in Belknap County's nine legislative districts following Tuesday's primary election for state representatives.
In District 1, composed of New Hampton and Center Harbor, it will be a repeat of the 2014 race with incumbent Republican Valerie Fraser of New Hampton facing Democrat Ruth Gulick of New Hampton. Both women were unopposed in their respective primaries.
District 2, composed of Meredith and Gilford, will see Democrats John Anderson, Lisa DiMartino, Nancy Frost and Dorothy Piquado facing Republicans Marc Abear, Glen Aldrich, Norman Silber and Herb Vadney for the four seats.
District 3, Laconia, saw a contest on the Democratic side of the ballot for the four available seats with Liz Merry (617), Dave Huot (613), Tom Dawson (462) and Charlie St. Clair (430) winning nominations over Tony Felch (344). Republicans Frank Tilton, Don Flanders, Peter Spanos and Jim McCoole faced no opposition.
District 4, Sanbornton and Tilton, saw Dennis Fields (446) and Timothy Lang (240) winning Republican nominations over John Vorel (167), Robert White (168) and Richard Brothers, (162). On the Democratic side Richard Burke and Ian Raymond faced no opposition.
In District 5, Alton and Gilmanton, Peter Varney (714) and Michael Maloney (461) won Republican nominations over Gerald Theodora (162). Elizabeth Abbott and Hammond Brown won uncontested races in the Democratic Party primary.
In District 6, Belmont, George Condodemetraky and Diana Lacey were uncontested for the Democrats. Mike Sylvia (377) and John Plumer (264) won Republic nominations over Joel Weinrebe (198).
In District 7, Barnstead, Barbara Comtois (286) defeated Elaine Swinford (178) for the Republican nomination. Bruce Marriott is the Democratic nominee.
In District 8, Alton, Gilmanton and Barnstead, Raymond Howard Jr., was unopposed. There was no Democrat on the ballot.
In District 9, Laconia and Belmont, Democrat Beth Arsenault will face Republican Robert Fisher in a rematch of the 2014 race.

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Road projects slow traffic along bypass and Route 106


BELMONT — It's going to be a while before there's free-flowing traffic along Route 106 as there are several ongoing road projects and construction can last until snow falls.

According to project engineers and a media representative of the state Department of Transportation, there are two projects happening in the Route 106 corridor simultaneously.

The first is a $7.2 million major road construction project schedule for completion in the autumn of 2017, in which the Route 106 from Dutile Road to South Main Street in Laconia is being redone. Some paving along this stretch will begin Saturday morning.

Project manager Chuck Flanders said that section will have a complete reclaiming and resurfacing, meaning the existing pavement is "chewed up," mixed with new road materials, regraded and paved.

He described this as a long-term fix which means the reconstruction should last for at least 20 to 25 years except for seasonal repairs and some possible top coat work in the future.

From Dutile Road south to Farraville Road, the state is cold planing or removing and replacing 1 ½ inches of asphalt in the travel lanes only.

Additionally, this project includes repaving the bridge deck of the Laconia Bypass that goes over Route 106. Flanders said that part of the complete repaving of the bypass was carved out so one crew could handle all of the traffic needs for that one area.

This project also included the redesign and reconstruction of the intersection of Seavey Road and Route 106, which was identified in the past five years as one of the more dangerous intersections in the state making it eligible for some federally subsidized grants.

Flanders said the only part of that construction project happening this year is done and that was to widen the area along Route 106 and install new utility poles. He said Eversource will coordinate relocating the lines and the actual construction will begin in spring of 2017.

Flanders said road crews are opening traffic to two lanes during peak commuter times in the morning and in the afternoon, but for the rest of the day, motorists can expect traffic to move along one lane only. He said the maximum wait is usually about three or four minutes, which he agreed seems like forever when one has to get someplace.

"We think traffic is moving pretty well through there, considering the scope of the project," he said, urging people who travel along Route 106 to give themselves some extra time to get to their destination.

Another project is the repaving of the entire bypass, much of which has been completed.

Additionally, there is the replacement of the Laconia Bypass deck that runs over Route 11A in Gilford.

DOT media spokesman Bill Boynton said that project was supposed to be finished on Aug. 5 but crews ran into some problems when the preformed concrete plates didn't fit exactly as the engineers had planned. He said there are times when traffic is rerouted around the overpass but said they expect that part of the bypass to be finished this fall.

09-15 Route 106 road work

Route 106 in Belmont has been stripped to the bare dirt along a long stretch just south of Laconia. Work on the road will continue through next year. (Ginger Kozlowski/Laconia Daily Sun)

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