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Republican Joe Kenney says he just wants to help people solve problems

LACONIA — "I want to do the job that Ray Burton made famous," Joe Kenney of Wakefield, the Republican candidate for the Executive Council in District 1, said recently. "No one can fill the shoes of Ray Burton," he continued, "but I have the time, energy and experience to do the job, to carve out my own brand of leadership."

Describing himself as "a Ronald Reagan conservative, more conservative than Ray Burton," Kenney, who has served in the Marine Corps for 34 years and will retire as a colonel, insisted during an interview at The Daily Sun that the election of an executive councilor "should not be about ideological differences." He said that during his 14 years as a legislator — eight in the House and six in the Senate — "I never asked are you a Republican or Democrat? I asked what is your problem and how can we solve it together?"

While a selectman in Wakefield, Kenney said he also served as welfare officer for more than two years, routinely addressing the challenges of those in need. At the same time, he provided support, he asked the recipients where the money came from and reminded them to thank a property taxpayer. He explained that he sought to instill a sense of "civic responsibility" in return for the support the community provided. He said that his concern for senior citizens contributed to the establishment of the Greater Wakefield Resource Center.

Kenney said he especially proud of a granite bench bearing his name at a dental clinic in Tamworth, recalling his efforts to ensure access to oral hygiene and dental care for those of meager and modest means. Likewise, he backed the mid-wives in their campaign to secure third-party reimbursement for home deliveries from insurance carriers, adding that they reduced the cost from $12,000 to $4,000 and "never lost a child."

Turning to mental health, Kenney said "we've lost our way and I don't know what happened," adding that his family has been directly affected by the lack of access to quality services. He said that in the 1980s the state's mental health system was a model for the country, but since then funding has diminished. "The state needs to step up and increase funding for mental health services," he said.

Reflecting on the significance of social services, earlier in the day,  Kenney told the Laconia Rotary Club, "sometimes Republicans need to be more compassionate about these issues."

Kenney said that the most important problem facing the state — and especially District 1, which covers the northernmost 70-percent of it — is "jobs, jobs and jobs. There are not enough quality jobs." As a consequence, he continued, young people are leaving the state and not returning. "We must give young people an opportunity to work," he remarked.

Better marketing of the state's comparative advantages — low taxes, good schools, natural environment and quality of life — Kenney thought, would attract employers. But, he also acknowledged the need for improved infrastructure, particularly roads and bridges. He suggested that communities could use "crowd funding," soliciting investment on-line, to fund local projects while sparing property taxpayers.

Kenney said that but for his experience in the Legislature he would not have run for Executive Council in what he called "a unique election," noting that the winner will serve for nine months before facing re-election. He stressed that he already has relationships with many of the leaders in District 1, who he met as a lawmaker, as well as with officials throughout the departments and agencies of state government.

Since the campaign began, Kenney said he has collected some 20 issues from those he hopes will be his constituents. "I can hit the ground running," he said, "and not need on-the-job training."

A staunch opponent of both Northern Pass electricity transmission project and so-called wind farms along the state's ridgelines, Kenney said Granite Staters need to protect their natural resources because "it's what makes New Hampshire unique". Asked about the relatively high price of electricity in New Hampshire and what could be done instead to bring it down, the candidate first answered, "it is what it is". He then added that another reactor (besides Seabrook) would help and expressed general support for nuclear energy.

Last Updated on Friday, 21 February 2014 02:14

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Laconia Police get Twitter account, new software

LACONIA — The Police Department has set up a Twitter feed in order to keep residents apprised of local police news, administrators told the Police Commissioners yesterday.

The Twitter feed is "laconianhpolice" and anyone can sign up to receive the feeds.

Captain Bill Clary said they plan on using it for public safety updates and announcements that impact the overall community and, on occasion, to issue crime updates.

Clary said a recent example of how the department's Twitter account was used was to let the general public know about the recent arrest in an arson investigation.

Commissioner Doug Whittum asked if the police could use Twitter for wanted persons and Clary noted that when the main office of Bank of New Hampshire was robbed they used the Twitter feed to get the news out quickly.

Clary said that even though an arrest has been made for two of the recent spate of arson fires that have plagued the city, the investigation is still active and ongoing.

He said detectives have a lot of follow up and investigatory work to complete and ask anyone with any additional information to contact the Laconia Police.

Police also used $6,000 from the CALEA (Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agency) certification to purchase a computerized documentation management system that will be used to manage all of their internal compliance paperwork.

According to the Power DMS Website, it is the only system specifically designed to manage CALEA certified internal documents such as training qualifications, and personnel records.

More importantly, said Lt. Al Lessard, it will cut down on the mountain of paperwork that must be filed. As an example, he said if an officer attends a certification class — like firearms qualification — a paper copy of must be filed in a many as 10 different files for tracking purposes. Once the system is set up, he said the department will need to scan the paper once and the system will direct an electronic copy to all of the appropriate files.

To pay for the software, the department reduced the amount of money spent on an outside consultant used to maintain certification, which will now be handled internally by an administrator with support from one of the sergeants.

Last Updated on Friday, 21 February 2014 01:55

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Pay day for people in roof shoveling business

LACONIA — With recent heavy snow and rain and freezing rain in the forecast for early today, many city homeowners have been busy in the last few days cleaning off their roofs or hiring someone to do it for them.
Mike Greer and Kris Kessler of Lakes Region Chimney Pro were out yesterday morning clearing a roof in South Down Shores and had five more lined up for the rest of the day.
''We'll probably finish up real late,'' said Greer, who said that parts of the moderately pitched roof they were working on had three feet of snow and that the piles of snow which accumulated next to the home as they shoveled were a foot or more higher than the tops of the first floor windows.
''While I was up near the peak of the roof shoveling this morning I had two calls from people who wanted their roofs cleared off. We've got so any calls that I'm having to turn people down because we can't get to them,'' said Greer.
Kessler said that the sudden demand has come due to concerns of possible roof collapses due to the heavy weight of the accumulated snow and rain and freezing rain which was predicted to start last night.
''We've only done a half dozen roofs all winter, but now we're getting bombarded with calls,'' said Kessler.
Both he and Greer will be out shoveling roofs all day today, as will Mike Mooney of Gilford, a mechanic at Irwin Marine, who has a sideline business with his brother clearing roofs. ''People have been calling us like crazy and we're putting a crew together to help us out,'' said Mooney.
Laconia Fire Chief Ken Erickson said that the most recent rash of collapsed roofs due to heavy snowloads came in 2008, when the city saw 22 buildings collapse.
''They can come down with little or no warning and it's not just flat roofs which collapse,'' said Erickson, who says that rain is particularly dangerous as it adds a great amount of weight to the roof.
''A gallon of water weighs eight pounds and the snow acts just like a sponge, soaking up all that weight. Water-soaked snow can weigh as much as 50 pounds per cubic foot,'' he says.
Erickson says that ice dams at the roof line can prevent water from draining, adding to the strain on the roof and making the water back up and leak into a home.
He says that snow on pitched roofs should be removed with a roof rake and that snow removal from flat or slightly pitched roofs should be removed from the edges first and not moved from the middle to the edge until the edge is cleared. "You have to work in stages and not add too much weight to the roof with snowblowers or a lot of shovelers,'' said Erickson.
He said that while removing excessive snow and ice buildup homeowners should be careful not to damage gas and oil service to the building; keep all chimneys and vents clear to prevent carbon monoxide from backing up into the building; and keep all exits clear of snow, so occupants can escape quickly if a fire, or other emergency, should occur.


CAPTION shovelroof 3,4
Mike Greer and Kris Kessler of Lakes Region Chimney Pro shovel snow from the roof of a home in South Down Shores in Laconia. They shoveled six roofs yesterday and were totally booked for today. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Friday, 21 February 2014 01:52

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City likely to be saddled with cost of cleaning up old burn dump

LACONIA — The city may soon find itself saddled with the cost of addressing lingering contamination from a burn dump that operated on Frank Bean Road and Morin Road for some three decades between the 1920s and the 1950s.

The area in question is off Rte. 107, near the Laconia Ice Arena.

A third report on the site, prepared for the city at the request of the New Hampshire Departmental of Environmental Services (DES) by Sovereign Consulting, Inc. of Concord concluded that "a plan for mitigation of future risk at these properties is warranted."

The burn dump is part of a site that sprawls over some 75 acres on either side of Frank Bean Road, most in the city and some in Gilford. which also includes an abandoned landfill. The burn dump itself extends over four lots — two residential and two commercial — totaling about 3.5 acres. Three of the lots abut one another on the west side of Frank Bean Road and the fourth is bordered by Frank Bean Road to the west and Morin Road to the east.

The property was owned by Leon Morin, who either leased it the city as a disposal site or accepted refuse from the city for incineration.

The site first drew the attention of DES in May, 2003 when David Farley, doing business as Dolphin Point, LLC, a marine contractor, complained of encountering buried refuse and foul odors while excavating for a foundation on his lot on Frank Bean Road. The lot is flanked to the south by a property leased to CBH Landscape Contractors and to the north by a residential parcel.

In 2008, Weston Solutions, Inc. found levels of six metals as well as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polycyclic aromatics hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are byproducts of burnt fuels, in samples collected across the 75 acres, including the burn dump. Levels were sufficiently elevated to warrant further investigation.

Three years later Terracon Consultants, Inc. reported that a thin layer of clean fill covered the site and concluded that surface soils were unlikely to pose a significant risk to human health. However, DES replied that a risk assessment of surface soils would not diminish the requirement for mitigation, suggesting resources would be better applied to remedial measures, and requested further investigation.

Sovereign sunk 11 monitoring wells and 20 soil borings to determine the extent and nature of materials at the burn dump. The report estimates the dump stretches along Frank Bean Road for about 1,000 feet and is 250 feet wide at its widest point. Likewise, the dump is between 15 feet and 20 deep, though some refuse was found at a depth of 32 feet. Assuming dimensions of 1,000 feet by 200 feet by 15 feet, the report estimates the contains approximately 110,000 cubic yards of "burn dump material."

Like the earlier investigations, Sovereign also found metals and PAHs in excessive concentrations, In addition, chlorinated VOCs were detected on three of the four lots, trichloroethylene on one lot and petroleum residues on another. But, the report noted "significant adverse impact to native soils has not been documented." Nor did samples of private wells serving the four lots indicate adverse impacts to the quality of drinking water.

Sovereign suggested that a mitigation plan could include some combination of removing and covering the burn dump materials along with changing or restricting the use of the site. The report noted that each of the four parcels will be evaluated separately and specific measures to address the risk of exposure to harmful materials applied to each. Meanwhile, the report recommends further sampling of drinking water and groundwater and additional borings to define the southern extent of burn dump materials.

DES has yet to respond to the report and its recommendations. City Manager Scott Myers said that he will update the City Council on the next steps in addressing the situation when it meets on Monday.

Last Updated on Friday, 21 February 2014 01:45

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