LACONIA — Yesterday, for the second time in as many weeks, Michael Cryans, the Democratic candidate for the Executive Council in District 1, visited the city where he addressed the Laconia Rotary Club then visited the Huot Regional Technical Education Center, Central Fire Station, and the Laconia State School property before calling at several downtown businesses to end the day.
Cryans, 62, was born and raised in Littleton, where he graduated from high school in 1969 before earning his bachelor's degree at Springfield College in 1973. He returned home and taught physical education at Littleton High School for five years before joining Littleton Savings Bank as a trainee. The bank became the Dartmouth Banking Company and Cryans was its senior vice-president when it was sold 15 years later. He spent a decade self-employed, providing financial counseling to small businesses and working families and since 2003 has served as director of Headrest, a substance abuse and recovery facility in Lebanon. He has served on the Grafton County Commission for the past 17 years.
"It's a huge undertaking, a humbling experience to run for the executive council in this district," Cryans told the Rotarians. He displayed a map, explaining that the district sprawls across two-thirds of the land area of the state, reaches into seven of its 10 counties — Coos, Carroll, Grafton, Belknap, Strafford, Sullivan and Merrimack — and includes four of its 13 cites — Laconia, Berlin Claremont and Lebanon — 109 of its 221 towns and most of its unincorporated places. But, Cryans noted, 80 percent of the state's population lives in the other four Executive Council districts.
Countering a common assumption, Cryans said "I don't view this job as North County job." Instead. he said there are "pockets of population" all across the district "each with its own issues." Apart from his experience in business and government, he said that as a distance runner, who runs 10 miles every day and has covered 80,000 miles in the last decade, he has the "perseverance and sticktoitiveness" the position requires.
Cryans said that the constitutional duties of the executive council are to approve the governor's nominations for commissioners and their deputies of executive departments and agencies, numerous boards and commissions and judgeships as well as to approve state contracts amounting to some $4-billion a year.
However, he added that Ray Burton had "redefined the role of executive councilor, which "consists of three things — constituent service, constituent service and constituent service." He confessed "I'm not trying to fill Ray's shoes, which would be impossible for anyone," while insisting "I will do the best I can and represent you as best I can. No playbook comes with this job," he continued. "If you have a suggestion, I'll take it."
When the floor was opened to questions Cryans was asked what effect his party affiliation would have on his approach to the office "I'd like to think it wouldn't have any," he replied, adding that he thought the person's qualities were more important than their partisan allegiance.
Rick Lahey referred to the bill passed by the New Hampshire House of Representatives last week and asked what Cryans thought about legalizing the sale of marijuana. Explaining that that it was not a question to come before the Executive Council, he said that because he worked to overcome substance abuse he would have voted against it.
The discussion turned to Northern Pass and the possible proliferation of wind farms in Grafton County. "I don't think the towers should be built," Cryans said of Northern Pass, recalling that once the state license plates carried the word "scenic" and stressing that "the towers would drastically change the landscape forever." For the project to proceed, he said, "they must figure out a way to bury the lines."
With respect to wind farms, Cryans said that while personally he did not like the turbines on the ridge lines, he considered the permitting process was "a local issue" and believed "each community should have a greater say." That was not enough for Abe Dadian, who pressed Cryans for a commitment to forestall the development of wind farms, especially in the towns surrounding Newfound Lake.
When Cryans said he had no opinion for or against casino gambling, he was asked "do you gamble?" and answered to laughs, "I didn't say that, I came here today, didn't I."
CAPTION — Michael Cryans (right), the Democratic candidate for the Executive Council in District 1, said that at 62 he does not aspire to match the 17 terms served by Ray Burton. Nevertheless, during a visit to the Huot Technical Center yesterday he took time to speak with future voters, Eli (left) and Colin (center), at the Early Childhood Education program (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch).
Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2014 02:00
BELMONT — Selectmen have voted to accept a $15,000 state grant which will be used to help defray the costs of the restoration of the town's century-old bandstand.
The vote to accept the grant from the Land and Community Heritage Investment Project — or LCHIP — came following a brief public hearing during Monday evening's meeting of the Board of Selectmen.
The LCHIP grand will help with costs associated with the second phase of the bandstand restoration, which involves painting, electrical work and roof replacement of the historic structure in the village.
Monday's selectmen's meeting was the last a before the deliberative session on the town warrant which is scheduled for this Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Belmont High School café.
The proposed total town budget for 2014 is $10,115,516, according to Town Administrator K. Jeanne Beaudin. While the proposed budget is about 7 percent higher than last year's municipal budget of $9,452,064, the amount to be raised by property taxes is 4 percent higher, Beaudin noted.
There are 38 articles on the warrant.
Voters will be able to discuss and amend the articles during Saturday's deliberative session. The vote on whether to approve the articles will occur on Town Election Day, Tuesday, March 11.
Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2014 01:50
CONCORD — Legislation to exempt recreational vehicles from property taxation, sponsored by Senator Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) carried the New Hampshire Senate yesterday by a vote of 24 to 0.
Senate Bill 333 exempts recreational vehicles, as defined by statute, that do not remain in any one town, city or incorporated place for more than 45 days, unless stored or placed on a rented campsite, from property taxation. The statutory definition of a recreational vehicle includes motor homes, vans, pickup campers and tent trailers as well as recreational trailers of 400-square-feet or less. The bill stipulates that recreational vehicles shall be deemed personal, not real, property and not liable to property taxation.
On the strength of a court decision in 1999, which was reaffirmed in 2002, the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration began advising cities and towns to tax recreational vehicles as real property. The result was what Forrester called a "crazy quilt" as recreational vehicles parked at campgrounds were treated differently by different municipal assessors. Some are taxed as real property while others are not. Some municipalities bill the owners of the recreational vehicles while others bill the owners of the campgrounds.
In a prepared statement issued after the vote in the Senate, Forrester said that "the inconsistent application of our tax code causes confusion for businesses across our state, and the patchwork of laws that have applied to campground owners in recent years has been among the worst. By clarifying the legislature's intent on these laws," she continued, "it is my hope that the owners of the state's 117 private campgrounds will have the stability and clarity they need to operate their businesses without undue burdens from state government."
Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2014 01:47
LACONIA — Lakes Region Public Access TV station manager Denise Beauchaine was cautioned by members of the board of directors of LRPA Tuesday night over questions she had asked of Gilford selectmen at their January 22 meeting.
Beauchaine said that she had asked the questions, all of which dealt with issues being negotiated in a new contract between LRPA member towns and MetroCast Cablevision, in her capacity as a private citizen, not as station manager, and was well within her First Amendment rights to do so.
But that didn't cut it with Phil Warren, Meredith town, manger who is also that town's representative on the LRPA board and has been working with the group that is negotiating the new MetroCast contract.
''I have a problem with that. You work for this board and the public sees you in that role as our station manager,'' said Warren.
He said that the issue isn't about her free speech rights but about her responsibilities as an employee working for the board.
""We have the right to restructure and even terminate your contract,'' said Warren, who pointed out that there were misstatements that she made at the meeting, including a reference to a Gilford Cable Committee, which is inactive.
He asked her to have a discussion with the board before she made any similar public appearances and she agreed that she would.
''Why is it being done in the dark?'' Beauchaine had asked earlier about the negotiations, saying that the reason she went to the selectmen was because she wasn't able to get any answers from negotiators and was concerned over reports that that LRPA had been removed as the content provider in the new contract and that the station would no longer receive the $30,000 in funds from MetroCast it had received each year in the last contract.
Other questions she had asked of selectmen included whether or not the WLNH Children's Auction would be broadcast and how Gilford residents would be able to make video submissions to be shown on cable.
Chan Eddy, chairman of the LRPA Board of Directors, confirmed that LRPA was not named in the new contract and would no longer receive funds from MetroCast, but said other doors of opportunity were being opened up. He says the new business model being developed by LRPA will be based on corporate and business sponsorships and a fee for service opportunity for the LRPA production staffers to produce programming for other organizations which may not even appear on LRPA.
The new plan calls for each of the dozen or so member communities served in the MetroCast franchise area to operate their own education and government channels (24 and 26) while LRPA will provide public access on Channel 25 as a regional channel which will air material from citizens, organizations and groups from any community which is a member of the LRPA.
The education and government channels will air only in the communities in which their programs originate and Warren says that he suspects that most towns won't want to take on the public access responsibilities and that all of that programming will end up with LRPA.
Town-specific productions will be streamed via computer from those towns to separate nodes at the studio so that they are transmitted only within that town or city, while regional productions will be broadcast on Channel 26.
''We're all set up for our local government channel to operate and I expect the schools will do the same with education. But we're not all interested in handling public access,'' said Warren, which means that LRPA will pretty much have that area to itself.
Eddy suggested that there could well be a place for LRPA to handle production needs for the local government and educational channels in those towns which don't want to do it locally. ''Some may want to have LRPA do all of the taping and production.''
''We're going to see it evolve,'' said Eddy of the LRPA. He plans to complete the business plan he has been working on since last summer and submit to the LRPA board when it meets next month. It is anticipated that a new cable franchise agreement will take effect on July 1.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 07:44
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