Eddy defeats Corrigan by 7 votes for selectboard seat

GILFORD — Chan Eddy yesterday defeated Phyllis Corrigan 470-463 in a close race for a three-year term as selectman. Eddy is a member of the planning board and Corrigan a former chairman of the town Budget Committee.

Harry Bean (532), Leslie Suranyi, Jr. (489) and Norm Silber (425) won three-year seats on the budget committee over Sean Murphy (409), Scott Davis (308) and Joy Hall (290).

William Akerley (848) was unopposed for re-election to the board of fire engineers.

Voters approved an $11,898,837 operating budget, a $344,000 increase over last year, by a 694-275 vote.

Also approved was three-year collective bargaining agreement with the Public Woks Department employees which provides no increase in pay or benefits in the current fiscal year and increases of $7,502 in the second year and $7,838 in the third  year. That passed 823 -136.

Rejected by a 438-493 vote was a proposal to establish a revolving fund for the purpose of providing public educational and governmental cable television access.

$3.4M Belmont Mill renovation attracts little support

BELMONT — Voters yesterday overwhelmingly chose against spending $3,357,250 on restoring the Belmont Mill and converting it to town offices.

In an election that saw 631 people go to the polls, 467 of them voted against the mill warrant article while 164 supported it. It needed a 60-percent majority to pass because a borrowing was involved.

After doing a year of research on restoring and converting the old mill, selectmen presented their final findings to the town and voted unanimously to support the project.

The Budget Committee also voted unanimously to support the renovation and conversion.

In other election news, incumbent Selectman Ruth Mooney beat challenger George Condodemetraky by a vote of 379 votes to 230.

A petitioned warrant article to rescind the SB-2 (Official Ballot Act) form of town government failed by a vote of 157 for returning to traditional town meeting to 453 who voted against returning. The vote needed a 60-percent majority to pass.

ACLU joins defense of man arrested at Alton meeting

ALTON — The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire is joining the battle against this town and its Police department for having Jeffrey Clay arrested for two counts of disorderly conduct at a February 3 selectman's meeting.

In a letter sent to Alton Town Prosecutor Anthony Estee, ACLU Attorney and Legal Director Gilles Bissonnette said Clay's First Amendment right to free speech as well as his right to the same under the N.H. Constitution Article Part I, Article 22 was violated.

Clay is also being represented by Chichester attorneyMark Sisti and his associate Jared Bedrick.

The first charge against him is one count of disorderly conduct for refusing to comply with a lawful order given by Chief Ryan Heath to move from a public place — Alton Town Hall.

The second charge is disorderly conduct for purposing causing a breach of the peace by disrupting an Alton Board of Selectmen meeting by continuing to speak after being informed repetitively by the board that public input was closed.

Video tape of meeting shows Clay sitting at the table during the public comment section of the meeting and using a timer to ensure he didn't go over his five-minute allotted time to speak.

He told the selectmen they should resign for their "poor actions as selectmen" "poor decisions" and "continued violations of the citizens' rights here in Alton."

Heath arrested clay about four minutes into his prepared statement.

Bissonnette claims that his arrest not only violated both the U.S. and the N.H. Constitution but that the town engaged in "content-base and viewpoint discrimination" in suppressing Clay's protected political speech. He also said the town violated it own policies by having him taken from the room and arrested.

Bissonnette also said Clay's speech was not disruptive because his speech didn't prevent selectmen from continuing with their meeting.

He urged Estee to review the precedents he outlined in his argument and dismiss all of the charges against Clay. He gave Estee until Monday to provide Clay's legal team an answer.