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Municipal primary election: Engler tops poll by 3 to 1 margin

LACONIA — After finishing one-two in the three-way mayoral primary election race yesterday, Ed Engler and Kaileif Mitchell will square off the general election on Nov. 12. Engler topped the field field with 349 votes, while Mitchell came in second with 103 votes. Bob Luther trailed with 78 votes.

In the only other contested primary race, David Bownes and Richard Beaudoin will compete for the City Council seat in Ward 2, while Mark Templeton, in his first bid for office, was eliminated. Bownes polled 39 votes, Beaudoin 20 votes and Templeton 14, as a mere 73 of of the ward's 1,446 registered voters cast ballots for city councilor.

"I, like everyone else today, was disappointed by the low turnout," Engler said. "Everyone I spoke with questioned the value of the primary election and no one thought it was a good idea."

"I want to thank Bob Luther for his many years of service as a city councilor and his continued representation of the city in the New Hampshire House of Representatives," Engler continued. "I am looking forward to the campaign this fall and to some joint appearances with Mr. Mitchell in the coming weeks."

"Obviously I am encouraged to get nearly two-thirds of the vote," he said. "Very encouraged and grateful to all those who supported my candidacy."

Mitchell, a teaching assistant at Spaulding Youth Center, said, "The numbers show I have a lot of work to do, but I'm still excited. My goal was not to finish third, and I'm right where I want to be." Although he cautioned against reading too much into the low turnout, he said, "Mr. Engler is still 66-percent better (off) than I am. I need to keep getting out there and letting people know my message."

Engler, the president of the Laconia Daily Sun, carried five of the six wards by comfortable margins. He carried Ward 3, where he resides, with 91 of the 122 votes cast and captured 72 of 94 votes cast in Ward 1 while polling more than half the vote in Wards 2, 4 and 6. Mitchell ran strongest in Ward 5, where only 47 ballots were cast — the fewest of any ward — narrowing Engler's margin to six votes, 22 to 16.

Only 548 of the 9,619 registered voters, or 6 percent, in the city cast ballots. Curiously the most votes were cast in an uncontested primary in Ward 6, where both incumbent Armand Bolduc, bidding for his 16th consecutive term on the council, and challenger Tony Felch, who lost his first bid to oust Bolduc in 2011, are both well known among voters. Together they polled 124 votes of the 126 ballots, four more than the 122 cast in Ward 3. Bolduc topped Felch by 84 to 40.

"I've got work to do," Felch said. "Signs will up in October and I'll be going door-to-door, getting name recognition."

"You can't sit around and do nothing," said Bolduc. "I'll be getting out and talking to people, putting up signs."

Incumbent city councilors Ava Doyle in Ward 1, Henry Lipman in Ward 3, Brenda Baer in Ward 4 and Bob Hamel in Ward 5 all are unopposed.

In the eight primary elections between 1997 and 2011 voter turnout has ranged from a high of 18 percent in 2001 to a low of 3 percent in 2011, with the average being 9 percent. The cost of this year's primary election was approximately $10,000, or $18.25 per vote.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 03:19

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Diesel leak quickly contained at Belmont Elementary School yesterday

BELMONT — Fire and Shaker Regional School District officials said a diesel leak from a school bus temporarily created a hazardous situation at the elementary school at 12:52 p.m. yesterday

According to Lt. Fred Greene and Superintendent Maria Dreyer, the spill came from a broken fuel line on a school bus, but fire officials were able to contain the fuel before any of it ran into the storm drains.

Dreyer said none of the children were in any danger, and the hazardous material drills that the school, the Fire Department and the Police Department routinely practice really paid off yesterday.

"The fire department was very supportive and the state (Department of Environmental Services) was right there," Dreyer said, adding the police directed traffic.

She said the spill was completely contained by fire officials.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 02:09

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Bob Kingsbury dies at 87; always a gentleman, he ran for state & local office 18 times and only won once

LACONIA — When, Bob Kingsbury was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 2010 after running for governor, congressman, mayor, city councilor, state senator and state representative 16 times without success, he explained his both his earlier defeats and ultimate victory with a characteristic twinkle in his eye and wry smile on his lips by remarking, "I give credit to the voters for having good judgment."

Kingsbury passed away last weekend at the Maple Leaf Health Care Center in Manchester at the age of 87, following a brief illness.

While Kingsbury will be remembered for his many forays into politics — sometimes as a Republican and sometimes as a Libertarian but always with a very conservative position — he took greatest pride in his military service, which stretched over nearly three decades. Drafted in 1944 soon after finishing at Cleveland East Technical High School, he served as a rifleman in the Third Army commanded General George S. Patton. He fought in the Battle of Bulge as well as subsequent drive across Germany, earning a Purple Heart.

"My buddy and I were the only ones in our squad to survive," he recalled. "Most only lasted a day."

Discharged as a private first class, Kingsbury enrolled at the University of Maryland, graduating shortly after the outbreak of the Korean Conflict. He noted that his graduating class included a number of second lieutenants, commissioned after completing the Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program, who he doubted were prepared to lead men in combat."I knew I could do a better job," he said, "so I re-enlisted and went to officer candidate school." Although he quickly earned command of an infantry company, he was never posted to Korea, but remained in the reserve. In 1979, he retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

As a civilian, Kingsbury worked in sales and marketing, for B.F. Goodrich, the tire manufacturer, the Ethyl Corporation, a petroleum company and the American Collloid Company, a distributor of clay.

A exemplary marksman throughout his military career, Kingsbury said that he became interested in politics in 1962 by a proposal to replace the 30 caliber military rifle with a 22-caliber weapon. "It was haywire," he said.

Prior to his election, Kingsbury ran as Libertarian, but eventually left the party when he believed the national leadership was seeking to "dominate and control" the local organization. "Offically," he said, "I was always a Republican. In order to vote you must register as either a Republican or a Democrat. You can't register as a Libertarian." s

Meanwhile, he was active in the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers and Gun Owners of New Hampshire as well as a longtime member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and John Birch Society.

After losing his seat in the House in 2012, Kingsbury pursued his suspicions of voter fraud by personally writing, addressing and mailing letters to the 1,395 voters who registered of Election Day along with another 2,700 registered voters in the city. When 175 were returned as "undeliverable, " he conceded that the numbers would not have changed the outcome of the election. But, he claimed that for $2,000 in the cost of stationary, postage and copies of the checklist, to say nothing of his time and effort, "what I have done is to get it recorded that there is voter fraud."

A graveside committal with military honors will be held today at 10:30 a.m. at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetary in Boscawen, where Kingsbury will be buried.

Services will be held on Wednesday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Laconia Ward (1242 Old North Main Street) at 11 a.m.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 03:54

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Gilford Police investigating thefts from vehicles parked at trail head

GILFORD — Police are looking for a man in connection to a string of thefts from vehicles parked in the lot for Lockes Hill Trail. The man, whom police are seeking for questioning, is described as white, in his late 20s or early 30s, tattooed on both of his arms and driving a dark blue Toyota Camry.

Over the past two weeks, according to police, nine incidents have been reported of thefts from vehicles parked in the Lockes Hill Trail lot. Several of the vehicles had been vandalized in order to gain entry. Police urge anyone parking in that are to not leave valuables in their vehicle and to report suspicious activity to police.

Anyone with information regarding these thefts is asked to contact Officer Adam VanSteensburg at (603) 527-4737.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 02:28

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