Moultonborough selectmen advised not to plow private roads


MOULTONBOROUGH — No more plowing local roads. That's the advice of legal counsel to Moultonborough selectmen, at least until insurance concerns are ironed out.

Selectmen were told that Policy No. 1, which prescribes that the town will plow and sand private roads, is contrary to state law, which prohibits applying public funds to the maintenance of private roadways.  There are about 200 miles of private roads, representing more than half the roads, in the town.

According to the minutes of the meeting of the board on Feb. 16, Chairman Chris Shipp said that the attorney's opinion squares with that of the city attorney for Laconia, and that the two municipalities, together with the legal staff of the New Hampshire Municipal Association, are weighing "the possibility of seeking the creation of new legislation that may permit the use of funds for such a purpose under certain circumstances."

On learning of the opinion of legal counsel, Eric Taussig, an attorney who has followed the issue in Moultonborough closely, put nearly a dozen questions, including whether plowing and emergency services would be curtailed, to the selectboard. He received no assurance that the town would plow and sand private roads next winter and was told that if plowing and sanding were eliminated, emergency services would be provided "whoever conditions allow."

Taussig described the responses as "sparse" and "unsatisfactory." He said that that if services are withdrawn, residents and property owners could find their ability to secure mortgage financing and and property insurance affected. Likewise, if emergency services are curtailed, Taussig suggested that the assessed valuation of most waterfront property, which represents a significant share of the tax base, would be reduced.

Mayor Ed Engler of Laconia said Monday that the city attorney has been working with a group of municipal attorneys to develop a legislative solution to address the issue of private roads. There are some 40 streets in the city, stretching for 7 miles, for which there is no documentation confirming their formal acceptance as public highways, without which Primex, the city's property, casualty and liability insurance carrier, considers them private roads. By plowing and maintaining these streets, Primex warns the city is forfeiting its coverage for any property damage or personal injury arising from its presence on them. Engler said he expects the city attorney to report to city officials by April 1.

Bulldogs-Mountaineers game is rematch of last two Division III championship tilts


PLYMOUTH — Been there. Done that. Now for the rubber-match.
Wednesday night's quarterfinal game in the Division III hockey playoffs at the PSU Ice Arena will bring together two familiar rivals, both of whom have battled down to the wire and emerged as champions over the last two years.
Two years ago, Belmont-Gilford trailed Berlin-Gorham 2-1 when Caleb Drouin tied the game with only 42 seconds left. His overtime goal gave the Bulldogs a 3-2 win and their first-ever state title.
Last year the game again came down to the wire and this time it was Berlin-Gorham holding on for a 2-1 at the Verizon Arena in Manchester. Belmont-Gilford had a two-man advantage thanks to a pair of Mountaineer penalties. Plus the Bulldogs pulled their goalie for an extra skater for a six-on-three advantage with 25 seconds left in regulation.
With just seconds remaining, Dylan Treamer fired a shot that struck the far post of the Berlin-Gorham goal. The puck then bounced along the goal line. Some Bulldog players raised their arms believing they scored. Their fans and the players and coaches on the bench thought so too.
But the puck hadn't gone in just yet. It was still dancing along the red line. The Bulldogs' Ethan Baker got behind the scrum in the goal crease and had the entire net open to tap in the puck but it bounced over his stick.
What happens after is unclear because a mass of bodies in white and blue jerseys converged in the crease, knocking the net off its moorings as the buzzer went off.
Despite an appeal by then Bulldogs coach Jay Londer for a video review by officials, the ruling of no goal stood and Berlin-Gorham emerged victorious.
Fast forward to the first game of this season, with the Bulldogs now led by head coach David Saball, lost 6-2 at the Berlin arena. But the Bulldogs won 5-1 when the Mountaineers came to the Merrill Fay Arena in Laconia in late January.
Both teams finished with 14-3-1 records, tied for second place behind Kennett, which posted a 15-3 record and holds the number one seed.
Saturday night Belmont-Gilford blanked seventh-ranked Monadnock 6-0, dominating play throughout as sophomore defenseman Alex Muthersbaugh scored four goals, while Berlin-Gorham defeated Moultonborough-Inter-Lakes 4-2.
Saball said that Muthersbaugh is "a very good player. He's an offensive minded defenseman and a god puck handler. We use him both on power plays and as a penalty killer."
"We got off a slow start offensively Saturday but kept chipping away." said Saball, who stepped into the head coaching job this year after two years as Londer's assistant. He had coached the John Stark High School team for years and also been assistant at New England College in Henniker for over 30 years before moving to Alton three years ago.
He said that he expects anther closely contended game against the Mountaineers Wednesday night. "They fight very hard and very competitive and well-coached. It should be a good game which goes back and forth. If we play our game we should do well," says Saball.
Assistant Coach Jason Parent said that goalie Bailey Defoise has been very steady for the Bulldogs and that Captains James Buckley, Hunter Dupuis and Harrison Parent will need to have big games for the Bulldogs to prevail.
Parent grew up, in Berlin and played high school hockey there and is very familiar with the proud tradition of Berlin hockey.
The Bulldogs will face off at 5:30 against the Mountaineers with top-seeded Kennett taking on Somersworth-Coe-Brown at 7 p.m. Kennett defeated Pembroke-Campbell 8-2 Saturday night while Somerworth-Coe Brown defeated John Stark-Hopkinton 6-0.

Laconia Police Log 2/28-3/3

Laconia police responded to 173 calls for service between 12:36 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, and 11:13 a.m. Friday, March 3.

Calls included two reports of theft and six accidents. Arrested were:

• Matthew D. Currier, 30, of 53 Evergreens Drive, Apt. 6, Laconia, on charges of violation of a protective order.

• John Benjamin Bixby, 27, transient, on willful concealment (theft), bench warrant.

• Annette Marie Dunn, 50, of 71B Winter Street, Laconia, on a bench warrant.