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BNH CEO Primeau sounds warning on state's economy

MEREDITH — New Hampshire and the Lakes Region can no longer count on steady growth in population and the economy to take place and the state will have to reinvent and redefine the so-called New Hampshire Advantage if it is to recapture its position as a prosperous and growing state.
That was the message Mark Primeau, president and CEO of the Bank of New Hampshire, brought to the annual meeting of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce held at Church Landing here yesterday.
Primeau said that New Hampshire has had it good ever since the 1970s and that it was ''almost too good and too easy'' for a long time.
Now, faced with a declining job quality and population growth which is essentially flat, Primeau said that it will take hard work and leadership to regain the kind of growth the state has for so long taken for granted.
''Manufacturing used to be the largest employer. Now it is Walmart. Most of our new jobs have lower average wages. Manufacturing and high tech jobs pay far more than retail and service sector jobs,'' said Primeau, who pointed out that the state's economic growth lags behind all other states in New England except for Maine and that New Hampshire is still 10,000 jobs below it's 2008 peak.
He said that when he last addressed the Chamber two years ago he had ticked off a list of superlatives about the state, including the highest standard of living, lowest poverty rate, low unemployment rate, best place to raise a child and high median family income income.
''All those superlatives are still true, but N.H. has come out of a long recession in a far different place. After steady and strong growth for several decades, the game has changed and we face major challenges that we cannot avoid,'' said Primeau.
He said that income growth will be harder to achieve and that nearly all of all the state's growth will be taking place in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties, in the southern tier.
''Slower population growth, slower job growth, lower quality jobs and an aging population equals lower income growth, more underemployment and a lower overall quality of life,'' said Primeau.
He said that Belknap County and the Lakes Region face particularly difficult adjustments, along with other rural New Hampshire counties. ''We really are in many ways two states, the South, Seacoast and Upper Valley and everybody else.''
Primeau said business drives the economy and creates growth and a higher standard of living and the state's leaders ''have to make business the priority to ensure a climate for business that will ensure our long-term success.''
He said that, despite the challenges, he is optimistic that the state can regain its footing and move ahead and that will take the support of Chambers of Commerce, government leaders and policy makers, concluding his remarks by saying ''we must commit to making New Hampshire the best place to do business in our great country and regain the growth we so long took for granted.''

Last Updated on Friday, 17 January 2014 02:22

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Alleged meth lab busted across street from Northfield School

NORTHFIELD — Police arrested six people yesterday morning in a methamphetamine drug raid that triggered a 30-minute lock down of a nearby elementary school.

Union Elementary School, which sits directly across the street from the 14-unit apartment building, was locked down from 9 to 9:30 a.m., during the actual raid.

"We were prepared to evacuate the school if we had needed to," said Northfield Police Sergeant Jennifer Adams.

Arrested and charged with with one count each of conspiracy to produce methamphetamine and one count each of manufacturing methamphetamine were Jason Buckley, 36, Janell Dubriell, 25, Amanda Warner, 27, and Brian Bateman, 25, all of 6 Elm Street and Joseph Cole, 24, of Boscawen. Anthony Ottati, 23, of West Street in Tilton was charged with one felony count of criminal liability for the conduct of another.

Adams said the investigation began on December 31 when the Northfield Police received information from a concerned citizen about suspicious activity in the building. She said Tilton Police had also gotten similar reports.

She said there was also information that a child was being potentially exposed to the meth-making process. Warner has also been charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

Adams said officers from Northfield, Tilton, Franklin, Belmont, Sanbornton, the Merrimack and Belknap County Sheriffs' Offices as well as the N.H. Clandestine Drug Unit and the federal DEA conducted the raid.

Police timed the raid such that the minor child was out of the home before police entered.

Adams said no one was injured and none of the six people arrested yesterday put up any kind of resistance.

Evidence seized in the raid included items used to manufacture methamphetamine. When asked if any other drugs or weapons were seized, Adams said that to the best of her knowledge there were not.

Winnisquam Regional School District Superintendent Tammy Davis said that top level administrators were notified about the raid and knew ahead of time that the Union School campus was to be secured.

Once the raid was over, she said the district sent e-mails to building administrators and school board members telling them what happened. She said building administrators made phone calls to all of the parents of the children who were in the Union School yesterday.

Adams said the investigation continues and additional charges against the six people who arrested may be forthcoming. She said all refused bail and are scheduled to appear in the 6th Circuit Court, Franklin Division today.


Last Updated on Friday, 17 January 2014 02:18

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Boothby campaigns in Tilton as primary race enters final days

TILTON — "What we need is an advocate," declared Christopher Boothby of Meredith, who is seeking to succeed the late Ray Burton to the Executive Council in District 1, told some 40 supporters gathered at the Shalimar Resort last evening.

One of the three Republican candidates to enter the special election, Boothby faces Joe Kenney of Wakefield and Mark Aldrich of Lebanon in the primary for the GOP nomination on Tuesday, January 21. The winner will square off against Michael Cryans of Lebanon, the lone Democratic candidate, in the general election on March 11, town meeting day.

The rally capped nearly six weeks of campaigning that carried Boothby back and forth across the district that sprawls over the northern two-thirds of the state, reaches into six of its 10 counties — Coos, Carroll, Grafton, Belknap, Strafford and Merrimack — and includes four of its 13 cites — Laconia, Berlin, Claremont and Lebanon — 101 of its 221 towns and 19 of its 25 unincorporated places.

For the Republicans, mounting a primary campaign in such a large district and such a short period, interrupted by four holidays — Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and Martin Luther King Day — has posed a stiff challenge. Moreover, Boothby stressed that apart from New Hampshire's First in the Nation Presidential Primary every four years voters do not expect to go to the polls in the middle of winter.

"Given the parameters of the special election," Boothby said, "it is imperative not only to take our message to voters but also to tell people that there is an election.'' In the circumstances, he said, that the $40,000 he has spent so far in quest of a job that pays $14,341 a year was necessary.

During the past five weeks Boothby estimated he has appeared at more than 100 events, sometimes making 10 stops from one end of the district to the other in a single day. At the same time, his staff, led by Mark Laliberte and B.J. Perry, both veteran operatives, have worked to identify, contact and corral likely voters.

Boothby said he anticipates a low turnout of around 8,000 voters, leaving the victory to the candidate whose voters "come out of their houses and go to the polls." Wherever he has appeared, Boothby has asked his each of his supporters to bring another five voters to the polls on Tuesday. "We have tried to make people recognize how important it is to vote," he explained, "as well as let them know that here is a true opportunity for their vote or their spouse's vote to make the difference."

A former Belknap County Commissioner, Boothby delivered a straightforward message to his supporters — "what we need is an advocate." Pointing to the other four executive council districts, crowded against one another in the lower third of the state between the Lakes Region and Massachusetts border, he noted "they have more in common with each other than they do with District 1 and they have four councilors. We have one," he continued, "and we need to have the right one. We have to make sure it's the right one, because we only have one!"

Of the three candidates, Boothby stands closest to the center of the GOP. He has been endorsed by four Republican state senators, 12 Republican state representatives and 15 Republican officials from five counties and his contributors include many current and former officeholders as well as prominent members of the business community.

Kenney, who served in the Legislature for 14 years — eight in the House of Representatives and six in the Senate — and ran for governor in 2008, has drawn more support from the right of the GOP. Along with his legislative experience, he has touted his A+ rating from the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance and lists endorsements from Tim Carter of the Lakes Region Tea Party, Representative Jane Cormier of Alton, broadcaster Niel Young, host of "The Advocates," and "The Weirs Times."

Aldrich, has been the least active and visible of the three candidates, spending just $644 on his campaign. A former aide to U.S. Representative Bob Smith and U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey, he also has ties to social and fiscal conservatives. As a candidate, he has emphasized his experience as director of economic development for the city of Claremont.

"Vote," Boothby urged his supporters, who he thanked for their part in an aggressive campaign but warned against complaceny. "Remember," he added, echoing Burton, "we're still two votes behind."

Last Updated on Friday, 17 January 2014 02:13

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Man struck crossing S. Main

LACONIA - A local man was hit by a car while crossing South Main Street by Dunkin' Donuts Tuesday at 6:43 p.m.

Police said Mark Fecteau, 30, of Laconia  was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital by ambulance with what police believe to be non life-threatening injuries.

The car, a black 1992 Ford Escort, was driven by Joseph Spinale of Belmont, who was not injured. The car needed to be towed.

Police said it appears Fecteau was not in a cross walk and was wearing dark clothes. Laconia Police ask that pedestrians use care in crossing roads and to use sidewalks, especially during inclement weather.







Last Updated on Thursday, 16 January 2014 02:31

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