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AAA members rate repair service at Irwin Auto higher than any other dealership in Northern New England

LACONIA — The Irwin Automotive Group was presented with the Auto Repair Facility of the Year Award Thursday by AAA of Northern New England for having achieved a 98.6 percent customer satisfaction rating for 2013.
It was the first time Irwin has won the award and prompted Chris Irwin, vice president of the company, to say, ''We always go above and beyond to give the best possible service to our customers. The service departments throughout the Irwin Automotive Group have made a tremendous accomplishment and their hard work is definitely paying off with this great award.''
Tom Giasson, manager of AAA Northern New England Approved Auto Programs, congratulated Irwin and his entire staff. ''This award recognizes the best of the best. Finishing number one is no easy task and scoring a 98.6 percent overall rating for a whole year is a remarkable achievement.''
Christopher Leone of AAA's Northern New England office in Bow, said that AAA collects the data from customer surveys and that Irwin Ford and Toyota scored the highest AAA rating among all AAA approved new car dealers in New Hampshire.
Leone presented the award to Ron O'Connor Jr., service manager for the Irwin Automotive Group, and 20 of the members of the service department who gathered outside the dealership for a group photo.
In celebration of the award, a pizza party was held at the dealership Thursday at noon for the staff at Irwin Automotive.

Irwin Motors was honored by AAA of Northern New England as the Auto Repair Facility of the Year after achieving a 98.6 customer satisfaction rate for 2013. Shown above are Front Row: Chris Leone (Automotive Specialist AAA) and Ron O'Connor, Jr. (Service Manager - Irwin Auto Group); Second Row (left to right); Charlie Gatanti, Kevin Fitzgerald, Mike Adair, Evan Bleakney, Tim Sargent, Travis Houghtaling, Matt Currier, Third Row (left to right); Ed Kelley (Assistant Service Manager - Irwin Auto Group), Mike Hayes, Jason Foss, Jeff Peterson, Jeremy Brown, Matt Rhoades, Sam Grad, Don Best and Steve Richmond, Back Row (left to right); Mike Wood, Myles Sennott, Wayne Thayer, Ray Dow. Other members of the auto repair team not in the photo include Ken Brace, Wayne Uhlenberg, Jason Coe, Brad Linder, Lloyd Miles, Gary Stohl, Carolynn Paquet, Dick Weber, Cynthia McGinley, Gary Kenneson, Chris Otte, Francis Horne, Josh Brough, Sean Donahoe, Mike Fluery, Mike Wheeler, Dominic Biello, David Rugg and Steve Buchanan. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Friday, 27 June 2014 12:24

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Man who survived heroin overdose in jail for alleged violation of bail terms

LACONIA — A Belmont man who overdosed on heroin and nearly died on May 7 is now being held without bail in the Belknap County House of Corrections after not complying with the original terms of his release.

Judge James O'Neill revoked the bail of Patrick Stitt, 40, of Middle Route after his case manager at Belknap County Restorative Justice Program reported that he had failed to report for a mandatory check in on May 19 and had admitted to using heroin on either May 24 or May 25.

Asst. Belknap County Attorney Adam Wood requests Stitt's bail be revoked because he "is unlikely to abide by any condition or combination of conditions of release."

Stitt was charged by Belmont Police with one count of possession of heroin after they responded with the fire department to the home he shares with his mother and his girlfriend.

EMTs found him unresponsive and suffering from breathing difficulties. After administering NARCAN, Stitt was able to walk to the ambulance.

When police went to the hospital to arrest him, they learned he had walked away from the emergency room. A Belmont Police sergeant found him walking along Route 107.

After appearing in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division the next morning, Judge Jim Carroll ordered him to be held on $2,000 cash bail and given a set of conditions that included no drugs or alcohol should he post the bail.

His bail review hearing is scheduled for bail review June 30 in the Belknap County Superior Court.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 June 2014 12:14

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Charges stem from June 2013 accident

BELMONT — The driver of an SUV that allegedly cross the center line on Route 106 and crashed into a passenger vehicle on June 27, 2013 has been charged with two counts of vehicular assault.

Police affidavits said Aaron Downing, 29, of 38 Concord St. was in the oncoming lane when the two vehicles collided at 7:12 a.m. Rte. 106 was closed for eight hours while members of the Belknap Regional Accident Investigative Team investigated.

Downing was charged one day shy of the first anniversary of the crash. He was arraigned by video from Merrimack County House of Corrections, where he is serving a sentence for an unrelated incident.

Police affidavits said two witnesses told police that Downing was turning onto Rte. 106 headed north when his car swerved entirely into the southbound lane.

"I saw Aaron come around the corner fast and he swerved into her lane and hit her. She wasn't at fault," police report one eyewitness telling them.

The force of the crash caused both vehicles to land entirely in the northbound lane. When police arrived the female victim was in trapped in her car and Downing was sitting on top of his.

Firefighters had to cut off the top of the woman's car to free her. She was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital and then flown to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon for treatment of life-threatening injuries.

Affidavits said she suffered liver damage, a concussion, broken ribs with damage to her right lung, a broken wrist, finger, and two broken femurs.

Affidavits said Downing's blood was seized and tested at LRGH and tested by the N.H. State Police Toxicology Lab, where they determined it contained benzoyecgonine, morphine, methadone, cocaine, opiates, and traces of codeine.

Each count represents a different theory of the alleged crime. The first contends Downing failed to maintain lane control while the second contends he had consumed illegal drugs.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 June 2014 11:57

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Bolduc Park course said to be favorite of young campers in traveling golf program

GILFORD — Ted Foster has been operating a junior golf camp in the Manchester area for 21 years and bringing those young golfers to Bolduc Park on the Laconia-Gilford town line ever since the second year of the program
''It's the favorite course of our campers and the best par three golf course in the state,'' says Foster, whose young golfers play three different par 3 golf courses throughout New Hampshire each week and are at Bolduc Park every Wednesday and Friday.
The nine-hole course, with holes 85 to 140 yards long, is operated by the non-profit Bolduc Park Association and has been providing a unique and relaxing setting for local golfers, many of them juniors who are taught by golfing instructor Randy Annis, who is also the president of Laconia Country Club.
Bob Bolduc, owner of Piche's Ski Shop opened the park to the public in the 1990s and has high praise for the volunteers, like grounds superintendent Alan Hopkins, who keep the course and its greens in immaculate condition.
Foster says that he has 14 junior instructors in his program, all of them junior golfers who attended Foster's Golf Camp, and that many of the state's top golfers at one time or another attended the golf camp he runs.
Among those golfers who learned the game through Foster's Golf Camp is 14-year-old Lauren Thibodeau of Hampstead, who has won the New Hampshire Junior Golf Tournament women's championship for the last three years and will be competing in the New Hampshire Women's State Amateur event.
Foster predicts that she will win that championship this year, which would make her the youngest to ever win the title. ''She's playing on her home course at Windham Country Club and that should be an advantage for her.''
Another young golfer who has taken part in the Foster's Camp is 13-year-old Michelle Loyer of Gilford, who is a volunteer instructor in the junior Golf League at Bolduc Park and will be taking part in its annual tournament in August.
Foster says that campers ride to and from the Lakes Region in a air-conditioned bus with state of the art surround sound and watch instructional videos on the rides. On Wednesday afternoons, after the morning lessons, they go to Weirs Beach and on Friday afternoons go to Funspot for video game fun and an awards ceremony.

Foster's Golf Camp owners Susan and Ted Foster were at Bolduc Park on the Laconia-Gilford town Friday along with Ann Marie and Gwenny Labbe and Lily Madore and campers from the Manchester area who were learning to play golf at the park. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Friday, 27 June 2014 11:53

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