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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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Gilford police chief on paid administrative leave

GILFORD — Town officials are being tight-lipped about why Police Chief Kevin Keenan is on paid administrative leave.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said yesterday that Keenan, who has been chief for the past two years, was placed on leave after a discussion held in a non-public session. He declined to say when the non-public meeting was held. Keenan has been on leave since Aug. 29

When asked yesterday if anyone else in the Gilford Police Department was on administrative leave, Dunn said, "That's a good question. Not at the moment."

When asked if Keenan still has his department-issued car, Dunn said, "All of the municipal vehicles are available for the use of on-duty personnel." Dunn said he wouldn't comment on whether Keenan still had his department-issued badge and gun.

Keenan earns $83,053 annually, Dunn said.

Keenan was in uniform and at the most recent selectmen's meeting on Aug. 28.

Selectmen met in non-public session on Aug. 28 from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m. when they convened the regular portion of the meeting. After the regular meeting, selectmen re-entered a non-public session that draft minutes say ended at 8:40 p.m. Reasons for the non-public session were given as protecting the reputation of someone other than a board member and consideration of the purchase, sale or lease of real estate.

Minutes of both non-public sessions were sealed by a unanimous vote of the board.

Dunn said Keenan became a Gilford Police Officer on Nov. 24, 1994, and was named chief on Oct. 2, 2011. Prior to joining the Gilford Police, Keenan was a N.H. Marine Patrol Officer.

Dunn said yesterday that Lt. James Leach will be acting chief in Keenan's absence.

Dunn said he cannot comment on whether or not there are any investigations regarding Keenan or how long Keenan will be on paid administrative leave.

Attempts to reach Keenan were unsuccessful.

Selectmen Chairman Kevin Hayes was unavailable for comment and Selectman Gus Benavides didn't return the Sun's phone calls. Selectman John T. O'Brien declined to comment.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 01:56

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No world record for paddlers, but lots of smiles

LACONIA — An attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the largest "raft" of canoes and kayaks fell far short of the goal of 2,100 as only 300 showed up for Saturday's LakeFest at Weirs Beach.
But organizers of the event from the N.H. Lakes organization were pleased nonetheless and said that the organization plans to hold similar events in the future as part of its educational and outreach mission to protect the state's lakes.
Martha Lovejoy, member service representative for N.H. Lakes, said ''the response was amazing and there was great energy at this year's LakeFest. We've taken it from being an indoors convention type of gathering to one that was family-friendly and involved different generations of people vested in our lakes.''
''We learned a lot about what we need to do by holding the event. We're regrouping and assessing what we'll do next. We don't want to lose the energy we saw Saturday.''
She said 380 people registered in all and that a count taken on Saturday showed a little over 300 canoes and kayaks in the water.
One person who came from the farthest away was Tom Suppan of Manassas, Virginia, who was visiting his daughter, Amber, and his son-in-law Dave Cannon of Manchester.
Suppan brought along his hand-made cedar kayak, which he says it took him 350 hours to build and which he was headed to Maine with for a week of kayaking on the Androscoggin River.
''They heard about the attempt to break the record on NPR (National Public Radio) and we decided that it was a good event to get involved with,'' said Suppan, who works with the U.S. Treasury Department and is a relative of former Boston, Pittsburgh and St. Louis pitcher Jeff Suppan.
Both Cannon, who is a mechanical engineer who works for DEKA Research in Manchester, and his wife, who is a medical illustrator, also brought along kayaks and were eager to get out onto the lake and meet others who were taking part.
''It looks like a fun event and we've got a nice day for it,'' said Cannon.
Among those taking part were Denise Byrne of Loudon and her husband, Rich. She recently won a Guide 147 canoe from Old Town Canoes and Kayaks and Irwin Marine as part of a LakeFest promotion to encourage people to show up at Saturday's event.
Also there was Kathleen Zuchowski of Auburn, who kayaks frequently on Lake Masabbesic, where she says kayakers aren't permitted to even step into the lake, which serves as the water supply for the city of Manchester.
''I'm not really here because of the attempt to set a record. I think it is so important that we protect our lakes. This is a great fundraiser and that's what enticed me to be here.''
Another participant was Scott Kimball of Auburn, a retired art teacher who says that one of major problems he sees for that state of New Hampshire and Lake Winnipesaukee in particular is the lack of public access to the lake.
''My grandparents had a cottage in the late 1930s at Lee's Mills in Moultonborough. The lake has changed so much since then. We couldn't afford to keep it and it was bought and now there's a much bigger home there.'' says Kimball.
He recalls that when he was a kid there was a family campground on the lake nearby where there were 300 camp sites, used mostly by New Hampshire residents, which was also sold and now there are six large homes there and no more access for the public.
''We've privatized the lake. There's hardly any access for New Hampshire residents any more. We have only one small state park on Winnipesaukee. That's a shame. I'm so disappointed about where the lake went and appalled by the lack of access and the state's Tea Party way of doing things,'' said Kimball.
He said that he supports the mission of NH Lakes in trying to prevent the spread of invasive aquatic species but thinks that water milfoil is here to stay.
''My brother did research on milfoil in the 1970s for the Appalachian Mountain Club, when it was just establishing itself in the state. It's got worse since then and there's no way we're ever going to eradicate it. The best we can do is just react to try and control it wherever we can, knowing that it's going to reestablish itself,'' said Kimball.


Tom Suppan of Manassas, Virginia, was among the 300 kayakers and canoeists who took part in the Hands Across the Water event at LakeFest Saturday morning at Weirs Beach. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 04:07

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