Four injured in NH snowmobile accidents


HEBRON — Four people were injured in snowmobile accidents over the weekend amid difficult trail conditions.

"Riders are warned that most trails have only recently reopened, after warm weather left very little base under the snow, making trails rough, even with the fresh snow," the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said in a news release.

A 39-year-old Windham man was in good condition in Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital on Monday, two days after being injured when he lost control of his snowmobile and hit a tree in Hebron.

Christopher Wilcox appeared to be driving too fast for conditions when his machine broke through a berm and went off a trail during the accident, officers said.

Also Saturday, Melissa Kolodziej, 44, of Hudson, was thrown off her snowmobile after missing a turn in Plymouth. She had an injury that was described as not being life threatening. Officers said she was also traveling too fast for conditions.

In the third accident, a 29-year-old man crashed on ice on Umbagog Lake in Errol.

Keith Filteau of Berlin was returning to his family's camp after getting fuel when his snowmobile hit an embankment where a bob house had been. He was thrown from his machine. He also had what was described as a non life-threatening injury. Speed and unforeseen hazards on the lake were the chief causes of the accident, officers said.

He was alone at the time of the crash, but had a flashlight that he used to signal family members who were watching for his return and were able to get help.

Finally, a Massachusetts woman was injured when her snowmobile went off a trail as she tried to avoid oncoming traffic. Her snowmobile went down a steep embankment before hitting a tree in the town of Atkins and Gilmanton Academy Grant.

Erin Kotchian, 37, of East Falmouth, was taken to Central Maine Medical Center. Calls to inquire about her condition were not immediately returned on Monday.

"The crash is still under investigation, however it appears that oncoming traffic, unreasonable speed for existing conditions and inexperience could all be factors in the crash," said Fish and Game Conservation Officer Eric Fluette.

First day of spring

03 20 Crocuses

Purple and white crocuses were blooming at Dave Milliken's Webster Street, Laconia, home on Monday. Owing to a southern exposure and dark brick foundation, the soil near his home sprouts spring's first blossoms before anywhere else. He said the flowers have self-propagated for the past 40 years. "They're about as old as I am." (Adam Drapcho/The Laconia Daily Sun)

City’s fault?

Eversource blames Laconia for jump in Weirs utilities


LACONIA — A spokesperson for Eversource has claimed that the cost of burying power lines Lakeside Avenue at The Weirs increased because the city asked the utility to complete the project March 15, not May as originally planned.

On Monday The New Hampshire Union Leader reported Kaitlyn Woods, speaking for Eversource, to say that "on January 23 we were told that the city wanted to expedite the project and complete our work by March 15. We had to get additional estimates from outside sources in order to meet the expedited timeline." She explained that Eversource originally planned to do the work itself, but after the city asked to expedite the project put the work out to bid to subcontractors.

Initially, Eversource estimated the cost of designing and constructing the project at $311,316. However, Eversource informed the city last month that the cost would not exceed $786,000, a difference of $474,684. When the City Council met last week, Wes Anderson, director of Public Works, said that after reviewing the numbers he tentatively calculated the overage was closer to $431,000, which still placed the cost of the project at more than twice the initial estimate.

City Manager Myers declined to respond directly to the statement from Eversource. He said that he and other city officials met with representatives of the utility last week "to dig into the numbers and consider other issues." He added that several outstanding questions remained and he expected more information would be forthcoming. "I was surprised to see the remarks in the newspaper when we hadn't tied up the loose ends," Myers said.

Likewise, Mayor Ed Engler said that newspaper report was "the first we've heard of this." He was especially troubled that Eversource informed the city of the cost overrun only after the project was nearly three-quarters complete. "Even more confusing," he added, is that what I took away from our last meeting was that the detailed cost estimate presented by Eversource last October was based on them contracting the work out. If that is true," he continued, "then they knew last fall they were not going to do the job themselves, that they knew from the beginning they would contract the work." He said "We weren't told that Eversource would not do the work" and wondered when the utility solicited bids for the project.

Myers said that city officials will address the issue at special meeting of the City Council, which representatives of Eversource are expected to attend, on Thursday beginning at 2 p.m.