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Lorentz picked to head N.H. Economic Development effort

LACONIA — Belknap Economic Development Council Executive Director Carmen Lorentz has been nominated by Governor Maggie Hassan to become the state's new director of the Division of Economic Development. The appointment was made public Thursday by State Senator Andrew Hosmer during a speech before the Laconia Rotary Club.
''I'm thrilled with the opportunity and welcome the challenges of the new position,'' said Lorentz, a Lakes Region native.
''We're very sorry to see her go. It's a loss for Belknap County but a gain for the state of New Hampshire,'' said Sean Sullivan, chairman of the board of directors for BEDC.
He said that Lorentz had provided strong leadership, notably in the areas of advanced manufacturing and workforce development through the 200 by 2020 initiative, which links students with job internship opportunities.
Sullivan said the BEDC is in the process of starting a search for her successor.''We want to continue with the strong momentum that she has provided us with.''
Lorentz lives in Gilmanton with her husband, Jonathon, and son, Julius, and has headed the BEDC since March of 2011. Prior to that she was a senior economic development specialist for the consulting firm of Carmoin Associates of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where she assisted more than 50 communities across the Northeast in economic development planning, business attraction, and downtown revitalization.
A 1995 graduate of Gilford High School, Lorentz (then, Carmen Reed) went on to study International Affairs at George Washington University. She spent several years in Washington, DC, lobbying Congress on foreign policy issues and working at an international foundation.
Lorentz focused on state and local government policy in her Master's degree program at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. She subsequently participated in New York's Public Management Institute, which afforded her the opportunity to analyze state economic development policies.
Her nomination is expected to come before the Executive Council for confirmation on January 15, and, if confirmed, she is expected to start work late this month.
The Division of Economic Development is a division of the state's Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) and is currently led by interim director Christopher Way.
Hassan had nominated Rochester Community Development Director Karen Pollard, who also served as deputy city manager in that city, to the economic development post in October but Pollard withdrew from consideration in November, electing to remain in her position in Rochester.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 January 2014 01:31

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Overheated electrical outlet that was powering space heater said cause of Gilford marina fire

GILFORD — An overheated electrical outlet that was powering a space heater was likely the source of a fire that damaged a local marina Christmas Eve.

Deputy Chief Brad Ober said yesterday that the space heated was plugged into a power strip that was connected to the electrical outlet with an extension cord. He also said three other things were plugged into the power strip but the only thing that was on at the time was the space heater.

Ober said no one had been in the building since Monday and that the space heater appeared to be the only source of heat in the room.

The fire that started in the second floor canvas room was noticed by a passerby around 4 p.m. who notified the Gilford Fire Department.

Firefighters were able to extinguish it using water they brought with them.

Ober said the owners were very fortunate that the passerby noticed the smoke when he or she did. He said the canvas in the room as well as the wall had started to burn and the whole room "was getting ready to go."

He said there was about $100,000 in damage done to the building and most of it was contained to the canvas room.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 January 2014 12:54

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Laconia man held on $5k cash bail after being charged with 2 assaults

LACONIA — A local man is being held on $5,000 cash bail after allegedly pushing his wife and then trying to enter his neighbor's apartment.

Richard Sweeney, 30, of Jewett St. is charged with two counts of simple assault and one count of criminal trespass.

According to police affidavits, Sweeney allegedly push his wife by putting his open hand on her face in the course of an argument they were having on December 28 at 8:46 p.m.

When he left his wife's apartment he allegedly went downstairs. One of the occupants of the downstairs apartment said she heard the argument and had opened her door to see what was happening.

The neighbor told police Sweeney tried to approach her door and she tried to close if before he got there but she was too late. She said Sweeney allegedly pushed the door open which struck her in her right knee.

She told police that Sweeney kept trying to push open her door and finally yelled to her brother who came and helped her. The neighbor's brother escorted Sweeney to the exterior door.

Affidavits said police spoke to Sweeney and he said he pushed his wife because she was trying to hit him. He didn't mention anything about allegedly trying to get into his neighbor's apartment.

The city prosecutor asked for cash bail because Sweeney's previous criminal activity included failing to appear in court four times, criminal mischief in 2013, simple assault in 2013, and breach of bail in 2013.

The state said Sweeney also has a criminal order of protection in which his wife is a protected party.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 January 2014 12:49

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Not much interest in Executive Council race if Kenney's appearance in Laconia is any indication

LACONIA — When Republican Joe Kenney brought what he bills as his "coffee shop campaign" to succeed the late Ray Burton as Executive Councilor in District 1 to My Coffee Shop yesterday only one voter, Cook Anderson, known to his neighbors at the Taylor Home as "Cranky Yankee," was on hand to "catch a cup of Joe."

Kenney of Wakefield, a colonel in the United States Marine Corps on the brink of retirement, is one of three Republicans competing in the primary to be held on January 21. Christopher Boothby of Meredith, a former Belknap County Commissioner, and Mark Aldrich of Lebanon, a former congressional aide and director of economic development in Claremont, complete the field. As the Republican candidate for governor in 2008, Kenney may be the most widely recognized throughout the district.

The reception reflected less on Kenney than on the challenge of catching the ear of voters celebrating the holidays in a district that sprawls across two-thirds of the land area of the state, reaches into six of its 10 counties and includes four of its 13 cites, 101 of its 221 towns and 19 of its 25 unincorporated places. Kenney recalled that when one voter asked him "are you crazy or insane?" he replied "no, I'm a United States Marine."

Casey Crane, who is managing Kenney's campaign, said that "in a lot of places we've gone they don't even know there's an election."

Kenney, who served four terms in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and three in the New Hampshire Senate, is touting his experience in state government. In the House he served on the Commerce, Labor and Executive Departments and Administration committees and chaired the Transportation Committee in the Senate, which he said familiarized him with the staff and work of most state agencies.

"I'm the guy with the state service," Kenney said, "who knows how to navigate state government for the benefit of my constituents. County experience," he continued, "doesn't prepare you for the executive council. The others will need nine months of on-the-job training, but I'll hit the ground running."

Kenney, who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, said that because he will soon be retiring from the USMC he intends to make serving as an executive councilor his full-time job, unlike the other candidates, all of whom have other occupations.

Kenney said that improving the infrastructure, especially the roads and bridges, in the northern reaches of the district would be among his highest priorities. He noted that firms have either avoided the region or relocated elsewhere for lack of adequate transportation. "Roads are my forte" he said, adding that he would seek to incorporate projects in the Ten-Year Highway Plan.

Kenney said that he would also continue Burton's legacy of seeking to ensure that the district is properly represented in state government by placing constituents on various boards and commissions.

The primary election will be held on January 21. The winner will face Democrat Mike Cryans of Hanover, who serves on the Grafton County Commission, in the general election on March 11.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 January 2014 12:26

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