Gilford needs to be replace old stone culvert under Potter Hill Rd.

GILFORD — Selectmen agreed last night by consensus to replace a failing culvert under Potter Hill Road before it collapses entirely.

Public Works Director Peter Nourse said that during a rain storm on August 24, sink holes developed around the culvert area. Town employees placed cones over the sinkholes and Nourse had the road posted to a 3-ton maximum.

Nourse said further examination showed that the culvert is constructed of very large stones and nearly all of the chinking that was between the stones has eroded. He said the culvert allows water from an unnamed stream from Mount Rowe to pass to Gunstock Brook.

He said his plans are to use about $100,000 from a balance in the Highway Department paving line to install a precast concrete culvert with a closed bottom that will have similar water capacity.

Selectmen discussed two options for paying for the repair they all agree is necessary. The first was re-purposing the money from the paving surplus or taking funds from the capital reserve fund set aside for bridges.

Nourse said the state department of transportation defines a bridge as a span of 10-feet by 10-feet or greater and that the Potter Hill Road culvert is 4-feet by 4-feet and it doesn't qualify as a bridge.

He noted that the $400,000 in the bridge capital reserve fund will be needed for a red-listed bridge repair on Old Lake Shore Road that will be getting some state matching funds in a few years.

Nourse said he is working with the state Department of Environmental Resources for a plan that will be as minimally invasive as possible. He added that the Division of Historical Resources said there was nothing of historical value in the area around the culvert.

After discussion the options, selectmen decided to take the money from the paving fund rather than the bridge capital account.

In other business, selectmen voted to take a $41,360 fee for design engineering from the construction budget of the new police station and pay for it from the administrative contracted services line. Town Administrator Scott Dunn said engineering services were never supposed to come from the construction budget.

Selectmen also voted to accept a change order of $5,782 to pay for wiring in the police station fire alarm and fire hydrant systems. Dunn noted that when the engineers designed the plan, those rules were not mandated by the state but now they are.

With the most recent changes and the removal of the design engineering fees, Dunn said there is $451 left unencumbered in the construction budget.

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Sen. Forrester confirms national group has asked her to run for governor

LACONIA — State Senator Jeanie Forrester, a Republican from Meredith who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, yesterday confirmed that some time ago she was asked to consider running for governor by representatives of the Republican Governors Association, but quickly added "right now I am focused on the state budget and not thinking about campaigning for governor."

WMUR-TV reported Forrester's possible candidacy yesterday, the day after Chris Sununu of Newfields, the son of former governor John H. Sununu who is serving his second term as an executive councilor, became the first Republican to announce his candidacy for governor. Forrester served on the staff of Governor Sununu in the 1980s.

"I have been asked," Forrester repeated, explaining that "it was during a conversation that took places months ago. Of course, I'm flattered to have been asked," she continued, "especially by the Republican Governors Association, But, with the budget situation we are facing, it is truly a distraction."

"I'm not going to say no," Forrester said, "but, I'm not going to say yes. I'm just not going to think about it. It's too early in the process." She said that she will make her decision once the stalemate arising from Governor Maggie Hassan's veto of the 2016-2017 state budget is resolved.

Two of Forrester's Senate colleagues, Chuck Morse of Salem, the president of the Senate, and Jeb Bradley of Wolfeboro, the Senate majority leader, are often mentioned as possible Republican candidates for governor. Representative Frank Edelblut of Wilton, the chief executive officer of Control Solutions International, a risk management consultancy who is serving his first term in the House of Representatives, is also weighing a bid for the Republican nomination for governor.

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Pilot had gone down in same aircraft before, last year in Concord

LACONIA — A representative from the National Transportation Safety Bureau confirmed yesterday that the man who was killed in a crash of his "trike" aircraft had crashed the same aircraft in Concord in April of last year.

A report completed on July 9, 2014 said William R. Panuski, 69, who the NTSB classified as a student pilot, was landing at Concord Airport on August 20, 2014 when he realized that his Evolution REVO was to the right of the center line of the landing strip.

The REVO is a light aircraft with a fixed wing below which hangs a small pod where the pilot sits.

Panuski told investigators that he tried to reposition the REVO to the left but because of a crosswind he corrected more to the left than he needed. He said when he finally centered the aircraft, it was aligned with the left side of the runway and he was about 25-feet from the ground.

He said he discontinued his landing and initiated a go-around maneuver, however the plane "dropped 12 to 15 feet," hit the ground and the nose gear — or front wheel of the trike landing assembly — collapsed before coming to rest on the runway.

The NTSB reported substantial damage to both wings and Panuski reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that precluded normal operations. Presumably he had the REVO repaired because the serial number for both crashes is the same.

Panuski died this weekend after he crashed the Evolution REVO into the top of a rock wall on 86 Lucerne Avenue and landed in the property owner's back yard. He was extricated and transported by ambulance by the Laconia Fire Department to the former St. Helena Church and airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.

Multiple witnesses said they saw the REVO flying very low over the Weirs Channel heading initially toward Paugus Bay. They said the craft banked sharply to the left, hit the top part of the brick wall and came to a stop on the lawn.

The NTSB is just beginning its investigation.

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