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At City Council, Laconia firefighters discuss overtime, MRI report and morale

LACONIA — Fire Chief Ken Erickson told the City Council last night that soon after receiving a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant of $642,028 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and adding four firefighters, overtime hours during the July dropped by 16 percent.

However, Erickson cautioned that since the Laconia Professional Firefighters entered a new collective bargaining agreement, compensation has increased. "The amount of overtime has fallen, but the cost of overtime has risen," he said. At the same time, time lost to injuries also decreased. Erickson said there were 357 calls for service in July, nearly half of them back-to-back, but with the additional personnel firefighters recalled to duty only once, compared to 16 times during the same period a year ago.

Captain Kirk Beattie offered the council an outline of the steps the department has taken in response to the recommendations of Municipal Resources Inc. of Meredith, which presented its report on on its report on the department's organization and operations in March. He stressed that the firefighters themselves have taken "ownership" of the report and have begun to address its recommendations.

Beattie said that one of the most important initiatives is the reassessment of the department's core mission, in particular the future of the dive team. "This is one of the big issues," he said. Standard operating procedures are in the process of being rewritten, personnel are being trained to perform routine fire inspections and the Health and Safety Committee has been revived under the direction of Deputy Chief Deb Pendergast. With nine firefighters with fewer than two years and 16 with fewer than five years with the department, the training regimen has been strengthened under the supervision of shift officers, Beattie said.

Beattie acknowledged that the report questioned morale in the department, especially when negotiations with the city over a new collective bargaining agreement were at impasse. "Morale," he said, "is subjective" while conceding that morale improved with the ratification of the new contract. At the same time, he emphasized that the department averaged only four sick days a year per firefighter, which he took to signal good morale. "If morale wasn't good, they wouldn't be coming to work every day and doing a good job," Beattie said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 August 2013 03:04

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Leo Fraser, former State Senator, dies

CONCORD — Leo Fraser, who represented Laconia in the New Hampshire Senate from 1991 until 2002, passed away at the age of 86 on Friday, Aug. 9.

Born in Boston in 1926, Fraser graduated from the High School of Commerce and Northeastern College before earning his law degree at the New England School of Law. He served in the Marine Corps between 1944 and 1946 and was stationed in the Far East in the aftermath of World War II.

Returning to Boston, Fraser went to work in the insurance industry as a claims adjuster at Gordon Boyd & Company. In 1970, Fraser, his wife Susan and growing family moved to New Hampshire, where he served as Insurance Commissioner until 1976, when he formed Fraser Insurance Services, a claims business still owned and operated by the family on Green Street in Concord.

The Frasers settled in Pittsfield where he served as town moderator and selectman before representing the town as a Republican member of the New Hampshire of Representatives for four terms. As a member and chairman of the House Commerce Committee he played a major role in the overhaul of banking regulation during the 1980s.

Elected to the New Hampshire Senate in the midst of a severe recession, Fraser lent his knowledge and experience of the financial services industry to a series of economic development initiatives pursued by the Senate. When Gov. Jeanne Shaheen chose not to close the Lakes Region Facility (prison) in Laconia as scheduled, Fraser, together with city officials, chiefly then-Mayor Matt Lahey and City Manager Dan McKeever, mounted a determined effort to secure compensation for the city, which culminated in the creation of the Robbie Mills Sports Complex on state land leased for 99 years at a $1 a year.

Fraser was predeceased by Susan, his wife of 48 years, in 1998 and is survived by 10 children, including his son, Mark of Laconia, 20 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and two sisters.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 August 2013 02:14

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Woman taken to LRGH after boat crash in Meredith

MEREDITH – A Bay State woman was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital for evaluation after she was injured in a boat in which she was a passenger at 11:51 a.m. Saturday.

State Marine Patrol investigators said Roger Delisle, 49, of Leominster, Mass., was driving a 21-foot Chapparal from Bear Island. Investigators said he was in a no-wake area but was already on plane.

A teenager was following him on a Sea Doo ski craft. When Delisle suddenly stopped his boat, the two crafts collided.

Delisle's passenger, Lori Delisle, was seated in the back of the Chapparal and was taken to the hospital for possible injuries.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 August 2013 02:00

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AG determines Youssef violated state election law

CONCORD — The state Attorney General's Office has determined that unsuccessful state Senate Republican candidate Josh Youssef of Laconia violated the Provisions for the Purity of Elections during his campaign last year by creating a blog under the name of his ex-wife's attorney.

Stephen LaBonte from the Civil Bureau of the A.G.'s Office ordered Youssef to cease and desist operating the edmoscablog.com or face possible criminal charges.

"Given the similar website design and layout it appears as though if someone had read "'edmoscablog.com'" they could have reasonably thought the blog was written by Ed Mosca.

"The deceptive nature of your blog could have easily misled viewers, in violation of RSA 666.6," LaBonte wrote.

Mosca represented Youssef's wife during their acrimonious divorce — parts of which played out in public after Youssef announced his candidacy for the seat in the newly redistricted Senate District 7. At the time, Mosca was also an attorney who was representing former House Speaker Bill O'Brien.

Youssef, of Laconia, won in a primary race against Bill Grimm, of Franklin, but lost in the general election to Democrat Andrew Hosmer, also of Laconia.

In a ruling issued Aug. 6, LaBonte said investigators determined the fake blog was purchased from GoDaddy and had the same billing address as Same Day Computer – Youssef's business. The investigator reported to LaBonte that when he called the telephone number listed on the GoDaddy purchase he was able to reach Youssef. Mosca filed his complaint in February, 2012 — three months after Hosmer beat Youssef 15,573 to 10,768.

Investigators said the website was created on Sept. 6, 2012 and expires on Sept. 6, 2013.

RSA 666.6 is a section in election law statutes that refers to illegal influence in elections and prohibits falsely representing someone else for the purpose of influencing an election.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 August 2013 12:38

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