Gilford asks New Castle to consider giving fire boat to them


GILFORD — In the wake of learning that the Portsmouth fire boat will be going to New Castle rather than Gilford, Selectmen's Chairman Richard Grenier went to New Castle's most recent meeting.

His goal, he told his own board last week, is to asked the New Castle Board of Selectmen to consider Gilford should the fire boat not work out for them.

Grenier said he was very well received by the board, which was having a public hearing that evening. He also reported there were a few people in attendance who were not in favor of getting the fire boat.

For a brief time in late April and in early May, it looked as though the fire boat was coming to Gilford. Purchased by Portsmouth using a Homeland Security Grant for $353,000 in 2006, the Portsmouth Fire Department determined that the $15,000 to $20,000 a year to maintain the boat, coupled with the costs of personnel who can navigate it, did not make financial sense for the department. It was rarely used.

Gilford Fire Chief Steve Carrier said he spoke with the Portsmouth Fire Chief Steve Achilles, and told Achilles that if they were giving the boat away, it would be a valuable asset for Gilford as it would be used in lake water, thereby eliminating much of the cost of annual maintenance forced by salt water use. Portsmouth Fire Commissioners originally agreed with Achilles, and Gilford selectmen voted to accept the boat. At the last minute, a movement by some seacoast towns, primarily New Castle, led the Portsmouth City Council to reconsider Gilford in favor of that community.

Grenier said much of the New Castle discussion centered on the Tarbell Fire – the fire on Jan. 23 that leveled the former home of the late seacoast impressionist artist Edmund Tarbell. The home, which had been divided into three apartments, was considered one of the more historic homes in the small community.

Built in 1845, Fosters Daily Democrat reported that Tarbell purchased the home in 1905 and lived there with his family until he died in 1938.

According to Seacoast Online, the fire burned for 12 hours and was fought by firefighters from about 15 coastal towns, including some in Maine. One of the biggest problems firefighters had with the blaze was a lack of water and high winds.

It reported that one of the hydrants near the home was out of order and the since the tide was going out, the water levels in the Piscataqua River were too low to draft water. News articles mentioned eight tankers from different communities shuttled water to the fire.

In the wake of the fire, according to news articles at the time, New Castle voters created a committee to study water availability as it relates to firefighting. The committee supported the acquisition of the fire boat.

At a recent board meeting, Seacoast Online reported that New Castle will use the boat as a backup piece of equipment.

Last week, Grenier said he would also attend a New Castle selectmen's meeting around the time they are preparing the 2017 budget to see if the seaside communities still want it.

Filing period closes with empty slots on ballot


CONCORD — When the period for filing candidacies for the general election closed last week, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats had filed a full slate of candidates for the 18 seats in the New Hampshire House of Representatives elected in Belknap County.

The 18 seats are spread among nine districts in the county. In a clean sweep, Republicans won all 18 seats in 2014 and nine of the incumbents are seeking re-election. But, the GOP left one slot on the ballot in District 5 and another in District 6 empty. while the Democrats failed to field a full slate of candidates in Districts 2, 5, 6 and 8.

In District 1, the towns of New Hampton and Center Harbor, there will be a rematch for the one seat between incumbent Republican Valerie Fraser and Democrat Ruth Gulick, both of New Hampton. In 2014, Gulick lost the seat to Fraser by a vote of 738 to 688.

In District 2, where four representatives are elected from the towns of Gilford and Meredith, two incumbent Republicans, Glen Aldrich of Gilford and Herb Vadney of Meredith, are joined on the GOP ticket by newcomers Norm Silber of Gilford and Mark Abear of Meredith. They will be challenged by three Democrats, all from Gilford, Lisa DiMartino, Dorothy Piquado and Johan Anderson.

In District 3, which elects four representatives from the city of Laconia, incumbent Republicans Don Flanders, Frank Tilton and Peter Spanos have been joined on the GOP ticket by Jim McCoole. Five Democrats — Tom Dawson, Tony Felch, David Huot, Liz Merry and Charlie St. Clair — will vie for the four slots on the general ballot in a primary election in September.

In District 4, the towns of Sanbornton and Tilton, three Republicans, incumbent Dennis Fields as well as John Vorel and Richard Brothers — all from Sanbornton — have filed for the two slots on the general election ballot with the nominees to be chose by the primary election in September. The two Democratic candidates are Ian Raymond of Sanbornton and Rich Burke of Tilton.

In District 5, the towns of Gilmanton and Alton where two representatives are elected, one candidate from each party has filed for the election — Republican Michael Mahoney and Democrat Elizabeth Abbott — both from Gilmanton.

In District 6, the town of Belmont, with two seats, John Plumer has filed as a Republican and Diane Lacey, former president of the State Employees Association, has filed as a Democrat.

In District 7, the town of Barnstead, two Republicans will contest the nomination for the lone seat in a primary election, Former representative Elaine Swinford and Barbara Comtois, the wife of the incumbent Guy Comtois.

In District 8, the towns of Alton, Barnstead and Gilmanton, Republican Ray Howard of Alton, the incumbent, is the only candidate to file for the one seat.

In District 9, the city of Laconia and town of Belmont where one representative is elected, incumbent Republican Robert Fisher of Laconia will be challenged by Democrat Beth Arsenault.

Both parties have fielded a full slate of candidates for other state offices.

The contest for the Executive Council seat in District 1 will be a rematch between the incumbent Republican Joe Kenney of Wakefield and Democrat Michael Cryans of Lebanon. In 2014, Kenney topped Cryans by a vote 49,260 to 47,798.

In Senate District 2, two Republicans, Brian Gallagher of Sanbornton and Bob Guida of Warren will face off in a primary election in September to determine who will run against Charles Chandler of Warren, the lone Democrat to file for the seat, in the general election.

In Senate District 7 incumbent Democrat Andrew Hosmer of Laconia will be challenged by Republican Harold French of Franklin.

Republicans have fielded a full slate of candidates for Belknap County offices, all of which are held by Republicans while the Democrats are contesting only one seat on the county commission.

Former Laconia Police Chief Mike Moyer and deputy county sheriff William Wright will vie to succeed County Sheriff Craig Wiggin. Incumbent Republican Melissa Countway Gulbrandsen is seeking re-election as county attorney and is joined on the GOP ticket by Michael Muzzey, the incumbent county treasurer and incumbent register of deeds Judy McGrath.

Two Republicans, both from Gilmanton, incumbent Dick Burchell and Glen Waring, former director of finance for the county, will contest the nomination for county commissioner in District 2, the towns of Barnstead, Belmont, Gilmanton and Tilton. The lone Democrat to file for county office, Cherie Willoughby of Belmont, will face the winner of the GOP primary in the general election.

Two Republicans, both from Alton, the incumbent Hunter Taylor and the challenger Jonathan Smolin, will vie for the nomination for county commissioner in Distrct 3, the towns of Alton, Gilford, Meredith and Center Harbor.

Sachems undefeated - Laconia boys lacrosse caps season with 11-7 win over Pelham in title game


LACONIA — The Laconia boys' lacrosse team completed an undefeated season with an 11-7 win over sixth-ranked Pelham Saturday afternoon at Bill Ball Stadium in Exeter in the Division III championship game.
It marked the first time since 2005 that the Sachems, who were 18-0 on the season, have won a lacrosse championship.
Laconia got strong performances from senior captain Brenden Mooney, who had four goals and two assists; sophomore Riley Roy, who scored four goals, including the first two of the game as the Sachems jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter; and sophomore goalie Steve Towers, who registered 21 saves.
The Sachems took a 7-2 lead at half time and extended their lead to 9-2 in the third quarter with goals from freshman Jakob Steele as Roy and fended off a late surge from Pelham, which closed the gap by scoring five goals in the final period as Laconia netted two to hold off the charge.
Roy had scored two goals in the first three minutes of the game and Towers made nine saves in the first period to stymie the Pythons attack, which enjoyed a 9-1 edge in faceoffs during the first half.
Mooney found an open lane through the middle and put Laconia up 4-0 at the 10:54 mark of the second quarter and Connor Halloran, who ended up with four goals for Pelham, got the Pythons on the board to cut it to 4-1. Mooney responded a few minutes later with another goal, making it 5-1.
Devon Russell's goal for Pelham after an offside penalty against the Sachems cut the margin to 5-2 ,but Mooney and Jake Ellis responded to put the Sachems up 7-2 at the half.
The Pythons were able to cut it closer as the first half came to a close on a goal by Devon Russell after an offsides penalty, but Laconia fired right back, getting a goal apiece from Mooney and Jake Ellis in the final minutes to secure a 7-2 halftime lead.
After Laconia moved out to a big 9-2 lead in the third quarter Pelham scored a pair to being it to 9-4 but Mooney's goal made it 10-4 to put Laconia up by six with only eight minutes left on the clock. Try as they might, the Pythons were unable to overcome that big advantage and Laconia held on for the win.
The victory was sweet for Laconia coach Chad Paronto, who had been with the Sachems as an assistant coach when they won three straight title from 2003 to 2005. Those wins were down-to-the-wire victories over Kearsarge by scores of 11-10, 5-4 and 7-6.
The victory also gave the Sachems two Division III titles this year as the girls beat Kearsarge 14-13 last Wednesday to win their second straight title.

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Laconia's Jakob Steele and Trevor Weeks celebrate a goal during Saturday's NHIAA Division III lacrosse championship in Exeter. (Alan MacRae/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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Laconia assistant lacrosse coach Steve McDonough gets the ice bucket following Saturday's NHIAA Division III lacrosse championship in Exeter. (Alan MacRae/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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Laconia's undefeated 2016 lacrosse team. (Alan MacRae/for the Laconia Daily Sun)