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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21% hike in water rates proposed for 158 Belmont customers of Abenaki Water

BELMONT — The Abenaki Water Company, which serves 158 customers in the Plummer Hill area of Belmont, has applied to the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for steep increases in its water and sewer rates.

The Abenaki Water Company, a subsidiary of New England Service Company of Plainville, Connecticut, was formed with the Lakeland Management Company and White Rock Water Company, both of which owned by the Crashaw family and headquartered in Gilford. Abenaki Water Company serves 253 customers in New Hampshire, 95 in Bow along with those in Belmont.

The company has proposed increasing its annual revenue from water sales by $45,383, or 23.4 percent, to a total of $239,266 for the systems in Belmont and Bow. For a single family home in Belmont the average monthly water bill, based on using 3,000 gallons, would rise from $53.75 to $65.00, an increase of $11.25 or 20.9 percent.

At the same time, the company has proposed increasing its annual revenue from sewer service in Belmont by $39,246, or 50.1 percent, to a total of $117,559. The monthly sewer bill for a single family home in Belmont using 3,000 gallons of water would rise from $34.55 to $50.77, an increase of $16.22 or 46.9 percent.

In addition to raising its base rates, the company seeks to recover deferred sewer treatment expenses from its customers in Belmont by means of a surcharge of $1.75 on their monthly sewer bills for one year.

Abenaki Water Company claims that its current rates are insufficient to defray the costs of necessary capital investments and regular operating expenses while ensuring the company a rate of return of eight percent. The company also seeks to recover $102,233 in so-called "organizational costs" associated with the acquisition of the water systems in Belmont and Bow by New England Service Company, Inc.

In an order issued last month the PUC found that the company's proposal raised issues of the "justness and reasonableness" of the projected rates. "Full investigations are necessary to determine whether the proposed temporary increases and proposed permanent increases are in the public good," the order reads.

The PUC has scheduled prehearing conference at the offices of the commission at 21 South Fruit Street, Suite 10, Concord at 10 a.m. on Monday, September 21 at which customers or their representatives may comment on the company's proposal.

Meanwhile, Senator Andrew Hosmer will host a public meeting to discuss the proposed rate increases at the Briarcrest Community Center at 100 Diamond Place on Sunday, September 13, beginning at noon.

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