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Youssef inists he didn't break election law

LACONIA — Former District 7 Senate candidate Joshua Youssef said yesterday that he did not violate any state election laws when he created a blog that mirrored that of his ex-wife's attorney Ed Mosca.

He said his blog, www.edmoscablog.com, had a disclaimers throughout, saying Mosca was not responsible for its content and it was not affiliated with Mosca.

Youssef, a Laconia Republican, lost his bid for the District 7 Senate seat in 2012 to Democrat Andrew Hosmer, also of Laconia.

Youssef said he was very concerned that the Office of the State Attorney would continue to spend the time and resources of the taxpayers to investigate an alleged election law violation months after the complaint was no longer relevant.

Youssef, who said he will likely run again for the Senate District 7 seat in 2014, said the investigation into www.edmoscablog.com was "beyond irresponsible" and is emblematic of the waste of government resources he believes is one of the biggest problem facing the state.

On Aug. 6, the civil division of the AG's Office told him to "cease and desist" using www.edmoscablog.com or face possible criminal charges.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen G. LaBonte said Youssef violated the provision of RSA 666:6 by creating the blog he said was close enough to Mosca's blog that people could misconstrue who wrote it. The investigation was triggered by a complaint filed in February.

"This is state agencies wielding power they don't have," Youssef said yesterday, adding only a court of law has the legal right to "order" him to do stop using the blog.

"No (criminal) charges have ever been filed," Youssef said, noting only a judge or jury could order a "cease and desist."

"Some believe RSA 666:6 is not constitutional and would be struck down if challenged to the Supreme Court," he said, classifying his use of the blog as "free speech" and saying the courts have traditionally given "broad latitude" to political speech.

He said the investigation into www.edmoscablog.com was politically motivated by a Democratic Party-led executive branch.

"Now I'm more politically motivated than I ever have been, " Youssef said. "Government is a customer service industry and the people of New Hampshire have lost faith in their government."

He said he would work to restore that faith.

District 7 is comprised of Laconia, Franklin, Belmont, Gilford, Northfield, Webster, Canterbury, Andover and Salisbury.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 02:14

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Record 239 Riders for 11th Annual Brenda's Ride

LACONIA — The 11th annual Brenda's Ride with Friends drew a record turnout of 239 motorcycles Saturday, with well in excess of 300 riders making the scenic run around Lake Winnipesaukee to raise funds for the Oncology Department at Lakes Region General Hospital.
Bikers set out from the Weirs Beach Lobster Pound at mid-morning with an escort of five police motorcycles from Laconia, Meredith, Tilton, Northfield and Alton and returned to the Lobster Pound for an afternoon of music, food and fund-raising raffles.
The event was started in 2003 by Brenda Ganong, a cancer survivor since 1997, and her husband, John, and drew 35 bikes the first year it was held.
Since then participation has grown every year, and last year the event drew 225 bikers and raised $16,500.
''It's amazing when you look in the mirror on your bike and see all of the people who have shown up to ride,'' says Brenda, who marvels at the show of support for the event and the continuing support of the many people who have shown up year after year to take part.
One rider who has been at all 11 events is Kurt McLaughlin, a firefighter from Cambridge, Mass., who grew up with John Ganong in Somerville, Mass., where they both rode motorcycles together as teenagers.
"I wouldn't miss it,'' says McLaughlin, who just arrived back home from attending the Sturgis, S.D., motorcycle rally and was riding with a contingent of Cambridge firefighters in Saturday's ride.
"This community is unbelievable. Everybody pulls together to help out. That's why it's so great to live here," said John Ganong, who moved to the Lakes Region 30 years ago from Somerville, Mass., and has been involved in the real estate field in the Lakes Region for many years.
Brenda Ganong says that when she first heard that she had breast cancer she thought her life was over and that she might never even see her then 16-year-old daughter, Christina, graduate from high school.
''Now she has two sons, and I'm a real happy grandmother. It's like a miracle,'' says Brenda, who says that one of her grandsons, 11-year-old Ben Gloddy of Northfield , is the New England flat track motorcycle racing junior champion.
She isn't the only Ganong who feels that a miracle has taken place in their life.
Her husband, John, who had a heart transplant in January 2011, says that he's ''never felt better in his life.''
John, who has been known to ride his motorcycle dressed in a Santa Claus outfit at various fundraising events ever since he moved to the Lakes Region, performed a Blue Brothers routine with his son, Jason, Saturday afternoon.
Music was provided by Matt Langley and band AXIS.
Winner's Circle Auto Sales Inc. in Tilton was the $1,000 Gold Sponsor of the 2013 Brenda's Ride. Joining them as $500 Silver Sponsors were The Looney Bin Bar and Grill and Pilgrim Consolidators.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 04:04

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Got Lunch! Hailed as Revolution which began in Laconia

LACONIA — Laconia Mayor Mike Seymour hailed the success of Laconia's Got Lunch! at an ice cream social Monday afternoon honoring the program's volunteer workers.
Seymour, who was presented with a ''Mayor Mike'' plaque at the event, said he couldn't be more proud, of the efforts of those involved in the program, which since it started three years ago has delivered 61,567 lunches to hundreds of school age children during the summer months. The program has now spread to 14 New Hampshire communities. Saymour called Got Lunch! ''a revolution which started right here in Laconia.''
John Walker, who along with the Rev. Paula Gile, associate pastor of the Congregational Church of Laconia, UCC, helped start the now widely emulated program, said that Seymour's support and encouragement, along with that of former Superintendent of Schools Bob Champlin, were crucial in getting the program up and running and involving the community in supporting it.
Seymour said that it now seems surprising to him that no one else had devised a summer program for feeding school children when nearly 70 percent of the city's school children qualified for free or reduced lunch programs.
Walker said that more than 25,000 meals were distributed by the program to more than 500 children this summer during the weeks when schools are not in session and that more than 70 volunteers helped pack and assemble shopping bags filled with groceries, including fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as delivering them to more than 300 households across the city.
''When we got together to start the program the first person I called was Ed Engler at the Laconia Daily Sun and he said he'd be glad to help us get the word out about it. The first call I got after the story ran was from Mayor Seymour and he's been a strong supporter since that time,'' said Walker.
He said that there are now 14 similar programs in the state and the latest community to start a Got Lunch! program is Gilford, where Tom Francouer has volunteered to lead the effort.
Walker praised Seymour's work as mayor, calling him ''the best small-city mayor in the country,'' and said that his leadership will be missed when his term of office ends in January.

Got Lunch! Laconia program co-founder John Walker presents Mayor Mike Seymour with a plaque honoring his efforts on behalf of the Got Lunch! program. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 04:04

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Bear Island residents criticize Cattle Landing dock

MEREDITH — Nearly two dozen residents, most from Bear Island, urged the Board of Selectmen to take steps to correct flaws in the design of the new docks at Cattle Landing when the board met last night.

""We're delighted with the new dock," began Don Morrissey of Gilford who summers on the island, "but it does have some problems."

The floating concrete dock is 80 feet long. It is anchored by three piles projecting from the side of the dock, one at the end and two on the south side, bracketed to the dock by four-foot by six-foot timber frames or guides. It is lined with posts, set flush to the dock, with cleats between them.

Morrisey said that not only did the piles limit the capacity of the dock but also posed a hazard to boats, which struck the guides. The pile at the end of the dock, he said, eliminated what had traditionally been a "drop off and pick up" spot, available when both sides of the dock were occupied.
He proposed framing and decking the docking to enclose the projecting piles.

"I haven't run into anyone who is pleased with the dock," said Michael Robinson, who said his Boston Whaler was damaged when it slipped under the dock, then struck it when lifted by wave action. He said that such incidents were common with the small boats that represent much of the traffic at the dock.

Others pointed out that the posts, which are flush with the dock are of little use when tying up or stepping ashore, while the cleats are a hazard to those getting in and out of their boats. One man noted that the ramp is not properly matched to the dock, hindering the use of wheelchairs.

The selectmen directed Warren to present the issues to the manufacturer and ask what can be done to address them and, at the same time, to approach the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to determine if Morrissey's proposal would represent an expansion of the dock requiring the agency's approval.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 03:36

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