4 candidates competing for 2 open seats on Meredith Selectboard

MEREDITH — With the deadline fast approaching, four candidates have applied for the two open seats on the Board of Selectmen, which the three elected selectmen will fill by appointment next month.

Three of the four applicants stood for election on March 10 — Michael Pelczar, Jonathan James and David Bennett — while the fourth, Alfio Torrisi, moved to town just over a year ago.

Pelczar polled 320 votes to finish in third place among the eight candidates vying for two seats. A fourth-generation contractor, he owns and operates Inter-Lakes Builders Inc., which constructs custom homes. Born and raised in Meredith, he described himself as "a regular Joe" who seeks to perpetuate the character of the community. "Change is not my favorite thing," he said, "but change is inevitable. The changes that have taken place have been good for the town and I want to keep change on that path."

James, whose 192 votes were the fifth most in March, came to Meredith as a 14-year-old. He served in the Coast Guard, worked as a home builder as well as a facilities manager at Freudenberg NOK and the Spaulding Youth Center, and most recently was director of buildings, grounds, housekeeping and security at the Tilton School. In Meredith he has served on the now defunct Water Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment as well as a trustee of the trust funds.

With 90 votes, Bennett finished seventh in the election. Like Pelczar, Bennett is a longtime resident of Meredith with deep roots in the town. A member of the first graduating class of the vocational technical center in Laconia, he has spent his life building, repairing and racing automobiles and motorcycles. He managed parts departments at local dealerships in the 1970s before opening his own garage and later worked at Meredith (now Laconia) Harley-Davidson. Although he considers himself "old school," he stressed, "I'm not totally conservative. I know that things have got to change, but Meredith should keep its rural values."

Torrisi, who recently moved to Meredith from Pelham, is an electrical inspector for the state of New Hampshire who applied in order to contribute to the civic life of his new community.

The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. on Monday, April 6. The Board of Selectmen will interview the candidates on Monday, April 13, when they are expected to make the appointments.

Town Manager Phil Warren said yesterday that the board is eager to fill the seats since with only three members it has proved difficult to corral all three required for a quorum on the same date.

N.H. Electric Co-op members to see 20% rate drop

PLYMOUTH — Homes and businesses which get their electricity from the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative will see an average 20 percent cut in their electric bills starting next month, the utility has announced.

The typical residential member using 500 kilowatt-hours per month will see an overall bill decrease of 20.3 percent. Residential members using 1,000 kWh per month will see an overall decrease of 23.1 percent, the member-owned utility said in a media statement issued yesterday.

The May 1 rate change is the result of a 44 percent decrease in the Co-op Power rate, from 11.6 cents per kWh to 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour. A small increase in the Regional Access Charge portion of members' bills, also effective on all bills rendered on or after May 1, will result in a total bill decrease of $23.67 per month for the typical residential member using 500 kilowatt hour a month. The decrease for the typical residential member using 1,000 kilowatt hour a month amounts to $47.33 per month.

The rate reductions were approved March 31 by the NHEC Board of Directors and signal an end to a winter period that saw residential bills increase by 12.2 percent last October. Driving these wide price swings are seasonal variations in the price of natural gas, which is used to generate approximately half of the electricity produced in New England.

Over the past two years, electric rates during the six-month summer period have been substantially lower than in the wintertime, when constraints in the region's natural gas pipeline infrastructure have led to price spikes. Natural gas demand increases sharply during the winter months due to its use as a primary heating fuel, which drives up the cost of electricity for winter delivery.


Weapons & heroin charges filed against New Hampton man

NEW HAMPTON — A man who lives on Rte. 132 faces two counts of being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon and one count of heroin possession after a visit from his parole officer on Friday afternoon.

An affidavit submitted by New Hampton Police to the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division says police were called to Thomas Drake's home by his parole officer who was checking up on him and found he had concealed a knife around his ankle.

Police said when Drake's pant leg was raised, they found a 4-inch bladed knife in a sheath with the handle was entirely covered in black duct tape.

Police also found a folding knife and a butterfly-brass knuckle combination knife but said they were in Drake's room but not on his person.

Drake's probation officers also showed police a portable scale, a pink 1-inch by 1-inch baggie, a second baggie with white powdery residue, a silver spoon, $413 in cash and a TRAC phone.

One of the parole officers transported Drake to the Belknap County House of Correction for a parole violation.

New Hampton Police charged him with the newest criminal charges after Drake admitted he had just shot some heroin.

Drake was convicted in 2011 of four counts of simple assault, witness tampering, criminal threatening, and criminal mischief. Since 2011, an employee of the N.H. superior court call system said he has had two violations, not counting the ones this past weekend.

He was ordered held on $2,000 cash-only bail.