Driver injured in Belmont truck crash

BELMONT — The driver of a pickup truck that went off Route 107 at Brown Hill Road Monday evening sustained serious head trauma along with other injuries when the force of the crash propelled him through the windshield.
A juvenile passenger who was wearing a seatbelt sustained a possible broken pelvis in the crash.
Both were taken to Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia for treatment.
Police say Raymond Sherburne, 48, of Gilmanton had been northbound on Route 107 from Gilmanton and, while on the downhill approach to the Brown Hill Road intersection, he lost control of his 2015 Chevrolet 1500 pickup truck and crashed into a stand of large trees on the southbound side of Brown Hill Road. He was not wearing a seatbelt and went through the windshield and landed outside the truck.
Medics who were notified of the crash at 5:02 p.m. asked for the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Air Response Team helicopter but, due to the inclement weather, it could not fly so they took Sherburne by ambulance from LRGH to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.
The truck was totaled in the crash, with a utility rack that had been bolted to the truck bed being ripped off from the impact of the crash.
Police are continuing their investigation of the crash but said the roadway had been covered by a layer of snow and slush at the time of the crash. Driving too fast for road conditions also was a contributing factor, they said.

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Raymond Sherburne of Gilmanton sustained serious injuries when the impact of a crash in Belmont sent him through the windshield of his truck on Monday night. (Courtesy photo/Belmont Police Department)

  • Written by Tom Caldwell
  • Category: Local News
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Help for Puerto Rico

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Alex Ray, shown here in top-right photo, spent nine days in Puerto Rico last month to make food for people struggling after two devastating hurricanes. He is shown here trying to shop for ingredients. (Courtesy photo)

Common Man’s Alex Ray skips vacation to assist the people after devastating hurricane

By ADAM DRAPCHO, LACONIA DAILY SUN

Alex Ray, founder of the Common Man family of restaurants, isn't one to take a lot of time for himself, so it was a bit unusual for him to plan a European vacation for himself and his partner for October. That was before the hurricanes, Irma and then Maria, ripped through Puerto Rico.

"I had booked a trip to Italy for the 12th of October. As it got closer, I said, I can't go there. I can't go on a vacation," not while so many people were struggling to survive, he said. Instead, he booked a ticket for San Juan, where, for nine days, he cooked and distributed food to people whose communities were destroyed.

Ray had a business acquaintance who offered use of his home in San Juan. Once there, he was introduced to a man who had three restaurants in the city. There was no electricity, which meant no exhaust fans and no lights in the kitchens, but they could get propane for the stoves and ovens.

"So I jumped in," said Ray. In the afternoons, he would scour supermarkets for whatever food was available – usually just rice, beans and meat, no fresh produce. In the mornings, he and a team of volunteers would cook about 2,000 meals each day, and around 12:30 p.m. another team of volunteers would fill their personal vehicles with containers of food to distribute to villages outside of the capital city.

"After the fifth day, I said, I want to see how you do this." He accompanied a delivery driver to the coastal town of Toa Baja, which had been flooded with as much as ten feet of seawater from the storm's surge. The effect this had on the villagers was apparent by just driving down the road.

"They had nothing left in their houses – all their stuff was in the streets. Everything in their house was gone," said Ray.

And that's why he went. He could have stayed in New Hampshire, or continued with his plans for a vacation in Italy, and donated to the relief effort. However, Ray wanted to see the devastation first-hand, to work alongside Puerto Ricans, and to leave his own sweat on the island.

"By going there, you get a lot more interest," he said.

He also got a sense of how he might provide financial help. Ray's customers raised more than $20,000 to help people in Puerto Rico – a figure which will be matched by the company – and he's heading back to the island this week to distribute the funds. He is also hoping to recruit a handful of people that would be interested in working for him in New Hampshire. At this point, he said that might be the best way to help Puerto Rico.

"Give them jobs. It can't hurt us – we're looking for good workers, they're good people. These are U.S. citizens, there's no problems except you might have to buck up and help them get here," he said, citing the cost of air travel from Puerto Rico. He plans to hire a small number of people from Puerto Rico for the off-season, and said he may increase that number when business picks up next year. "I want to try it. We could always use good people here."

This isn't the first time that Ray has felt compelled to visit a disaster zone. In 2005, he loaded a van full of ingredients and a propane burner and drove to New Orleans, where he cooked for relief workers. His restaurants raised more than $100,000 for that disaster.

Ray's responses to these types of catastrophes makes for good publicity for his businesses, but that's not why he does it. For him, it's not a way to operate a business as much as it is a way to approach life. Do something good, and more good will follow, he believes.

"It's a contagious thing. I call it the 360 – it comes back around," he said.

 

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Supermarket cooler cases were empty due to long-term power outages. (Courtesy photo)

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Ray and others worked together to prepare 2,000 meals per day, which were distributed to towns outside of San Juan. (Courtesy photo)

 

  • Written by Adam Drapcho
  • Category: Local News
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Mello sworn in as Laconia’s newest police commissioner

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City Clerk Cheryl Hebert swears in Frank R. Mello Jr. as police commissioner Monday in City Hall. He succeeds Armand Maheux, who retired from the panel after a 22-year run. (Rick Green, Laconia Daily Sun)

By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Frank R. Mello Jr. has been a firefighter, a policeman, a U.S. Air Force staff sergeant and a state Transportation Department superintendent. Now he can add police commissioner to the list.
Laconia City Clerk Cheryl Hebert swore him in Monday during a ceremony at City Hall.
Mello, 81, ran unopposed in last week’s election to succeed Commissioner Armand Maheux, who retired after a 22-year run on the panel.
“It’s an honor to serve after Armand,” Mello said.
“I have no idea of changing anything because I think we have one of the best police departments in the state. We have a wonderful chief and we have a lot of guys who are really good.”
Police Chief Matt Canfield attended the swearing in as did Maheux, Mello’s wife of 54 years, Marilyn, and their grown children, Shawn, Heidi and Rae.
Mello was born and raised on Cape Cod.
He joined the Air Force as a senior in high school and served in New York, Wyoming, South Korea and France, working as a teletype mechanic and a trainer.
He served for nine years on the Gilford Fire Department and had stints as a police officer in Plymouth and Massachusetts.
He was with the state Transportation Department for 28 years, and retired as a bridge construction superintendent overseeing temporary bridges.
He has also held leadership positions in the local Elks Lodge chapter.
Mello said Maheux encouraged him to run for police commissioner.
“I’ve always wanted to be a police commissioner,” Mello said. “I told Armand, ‘If I lose, I lose,’ but he said, ‘You’re not going to lose, you’re going to win.’”
He joins Commissioners Tom Tarr and Doug Whittum.
The commission meets on the third Thursday of every month at 3 p.m. It works with the police chief in setting policies for the department and sets wages and benefits for non-union police employees. It also works with the patrol officers’ union in constructing and approving a contract for the unionized employees.

  • Written by Ginger Kozlowski
  • Category: Local News
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