Belmont selectmen OK new fire truck


BELMONT — Selectmen accepted the fire chief's recommendation that the department spend $530,950 on a new fire engine but not without expressing some reservations about the manufacturer.

Chief Ken Erickson said the internal truck committee spent five months researching a replacement for the 1998 Engine 2 and got two bids – one from Pierce and one from E-One.

After Erickson recommended Pierce, largely because of the extended warranty on the galvanized steel frame rails, Selectman Jon Pike said Belmont had a previous problem collecting on a warranty from Pierce on a similar issue.

Apparently, said Pike, Pierce was purchased by Oshkosh in 1996, after the town bought the truck and Oshkosh failed to honor the Pierce warranty. Pike said that the town chose Pierce at the time because of the warranty.

Pike noted that the Laconia Fire Department, unlike Belmont, was successful at the time in getting some satisfaction from their warranty but Erickson said it was because the city went to the insurance company that issued it.

Erickson told selectmen that no contracts were signed and that before one was, he would bring it and all of the warranty paperwork to the town administrator who would have the town attorney and Primex, the town's insurer, review it.

Other reasons why Erickson recommended Pierce over E-One, who had the lowest bid, was because the money from the 10-year-lease offered by them would be deliverable to them once the contract is signed and not when the town takes delivery of the truck, which will be in about 10 months. With a one-year delay for the first payment, this lowered the annual payment from nearly $64,000 to $62,000.

Pierce offered a better trade-in value, doubled the prepaid discounts and extended the warranty on the body from 10 to 12 years.

Both bids were for stainless steel cabs, multiplex wiring and galvanized steel frame rails.

The Pierce bid was for $530,950 and the E-One bid was for $512,037. Factoring in the difference in the extended warranties by Pierce, its truck is $4,713 more than the E-One  truck.

Three youths plucked from lake Saturday, one sent to Boston Children’s Hospital

GILFORD — Three young people nearly drowned Saturday while swimming near Governor's Island on Lake Winnipesaukee after a wave pushed them into water that was too deep for them.

According to the state Marine Patrol, an 18-year-old girl, a 15-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy were initially swimming in waist-deep water after arriving in the area with their family on a pontoon boat.

After seeing them struggle, the owner of the boat, Ali Cheema, 24, of East Elmhurst, New York, pulled up anchor and tried to get them back into his boat. Other nearby boaters also assisted.

The three were brought aboard and the 15-year-old boy was given CPR. He and the other two were taken by ambulance to Lakes Region General Hospital. The 15-year-old was transferred to Boston Children's Hospital while the other two stayed in Laconia. All three were conscious.

Gilford and Laconia Fire Departments assisted Marine Patrol.

– Gail Ober

Frates art classes moving to Belknap Mill


LACONIA — Larry Frates, whose art classes have been a mainstay on Canal Street for 28 years, will be moving his operation to the Belknap Mill, the Mill announced this week. Frates will be taking on the role of artist-in-residence and chairman of the Mill's Cultural Committee, as well as using the Mill as the base for his art classes. Frates Creative Arts is one of several Canal Street businesses that has to find a new home due to the renovation project at the Colonial Theatre.

The Mill will host a public reception for Frates on Wednesday, Sept. 7, from 5 to 7 p.m. The event will feature an exhibit of Frates's work.

Frates said he will continue to operate his "Art To You" program, which brings art programs to groups throughout the Lakes Region. He will continue to offer conventional art classes, which will now all be held on Wednesdays at the Mill.

As artist-in-residence, Frates will work with the Mill to develop art and educational programming. He will also spend the lunch hour of the first Tuesday of each month, beginning on Oct. 4, painting at the Mill, a time when the public is welcome to watch and speak with him. A selection of prints of Frates's watercolors will be on sale in the gift shop, with proceeds benefiting the Mill.

"As an instructor and artist, I am passionate about creating opportunities to connect community through art," said Frates. "In this unique collaboration, the Belknap Mill Society and Frates Creates will be a catalyst for the arts in the Lakes Region. Together, we will bring history and art together to explore our shared cultural heritage and celebrate our community's creative spirit."

The art studio was half of the Frates Creative Arts Center on Canal Street; the other half offered dance lessons run by Joan Frates, with the recent addition of their daughter, Amelia. The dance studio will be relocating to the former Citizen building at the corner of Fair and Water streets.