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Forrester already looking for Northern Pass 3; Hosmer endorses plan 2

MEREDITH — "It's a good start to get them to do more," said State Senator Jeannie Forrester (R-Meredith) in response to the Tuesday announcement by Eversource Energy Transmission Ventures, LLC that the Northern Pass project has been reconfigured to include more buried transmission lines, fewer utility poles and less transmitted power. "I look forward to the next new route," she remarked.

Bill Quinlan, president of Eversource operations in New Hampshire said yesterday that another 52 miles of transmission line through the western reach of the White Mountain National Forest between Bethlehem and Bridgewater will be buried along state highways. With a stretch of eight miles between Clarksville and Stewartstown also underground, the company proposes to bury 60 miles of the 192-mile project. Some 400 poles would be eliminated and instead of carrying 1,200 megawatts of power, the line would carry 1,000 megawatts.

"I appreciate the Northern Pass Project's effort to honor and protect New Hampshire's scenic landscapes with this latest route proposal, which buries more miles of transmission lines," Forrester said in a prepared statement. "Unfortunately, this latest route still seeks to build 40 miles of new power line that cuts through some of New Hampshire's most treasured landscapes," she continued. "Northern Pass also continues to seek authority to build power lines on private property without permission from the landowners. It's a good start, but I look forward to a future route proposal which will not infringe on property owners' rights or New Hampshire's scenic views," she said.

With 19 of the 31 towns in her Senate district affected by Northern Pass, Forrester has been in the forefront of resistance to the project for the past five years. In particular, she was the prime sponsor of legislation to strengthen the eminent domain statute to forestall the acquisition of private property for the project and has consistently called for burying the transmission lines.
State Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia), whose district includes Franklin where a terminal to convert the current from DC to AC would be built, welcomed the announcement.
In a prepared statement he said that "today's announcement by Northern Pass is a great step forward and I am pleased to offer my support for the project. In addition to the tremendous energy benefits this project provides to our state's economy," he continued, "this project will provide a transformational opportunity for the city of Franklin, create hundreds of jobs in our region, and provide a great boost to our local economy."

"I have long supported the opportunity this project brings to Franklin, but I have been concerned that other communities' needs also be considered," Hosmer said. "Today's announcement shows that the company has listened and I am pleased that many of the concerns have been addressed. I encourage Eversource and abutting landowners to continue to discuss opportunities to reduce the impact of the project and I look forward to a thorough evaluation of the project at the N.H. Site Evaluation Committee."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 August 2015 10:41

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Burglar flees Batchelder Street home when confronted

LACONIA — City police are seeking information a daytime burglary of an occupied residence on Batchelder Street on July 30.

Capt. Matt Canfield said the occupant heard someone in the living room who in the process of stealing items from his home. The male subject fled after being confronted and took several of the occupants items with him.

The man is described as bean in his mid- to – late 20s, unshaven, with two "sleeve" tattoos on each arm.

The victim told police he got into a white car and fled toward Pine Street.

Police said this is the second similar burglary in the city within the past couple of months and are asking anyone with any information to call the Laconia Police at 524-5252.


Last Updated on Monday, 17 August 2015 11:55

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Pleasant Street home falls victim to apparant burglary for second time in several weeks

LACONIA — For the second time in less than a month a Pleasant Street man has been the victim of an alleged burglary. This time, the perpetrator was found hiding in an upstairs bedroom by a police dog and his handler.

Affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division said that on Friday at 7:38 p.m., police got a call from someone reporting a burglary in progress.

A police officer who was there reported that a side door to the residence had been damaged. A second responding officer noticed that the glass on the porch had been broken. The two officers, along with the dog, entered the house.

Once on the second floor, the dog apprehended an individual in the back bedroom and police saw a man lying on the floor next to the bed who was identified as Michael Weeks, 35, who is transient.

As police continued their investigation, they learned that Weeks gathered firearms — including a .45 caliber pistol, a shot gun and rifle, a silver watch and a Vietnam medal – for removal.

He is charged with one count of burglary and one count of theft by unauthorized taking. After appearing in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division by video, Judge Jim Carroll order him held on $5,000 cash-only bail.

According to a 2012 story in the Union Leader, Smith was one of two people who were shot in Lawrence, Mass. in March of that year. At the time, Lawrence Police were looking for a white Mercedes SUV with New Hampshire plates. Police at the time said the shooting appeared to be drug related.

The victim in this case came home two weeks ago and allegedly found Jesse Lohman sitting on his front porch charging his cell phone. The victim was able to convince Lohman to accompany him to the police station and file a report.

Five days later, Lohman allegedly went to a home on Corliss Hill Road in Meredith and fire two rounds through the homeowners' front door.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 August 2015 11:52

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Lakeport Landing sues city over process that led to lot sale

LACONIA — Lakeport Landing is suing the city, saying, in part, the city manager was not instructed to solicit comprehensive bids when he sent the marina and Irwin Marine a letter on June 1 soliciting their "highest and best" offer for property at 21 Elm St. As a result of that solicitation the City Council voted to sell the property to Irwin Marine.

21 Elm Street is a city-owned parcel that has been leased to the owners of Lakeport Landing since 1985. Irwin Marine is an abutter.

In its civil action, filed in Belknap County Superior Court, Blizzard Inc., Lakeport Landing's corporate entity, is asking the court to overturn the council's decision and send the matter back to the council for further consideration. Blizzard is also asking the court to award the business legal fees and attorney's fees.

Erika Blizzard, writing for Blizzard Inc., claims the City Council's action in accepting Irwin's offer on June 8, was "arbitrary and capricious" and the council had not authorized a bid process in its previous meeting on May 26.

"Additionally, the council's action was a complete disregard of the rights of first refusal held by Blizzard," she wrote, asking the court to review, remand and rescind the city's action.

The second cause of action claims that City Manager Scott Myers was not authorized by the City Council to conduct bidding or prescribe a bidding process for 21 Elm St., where Lakeport Landing's showroom building is located.

The letter sent by Myers to both Blizzard and Irwin Marine states, "This letter is not intended to be a comprehensive bid document and the city reserves all rights to request additional items in determining its future disposition of the property," wrote Blizzard, presumably quoting Myers' letter of June 1.

She argues this language ran counter to the subsequent action by the council.

In her suit Blizzard further states that the minutes of the council's May 26 meeting give no evidence that the council decided that bidders needed to submit "highest and best offers" by June 8.

Blizzard submitted a timely offer after the June 1 letter that included a purchase price of $331,400 and guaranteed payments and tax payment for 21 Elm St. for 50 years. She also offered an additional set of tax payments for an abutting property owned by her for 10 years and wrote that wanted time for an additional appraisal that may have resulted in a higher offer from her.

Blizzard Inc. has leased the 21 Elm St. location since 1985 and built, at its expense, a 9,000-foot showroom for the boats on that property. The lease is set to expire on Oct. 31.

Blizzard said that in January, she offered to buy the property and the City Council declared it "surplus" so it could offer it for sale. Upon hearing the city declared the property surplus, Irwin Marine also made an offer.

The city has the property independently appraised at $480,000.

According to the suit, on May 26 the City Council rejected the previous offers by Blizzard and Irwin Maine and ordered Myers to conduct informal conversations with both parties interested in purchasing and to lay out general conditions" such as: "what interest is relative to the appraised value; to allow the city to have easements in terms of utilities and the roadway; to allow the current tenant to continue to use the property for two years from the sale date, if the current bidder is not successful in gaining ownership; and to not lower the value of the property and restrictions on subdividing it for parking.

Blizzard said that Myers was not authorized by the City Council to solicit sealed and final bills during that meeting. However once those bids were received on June 8, the council voted 4-to-2 to award 21 Elm St. to Irwin Marine, which was the highest bidder.

At a meeting on July 13, the council unanimously voted to suspend its own rules to allow for a reconsideration of the June 8 vote to sell the property to Irwin Marine. However, the motion to reconsider the action was defeated by a vote of 4-to-3, with Councilors Brenda Baer, Armand Bolduc and David Bownes voting to reconsider, and Councilors Bob Hamel, Henry Lipman and Ava Doyle voting against. Mayor Edward Engler broke the tie by voting against reconsideration.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 August 2015 11:34

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