Local Republicans hopeful that Guinta can document claims

LACONIA — Belknap County Republicans are expressing reluctance to join in on calls for First District Congressman Frank Guinta to resign from his seat in the U.S. House.
Last week Guinta was found by the Federal Election Commission to have accepted $355,000 in illegal contributions from his parents in 2010. He has said the money he used for his first congressional campaign in was also his, but now Guinta must refund the full sum to his parents and pay a $15,000 fine.
Yesterday New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper called for Guinta's resignation, saying ''it has become quite clear in recent days that his documentation and explanation of the source of his campaign contributions, and the accounting of any taxes that may have been paid, simply don't add up.'' (See related story on page 2.)
Fellow Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte has said that that Guinta's explanation is inconsistent with the FEC's findings, and that if she were him, she would resign.
Alan Glassman, chairman of the Belknap County Republican Committee, said that while he was saddened to see what transpired, he is still hoping that Guinta will be able to provide sufficient documentation to support his version of what has happened and remain in office.
With regard to resignation he said ''It's entirely his call. I think he's been doing an excellent job as a congressman."
Rep. Frank Tilton of Laconia, chairman of the Belknap County Convention and former GOP county chairman, said that he's not as upset over the campaign contribution from Guinta's parents as he is over the way Guinta has handled the issue. ''I don't know the details. If he did take money from his parents it does concern me if he hasn't been forthright'' said Tilton.
He said that the situation is somewhat parallel to that faced by Democrat Hilary Clinton and contributions from foreign governments to the Clinton Foundation while she was serving as Secretary of State.
Rep. Bob Luther, another Laconia Republican, said that it is premature to call for Guinta's resignation.
"I think he just made a mistake and rectified it'' and criticized Ayotte for her statements. ''Kelly Ayotte should be the first to resign. She was up to her knees in the FRM scandal years ago,'' said Luther.
Rep. Brian Gallagher of Sanbornton said he was concerned ''that all of the pieces of the puzzle are not fitting together properly but it's being a little trigger happy to call for him to resign at this point.''
Gallagher said he was still hoping that Guinta would be able to provide evidence that would bring the complete clarity needed to resolve the situation.
A former mayor of Manchester (2006-2010), Guinta won a close primary in 2010 over Rich Ashooh and Sean Mahoney, and went on to defeat two-term Democrat Carol Shea-Porter in the general election.
After losing to Shea-Porter in the 2012 election he won the seat back in the 2014 campaign, during which he claimed in a televised debate that he had been completely cleared by the FEC.
The National Journal reported yesterday that former New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen said "Frank is dead politically. There's no recovery from this.''

Police say OD almost fatal because of delay calling 911

BELMONT — A 42-year-old Laconia man nearly died Friday evening from a heroin overdose, said Lt. Rich Mann.

Man, who is not identifying the victim, said the man was saved by Belmont firefighters who administered Narcan — a opiate antidote.

When police arrived, they said the man was blue and gurgling. Mann said the man had been exhibiting signs of an overdose for five minutes before anyone at 149 Laconia Road called for emergency services.

"The investigation continues into this event despite a lack of cooperation and physical evidence," said Mann.

Mann said it was very disheartening to learn that even after all of the fatal heroin overdoses the area has seen recently that the others in the home took five minutes to report it.

He said minutes in a drug overdose can be the difference between life and death and if a person is overdosing, he or she isn't going to come out of it on their own.

This is the second time that The Daily Sun has reported on a similar case in Belmont. In 2013 a young man died when the people he was with failed to notify emergency personnel in time to save him.

Jonathan Woodbury pleaded guilty to one count of providing Michael Chamberlain the heroin that killed him in 2013. When police arrived, Chamberlain was still alive but Woodbury hesitated in telling police what had happened and, despite CPR efforts by the Belmont Police, Chamberlain died.

Woodbury is serving a 2 to 4 year sentence in the N.H. State Prison for Men.

Twins arrested on drug warrants

LACONIA — On Sunday, The Laconia Police Department arrested identical twins with separate outstanding drug warrants.
Laconia Police made a traffic stop on Union Avenue.  The passenger of the motor vehicle, Jillian Moulton, was taken into custody on a bench warrant for non-appearance in court on a felony-level possession of controlled drug charge.
Through questioning officers were able to ascertain that her twin sister who also had a warrant out for her arrest was at their residence at 416 Union Avenue.
Officers responded to that address and arrested Janelle Moulton on a warrant out of the Merrimack County Sheriff's Office for failure to appear on a felony level possession of a controlled drug (amphetamine) charge.

Jillian was held at the Belknap County Jail on $1,000 cash bail and Janelle was transported to the Merrimack County Jail by the Merrimack County Sheriff's Department.

Shaker board close to approving $20k contract to evaluate school 'culture'

BELMONT — After meeting three consecutive nights this week, the Shaker Regional School Board is close to hiring PCG Education of Boston to conduct a far-reaching "culture" survey.

According to Business Administrator Debbie Thompson, the board initially approved spending up to $19,000 for a survey that will query community members, current and past employees, students, and parents.

The survey will address morale, collaboration, change and the pace of change, and community communications.

The reason for the survey is two-fold — the board has already planned on doing one this year and voters passed a non-binding, petitioned article placed on the 2015 school district warrant that requested one.

The article's sponsors wanted a separate committee to be created whose members would be appointed by district Moderator Roy Roberts — one of the titular heads of the survey request. The board decided though that they would oversee the survey but would contract it to a professional company so the questions would not be directly influenced by them.

Roberts is not thrilled that the school board took it upon itself to do the survey but said he expected it would be outsourced.

On Monday, all seven members of the board met with two consultants from PCG Education at Belmont High School.

The board has a choice between a "canned" or already prepared survey or a custom-designed survey. On of the PCG representatives said the company had never been asked to survey previous employees so there was no existing template for that.

The purpose of the meeting was to negotiate the final price for the survey and to button down the types of questions each core group would be answering. The school board will be responsible for the survey but will have no direct input into the actually framing of the questions.

Some school board members were concerned that if the employees of four schools were polled individually and then by job description, the small size of the schools could jeopardize anonymity.

PCG representatives said the survey should be brief and take no more than 15 minutes for someone who receives to respond. She said in her experience, the longer the survey means that fewer people will take the time to complete it.

Gretta Olson-Wilder said she would like a small space for people to write their own comments to address things that were not on the survey and Jill LaValley said she would like to present very cut-and-dry questions.

"If people aren't happy it would be a good time to know why," she said.

After discussion the issue at their regular meeting on Tuesday and by conference call on Wednesday, Thompson said the board made a motion to approve a contract up to $20,000 because the final best price from PCG for the type of customized survey it wanted is $19,434.

Thompson said the final price was determined on Wednesday at the conference call but, even though there was a quorum, the members who participated felt it was too important to not have all the members present.

She said the final vote on whether or not to enter into the contract is scheduled for the May 26 meeting to be held at 6 p.m. at the Belmont Elementary School Library.