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Sanbornton saying goodbye to gracious former Selectboard Chair Patsy Wells

SANBORNTON — Patricia "Patsy" Wells idea of service knew no bounds, say those who knew her. Whether as member of the town's Board of Selectmen, an active member of her church, the assistant to four Tilton School headmasters, or her outreach to women prisoners, Wells is remembered as competent, forward-looking, and above all, gracious.

Wells died last Saturday, Oct. 29, at the age of 69. Her funeral is planned for this Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Sanbornton Congregational Church.

"I had a soft spot in my heart for her," said Guy Giunta who served with Wells for two years (2005-06) on the Board of Selectmen. "My memories of her are as one who was devoted to the town." He remembers Wells as an effective and visionary leader. He said one example of Wells' vision was the leadership she showed in building public support for the so-called Y Project, which resulted in major improvements to Upper and Lower Bay roads which needed serious work.

She exhibited a thorough knowledge of the selectman's job. "She kept us on our toes," Giunta recalled with a chuckle. "But she wasn't one to make herself look important." One sign of that, he said was that when Wells was head selectmen, she didn't in the center seat at the selectmen's table, as is customary for the chair to do.

Giunta also said he remembers Wells as a person deeply committed to her faith and her church.

"She was a hard worker and was always able to lighten up a difficult situation," said Dennis Akerman, director of music at the Sanbornton Congregational Church where Wells was a long-time active member. She served on the church committee that had charge the congregation's charitable outreach.

Akerman's wife, Barbara, said Wells was truly concerned about those less fortunate or who had to cope with setbacks in life. For example, she said Wells would to the state Women's Prison to give sewing lessons. "She found what was needed and how to do it."

Michael Baker, headmaster at Tilton School from 1987 to 1995, said it is hard to imagine how he could have done his job as effectively without Wells as his assistant.

"She was one of the kindest people I ever met in my life," he said. And one of the most discrete.

"My first day at Tilton she met with me and said, 'The main word of secretary is secret.' She could be trusted with anything." And, "She was scrupulously organized."

Baker said that Wells' sense of organization and her know-how gave him the ability to focus on his job. A big part of a private school headmaster's job is fund-raising, which Baker said meant he had to travel a lot to meet with school alumni and other potential donors.

"Often at these fund-raising gatherings someone would ask, 'Who's in charge of the place when you're gone?' and I would reply, 'The same person who's in charge when I'm there." Baker said his audience knew he was referring to himself, but in the back of his mind he couldn't help but think of Patsy Wells. "She easily could have run her own operation."

Former Selectman Steve Ober, who served with Wells during her last year on the board, credits Wells for showing him how to be a good selectman.

"I had no clue about the job," Ober recalled. "But she guided me right into the job and did it respectfully. She was a great person and great friend."

Last Updated on Friday, 07 November 2014 01:51

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Former home of Music Festival vandalized

CENTER HARBOR — Police are seeking assistance from the public in identifying two individuals who vandalized the property at 52 Symphony Lane, which most recently housed the New Hampshire Music Festival.

According to Police Chief Mark Chase, evidence collected at the scene indicates that two persons broke into the main house and an outbuilding and caused damage to both estimated at approximately $10,000. The break-in and vandalism occurred between Tuesday, August 12 and Thursday, August 14.

The owner of the property has offered a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

Anyone with any information is encouraged to contact the Center Harbor Police Department at 253-9756. All information will be kept strictly confidential.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 November 2014 01:33

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Rago asks for recount of Senate 7 votes

LACONIA — Kathleen Lauer-Rago of Franklin, the Republican candidate for the New Hampshire Senate in District 7 whose challenge to incumbent Democrat Andrew Hosmer fell 132 votes short, yesterday requested a recount.

"I've had so many people call me and tell me I should ask for a recount, I feel it is my duty," Lauer-Rago said Thursday.

Hosmer polled 9,543 votes to the 9,411 cast for Lauer-Rago. Another 24 ballots recorded write-in votes. Hosmer's margin of victory represents less than 1 percent of the total of 18,978 votes cast. If 67 votes changed hands in Lauer-Rago's favor, the outcome of the election would be reversed.

Hosmer was the only Democrat elected in Belknap County in Tuesday's election. Of the three municipalities in the county in District 7, Hosmer carried two — Laconia by 89 votes and Gilford by 5 votes — while Lauer Rago won Belmont by 219 votes.

Requests for recounts must be filed with the New Hampshire Secretary of State by the close of business on the Friday after the election. The recount process would begin on the first Wednesday after the election at a site in Concord determined by the Secretary of State.

State law entitles any candidate to request a recount if the difference between the winner and loser is less than 20-percent. However, the candidate requesting the recount must pay a fee, which rises as difference increases. If the difference is less than 1 percent the fee is $50, but doubles if the difference is between 1 and 2 percent and doubles again if the the difference is between 2 and 3 percent. If the difference is more than 3 percent, the fee is $200 plus costs set by the Secretary of State.

District 7 consists of the cities of Laconia and Franklin and towns of Andover, Belmont, Boscawen, Canterbury Gilford, Northfield, Salisbury and Webster.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 November 2014 01:31

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Meredith 3/25 panel opts for series of 3 roundabouts

MEREDITH — The Advisory Committee of local stakeholders working with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) to improve the flow of traffic through the center of town yesterday unanimously decided to recommend construction of three roundabouts along the U.S. Route 3/N.H. Route 25 corridor through the center of town.

The roundabouts would be built at the junctions of U.S. Route 3 and Lake Street, U.S. Route 3 and N.H. Route 25 and U.S. Route 25 and Pleasant Street. All three would be single-lane roundabout to minimize the impact on surrounding private properties. However, the critical roundabout at the junction of U.S. Route 3 and N.H. Route 25 would have two right-hand turning lanes to hasten the flow of northbound traffic eastbound toward Center Harbor.

The Advisory Committee, which will report its recommendations to the Board of Selectmen in January, has been meeting each month since March. In the course of studying any number of plans the committee found that those projected to most hasten the flow traffic also had most adverse impact on downtown properties.

Gene McCarthy of MacFarland Johnson, Inc., the project manager, said that the preferred alternative of three roundabouts, with the two turn lanes at U.S. Route 3 and N.H. Route 25, would noticeably improve the flow of eastbound summer traffic, which peaks on Friday nights, and, at the same time, ease congestion arising from southbound traffic on n.H. Route 25, which peaks on Sunday afternoons and evenings. Taken together the three roundabouts will slow traffic through town, enhancing the safety of pedestrians. And the roundabout at Pleasant Street will improve access and egress to the businesses along N.H. Route 25.

Rusty McLear said the plan represents an opportunity to significantly improve the appearance of the center of town. U.S. Route 3 will be divided by a landscaped, tree-lined median eight to twelve feet wide and the roundabouts themselves offer opportunities for plantings.

McCarthy estimated the construction cost of the project, excluding design, engineering and purchase of right-of-way, at approximately $5 million, which closely matched the funds DOT has allocated to it.

John Edgar, Community Development director, stressed that the project should not be delayed or shelved for want of a small amount of funding.

Lou Kahn, a selectmen who chairs the Advisory Committee, said that funding for the project should not be drawn from the property taxpayers of Meredith. "This is a great thing for the feds and the state to do," he remarked.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 November 2014 01:25

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