Lake Shore Road crash

07-19 Lake Shore Road crash

This car's driver struck a pickup from the rear yesterday on Lake Shore Road around 12:15 pm. Fire officials said no one was injured. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)

Two lead-poisoned loons found in New Hampshire

MOULTONBOROUGH — Two loon deaths from ingested lead fishing tackle have been documented in New Hampshire so far this summer. The first lead-poisoned loon was discovered June 17 on Long Pond in Lempster. The loon was already deceased when it was found on the shoreline of an island on the pond. Radiographs at Meadow Pond Animal Hospital showed lead tackle in the loon's gizzard, and a necropsy found fishing line and two fishing jigs that tested positive for lead. The bird's body fluids were also tested and showed a high lead level, well above the threshold for clinical lead poisoning.

A second lead-poisoned loon was found on Cold Spring Pond in Stoddard, only miles from Long Pond in Lempster where the first lead mortality was found a few weeks before, on July 6. This male loon had been captured and released on July 1 in the course of routine banding. Blood tests conducted the following day revealed high lead levels, and Loon Preservation Committee staff and volunteers began monitoring the pond closely. The loon was found deceased on Wednesday, but it likely died over the weekend. Unfortunately, both loon chicks on the pond also disappeared—one was found dead on Wednesday as well. The chicks may have been killed by an intruding loon while the lead poisoned loon was weakened and unable to defend the territory. A necropsy performed on July 11 showed a lead jig and fishing line in the adult loon's gizzard.

July and August are when lead-poisoned loons are most often found, which correlates with peak lake use and fishing pressure in New Hampshire. The state Fish and Game Department and the Loon Preservation Committee urge anglers to stop using lead tackle to protect loons and other lake wildlife. Poisoning from lead fishing tackle is the leading cause of adult loon mortality in New Hampshire. The loss of so many adults from this preventable cause of mortality has inhibited the recovery of loons in New Hampshire, according to the Loon Preservation Committee.

"Because loons do not breed on average until 6 to 7 years of age and have low reproductive success, it is important that adult loons survive for many years to produce surviving young," said Harry Vogel, senior biologist and executive director of the committee. "The loss of an adult loon may also result in the loss of that loon's nest or chicks, further negatively impacting the population."

These loon deaths come just weeks after the implementation of a new law strengthening the ban on lead fishing tackle in the state. New Hampshire was the first state in the nation to restrict the use of small lead fishing tackle in lakes and ponds beginning in 2000. Subsequent legislation to restrict the use of this tackle in all freshwater in New Hampshire took effect in 2005, and the sale was restricted beginning in 2006. A new law implemented on June 1, 2016, increased protection for loons and other waterfowl banning the sale and freshwater use of lead jigs weighing one ounce or less, regardless of length, adding to the previous ban on lead sinkers one ounce or less.

The Loon Preservation Committee and state Fish and Game are part of a region-wide initiative called Fish Lead Free (www.fishleadfree.org), which is dedicated to providing resources for anglers across New England to help them make the switch to lead-free tackle. Safe alternatives to lead tackle, made of steel, tungsten, tin, bismuth and many other materials, are effective and readily available. Learn more tips and tactics for fishing lead-free at www.wildnh.com/fishing/get-the-lead-out.html. Collection receptacles for old lead tackle can be found at all New Hampshire Fish and Game offices and at The Loon Center in Moultonborough.
"Lead is a known factor that we have the ability to address. It is something we can choose to change," said Laura Ryder, education programs supervisor at Fish and Game. "Anglers have always been great conservationists. This new law, now in effect, gives us the opportunity to make a positive difference in the aquatic environment and our loon population."

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (www.wildnh.com) works in partnership with the public to conserve, manage and protect the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats; inform and educate the public about these resources; and provide the public with opportunities to use and appreciate these resources.

The Loon Preservation Committee (www.loon.org) monitors loons throughout the state as part of its mission to restore and maintain a healthy population of loons in New Hampshire; to monitor the health and productivity of loon populations as sentinels of environmental quality; and to promote a greater understanding of loons and the natural world.

07-16 loon

Lead fishing tackle is by far the largest documented source of adult loon mortality in New Hampshire, responsible for 48% of documented mortalities. Photo courtesy of Kittie Wilson.

Ashooh makes second bid for Congress

LACONIA — For the past decade, the 1st Congressional District has passed back and forth between Carol Shea-Porter of Rochester and Republican Frank Guinta of Manchester like a hot potato. Although they are seeking a fourth rematch, Guinta is challenged in the Republican primary by Rich Ashooh of Bedford, who seeks to break their grip on the seat while holding it for the GOP.

This is Ashooh's second bid for the seat. In 2010, when Guinta won the seat for the first time, he ran a strong third, just 42 votes shy of finishing second, as a field of eight shattered the vote in the GOP primary. This time around in a two-horse race, with Guinta haunted by his by his troubles with the Federal Election Commission, which prompted several prominent Republicans to call for his resignation, Ashooh enjoys much shorter odds.

In an election year that has been overshadowed by outsiders and insurgents, Ashooh boasts an a record of professional experience, civic engagement and charitable service that marks him as a consummate insider. Born and raised in Manchester, where his grandparents, Lebanese Christians fleeing persecution, settled a century ago, he graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1986 and soon made his way to Washington. He worked in the offices of two United States senators — Gordon Humphrey and Warren Rudman — in the 1980s, who left him with a commitment to fiscal discipline and responsibility, and dread of deficit spending and excessive debt.

After returning to New Hampshire, Ashooh served as a senior executive at BAE Systems, an aerospace manufacturer, overseeing the firm's relationships with federal and state government until last year. He represented the company as a director of several state regional and national business organizations. At the same time, he has trustee of both the University System of New Hampshire and Franklin Pierce University as well as a director of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and New Hampshire Public Television. Most recently, Ashooh served as interim executive director of the Warren. B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership and Public Service at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, a position he relinquished to run for Congress.

Pursuing sound fiscal policies and encouraging economic growth were Ashooh's priorities in 2010 and they remain his priorities in 2016. He stressed the urgency of reducing the deficits, balancing the budget and shrinking the debt, but rejected both sequestration and austerity. Instead, he said he was referring to "limiting growth," which he added would require Congress summoning the political will to make difficult choices.

In addition, Ashooh specified three necessary reforms. "The budget process has to change," he said, adding that he is reluctant to specify details because "people's eyes glaze over." Turning to the tax code, he said that it should be made more fair and more efficient while adjusting corporate taxes to repatriate capital has has flown abroad. Finally, the entitlement programs, chiefly Social Security and Medicare, must be reformed to ensure appropriate benefits for future generations.

Ashooh acknowledged that "Without bipartisanship nothing major gets done" and added that "a certain amount of pragmatism must be restored."

"I'm a limited government guy," Ashooh said, explaining that spurring economic growth will require "reducing government intervention in the marketplace" by easing the regulatory burdens and improving the tax environment for business. At the same time, he said that constraints placed on banks, especially community banks, in response to the recession, should be relaxed to ensure access to capital for for small businesses.

Ashooh, once a director of Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, conceded that congressional Republicans have "taken a very negative approach to health care," but at the same time insisted that the Affordable Care Act has not proved successful, particularly in containing costs. "We need to reform the reform," he said, "by addressing the cost drivers." In particular, he favor adjusting the incentives in Medicare and Medicaid to reward efficiency and trim costs.

Ashooh described the climate of the upcoming election as "not like anything I've ever seen before. I'm very glad to have my own race." He emphasized that while he will support the Republican presidential nominee, he will devote his time, energy and resources to his own campaign.

"I'm not running to be a preacher," Ashooh remarked, adding that he believes "You can hold to your principles, but still solve problems and get things done." He said that his resume "fits the profile of a lot of candidates," then added in jest "just not the ones who've won." His resume may be a handicap in the GOP primary. But, if he can overcome it, his deep roots in the community, where he has worked successfully with others of all persuasions, may serve him well among undeclared voters who will decide the outcome of the general election.

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