Snowmobiler is run over

Belmont man seriously hurt after hitting fence


BELMONT — In a freak snowmobiling accident Wednesday night, a 35-year-old Belmont man sustained life-threatening injuries when he crashed into a fence and then was accidentally run over by another snowmobiler, officials said.
The victim, whose name was not released, was found unconscious and bleeding, with broken bones and head trauma, according to Belmont Fire Department Capt. Mike Newhall.
The crash happened around 10:30 p.m. on a trail off of South Road, which links Route 140 and Route 106. The snowmobiler likely would have died on impact if not for the fact that he was wearing a helmet, Newhall said.
"He had hit a fence post and his riding partner ran over him by accident. He split his helmet in half," Newhall said.
"It saved his life," Newhall said of the helmet, "but he still had significant trauma to his head and neck."
The victim was transported to Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia and then taken by ground ambulance to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. Aerial transport was not possible due to the weather.
Belmont police and fire responders used snowmobiles that were provided to them by other riders to make access to the scene of the accident, Newhall reported.
"We were fortunate. Snowmobilers are quite a nice bunch of people, when our first guys got there, and people were there, they said, 'Take our sleds. Take them.' And they let us use them," he said.
The crash occurred about 1,500 yards into the woods, and without the use of snowmobiles, the rescue could have involved a larger number of responders and taken much longer, Newhall said.
Belmont firefighter Josh Huestis, student intern John Bowler and Lt. Sean McCarty, along with Belmont police, were first to make contact with the patient, Newhall said. The victim was unresponsive and had significant head trauma, as well as many broken bones, he reported. The Argo, an eight-wheel vehicle with tracks that drives on top of the snow, arrived with additional personnel, including Lt. Greg Bavis and student intern Steve Maffee, shortly after the initial group of responders made contact, Newhall said. The patient was loaded into a stokes litter and placed on the Argo for transport off of the trail, and from there was loaded into the ambulance, he said.
There were no drugs or alcohol involved, Newhall said.
New Hampshire Fish and Game is investigating the incident.

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Tandem bicyclists are racing across America


HOLDERNESS — A series of fundraisers are being planned over the next several months to help John Jurczynski and Ann Rasmussen, who hope to set a new mixed tandem team record in this summer's 3,089-mile Race Across America, to raise funds for First Descents, which provides provides life-changing outdoor adventures for young adults (age 18-39) impacted by cancer.
Jurczynski, manager of the Rockywold-Deephaven Camps on Squam Lake, and Rasmussen, a guidance counselor at Plymouth Regional High School, have been doing tandem bicycling for two years now. Last year they logged over 14,000 miles on the road and practice two to three hours a day this time of year, as well as on weekends.
Last weekend they set new records for tandem bikers in both the 12-hour and 24-hour categories at an event in Sebring, Florida. They eclipsed the previous record of 239 miles in the 12-hour event with 253 miles and went on to set the 24-hour record with 426 miles, some 57 miles ahead of the old record of 369 miles.
Last November they became world champions for mixed tandem bicyclists in the 24 Hour World Time Trial Championships in Borrego Springs, Cailfornia, winning the overall tandem division with 433.2 miles on Nov. 4 and 5. But those times were not recognized as official records.
The Race Across America starts on June 13 in Riverside, California, and ends in Annapolis, Maryland.
"Despite our advanced ages (53 and 60 respectively), in the two years that we have been riding together, Ann and I have had very good results on the tandem. If things are going well and we have some favorable winds, we would like to set a new mixed tandem record. The record of 10 days 22 hours and 40 minutes was set in 1990 by Ron Dossenbach and Sue Pavlet. Their average speed was 11.15 mph," he says.
It will not be a new experience for Jurczynski, who 10 years ago, at the age of 50, won his age group in the Race Across America, riding some 3,000 miles in 11 days, 22 hours, and 14 minutes and raised over $35,000 for diabetes research.
Locally, Jennifer Morris is associated with First Descents and with her help John and Ann hope to raise $60,000 for the organization.
On March 4 there will be a live music event at Cafe Monte Alto in Plymouth featuring the Sweet Bloods at 11 a.m. and the Jared Steer-Dave Kobrenski Duo at 12:30 p.m. There will also be donation yoga classes at many yoga studios in the central New Hampshire-White Mountains area on March 20 and in mid-May a cocktail-music event will be held at a local restaurant. For more information contact Morris at 738-4443.
"While Ann and I plan to cover all of our own expenses, we also hope to find sponsors willing to help cover the estimated $30,000 in costs for transportation, lodging and meals for eight to ten crew members driving three support vehicles across the country, twice, over a 14 to 18 day period." says Jurczynski. He says that he is hopeful that much of that cost will be covered by bike raffle being held by Rhino Bike Works in Plymouth.
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John Jurczynski and Ann Rasmussen set new tandem bike records in the 12-hour and 24-hour events in Sebring, Florida, over the weekend. (Coutesy photo)

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Petition would kill ambulance fund

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Sanbornton Fire & Rescue emergency medical technicians Dan Chapman (left) and Duncan Phillips unload a cot with a cardiac monitor from the Sanbornton ambulance Thursday. (David Carkhuff/Laconia Daily Sun)

Sanbornton Budget Committee member pushes for warrant article


SANBORNTON — A special revenue fund for fire and rescue emergency medical services equipment, worth $273,004, could go into town coffers to help reduce the tax rate, say advocates for a petitioned article that would kill the fund.
"The idea was to shut the fund down, and that would eliminate the money for the second ambulance. By discontinuing the fund, that money would go back to the taxpayers," said Roger Grey, representative of the Concerned Sanbornton Citizens, a group pushing for the shift in funding.
Grey is a member of the Sanbornton Budget Committee and member of the Sanbornton Fire Department Regionalization Study Committee.
"There's a group of us who feel our town, a town of 2,900, doesn't need a second ambulance," Grey said.
By a vote at Town Meeting, the money could be allocated to other needs.
A public hearing on Tuesday will give voters a chance to review the petitioned article. The hearing is 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the Town Office Building, 573 Sanborn Road, Sanbornton.
Warrant Article 12 is titled, "Petitioned Article to Discontinue the 'Emergency Medical Services Fire and Rescue Apparatus, Equipment and Vehicles Special Revenue Fund' per NH RSA 31:95-d." Critics of the article say it would upend years of planning and leave the town vulnerable with only one ambulance.
Arguments for discontinuing the fund include the point that setting aside $50,000 in ambulance annual revenue could help lower taxes for the taxpayers and that using the current ambulance fund balance of $273,004 could reduce the tax rate and defray other town costs.
Fire Chief Paul Dexter said he couldn't understand absorbing the Emergency Medical Services Fire and Rescue Apparatus, Equipment and Vehicles Special Revenue Fund and redirecting the money to the highway department or for lowering the tax rate, as proposed.
Dexter said that $273,000 is only going to be "a feel-good thing for the first year."
"Then, there isn't another $273,000 next year to offset the taxes so then we have to ask the taxpayers for money to replace an ambulance," he said.
Proponents also argued that the town can draw on a Fire Truck Repair and Refurbish Capital Reserve Fund with an estimated balance by this budget year's end of $85,016 with an additional $10,000 added in next year's budget. They noted that the fire department also maintains a Fire Truck Replacement Capital Reserve Fund with an estimated balance at the end of the current budget year of $266,946, with an additional $70,000 added in next year's budget.
The Fire Truck Replacement Capital Reserve Fund, Dexter said, is designed to replace fire trucks. The $70,000 addition to this fund is based on a current plan for 20- to 25-year rotations of new fire trucks, he said.
The Fire Truck Repair and Refurbish Capital Reserve Fund, Dexter said, handles major repairs which can't be covered by his $13,000 vehicle repair budget in the fire department budget.
Proponents said discontinuing the ambulance fund "should put to rest, at least for the foreseeable future, the request for a second ambulance," which isn't warranted, they said.
Dexter said last year was a busy one for Sanbornton Fire & Rescue, with an increase of 14 percent for emergency calls and an increase of 30 percent for all service-related inspections and permits. The ambulance goes on all of the estimated 450 calls a year that the fire department runs, Dexter said.
Dexter said yearly mileage on the ambulance is 7,069 miles per year, according to a memo of questions and answers from the Sanbornton Fire Department Regionalization Study Committee.
When asked the justification for a second ambulance, he wrote, "On average we place the current ambulance 'out of service' 10 to 15 times yearly for maintenance issues like warranty recalls, preventive maintenance and emergency breakdowns, we average another 20 emergency calls for service which are simultaneous calls which we have to call in another town to cover the second call for transport of the patient, we still send an Engine to the scene since the engine carries lifesaving equipment to stabilized a patient until a transport ambulance arrives. Over the last two years we had another town transport patients 39 times."
Grey said, "Belknap County is fortunate to have an excellent mutual aid network, and if our ambulance is tied up, one of the surrounding communities would rush to our aid."
But Dexter said, "We draw from Tilton, Franklin, New Hampton, and they're having problems covering second calls, as we all are."
A second ambulance is part of the five-year plan for the department, Dexter said.
The fund is used annually to cover the cost of a billing company, which is paid $6,000 a year. The fund is automatically reimbursed through the billing company based on patient transports, Dexter said. The town receives about 95 percent of commitments outstanding, he said.
"It's like a capital reserve account we're developing for the future," he said.
The fund has been in place for 18 years. It was established back in 1999. In 2008, the fund was expanded to allow fire and EMS equipment and apparatus, Dexter said. In 2011, it was expanded again to allow vehicles, he said.
In the life of the fund, the town has accrued $961,129 of revenue over 18 years, with close to $687,029 in taxes deferred through use of the fund, Dexter said.
"If this article passes, then the money will be transferred to the general fund, and then moving forward, quite honestly we don't know what it will look like," Dexter said.
The town auditor recommended keeping those revenues separate from the general fund, Dexter said.
The Budget Committee voted 4-1, with Grey in the minority, to oppose the petition article. Selectmen also voted to oppose the petition article.
A warrant article for two full-time firefighters and emergency medical service technicians, for $139,800, is not affected by the revenue fund petitioned article.

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A second ambulance is part of a five-year plan for the fire and rescue department in Sanbornton, the fire chief reports. (David Carkhuff/Laconia Daily Sun)

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