State wants Laconia to hand over emails regarding electronic poll books


LACONIA — City Clerk Mary Reynolds, together with her counterpart Matt Norman in Manchester, has been served with a Right-to-Know request by the New Hampshire Secretary of State arising from her part in a squabble over a proposal to use electronic poll books in Manchester, Hooksett and Durham in the primary and general elections.

In June, then state Sen. David Boutin, a Republican from Hooksett filed legislation to use the electronic poll books in the three precincts and immediately met with opposition from Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who said there was too little time to test the system and align it with the state's election laws. Although the bill carried the Senate, it failed in the House of Representatives.

Reynolds said Tuesday that the issue concerns her role as an officer of the New Hampshire City & Town Clerks Association, who openly supported the proposal, and does not bear on either her position as city clerk or the performance of her office. "It has nothing to do with Laconia," she said, "but I was one of those who contacted senators and representatives in support of the proposal." She explained that electronic poll books enable voters to swipe their driver's licenses at the polling station and if their name, address and age matches the information on the checklist they are given a ballot. She said the system has nothing to do with the ballots themselves.

The Right-to-Know request applies to all internal and external communications between the the city clerks and their staffs relaying to electronic poll books, including communications with vendors, particularly LHS Associates of Salem, New Hampshire and KNWINK of St. Louis, Missouri, lobbying groups, like the New Hampshire Municipal Association, League of Women Voters and America Votes, and state legislators during the 18 months between June 2015 and November 2016.

Tom Clark, the city solicitor in Manchester, asked the Secretary of State to narrow the scope of the request, but received no response. "We will comply with the request," Reynolds said, "but, it will take some time, maybe as long as six months. She said that emails sent between July 1, 2015, and January 31, 2016, have been archived, which could make them more difficult to search.

The New Hampshire Sunday News reported Normand describing the Secretary of State's request as "a provocative maneuver" and Clark saying that Manchester taxpayers should be spared the cost of "a petty disagreement over alternative methods to modernize the election process in New Hampshire or chill future attempts to do so."

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Car hits bicyclist on Union Ave.

LACONIA — A bicyclist on Union Avenue escaped serious injury Tuesday when he was struck by a car being driven by a 75-year-old man.

Police said the car, driven by Henry Putnam of 95A Church St. struck the bicycle, ridden by Brian Grace, 60, of Gilford, in the rear tire. Police said Grace likely struck Putnam's windshield.

Putnam continued to drive and pulled over on Weirs Boulevard where he came to the attention of some people who notified authorities that a man with a broken windshield needed some assistance.

Grace was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital for treatment of some minor injuries while Putnam was taken to the hospital for evaluation.

Police continue to investigate and ask anyone who may have witnessed the crash to call Officer Anna Brewer-Croteau at the Laconia Police Department at 524-5252.

– Gail Ober

12-13 accident at Pizza Hut

Emergency workers tend to an injured bicyclist involved in a hit-and-run Tuesday on Union Avenue. (Ginger Kozlowski/Laconia Daily Sun)

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Children's Auction raises $489,435 for local charities

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Volunteers for the Greater Lakes Region Children's auction crowd the podium as the grand total of $489, 435 is announced on Saturday.  (Alan MacRae/for the Laconia Daily Sun)


LACONIA — The Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction raised $489,435 in its first year operating out of Contigiani's Catering and Event Center at Pheasant Ridge Golf Club in Gilford.
Of that total, $276,267 was raised by Pub Mania at Patrick's Pub and Eatery in Gilford.
"It is truly an honor to be part of such a community and to watch over 1,500 volunteers between the auction and Pub Mania," said Sandy Marshall, chairman of auction.
She said that many people worked to make the auction a success and praised Jim and Bonnie Contigiani and Contigiani's Catering and Event Center "for letting us completely take over their space for a week during their busiest season."
Marshall also expressed gratitude to Sandy Cleary and CruCon Cruise Outlet for being the presenting sponsor for the auction, as well as donating a truckload of auction items, and to R.J. and Bridget Harding of the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion for giving the auction use of their staff for a week and providing all the technical support needed to keep the phone banks, website and bid boards always moving.
She thanked MetroCast and Steve Mazzaschi for wiring the building so the auction could be broadcast live, and to Lakes Region Public Access TV and its manager Grace McNamara and technical guru Shane Selling, as well as students from the Huot Center and community volunteers.
And she said that Alan Beetle and the whole crew from Patrick's held an amazingly successful Pub Mania, which shattered its own record for fundraising.
Pub Mania, now in its eighth year, has raised over $1.3 million for the auction. The 31 teams taking part devote time year-round to raising funds for the auction through a variety of activities, ranging from weekly cribbage and bingo games, pool tournaments, comedy nights and spaghetti suppers. Beetle thanked all of the teams and their captains at last week's Pub Mania event kickoff, observing that all of the work was 99 percent completed and that it was up to the 24 members of each team to enjoy themselves and have some fun.

Marshall  said the board of directors of the auction will hand out the first series of checks on Wednesday, Dec. 14, "so that our Greater Lakes Region cildren will have warm clothes, food and Christmas gifts."

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Pub Mania "Mayor" Michael Seymour holds the microphone for Allan Beetle of Patrick's Pub and Eatery as Beetle announces the total of $276,267 by the annual fundraiser for the Greater Lakes Region Children's auction on Saturday.  (Alan MacRae/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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