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Local Republicans get high grades from conservative political advocacy group

LACONIA — Eight of 13 Republican members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives from Belknap County received perfect marks from the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which scored the votes of lawmakers on 15 bills to come before the House this year.

Americans for Prosperity is a nationwide political advocacy organization that promotes limited government, lower taxes and individual freedom. It claims 29,000 activists in New Hampshire.

Reps. Jane Cormier and Stephen Holmes of Alton, Charles Fink and Michael Sylvia of Belmont, Bob Greemore, Herb Vadney and Colette Worsman of Meredith and Bob Luther of Laconia all scored 100 percent to earn grades of "A.". Rep. Guy Comtois of Barnstead was also graded "A" with a score of 93-percent. Reps. Richard Burchell of Gilmanton and Dennis Fields scored 86-percent and Frank Tilton of Laconia 80-percent to earn grades of "B." Among the Republicans Rep. Don Flanders of Laconia posted the lowest score of 72-percent, which was worth a "C."

All five Democrats from the county — Reps. Beth Arsenault and David Huot of Laconia, Lisa DiMartino of Gilford, Ruth Gulick of New Hampton and Ian Raymond of Sanbornton — consistently voted against the recommendation of Americans for Prosperity to receive scores of zero and grades of "F."

Earlier this month, the House Republican Alliance, which grades the voting records of lawmakers according to how closely they match the GOP platform, awarded the 13 Republican members of the House an average score of 87.8-percent, the highest among the 10 county delegations.

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 June 2014 12:12

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AAA members rate repair service at Irwin Auto higher than any other dealership in Northern New England

LACONIA — The Irwin Automotive Group was presented with the Auto Repair Facility of the Year Award Thursday by AAA of Northern New England for having achieved a 98.6 percent customer satisfaction rating for 2013.
It was the first time Irwin has won the award and prompted Chris Irwin, vice president of the company, to say, ''We always go above and beyond to give the best possible service to our customers. The service departments throughout the Irwin Automotive Group have made a tremendous accomplishment and their hard work is definitely paying off with this great award.''
Tom Giasson, manager of AAA Northern New England Approved Auto Programs, congratulated Irwin and his entire staff. ''This award recognizes the best of the best. Finishing number one is no easy task and scoring a 98.6 percent overall rating for a whole year is a remarkable achievement.''
Christopher Leone of AAA's Northern New England office in Bow, said that AAA collects the data from customer surveys and that Irwin Ford and Toyota scored the highest AAA rating among all AAA approved new car dealers in New Hampshire.
Leone presented the award to Ron O'Connor Jr., service manager for the Irwin Automotive Group, and 20 of the members of the service department who gathered outside the dealership for a group photo.
In celebration of the award, a pizza party was held at the dealership Thursday at noon for the staff at Irwin Automotive.

Irwin Motors was honored by AAA of Northern New England as the Auto Repair Facility of the Year after achieving a 98.6 customer satisfaction rate for 2013. Shown above are Front Row: Chris Leone (Automotive Specialist AAA) and Ron O'Connor, Jr. (Service Manager - Irwin Auto Group); Second Row (left to right); Charlie Gatanti, Kevin Fitzgerald, Mike Adair, Evan Bleakney, Tim Sargent, Travis Houghtaling, Matt Currier, Third Row (left to right); Ed Kelley (Assistant Service Manager - Irwin Auto Group), Mike Hayes, Jason Foss, Jeff Peterson, Jeremy Brown, Matt Rhoades, Sam Grad, Don Best and Steve Richmond, Back Row (left to right); Mike Wood, Myles Sennott, Wayne Thayer, Ray Dow. Other members of the auto repair team not in the photo include Ken Brace, Wayne Uhlenberg, Jason Coe, Brad Linder, Lloyd Miles, Gary Stohl, Carolynn Paquet, Dick Weber, Cynthia McGinley, Gary Kenneson, Chris Otte, Francis Horne, Josh Brough, Sean Donahoe, Mike Fluery, Mike Wheeler, Dominic Biello, David Rugg and Steve Buchanan. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Friday, 27 June 2014 12:24

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Man who survived heroin overdose in jail for alleged violation of bail terms

LACONIA — A Belmont man who overdosed on heroin and nearly died on May 7 is now being held without bail in the Belknap County House of Corrections after not complying with the original terms of his release.

Judge James O'Neill revoked the bail of Patrick Stitt, 40, of Middle Route after his case manager at Belknap County Restorative Justice Program reported that he had failed to report for a mandatory check in on May 19 and had admitted to using heroin on either May 24 or May 25.

Asst. Belknap County Attorney Adam Wood requests Stitt's bail be revoked because he "is unlikely to abide by any condition or combination of conditions of release."

Stitt was charged by Belmont Police with one count of possession of heroin after they responded with the fire department to the home he shares with his mother and his girlfriend.

EMTs found him unresponsive and suffering from breathing difficulties. After administering NARCAN, Stitt was able to walk to the ambulance.

When police went to the hospital to arrest him, they learned he had walked away from the emergency room. A Belmont Police sergeant found him walking along Route 107.

After appearing in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division the next morning, Judge Jim Carroll ordered him to be held on $2,000 cash bail and given a set of conditions that included no drugs or alcohol should he post the bail.

His bail review hearing is scheduled for bail review June 30 in the Belknap County Superior Court.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 June 2014 12:14

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Charges stem from June 2013 accident

BELMONT — The driver of an SUV that allegedly cross the center line on Route 106 and crashed into a passenger vehicle on June 27, 2013 has been charged with two counts of vehicular assault.

Police affidavits said Aaron Downing, 29, of 38 Concord St. was in the oncoming lane when the two vehicles collided at 7:12 a.m. Rte. 106 was closed for eight hours while members of the Belknap Regional Accident Investigative Team investigated.

Downing was charged one day shy of the first anniversary of the crash. He was arraigned by video from Merrimack County House of Corrections, where he is serving a sentence for an unrelated incident.

Police affidavits said two witnesses told police that Downing was turning onto Rte. 106 headed north when his car swerved entirely into the southbound lane.

"I saw Aaron come around the corner fast and he swerved into her lane and hit her. She wasn't at fault," police report one eyewitness telling them.

The force of the crash caused both vehicles to land entirely in the northbound lane. When police arrived the female victim was in trapped in her car and Downing was sitting on top of his.

Firefighters had to cut off the top of the woman's car to free her. She was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital and then flown to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon for treatment of life-threatening injuries.

Affidavits said she suffered liver damage, a concussion, broken ribs with damage to her right lung, a broken wrist, finger, and two broken femurs.

Affidavits said Downing's blood was seized and tested at LRGH and tested by the N.H. State Police Toxicology Lab, where they determined it contained benzoyecgonine, morphine, methadone, cocaine, opiates, and traces of codeine.

Each count represents a different theory of the alleged crime. The first contends Downing failed to maintain lane control while the second contends he had consumed illegal drugs.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 June 2014 11:57

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