LACONIA — Just days before the filing period for state offices opens on Wednesday, some 350 Republicans, including most of the announced candidates, clambered aboard the MSS Mount Washington on Friday night for the Lincoln Day Sunset Dinner Cruise hosted by the Belknap County Republican Committee.
Walt Havenstein of Alton, one of two candidates running for governor, was on board, but Andrew Hemingway of Bristol his opponent was not, but a number of his supporters marked his presence in the race. The passenger list included all four candidates bidding to challenge Jeanne Shaheen for the United States Senate — Scott Brown of Rye, Jim Rubens of Etna, Karen Testerman of Franklin and Bob Smith of Tuftonboro. Both candidates in the second congressional district, Marlinda Garcia of Salem and Gary Lambert of Nashua, were on hand, but only Dan Innis of Portsmouth, who is vying with Frank Guinta of Manchester for the nomination in the first district, joined the cruise.
After winning a special election in March to succeed the late Ray Burton as the Executive Councilor in District 1, Joe Kenney came aboard to begin his re-election campaign.
"This is an exciting time to be a Republican in New Hampshire," Jennifer Horne, who chairs the Republican State Committee, told the crowd, adding "we have a lot of exciting primaries."
The tension within the ranks of the GOP was signaled by the buzz in some quarters about the decision of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, a conservative group recruiting "pro-liberty" candidates, to endorse Rubens over Brown in the U.S. Senate race. The news followed reports that Republican state senators, including the Chuck Morse of Salem, the president of the Senate, and Jeanie Forrester of Meredith, would be targeted with primary opponents.
Of all the primary contests, the race for the gubernatorial nomination is most likely to set the direction of the GOP. "I am the establishment," Havenstein remarked. I'm not all things to all people. I'm a meat and potatoes Republican."
Hemingway, 31, describes himself as an "entrepreneur," but is best known in political circles, where he served as chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire and ran unsuccessfully for the chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party. In a letter read by Representative Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderrty), he declared that the state's motto — "Live Free Or Die" — is "a statement of principle" and that his campaign is keyed to "individual liberty, personal freedom and fiscal responsibility."
Havenstein, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy with a degree in aerospace engineering, served in the United States Marine Corps from 1971 to 1999, where he specialized in tactical communications and systems acquisition management. He spent the next 13 years in the private sector, most of them with BAE Systems, Inc. of Nashua, where he is fond of saying he managed a budget three times the size of that of the state.
Calling himself "an experienced decision maker," Havenstein emphasized that he is not guided by "abstractions and theory" but reaches "practical decisions based on the facts." When he was asked about the GOP platform, he confessed he had not read it closely, then noted that his wife served on the platform committee and helped "reign in the platform from being a series of litmus tests."
Havenstein, who firmly opposed both broad-based taxes and expanded gambling, said that he intends to overcome the fiscal challenges facing the state by expanding the economy. "We must become the more competitive with the other states in New England by reducing the overhead burden of doing business," he said, referring to the high corporate tax rate along with the costs of health insurance, unemployment insurance and worker's compensation.
Born and raised in Plymouth, Hemingway attended Calvary Christian School and upon graduation enrolled at Ambassador Baptist College in Lattimore, North Carolina, which was founded by the evangelist Ron Comfort in 1989 with the mission of preparing men and women spiritually and academically for the ministry. He did not graduate, but while at college started his first business, a window washing company. Since leaving college he has worked in insurance, dry cleaning and janitorial services as well as launched several digital projects, including political communications and fundraising ventures.
Hemingway has called for "innovative solutions" and in his letter proposed suspending the rooms and meals tax to attract greater numbers of tourists and introducing a package of tax incentives to encourage businesses to operate in the state. He has also urged the state to reject federal education mandates and abandon the Common Core program while promoting parental choice and charter schools.
Each candidate was allotted three minutes to speak and all struck a common note, pillorying Democratic leadership, which they claimed has brought the country and the state to the edge of an abyss.
"We must take back America and save this country," declared Bob Smith, who served in Congress as a representative and senator from 1984 until 2003.
"I'm an angry woman," proclaimed Testerman, who invoked the memory of Hannah Dustin and vowed to take scalps. proclaimed. "Our country is burning down," said Rubens, forecasting the collapse of the dollar.
But, Brown may have delivered the most important message when he promised whatever the outcome of the Republican primary to support the winner and expected others to do the same.
CAPTION: David Webb, the conservative radio personality who served as emcee for the Belknap County Republican Committee's Lincoln Day Sunset Dinner Cruise aboard the MSS Mt. Washington, spared a moment from his duties to welcome Elaine Swinford of Barnstead (left) and Belknap County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen (right). (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 June 2014 12:37
TILTON — The 14 members of the Belknap County Superior Court jury that will decide whether or not a former Sanborn Road man is guilty of rape and indecent exposure was taken to the scene of the alleged crime yesterday afternoon.
Judge James O'Neill instructed them to pay close attention to what is now Country Meadows Park because they are going to hear about this place and how it relates to the case against Thomas Gardner.
"Look as carefully as you can," O'Neill said.
Jurors walked what appeared to be a quarter-mile square block around a portion while Deputy Belknap County Prosecutor Carley Ahern and Gardner's defense team accompanied them and pointed out a mobile home and a scenic view that will factor into the testimony.
The state argues that Gardner received oral sex at that location in January of 2013 from a disabled man who was in his care at the time. He was allegedly spotted and reported by two men who said they were at the park (then called Sherryland) to look at a mobile home that was for sale.
Gardner has said he and the young man were at Sherryland Park to look at the view and see if they could see their house after a recently logging operation removed some of the trees. He argues that the two men who called police were there to do something illegal and when they realized they weren't alone, filed a false police report against him.
The trial will reconvene today at 9:30 a.m. at the Belknap County Court House where the jury is expected to hear opening arguments.
CUTLINE: Belknap County Judge James O'Neill (far right) holds a private discussion with Deputy Belknap County Prosecutor Carley Ahern (far left) and Thomas Gardner's defense team of Amy Ashworth (center left) and Wade Harwood (center right) at the place where a Tilton man is accused of raping a disabled man who was in his care. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 June 2014 12:27
LACONIA — The Police Commissioners on Monday unanimously agreed to the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement with the Laconia Police Association after discussions in what are commonly referred to as a "non-meeting".
Details of the contract will not be made available to the public until after it is ratified by the union membership. LPA President Jeff Wholly said yesterday the 23 employees covered by the contract have a meeting scheduled for June 11.
Should the contract be ratified by a majority of the LPA membership, it will be forward to the Laconia City Council for funding approval.
The Laconia Police Associate is now operating under a two-year contract that was approved by the City Council on June 25, 2012 and that expires on July 1 of this year.
In a recent meeting, the police commission approved three years of wage increases and insurance benefit changes for it's non-union employees. At the time, Commission Chair Warren Clement said it was consistent with what the commission would like to see in the LPA contract.
The non-union pay scales include cost-of-living raises starting at 2 percent in 2014 and gradually increasing by 0.25 percent through 2016.
Other changes included the elimination of a more expensive insurance plan which will mean higher out-of-pocket expenses for employees, including an increase in the percentage each employee will contribute to premiums.
Although Wholly declined to comment on the proposed contract, he said negotiations with management and the city were amicable.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 June 2014 12:22
NORTHFIELD — A Gifford Drive woman died Monday afternoon after the golf cart in which she was riding struck her front porch crushing her between porch and the cart.
Police said Sherry Isabelle, 57, was letting her 5-year-old grandchild drive the golf cart around her yard when the child lost control and hit the porch around 3:30 p.m. The front of the cart hit a porch footing and caused the porch to ride up on to the front of the cart.
The 5-year-old was taken to the hospital for evaluation but appeared unharmed while a 3-year-old child riding in the back seat of the cart was uninjured.
It appears as though the three had been driving around the front lawn said police.
Police said the 3-year-old somehow alerted a neighbor who called 9-1-1 and was able to get Isabelle off of the golf cart so he could begin administering CPR.
Firefighters and police arrived moments later but were unable to revive Isabelle and she was pronounced dead at the scene, likely from internal injuries said police.
Police are asking people to take all precautions when driving off-road vehicles including golf carts and remembers that there are risks and dangers associated with them.
Northfield Police continue to investigate but said no charges will be filed.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 June 2014 12:16
- Internet blog names Laconia 2nd most exciting city in N.H.
- School board incumbents running again; filing opens today
- Co. jail planners will make their pitch for interim funding on June 16
- Chichester teacher to be new Elm Street principal
- Ed Philpot retiring from county board
- Trial of Tilton man accused of sexual assault of disabled man under his care gets underway on Tuesday