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Guinta tells Laconia Rotarians he felt compelled to take anohter shot at representing First District in Congress

LACONIA — "I think we're in trouble," Republican Frank Guinta, told the Laconia Rotary Club yesterday. "The country is headed in the wrong direction."

Guinta is challenging Democrat Carol Shea-Porter, the incumbent, in the First Congressional District for the third time in the past four years. Elected in 2006, Shea-Porter served two terms before being ousted by Guinta in 2010. Two years later she turned the tables, setting the stage for the third round of their rivalry on Tuesday, November 4..

"It was rather nice not to talk or think much about politics," Guinta said of the first six months following his defeat, which he spent with his wife, Morgan and their daughter Colby and son Jack. He said that he enjoyed "looking at the world through the eyes of a private citizen."

Guinta was troubled by what he saw. He said that from his parents he learned that "if you work hard you can pursue any opportunity you so desire" but he is concerned that for the first time the opportunities open to the next generation may not match those of the last.

"We face some very challenging problems," Guinta said, "but there are some very logical solutions." He said that neither the budget deficits nor the national debt are sustainable, noting that he is among the sponsors of legislation requiring a balanced budget. Government regulations have become increasingly onerous, he claimed, especially on small businesses, which he called "the backbone of the New Hampshire economy."

Guinta stressed the importance of reforming the individual and corporate tax codes to enable businesses to become more competitive internationally. In particular, he said that steps must be taken to forestall American corporations from escaping their tax liability by acquiring companies overseas.

Turning to foreign policy, he suggested that the stature of the United States abroad has diminished. "We need to have a role where we are respected," he said. "Where we can lead."

In response to a question, Guinta warned that without changes the Social Security system will go bankrupt. Asked twice what steps he would take to sustain the system, he said he would convene a bipartisan committee "with everything on the table" and ensure that those impacted by any changes would have 25 or 30 to plan for their retirement. Pressed he replied, "a combination of things."
"Cynicism about politics is well warranted," Guinta said, conceding that Congress has had scant success in addressing these issues. He said that although the current House of Representatives has passed 285 bills, 90-percent of them with bipartisan support, the Senate has taken a mere 21 votes. The process by which the House, where the Republicans have held the majority since 2010, and Senate, where the Democrats hold the majority, adopt different versions of the same legislation, including the budget, then resolve their differences in a committee of conference, Guinta said has not been working for six years.

"Most people don't think there is a Republican or Democratic way to pick up trash or plow roads," Guinta remarked, emphasizing the need for "good public policy, not politics, regardless of party affiliation. We must restore faith in government."

Last Updated on Friday, 24 October 2014 12:52

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Lawyer says man who fled with stolen car is suffering from PTSD as result of earlier stabbing

CIRCUIT COURT — The defense attorney for a Tilton man who allegedly fled from Laconia police while driving a stolen vehicle on September 28 said his client is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since being the victim of a stabbing in February.

Atty. Justin Littlefield argued in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division that Corey Cromwell, 26, formerly of 18 Pine Street in Tilton should have his bail reduced from $2,000 cash to personal recognizance so he can get some mental health treatment.

"Mr. Cromwell was a victim of a pretty horrific incident," said Littlefield, adding that his client wants and needs some mental health treatment that he can't get while he is incarcerated.

Cromwell is charged with one count of receiving stolen property — a car reported stolen from Bay Street, one count of disobeying an officer, and one count of criminal mischief for damages he allegedly caused to the property of St. Andre Bessette Parish on Union Avenue while fleeing from police on September 28.

On February 23, 2014, Cromwell and two of his friends were ambushed while they walked up the stairs to Cromwell's former apartment in Belmont. Cromwell was stabbed eight or nine times including one cut to his throat. He was airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon for treatment.

"He has had a difficult time coping with that incident and further incarceration won't help," Littlefield said.

Laconia Prosecutor Jim Sawyer said Cromwell should continue to be held on cash bail. He said Cromwell fled from the police in a car that was found burning in Gilford a short time later.

Sawyer noted that Cromwell was still being held on $500 cash bail for a recent drug arrest in Tilton, that he was charged recently in Sanbornton for having a false inspection sticker, and he is facing an operation after suspension in the Laconia Courts.

Sawyer said that Gilford Police are working with the Belknap County Attorney's Office to get Cromwell indicted for arson.

Littlefield said Cromwell hasn't been charged with arson and since that issue is not before the court it should not be a consideration for bail.

Littlefield also said his client would live with his mother in Hillsborough County (the actual address is sealed and unavailable to the public) and would abide by any bail conditions set by the court.

He said Cromwell has a good job and his mother, who was in the courtroom, needs the financial help her son can give her.

Judge Jim Carroll said he would reduce Cromwell's bail from $2,000 cash to $1,500 cash. Should he post it, he is ordered to seek mental health counseling, report to the court every Thursday morning for compliance court, and remain in his mother's house in Hillsborough County.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 October 2014 12:34

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Public Access TV staff will stay on without pay for now

LACONIA — Lakes Region Public Access television will remain on the air at least through the end of the month, according to station manager Denise Beauchaine.
She said that the employees of the station met Monday and decided to continue providing programming, even though the station's funds to meet payroll were expected to be exhausted as of Wednesday.
''We decided to wait and see how the towns and the city of Laconia respond to the bills that we sent out last week,'' said Beauchaine, who said that she understands the requests for payments which would be in line with what has traditionally have been paid have been tabled in both Gilford, where $18,000 was sought, and in Belmont, which was billed for $15,000.
It is expected that the Laconia City Council will take up LRPA's request for $43,000 when it meets Monday night.
The next meeting of the board of directors of LRPA-TV will be Tuesday, October 28 at the LRPA studio at Laconia High School.
At an emergency meeting held on October 11 the directors voted unanimously to send out bills to member communities requesting the original amounts that would have been paid this year rather than those adopted as part of a new business plan the board had hoped to implement earlier this year.
LRPA has an annual operating budget of about $130,000 and employs five people: station manager Denise Beauchaine as well as one full-time and one part-time worker and two contractors.
LRPA has been drawing from its reserves to sustain operations since July 1, when member municipalities entered a new 10-year contract with MetroCast Cablevision. Under the new contract each municipality will operate educational and governmental channels (24 and 26), which broadcast only to the municipality where the programming originates while LRPA would provide public access on channel 25, airing programs from individuals and organizations from the member municipalities. However, the municipalities, which had contributed to funding the operation of LRPA, withdrew their support. and, at the same time, MetroCast withheld its annual $30,000 grant to LRPA, leaving the station without a revenue stream.
As early as February, the board of directors of the LRPA anticipated that its funding would be eroded when the new contract was signed and began drafting a new business plan, with the goal of generating $300,000 in income the first year. Sponsorships from between 50 and 100 businesses at between $1,000 and $2,000 a year were projected to provide much of the revenue with fees for service accounting for the balance. But the plan has never been implemented.
Beauchaine said that LRPA plans to have a recording presence at Monday's meeting of the Belknap County Convention's Executive Committee when it takes up requests from the Belknap County Commissioners for budget transfers which will allow the county to pay its share of health insurance premiums for the rest of the year rather than shift those costs to workers.
She said that that is the kind of programming LRPA feels it has a responsibility to bring to the community and wants to be able to continue to provide.
Beauchaine says that there has been widespread concern expressed over coverage for the annual WLNH Children's Auction, which the station provides live coverage for during December, as well as Laconia's Downtown Holiday Parade, which the station also covers.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 October 2014 12:28

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Newfound board decides half-day K teacher can stay at New Hampton elementary

by Thomas P. Caldwell

BRISTOL — Heidi Sidwell, a teacher at the New Hampton Community School for more than two decades, will continue teaching kindergarten there, rather than being transferred to a Grade 1 position at Danbury Elementary School, as proposed by Superintendent Stacy Buckley.
The Newfound Area School Board on Oct. 14 authorized the superintendent to hire a new, full-time teacher for Danbury so Sidwell, who is full-time employee but now has only a single, half-day kindergarten class because of a reduced student population, can remain where she is.
A number of residents attending Tuesday's school board meeting came to voice opposition to the superintendent's solution to the crowding problem in Danbury's combined kindergarten-Grade 1 class. The class size had increased from a projected 18 students last spring to 24 at the start of the school year and 26 by the end of September.
Buckley wanted to create separate classrooms for kindergarten and Grade 1, retaining the current teacher at the kindergarten level and bringing Sidwell from New Hampton to teach Grade 1. Buckley said it made sense because decreasing class sizes in New Hampton and at the Bridgewater-Hebron Village School have resulted in only one section of kindergarten at each of those schools, with a full-time kindergarten teacher at each site. The change would allow the district to hire a part-time kindergarten teacher for New Hampton while seeing that Sidwell had a full day's work.
Parents supporting Sidwell had circulated an online petition that garnered 66 signatures, asking that she be retained in New Hampton. During the meeting, a young girl from New Hampton read a prepared plea asking the school board to find a different solution to avoid disrupting the kindergarten class there.
Megan McGraw of New Hampton also spoke, saying, "Parents definitely want our New Hampton teacher to stay." She also urged the board to consider providing all-day kindergarten, saying she knew of 20 families that send their children elsewhere because the district does not offer all-day kindergarten.
Prior to the public comment period, the school board already had voiced reservations about the superintendent's solution. Chair Ruby Hill of Danbury noted that the plan disrupts two sets of children and New Hampton's Christine Divol commented, "I don't think it's based on the students, but on convenience."
When the issue came to a vote, the school board went with the more expensive plan, which will keep Sidwell where she is. While board members also expressed an interest in looking into full-time kindergarten throughout the district, they said that would be a topic for a future meeting.
In supporting the motion for a new teacher in Danbury, Vincent Paul Migliore of Bridgewater commented, "Based on the fact of this being early in year, and on what we always end up with at end of year, we've got plenty of dough for this."
The comment from fiscally conservative Migliore was a reference to Business Administrator Michael Limanni's announcement that the school district had ended fiscal year 2013-2014 with an unexpended fund balance of $1.458 million. He attributed the large figure to sound management, lower than expected special education costs, and unanticipated revenue from the health insurance trust which, under court order, had returned funds the N.H. Supreme Court had ruled to be illegally collected.
Migliore complained that the school district had been over-budgeting or "padding" the budget each year. Limanni responded that some of the money placed in the budget is required by law, and some was in contingency funds to protect against unexpected costs and areas of the budget that are hard to predict.
Limanni noted that the district is able to retain 2.5 percent of the fund balance, or $407,741, for use in the coming year, which would eliminate the need for contingency funds. The remaining $1,033,898 could be returned to the towns to reduce taxation.
Migliore maintained that it was absurd to have that much money left over at the end of the year and he proposed holding only $200,000 for the coming year and returning the rest to the towns. When he did not receive a second to his motion, Jeff Levesque of Groton moved to retain $400,000, but he also failed to receive a second to his motion.
In the end, Don Franklin of Hebron successfully moved to set aside the full amount available, as Limanni had proposed. Migliore and Ben LaRoche of Bristol voted against the motion, Migliore later saying it was because he wanted to return more of the money to the taxpayers.
Migliore also noted that, when a school district returns an unusually large amount of money to the towns one year, causing taxes to drop, it then appears to be a huge increase the following year when the tax rates return to normal.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 24 October 2014 12:04

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