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Hosmer loves being senator; will run for re-election

LACONIA — "I really love being a state senator from Laconia," Andrew Hosmer told a gathering of near 20 constituents at the Taylor Community last night. "I really do."

He said that he will seek re-election in November.

Hosmer, a Democrat, said that he scheduled the event to "find out what's on your minds and answer any questions you have," but began by reminding his listeners of some of the major achievements of the Legislature during his first term. In particular, he mentioned the biennial budget, which carried the Senate by a unanimous bipartisan vote of 24 to 0, and the plan to use Medicaid funds to expand access to health care to a needy population, a compromise reached only after prolonged negotiations between the two parties. Likewise, he noted that after refusing to raise the gas tax last year, a bipartisan majority of the Senate adopted an increase of 4.2 cents, which passed the House of Representatives last week.

Questioned about the high cost of energy, Hosmer explained that as nuclear and coal-fired power plants are retired, the price of alternatives, especially natural gas, tends to rise. Stressing the importance of a diversified energy portfolio, he turned to wind farms and Northern Pass, the transmission line proposed to carry hydro-electric power from Canada, both of which are very controversial.

Hosmer said that while wind farms have aroused opposition in communities around Newfound Lake, residents of Lempster appear at relative ease with the facility operating in their town. He agreed that municipalities should have a greater measure of control over the siting wind farms.

Turning to Northern Pass, he said that "we must find a way to bury as much of the line as possible," acknowledging that the terrain, much of its underlain by granite, posed a challenge. Since Hosmer's district includes Franklin, where the construction and operation of the DC to AC converter terminal would boost employment, he takes the most favorable view of the project of the senators representing the northern reaches of the state. He also noted that he opposed a bill establishing a moratorium on energy project pending reform of the siting process.

Saying that he he found the rift between the Belknap County Convention and Belknap County Commission "rather frustrating from the outside looking in," Hosmer referred the question to Representative Bob Luther (R-Laconia), who was in the audience. Luther described the situation as "kids angry with each other," adding "and I'm trying to be nice."

Hosmer said that he supported the employees of the nursing home whose contract, which included a 1.6 percent pay raise, was rejected by the convention this week. "I fear we're making short-term decisions that we'll pay a lot for farther along," he said.

When one man suggested instead of increasing spending scarce resources to address mental health and substance abuse the state should invest in children and teachers, Hosmer became impassioned. "He said that to suggest that "somehow those with mental illness are lesser and don't deserve help, I find offensive. I won't write them off or write off others." The man apologized for the tenor of his remark, explaining he did not wish to suggest that anyone was undeserving, but instead to say that he thought important priorities were overlooked.

"Wouldn't it be a much better Legislature," a woman asked, "if we didn't have 400 people who have nothing better to do than drive to Concord?" Hosmer said that he was very proud of the Senate, emphasizing that despite their differences "Republicans and Democrats can talk. We may have passionate debates, but we can make things work."

Luther said that "the House is the most responsive form of government you can have," conceding that "it may be like herding cats, but it's very effective."

Hosmer said that the recent downgrade of the state's bond rating underlined the fiscal challenges posed by a court decision that found the tax on hospitals, which is projected to return $200 million a year, unconstitutional, the need to fund a settlement of litigation with mental health providers. He said that the Senator Chuck Morse (R-Salem), president of the Senate, acknowledged that "the issues are daunting and there are only so many options available."

"Stay tuned," Hosmer remarked.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 01:35

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Laconia baseball team improves to 2-1 with 13-3 win over Prospect Mtn.

LACONIA — The Laconia High School boys varsity baseball team defeated Prospect Mountain (Alton) on Tuesday afternoon by a score of 13-3. 

The win improved the Sachems record to 2-1. The team's first loss of the season occurred at home on Monday afternoon against Gilford, when the Golden Eagles left with a 4-0 victory.

Although the team is experiencing a rebuilding year, Sachem coaches and players believe that the team has the potential to make it far NHIAA Division III play again this season. Junior, Matt LeBlanc stated, "We are strong team with a lineup that 1 through 9 can hit the ball, and perform well out on the field. We have things to improve upon to make the team better, but overall our performance at practice and generally in games, is indicating that we should be a strong playoff team again this year." 

The Sachems next game is against Belmont on Friday, May 2 at 4 p.m. at Robbie Mills Field.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 01:27

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Young Belmont man charged with stalking & harassing woman

LACONIA — A Belmont man was freed Wednesday on $200 cash bail after he was arrested Tuesday night for  allegedly stalking and harassing a woman. Fourth Circuit Court, Laconia Division Judge Jim Carroll allowed Kevin MacRae, 23, to have until May 12 to post bail.

Police affidavits filed with the court said contact with police was initiated by the woman's boyfriend Tuesday at 4:11 p.m. and he reported that Kevin MacRae, of Wildlife Boulevard in Belmont, had come to his home in Laconia to pick a fight with him about a relationship he was having with the woman, who used to date MacRae.

Police said about 8 p.m. the alleged victim went to the Laconia Police Department herself and told them MacRae had attempted to call her more that 30 times that day.

During her conversation with a city police officer, MacRae is said to have called her several more times and the officer spoke with MacRae on the phone and told him to stop calling the woman.

The woman left the police station short after 8 p.m. but returned by 8:43 p.m. to report that MacRae has been waiting for her in the nearby Bank of New Hampshire parking lot and had followed her. She told police he passed her on a double yellow divider on Messer Street and stopped short in front on her.

She said he got of his car and began walking toward her, putting her "in fear for her safety".

The woman gave police a photo of MacRae's car stopped in front of her and of him getting out of it.

MacRae is charged with one count of stalking, one count of harassment, and one count of reckless operation. He is ordered to stay away from the victim, not to contact her by any means, and not to possess any firearms.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 01:24

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Maine man indicted for robbery of Laconia Spa

LACONIA — A Limington, Maine man has been indicted for the June 14, 2013 armed robbery of the Laconia Spa convenience store on Church Street.

A Belknap County grand jury determined police presented enough information to justify trying George Sproul, Jr., 20, with one count of entering the store and threatening the clerk with what appeared to be a metal pipe.

Sproul was also indicted by the same grand jury for one count of burglary for allegedly entering the Tamarack Restaurant on Rte. 3 North in The Weirs on July 15, 2013 and for one count of attempted burglary for allegedly breaking the glass window at the Salvation Army Store on New Salem Street with the purpose of committing a theft on July 15, 2013.

Laconia Capt. Bill Clary said yesterday that although they were familiar with Sproul during the summer of 2013, he was not initially a "front burner" suspect. He said he believes it was fingerprint evidence gathered by detectives at the Tamerack Restaurant and other evidence that led them to Sproul and some accomplices.

The same grand jury also indicted Sproul for his role in a series of incidents in Alton that occurred on September 26, 2013 that included conspiracy to commit theft for allegedly taking control of a 1996 Ford F250 and a 1987 Honda ATV, of allegedly stealing a .22 caliber revolver, and for accomplice to burglary for allegedly entering a building on Meaderboro Road.

Alton Chief Ryan Heath said the truck stolen and the ATV stolen from his community in September were recovered by the Maine State Police. He said his officers worked with police from Hollis, Waterborough and Sanford and the Maine State Police to connect a series of burglaries in those communities to the Alton crimes.

Sproul was arrested in September by Maine State Police and, according to Maine news agencies was charged with one count of burglary.

Clary said once they were able to connect Sproul to the July crimes in Laconia and once they heard he was being held on cash bail in York, Maine County Jail, one of Laconia's detectives went to interview him in Maine but Sproul was not cooperative.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 01:20

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