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6th floor stove fire empties Sunrise Towers in Laconia

LACONIA — A stove fire on the seventh floor of the Sunrise Towers last night spread to some cabinets and, though it was quickly extinguished, the smoke damage to the apartment has left its male resident temporarily homeless.

Sixth floor resident Alan Benoit said he thought he smelled something like a ballast burning when the alarms sounded a little after 7 p.m. He said he and a friend from his floor walked down the six flights of stairs.

Sunrise Towers, located just off the corner of South Main Street and Union Avenue, is owned and operated by the Laconia Housing Authority and is home to a number of elderly and disabled residents.

Resident Gary Sitka said he was watching television when the first alarm sounded. He said when the second alarm went off he left the building.

Sitka said there are multiple alarms in the building and when one sounds and if the Fire Department or building maintenance staff doesn't get to it, or if there is a fire, a second sounds and everyone knows to leave the building.

In this case, the smoke alarm in the apartment sounded and triggered the alarms for the rest of the building.

Fire Chief Ken Erickson said any alarm at Sunrise Towers automatically brings Laconia, Gilford, and Belmont firefighters to the tallest building in the immediate Lakes Region.

He said when Capt. Bob Landry came down Main Street and saw smoke pouring from a seventh floor balcony he automatically called for a second alarm which brings firefighters from all over the Lakes Region.

He said Landry's team ran up the seven floors and extinguished the fire.

Erickson said had first resonders not been able to extinguish it immediately, Landry would have gone to a third alarm, which would have brought additional manpower to the fire and coverage to other area departments.

Landry said the resident of the apartment knew not to try and put it out himself and immediately left the building. He is unharmed and building maintenance was working to find him a place to stay until his apartment can be repaired.

Landry said the stove is destroyed, the cabinets are damaged and the rest of the apartment has some smoke damage.

Erickson said that extra manpower is always needed in those situations in the event a fire spreads and people need help getting out of the building.

Police blocked off the entire area and rerouted traffic for about an hour.
Just before 8 p.m. firefighters allowed the residents of the bottom six floors to return to their apartments. He said firefighters checked on many of the residents of the tops floors to make sure they weren't having anxiety or other issues that could affect them physically.

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 June 2014 01:11

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Republican Fraser to challenge Gulick for New Hampton & C. Harbor seat in N.H. House

NEW HAMPTON — Valerie Fraser, who is serving her first term on the Board of Selectmen, has filed to run for the seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives from New Hampton and Center Harbor.

The seat is currently held by Democrat Ruth Gulick, a retired attorney, who filed for re-election to a second term yesterday.

A Republican, Fraser said that she entered the race as advocate of public banking, believing that the state and counties should be authorized to establish banks that would hold public revenues from taxes and fees as deposits and fund investments in local commercial enterprises and infrastructure projects. North Dakota has successfully operated a public bank for almost a century, Fraser said. She said that no matter what the issue, "it always comes down to money" and public banking could provide some.

Fraser is a registered nurse and veterinarian, who recently sold her veterinary practice in Tilton and now operates from her home, where she raises dairy goats and keeps horses. Apart from public banking, she said "I've always been curious about what goes on in Concord."

Last Updated on Friday, 13 June 2014 12:58

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Forrester draws Free State challenger

GRAFTON — Tim Condon of Grafton has filed to challenge two-term incumbent Jeanie Forrester of Meredith in the Republican primary for the New Hampshire Senate.
A former member of the board of directors of the Free State Project, Condon moved to New Hampshire from Florida, where he still maintains a legal practice. In 2004, he founded the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire and describes himself as "libertarian-conservative," with the emphasis on the former.
Condon served two consecutive tours with the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam and graduated from the University of Florida, where he also earned his law degree. He has been active in politics since the 1960s and in 1972 was an elector for Professor John Hospers, the first presidential candidate of the National Libertarian Party. Condon has been a frequent contributor to GraniteGrok, the website co-founbded by Skip Murphy of Gilford.
Forrester, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, was among several Republican senators who Aaron Day, the executive director of the Republican Liberty Caucus, indicated would be targeted by primary opponents for having supported the use the Medicaid funds to extend health insurance.

Yesterday Carolyn Mello of Holderness, a Democrat, also filed to run for the seat. A retired educator who serves on the local school board, she said "I'm a brand new person in this realm of politics." After serving for four years in the United States Air Force as a Russian linguist, Mello pursued a career in special education working with both children and adults. Three years ago she retired from the Newfound Regional High School. "My entire career has been in the area of special education," she said, "but this was an opportunity to serve the community in another capacity. I'm already learning a lot."

Last Updated on Friday, 13 June 2014 12:48

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Democrat Marriott challenging Comtois for Barnstead seat in House

BARNSTEAD — Democrat Bruce Marriott has renewed his bid for the seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives representing Barnstead, a seat currently held by Republican Guy Comtois, who has filed for re-election to a third term. In 2012, Marriott ran against Comtois a close race, losing by 1,255 to 1,012.

Marriott, spent 30 years with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Service, most as a county agricultural agent, and 12 as the supervisor of agricultural programming throughout the state. Before moving to Barnstead, he served as a selectman for eight years in Gilmanton, where he also was a member of the Planning Board. He describes himself as "socially liberal and fiscally responsible, a centrist, with an honest belief in the role of government."

Comtois is a hydroponic vegetable farmer who tends 93 acres. Elected in 2010 in his first bid for public office, Comtois emerged as one of the most conservative members of the Republican caucus. The House Republican Alliance, which rates members according to how closely their voting record matches the party platform, awarded Comtois a near perfect score of 98 in his first term. His score from The Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, the self-described "conscience of the Republican Party," was the 23rd highest among the 400 members of the House.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 June 2014 12:46

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