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Interesting Republican Primary race in House District 4; Fields joined onthe ballot by Brothers & Gallagher

SANBORNTON-TILTON — For the past two years Representative Dennis Fields (R-Sanbornton) has been the bugbear of the Republican majority of the Belknap County Convention by repeatedly challenging the leadership, showing support for the Belknap Commission and often voting with the Democratic minority.

As a result Fields, who is seeking re-election to a 15th term in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, finds himself facing two challengers in the Republican primary for the two seats in District 4 (Sanbornton and Tilton) — Richard Brothers and Brian Gallagher, both from Sanbornton.

Originally from Vermont, Fields enlisted in the United States Navy on graduating from high school in 1964 and served three tours of duty in Vietnam. He was first elected to the House in 1982 and represented Merrimack for 11 terms until 2004, when he moved to Sanbornton, where he was elected to the first of three terms in 2008. Fields has served on four different House committees, most recently the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. He is especially proud never to have missed a vote, in either a committee or the House, in the 28 years he has served.

Fields believes that low spending ensures low taxes and opposes a sales or income tax. He voted against raising the gas tax as well as increasing the minimum wage while voting in favor of right-to-work legislation. He also opposed the bipartisan plan to use federal funds to provide health insurance to some 50,000 residents without it. Although he supports the 2nd Amendment, he riled gun owners by voting not to permit firearms in the Statehouse.

"I'm not a puppet," declared Fields, who often openly and passionately questioned the decisions of Rep. Colette Worsman (R-Meredith), the chair of the county convention who several times ruled him out of order and and once snapped "Dennis, control yourself." In particular, Fields was troubled by what he considered efforts by Worsman to exclude the members and commissioners from the budget process. "I don't belong to any particular group except the Republican Party," Fields said. "I just want to represent the people." He has been endorsed by State Employees Association.

Brothers, who came to New Hampshire from Massachusetts 25 years ago, is a registered nurse by training and profession, with 16 years of experience in politics and government. He served one term in the House from 1998 to 2000, representing Thornton, Campton, Waterville Valley and Holderness. He advised Governor Craig Benson on employment opportunities for those with disabilities and was appointed Commissioner of Employment Security in 2004 and served until 2009.

Brothers recalled that when he was in the House, funding public schools was the overriding issue and his district was evenly divided between donor and receiver towns. "I learned about compromise," he remarked. "Compromise is not a dirty word. You have to be willing to compromise. I'm running to represent Sanbornton and Tilton," he continued, "not some partisan ideology."

"I didn't think I be doing this again," Brothers said, explaining that "I was motivated more by what is going on in the county. Noting that convention has brought suit against the commission over the county budget, he said "it never should have gotten to this. The convention and commission must work together."

Likewise, Brothers called for cooperation in addressing the issues at the county jail. "I'm fiscally conservative," he said, "but I understand we have spend a little up front to save a lot of money at the back end." In particular, he expressed concern at the incidence of substance abuse, especially heroin, which by contributing to most crimes, drives the increase in the number of inmates. "I'm a strong supporter of programming to curb drug abuse, which will reduce the jail population," he said.

Brothers anticipated the state budget would pose a challenge. He said that he was concerned that state has been shifting costs, like retirement contributions, and withholding funds, like the municipal share of rooms and meals tax revenue and highway block grants, to cities and towns as well as placing a heavy tax burden on businesses. "We can't keep doing this," he said, "but at the same time we need to fund essential programs and services."

Like Brothers, Gallagher is a veteran of state government, although this is his first bid for elective office. Now retired, he spent more than three decades in public finance, including 12 years in the state budget office and eight at the administrative office of the court system, and currently serves on the budget committee of the Winnisquam Regional School District.

Gallagher, who has served on the budget committee, planning board, capital improvements committee in Sanbornton as well as a library trustee and trustee of the trust funds, said he was approached by people of both parties and from both towns about running for office and in turn sounded his neighbors about the prospect. "I was encouraged by the response," he said.

While acknowledging what he called "a lot of bad energy" in county government, Gallagher said he gave equal weight to a representative's responsibilities in Concord. "Both the state and the county are important pieces," he said. Each, he stressed, required "fiscal integrity and constitutionally limited government." Gallagher is opposed to a sales or income tax and stressed that the purposes government serves must be limited. "We can't just keep growing the system," he said. For example, he called the plan to provide health insurance to another 50,000 individuals "not a good idea," since when the federal government no longer funds the program "there is no guarantee the state will be able to pay for it. This is another symptomatic issue of the expansion of government."

Gallagher also opposes the introduction of casino gambling, which he said offers only "an unpredictable revenue source" as the experience of New Jersey has indicated. Furthermore, he said that "the unintended social consequences of expanded gambling are not where New Hampshire wants to be." Instead, Gallagher said that lowering taxes and easing regulation on business would generate economic growth and with it sufficient revenue to support "reasonable levels of spending."

Republican voters in Sanbornton and Tilton must choose two from among three experienced candidates in the primary on Tuesday, September 9. The winners will face Democrats Ian Raymond of Sanbornton, an incumbent seeking his second term, and Jane Alden of Tilton in the general election on Tuesday, November 4.

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 August 2014 01:12

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Meredith man indicted on sex with child charge

MEREDITH — A former Fortier Road man was indicted yesterday by a Belknap County grand jury for allegedly engaging in various sex acts with a girl who is less than 13 and not his wife.

Andre J. Duquette, 38, is charged with two counts of felony pattern aggravated felonious sexual assault for allegedly touching and assaulting the girl on more than one occasion over a period of time from December of 2012 to June 15, 2014.

Duquette faces an additional rape charge for allegedly laying on top of her while she was unclad and one for a single count of sexual penetration.

At press time, not further information was available.

Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 12:58

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Tilton Market Basket manager says shelves will be 90% stocked by first part of the week

TILTON — Mike LeClair, manager of the Market Basket store here, said yesterday that he expects his shelves to be 90-percent full by Monday or Tuesday at the latest and fully stocked before the end of next week.

"We are fully staffed and operational and working around the clock," LeClair said, adding that trucks bringing foodstuffs from warehouses and suppliers are arriving regularly. "We're working around the clock," he continued. "If a truck gets here at five, we'll stay till the job's done. He said that most meat and produce will arrive over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the store received a facelift. "We spent the last five weeks cleaning, sanitizing and painting," LeClair said. "It's as new as new as 10-year-old store can be."

Remarking that Market Basket serves more than 50,000 customers a week, LeClair said that he and his team look forward to welcoming them all back. Late Wednesday, after weeks of pressure, the Tewksbury, Mass. based company announced that an agreement had been reached for the employee beloved Artur T. Demoulas to pay $1.5 billion for the 50.5 percent of the company owned by his cousin and rival, Arthur S. Demoulas, and other family members. "Artie T." Demoulas was fired as CEO in June by a board controlled by Arthur S. Demoulas. To protest, hundreds of warehouse workers and drivers refused to deliver fresh produce to the company's 71 stores, leaving bare shelves.

(Associated Press contributed to this story.)

Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 12:55

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Performers say staying in homes of local people a big part of the Up With People experience

LACONIA — The international cast of 100 young performers that will present two Up With People concerts here over the first weekend in September includes 21-year-old Likung Tang of China.

Tang says he looks forward to entertaining in America because this country has "a special position in my mind". "It's about democracy, liberty, and respect for personal property," he said. "And it's a really good chance for me to experience these things in the native people's lives."

Tang and his fellow cast members will arrive in Laconia on Monday. All are staying with local families. Throughout the week they will perform community service projects while taking advantage of opportunities to interact with Lakes Region residents.

On both Friday and Saturday nights (Sept. 5 and 6) at 7 p.m., Up With People will perform in concert at the Laconia Middle School. Their spectacular, 2-hour "Voices" show will feature both original and popular music and is dynamic blend of feature soloists, full-cast production numbers, fast-moving choreography and colorful costumes.

Tickets are priced at $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens and are on sale at all Meredith Village Savings Bank locations. Additionally, tickets may be purchased online at www.upwithpeople.com/Laconia.

Net proceeds from the concerts will benefit three local not-for-profit organizations: Stand Up Laconia, Gilford Got Lunch and Got Lunch! Laconia.

An Up With People ensemble will also perform a special, free 20-minute show in Rotary Park at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning (Sept. 6) as part of the opening ceremony for the city's annual Multicultural Festival.

Based in Denver, Up With People casts have performed in 38 countries around the world over the last 48 years. Performers vary in age from 17 to 29.

In addition to Tang, the cast coming to Laconia includes Lotta Lundell of Finland.

"One of the major things I am looking forward to is staying with a host family," said Lundell. "I think that host families are bringing the culture from where we are so much closer by just being able to show their everyday life. Host families are a way to learn to see life from different perspectives, as well as see many types of raising children. I  think that those are possibilities to make lifelong friends."

Yinjun "Elaine" Shen, also from China, says she has already traveled to both coasts in the United States but she still really wants to see what the real New England looks like "and have a more regional experience there".

A number of the cast members, of course, are Americans, such as Nicole Magloire of Harrisburg, PA. "The Up With People program is perfect for all different types of people but especially my favorite type," she said, "east coasters". "But wherever you go," she continued", you get to live with host families and and meet the most amazing people who end up being so helpful for you and the future decisions you make. You may have a host parent who works in the same professional field that you want to go into one day or one who knows someone who can be a resource for you."

Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 12:48

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