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Keno wins, and other town meeting results from around the region

  • Mike Wayne, running for selectman in Bow, greets voters at Bow Memorial School on Tuesday morning, March 13, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER

  • Mike Wayne, running for selectman in Bow, greets voters at Bow Memorial School on Tuesday morning, March 13, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER



Monitor staff
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Voters around Concord went 4-0 Tuesday to bring keno to their towns.

Pouring establishments in Belmont, Bow, Pittsfield and Weare – in places like Chen Yang Li in Bow and the Brookside House of Pizza in Belmont – will now be eligible to install the digital gambling game.

“We’ve had a lot of customers ask for it, and I know they’ve been really excited for it,” Lakes Region Casino bartender Lisa Adams said from Belmont on Tuesday night. “It’s something we’re going to embrace.”

Nearly 80 towns in the state will be voting this month on keno, which was pitched as a way to fund all-day kindergarten in the state. Close to 30 SB 2 towns voted on the game Tuesday, according to the state Lottery Commission.

Keno was denied in the city of Concord last November and at least two nearby towns – Boscawen and Loudon – will also consider the game at their annual town meeting in the days ahead. Another SB 2 town in the Concord area, Allenstown, did not have keno on the ballot.

Allenstown

Voters rejected both the town and school operating budgets but passed all other warrants.

The town budget of $4 million was rejected, 131-112, leaving a $3.9 million default budget.

The school district budget of $10.02 million was soundly rejected, 172-87. The default budget is a quarter-million dollars less.

In the main contested race, Sandra McKenney defeated Thomas Irzyk for an open seat on the select board, 139-122.

Jim Roger defeated Howard Komm for the sewer commission, 132-125.

Pembroke

In Pembroke, incumbents were ousted, SB 2 failed, and all zoning amendments passed.

Select board member Sandy Goulet lost her seat to budget committee member Ann Bond in a three-way race for one seat. Goulet received 161 votes, Bond received 219 votes. A third candidate, Bob Bourque, received 112 votes.

For school board, only 122 voters cast their ballots for incumbent Clint Hanson, who received the fewest votes in a three-person race. Gene Gauss, with 216 votes, will take his seat. Stephanie Ferreira, the third candidate, received 179 votes.

A bid to convert the town to an SB 2 form of voting lost in landslide, with only 201 residents voting for the measure, and 322 voting against.

All told, 535 ballots were cast, according to town clerk Jim Goff. With 5,327 registered voters in town, that’s almost exactly 10 percent turnout.

Shaker RegionalSchool District

Residents approved selling the Gale School to a non-profit organization by a hefty margin, 620-130, but voted against having a fallback plan to demolish it, 406-328.

The school in downtown Belmont dates back to 1894 but has been unused since 1997, when the new high school was built for Shaker Regional School District. It is one of the structures named in the 2017 Seven to Save list put out by the N.H. Preservation Alliance, highlighting historically important structures in danger.

Tuesday’s vote authorized the school district to sell the Gale School to the Save Our Gale School organization for $1. The group says it has “nearly everything in place” to move, restore and reuse the building.

Article 5, which was rejected, would have authorized the district to demolish the Gale School if it has not been moved off school property by August 2019 and authorized spending money to six hazardous materials issues before demolition.

The district also saw one of the closest races in the region. In a contested race for school board member from Belmont, Jeffrey Roberts edged out Thomas Murphy by two votes.

Bow

Matthew Poulin and Michael Wayne beat out Shannon Rhodes to take two open select board positions. They will be replacing outgoing members Eric Anderson and Ben Kiniry.

Budget Committee incumbent Jeff Knight lost his seat to Melissa Radomski and Kiniry.

School board incumbent Jennifer Strong-Rain defended her seat against challenger Robert Hollinger.

Keno was approved, 495-478.

Henniker

Incumbents Chris Blomback and Scott Osgood defended their seats from newcomer Stephanie Payeur for two open seats on the select board.

Voters shot down all four zoning amendments that would have changed the definition of agritourism in the town.

Webster

Chris Schadler narrowly beat out seventh-generation Webster resident Adam Pearson by 33 votes to fill one open select board seat, 243-210.

Robert Pearson III won his uncontested race to return as town moderator.

Voters denied an article that would have combined the positions of tax collector and town clerk, 377-64.

Boscawen

Voters passed an article that will create a village district on Boscawen’s King Street, 93-57. This ordinance will control certain aspects of presentation in the town’s downtown, like ensuring walls and exteriors of new buildings blend in with pre-existing styles, and that parking on King Street remain unobtrusive. It would also regulate some aspects of building form, such as the height of structures.

Cheryl Mitchell beat out write-in candidate Susan Kilgus for the position of town clerk, 164-32. The town’s outgoing town clerk, Michelle Brochu, was elected with eight votes as a write-in candidate for trustee of the trust funds.

Loudon

Residents voted against increasing the number of representatives on the town’s board of selectmen from three to five, 316-166.

Lynn Riel was elected supervisor of the checklist over Chris Wittenberg by 108 votes, 275-167. Stanley Prescott II was elected to the board of selectmen over Paul Branscombe by 263 votes, 377-114. John Storrs and Alice Tuson were both elected to the planning board in a race against three opponents. Rodney Phillips lost to Tuson for planning board by 2 votes, 193-191.

Out of 4,300 registered voters, 503 cast ballots.

Weare

Select board incumbent Thomas Clow received the fewest votes in a three-way race for two board seats against Sherry Burdick and Frederick Hippler.

Voters shot down a $6 million operating budget, a 6.3 percent increase over last year’s budget. That means the town will operate on a default budget of $5.9 million, which is last year’s budget minus any one-time appropriations and warrant articles, unless voters approve a special meeting to agree on a new budget.

Residents voted down the creation of an additional full-time police officer at a cost of $41,544.

Voters approved an article that will raise $185,000 to purchase a new plow truck. Residents also approved spending $480,000 to repair roads, with $278,320 of that money to come from a state grant.

Hopkinton

Select board member Steve Lux Jr. lost his seat to challenger Steven Whitley. Virginia Haines and Jonathan Cohen beat out Amy Bogart for two seats on the budget committee.

Jim O’Brien and Aviva Nestler will be filling the two vacant seats on the school board next year.

John Stark schools

In Henniker, voters approved full-day kindergarten and a $7.8 million budget. School board incumbent Zach Lawson and Ellen Fioretti both took seats on the school board.

In Weare, school board members Donny Guillemette and Heidi Colburn beat out four other contestants for two spots on the school board.

Weare voters shot down a $15.3 million operating budget, meaning the district will operate on a default budget of $15.1 million. They also defeated an article that would have taken $75,000 from any budget surplus left at the end of this year and to place it in a maintenance trust fund. That money would have been used to replace a boiler at Center Woods Elementary School.

John Stark High School information was not available by press time.

Gilford

A hotly-contested six-way race for three three-year seats on the budget committee ended with Kristen Snow, Joe Wernig and Thomas Chase beating out Jack Kelley, Norman Silber and Harry Bean. Tracie Corbett defeated Priscilla Bean for a two-year budget committee seat.

Gilford voters passed three zoning amendments and all town warrant articles except for Article 34, which would have prohibited the town from having a New Hampshire Municipal Association membership.

On the school side, Chris McDonough and J. Onos (write-in candidate) took two spots on the school board. All warrant articles, including a $26 million operating budget, passed.

Dunbarton

No contested races.

Hill

Three zoning amendments passed. They will change the definition of frontage, provide guidelines for home occupations and expand the commercial district along Route 3A.

On the school side, Joe Mahoney beat Kristie Perry for a school board position, and Cathy Viau beat Charles Estes for a clerk position.

Pittsfield

Voters decided to convert the town over to SB 2 format, and ousted an incumbent school board member.

They also voted down the school’s budget, 232 to 278, but approved a contract for teachers, 266 to 242.

Residents just barely met the 60 percent threshold to convert the town to SB 2, with 299 voting for the measure and 190 against it. Voters decided against letting the budget committee set the default budget though, 220 to 254.

On the school board, incumbent Ralph O’Dell received the fewest votes – 221. Heidi Asdot received 311 votes and Adam Gauthier received 287, and both will get a three-year seat on the school board.

Keno was approved by a vote of 265-228.

Belmont

Voters in Belmont approved bringing keno to town, and approved everything else on the warrant.

Results were not available by press time for Andover, Bradford, Canterbury, Danbury, Epsom, Gilmanton, Hillsboro, Hillsboro-Deering, Meredith, New London, Northfield, Winnisquam Regional School District, Wilmot, Warner, Tilton, Sutton.

(Reporter David Brooks contributed to this report.)

Editor’s note: This article was corrected to reflect that Zach Lawson and Ellen Fioretti both won seats on the Henniker school board.