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Paul Feely's City Hall: Aldermen heap praise on McIntyre stalwart 'Don' Sarette

By PAUL FEELY
June 24. 2017 11:54PM

MCINTYRE SKI AREA President David "Don" Sarette 

MCINTYRE SKI AREA President David "Don" Sarette, the former three-sport standout at Manchester High Central who would quarterback Syracuse to the 1959 national championship, has received the blessing of city aldermen to hand over the reins of the popular ski spot to longtime Vice President and General Manager Ross Boisvert. The Aldermanic Committee on Lands and Buildings voted unanimously to approve the transfer earlier this month. The request, submitted by Sarette, will be sent to the full Board of Mayor and Aldermen for approval July 18.

When Sarette graduated from Syracuse, he returned to Manchester and opened Don's Sport Center on South Willow Street. The sporting goods store specialized in all sporting goods, with a focus on ski equipment. In 1978, Manchester Parks and Recreation approached Sarette to operate the rental shop and ski school at McIntyre. Sarette accepted, stocked the area with rental equipment, and opened a ski school.

Boisvert, also a Central High graduate, started teaching skiing at McIntyre in 1984 while still in high school. By 1996, the ski school had grown such that a new rental shop building was needed. The new shop opened in 1997.

In 2009, Boisvert and Sarette presented a plan to the city to take over total operations from Manchester Parks and Recreation. In September of that year, city aldermen approved the plan.

The 25-year management agreement for the site included several improvements for the area, including a new lodge available for weddings and functions, three new conveyor lifts and improved snow-making. The site now has almost 300 employees each winter and six full-time workers employed year-round.

"It has been a great learning experience to be part of the history of what has happened with McIntyre over the years," writes Boisvert in a letter to aldermen. "Operation of McIntyre will always have its challenges each year with weather, maintenance, upgrades and operations and I continue to look forward to taking them on and making McIntyre a great place."

Several aldermen expressed praise for Sarette prior to their vote.

"I appreciate everything you've done for the city," said Alderman Kevin Cavanaugh of Ward 1.

"I'm not sure there's a better man that has served our state and most importantly our city as a teacher, coach, and businessman," said Alderman At Large Dan O'Neil. "He's been a very giving person over a long time."

"I worked with these two gentlemen," said Alderman Ron Ludwig of Ward 2. "I totally enjoyed working with Don and Ross. They are good people and their hearts are in the right place."

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Additional candidates launched campaigns for office in the 2017 municipal election over the past week, including a political newcomer with a lot of name recognition.

"I am 100 percent in for a run for alderman in Ward 3," said Tim Baines, owner and operator of Mint Bistro on Elm Street and son of former Mayor Bob Baines. "I grew up in Manchester, I'm a product of the schools and run a downtown business, and I'm ready to give back to the city."

This is the first campaign for political office for Baines, who said he will run as an independent.

"I'm bothered by the Republican-Democrat labels," said Baines. "Sometimes people think because you have a certain letter next to your name you are supposed to think a certain voice. I want to bring an independent voice."

While city elections are nonpartisan and party affiliations are not included on ballots, both major parties are known to push their preferred candidates.

For Baines, schools will be a top issue in his campaign, because he realizes "some tough decisions are going to have to be made."

"I grew up in a wonderful city, where people worked together," said Baines. "I feel like we've gotten away from that. I'm obviously concerned with the drug crisis also. Living and working downtown I've seen it firsthand."

Also last week, Ed Sapienza announced he would seek the Ward 8 alderman seat currently occupied by Tom Katsiantonis. Katsiantonis - who was indicted last week by a Hillsborough County Superior Court grand jury on four counts of tax evasion, four counts of theft, one count of falsifying physical evidence and one count of conspiracy to commit tax evasion - announced earlier this month he would not seek reelection. Sapienza's brother Tony is the Ward 5 alderman.

Late last week, Jeff Nyhan announced a run for Ward 1 alderman on Facebook.

Ludwig, the Ward 2 alderman, reportedly told associates this past week that he does not intend to seek reelection to his seat. He could not be reached for comment on Saturday. The city solicitor's office is looking into a citizen complaint that Ludwig violated the charter by voting for a fact finder's report containing pay raises for firefighters even though he has two sons on the city's Fire Department payroll.

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One of the strangest names for a political action committee you will ever see appears on paperwork filed at the City Clerk's office late last month. Former Republican state representative Joseph Lachance of Manchester is listed as chairman of the "Enemies of the Enemies of Andre Rosa," which lists the committee's purpose for existing as "Activities in Support of Electing Andre Rosa."

Rosa lost his bid for the Ward 1 alderman seat in 2015 to Cavanaugh, 1,831 votes to 876.

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In the mayoral race, incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas officially kicks off his reelection campaign with an event this Tuesday, June 27, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 650 Hanover St.

Democratic challenger Joyce Craig kicked off her "12 Wards in 12 Days" tour with a house party in Ward 6 last Thursday. The campaign push, where Craig will participate in events and activities in each of the city's 12 wards, runs through July 3.

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School lunch prices could increase next fall, after the school board's Finance Subcommittee voted last week to increase the paid lunch price for the 2017-2018 school year by 10 cents.

The annual financial impact of a 10-cent increase to a family with two children enrolled in the school district that purchases lunch every day, would be $35. The price increase would not affect children from families who qualify for assistance.

The city school district's last lunch price increase - also 10 cents - came in September 2016. Prior to that, school lunch prices were raised 10 cents per year in 2015 and 2014, 10 cents in 2011, 10 cents in 2008 and 2007, 15 cents in 2003, 10 cents in 2001 and 15 cents in 1998, according to Business Administrator Karen Defrancis.

The school board's Subcommittee on Finance voted last week to recommend the increase be approved. The proposal appears on the agenda for this week's meeting of the full Board of School Committee - Monday at 7 p.m. at the Manchester Health Department offices at 1528 Elm St., due to ongoing renovations in the aldermanic chambers at City Hall.

Staff reporter Paul Feely covers Manchester City Hall for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. Email: pfeely@unionleader.com.


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