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Romney's security in N.H. bugs neighbors

WOLFEBORO, N.H. -- Some property owners are annoyed by a new security line that reaches 250 feet into Lake Winnipesaukee from the vacation property of Mitt Romney, the Massachusetts governor.

New Hampshire authorities learned about the line in the lake in early June, when they started getting complaints from people who tried to boat or fish closer to shore and were confronted by Massachusetts troopers assigned to Romney's security detail.

David Barrett, director of the Safety Services Division of the New Hampshire Department of Safety, said he checked with Massachusetts State Police, "who advised us that it was necessary to have a security zone for the Romney residence."

Barrett said New Hampshire officials determined the security zone was reasonable and they allowed the line to remain in place. But he also said Massachusetts State Police have no legal authority to prevent boaters from going through the area, which stretches nearly 700 feet along the lakefront.

Massachusetts State Police and Romney aides told the New Hampshire Sunday News they could not comment on security arrangements for the governor. The lack of jurisdiction has not prevented officers from Romney's security detail from trying to keep people out of the area, however, according to letters in the Granite State News, a weekly newspaper.

Bryce Wolf, of Manchester, whose family has owned property on Lake Winnipesaukee for many years, said in a letter to the editor that he was fishing inside the roped-off area when he was approached by a police officer. "He demanded to know who I was, where I lived, and what I was doing there," Wolf wrote. Wolf said he ended up leaving because he "didn't feel like being hassled any more."

Madeline Meyer, who lives near Romney's property, said in another letter that she was kayaking through the area when a man "ran down to the edge of the Romney dock and glared at me."

"Why should a governor from another state, or anyone else for that matter, be allowed to appropriate part of a lake that belongs to all the citizens of the State of New Hampshire?" she asked. Contacted by telephone, she declined to elaborate on her letter, but called Romney "a fine gentleman" and said she approves of his politics.

Curt Golder, a fishing guide, said he understands why some people are upset, but he has no problem with the security zone.

"The lake is so big that there are plenty of places where you can go to enjoy the outdoor experience that it really doesn't matter about that area."

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