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Residents Reject Funding Lifeguards at N.H. Beach

February 9, 2019

Sun Staff and Wire Services Report

SEABROOK, N.H. -- Residents in a New Hampshire town have voted against funding lifeguards at a beach where a married couple drowned last year.

The original amendment to the Seabrook town budget called for $225,000 to fund lifeguards at Seabrook Beach over the summer.

Town selectmen declined to support the amendment, saying hiring lifeguards could open the town up to lawsuits and the cost was too high for taxpayers.

Resident Debbie Tomaszewski proposed lowering the cost to $120,000 by reducing lifeguards, but her motion also failed Tuesday.

The amendment was proposed after Michael Cote and Laura Cote, of Methuen, were caught in a rip current at the beach in August and later died.

A friend of the couple, Al Cestrone says he is “disappointed” in Tuesday’s result.

The Cotes attended St. Francis Parish in Dracut, where they were very active in church affairs. At the time of their deaths, church leaders released a statement saying, “They were so involved in every spiritual and other undertaking in this parish that many of us are in deep mourning.”

“They were very sincere people,” said Rev. Sean Maher, pastor of St. Francis Parish, said in an earlier interview.

“They tried to get to know the Lord through prayer, through study, through service,” he said.

Professionally, Mike was involved in information technology, while Laura was a registered nurse. They were both heavily active in the church, with Mike serving on several church committees.

On Saturday nights, the Cotes often helped others from St. Francis Parish feed the homeless in Lowell. Mike and Laura were involved in helping collect backpacks and other school supplies for financially troubled children.

The Cotes were featured in a December 2017 “Be a Volunteer” story in The Sun for helping to organize a three-day Advent retreat at the Church.

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