Belmont's Penstock Park torn up by vandals

BELMONT — Police said vandals tore up many of the flowers at Penstock Park early yesterday morning and threw the bench donated by the Belmont Rotary Club in 2007 into the Tioga River.
Penstock Park is on Main Street, near St. Joseph's Catholic Church.

Town employees noticed the damage at 7:30 a.m. yesterday and reported it to police. A resident reported seeing three people who were possibly minors tearing up the flowers at 1 a.m. A dollar value of the damage has not been determined.

Lt. Rich Mann said crews from the Belmont Dept. of Public Works waded into the river and retrieved the bench, which appeared to be undamaged. Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said Allan Daisy of the town's building and grounds crew replanted every flower — most of which are perennials.

Mann said officers are following up by checking with additional neighbors and reviewing video surveillance cameras of local businesses.

Mann also wanted residents to remember the town has a curfew for minors that prohibits anyone under the age of 16 from being on public streets from 11 p.m. to 5 p.m. unless accompanied by an adult.

If anyone has any information please call the Belmont Police at 267-8350.

CUTLINE:(belmontParkDestruction) The flowers in Penstock Park have been replanted by the Belmont Public Works Department after vandals ripped us many of them yesterday in the early morning. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Neighbors secure temporary restraining order against owners of 'Pecker'

LACONIA — The neighbors of a Lakeport couple who have been keeping a pet rooster in their home as a pet have obtained a temporary restraining order against the fowl's owners, which bars them from contacting them or communicating with them.
The order was granted by Judge James D. O'Neill III in Belknap County Superior Court Tuesday and remains in effect until a hearing on the complaint seeking the restraining order is held within 10 days of the order being issued.
The complaint filed by Dan and Amanda Ouelllette of 46 North Street, maintains that the owners of the rooster, Jeffrey and Bridgette Leroux of 58 North Street, made threatening remarks to them at a June 15 meeting of the Laconia Zoning Board of Adjustment, at which the Lerouxs were denied a request for a rehearing on their request for a zoning variance which would have allowed them to keep the rooster, named ''Pecker'', as a pet.
According to the complaint, Jeffrey Leroux threatened property damage for allegedly saying to the Ouellettes, ''I guess that's the end of your garden this year,'' and Bridgette Leroux made a threat to harm the Ouellettes before she abruptly left the meeting room which was on the first floor of the Belknap Mill.
The complaint says that the Ouellettes have talked with Laconia Police about the threats made at the ZBA meeting and an incident two nights later in which they called 911 to report that the Lerouxs were being disruptive.
''As a result of all this we are not quite sure of what to expect from our neighbors,'' the complaint reads, saying that ''there exists some anxiety from all of these events.''
The complaint cites an article which appeared in the June 17 edition of The Daily Sun, which Dan Ouellette said ''offers a pretty good portrayal of the event.''
The story reported, ''the board voted 4-1 to deny the Lerouxs' request for a rehearing, prompting an angry reaction from Bridgette Leroux, who turned on the neighbors who had made the complaint about their rooster, Dan Ouellette and his wife, Amanda. who were seated behind them at the Belknap Mill.
''Want to step outside?'' she said to the Ouellettes, standing up and pointing her finger at them. She then said ''Grow up. We wouldn't be here today if it weren't for you,'' and uttered a profanity as she started to leave the room.
Steve Bogert, chairman of board, said that unless the disruption ended he would have to have Leroux removed from the hearing room.
Bogert then advised Jeffrey Leroux that if he planned to go the next level and appeal that he should do so in a timely manner as there was a time limit in which an appeal could be filed with Belknap County Superior Court.
Jeffrey Leroux said after the meeting that he planned to appeal the denial to Belknap County Superior Court.
Leroux bought the rooster at Sandwich Fair last year as a pet for his wife. In December, the Planning Department told the Lerouxs that the zoning ordinance prohibited the keeping of poultry in a residential district and advised them that they would either have to give up the rooster or apply for a variance.
Planning Director Shanna Saunders has said that the zoning ordinance defines "agriculture" as "the production, keeping or maintenance for sale, lease or personal use, of plants and animals," including poultry, and forbids agricultural uses of property in residential districts like North Street.
On May 18 the ZBA denied the Lerouxs' request for a variance by a 4-1 vote.

Rookie Rockers: Weirs Beach club turns Wednesday nights over to kids

LACONIA — The son of a drummer, Bret Loring began laying down beats as a young boy, but recalled that apart from sitting in with his father seldom found opportunities to play with other musicians, let alone musicians his own age. This summer Loring, who with his wife Krista owns and operates the Paradise Beach Club at Weirs Beach, has provided young, aspiring musicians in the Lakes Region with the venue and opportunity he once longed for.

Loring has opened the club to the "Rookie Rockers" every Wednesday evening, between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. when anyone 18 or younger can play their instrument or sound their voice on the stage.

"It was something we'd talked about," Loring remarked, "But it really came to me this year."

Loring said that he wanted to do something for kids in the community who were interested in playing music. He approached the Police Department and the School District, both of which have sponsored the program. He arranged with the New Hampshire Liquor Commission to put his liquor license in "safekeeping" from 10 a.m. on Wednesdays until 1 a.m. on Thursdays, agreeing not to serve alcohol at the club during those hours. "We cover up all the alcohol and some of the pictures," he explained, "to make club as kid friendly as possible." All children and adolescents are welcome, but must be accompanied by a parent.

"It's a kids jam," Loring said. "We provide the drums. The amps. The monitors. Mic up everything and I'm at the mixing board," he continued. "We give them a sense of playing on a big stage. Make them feel like rock stars."

Clutching his drumsticks, Jacon Marshall, 13, was the first to arrive this week. At the club a week earlier he discovered that Dedric Salway, 14, a classmate at Laconia Middle School, played guitar. After playing together for the first time, the two spent the following week rehearsing the Green Day classic "When I Come Around" in anticipation of returning to the club.

Before long Jacob and Dedric were joined by Alex Amann, 16, of Gilford, a bass player, a second guitarist, Brady Ellsworth, 13, Northfield, making his first appearance at the club, and another drummer, Tyler Dixon, 10, of Meredith.

Jacob sat patiently at the drum kit while the others tuned their instruments and adjusted their amps. Loring, assisted by Gordy Gourlay, who teaches drums at Greenlaw's Music Store, tended to the sound system and mixing board, between visits to the kitchen where he grilled burgers for the moms and dads in the audience.

Jacob hit the beat and the newborn band plunged into "When i Come Around." The second time through, Gourlay remarked "the kids are just finding their way." Tyler took a turn on drums, moving his father to remark "he's more comfortable up there than sitting here with us."

The original quartet turned to jamming. "Jacob and Alex laid down a beat, we chose a key and played,"Dedric said. Both Brady, who was playing for the first time outside his bedroom, and Dedric traded leads flashing their fingers along the fretboard. Before long classic rock gave way to electric blues as the boys hit their stride.

By 8:30 p.m. a girl rapper who was expected had not arrived and talk turned to finding a singer. "None of us sing," Dedric confessed.

Apart from providing a venue, Loring, who counts a number of professional musicians among his friends, hopes to "call on some big names to come up and meet the kids." He said that he knows drummers who have played with Boston, Alice Cooper, The Tubes, Extreme and other well known bands who he believes would be willing. "It would give the kids something to look forward to," he said.

In addition, Loring said he may approach a recording studio about donating some time to offer the kids a taste of how to put together a recording. "They could learn to record a song.

Loring is as excited about the venture as the kids. "I look forward to Wednesday nights more than Friday and Saturday," he remarked. As the band played, he paused between the kitchen and the table, looked to the stage and said "isn't this great! They're becoming a band and making friends.It's my dream come true."