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June 7 motorcycle ride will celebrate too short life of former LHS football captain

LACONIA — Friends of Devin Denoncourt, former Laconia High School football captain who passed away in March in Washington, D.C., just a few days after the birth of his son, Dylan, are planning a motorcycle run on June 7 to raise funds for his son.
Denoncourt, who was 35, was an offensive and defensive lineman during the Sachems back-to-back state championship seasons in 1995 and 1996 and played in the Shrine Bowl in 1997. He died of an unspecified heart condition.
Patrick O'Reilly, one of his friends who is helping organize the ride, said that it will be called ''2014 Ruckus Ride for Dev'' and that details are available on a Facebook page by that same name which is hosted by Benjamin Emery and Josh Corringham, who are organizing the event.
He said that Denoncourt had for the last five or six years organized a local motorcycle ride that was a reunion-like event for his friends and last year even flew up from Washington DC and rented a bike to take part in it.
More than 40 people had already signed up for the event, which was originally scheduled for last Saturday, but postponed to June 7 due to the forecast of rain.
''He was the type of person who was always a leader and just made everyone feel welcome,'' said O'Reilly, who said that Denoncourt had always been there for his friends and that they feel motivated to do the same for his family.
He had worked for Marriott International starting as a front desk manager while in college and working his way to his most recent position as general manager at the Courtyard Marriott at Foggy Bottom in Washington, D.C.
Denoncourt is survived by his fiancé, Sheila Rhilinger, originally from North Attleboro, Mass.; and their son, Dylan Michael, both of Rockville, Md.; his bulldog Moxie; his parents, Dennis and Susan Denoncourt; his brother, Jason Denoncourt of Lexington, Mass. and wife, Rena, their children Mike, Luke, and Amelia; his sister, Nicole Sloane of Bedford, and her husband, Geoffrey and daughter, Susan; his grandmother Cleo Spain of Concord; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
The cost of the ride is $35/rider, $20/passenger, or $20/person for those who show up for the barbecue only. This includes food and a T-shirt, and there will be 50/50 raffles as another means to raise money.
The ride includes registration at 9 a.m. at a place to be determined. It will pass by Laconia High School and depart Laconia at 10 a.m., head to Alton and go around the backside of Lake Winnipesaukee, up to North Conway for a lunch (cost not included), head across the Kancamagus, then back to Belmont for a 4 p.m. barbecue at 77 Hoadley Road.
O'Reilly said memorial donations for those who can't attend can may be made to the Dylan Michael Denoncourt Trust Fund c/o Bank of New Hampshire, 62 Pleasant St., Laconia, NH 03246.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:51

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Pair of duck blinds discovered on public lands abutting Lily Pond

GILFORD — After hearing from Everett McLaughlin that there were two duck-hunting blinds built on Lily Pond sometime during the winter, last night selectmen asked the police to locate the owner of the one located on town property and ask the architect to remove it within 30 days.

In addition, selectmen asked Lt. Jim Leach to notify the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the Laconia Airport Authority especially about the one on state property that could interfere with the Lily Pond approach to Runway 8.

"There's been a lot of work put into these," said McLaughlin. "It won't be easy to get them off."

Selectboard Chair John O'Brien, who sat on the airport authority for a number of years and is a pilot, said the FAA would likely be the agency to "put the kibosh" on the blind near the runway approach.

When asked, Leach said there is a potential safety hazard other than the airport with one of the blinds that he said in his opinion is a little too close to Lily Pond Road for hunting.

According to Town Administrator Scott Dunn, no hunting blinds are permitted on any property without the permission of the property owner — in this case the town of Gilford.

Selectmen were also concerned with the logistics and costs associated with removing the blind that is on their property and said that if the town if forced to take the blind down, it should assess the costs to the person who put it up.

McLaughlin said it appears the blinds were set up some time over the winter when the pond was low and frozen. He said this time of year the pond is high and the area is accessible only by boat. Because the pond is only about six or seven feet deep, he said it is unlikely the town could get a boat in there powerful enough to remove the blind that is almost 20 feet long.

Selectmen said they would hold off on any action to remove the blind on its property until next month and after Leach has had an opportunity to do some background and investigative work.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:21

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Big change in N.H. criminal court system would route felonies directly to superior court

LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners had proposed changes in the state court system that would see felony charges filed directly in Superior Court, bypassing the current practice of having them filed first in circuit courts, outlined to them by N.H. Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau Wednesday afternoon.
Nadeau said the goal of the program is to see 75 percent of felony level cases resolved within 90 days of being filed, 90 percent within 180 days and 98 percent within a year.
She said that currently in New Hampshire the average is 233 days passing between the time a case reaches Superior Court and it is resolved. And that doesn't even count the 45 to 90 days it takes a case to move from Circuit Court to Superior Court.
''We're duplicating what happens in Circuit Court in Superior Court. What we want to see is getting a judge with jurisdiction to resolve the case involved right away by eliminating the Circuit Court for felonies,'' said Nadeau
She said that eliminating the circuit court path for felonies will save two to three months and result in quicker resolution of felony cases, 40 percent of which she said can be resolved within 40 days of arrest, something she said is already taking place in Strafford County where an early case resolution program for property-crime cases has been in place for five years.
Nadeau said she would like to see other counties using what she called a vertical approach to felony cases, where the county attorneys' office becomes involved in felony cases immediately after arrest.
She said studies have shown that defendants who are held accountable for their actions close in time to their arrest are less likely to become repeat offenders and such an approach has an added benefit of reducing pretrial detention time, saving on costs for county jails.
Nadeau said that a pilot project which will start in Strafford County next month and Cheshire County in in July will see cases bound over from Circuit Court scheduled for an immediate hearing, or initial appearance, before a superior court judge who has jurisdiction to hear the case. At present a felony case waits three months or more once it's bound and a prosecutor can present it to a grand jury.
She said legislation will need to be passed in the next session of the Legislature which would recognize the superior court as having first jurisdiction in these cases, and that more research is being done as to whether other laws would need to change.
''This is different than our current adversarial model'' says Nadeau, who said that the project is intended to keep cases that should not have been felonies from ever reaching superior court, and to identify early those defendants who are eligible for drug court or other alternative sentencing programs.
Draft rules circulated earlier this year provide that at least 10 days before initial appearance, the state will have provided all discovery and a written plea offer. The defense must also let the state know whether it intends to raise an alibi or certain other defenses. At the initial appearance, the prosecutor and defense attorney must be ready to discuss early resolution. The defendant can waive indictment and enter a guilty plea at the initial appearance, if the parties reach an agreement.
She says if a defendant does not agree to accept a plea bargain offer within a 10-14 day period the offer will expire. "It gets the attention of the defense attorneys right away and and makes resolution of those cases before they ever move further more likely.''
She said the changes will be more fully explained to county officials at a meeting in September and that it will be two to two and a half years before the system can be fully implemented statewide.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:06

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Shaker board votes to keep ‘Red Raider’ mascot

BELMONT — After listening to a presentation similar to one given to community members about the Red Raider logo in April, the Shaker Regional School Board voted 4-to-1 against changing it.

Voting against the change were Belmont members Donna Cilley, Vice-Chair Sean Embree, Gretta Olson-Wilder and Richy Bryant. Voting to get rid of the logo was Canterbury member Robert Reed. Abstaining was Canterbury member Jill Lavallee. Chair Heidi Hutchinson of Canterbury did not vote.

"I don't want to vote on this," said Cilley who was the first to suggest the district voters be the one who make the decision.

Most of the members of the board said they thought it was something that the School District should decide at its annual district meeting in March. This was the reason Lavallee chose to abstain.

"We should vote 'no' and leave it up to residents to bring it up at the meeting," said Bryant, suggesting that the people who support changing the logo to something other than a side profile of what appears to be an American Indian could file a petition for the next district meeting.

Reed voted to change the logo because he said the important thing was not that the people who support keeping it aren't offended, but that it could be offensive to others. "It's how it looks to those Indian people — the Native Americans," he said.

Embree voted against changing it, but said he had done some of his own research and echoed Cilley by saying that it is something the whole district should decide, not just the School Board.

The subject of changing the mascot came from a social studies class discussion and found its way to the Belmont High School Student Council. After conducting research into the use of American Indian names, mascots, and logos, the members of the council began a campaign to change the logo to something else but keep the name Red Raiders along with the school colors of red and white.

Principal Dan Clary wanted it noted that the Student Council tackled a very controversial issue and that some of its members had gotten some negative feedback from their fellow students. School Board members said they appreciated the fact that, regardless of the outcome, the council members did some excellent research and dared to take on a topic that was far from easy.

Student Council members Andrew Bragg and Taylor Becker presented the board with the results of the poll held after the April meeting and noted that 12 people voted for changing the logo and 56 voted against it. Apparently other polls, including one done on-line by Selectman and Belmont High School Alumni Ron Cormier had comparable results.

Bragg and Becker said they polled the high school staff recently and learned that 37 of them supported changing the logo while 11 didn't.

Bragg and Tucker said that a high school-wide poll showed 73 people for changing the logo, 191 against changing it and 11 who had no opinion. In all, 275 of the 414 high school students weighed in.

The room at the Belmont Elementary School library was packed with students – most of whom were dressed in some kind of Red Raiders uniform or jacket and who stood behind one of the smaller bookcases that traverses the library.

Cassie Contigiani was still wearing her softball uniform complete with some evidence of a recent slide into base. She presented the board with a petition to keep the logo that some student athletes passed around school earlier in the day. She said about 75 percent she asked signed.

Another recent former graduate Elizabeth Yelle said said she saw the Raider as a "source of pride."

"I never thought of it as something not to be proud of," she said.

He sister said both of her older siblings were Red Raiders and she had waited four years to be able to wear a Red Raider jacket.

For the logo to be changed, a petitioned warrant article written in the affirmative must be presented to the Shaker Regional School District before Feb. 4, 2015, said Business Administrator Deb Thompson.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 May 2014 01:17

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