Jury deadlocked on Gilford rape trial

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — The jury remains deadlocked in the trial of a Gilford man who is accused of raping his former girlfriend in front of their 3-year-old daughter last January.

Opening arguments in the case against Carroll Thompson, 45, began Dec. 6 and testimony ended on Friday afternoon after Thompson took the stand in his own defense.

The state claims that Thompson forcibly raped his ex-girlfriend after she threatened to leave him and take their child. The defense claims that the two had consensual sex earlier in the day and the alleged victim cried rape later that day to prevent him from gaining custody of their child.

After closing arguments Monday morning, the jury retired to deliberate. About mid-afternoon, they told Judge James O'Neill they were deadlocked.

O'Neill told jurors that if the majority of them is for a conviction, then the others should reconsider if their doubt is a reasonable one. On the other hand, if a majority are in favor of acquittal, then the rest of the jurors should reconsider the reasons why their fellow jurors are not convinced that the state has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Should the jury remain deadlocked, a mistrial will be declared. After 30 days, both the prosecution and the defense teams are allowed to reach out to individual jurors to determine what the overall sentiment of the jury was and why, in their opinion, they were unable to come to a unanimous conclusion.
Individual jurors are under no obligation to talk to them.

This information is typically used by both sides to determine if the case should be tried again and, if so, whether or not there is solution preferable to a new trial.

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Plan to enhance Swasey Park presented

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

MEREDITH — Selectmen recently got a glimpse of plans to improve and enhance Swasey Park, a patch of land that more than most can lay claim to being the cradle of Meredith.

Swasey Park, 7.9 acres of sloping woodland on the southeast east bank of the canal leading from Lake Waukewan through Mill Falls to Lake Winnipesaukee, is a reminder of where and how Meredith grew from a rude settlement to a thriving town.

Soon after the dawn of the 19th century, John Bond Swasey, whose father, Benjamin, came to Meredith in the 1770s, began purchasing landed property and water rights along Measly Pond Brook that flowed from Lake Waukewan to Lake Winnipesaukee. By 1818 he had completed construction of a 600-foot canal, which with a 40-drop at Mill Falls provided power that soon drove sawmills, grist mills and cotton mills and ultimately even the Meredith Electric Light Company that lit the town in 1895. In 1974, Swasey's descendants donated a portion of the land remaining in the family to the town, and two years later the park was dedicated.

This spring the design committee of the Greater Meredith Program, chaired by architect Chris Williams, sponsored two charities, led by Paul Eldridge and including historian Mae Williams and Rick Van de Poll of Ecosystems Management Consultants, to develop a conceptual plan for the park.

Williams and Eldridge told the selectmen that while there is agreement that the park should be kept as a natural space and branded as a "natural" park, pathways, benches and signs should be added, along with a spot to land and launch kayaks and canoes. There would be no trash cans, but instead a "carry in/carry out" policy. It was suggested that a boardwalk might be built to reach Turtle Rock, one of the landmarks of the park, and that the park could be added as a destination on the Meredith Sculpture Walk

Williams told the board that the charities are a starting point toward the development of a final plan. He said schools, businesses and civic groups should be engaged to assist with the project. While the cost of the project remains to determined, he said that a number of public and private sources of funding should begin to be explored.

12-13 Swasey Park map

Swasey Park, marked in green, may soon see some improvements. (Graphic courtesy of Google Maps)

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Inter-Lakes School District saves big bucks with renewable energy

By ROGER AMSDEN, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
MEREDITH — The Inter-Lakes School District will showcase its renewable energy projects, including one of the largest solar energy arrays of its kind at any school in New Hampshire, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a tour Wednesday, Dec. 14, starting at 12:30 p.m. at Inter-Lakes High School.
Inter-Lakes School Board Chairman Richard Hanson said that a series of renewable energy projects have transformed the district into one of the most energy-diverse school districts in New Hampshire. One of the major improvements is a 345.6-kilowatt, ground-mounted solar electric array, which is located near the high school football field.
The grid-tied array consists of 960 solar panels and generates 100 percent of the electricity used at the high school, producing approximately 401.6 megawatt hours of electricity per year. It was put in service this fall.
Excess electricity generated by the array is fed back to the grid following New Hampshire Electric Cooperative's program for member-installed net metered generation. The array is the largest to date in the NHEC service territory.
A wood pellet boiler system has also been installed, according to Hanson, adding that the district has been working for about 10 years with Honeywell Energy Service to overhaul its energy infrastructure.
Last year, in March, voters approved entering into a 15-year, $6,184,289 agreement with Honeywell for energy improvements. Yearly payments are $437,737.
"It' s self-funding. We pay for it the money we're saving on energy costs," said Hanson, who pointed out that the school district was honored in June by the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partners for the first phase of the project, which has seen the school district save 379,141 kilowatt hours and about $170,000 a year.
"There will be a lot more savings coming from Phase II," said Hanson.
He said that Phase I improvements focused on the district's buildings – weatherization, lighting upgrades, replacement of inefficient and failing HVAC systems and installation of building controls. The $2.3 million improvements in Phase I were funded by grants and the energy savings generated by efficiency improvements. The improvements reduce oil consumption by approximately 50 percent (48,000 gallons per year), electric consumption by approximately 38 percent (700,456 kilowatt hours per year) and set the stage for Phase II improvements, which are focused on the installation of sustainable technologies and are expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Phase II projects include installation of wood pellet boiler systems, installation of grid-tied solar electric systems, installation of a solar hot water system, removal and replacement of all existing windows and exterior doors and replacement of interior and exterior lights with LED lamps
Hanson said that when Phase II work is completed, the district will have reduced its oil consumption to near zero and reduced energy costs by 40 percent. He says the project self-funded more than $4.7 million of capital improvements without increasing the current budget.
ReVision Energy installed the giant solar array and also installed solar energy systems at two other sites in the school district:
• A 17.1-kilowatt solar electric array was installed this year on the roof of Sandwich Central School in Center Sandwich. The two 30-panel arrays are expected to produce 20.25 megawatt hours of solar power each year.
• A solar hot water system was installed last year on the roof of Inter-Lakes Elementary School in Meredith. The eight solar hot water collectors, which can heat 350 gallons of hot water per day, offset approximately 240,000 BTUs per day or an average of 78,000,000 BTUs per year.

12-12 Inter-Lakes HS Array.JPG credit- ReVision Energy

The solar array at Inter-Lakes High School (Courtesy photo)

12-12 solar thermal panels.jpg credit- Seth Wheeler NHEC

Solar thermal panels sit atop Inter-Lakes Elementary School. (Courtesy photo)

12-12 living classroom.jpg credit- Seth Wheeler NHEC

The living classroom at the Inter-Lakes Elementary School. (Courtesy photo)

12-12 Inter-Lakes Sandwich Center School Array1.jpg credit- ReVision Energy

Solar panels at the Sandwich Central School. (Courtesy photo)

12-12 Inter-Lakes Sandwich Central School Array2.jpg credit- ReVision Energy

Solar panels at the Sandwich Central School. (Courtesy photo)

12-12 I-L pellet silo.jpg credit- Seth Wheeler NHEC

This silo stores wood pellets at Inter-Lakes High School. (Courtesy photo)

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