Alleged drunk driver hits city police cruiser

LACONIA — A city police officer was unharmed after her cruiser was hit by a woman who was subsequently charged with driving while intoxicated.

Police said Patrol Officer Megan Denutte was stopped at the intersection of Blueberry Lane and North Main Street when her car was struck by a Ford Explorer driven by Rebecca McDougall, 64, no address given, of Laconia.

There was minor damage to each vehicle.

As is Laconia Police Department policy, the crash is being investigated by the Gilford Police Department. Anyone who witnessed it is asked to contact Officer Curtis Mailloux at 527- 4737.

– Gail Ober

Barnstead man arrested after threatening


BARNSTEAD — After allegedly threatening someone with a rifle at a family barbecue on July 5, a Province Road man was arrested for criminal threatening.

07-08 Paul E. Tasker

Paul E. Tasker, 39, of 640 Province Road was apprehended by a New Hampshire State Police SWAT team and the Barnstead Police after getting a warrant for his arrest.

Barnstead Police Prosecutor Anthony Estee said Tasker had been convicted of felony criminal threatening in 2010 in Belknap County Superior Court.

According to Estee, police obtained the arrest warrant at 4 a.m. on Thursday but didn't want to search for Tasker, who was staying in a tent in the woods until daylight.

Estee said police used a SWAT team because there area was very wooded and Tasker was alleged to have been armed and very familiar with the area. He said there was no struggle with police officers but police K-9s were first to locate him.

Tasker was staying in the tent with a woman and some children, said Estee, who said he didn't know if a weapon was recovered.

Tasker is charged with one count of felony criminal threatening with a firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm in Barnstead. Pittsfield Police confirmed that Tasker had an outstanding warrant for a domestic violence-related incident and that they had been working with the Barnstead Police to get him into custody.

He is scheduled to appear in the Belknap County Superior Court at 1:30 p.m. for arraignment.

No more parade? City debates continuing Fourth of July event


LACONIA —The Fourth of July parade passed in not much more than the blink of an eye — 12 minutes and 20 seconds to be exact — with more than a dozen politicians, whose steps accounted for all but 3 minutes, easily representing the largest contingent of marchers.

"It was embarrassing," one member of the sparse crowd lining the route said flatly.
The Civil Air Patrol provided a color guard and Laconia Middle School provided a small band. There was a pair of antique automobiles and a fire engine. The mayor and four city councilors marched along with the gaggle of politicians.

"It was disappointing," agreed Kevin Dunleavy, director of parks and recreation, whose department stages the parade, "but it always is. The parade has always been a struggle."

Dunleavy said that for years the Opechee Park Club managed the parade before handing the reins to the Laconia Kiwanis Club, but for the past several years the task has fallen to the Parks and Recreation Department, with help from Kiwanians Chet Cilley and Jim Fortier. "It's a lot for us to manage," said Dunleavy. "It's hard to do what we need to do to make it a success."

Dunleavy said that the department directly approaches local businesses, civic groups, youth league teams and other organizations to encourage them to join the parade while at the same promoting the event on social media. With school out, he added, it is especially difficult to enlist a marching band. The parade once began earlier in the day, but the starting time was moved to 4:30 p.m., closer to the opening of festivities at Opechee Park, in hopes of attracting more participants. "It's difficult to get people to participate," Dunleavy confessed.

Moreover, the Fourth of July is perhaps the most demanding day of the year for the department. Apart from arranging the celebration and fireworks at Opechee Park, the holiday begins early and runs late for department employees. Dunleavy said he was at Weirs Beach at 3:30 a.m. on the morning of the Fourth, where he evicted a group pitching a tent, and at 5 a.m. a crew arrived to clean the beach. He estimated there were some 1,500 people on the beach shortly after it opened at 7 a.m.

"Between supervising at Weirs Beach and Opechee Park," it's all gotten to be too much for us," Dunleavy said. "I think we're going to look to see if anyone wants to manage the parade, to see if there is another interested party."

Failing that, he said that doing away with the parade is "definitely a possibility," hastening to add that "It's not that we don't want to have a parade. But, it's a community event and we need the community to support and participate for it to be a success."

By contrast, Dunleavy said that celebration at Opechee Park "met or exceeded all our expectations."