Weirs man allegedly threatens father with knife, is arrested

LACONIA — A 44-year-old man who allegedly threatened his father by holding a knife to his throat is being held on $50,000 cash or corporate surety in the Belknap County House of Corrections.

Affidavits said David Downing of 243 Endicott St. North #732 startled his father early Friday morning when he walked into the elder man's bedroom while talking on a cell phone.

When the elder man saw his son was carrying a knife, he jumped out of bed and later told police his son pushed him against a wall and held the blade of the knife to this throat.

The elder man said he yelled at his son and the younger man retreated to his own bedroom.

According to both the affidavit and a handwritten note from his attorney requesting a competency evaluation, David Downing may have a history of mental instability.

He is charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief for putting knife holes in the wall of his bedroom, one count of domestic violence simple assault, one count of felony reckless conduct, and one count of felony criminal threatening.

– Gail Ober

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Group plans to bring tennis back to Laconia schools


LACONIA — There is no tennis team at Laconia High School, but that could change this year.
"We are anxious to help get tennis established at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels in Laconia, and other towns in the Lakes Region," reported Robert Ronstadt, co-chair of the Lakes Region Tennis Association, a nonprofit organization of volunteers who are passionate about tennis. "For the last few years, we have primed the pump by offering free tennis programs in Laconia, Franklin, Gilford, Meredith and Tilton. The time is right to resurrect school tennis. The kids are ready. We are ready."
Within the next two weeks, administrators in Laconia schools can expect to hear from Kamal Gosine, coach for the Lakes Region Tennis Association.
Gosine, who lives and teaches in the Franklin/Tilton area, said he plans to approach staff at the high school and middle school in Laconia about reinstating tennis as a sanctioned sport.
"Laconia could have a great team," he said.
One of the goals of the Lakes Region Tennis Association has always been to bring back tennis to Laconia High through a grassroots tennis program for younger kids. The idea has been to create demand for a high school team by cultivating programs in elementary school and middle school, according to the association.
If it doesn't get done this year, Gosine said he fears it won't happen at all.
"We just want them to at least put a sign-up sheet out to see what interest there is," Gosine said.
The association won't be asking for a budget line from the school district, he said.
"This is totally free" for the school district, Gosine said.
The goal is to bring up a team this year and make it competitive.
"I want to see at least a full team. I want to see them competing again," Gosine said.
As a pilot program, this past winter the association tested the opportunity to run tennis programs in all of the Boys and Girls Club organizations in New Hampshire. Geared to ages 5 to 12, Gosine coached players and provided instruction.
"Each day that went on, we had more and more kids join in," he said.
Gilford High School allows him to come in and teach new sports, such as cricket, and these experiments in alternative sports flushed young athletes with unsuspected skills.
Tennis, likewise, can uncover hidden talents and occupy young people who may not fit in other sports programs, Gosine said.
Already, the association has discovered some exceptional athletes, he said.
"The talent is ridiculous, the hand-eye coordination," Gosine said.
With a self-funded approach, a Laconia-based school-sanctioned tennis program could swell into a successful option, Gosine said.
"We're going to donate our time. We're going to support the high school and the middle school," he said.

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Laconia police chief says city is safe despite increased drug incidents


LACONIA — Police Chief Christopher Adams told the Police Commission Thursday that the overall safety of the city and its residents is good.

Adams said it would be "naive" to say that Laconia has no issues, but that overall he is very satisfied when it comes to the violent crime rate. He said that while there is crime in the city, there is relatively little stranger crime.

"A lot of our criminal activities are related to drugs or alcohol," Adams said adding that very little crime in 2016 was committed against total strangers.

"We don't have people getting mugged at knife point in Laconia," he said.

Year-end statistics show that overall, the crimes against persons dropped about 5 percent from 2015 to 2016. Adams said he was concerned with the number of aggravated assaults, which rose from 46 in 2015 to 63 in 2016.

"Again, most of these are drug- and alcohol-related," he said.

The number of reported robberies has increased from seven in 2015 to 16 in 2016, which is a 128 percent increase. A robbery is defined as the taking of something from someone with the use or threat of physical force, said Capt. Matt Canfield.

"The majority of our robberies are from known assailants and can usually be traced back to the illegal use and sale of drugs," Canfield said, acknowledging that there is occasionally a convenience store robbery or a bank robbery like the one last week at Meredith Village Savings Bank, these incidents are relatively rare in Laconia.

In crimes against property, the city saw an overall increase of 6 percent.

There was a uptick in motor vehicle thefts from 22 in 2015 to 32 in 2016 or 45 percent and a increase of counterfeit money reports that stemmed largely from some poor quality fake money that was being circulated in the area during the summer months.

The number of burglaries dropped from 2015 to 2016 from 78 to 73 or a 6 percent decrease.
There was a 7 percent increase in 2016 of crimes against society which include drug and narcotic violations, gambling and prostitution, ans weapons laws violations.

While there was virtually no gambling or prostitution violations but there was a 8 percent increase in narcotics and drug violations.

Adams said the police are continue to use Granite Hammer, or a state grant that Laconia gets to pay for overtime for drug investigations and arrests and for putting more patrol units on the streets. Laconia received $76,950 from the state.

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