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World War II vet finds relative of Laconia buddy who died fighting alongside him in Germany in 1944

LACONIA — Seventy years ago next month, Joseph Picard of the Taylor Community lost one of his best friends to a fragment of an enemy artillery shell while fighting along side him outside a small town in southern Germany.

Picard, who is originally from Rhode Island, said he met Laconia native Raymond Bolduc while the two of them were in basic training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 1943 and they stayed together in the same unit.

Deployed to the European theater in 1943, Bolduc — a TEC 5 or the modern-day equivalent of a corporal — was killed in action on November 5, 1944. Originally buried in Henri Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium, Bolduc's family brought his body back to the United States in 1948 and he is buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Laconia

Picard, who relocated to Laconia after his retirement, said he spent many years looking for surviving family members of Raymond Bolduc but to no avail — until this summer when he took an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. and met Bolduc's nephew.

Honor Flight New England is a program for WW II veterans to fly to the capital and visit the WW II Memorial built to honor their service. Picard said he wanted to dedicate his flight to Raymond Bolduc.

He said that as he was preparing for his Honor Flight he went onto the program's webstie  and began scrolling down through the names of other honorees and found that a Jeff and Debbie Bolduc of Hookset had dedicated a flight to Raymond Bolduc.

He said that the registry is not an official archive but this was the first time he had seen a reference to Raymond Bolduc other than his research at the Laconia Public Library, visiting his grave in Sacred Heart Cemetery, and seeing his name on the WW II memorial in Veteran's Square.

Picard said that when Jeff Bolduc saw that he had listed Raymond Bolduc as his honoree, he reached out to him and told him he was not only a nephew but was a volunteer for Honor Flight New England.

The two men flew together during Picard's Honor Flight.

Picard recalled yesterday how Bolduc's wife had written to him shortly after her husband's death but because he was still fighting in Germany, he couldn't tell her how her husband had died because of military censorship.

"I wrote back and told her that if I made it back I would tell her everything," he said.

Picard made it back in 1946 and said he drove to Laconia to find Bolduc's wife but only had her mother's address. When he went to her mother's home he learned Bolduc's wife had remarried and he said decided not to pursue finding her.

"I think she lived in the area but I never knew her last name," he said.

But Bolduc's family was always something he thought about. "I know there are a lot of Bolducs in Laconia but none of them are apparently from his family," he said.

Picard said he and his family vacationed in Laconia for years and about 15 years ago, he and his wife moved here permanently.

He said he researched Bolduc's death in the newspaper archives at the library and noted that it was extensively covered. He said there were even stories about how the military made a mistake and originally told Bolduc's widow he was killed on October 5 and not November 5.

He said there were stories written in 1948 when his body was brought home and there was a letter about him written by the chaplin that was reprinted in the newspaper.

But until this summer he had never found a living relative he could share his memories with.

"I was so glad that Jeff got some more information about his uncle," said Picard, noting that finding one of his dead friend's living relatives was one of the great missions of his life.


CAPTION: Joseph Picard of the Taylor Community holds a picture of himself and Jeff Bolduc of Hooksett, the nephew of Raymond Bolduc of Laconia, one of his his best friends who was killed in action on November 5, 1944 while the two fought together in Germany during WWII. Picard spent 70 years looking for one of Raymond Bolduc's living relatives and found him on an Honor Flight this past summer. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Friday, 03 October 2014 11:50

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$100k cash bail holding Gilford man in jail on drug charges

CIRCUIT COURT — A Gilford man is being held in jail on $100,000 cash-only bail and is facing multiple charges after a traffic stop Thursday night on Gilford Avenue near Hounsel Avenue.

According to Laconia Police logs Kyle W. Harriman, of 53 Bedford St. is charged with five counts of possession of narcotics drugs, two counts of possession of controlled drugs, one count of unlawful dealing in prescription drugs, one count of falsifying physical evidence, one count of possession of property without a serial number, and one count of carrying/selling weapons.

Harriman appeared by video in the Fourth Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday afternoon.

At press time no further information was available.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 October 2014 11:35

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Couple said to have been running 'big drug operation' out of Laconia apartment

LACONIA — A Cambodian couple are being held in Belknap County Jail in lieu of cash bail following their arraignment in Fourth Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday on charges arising from allegedly operating what prosecutor Jim Sawyer described as "a big drug enterprise".

Bountham Sonthikoummane, 52, and Onnella Nguan, 37, both of 25 Grove Street, Apartment 1, were arrested on Thursday morning. Sonthikoummane was charged with possession of narcotic drugs with intent to distribute and conspiracy to to distribute controlled drugs while Nguan was charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled drugs.

Judge James Carroll set cash bail at $100,000 for Sonthikoummane, who was in the courtroom accompanied by an interpreter but not represented by counsel. The judge informed him the the United States Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have placed an "immigration hold" on him, requiring that he be placed in federal custody once he posts bail, is released or serves his sentence. Carroll assured Sonthikoummane that the court would appoint an attorney to represent him by Monday when he could petition for a further review of his bail.

Sawyer requested and Carroll set bail for Nguan, who was arraigned by video but represented by Public Defender Alison Schwartz, at $50,000. Schwartz asked to reduce her bail to $5,000. She told the court that Nguan, who came to the United States from Cambodia in 1996 and to New Hampshire from Massachusetts about a year ago, has no prior history of drug offenses. Moreover, she said Nguan has two children and is expecting a third without any family to care for them and that "she was not the main player in these circumstances," which she questioned were as extensive as Sawyer claimed.

Carroll disagreed, saying "this could be a large drug enterprise."
Sawyer told the court that a search of the apartment found significant quantities of drugs and amounts of cash as well as "further evidence of a drug enterprise," but no indication of drug use within the unit. He said that drugs were stored in a laundry basket, mingled with children's clothes, and in a bedroom closet within easy reach of the young children. He said that Sonthikoummane "showed disregard for the welfare of his step children."

In addition to drugs, Sawyer said police found "a large amount of cash" and receipts for purchases of jewelry made between May 27 and August 16 totaling $32,000. Furthermore, Sonthikoummane was wearing a gold necklace, which was appraised by a local jeweler at $7,000. Sawyer said that there was no evidence that either Sonthikoummane or Nguan were employed and suggested that the receipts and jewelry were bought with the cash proceeds of drug sales, which were laundered by turning them into things of value.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 October 2014 11:32

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WEEKEND - Corn Mazes: How to get lost in the Lakes Region & have a lot of fun doing it

GILFORD — It's the time of year when you can have a lot of fun getting lost out in a corn field at either of two local farms which are again hosting visitors at their mazes.
At Beans and Greens on Rt. 1-B in Gilford, the yearly corn maze has become a very popular activity for visitors of all ages. Alex Howe, son of farm owners Andy and Martina Howe, has once again created a challenging puzzle for visitors.
The first corn maze at the farm was designed by Howe as part of a math project when he was an eight grader in 2002, according to Whitney Vachon, a five-year employee at the popular farmstand.
She says the process starts in June with Andy Howe planting the corn. When the cornstalks are a few feet high Alex starts designing the maze, making graphs of the entire cornfield on draft paper in order to create his master maze. Workers at the farm then help him remove cornstalks, creating paths and dead ends throughout the field.
''We pull all the plants from the paths that are designed into the maze,'' says Vachon.
When September arrives the corn has grown to more than 10 feet in height and the fields are opened to visitors, who can expect to spend up to an hour finding their way through the maze. Workers from the farm act as "corn cops" to help walkers with directions, which may or may not lead to the right way out, and are on hand to guide those who become hopelessly lost.
The Beans & Greens Farm corn maze is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is also open Friday and Saturday nights for those seeking extra heart thumping thrills and challenges (reservations are required for the night visitors) Day rates: $7 for adults, $5 for children 12 or under. Night rates are $7 for children 12 or under and $9 for all others. Call 603-293-2853 for reservations.
The corn maze at Moulton Farm in Meredith started back in 2000 with a small piece of land across the street from their farm stand.
Rob Stephens, retail manager, was thinking of fun and unique ways to offer fall visitors an experience they would not forget. He came up with the corn maze idea and brought it to reality. Moulton Farm paved the way as one of the first businesses in the state to offer such forms of what is now commonly known as agri-tourism.
Over the years the designs have grown more complex, to the delight of many visitors.
During the farm's 131 year history John Moulton's ancestors ran the farm as cattle farm and then a dairy farm before transitioning to growing vegetables, fruit and flowers. This year they're celebrating the farm's dairy past.
Maze designer Wes Thomas, who has worked at the farm since he was in high school, has designed the farm's puzzles for the past seven years.
"Wes wanted a farm theme for this design this year," says John Moulton. "When I shared with him that the maze is located where the cows used to graze when my father ran the farm as a dairy farm, he smiled. You could see an idea forming in his mind." Thomas incorporated barns, a silo and two cows into this year's design (see photo).
According to the Moulton's Farm Stand website, a lot of time and effort is put into designing the maze for the enjoyment of everyone who visits the farm. Here are some answers to the many questions they get about the corn maze:
The corn maze is planted around mid-June every year (depending on the weather). It takes about six hours to plant. The field is planted in both directions to create a grid.
An outline of the field is drawn on graph paper (20 pieces taped together). Each line on the graph paper represents one row of corn. The maze is then designed by hand inside the field outline on the graph paper. This process alone takes one to two days.
When the corn is between eight to 12 inches tall, the paths are cut out using a trimmer and following the giant graph paper map very carefully (it's a lot of counting). Cutting the paths takes two to three people about two days to complete.
After the paths are cut, a small tractor and rotary tiller are sent through the maze to make sure the paths have no corn in them. This takes a full day to complete.
The paths are then compacted and the rocks are removed in order to make the terrain as safe as possible for travelers. As the corn grows, leaves are stripped off the stalks that line the paths to make it easier to see and safer to travel. The corn in the maze can grow up to 15 feet tall.
None of the corn in the maze is harvested. It is used a feed corn (cow corn), which is edible but not very tasty.
Prices for the 2014 maze are $6 for adults and children 7 or older and $4 for children 6 and under. Included with admission is access to both our full size maze and our maze designed for very young children, a maze trivia game, and a treat after completing the trivia game. The last admission to the maze is one hour before the farm closes.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 October 2014 10:45

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