LACONIA — Nearly two and one-half months after his arrest a Belknap County grand jury has indicted a former Gilmanton man for three counts of arson.
Jason E. Clairmont, 36, is charged with setting a trio of fires in Laconia — the burning of a Volkswagen Jetta on Academy Street on January 25, the burning of some lattice work on Highland Street on the same night, and the burning of a Volkswagen Beetle on September 3, 2013.
Clairmont was arrested after a string of arson fires that plagued Laconia throughout the fall and early winter.
He was initially detained by police after being spotted by a Gilford Police officer on Highland Street shortly after a fire in the lattice work was reported. Clairmont told the officer he had been bitten by a dog and the officer took him to Lakes Region General Hospital.
Police later released information saying it was Clairmont's own dog that bit him and his girlfriend has brought him to Laconia for treatment. She said she dropped him off in the city but instead of going to the hospital, video tapes of the night of January 25 show him at the Funky Monkey night club on Main Street, at Cumberland Farms convenience store on Court Street, where he bought cigarettes, and later walking up Pine Street toward Highland Street.
Police contend he lit the fire in a car parked on the corner of Bowman and Academy Streets, walked up Pine Hill, lit the fire on 91 Highland Street and then was detained by the Gilford officer who was working surveillance in the city while Laconia Police were investigating the car fire down on Academy Street.
Ninety-one Highland Street is across the street from the hospital.
Clairmont was interviewed by police on January 25 and was formally arrested and charged with three counts of arson on February 5, 2014.
At a probable cause hearing held about 10 days after Clairmont's arrest, 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Divison Judge Jim Carroll ruled there was no probable cause for his arrest for the September 3, 2013 car fire.
Carroll found there was probable cause to continue to grand jury for the January 25 fires and ordered that Clairmont continue to be held on $50,000 cash-only bail.
When presented with the information gathered by police and the Belknap County Attorney, a grand jury found there was enough evidence related all three fires to hold a trial.
Clairmont has told police that it is possible he was accidentally smoking too close to the car on Highland Street and the lattice on Highland Street.
Laconia Police said that the investigations into the remaining city fires, including two at Pitman's Freight Room, one at Christmas Island and one at the former Skate Escape building is ongoing. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Laconia Police at 524-5252 or the Greater Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 12:52
Hands Across the Table finds new home at St. Andre Bessette Parish Hall; Wed. is new free meal night
LACONIA — Hands Across the Table has a new home at the parish hall of St. Andre Bessette and new night on Wednesdays for its free weekly meals.
Kyril Mitchell, president of Hands Across the Table, said that Fr. Marc Drouin, Pastor of St. Andre Bessette Parish, offered the parish hall on Gilford Avenue after the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region acquired St. James Episcopal Church, where meals had been served since June, 2011.
Mitchell expressed his sincere thanks to the congregation of St. James Episcopal Church and the directors of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region for their warm hospitality."We were welcomed with open arms and made many friends on North Main Street," he said.
"It's what the mission of the church is all about," said Drouin of his decision to offer the parish hall as a permanent location for the program. "We'd rather have it full than empty."
Mitchell said that Hands Across the Table needs a commercial kitchen, room to serve at least 120 people and no rent. "We got that and more," he remarked, explaining the hall has a capacity of 500 and an abundance of tables and chairs. "We're set up for 120, but we can instantly seat another 24," he said.
In 2013, Hands Across the Table served more than 7,000 meals.
Meals will be served for those seeking food and friendship on Wednesdays beginning next week, May 7. Doors will open at 4 p.m. and dinner is served at 5 p.m.
CAPTION: Fr. Marc Drouin, Pastor of St. Andre Bessette Parish and Kyril Mitchell, President of Hands Across the Table, have partnered to offer weekly meals at the Parish Hall alongside Sacred Heart Church on Gilford Avenue. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch).
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 12:46
LACONIA — Rain or shine, gussy up you best friend and join the pooch parade for the fourth annual BOW WOW Fest sponsored by the WOW Trail on Saturday, May 3.
The festivities begin with registration from 7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. at the Elm Street entrance to the trail at Lakeport Square. The registration fee is $10 and another $5 gets you a T-shirt with all monies dedicated to the K-9 unit of the Laconia Police Department. Additional T-shirts are on sale for $10 with all proceeds to benefit the WOW Trail.
There will be a puppy bowl at 8 a.m. followed by Officer Mike Armstrong and his K-9 Titan demonstrating the work of a police dog at 8:30 a.m. After the dogs are blessed just before 9 a.m., the parade will begin. Costumes will be judged as the pets and their owners take to the trail, headed for downtown. WAG-IT Games will be played awards presented between 10:15 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Children can visit the Fire Department's ladder truck in the parking lot of Lake Opechee Inn.
Dog must be leashed with an up-to-date rabies vaccination. Owners should be dressed for inclement weather and prepared to clean up after their dogs.
CAPTION: From left, Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams, Chris Volpe, chief executive officer, and Claire Hebert both of Melcher & Prescott Insurance and Ann Saltmarsh of the Department of Public Works joined K-9 "Titan" and his handler, Officer Mike Armstrong at Lakeport Square, on Tuesday to invite dogs and their owners to the fourth annual BOW WOW Fest on Saturday morning. See story on page X. Volpe said that his firm is proud to support the K-9 Units of the Laconia and Gilford police departments as well as the WOW Trail, stressing that "public resources are essential for the economic development and quality of life of the community." (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 01:21
BELMONT — About 15 residents and town employees voiced their support for proposed improvements to the intersection of Rte. 106 and Seavey Road last night.
The improvements, which are being paid for by the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program, propose to add a right-turn lane on to south-bound lane of Rte. 106 for turning on to Seavey Road, and an left-turn lane on Rte. 106 north-bound also for turning on the Seavey Road.
The proposal also recommends widening the Rte. 106 end of Seavey Road from the current 26-feet wide to about 40-feet wide.
Three guardrails and some painted islands are also part of the project.
According to state Department of Transportation and local officials, the Seavey Road intersection is one of the most dangerous ones in New Hampshire. From 2003 through 2012 there were 31 accidents there and DOT officials said all of them involved two or more cars.
Police Chief Mark Lewandoski and Town Planner Candace Daigle represented Belmont and both endorsed the project as something that would make the intersection that leads to Belmont High School safer.
Business owner and abutter Jeanne Price voiced some concerns about widening the road toward the east, fearing that the work on the steep slope through the area would negatively impact her driveway.
A DOT engineer said a representative would meet with her and her husband to look at the driveway and see if they can tweak the plans to allow her better access.
Officials said the projects is anticipated to cost $660,000 and begin sometime in 2016.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 01:13
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