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Weirs Action Committee wins Motorcycle Week parking concession

Laconia Motorcycle Week Association protests Parks and Rec’s decision

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Faced with two competing requests to operate the parking concession at Endicott Rock Park during Motorcycle Week next year, the city Parks and Recreation Department this week unanimously chose the Weirs Action Committee over the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association in a decision that will require the approval of the City Council.

The Weirs Action Committee has operated the concession for the past 21 years, parking some 1,200 motorcycles each day and raising between $25,000 and $30,000 annually to fund its projects, both permanent and seasonal, to beautify The Weirs. This year, the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, beset with financial challenges, also bid for the concession.
The requests were first presented in July, when the commission tabled the matter after urging both parties to seek a mutually agreeable arrangement. When the commission returned to the issue this week, Mitch Hamel, who chairs the commission, was told there had been no conversations about sharing the concession. Instead, nearly 20 members of the Weirs Action Committee were on hand to press their claim.
Speaking for the committee, Joe Driscoll III reminded the commissioners that the parking concession has been its principal source of funds and every dollar has been invested in The Weirs or contributed to city departments.
Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, said many of the projects on the agenda of the Weirs Action Committee were being undertaken by the city with funds from the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District recently established at The Weirs. He said the revenue the Weirs Action Committee receives from the parking concession, along with the income enjoyed by property and business owners at The Weirs, reflects the association's investment in marketing the rally. Without a secure source of funding, he said the revenue from the parking concession would contribute to the association's $200,000 marketing budget.
Driscoll said that the Weirs Action Committee has "a long list of future projects" that would not be funded by tax increment financing. At the same time, Judy Krahulec, a past president of the Weirs Action Committee, said that without the revenue from the parking concession, the cost of annual projects, like floral displays, would fall to the city.
Reading from a prepared statement, City Councilor Brenda Baer reminded the commission that after the rally foundered in the 1960s, the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association revived it, and since then attendance has grown from 38,000 to 350,000.

"The business owners at The Weirs have done nothing but benefit from this event," she said. "They have withdrawn their support from the association and called it the worst-run event and should go under."
Baer reminded the commission that a year ago, when the council granted the parking concession to the Weirs Action Committee, Mayor Ed Engler "noted that the parking lot is city property and the city is not gaining any revenue and feels some of that money should be going back to Motorcycle Week."
One elderly lady recalled being told years ago that The Weirs had to take care of itself, because it could not expect anything from the city. Another called The Weirs "the city's cash cow," adding that the neighborhood receives scant support from the city. And another warned "If we don't get that parking lot, we're done" and urged the commission to "keep the Weirs Action Committee going."
Krahulec chided the association for failing to persuade the New Hampshire Legislature to introduce a commemorative license plate that she estimated would raise $670,000 to fund the association.

"They should have pounded the legislature," she said, adding "They should get off their keisters."
After the vote, Commissioner Tony Pedrzani again urged the two organizations to reach a compromise. "A bite of the apple is better than no apple at all."

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Laconia man charged with heroin possession, deadly weapon

LACONIA — A local man who was free on personal recognizance bail after being indicted in July for sales of heroin was arrested again Monday and charged with possession of heroin.

Frederick Sanborn, 32, of 11 Kentfield Court is also charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a deadly weapon and violating the terms of his bail.

Sanborn was already scheduled to appear in the Belknap County Superior Court on Thursday for a bail revocation hearing. According to paperwork filed with the court, as a condition of his first arrest, he was ordered to report regularly to Belknap County Restorative Justice but had allegedly failed to do so.

As to his arrest Tuesday, police affidavits said an officer was called to 342 Union Ave. #3 for a report of a disturbance. When the officer arrived, he said he heard two women and a man arguing.

He said the arguments seem to be getting physical and he and a second officer made contact with people, one of whom was Sanborn.

Once inside, he said Sanborn was in the kitchen, and to the officer it appeared Sanborn was trying to hide from him. He said he told Sanborn to leave the kitchen and go into the living room.

Sanborn was carrying a black and lime green backpack, which the officer said was open and in which he saw a 12- to 24-inch sword or machete. The officer said he took the backpack for his own safety and learned from his supervisor that Sanborn is a convicted felon.

Once at the police station, the officer noticed Sanborn was making furtive movements toward his groin area. The officer conducted a booking search and found a black pouch on the inner side of his leg. The bag was seized and police found needles and a small plastic bag containing a brown substance. Sanborn allegedly volunteered that the substance was heroin and that he has an opiate problem.

When the officer said he would be applying for a warrant to search the backpack, Sanborn told him to go ahead because he would only find needles, a scale and a machete.

Nevertheless, police applied for a warrant and allegedly found the machete, the scale, and a spoon bent in a manner that is consistent with drug use.

In court Tuesday afternoon, Sanborn argued through his attorney that the machete was never used in a threatening manner and that there was nothing in the affidavits that indicates it was.

Sanborn was ordered held on $10,000 cash or corporate surety.

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Woman allegedly steals bike and car

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — A transient woman is accused of stealing a bicycle and a car, but police said they still have no real motive for the alleged crimes.

Allison Wormstead, 23, is charged with theft without owner's consent, theft by unauthorized taking, theft of mislaid property and resisting arrest, which are all misdemeanors.

Police said they received a report of a vehicle stolen from the street in front of 10 Pleasant St. After getting the report, another officer saw the vehicle in front of 342 Union Ave.

Meanwhile, another officer was taking a report of a bicycle stolen from Walgreens. Police said they had reason to think Wormstead was involved in both incident.

Preliminarily, it appears Wormstead allegedly took the bicycle, rode it to Pleasant Street, allegedly stole the car which was unlocked and had the keys on the console, and then drove to Union Avenue where she abandoned the bicycle.

She allegedly tried to run from police while on Union Avenue.

Wormstead refused bail and is being held until she can appear in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division on Wednesday.

Capt. Matt Canfield said that at this point she was not charged with any felonies because the state statute reads that for a felony charge, the theft of an automobile must include a component of trying to permanently deprive the owner of it. He said the car didn't appear to be damaged.

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