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Belknap County lawmakers split 10-4 against casinos

LACONIA — While the N.H. House of Representatives yesterday rejected a bill (Senate Bill 366) to introduce casino gambling by a single vote, the 14 of the 18 members of the Belknap County delegation who voted split 10-to-four against the bill

Three of the five Democrats — Reps. Lisa DiMartino of Gilford, Ruth Gulick of New Hampton and Davifd Huot of Laconia — voted in favor, together with Republican Dennis Fields of Sanbornton.

One Democrat — Rep. Ian Raymond of Sanbornton — and nine Republicans — Reps. Richard Burchell of Gilmanton, Guy Comtois of Barnstead, Jane Cormier of Alton, Don Flanders, Bob Luther and Frank Tilton of Laconia, Michael Sylvia of Belmont and Herb Vadney and Colette Worsman of Meredith voted with the majority to reject the bill.

Reps. Beth Arsenault (D-Laconia) and Charles Fink (R-Belmont) Bob Greemore (R-Meredith) and Stephen Holmes (R-Alton) were absent and did not vote.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 01:17

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Police charge Plymouth man sexually assaulted girl at his wife's Laconia day care center

LACONIA — Police have charged a Plymouth man with one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault for an incident that allegedly occurred between April 2002 and September 2003 at a daycare business on West Street.

Louis E. Pettingill, 44, of 28 Hancock Street in Plymouth allegedly engaged in a sexual act with a female who was less than 13 at the time.

Pettingill turned himself into Laconia Police and was released on $1,500 personal recognizance bail. He is expected to be arraigned on June 12, 2014.

Det. Sgt. Thomas Swett said the incident is still under investigation. He said the day care center where the offense was allegedly to have occurred has been closed for a while and was an in-home based operation run by Pettingill's former wife.

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 Thursday, 01 May 2014 01:03

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Clairmont indicted for allegedly starting 3 Laconia fires

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

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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

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