State rep-elect charged with assaulting police officer

LACONIA — State Rep.-elect Michael F. Maloney of Gilmanton was arrested on Sept. 17 on a class A misdemeanor caharge of assaulting a police officer while attending a Drop-Kick Murphy's Concert at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion (Meadowbrook) in Gilford.

According to Gilford Police, Maloney, 51, of 1870 Province Road was part of a group of people outside of the gate that was acting very rowdy and refused to settle down when asked by a Meadowbrook security officer.

Two police officers, Lt. James Leach and Northfield Patrol Officer Aaron Chappel, who was working for Gilford Police on a special detail, responded.

Their report, according to Gilford Police Information Officer Lt. Kris Kelley, said Maloney kept yelling loudly and the group that included him was asked to leave.

Kelley said Mahoney or someone in his group called 9-1-1 because they wanted the state police to respond and not local police.

He said the report indicates that Maloney put his hands in his pockets, approached Chappel, who was in uniform, and chest bumped him.

Maloney was arrested, charged and released on personal recognizance bail.

Assault on a police office who was acting in the line of duty can be punishable by an extended term of imprisonment.

His trial in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division was scheduled for Dec. 5 but his attorney filed for a continuance so as to conduct an additional investigation. Maloney said there are witnesses to the incident and one that would be particularly useful to him is currently on active military duty and would not be available on Dec. 5.

Gilford Police didn't not object to the continuance so the judge granted him an extension of 45 to 60 days.

Maloney, a Republican, was elected to his first term in the New Hampshire House in November.

The Daily Sun left a message for him but he didn't return the phone call.

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Commissioners compromise, agree to 2017 county budget proposal that calls for 6.1% hike in taxes

LACONIA — Beknap County Commissioners resolved a thee-way split on the proposed 2017 county budget when they met Friday morning after Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) and Commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton) agreed to a compromise.
Both Taylor and DeVoy had backed different budget totals, while Commissioner Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton) would not support any of the three proposed budgets under consideration without cuts in the administration budget.
At one point the commissioners sought advice from attorney Paul Fitzgerald about resolving the impasse and were told that if they could not agree on the budget they should submit three different budgets to the Belknap County Delegation, which is scheduled to meet on Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. to start work on the budget.
As Fitzgerald was relaying his advice by phone to County Administrator Debra Shackett, DeVoy and Taylor agreed to a compromise in which two positions which Taylor supported filling remained in the budget and cuts proposed by DeVoy were adopted.
The two commissioners agreed on a proposed $28,034,331 budget which will see the amount to be raised by property taxes revert to the $13,837,174 raised, to the penny, in 2015, which is about $875,000 more than was raised this year. In order keep the increase to that level, the two commissioners agreed to use $2,183,657 from the undesignated fund balance, which will reduce the projected amount remaining available in surplus funds in 2018 to about $1.7 million.
The proposed amount to be raised by taxes is 6.31 percent higher than this year's $12,963,440, a 6.74 decrease from 2015. The bulk of that decrease came in the form of using and additional $605,000 of fund balance to reduce taxes which the delegation adopted over objections by the two commissioners, raising the amount of the surplus used to reduce taxes to $2,380,000 this year.
Taylor had maintained that the commissioners should submit a budget which met the needs of the county while DeVoy, whose district includes the city of Laconia, said that he wanted to keep the increase within Laconia's property tax cap limits.
The compromise would see a county human resources director hired for $65,540 and a full-time dispatcher hired for $42,645 added to the Belknap County Sheriff's Department. Major cuts recommended by DeVoy included $35,575 for part-time deputy sheriffs, $10,000 for part-time dispatchers and $69,220 for part-time corrections officers.
DeVoy pointed out that the budget still includes new positions for the Belknap County Corrections Department and the new Community Corrections Center, scheduled to open in September.
He said hat the county is facing over $900,000 in increases due to contractual obligations in next year's budget.
DeVoy and Taylor noted that Belknap County's amount to be raised by taxes has dropped by 10 percent since 2008, while every town in the county and the city of Laconia have seen increases of at least eight percent in the same time period.
A chart provided by Shackett showed Alton up 17 percent, Barnstead 16 percent, Belmont 13 percent, Center Harbor 15 percent, Gilmanton 15 percent, Gilford 10 percent, Laconia 13 percent, Meredith 17 percent, New Hampton eight percent, Sanbornton 14 percent and Tilton 30 percent.
Taylor said those numbers show that Belknap County is very frugal.
Burchell pointed out that the new county delegation, which was elected last month, is likely to be even more conservative than the present delegation and that commissioners should be aware of that and try to work with the delegation.

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6 added to LHS Athletic Hall of Fame

LACONIA — The Athletic Department of Laconia High School inducted four stellar athletes and two revered coaches into its Athletic Hall of Fame at a ceremony in the auditorium on November 25, emceed by David Rea, the legendary "Voice of Sachems."

The two coaches — Socrates Bobotas and Paul Phelps — left legacies that have enriched "Sachem Pride" long after they hung up their whistles.  During his tenure from 1949 until 1976, Bobotas's baseball teams captured two state champions while falling one win short of the title four times. As athletic director he introduced Title IX sports in 1972, which placed girls and boys on a level playing field. Appropriately Sachem athletes will forever be reminded of his lasting contributions each time they step on to the practice field behind the school bearing his name.

A Sachem himself, Phelps returned to teach history and coach football basketball and track. As an assistant football coach for 26 years he helped steer teams to seven state championship games and win two of them. He was either the assistant or the head track coach for more than 20 years and in 1978 led his team to the Class I state outdoor championship to earn coach of the year honors. In 2002 Phelps was named AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year.

A star for all seasons, Wilbur Fay competed in football, basketball and baseball between 1921 and 1924 while finding time to compete in speed skating events throughout the state, including races run at Pearl Street where he finished second in the state and his Laconia team claimed the state title. After teaching and coaching at various venues, he returned to the area and in 1942 opened Fay's Boat Yard, still family owned and operated.

Amy Cantin of the class of 1986, excelled as an alpine skier as well as a field hockey and softball player. As captain and most valuable player of the field hockey team she earned all-state honors crowned her career by playing for Team New Hampshire which topped Team Vermont in the Field Hockey Classic. She joined the variety ski team as a seventh grader and was its most valuable member as a sophomore, junior and senior. She won the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association giant slalom championship in 1985 and the slalom title the following year.

A standout in both track and field and basketball, Charlene Emond of the class of 1988, capped her high school career by earning the Joyce H. Bobotas Award. Playing basketball for three years, she captained the team her senior year when she was named most valuable player. But, she shined in the spring, earning all-state honors in the shot put four years running and in the discus as a junior and senior. Her school record in the shot put, set in 1985, Twice she was New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association shot put champion and finished among the top 10 in the New England Meet of Champions.

Athletic director and football Coach Craig Kozens called Christian Burt, who graduated in 2009, "the real deal" and "one of the best athletes I've ever coached." On the basketball court, he captained the team as a junior and senior, tallied more than 1,000 points, earned all-state honors and took his team to the final four. On the gridiron he led the Sachems to an unblemished championship season in 2007 and earned all-state honors as a junior and senior. He was a winner of the Elks Scholar-Athlete Award and played his way to full scholarship to play football at the University of Massachusetts. "His fluidity as an athlete made it all look so easy for him." Kozens said.