Fugitive wanted on rape charge arrested

Pedro Lebron SrPedro Lebron Sr.

 LACONIA — A former Northfield man who was indicted for aggravated felonious sexual assault in Tilton by a Belknap County grand jury in November of 2014 was arrested Wednesday at the Concord bus station.

Belknap County Sheriff Craig Wiggin said in a written media release that Pedro Lebron Sr., 40, of Camden, New Jersey, was recently told by his family that the U.S. Marshal's N.H. Joint Task Force with the Belknap County Sheriff's Department was looking for him.

Wiggin said they had traced him to the Camden/Philadelphia area and had apparently been in touch with his family.

Once Lebron arrived at the Concord station, he called the Belknap County Sheriff's Department, who went there and arrested him without incident.

He allegedly told deputies that he decided to return to New Hampshire because of the pressure being put on his family.

Lebron is being held at the Belknap County House of Corrections on a "no bail" status said Wiggin. He is waiting for arraignment in Belknap County Superior Court.

– Gail Ober

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Embree, Caruso vie for Shaker Board spot


BELMONT – Six-year incumbent Sean Embree is being challenged in his re-election bid for the only open spot on the Shaker Regional School Board by parent and building manager William Caruso.

Caruso said his desire to serve on the school board stems directly from his being a working and actively involved parent who is committed to help in "shaping the education of our children."

As a building manager, he said he would bring a fresh set of eyes to the table. He said he is a particular support of special education and supporting families who are faced with challenges.

Embree said that there are a number of changes occurring within the district and it is his desire to "see those changes through..because I believe experience is important for the board right now." He said he has been a dedicated member of the board who recalls missing many family activities but only two meetings in six years.

Professionally, Embree is the information technology director at the Manchester campus of the University of New Hampshire.

Both have direct connections to the school district. Caruso has a child who attends school and Embree has two children in the district and his wife teaches there.

Each was asked five questions that are identified as "hot" topics in both communities. The first was about the potential passage of the Official Ballot Law, commonly called SB2, the second was about the Gale School, their third was about the culture of the district and the fourth was about competency-based grading. The fifth was if there are any programs each would like to see added or eliminated from the current curriculum.

Embree said he doesn't support SB2 because Belmont and Canterbury are still small enough that the traditional Town Meeting works. He said board has prepared a fair budget that is less than any default budget that the district would have had to prepare if it were an SB2 district.

Caruso supports SB2 because it gives voters an inside look at spending. He acknowledges that many communities, including Belmont, have has very poor attendance at SB2 hearings and that he think more people should take the time to come should SB2 pass.

As to the Gale School, Embree supports saving parts of it, meaning the bell and the bell tower. He said he understands the nostalgia people feel  and why they want to save it, but said no viable use for it has been brought forward. He added that overall trends show declining enrollments and he fears that if the district spends any money restoring it, by the time it's done, the district won't need the space and he want money spend on existing facilities.

Caruso said he would need more specific information but said he heard that it could cost almost $80,000 just to renovate the exterior. He said he thinks the district should spend that money on upkeep of its current buildings.

Changing to competency-based grading was something that happened under Embree's watch as board chairman, and he says he will continue to support it. He noted many colleges and universities are moving in this direction.

Caruso said the grading system should be what is best for Shaker students. He is neither for nor against it, but thinks that other area schools should be polled and that there should be adequate input from teachers and administrators.

As to the culture survey, he said he understands that a survey has been done but said the answers, to the best of his knowledge, have not been released. He also said that, until he sees those results, he wouldn't want to comment further other than he would like to see them released as soon as possible to the community.

Embree said he hopes the culture survey will be used to attract and keep the best possible teachers and administrator at Shaker. "As a taxpayer and someone who has children in the district, I want the best school district we can offer," he said.

Caruso didn't answer the question about additions or deletions to the curriculum because he said he needs more information but Embree said that, as a board member, he constantly to "add value" to Shaker education but within budgetary restraints. He cited the recent STEM and engineering program being taught at the high school as an example.

Shaker Regional School District elections are on March 4. The polls are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., after which the annual School District Meeting will take place.

William CarusoWilliam Caruso

Sean EmbreeSean Embree

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LASC sued over pool loan - NH Community Development Finance Authority attaches $500K


LACONIA — Thomas and Lori Oakley took out a loan from the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority to cover the costs of making the pool area of the Lakes Regional Athletic and Swim Club more energy efficient. Now, with the club shut down, the authority is suing to get that money back.

The authority has filed suit against against the Oakleys, the Lakes Regional Athletic and Swim Club, and Main Street Investments that operates out of 827 N. Main St., seeking to attach up to a total of $500,000 all of the property owned by those parties.

According to the pleading filed in the Belknap County Superior Court, on April 18, 2012, the Lakes Regional Athletic and Swim Club entered into a loan and security agreement with the finance authority for $457,842. The Oakleys, said the pleading, entered into personal guarantees for the loan.

The finance authority says the Lakes Regional Athletic and Swim Club stopped making payments on the loan in June of 2015. The authority called or requested payment in full, including interest and penalties, for the $403,395.64 left to pay under the terms of the loan. They claim interest, fees, penalties and legal fees continue to mount, and the Oakleys have "failed or otherwise refused" to pay.

The Lakes Regional Athletic and Swim Club closed abruptly on Nov. 27. About 50 full-time and part-time employees lost their jobs. The Oakleys had a $50,000 surety bond for the protection of the members but an attorney for the New Hampshire State Attorney's Office said the money will be a fraction of what is owed to members and will be pro-rated for disbursement.

The suit claims that the Oakleys took out the loan to fund some pool renovations that were to make it more energy efficient. The authority claims it is "unconscionable" for the defendants to retain this "benefit."

State officials say they are confident that there are enough assets between the Oakleys individually, the swim club and Main Street Properties to attach $500,000 for complete recovery.

As of Tuesday, no reply from the Oakleys or their attorneys had been filed.

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