Local man accused of robbery, burglary in 2014 readies for trial


LACONIA — A Belknap County Superior Court Judge has ordered the County Attorney's Office to tell the court how many people will be granted immunity from prosecution so they can testify in the case of former local man who allegedly robbed a Harvard Street house with a gun in June of 2014.

Tyler Twombly, 31, was indicted by a grand jury for two counts of burglary, one count of conspiracy to commit robbery and one count of robbery.

Twombly came before the court on Monday for a "Richards" hearing, in which one of the potential witnesses to the crime asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination.

Belknap County Assistant Attorney Roni Karnis said she couldn't verify if the witness had been offered immunity and said there could be as many as five or six more people who could be offered immunity for their testimony at Twombly's trial. The judge wants all this information before the end of business on Friday.

The state alleges that Twombly and another man entered a home at 54 Harvard St. and "used force against another in the course of the robbery by striking or shooting (the victim) in the back of the head with the firearm and (the victim) was aware of the force.

News accounts at the time said the two were wearing bandanas over their faces and that Twombly allegedly stole some "controlled drugs" from one of the people in the house. Police were notified at 3:25 a.m. on June 25 and said one man from the home was taken to the hospital with some kind of superficial head wound, though at the time they could only confirm a gun had been fired.

Twombly is scheduled for a final pretrial hearing on March 30 and jury selection is scheduled for April 11. Twombley is represented by attorney Mark Sisti.

Inter-Lakes chooses principals for I-L Elementary and Sandwich Central schools

MEREDITH — Two new principals were named by the Inter-Lakes School Board Wednesday.

Jennifer Wrath was chosen as principal of Inter-Lakes Elementary School, and Jeremy Hillger will be the next principal at Sandwich Central School.

• Wrath is a 15-year veteran educator who began her career in 2001 at Bow Memorial School. She then moved in 2008 to Thornton Central School as a language arts teacher and curriculum coordinator. She has also served as a school board member and school board chairman of the Ashland School District.

She earned a bachelor of science degree in childhood studies at Plymouth State College and her master of science degree in curriculum and instruction and K-8 principal at Plymouth State University.

Wrath is one of two finalists forwarded to the Inter-Lakes School Board by the principal search committee. The board interviewed both candidates Monday then unanimously endorsed Wrath to be the new educational leader at Inter-Lakes Elementary School.

Inter-Lakes Elementary School in Meredith has 349 students in grades pre-K to 4 in 17 classrooms.

Wrath will begin the transition to the new position through the rest of this year and officially begin as principal on July 1.

• Hillger is an 18-year veteran educator who has been teaching 6th grade at Sandwich Central School since 2011. He began his career in 1998 at the Strong Wings Adventure School in Nantucket, Massachsetts. He moved in 1999 to the Lakes Region to begin his career in the Inter-Lakes School District at the Inter-Lakes Middle Tier.

He earned a bachelor of science degree in childhood studies at Plymouth State College and is currently finishing his master's of education in educational leadership at Southern New Hampshire University.

Hillger was the sole nominee of the principal search committee and was enthusiastically endorsed by the Inter-Lakes School Board to be the new educational leader at Sandwich Central School. The school has 79 students in kindergarten through sixth grade in four multi-age classrooms.

Hillger will begin transitioning to his new position through the rest of this year and will officially begin as principal on July 1.

– Ginger Kozlowski

Risky behavior - New survey shows tenth of Laconia high school students considered suicide


LACONIA — "This is a picture of our community," began Jim McCollum, the principal of Laconia High School as he presented the results of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey to the School Board Tuesday night. "These are our kids," he said.

The survey, developed in 1991 by the Center for Disease Control, a federal agency, was undertaken in 2015 at the high school. Altogether 463 of the 627 students completed the survey, which measures the prevalence of tobacco, alcohol and drug use, suicidal inclinations, and sexual and physical activity. The report measures responses of students at Laconia High School against those of their counterparts in the region — Belmont, Franklin, Gilford, Meredith and Tilton — and the state.

The report indicates that the prevalence of risky behaviors among Laconia is greater than that of their peers in the region and state. Nearly a third of students reported they currently use marijuana and almost two-thirds responded they perceive no moderate or significant risk in doing so, both levels higher than in the region and state. More than third drink alcohol. McCollum noted that that teenagers who smoke marijuana and drink alcohol are 65 percent more likely to turn to heroin than those who do not.

On the other hand, less than one in five students smoke cigarettes and only about one in 10 dismiss the risks of smoking tobacco. But, almost a third use electronic vapor products, prompting McCollum to express his chagrin that what he said "used to be called a head shop" plies a brisk trade in the paraphernalia of vaping within sight of the high school.

More than a third of students responded that they were sexually active and almost half said they had engaged in sexual intercourse. Half of that sexually active group said they did not use a condom and three-quarters said they did use birth control pills when they last had intercourse. 15 percent of students said they had been the victims of sexual violence and 10 percent reported they were physically forced to engage in sexual intercourse.

More than one in five students reported they had seriously considered suicide and one in 10 had attempted to take their own lives. McCollum said that a counselor from Genesis Behavioral Health who serves students at the high school is "booked solid."

Almost a fifth of students responded that a member of their family was serving a sentence in jail or prison, more than a fifth "saw or heard" domestic violence in their home, and 45 percent had lived in a household where a member abused alcohol or drugs.

MacKenzie Harrington-Bacote, who coordinates the program funded by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said that the survey "is not a report on the school. It's a reflection of our community."

"This how our kids live day to day," said McCollum. "We all deal with this on a daily basis. It is a serious situation."