Romantic falling out ends in dog fight

By BEA LEWIS, for The Laconia Daily Sun

LACONIA — It is said that possession is nine-tenths of the law, meaning that ownership is easier to maintain if one has possession of something, or difficult to enforce if one does not.

A Barnstead woman is being forced to put that axiom to the test, when she is scheduled to appear in court to answer her ex-boyfriend's claims that she won't give his dog back to him.

Trevor Smith of Alton filed a petition in Belknap County Superior Court on Jan. 26, asking a judge to grant him possession of a German shepherd that is now in the care of his ex-girlfriend, Calyn Drew.

In asking the court to order Drew to return the dog, Smith wrote that "all ownership, registration papers and vet bills are in my name."

He further claims that Drew is keeping the dog from him, despite his requests to return it, and that both Drew and her mother, have told him they planned to take legal action to keep the dog.

Judge Tina Nadeau denied Smith's emergency request to be granted ownership of the dog without allowing Drew to tell her side of the dispute, but scheduled a hearing for Feb. 3 at 1:30 p.m.

In court filings, Smith claims he purchased the dog as a puppy in December 2015 when he was in a relationship with Drew. Since they separated, Smith said, he was still allowing her to care for the dog at her home, when he had to work late hours or several days in a row.

"In no way was the dog portrayed as a gift and has remained primarily in my care," he wrote. Drew most recently began caring for the dog in early January, according to Smith, who said, he had phoned and texted asking for the dog's return, but has been rebuffed.

"She now states the dog is hers and I cannot come and get him," Smith wrote.

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AG asks seeks forfeiture of cash; claims alleged profit of drug sales

By BEA LEWIS, for The Laconia Daily Sun

LACONIA — The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office is asking a judge to order a New Hampton woman to forfeit $1,042 in cash, charging it is the profit of illicit drug sales.

According to a petition filed in Belknap County Superior Court by attorney John Harding of the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office Criminal Justice Bureau, the money was seized by Laconia police following a traffic stop on Oct. 19, 2016.

The petition claims a car with three occupants was stopped for a defective equipment violation. Meghan Conway of 115 Kelly Pond Road was in the car and was taken into custody after police discovered she was wanted on a bench warrant for failing to appear in the Franklin Circuit Court.

When Conway was told that bail on the warrant was $1,000 in cash, she allegedly flashed a large amount of cash and told the officer she would be able to post it.

Following her arrest, Conway was taken to the police station, and when her jacket was searched, $1,042 in cash was found. Officers also found two plastic bags on Conway, that contained what field tested positive for methamphetamine and fentanyl.

According to the petition, Conway told police that she earned the money working odd jobs . State law provides that any money intended for use in the procurement, manufacture, compounding, processing, concealing, trafficking, delivery or distribution of a controlled drug is a felony, and that all proceeds traceable to such activity is forfeitable.

The owner of the property has the burden of rebutting the state's allegation. The state is also asking the court to order that the Attorney General's Office be reimbursed for the expenses incurred in connection with the forfeiture proceedings.

In December, Conway, 32, also known as Meghan Batchelder, was indicted for selling the drug Buprenorphine in Laconia on Aug. 2. The same month, a Merrimack County grand jury indicted her on two counts of delivery of articles prohibited, charging that she twice smuggled fentanyl into the Merrimack County jail in Boscawen during July.

A hearing on the forfeiture petition has been scheduled for March 27 at 9 a.m.

Delegation to take up union contract; employees to pay part of health care


LACONIA — The Belknap County Delegation will take up a collective bargaining agreement which was recently reached between Belknap County Commissioners and Teamsters Local 633 when it meets tonight at 6 p.m. at the Belknap County complex.
The two-year agreement the union, which represents 23 mid-level county employees in several departments, provides cost-of-living and step increases, as well as a $1,000 one-time health incentive bonus.
It also provides that employees will pay 3.75 percent of their health insurance costs in the first year of the contract and 7.5 percent in the second year. Currently, none of the workers in the four unions representing county employees are required to pay any portion of their health insurance, a change which was negotiated in the contracts in order to persuade workers to sign on to new site-of-service plans which were less costly than the HMO plans which had been in effect.
The contract also provides a cost-of-living increase of 1 percent in 2017 and between 1 percent and 2.5 percent in 2018. Step increases are provided in both years as long as workers have received satisfactory ratings on a job performance review.
Estimated financial impact of the agreement is $39,895 in 2017 and $26,904 in 2018.
The contract was going to be taken up by the delegation when it met last Monday, Jan. 23, but the meeting was postponed due to lack of a quorum.
The delegation will also resume its deliberations on the county budget with a review of the proposed Belknap County Nursing Home budget. It has also scheduled a meeting on Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. at the Belknap County Complex at which it may take action to finalize the proposed $28 million county budget.