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Gilmanton man guilty of sex assault on disabled man

LACONIA — A former Gilmanton man pleaded guilty in the Belknap County Superior Court on September 9 to two counts of rape for assaulting a disabled victim who is wheelchair bound in 2006 and 2007, while he was living in Gilmanton.

According to the Gilmanton Police, Roger Toutaint, 54, formerly of Leatherstocking Lane in Gilford but recently of Hillcrest Drive in Laconia, will serve five-to-10 years in the N.H. State Prison on one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault.

He was sentenced to 10 to 20 years on the second count which was suspended pending his good behavior for 20 years.

At the time of his arrest by Gilmanton Police in October of 2012, Toutaint was on probation for a different assault conviction stemming from a 2007 incident that involved a minor female.

One of the terms of his probation was that he take a mandatory lie detector test and it was during this test that he admitted to assaulting the disable man. During the ensuing police investigation, he provided Gilmanton Police with the details.

Both assaults occurred during the 2006 to 2007 time frame.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 September 2013 01:57

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First ever N.H. Coffee Festival to be celebrated on Main Street on Saturday afternoon

LACONIA — The Main Street Initiative is anticipating that 34 vendors will be taking part in the first-ever New Hampshire Coffee Festival Saturday afternoon in Downtown Laconia.
''We're looking to make it a yearly event and draw people from all over the state,'' says Randy Bullerwell of All My Life Jewelers, a member of the sponsoring organization.
He said that the idea for the festival, which is sponsored by the Bank of New Hampshire, came from John Moriarty, president of the Main Street Initiative.
''John said that it looked like everyone was having a wine festival and that maybe we should try something different. He said that there were something like nine coffee roasters in the Lakes Region, three of them right in Laconia, and that it might be a good idea to have a festival to showcase their products,'' said Bullerwell.
Moriarty said that seven coffee roasters will be among the vendors, and that coffee in all its many guises, as well as "everything coffee," including popcorn, cup cakes, ice cream, gelato and even soap will be featured at the event, which runs right on Main Street from 1-5 p.m.
''There's going to be New Orleans cold-brewed coffee, cold lattes and hot espressos and all kinds of coffee treats, including truffles and fudge and three different kinds of coffee ice cream,'' says Moriarty.
He said that Harris Family Furniture will set up a tent with Coffee Niche kitchen furniture, which will be raffled off during the day.
Entertainment will feature the music of the Jonathan Lorentz Trio playing their own brand of what Moriarty called "coffee house jazz." The Grace Capital Church will stage the "Java Games," a series of coffee sack races, coffee bean bag tossing and coffee tic-tac-toe capped by a coloring contest. "There is something for all ages," Moriarty said.
D Squared Java of Exeter, will present an exhibition and host a competition of "latte arts," or carving decorations to embellish a cup of latte.
A symposium, headed by Claudia Barrett of CQ Coffee Roasters of Bedford, a licensed Q grader accredited by the Coffee Quality Institute who will explain the chemistry and alchemy of coffee while offering advice on how to brew the perfect pot.
A self proclaimed coffee and baseball geek, Barrett lives in Bedford, with her husband Jim, and, two children. A native New Englander, she rode out the coffee wave in the 1990s in Washington DC where she managed and helped launch a national coffee chain on the East Coast, as well as managed coffee quality and customer happiness for a local favorite coffee roastery. Her roasting apprenticeship was done at a small wholesale company called "The Daily Roast".
In April of 2013 she became a Licensed Q Grader. Licensed Q Graders are professional cuppers accredited by the Coffee Quality Institute. Q Graders must pass a rigorous three-day exam to earn their certification, comprising of 22 sections on coffee related subjects, such as green grading, roast identification, coffee cupping, sensory skills and sensory triangulation. There are currently only 2,500 Licensed Q Graders worldwide; roughly only 300 in the United States.
Claudia holds her degree in English from William Smith College. She believes her liberal arts education was the greatest gift toward her personal growth.
Moriarty said that "building community before commerce" is the mantra of the Main Street Initiative and a festival celebrating the most social and convivial of drinks provides an occasion for people to come together and share a common experience. At the same time, he said that the festival is part of the Main Street Initiative's fundraising campaign, which aims to enhance the holiday lighting downtown as well as provide a scholarship to a start-up business.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 September 2013 01:30

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South End business icon closing on Saturday

LACONIA — For as long as most people can remember, the Foley Oil Company's gas station has been across the street from Wyatt Park on the "V" corner at Route 106 and Garfield Street in the city's South End.

This Saturday, said Foley Oil Company President Jeff Pierson, the two-pump, full-service station will close because the environmental upgrades required to keep it open are too costly.

He said with no room on the corner to expand and build a store, there isn't enough profit in a gallon of gas to justify what could be as much as $100,000 in tank and pump upgrades that are mandatory for all gas stations by 2015.

"It's too bad," he said. "We have a lot of loyal customers."

Pierson emphasized that Foley Oil Company itself isn't going anywhere — they're just closing this one gas station. He said the station complies with all environmental regulations now but won't in 2015 when the new regulations take effect.

"We'll continue to operate our larger gas stations with stores in Bristol and Enfield."
He said those stations were upgraded and meet 2015 compliance standards.

At one point, said Pierson, he thought about opening a store along with the gas station but said he didn't have enough parking.

Pierson was nostalgic about the gas station though. "My wife wants to be the last person who fills up her gas tank," he said.

He said the gas station has been a part of his wife's, Katie "Foley" Pierson's life since she was a little girl. He said she told him when she was child she would go there and watch her grandfather and then her father pump gas and visit with the customers.

The pictures on walls of Foley Oil Company main offices — on the other side of South Main Street — show the history of Foley Oil and the gas station on the corner.

In one undated before Foley's opened, three grocers stand in the doorway of what used to be one of the old First National grocery stores. Stacked on either side of the doorway are sacks of flour with signs in the windows advertizing tomato catsup selling for the price of 2 for 25 cents, cans of pork and beans selling for 4 cans for 19 cents, and a loaf of sweet rye bread selling for 8 cents.

At some point, First National moved and the Foleys opened a gas station and automotive repair garage. Pierson said there is still a mechanic's bay in the building but the company uses it for storage.

The original Foley gas station is where Vista Supermarket is today and it sold Pan Am Gasoline — a company formed during WW I that was fueled by wartime gas demand and later by post-war automobile use. After a number of buyouts and scandals, what was left of Pan Am merged in the 1950s with Standard Oil of Indiana and became Amoco, which merged with BP in the 1990s.

Pierson said he didn't know what the Foley Oil Company was going to do with the property. He said the old tanks will be drained and the gas will either be brought to their bulk storage facility in Belmont or used in another Foley Oil gas station.

The tanks will be removed from the ground as is required by state and federal law but beyond that, he said the company hadn't made any decisions.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 September 2013 02:08

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Still under scrutiny to meet residency requirement, Tilton-Northfield fire chief quits to take #2 job in Gilford

GILFORD — For the second time in the past three years a chief has left the Tllton-Northfield Fire Department for the position of deputy chief in Gilford. Yesterday the Board of Fire Engineers here announced the appointment of Brad Ober, chief of the Tilton-Northfield Fire Department, as deputy chief of the Gilford Fire Department.

"I couldn't be more pleased," said Chief Stephen Carrier, for whom Ober served as a captain when he was chief of the Tilton-Northfield Fire Department before becoming deputy chief in Gilford in 2010. "Brad quickly rose to the top of our hiring process," Carrier said, adding that Ober will assume his duties on October 15..

Noting that Ober served as chief of the Ashland Fire Department before joining the Tilton-Northfield department, Carrier said that "his experience as a fire chief in two different communities and his extensive fire prevention background makes him tremendously valuable to our department and our community,"

Paul Auger of Northfield, who chairs the Tilton-Northfield Fire District Commission, said that the commissioners had yet to receive a formal letter from Ober tendering his resignation and declined to comment. Likewise, Commissioner Pat Clark only learned of Ober's appointment when it was announced by Carrier. He said he had "no idea" that Ober was seeking a position with another department, but added, "if this is an opportunity to advance his career and he will be happier somewhere else, I'm all for it and wish him the best."

However, Pat Consentino, who chairs the Tilton Board of Selectmen, called Ober's departure " a profound loss to this community, profound. Brad dedicated his career to our community with the utmost commitment and professionalism." She confessed herself "totally baffled" by the behavior of the Fire Commissioners, particularly Pat Clark, which she believes led to Ober's resignation. "Shame on them, shame on them," she said.

As chiefs of the Titlon-Northfield Fire Department both Carrier and Ober had trying relationships with the commission. Carrier found himself in the midst of a dispute between the two towns over the prospect of constructing a life-safety building to house the Tilton Police Department and elements of the Fire Department, which led the Northfield selectmen to force a vote to dissolve the fire district that was soundly rejected in 2010.

Ober's tenure as chief was dogged by his difficulties in complying with the commission's requirement that he establish residency within the district. Unable to sell his home in New Hampton, he rented an apartment in Tilton on the eve of the deadline on January 2 to avoid the risk of dismissal. But, the issue lingered, emerging again in June when, according to minutes of a commissioner's meeting, Clark said that "people have complained the chief is coming in to work from up north on a regular basis" and he "invited them to come into talk about it." Clark said that without a formal complaint it would remain a "non-issue," but, echoed by Commissioner Les Dolecal, recommended monitoring the mileage on the chief's car.

"I think that must have been the last straw," said Consentino.

Although the commission has not discussed the procedure for appointing a new chief, Auger said that he expected the residency requirement would be among the conditions of employment. "It was one of the biggest things last time," he remarked.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 September 2013 02:22

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