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Pumpkin Festival activities taking shape: Storyland sponsoring parade

LACONIA — As pumpkin plants blossom throughout New England the program Let It Shine Inc. and Sterling Design & Communications have announced plans for the 2015 Pumpkin Festival in downtown Laconia, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.

Even before the opening of the festival runners and walkers will be invited to strut their paces over either a 10 kilometer or 5 kilometer scenic course beginning at the Laconia Athletic & Swim Club at 9 a.m. and following the WOW Trail.

There will be four welcome centers to the festival where visitors can log in their carved jack-o-lanterns or collect a pumpkin to sculpt at a carving station. Under the creative direction of artist Larry Frates, Canal Street will become "Pumpkin Alley," an orange promenade from one end to the other lined with activities for young and old. Both the Belknap Mill and the Laconia Congregational Church will be haunted by the spirits of Halloween.

Throughout the day the city streets will be alive with music and lined with pumpkins, overlooked by the 35-foot high tower stacked with pumpkins at Veterans Square tower, which will be the crown jewel of the festival. A Ferris wheel turning on Beacon Street West during the day will offer visitors a bird's-eye view of the festival. Food and craft courts on Beacon Street East, Beacon Street West and Main Street will be offering both pumpkin-flavored treats and more standard fare as well as the work of three dozen artisans.

Children decked out in Halloween costumes will parade through downtown behind the pumpkin coach carrying Cinderella from Storyland, the popular theme park in Glen, which is sponsoring the parade. From 2 to 6 p.m. visitors can try their hand at knocking over bowling pins with sugar pumpkins at the alley on Pleasant Street.

At 8:30 p.m., when it is time to collect the pumpkins, competing teams, each assigned a territory, will compete for the grand prize of $1,000 to be donated to a chosen charity while all teams that clean up their turf will earn $100 for their favorite charity. The Pump(kin) Dump Derby is sponsored by Shipyard Brewery.

Ruth Sterling of Sterling Design & Communication said organizers are exploring the prospect of the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad providing a "Pumpkin Express" between The Weirs and downtown Laconia as well as looking into was to have transportation assistance for visitors unable to walk.

During the next 60 days organizers will decide whether to challenge the Guinness World Record for the most lit pumpkins in one place of 30,581 set in Keene in 2013. Although the pumpkins will be counted, the decision to have the tally sanctioned by Guinness has yet to be made.


Last Updated on Monday, 27 July 2015 09:45

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Belmont man killed in Rte. 127 accident in Sanbornton



SANBORNTON — Excessive speed played a major role in a single-vehicle accident in which a Belmont man was killed Friday night on New Hampton Road (Route 127), according to police.

Benjamen Page, 21, of 17 Northbrook Road, Belmont, was driving north on the highway when the vehicle failed to negotiate the curve at the intersection with Willow Road and rolled over several times, throwing him from the vehicle around 10:30 p.m.

Page was treated at the scene by medical personnel from the Sanbornton Fire Department, transported to Franklin Regional Hospital and flown by helicopter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, where he was ultimately pronounced dead.

Sanbornton Police Chief Stephen Hankard said yesterday that excessive speed appeared to be the primary cause of the accident. He noted that Page "was not wearing seat belt, which led to his ejection from the vehicle."

New Hampton Road was closed for several hours as Sanbornton and Tilton police and the Belknap Regional Accident Investigation Team processed the scene of the accident.


Last Updated on Monday, 27 July 2015 09:34

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Judge rejects Amy Lafond's request for early release from prison

LACONIA — Amy Lafond, who is serving time for her role in a 2013 traffic accident that took the life of one Laconia Miiddle School student and injured a second, has lost her bid to be let out of prison early and serve the balance of her sentence under house arrest.

Lafond was sentenced after pleading guilty to negligent homicide and second degree assault arising from the collision on Messer Street in April 2013. Driving a Jeep Cherokee north on Messer Street at excessive speed, Lafond, 54, passed a car stopped at the crosswalk at the foot of the bridge, whereupon her vehicle climbed the curb on the opposite side of the street and struck Lilyanna Johnson, who died, and Allyssa Miner.

In brief order issued earlier this month, Justice James D. O'Neill, III of Belknap County Superior Court denied Lafond's request to amend her sentence to enable her to qualify for administrative home confinement, which would have enabled her to undergo intensive outpatient treatment for substance abuse.

In May 2014 Lafond was sentenced to three-and-a-half to seven years for negligent homicide and to three to six years, to consecutively, for second degree assault. She asked the court to suspend or defer the three-to-six-year sentence for second degree assault.

In opposing Lafond's petition, Belknap County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen said that reducing her sentence would undermine its "punitive aspect." Moreover, she called Lafond's request "untimely," explaining that she must serve at least four years — or two-thirds of her minimum sentence — before applying to amend her sentence.

O'Neill confirmed that the sentences are "appropriate" and stressed that "of equal import, the profound impact that the defendant's criminal actions had on the victims' families must be considered. Likewise, he agreed with Guldbrandsen that Lafond's request was untimely.

In her petition Lafond said that since September 2014 she has been in the Wellness Block, which she described as "an intense therapeutic residential community," where she has undergone mental health treatment and substance abuse rehabilitation as well as participated in technical classes, parenting education and a number of other programs.


Last Updated on Monday, 27 July 2015 09:32

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Commissioner DeVoy hosting meet & greet for Ron Paul

TILTON — Belknap County Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy of Sanbornton will be hosting a casual lakeside meet and greet for Republican presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) on Saturday, July 25 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Attendees should park across from the Econo Lodge (formerly the Shalimar). They will see a white picket fence which is the entrance for parking.

DeBoy is Belknap County chairman for the Rand Paul campaign.


Last Updated on Friday, 24 July 2015 12:42

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