Former county sheriff's deputy posts bail, tries to get rape charge dismissed

MANCHESTER – A former Belknap County sheriff's deputy charged with raping a woman he was transporting to the New Hampshire State Prison for Women posted $5,000 cash bail Thursday after he was ordered to do so by Manchester North Superior Court Judge Kenneth Brown.

He is also ordered to stay away from the victim and to stay away from his wife while abiding by the terms specified by the 6th Circuit Court, Franklin Family Division. He is also ordered to continue counseling.

Brown also denied a request for a bill of particulars and a motion to dismiss the single charge of aggravated felonious sexual assault against Ernest Justin Blanchette, 36, of 39 Nathanial Drive of Fremont.

The state alleges that while transporting a female prisoner from Belknap County to the prison in Goffstown and while she was in Blanchette's custody, he coerced her to have sex with him in an abandoned house somewhere in Hillsborough County.

Attorney Brad Davis argued that since the indictment doesn't state any additional information regarding the specific acts Blanchette allegedly used to coerce the woman, he can't mount an effective defense against the charges.

In reply, Hillsborough Assistant County Attorney Michael Zaino argued that the charge is not so ambiguous as to prevent Davis from mounting a defense.

Davis also filed a motion notifying the prosecution that he will be using a consent defense, meaning the state must prove all of the elements of the offense including coercion.

 

Note: This story has been updated to say it was a deputy who was charged and posted bail.

Brenda Kean looks forward to role at Tayor Community

LACONIA — Although Brenda Kean has left her position as executive director of the Laconia Historical and Museum Society to become director of resident life at the Taylor Community, she said yesterday that “I have had a hard time stepping away from the history thing.”
Kean will remain a member of the board of directors of the society and perhaps more significantly has joined the Planning Committee convened by the Belknap Economic Council to oversee the renovation ad restoration of the Colonial Theatre. She explained that the committee has engaged a professional historical conservation consultant, but that she is particularly interested in the restoration of drape at the theater.
As executive director of the Laconia historical and Museum Society, Kean managed the restoration of the grand drapes from both the Moulton Opera House and Lakeport Opera House. She secured a grant from the New Hampshire State Council for the Arts and worked with Christine Hadsel of Curtains Without Borders of Burlington, Vermont, who has restored more than 250 painted drapes. Kean expects the restoration of the drape at the Colonial Theatre to be an especially rewarding project.
Meanwhile, Kean said that she is looking forward to “a new adventure” with the Taylor Community. She recalled that she began work in mortgage banking and transitioned to retail banking before leaving the industry as vice president of banking services at Franklin Savings Bank.
On the brink of a new career, she said “I seem to have been in the right place at the time,” adding that with each change she “looks at people with a different set of eyes.”
“When my children talked to me about what they wanted to be when they grew up,” Kean said, “I told them I didn’t know what I would be when I grew up.”

Christmas tree care tips

The National Christmas Tree Association offers care tips for Christmas trees on its website.
When a Christmas tree is cut, more than half its weight is water. With proper care, you can maintain the quality of your tree. Below are a number of tips on caring for your tree:
1. Displaying trees in water in a traditional reservoir type stand is the most effective way of maintaining their freshness and minimizing needle loss problems. View the four types of tree stands that NCTA recommends.
2. To display the trees indoors, use a stand with an adequate water holding capacity for the tree. As a general rule, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Devices are available that help maintain a constant water level in the stand.
3. Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.
4. Make a fresh cut to remove about a 1/2-inch thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand. Make the cut perpendicular to the stem axis. Don't cut the trunk at an angle, or into a v-shape, which makes it far more difficult to hold the tree in the stand and also reduces the amount of water available to the tree.
5. Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does NOT improve water uptake.
6. Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most species can go 6 to 8 hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. Don't bruise the cut surface or get it dirty. If needed, trees can be temporarily stored for several days in a cool location. Place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket that is kept full of water.
7. The temperature of the water used to fill the stand is not important and does not affect water uptake.
8. Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree. With many stands, there can still be water in the stand even though the base of the tree is no longer submerged in water.
9. Keep trees away from major sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight). Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day.
10. Use of lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights, will reduce drying of the tree.
11. Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set.
12. Do not overload electrical circuits.
13. Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.
14. Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas or if the tree is very dry, remove it from the house.
15. Visit the Tree Recycling page to find a recycling program near you.
16. Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace.