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Packing up - Businesses moving out of Colonial block


LACONIA — Businesses on the Colonial Theatre side of Canal Street in downtown Laconia are presently in the process of packing their belongings and moving.

Since the purchase of the Colonial Theatre by the Belknap Economic Development Council occurred, businesses on Canal Street have been looking to relocate their businesses. Those asked to relocate include U-Frame We Frame, Frates Creative Arts Center, the Silver Screen Salon, The Downtown Gym and Star Nails. Almost of these businesses have found new locations, and some have already began operating out of their new facilities.

After 20 years of business in the same place, U-Frame We Frame has moved across the street to 50 Canal St. Although Sara Rines, owner of the business, feels fortune that she was able to keep her family business on the same street, she said the time crunch to move was a bit of a challenge. After closing last week to complete the transition between stores, the shop is again open today at its new location. An open house is to be scheduled sometime in the coming weeks.

Silver Screen Salon owned by Jenn Russo will also be moving down the road through a merger with Lori Anna's Hair Affair, located at 58 Canal St. Lori Chandler, owner of Lori Anna's Hair Affair, had been looking to alter her business model for quite a few months, as she still wanted to pursue her passion for hair without being a business owner. Upon hearing of the request for Russo to move from her location, Chandler extended a proposal to Russo that would allow Silver Screen Salon to remain in business and Chandler to step down as a business owner.

After the move is complete Chandler will rent a booth at Silver Screen Salon, which will be owned and operated by Russo after Sept. 1.

"I figured that this was the best way to keep Silver Screen Salon alive, help me pursue my passion of hair without the pressure of owning the business, and also help keep the downtown area alive" said Chandler, who is excited to work alongside Russo within the coming weeks.

The Downtown Gym located at 609-611 Main St., has confirmed that they will be moving from their current location to 171 Fair St., formerly known as the home of The Citizen newspaper. The lease was officially signed last week, and plans for the move are currently under way. More information on when the gym will relocate and open at the new location is to be announced.

Larry Frates will now operate under the title of Frates Creates Art to You, which will bring art classes to the community in various locations. More information about where the art classes will be held is to be released in the coming weeks.
“It’s quite the reversal we have going, where the oldest dance studio in the area and oldest art program have become the newest,” said Larry Frates, with echos from Joan Frates stating that she has a feeling it is going to be a very exciting season for the Frates family.
Additionally, Star Nails is still in the process of confirming its new location and cannot state any solidified plans presently.


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Jenn Russo, right, and Lori Chandler have decided to pursue a business merger that will allow Silver Screen Salon to move into the former Lori Anna's Hair Affair salon at the start of September. Jasmaine Kapplain, Russo's daughter, is also pictured. (Alana Persson/Laconia Daily Sun)

Belmont bank building could be new recreation/community center


BELMONT — Selectmen gave the go ahead Monday night to have Code Enforcement Officer Steve Paquin continue getting estimates from contractors about how much it would cost to turn the former Northfield Bank Building into a recreation/community center.

So far, Paquin has learned that it would cost between $28,000 and $30,000 to install an ADA-compliant elevator where the curved stairway is, and an additional $12,300 to replace the floors, including one in a recreation area. He also said it would cost just under $6,000 to upgrade the alarm system.

Paquin went to selectmen to get their approval before he brings in electrician(s) to give the town estimates on rewiring and bringing all of the wiring including the panel(s) up to current code.

"It would take a couple of days for (companies) to put together a bid," he said, saying he wanted to be sure the project was viable with the select board before he asked the electricians to do the specifications.

He told the board that it could cost $50,000 to $60,000 to do the electrical work plus another $50,000 to do the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and that he is getting an estimate from Peter Dutile, who is doing some work on the Belmont Fire Station.

"Why do anything (more) without the electrical?" asked board Chairman Ruth Mooney. "If there's going to be kids in there, yeah (we need electrical estimates.)

The former Northway Bank was purchased by the town from William and Carolyn McDonough for $250,000 in 2012 after the town held a special Town Meeting in August. Purchasing the building had failed at Town Meeting twice before, in 2008 and 2009.

Since the town has bought the building, there have been may ideas for using it, as well as tearing it down, as was recommended by a Belmont Village charrette. The town considered using the building for a police department but it was deemed too small and there wasn't enough space for a sally port. Another idea was having LRGHealthcare relocate its offices from the Belmont Mill there.

The town also fought a lengthy court battle with the McDonoughs, who claimed that the town diminished the value of the property by announcing plans to reconfigure the former Mill Street, which would eliminate much of its parking. Ultimately, the town prevailed; however, the case was in the Merrimack County Superior Court for about two years before it was resolved.

Selectman Ron Cormier said that building a new recreation/community center for the town would cost millions and that if they could do one for $150,000 plus the cost of the building it would make complete sense.

Other board members agreed.

Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said that if the final estimates are acceptable to the selectmen, the town would use some of the money it has in the capital improvement fund, which has a balance of $480,000.

Judge: Cotton swabs and bloodshot eyes not enough for a search


LACONIA — Cotton swabs and bloodshot eyes are not enough to justify interrogating a driver and searching a car, ruled Belknap County Supreme Court Presiding Justice James O’Neill Thursday.
O’Neill also ruled that the state trooper who stopped Dawn Marie Miller on Dec. 9, 2015, at 2:30 a.m. had no reason to search her wallet after he stopped her for have one of two rear license plate lights out.
O’Neill determined the trooper had a legitimate reason to stop Miller and to potentially issue her a citation or warning about her plate light.
“Put simply,” he wrote, “there is nothing tying the defendant’s bloodshot eyes and the (cotton swabs) in her vehicle with any unlawful activity.”
During the course of the stop, Miller was questioned about drug use and told the trooper she only used medical marijuana for which she had a prescription. She said she no longer used any hard drugs and had been through rehab.
He asked her when she last used marijuana, and she told him it had been 90 minutes or so. He asked her if she used a pipe and she said she used rolling papers. He asked her if she had them on her, and she gave them to him, in the course of which he saw some marijuana in her wallet.
Although Miller was never charged with possessing marijuana, she was charged with transporting drugs in a motor vehicle. O’Neill determined that the plain site exception didn’t apply in this case because the trooped conducted an “unconstitutional expansion” of the scope of the seizure.
The trooper testified that when he asked Miller to get out of the car, she showed no sign of intoxication but he asked if he could search her car. She gave him permission and began to walk away with her wallet in her hand, but he put his arm out and told her he had to search the wallet because it had been in the car.
He found some pills in it that were a generic version of Adderall but O’Neill ruled that since the officer had expanded the search beyond what he should have that the evidence would not be told to a jury.
O’Neill also gave an explanation of the “fruits of the poisonous tree doctrine,” which required the exclusion from trial of evidence obtained through a violation of the New Hampshire Constitution.
He explained the three points of the rule. The first is to deter police misconduct, the second is to redress the injury of the victim of an unlawful police conduct, and the third is to safeguard compliance with the state constitutional process.
To consider the doctrine, the court had to consider how much time elapsed between the unlawful police activity and the acquisition of the evidence, the presence of intervening circumstances, and the purpose and flagrancy of the official misconduct.
O’Neill determined that inquiry was immediate to the stop and there were no intervening circumstances. He said he does not believe the trooper flagrantly or purposefully violated Miller’s rights; however, the appearance, even if not the reality, led him to think the trooper was on a “fishing expedition” by exploiting her ignorance of her constitutional rights. He said the state could argue that her consent to a search of her vehicle was an intervening circumstance. O’Neill determined that had he not unlawfully expanded the scope of the traffic stop negates any consent she may have given.
The marijuana evidence will not be presented at a trial.
O’Neill also discussed the search of Miller’s purse he found that she didn’t consent to a search and she was already out of her car with it in her hand. Since the trooper never asked for her permission to search her wallet, she didn’t freely, knowingly,and voluntarily allow the officer to search it. Noting the pills led to the most serious charge, he declined to let the evidence be offered at trial.