Man towing sheep in Moultonborough arrested for DWI

MOULTONBOROUGH – A man hauling four sheep from Tamworth and Sandwich to Sanbornton was arrested for driving while intoxicated after police stopped him on Route 25 for having speeding and defective brake lights.

Complaints from Tamworth and Sandwich, said police, said the driver was unlawfully passing vehicles of the left and driving erratically.

Police said Christopher Archibald, 34, no address given, of Sanbornton was released on personal recognizance bail.

The four sheep in the trailer were taken by tow truck driver Doug Murphy of Doug Murphy Towing to his business until their owner could come from Sanbornton to retrieve them.

Archibald was also cited for two yellow line violations.

– Gail Ober

City’s rich, poor populations grow while middle shrinks

LACONIA — As the number of residents of the city living in poverty has risen in the past four years, the number of households and families with incomes of more than $100,000 has also increased, while the number with between $35,000 and $100,000 have decreased.

According to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the portion of the population with incomes below the federal poverty level climbed from 12.1 percent in 2010 to 15.9 percent in 2014, or from 1,886 to 2,545 individuals.

At the same time, the bureau estimated in 2014 there were 1,145 families with annual incomes of less than $35,000, or 7.7 percent more than the 1,063 reported in 2010. The estimated 1,904 families earning between $35,000 and $100,000 in 2014 was 14.3 percent less than the 2,223 reported in 2010. Finally, the bureau estimated that the incomes of 1,131 families exceeded $100,000 in 2014, compared to 898 families of similar means in 2010, representing an increase of 25.9 percent.

The data for households presents a different but similar profile. The number of households with incomes below $35,000 shrank from 2,530 to 2,454 between 2010 and 2014, a decrease of 3 percent. But, the number of households with incomes between $35,000 and $100,000 also decreased, from 3,425 to 3,008, or by 12.2 percent while the number with incomes of more than $100,000 increased by 12.4 percent, from 1,223 to 1,375.

This data tracks a report by the Census Bureau that between 2007 and 2013 income inequality in New Hampshire increased at almost twice the national rate and faster than in any other state, with Carroll, Grafton and Belknap counties setting the pace.

The most comprehensive measure of income inequality is the so-called Gini Index, an international measure created by the Italian statistician Carrado Gini in 1912 and widely applied ever since. The index assigns zero to perfect equality while a value of one indicates that a single individual or family earns all the income and the rest earn nothing.

Using three-year averages, in New Hampshire the Gini Index rose from 0.414 in 2007 to 0.435 in 2013, a 5 percent increase. Carroll County posted the highest index of 0.468, followed by Grafton County at 0.46 and Belknap County at 0.44. However, during the same period the index rose 10 percent in Belknap County, twice the rate of the state as a whole and the greatest increase among the 10 counties.

The income distribution is reflected in changes in the local housing stock between 2000 and 2010. During the decade, the number of seasonal homes rose 55 percent, from 1,477 in 2000 to 2,293 in 2010, with the 816 additional seasonal units representing 62 percent of the growth in the total housing stock. With the increase, seasonal homes grew from 17 percent to 23 percent of all dwelling units in the city.

Between 2000 and 2010, the population of Laconia fell 2.8 percent, from 16,411 to 15,951, but the number of housing units climbed 15 percent, from 8,554 to 9,879, as 1,325 new units were built. At the same time, the number of occupied units rose by only 114, from 6,724 to 6,838, an increase of 1.6 percent, while the number of "vacant" units jumped by 1,211, from 1,830 to 3,041, an increase of 66 percent.

Child finds used syringe, family faces threat of disease


LACONIA — With a child's discovery of a discarded hypodermic needle, a local family recently found themselves threatened by the scourge of addiction, which through no doing of their own has cast a shadow over their lives.

A father, who wished to remain anonymous, said that he his 7-year-old daughter was playing in the family's fenced backyard where she found a discarded hypodermic needle in the vegetable garden. The needle had been tossed over the 7-foot-high fence. The girl, who enjoys collecting things, took the needle to her clubhouse and played with it for three days before her parents discovered it.

"We were very concerned," said the father, who was aware that blood from a used needle may carry disease, especially the AIDS virus, HIV, and viral hepatitis, particularly hepatitis C, or HCV. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that about eight of 10 addicts infected with HIV are also infected with HCV.

The father said that he took his daughter to the emergency department at Lakes Region General Hospital at once and called the Laconia Police Department to collect the needle.

"She was very scared," he recalled, "and I probably scared her even more."

He said that the staff at the emergency room drew blood from his daughter as well as also tested residue in the syringe and the needle.The tests, he said, indicated "the odds were in her favor and her chances of being infected were remote." He said that the "the staff at the hospital went out of their way to make us feel comfortable. They were terrific." The family also contacted their primary care physician, who after consulting with a number of other doctors, reached the same conclusion.

The father said that his daughter will undergo regular blood tests over the course of a year, but for the moment — and hopefully forever — will be spared intensive treatment on the recommendation of the physicians. Nevertheless, he said that the incident "has affected our lives greatly and will continue to do so." There remains, he said, "the possibility she may have contracted HIV or hepatitis C, and the chance she will need an intensive, 30-day treatment that will wreak havoc on her body."

The short-term side effects of the medications used to treat HIV include anemia, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, nausea, vomiting, pain and rashes. There are also long-term side effects of these medications. They may cause body fat to be redistributed from the face and limbs to the abdomen, and abnormal levels of blood sugar that can lead to diabetes. Cholesterol and triglyceride levels may rise. Likewise, lactate, a waste product in the body, may increase, causing problems ranging from muscle aches to liver failure.

The father said that the ordeal "also slams it in our faces that this problem doesn't just affect those held in the grip of drug abuse. It also affects a completely innocent 7-year-old and her innocent family."

He urged those injecting drugs not to leave their needles where a child can find it. "I can't think of anything more selfish, abhorrent or wrong."

At the same time, he asked parents to warn their children against touching and handling discarded needles.

"Parents need to teach their children," he said. "Bad things can happen."

Police Chief Chris Adams said that anyone who finds a needle should immediately report it to the police, either by dialing 911 or calling the station at 524-5257.

"Do not touch it," he stressed.

He explained that officers are equipped and prepared to handle discarded needles safely and have secure containers where they can be kept before being disposed of at the hospital. He said that the department is working with the school to alert children and adolescents of the risks of handling discarded needles.

"Don't touch them," he repeated. "Call us and let us deal with them."

04-16 needles

This bundle of needles was found on a beach in Laconia recently. One child in Laconia found a used needle when it was apparently tossed into the family’s back yard over a tall fence.  (Courtesy photo/Laconia Police Department)