Three escape Belmont house fire Saturday

By Gail Ober

Staff Reporter

BELMONT — Three people escaped serious injury Saturday afternoon after a fast-moving fire of indeterminate origin gutted the top floor of their home at 110 Elaine Drive. The fire was reported at 1 p.m. and firefighters stay on the scene until 4:10 p.m.

Fire Chief Sean McCarty said the homeowner initially tried to extinguish the fire with a garden hose and singed some hair.  Two other adults escaped the home with minor smoke inhalation. All three were evaluated but not taken to the hospital.

Two cats and one reptile were saved by firefighters. A second reptile died.

McCarty said the first engine that arrived was from Laconia because Belmont crews were returning from a medical call. A supervisor on the Belmont ambulance arrived, saw heavy black smoke coming from the upstairs and call for a first alarm. When conditions didn't improve, firefighters called for a second alarm.

McCarty said the home was equipped with smoke detectors. He said damage is estimated to be about $100,000 but believes the home is repairable.

CUTLINE: Firefighters from Belmont and surrounding communities battle a two-alarm fire Saturday Saturday afternoon on Elaine Drive. Officials said the home sustained about $100,000 in damage. (Laconia Daily Sun Photo - Gail Ober)

Firefighters from Belmont and surrounding communities battle a two-alarm fire Saturday Saturday afternoon on Elaine Drive. Officials said the home sustained about $100,000 in damage. (Laconia Daily Sun Photo - Gail Ober)

Former Gilford woman in custody on pill smuggling charge

LACONIA — A former Gilford woman who allegedly tried to smuggle 70 pills sewn into her bra into the Belknap County House of Corrections in July of 2014 was taken into custody without incident in Milford on Friday.

Sheriff Craig Wiggin said Selina Armes, 34, was originally arrested by the sheriff's department on July 25, 2014, after they received a warrant for her arrest from the Worcester, Massachusetts, County Sheriff's Department for probation violations regarding a previous conviction for forgery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and possession of a Class B substance. While waiting in the Belknap County jail for Massachusetts authorities to come get her, a corrections officer allegedly found the pills during a thorough search.

During the winter of 2015, employees at the New Hampshire state lab determined the pills were morphine buprenorphine and alprazolam. On Jan. 14, 2016, Armes was indicted by a Belknap County grand jury for three counts of possession of controlled drugs and a notice of indictment was sent to her former address in Gilford.

When she failed to appear for her arraignment in Belknap County Superior Court last week, a warrant was issued for her arrest. Wiggin said the sheriff's department got information from Massachusetts officials that she was no longer in their custody and provided an address in Milford where she could be found.

She is being held without bail pending an appearance in Superior Court.

— Gail Ober

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Petitioners race to bring SB2 voting to Shaker

By Gail Ober
THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

BELMONT — Petitioners are scrambling to resubmit a reworded warrant article to convert the Shaker Regional School District to the Official Ballot Law, commonly called SB2, after the district rejected the petition.

Petitioners until the close of business tomorrow to resubmit the article.

Business Administrator Deb Thompson said yesterday that, according to the school district's attorney Jim O'Shaughnessy and the Department Revenue Administration, the wording on the petition has to be exactly as it is written in the statute as stated in RSA 40:13 – the state law that established the Official Ballot Law, commonly called SB2.

According to Selectman Jon Pike and Thompson, the lead petitioner, when the petition was drafted, the petitioners forgot to include the words "the second Tuesday of March" as a reference to the date the actual vote would be taken.

Thompson said she called Pike and told him yesterday morning. She said that she didn't notice the omission of the word "March," but the attorney and the DRA did. She said the petitioned warrant article was submitted to the school district on Jan. 21 or 22.

Pike said yesterday that supporters of SB2 for the school district are recirculating the petition and he expects to have the requisite 25 signatures in time for the Feb. 3 deadline to submit all petitioned warrant articles.

Thompson said yesterday that date for the public hearings for the SB2 article had already been noticed in the newspapers and, if the petition is resubmitted in time, will be Feb. 9 for Belmont residents at the Belmont Middle School and Feb. 16 at the Canterbury Elementary School.

If the newly worded article is put on the ballot, it will take a two-thirds majority to pass. The vote will take place along with the election of town and school officials on March 8.