City man allegedly assaults former girlfriend, is charged

LACONIA — Police arrested a Winter Street man after his former girlfriend reported to them that he had violated a restraining order, come to her home and assaulted her.
Ronald Steele, 22, of 12 Winter St., Apt. 3, is charged with two counts of simple assault – domestic violence; one count of violating a protective order for entering her home; one count of false imprisonment – domestic violence for physically restraining her from leaving her home; and four counts of violating a protective order for sending her text messages.
Affidavits said responding officers found Steele hiding in one of her closets. Police said he told them he would leave and not return if they didn't arrest him because he didn't want to go to jail.
Police said Steele picked the woman up from the floor by grabbing her face and lifting her. The alleged victim said Steele threw her onto the bed and blocked her from leaving the room.
Steele allegedly assaulted the victim on Jan. 16, then was taken to Laconia Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. While there, police said he texted the former girlfriend four times. He countered by saying she was also contacting him.
Judge Jim Carroll ordered him held on $5,000 cash bail and set a curfew on him should he post bail. Carroll also ordered that if Steele gets a bed in the New Hampshire State Hospital his bail shall be reduced to personal recognizance. If he posts bail without getting a spot in a hospital, he is ordered to attend compliance court weekly at the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division. Steele is also ordered to seek a mental health evaluation from Genesis Behavioral Health.

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Kasich takes the road not taken

LACONIA — John Kasich is fond of saying that "the Republican Party has always been my vehicle, but it has never been my master," and his showing in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary will likely hinge less on his appeal to the party faithful than to the independent voters.

Speaking about the dysfunction in Washington to some 175 people at the Gilford Community Church this week, Kasich said, "Our politicians have forgotten they are Americans before they are Republicans or Democrats." At the Laconia Rotary Club a day later, he lauded the New Hampshire lawmakers, who the day before "forgot their party affiliation and put aside their ideology" to adopt measures to address the scourge of drug addiction.

Kasich has staked his bid for the presidency on the New Hampshire voters, 44 percent of whom are neither Republicans nor Democrats. No candidate has spent more time in the state where he has already taken questions at some 60 town halls and intends to spend all but two of the remaining days until the primary on Feb. 9. Moreover, he has spent much of his time in counties President Obama carried in 2012.

There are signs this strategy is lending momentum to his candidacy. Six polls this month show him placing in the money, though still well behind Donald Trump, in New Hampshire. Several polls indicate he enjoys the highest favorability rating of the Republican candidates among independent voters. And he is drawing larger crowds and more press, along with fire from the super PAC backing Jeb Bush, which dropped a direct mail piece this week.

Despite the disdain Republican voters have expressed for insiders, Kasich, who served 18 years in Congress and two terms as governor of Ohio, touts his experience.

"That's why I'm doing this," he said, "because I've done it before." While some of his rivals have tapped the anger and fear of voters, Kasich insisted "We're not an angry people," and declared "I don't believe in playing on people's worst fears." Other candidates talk of "losing our country" or "taking our country back," but Kasich said "I don't think our problems are that big, not so complicated and difficult to solve."

As the GOP field has come to resemble an circular firing squad, Kasich has stepped outside the circle, refraining from directly attacking his rivals. Likewise, his appearances lack the partisan edge honed so sharply by other Republican candidates. He has avoided or muted criticism of the Obama Administration, likening himself to his bus driver, who looks down the road, not in the rearview mirror.

"America's best days are clearly ahead," Kasich said. "I think you should respect the President," explaining that without respect there is no order and "things break down." He has repeatedly stressed that major issues like balancing the federal budget, reforming the tax code and restructuring the entitlement programs cannot be addressed without cooperation from both parties. "Don't let politics get in the way of fixing things," he said.

At the same time, Kasich has not tailored his message to what has become conservative orthodoxy.

"If it weren't for immigration, I'd probably be running for president of Croatia," remarked, dismissing proposals to deport illegal immigrants and bar the door to Muslims. Although he favors replacing Obamacare, he said "You can't just uninsure people who have insurance." Rather than resist an increase in the minimum wage, he would urge the states to address the issue. And he would enforce, not scuttle, the nuclear accord with Iran.

Kasich noted that successful governance requires "people to feel they are part of something bigger than themselves, that life is not just about them." He added that "My greatest gift is getting people to do what they know they should do, but don't want to do," a remark the primary will put to the test.

In Gilford, Kasich was philosophical about his fortunes. After a back-and-forth with a woman about the future of Social Security, he said "If I lose this election, if I don't do well here, life goes on. But, I'll remember this conversation, because I told you the truth. I didn't pander to you ... well, maybe a little bit."

 Presidential candidate John Kasich talks with some attendees of the Laconia Rotary Club meeting yesterday at the Belknap Mill. Several polls have shown Kasich gathering some momentum in New Hampshire, as he appears to be drawing support from independent voters. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)

Photo: Presidential candidate John Kasich talks with some attendees of the Laconia Rotary Club meeting yesterday at the Belknap Mill. Several polls have shown Kasich gathering some momentum in New Hampshire, as he appears to be drawing support from independent voters. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)

City projects win awards from Lakes Chamber

Rick Wyman, left, president of Meredith Village Savings Bank, which sponsored the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce’s annual membership meeting at Church Landing in Meredith, and Karmen Gifford, right, executive director of the chamber, present a Golden Trowel award to David Kennedy, co-owner of the Holy Grail restaurant in Laconia. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Rick Wyman, left, president of Meredith Village Savings Bank, which sponsored the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce’s annual membership meeting at Church Landing in Meredith, and Karmen Gifford, right, executive director of the chamber, present a Golden Trowel award to David Kennedy, co-owner of the Holy Grail restaurant in Laconia. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

 

MEREDITH — The city of Laconia received two awards for recently completed projects at the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce's annual awards luncheon and membership meeting held at Church Landing in Meredith yesterday and was also praised by several speakers for helping bring the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival to the Lakes Region.
Outgoing chamber president Lindsay Cota-Robles of the Bank of New Hampshire told the sold-out gathering of 350 people that hosting the pumpkin festival brought "tremendous visibility to our region and over 40,000 visitors."
As a result the chamber, which organized the event, was able to distribute $10,000 to the nonprofit organizations which volunteered for the event. Chamber Executive Director Karmen Gifford said that the chamber is looking forward to involving even more people in the event this year.
The city received a Golden Hammer Award for the $4.2 million addition and renovation to the Laconia Fire Department and was honored for it's Downtown Beautification Community Park, a $3.5 million project which included the Gateway Project and Millstone Park, an 18-month project which saw the rehabilitation of the Main Street Bridge and expanded green space in the downtown area.
During the business meeting the chamber elected a new slate of officers. Warren Bailey will replace Lindsay Cota-Robles as president and the new first vice chairman will be Jay Bolduc of T-Bones and Cactus Jack's. Second vice chairman will be Heidi Laramie of Barons' Major Brands with Penny Raby of Malone, Dirubbo and Company serving as treasurer and John Giere of Wescott Law as secretary.
New board members include Bob Fitzpatrick of Vista Foods, Shanna Saunders of the city of Laconia's Planning Department, Patrick Clausen of Proctor's Lakehouse Cottages and Eric Petell of Meredith Village Savings Bank.
Sue Gaudette of Gunstock Mountain Resort was presented withy the Blinn Ambassador of the Year Award.
Golden Trowel awards for outstanding rehabilitations included:
• The Franklin Studio in downtown Franklin , a nonprofit business which is part of a revitalization project offering locally made arts and crafts and a full cafe,
• Laconia Country Club for its renovations, which replaced all fixtures and furniture and flooring while enlarging its deck and creating a new small function room,
• The Landing Zone at Gunstock Mountain Resort, which created a 3,000-square-foot outside dining area,
• Baron's Major Brands, which completed a major store remodel, a major investment by a local, family-owned business,
• The Gilford Police Department for its 6,000-square-foot expansion, which included a state-of-the-art communication system as well as a new emergency operation center,
• Edward Jones, which moved its business to a more visible location at Union Square and upgraded the building exterior and landscaping,
• GC Engineering and Levendi Properties, which purchased and renovated a three-story business property at 633 Main St. in Laconia and made major improvements to the building, which is now completely occupied,
• Fratello's Italian Grille, which completed a major renovation which added a new deck for outdoor seating, and
• Holy Grail of the Lakes, which completed a major renovation to a historic church and opened a new downtown restaurant,
Golden Hammer Awards for new construction were awarded to the following:
• AutoServKia, which relocated from its Belmont location to a new 5,729-square-foot faciliity on Route 140 in Tilton,
• CruCon Cruise Outlet in Moultonborough, which purchased the former Meredith Village Savings Bank branch next to its world headquarters, and completed a rehab project which turned it into the Learning Center at CruCon,
• Foley Oil Company, which sold its South Main Street office in Laconia and built an addition to its existing garage on Old State Road in Belmont, which consolidated all of its operations, and
• McDonald's in Tilton, where the Napoli Group and its contractor, Marceau Construction, completed a remodeling project while the existing restaurant remained open.
The Environmental Award was presented to the Laconia Area Community Land Trust, which has added many green features to its projects in Mer edith, Tilton, Wolfeboro and Laconia.