Felon found with guns avoids jail time


LACONIA — A felon who was recently found with two guns in his possession has agreed to plead guilty to one count of felon in possession of a deadly weapon, and has accepted a suspended sentence of 3 ½ to 7 years in prison.

Steven Moy, 29, of or formerly of 398 Elm St. in Laconia, also agreed to two years probation in lieu of going to trial.

In exchange, Belknap County Prosecutor Melissa Guldbrandsen agreed to drop a second charge of being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon and one charge of receiving stolen property, which was for one of the handguns.

Moy was recently charged with the crimes after his parole officer looked into his cell phone and found a picture of a handgun. The parole officer looked into the phone because Moy had admitted to using methamphetamine and was being sent back to jail for seven days as punishment.

Instead of jail, Moy was supposed to go to an in-house program for the seven days, but when he failed to report to his parole officer before entering the program, the parole officer went looking for him.

After finding a picture of the gun, the parole officer, in the course of two successive interviews, was able to learn the locations of the guns from Moy, which were confiscated.

The problem came when the parole officer and the county attorney learned that because of a clerical error within the Department of Correction, Moy was not on parole any longer, even though both he and his parole officer thought he was.

Moy's attorney's argued that because he wasn't on parole, the officer had no right to examine his phone without probable cause and a warrant, and that during the subsequent interview Moy was not given his Miranda warning against self-incrimination.

Guldbransen argued that the parole officer and the Belknap County sheriff's deputy who accompanied him to Moy's home for safety reasons to recover the guns were acting in good faith because, at the time, everyone involved believed he was on parole.

She said Friday that in her research, she found a federal clause allowing parole and police officers to act in good faith for some matters regarding interviews and seizures. She said in New Hampshire the good-faith exception is sometimes applied and in other instances not applied, so she said an agreement is in the best interests of the parties involved and would spare the state some valuable time in hearings and a possible trial.

Moy has two weeks to decide if he wants to stick to the agreement or take his chances at trial.

New Marine Patrol building should open by end of month; water meters going in


GILFORD — The new state Marine Patrol building, set to open at the end of October, should have meters and pay for the use of the municipal sewer system, say Gilford selectmen.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said that the previous building was not set up to meter sewer use. In exchange, the Marine Patrol and the private marina that was there before them provided potable water for the Glendale Docks bathrooms.

"There is a water spigot people can use to fill water jugs with drinkable water," said Dunn, adding that he's fairly sure the Marine Patrol will still provide the water but unsure at this point if the town will have to pay for it.

He said that as part of the new Marine Patrol building, a new well was dug but the state needs to install a treatment facility to ensure its cleanliness.

Dunn said the water used in the toilets is not drinkable and is pumped in from the lake.

The other ongoing issue with the new Marine Patrol building and the town of Gilford is the former 30-foot right-of-way that connects the upper parking lot to the lower parking lot, which is where the boat ramps are located.

In actuality, said Dunn, the official right-of-way cannot be used because it is on a slope and there is a "giant" tree growing in the middle of it.

He said for years, the town and the Marine Patrol, as well as the private marina that preceded the Marine Patrol, had a "neighborly agreement" that the 30-foot connector was land that was on the Marine Patrol property. In exchange for the use of the land, the town agreed to pave and maintain the 30-foot access.

Dunn explained that the commonly used right of way has been closed during the construction of the new Marine Patrol building and has not been reopened because the new facility used all of the space.

He said the upshot is that there will continue to be a walking path between the two parking lots, however cars wishing to move between the two will have to use the individual entrances for each lot.

10-08 big tree

This tree sits in the middle of the 30-foot right-of-way between the town property at Glendale and the Marine Patrol Facility. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)

Algae in NH lake water may be more common as climate changes


This summer was dry and hot, and for Tom O'Brien, president of the New Hampshire Lakes Association, the result was predictable: low water quality, especially with regard to algal blooms, which are unpleasant in general, and in the case of cyanobacteria, toxic to humans and animals.

Cyanobacteria is nothing new, O'Brien noted, as it's one of the oldest life forms on Earth. However, if climate forecasts prove accurate, algal blooms could be an increasing problem in New Hampshire's lakes.

"When we look at the climate and precipitation data that's coming out of DES and New Hampshire EPA, what it indicates is significant changes," O'Brien said. In the years to come, New Hampshire should expect to see gradually rising average temperatures, and precipitation that occurs less frequently but more severely. If that's true, algal blooms could become a regular part of the lake experience.

"If, in fact, temperatures are warming, and that precipitation patterns are changing ... those would have a direct impact on the condition of lakes," said O'Brien. Warmer ambient temperatures results in warmer water, and the amount of oxygen present in water decreases as temperature increases. That makes the water less hospitable to certain animals, such as trout, and it makes for better growing conditions for algae.

Algae also thrive in water that is rich in nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, chemicals which are often used in fertilizers. If fertilizers are used near lakes, or streams that feed into lakes, rain can sweep those nutrients into the lakes, where they will accelerate aquatic plant and algae growth. The chemical runoff is especially bad in heavy rain events, when the water falls so quickly that the soil can't absorb the water – instead, the rainwater runs along the top of the ground, absorbing and carrying with it any soluble chemical.

What's concerning to O'Brien is the observation of climate scientists that one change, already noticed and expected to continue, that places like New Hampshire are likely to have fewer rainfalls, but when it does rain, the rain will be heavier. That means more contamination, unless people who live near lakes, rivers and streams change the way they manage their properties.

"By and large, the two greatest threats we see are the spread of invasive plants and animals, and stormwater runoff," said O'Brien. The Lakes Association has focused on the first of those two threats in recent years, establishing the Lake Host monitoring program that educates and encourages boaters to clean off their boats before and after using them in a water body. This year, the Lakes Association celebrated the passing of a law that will make that behavior required by law.

With those achievements completed, O'Brien said the association is turning its attention to the problem of stormwater runoff. A survey of the community's sentiments on the problem was recently issued; those that would like to take it can find a link at O'Brien said the survey results will help drive specific actions the association pursues in coming years, and that it's also a tool to help provoke contemplation for those, especially lakeside residents, who take it.

For those who are looking to buy a lakeside home, it's tempting to think of a verdant lawn stretching right to the shoreline. After all, why make the expense of a waterfront residence except the desire to enjoy the water?

"We always run the risk of loving our lakes to death," said O'Brien. "What we're asking people to do is to look in the mirror, ask them if they're willing to make the changes necessary... We're trying to change human behavior."

If no changes are made, and algal blooms continue to make lakes an unpleasant place to be, there could be negative effects on property values, which would then affect the rest of the communities that depend upon tax revenue from lakeside properties.

While the NH Lakes Association doesn't currently have specific actions in mind at this point, results from the survey will be used to inform the development of a strategy.

"Frankly, the laws are not sufficient to protect our water quality," he said.



(File name: Lakeport Dam)


Water from Lake Winnipesaukee flows through the Lakeport Dam and into Lake Opechee. The New Hampshire Lakes Association is turning its focus from invasive species to water quality, especially as affected by climate trends. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)