Lakeport Opera House Block on Heritage Commission's radar screen as owner seeks buyer

LACONIA — On learning that large the white, frame building at the corner of Union Avenue and Clinton Street in Lakeport, which houses a small theater, would be offered for sale, the Heritage Commission, fearing it might be demolished, recently toured the site.

Gerry Horn, the longtime owner of the Lakeport Opera House Block building, last week confirmed that he intends to sell it, but said that he has yet to contact a real estate broker. "I would love to see someone restore it," he said. "Demolition is the last option."

Horn recalled that "20 or 30 years ago" members of the Streetcar Company approached him about acquiring the building and restoring the theater. but abandoned the project on discovering that the cost of renovating the theater alone was $1 million."I've shown it to hundreds of people over the years," he said.

The building sits on a small, 0.2-acre lot and was originally constructed in 1885. It was known as the Opera House Block and for a time was home to the International Order of Odd Fellows. The first floor consists of 4,552-square-feet of retail space, most recently leased to a pawnbroker but now vacant. The theater is on the upper story where there is 9,240-square-feet of space. The property has an assessed value of $224,800.

Astride a busy intersection with limited on-street and off-street parking, the location has posed a challenge for commercial enterprises. The single story brick building next stood empty for several years before a restaurant opened more than a year ago only to close in less than three months.

Gilford police say pair was shooting heroin in restaurant parking lot

GILFORD — Police caught a Gilford man and a Laconia woman allegedly shooting heroin in parking lot of Wendy's restaurant on Lake Shore Road (Rte. 11) on Wednesday at 6:51 p.m.

According to affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, police were called to the parking lot by an employee who reported a suspicious black Subaru. The employee indicated that the occupants might be using drugs.

Once there, they found Joshua A. Fox, 32, of 236 Hoyt Road allegedly injecting Leanne M. Duhamel, 27, of 918 N. Main Street #9 of Laconia with an unknown substance later identified as heroin.

Police said as they approached the car, they saw a female in the passenger seat of the car and a male in the drivers seat who appeared to be leaning over the center console.

As they neared the car, one of the officers allegedly saw Fox with a loaded hypodermic needle in his hand who was about to inject Duhamel, whose coat was off. Her left arm was tied off with a tourniquet and one of the officers heard her "yelp" when he stuck the needle in her arm.

The officers identified themselves and one of them shined a flash light in to the vehicle. Fox allegedly lunged to the passenger side of the car and dropped the needle in what police said was likely an effort to discard the evidence.

Both were detained for their safety. One officer noticed from outside the car the now half-full needle and a spoon with residue in the center console.

During the subsequent investigation, Fox allegedly told police there was more heroin in the car. Police found an M&M package-sized baggy with what Fox said was the additional heroin.

Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee said in a media statement that Duhamel was charged with one count of possession of heroin and was released on $2,000 personal recognizance bail.

Fox, he said, was charged with one count of possession of narcotics. Because he has been indicted by a Belknap County grand jury for drug possession in 2014 he was ordered held by Judge Jim Carroll on $2,500 cash-only bail after his video appearance in court yesterday morning on $2,500 cash-only bail. As of 6 p.m. yesterday, electronic records show he is still incarcerated.

Laconia skating rinks at Memorial & Leavitt parks now open

LACONIA — The Parks & Recreation Department announced Friday that ice skating rinks at Memorial and Leavitte Parks are now open.

"It has been a difficult year in getting the ice ready, but they are finally ready, said Assistant Director Amy Lovisek. "We had some issues at Leavitt with vandals, but thanks to concerned citizens that has cut back significantly."
The hours for skating are noon to 10 p.m.  There are lights on at both facilities. The rinks are free to use and there are no designated times for free skate and stick and puck time. "We only ask that users be courteous to other users," said Lovisek.

Sled dog race scheduled for Hill this weekend

HILL — Sled dog racing will return to Hill Village this weekend for the first time in several years.
The New England Sled Dog Club will hold Sprint and Skijor races both Saturday and Sunday with a driver's meeting both days at 8:30 a.m. followed by Skijoring at 9 a.m.
The races will be held at the Profile Falls area off from Rte. 3-A at the Hill-Bristol town line and follow a trail which leads into Old Hill Village.
The order of races has the 3-dog and 4-dog junior races taking part after the skijoring followed by the open class which will feature teams of 10 or more sled dogs.
Following the start of the open class, which covers more than 10 miles each day, the one-dog junior class will be held followed by an 8-dog, eight mile event and a six-dog, six mile event.
It will mark the first race of the season for the New England Sled Dog Club which was formed in 1924 and held its first race that season in Tamworth, which will be the site of NESDC Sprint and Skijor races on Jan. 31-Feb. 1.