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Gilmanton selectmen declare police emergency - Police chief says there is no emergency, resignations denied


GILMANTON — Selectmen met in an emergency session Monday and ordered that all outside detail work done by the police department be restricted only to the town because of an emergency caused by two resignations.

Town Administrator Paul Branscombe said Thursday that "it was public knowledge" that two of the town's full-time police officers are considering full-time positions in other departments.

Police Chief Matt Currier said Thursday that he has had no official resignations from his department and that there is no policing emergency.

Selectman Steve McWhinnie, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Michael Jean, said the board was informed two weeks ago that two officers are leaving, adding that the department is down to the chief and the sergeant as the only full-time employees.

"This is not only a poor reflection of the police department but on our day-to-day management," said McWhinnie.

McWhinnie tried to order the three part-time police officers to work full-time for the town but Branscombe said they don't have the authority to do that and there are reasons the three part-time police officers work part-time.

"The Police Department is at full staff," he said. "There are five full-time police officers and three part-time police officers."

"If there are people who are leaving, I have been approached by other certified officers who are seeking employment," Currier continued, adding that if there are to be any openings, he would use the same vetting process the department has always used to ensure they are hiring the best possible candidates.

While Currier declined to mention any of his employees by name, saying any discussion of individual employees would be a personnel matter, Whinnie did name the two officers who he said have verbally tendered their resignations.

He said the board would be holding an exit interview with one of them although, as of Thursday morning, no one had officially resigned.

A high-ranking local police official not affiliated with Gilmanton said he thought it was "highly inappropriate" that an elected board would be discussing individual police personnel matters in a public session.

"It seems to me this discussion should have been had in nonpublic sessions," he said.

He also said that while some civilian oversight of police agencies is necessary, some elected officials feel they need to micromanage a department when they don't know a lot about policing.

"They should leave the day-to-day department operations to the professionals," he said.

Branscombe said Thursday that, in his experience managing small communities, police officers most often seek employment elsewhere in order to earn more money or to get a wider variety of career opportunities that just aren't available in small communities like Gilmanton or Ashland.

"It happened many times in Ashland," he said.

He said the average pay for a full-time police officer in Gilmanton is $22 per hour or about $880 a week without overtime and police details, and that he wouldn't be shocked to learn that bigger departments are paying higher wages.

Currier said yesterday that he had not been asked to meet with the Board of Selectmen in either a public or private session to discuss this or any other police matter.

Sculpture Walk turns 3 - Meredith event brings art to outdoor spaces

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Keegan Rodday of Hanover, Massachusetts, reaches up to pet “Horse,” made by Rita Dee of Bennington, Vermont. (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Meredith event brings art to outdoor spaces


MEREDITH — For the third straight year the streets, passages and parks of town are studded with sculptures, 32 of them fashioned by 27 different artists and 24 displayed for the first time.
Bev Lapham, who chairs the Meredith Sculpture Walk Committee, said yesterday that this year 96 artists submitted pieces, many of them for the first time, while some whose works earned spots last year bid to keep them. All were presented to the jury, which chose to to return eight works for another year and bring 24 new pieces to Meredith, some of them by familiar sculptors.
"Toe Dancer," an abstract, kinetic sculpture by John BonSignore of Redding, Connecticut, was a favorite three years ago. Last year he brought "Toe Dancer 3A" and this year added another, turning his duo into "Thrice."
"Snow Goose Landing" in bronze mounted on a rock above the small beach at Lago is the newest of three works by late Beverly Seamans of Newbury, Massachusetts, joining "Osprey," perched at Mill Falls Market Place, and "Wendy," turning a page near the bookstore.
Stephen Green of Lee, whose upturned stone hand — "Advantage" — beckoned in Hesky Park, this year offers "The Mobius Shell," an elegantly carved granite bowl.
"I make rocks smaller," he said, explaining that sculpting is "removing what you don't want."
For the third year, Josie Dellenbaugh of Glastonbury, Connecticut, has displayed in Meredith, following "Snowy Owl" and "Japanese Mother and Child" with "Master Yoga," depicted in the mountain pose joining the thumb and index finger of his right hand at the waist to make a circle. He stands in Hesky Park, where the artist hopes he will inspire the practice of yoga in his shadow.
A pick axe, barrel staves, shovel blade, milk can and flattened wok are among the elements of "General Tsao, He's No Chicken" whose militant stance belies the whimsical bent of Richard Foster of Bristol, who infuses found objects with unique humor.
Dale Rogers of Haverhill, Massachusetts, whose "Dog" stood at the corner of Lake Street and Main Street, has placed "Bird in Hand" at Hesky Park, where the hand with a pair of cardinals, one within and one atop it, seems to wave to passing motorists.
Among the artists Andreas von Huene of Woolwich, Maine offers two pieces, one a slab of carved and polished granite, "Pull of the Moon," reminiscent of rising tides, and the other, "Bull," a boxy, linear beast fashioned from basalt.
Claire Roll of Arlington, Massachusetts, who recently earned her master of fine arts degree from Boston University, also has two pieces along the walk. The first, titled "Release," consists of a split log, each piece mounted with matching expansion foam elements, suggesting the whole was rendered asunder. "Untitled Threshold," opens as a keyhole, which from its place in Scenic Park provides a view of Indian Island.
Two new sculptors crafted images of deer. Quinn Morrissette, a young welder from Berlin, offers "Darling," an elegant buck standing on Main Street, while Wendy Klemperer of Brooklyn, New York has cut out the borders of countries in the body of "Shadow Deer Leaping" in Hesky Park.
The wavy piece of granite carved by Kevin Duffy of Arlington, Massachusetts takes its name, "Hydrolith," from calcium hydride, or the philosopher's stone that is supposed to turn base metals to gold.
William Royal of Southport, Maine, took a glacier in Patagonia, which he watched rushing to calve into the sea, as the inspiration for "Glacier," a piece of granite riven on both sides by the relentless flow of ice. Ice is depicted in marble by Melanie Zibit of Shirley, Massachusetts, whose "Arctic Ice," a shard of Vermont marble, split at the top and holed in the middle, invites pause and reflection.
"Tres Bien," a horse pieced and woven together from freshwater driftwood is an orphan of Hurricane Irene that swelled the Hudson, Walloomsac and Sac rivers, leaving Rita Dee of Bennington, Vermont, the detritus to turn to art. By contrast, "Runner" by David Borrus of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a minimalist human figure in bronze finished with silicon striding at full stretch.
Brochures are scattered at numerous spots along the route of the walk, which runs along Main Street, wends its way through Mill Falls Market Place then cross Hesky and Scenic parks. A schedule of guided docent tours is posted on the website, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Sisters Alayna and Faith Bond from Franklin, Massachusetts, meander through Meredith, stoping at “Bird in Hand” by Dale Rogers of Haverhill, Massachusetts as part of the Sculpture Walk last Sunday afternoon. (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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Andreas von Huene of Woolwich, Maine offers two pieces, one a slab of carved and polished granite, "Pull of the Moon," reminiscent of rising tides, and the other, "Bull," a boxy, linear beast fashioned from basalt, shown  above. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)

Barnstead man charged with raping child


LACONIA — A Barnstead man was indicted for seven separate counts of the special felony of aggravated felonious sexual assault by a Belknap County grand jury on June 23.

George Colbath, 63, whose last address was 35 Walker Road is alleged to have committed the assaults on a minor between September of 2014 and January of 2016.

According to a February on online news article in Fosters Daily Democrat, Colbath, whose address was listed as Farmington, was arrested by Nottingham Police on similar charges on Feb. 3.

The newest Belknap County charges are being prosecuted by the Rockingham County Attorney Office in Belknap County because of the two cases involve the same victim.

Belknap County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen said Colbath is being monitored on an electronic bracelet as a condition of his bail stemming from the Rockingham County charge.

He is scheduled for arraignment on the new charges in early July in Belknap County Superior Court.