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City buying buildings located atop old South End burn dump

LACONIA — City Manager Scott Myers said yesterday that he expects that by acquiring four lots atop an abandoned, filled-over "burn" dump off Frank Bean Road and Morin Road the city can reduce the cost of addressing lingering contamination at the site.
The dump, which operated in the 1940s and 1950s, is part of a site that sprawls over some 75 acres on either side of Frank Bean Road, which also includes an abandoned landfill owned by the city. The burn dump itself extends over four lots totaling about 3.5 acres. Three of the lots abut one another on the west side of Frank Bean Road and the fourth is bordered by Frank Bean Road to the west and Morin Road to the east.
Altogether the dump stretches along Frank Bean Road for about 1,000 feet and is 250 feet wide at its widest point. The dump was between 15 feet and 20 deep. Assuming dimensions of 1,000 feet by 200 feet by 15 feet, the area is estimated to contain approximately 110,000 cubic yards of "burn dump material".
The site first drew from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) in May, 2003 while excavating for a foundation. In 2011, after several rounds of testing confirmed the presence of contaminants, DES directed the city to take remedial measures.
Earlier this year, Sovereign Consulting, Inc. of Concord submitted a plan to DES to excavate contaminated soils on the four lots and dispose of the material off-site then backfill, cap or pave the lots at an estimated cost of $1,381,200. Ongoing monitoring of groundwater and maintenance of pavement at the site for another 15 years was expected to cost an additional $293,431. The City Council included a borrowing of $1.2-million in its 2014-2015 budget to fund the clean-up project.
However, in October, the city approached DES with an alternative plan to purchase the four lots, demolish the buildings and cap the land with two feet of clean soil, sparing itself from excavating and disposing of contaminated soil, which represents the lion's share of the cost of the original proposal. DES not only agreed but commended the city for its "efforts to pursue this remedial option which has several benefits — cost effective and control of future use of the property."
Myers said that the city has purchased two of the properties off Frank Bean Road — a residential lot owned by Alexander and Beverly Paquin and a commercial lot owned by Dolphin Point, LLC — and entered a purchase and sales agreement on the third — a commercial lot owned by Richard Wiley. He said that negotiations to purchase the fourth lot, owned by James Joyal, are continuing.

The city has assessed the Paquin property at $70,100, the Dolphin Point property at $173,900, the Wiley property at $60,300 and the Joyal property at $87,600.
Myers said that the cost of the alternative proposal has yet to be estimated. But, he was confident that without the cost of excavation, haulage and disposal it would be less than the $1.4-million estimated for the original plan and hoped it would be less than the $1.2-million that the council budgeted. Furthermore, he expected that by owning and controlling the affected properties, the city could minimize the long-term costs of monitoring and maintenance.
Myers said that the council has authorized the sale of general obligation bonds to fund the work, but the bonds will not be issued until the budget for the project is prepared. "We'll issue only what we need," he said. He anticipated that work at the site could begin next summer.
Meanwhile, Myers said that the adjacent landfill remains "on our radar." He said that sampling of material on the site has been accelerated and acknowledged that "DES wants to see some progress."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 01:07

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Alleged strangler 'not competent' to stand trial at this time

LACONIA — A N.H state prosecutor and the attorneys representing a 21-year-old city man who is charged with the strangulation death of his roommate have agreed that he is not competent to stand trial at this time.

The stipulation or agreement, means that Kasey Riley, formerly of McGrath Street, will likely be committed to a secure state mental health facility after a request for involuntary confinement is presented to a N.H. Probate Court judge.

From the time of his commitment, the sides have stipulated that there will be 12 month allocated for doctors to restore him to competency.

The agreement came after the state made a motion that was granted in July to have a Riley undergo a second mental health evaluation with a different doctor. The first doctor had determined Riley was unable to assist in his own defense and didn't understand the consequences of his actions.

Although both assessments are sealed, with yesterday's agreement it appears the second doctor came to the same conclusion.

Riley had been living on his own in an apartment on Academy Street until June of 2013 when he checked himself into Lakes Regional General Hospital for a mental health evaluation.

According to his sister, he was taken to the N.H. State Hospital for evaluation and released the next day. He was given a place to live in a group home operated by Genesis Behavioral Health on McGrath Street. The home is not supervised 24 hours a day and there was no supervisor on duty the night Riley allegedly strangled Zachary March.

Genesis Behavioral Heath is the regional mental health agency licensed and partially funded by the N.H. Department of Health & Human Services.

On June 10, police affidavits filed in court said Riley and March got in an argument about some hunting videos Riley was watching on his cell phone.

Riley told police that March threatened him and the two fought. He said the two struggled until Riley was able to get March's head in a leg hold that he said he kept on him for about 10 minutes.

He told police that March started convulsing and he let go of him and tried to sprinkle water on him to revive him. A woman who was also staying in the group home called 9-1-1. March was pronounced dead at the scene.

He also told police he was practicing his choke holds and demonstrated one for the investigating officer.

Riley was indicted by a Belknap County grand jury in November of 2013 for two counts of second-degree homicide. One count alleges that he recklessly caused March's death and the other count alleges that he negligently caused March's death. Each represents a different theory of the same crime.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 01:02

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Gilford Police arrest 2 men found lying in snow next to vacant house

GILFORD — Police responding to a late Saturday night report of a suspicious vehicle on Cherry Valley Road, near the Alton town line, arrested two men for prowling.

Police also charged Kenneth Blankenship, 32, of Tilton and Henry Lamontagne, 53, of Laconia with one count each of resisting arrest and one count each of criminal trespass.

When police arrived at the scene at 11:48 p.m. they found a car registered to Blankenship sitting behind a vacant home that appeared to have been entered. There were two trails in the snow leading away from the car and the house

Two officers followed the trails and found the two men lying face down in the snow, apparently trying to hide from them.

Blankenship allegedly began running away and was zapped with a Taser (electric stun gun).  Lamontagne apparently tripped. Police were able to take both into custody without further ado.

Both were released on personal recognizance bail.

Police said they are still investigating.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 02:10

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Belmont Police will spend $31k on new dispatch console

BELMONT — Selectmen authorized the police chief to spend $31,400 with Ossipee Mountain Electronics for a new dispatch console.

At this year's annual Town Meeting, voters approved up to $45,000 for the new equipment.

Chief Mark Lewandoski said he has been working with two electronics suppliers over the past six months to determine what would be the best fit for Belmont's limited-space dispatch room as well as something that will last the department for the next 25 or 30 years.

He said the console the department uses now was a hand-me-down from the Laconia Police Department.

Lewandoski said it would be an ergonomic system that could be moved should the department ever get a new or upgraded building. He also noted that should the day come when the town needs a second dispatcher, this system can be expanded.

He said he preferred the one from Ossipee Mountain because it is a three-screen touch-screen system that only uses one keyboard and one mouse. He said it enables a police dispatcher to touch the screen and connect with the Fire Department if necessary.

"We won't have to replace this again in another five years," Lewandoski said.

In other business, selectmen also agreed to apply for an Emergency Management Performance grant for the purpose of updating the town's emergency operations plan.

Fire Chief Dave Parenti said the plan should be updated every five to seven years and the town is two years overdue.

He said the funding comes in the form of a matching grant but the match will come in the form of employee hours needed to complete the plan. Parenti said that should the town get the grant, he would create a committee of himself, the fire chief, and a few representatives of the town to create and update the new plan.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 02:07

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