Gilford shooting a puzzle


GILFORD — Although police have arrested a suspect who allegedly fired shots at an SUV in the vicinity of 108 Young Road on Monday afternoon, Lieutenant Kris Kelley said yesterday that they have yet to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Ryan Thurston, 35, of 55 High View Circle, was arrested without incident shortly after the shooting and charged with reckless conduct with a firearm, a Class B felony. On Tuesday Thurston waived arraignment in Belknap County Superior Court and is being held in Belknap County Jail in lieu of $25,000 cash or corporate surety bail.
Officers responded to a report of shots fired around 4 p.m. on Monday. According to police, witnesses reported hearing at least three shots and said that a man aboard a motorcycle had fired at an SUV then fled. No one was injured. When Thurston was apprehended nearby, he told police that someone in the moving SUV had shot at him.
“He was very reserved in what he told us.” Kelley said.
Kelley said that three 9 mm shell casings were recovered near the site of the shooting. One round struck a residence and broke a window. He said that a spent bullet was found inside the home, but the firearm itself has not yet been located. While police believe a driver and passenger were in the SUV when the shots were fired, Kelley said, “We’re not positive there were only two people in the vehicle.” He indicated that officers had interviewed people in the Concord area they suspect may have been in the SUV at the time of the shooting, who were less than cooperative.
Police urged anyone who witnessed the incident or with information about to contact the Gilford Police Department at 527-4737.



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Fire N’ Stone opens new showroom Friday after accidental fire in August


TILTON — Aug. 2 was a bad day for SAF Fire N' Stone, the full-service stove, hearth and chimney business that has been located on Laconia Road for six years. On that day, a delivery truck knocked down the power lines, which landed on the showroom building and started a fire that has rendered the building unusable.

The end of summer is the beginning of the heating season, so there was no time to sit idle while a new building could be constructed. So, while their employees were busy servicing customers with installation of new stoves and chimney repairs, owners Angelo and Sarah Farruggia scrambled to construct a showroom space within the warehouse, located at the same Laconia Road address.

Fire N' Stone will be hosting a grand opening of its new showroom this weekend.

"It's not as grand as we're used to," Angelo Farruggia said, looking around the space, but the renovated warehouse serves its role as a place to display a range of wood, gas and pellet stoves, both free-standing and wall inserts. The showroom is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The grand opening weekend kicks off on Friday, Sept. 30, and will mark the beginning of a 10-day sale, featuring discounts on stoves, parts and installation.

It took a Herculean effort to convert half of the warehouse into a space welcoming for customers. Carpentry, gas lines, painting – the list of tasks kept Farruggia busy for most of his waking hours since the fire. It was far more than he could handle himself, and with his crew busy around the clock with service calls, he said he owes his grand opening to the willingness of local contractors to work Fire N' Stone into their schedules.

"What made it possible, beyond my own guys' work, was the local contractors who stepped up," he said, naming Joe Boxer Plumbing, Total Security, Absolute Electrical, Steve Buy Heating and Cooling, and Same Day Computers as especially helpful in his predicament. "Without them, we'd be dead in the water."

Farruggia said he and Sarah plan to rebuild the burned-out building, which will take about a year to complete. Until then, Fire N' Stone will be able to serve customers out of the warehouse-turned showroom.

"We are still trucking along – we're still here to serve everybody, and make sure they're warm and safe this winter," he said.

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Angelo and Sarah Farruggia are hosting a grand opening of their new showroom, located at 539 Laconia Road in Tilton, on Friday and Saturday. The showroom was fashioned out of a space in the business's warehouse after a fire, caused by a delivery truck, destroyed the original showroom. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)

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The new fireplace and stove displays at the store. (Laconia Daily Sun photos/Adam Drapcho)


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Tourism officials predict record-breaking fall season


GILFORD — As New Hampshire's nationally renowned foliage viewing season starts, state tourism officials are predicting that the brilliant, red, yellow and flame orange hues will translate into a lot of folding green currency for Granite State businesses.
Speaking at a gathering of state officials and tourism leaders at Gunstock Mountain Resort's new mountain coaster Tuesday, Jeffrey Rose, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, predicted a 5 percent increase in fall visitors and a 6 percent increase in spending compared to last year.
He said New Hampshire is predicted to have 9.5 million visitors this fall with $1.42 billion in direct spending.
Rose said that the forecast for a record-breaking fall season is based on a number of a factors, including a strong economy, low gas prices and advance reservations following a strong summer. He said that Rooms and Meals Tax revenue so far this year is $300 million, up $20 million over 2015.
"Last year New Hampshire saw more than 39 million visitors, which marks a 5 percent increase over the previous year. And visitors spent $5.5 billion, a seven percent increase over 2014," said Rose, who added "The fall season is a significant contributor to New Hampshire's tourism economy."
He said that New Hampshire has a lot to offer fall visitors in addition to its fabulous foliage, including recreational opportunities, a rich history and tax-free shopping.
Lorraine Merrill, the state Commissioner of Agriculture, said that agritourism is thriving on New Hampshire farms with harvest celebrations, farm to table meals, family outings, corn mazes and weddings, as well as pick-your-own operations in orchards and fields.
"Working agriculture is a big part of tourism and provides a backdrop for visitors," she said.
Merrill said agritourism has grown from 16 farms with $265,000 in income in 2001 to 190 farms with $3.8 million in income in 2012, making it the fastest-growing part of the state's agricultural economy.
The state's Division of Travel and Tourism Development unveiled its fall campaign to bring more tourists to the state. Victoria Cimino, director of the DTTD, said that the number of foreign visitors has increased and the state is seeing more visitors from paces as far away as California, Texas and Florida.
The new campaign targets Boston, New York, Toronto and Montreal, and a Live Free strategy is being utilized which touts the state's recreational opportunities.
Amy Landers of the Lakes Region Tourism Association said that this September has been a record-breaking month in the Lakes Region. She said Gunstock enjoyed its best Labor Day weekend ever and noted that Gunstock's chairlift rides were up 30 percent over last year and that Squam Lakes area attractions are showing 25 percent increases.
Greg Goddard, general manager at Gunstock, said the new mountain coaster has had such robust sales that it will remain open through November along with other Adventure Park attractions.

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Jeffrey Rose, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, predicted a 5 percent increase in fall visitors and a 6 percent increase in spending compared to last year at a gathering at Gunstock Mountain Resort Tuesday. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

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