Barnstead man attacked by fox

BARNSTEAD — Police killed what appeared to be a sick fox yesterday afternoon after it attacked a local man in his backyard.

Sgt. Frank Grow said a Depot Street man was putting wood through his wood splitter yesterday around 3 pm. when he said a fox came from the tree line and attacked his leg.

Police said the man was able to shake off the fox and it ran in between an oil tank and a propane tank on his property.

Grow said police brought gloves, jackets and a snag pole from the station and were able to catch the fox and destroy it.

Grow said the man was evaluated by the Barnstead Fire Department that recommended he speak with his own physician about the incident.

The remains was collected by an officer of the Department of Fish and Game who will perform tests to see if it was sick or rabid.

State has ordered caboose removed from spur RR line in downtown Laconia

LACONIA — Richard Mitchell, the owner of Pitman's Freight Room on New Salem Street, has been ordered to remove the caboose from the state-owned sidetrack adjacent to his property by May 26 and to immediately cease crossing the sidetrack to reach a parking area at the rear of his property.

The Daily Sun was supplied yesterday with a copy of the letter by David Gammon, who owns an adjacent property and has long asked the state to force Mitchell to remove the railroad car.

On April 17 Shelley Winters, administrator of the Bureau of Rail & Transit of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, wrote to Mitchell, reminding him that in July 2004 he was informed that his lease of the sidetrack had expired and directing him to remove the caboose from it. "In researching this issue," Winters noted, "recent observations have revealed that there is no existing agreement in place between you and the state and that you have failed to remove the caboose from the state-owned sidetrack." She described the presence of the caboose as a breach of the original lease as will as "a trespass and a nuisance."

Furthermore, Winters wrote that the DOT was "troubled to learn that the caboose has become a an attractive hazard," this is, patrons of Pitman's Freight Room have been allowed to climb on it, "even while consuming alcohol". She directed Mitchell to "cease any and all activities on state property" and ensure that his patrons did so as well.

Mitchell did not return telephone calls yesterday.

"I was shocked when I saw that letter," said Gammon, who with his sister owns the property abutting Pitman's Freight Room. In fact, their two buildings are attached with the brick wall shared between them serving as the lot line dividing their two properties. The railroad line runs southwest, along Mitchell's lot then, where the two lots meet, the sidetrack runs to the rear of Gammon's lot, ending abruptly at the corner of his property where the caboose has been parked within two feet of his building since 1999.

"I've been pestering the DOT off and on for the past 15 years," said Gammon, who claims that Mitchell placed the caboose "as a grudge to devalue our property." In February, Gammon renewed his efforts, asking both Winters and Attorney General Joseph Foster why, after 11 years without a lease, the caboose had not budged. Gammon also claims the Bureau of Rail and Transit has informed him that there is no record of Mitchell paying the annual fee of $986 to lease the track since his lease expired in 2004.

Mitchell has acknowledged, "I have to do something with the caboose" and now must also make arrangements to secure automobile access to his back parking lot. With her letter, Winters enclosed information about how property owners whose lot is divided by a railway may obtain a "crossing agreement," which can take 60 days or more.

City lists streets scheduled for work this year

LACONIA — City Manager Scott Myers told the City Council this week that $1.8-million will be spent improving approximately 5.5 miles of city streets during the next 15 months.

Seven streets — Avery Street, Batchelder Street, Chapin Terrace, Cleveland Place, Dixon Street, Tyler Street and Shore Drive northward from Sands Terrace — are scheduled for major reconstruction, which will include significant improvements to sewerage and drainage.

Another half-dozen streets — Cottonwood Avenue, Harvard Street, Roller Coaster Road, Waker Street, the two southern sections of Dartmouth Street, and McGrath Street from Lyford Street to Oak Street — are scheduled to be paved with a maintenance shim and overlay.

Myers said yesterday that specifications are being determined and costs estimates for several other streets or stretches of roadway, which may be added to the schedule of projects to be undertaken in the current construction season.

Myers has asked the City Council to increase the city's annual commitment to street repair to the $1.8 million level for each of the next three years and council members have reacted favorably to that suggestion.