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Boat strikes Winnisquam shore; pilot arrested for DWI

LACONIA — A Massachusetts man was arrested and charged with boating while intoxicated after his pontoon boat struck a tree along the shore of Lake Winniqsquam late Saturday night.

Richard Degregory, 51, of Tyngsborough, Mass. was cruising with two adult passengers aboard at approximate 20 miles per hour around 11:30 p.m. when the collision occurred. Sergeant Joshua Dirth and Officers Scott McClain and Thomas Reneau of the New Hampshire Marine Patrol, together with firefighters from the Laconia Fire Department and officers of the Laconia Police Department, responded to the scene of the accident, which left the vessel heavily damaged.

The passengers suffered only minor injuries and refused treatment.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 September 2014 10:04

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Belmont casino for sale for $3.5M; gravel deposits valued

BELMONT — For the second time in less than a decade the property on Route 106 that originally began as greyhound race track and ultimately became a charitable gaming venue is for sale.

Last weekend the Manchester Union-Leader newspaper reported that Ryan Goddy, the general manager of the Lakes Region Casino, confirmed that the 213-acre property has been on the market for the past two months at an asking price of $3.5 million.

The venue is owned by Potts Gaming, LLC, whose principal Craig K. Potts of Scottsdale, Arizona, the former president and chief executive officer of Cash Systems, Inc., then the largest provider of cash access services to the gaming industry, operates gaming establishments in Alabama and the Caribbean. Potts could not be reached for comment.

The facility has rooms for table games — roulette and craps— and bingo and stages two poker tournaments, some with guaranteed winnings of $1,000, nightly. It employs about three dozen people and contributes to about 20 charities in the region.

The property has been a gaming venue since 1975 when it opened as Berenson's Belmont Greyhound Track. In 1991, it was acquired by a partnership led by Al Hart who changed its name to Lakes Region Greyhound Park. By offering rebates, or returning a share of wagers — win or lose — at the end of the day, and telephone betting, Hart turned a $10-million business into a $75-million enterprise. But, in 2005, he was compelled to surrender his gaming license and negotiate the sale of the track after two employees were indicted in New York for their part in an illegal gambling conspiracy.

Potts partnered with Marlin Torguson, of the Torguson Gaming Group, which owns casinos on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, to acquire the track for $4.1 million, an investment in anticipation that the Legislature would authorize casino gambling and slot machines. In 2006, after investing $1.5 million to renovate the 35,000-square-foot facility, the venue opened as The Lodge at Belmont, offering live greyhound racing, simulcast wagering on greyhound, thoroughbred and harness racing as well as as dining and live entertainment.

However, the Legislature repeatedly refused to authorize an expansion of gambling and with the prohibition of live greyhound racing and taxation of gambling winnings in 2009 revenues at the venue plummeted. Pari-mutuel wagering, Since 2011, when the Lodge at Belmont became the Lakes Region Casino, it has operated primarily as a charitable gaming hall, with dining and live entertainment.

Rick Newman, former general manager of the Lodge at Belmont, estimated that Potts has approximately $8 million invested in the enterprise. Although the property is grandfathered as a pari-mutuel venue, Newman doubted that it would ever become more than a charitable gaming venue. "It is one of the three or four largest charitable gaming operations in the state," he said. But, he explained, in the unlikely event the Legislature agrees to introduce casino gambling with video slot machines, Belmont is even less likely to become a venue.

While the property is no longer a gambling gold mine, it does lie between two sand and gravel and its atop significant deposits of its own.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 September 2014 09:52

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Police break-up underage party in South Down

LACONIA — Police say they arrested 10 under-aged drinkers at a home at 273 Davidson Drive at 2:52 a.m. Wednesday after police responded to a call for a suspicious person.

Police said they made contact with two young men on Captain's Walk who saw them and ran into the woods.

Three officers followed them and found evidence on the back porch at the Davidson Drive home of alcohol consumption including broken bottles and discarded beer cans.

When officers went to the front door, they found 10 young people under the age of 21 inside the house.

All were taken into custody, charged with unlawful consumption. and released to a sober person. None of them were local.

Police called the homeowners, who were not at the house, and informed them of the party.

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 August 2014 12:35

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$12,000 theft lands M'borough woman in Belknap County Jail for 30 days

MEREDITH — A Moultonborough woman will serve 30 days in the Belknap County House of Corrections after pleading guilty to one misdemeanor and one felony count of theft yesterday morning.

Shirley Cyr, 40, of 14 Hanson Mill Road was sentenced 12 months with all but 30 days suspended for stealing jewelry. She was ordered to pay restitution of $526 through the Belknap County Attorney's Office and be of good behavior for three years.

Cyr was also sentenced to a 2-to-4 year sentence in the N.H. State Prison for Women for one felony count of stealing $12,000 from a person for whom she was providing in home care. All of state prison sentence was suspended pending seven years of good behavior.

Cyr was ordered to bay $12,000 in restitution to the victim through the Belknap County Attorney's Office.

All of the restitution was due yesterday and Cyr began serving he sentence yesterday morning.

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 August 2014 12:29

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