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Nursing home employees demonstrate in support of contract

LACONIA — Members of the New Hampshire State Employees Union joined forces yesterday afternoon to support the passage of a one-year contract approved recently by the Belknap County Commissioners.

With the vote by the Belknap County Delegation scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. last night, employees of the Belknap County Nursing Home and their supporters converged at the county offices.

Joining them were state Sen. Andrew Hosmer, D-Laconia, some members of the Belknap County Delegation including Republican Dennis Fields of Sanbornton and Tilton, and SEA President Diana Lacey.

"These are good folks and they run a good operation," said Hosmer. "They provide high quality care for our most vulnerable citizens."

Hosmer said the SEA has negotiated in good faith and has show a willingness to compromise.

The delegation has to approve the $336,170 money portion of the contract. The county budget adopted earlier this year level-funded the employee share of the health insurance benefits, but didn't provide any funding for wage increases or associated payroll costs.

Components of the $336,170 are $267,343 for health insurance, $22,361 for cost-of-living increases of 1.6 percent, $35,759 for merit increases for eligible employees of up to 2.1 percent, and $10,705 for associated payroll costs.

As part of the contract, employees agreed to pay an average of 15 percent of their premiums as opposed to 5 percent being paid under the "status quo" contract now in place.

As part of an incentive for keeping a lower premium payment, employees can participate in three of the health management programs in order to keep their premiums at the same level they are now.

By about 4 p.m. nearly 45 people had joined the picket line.

Organizers said they hope to keep people coming until the meeting a 6 p.m. when some of them plan to address the delegation.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 April 2014 12:28

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Defense attorney: accused pot grower’s landlord was acting as agent of police

LACONIA — The attorney representing a Governors Island man accused of growing marijuana in the home he rented has asked a Belknap County Superior Court judge for permission to depose the man's landlord.

Corey LaPlante, 28, formerly of 47 Blueberry Hill Road in Gilford, is charged with two counts of manufacturing marijuana, two counts of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute it, and one count of possession of marijuana.

Members of the N.H. State Drug Task force raided the home in October 2013 after learning from LaPlante's landlord that she had seen what she considered evidence of marijuana growing in the home she owned.

In court yesterday, Sisti asked for the court's permission to depose the landlord and if necessary to hold a hearing to determine whether or not she unlawfully entered LaPlante's home.

Sisti argued yesterday that she must have been in the home unlawfully prior to her announced visit because the affidavit prepared by police based on her alleged observations indicated the presence of a water filtration system that she could not have seen from the outside.

The landlord said she had been to the house on the day before her announced visit to assess some landscaping needs prior to her putting the home on the market.

Sisti argued yesterday that she went to the police with information she said she gathered from being outside the home, and the police told her to return to the house and bring someone with her. He argued that made her an agent of the police making her visit to the inside of the home unlawful.

The attorney said he was willing to put LaPlante on the stand to testify that when the landlord called him about the announced visit, he dismantled the water filtration system. So the only way the landlord could have seen it was if she was in his home before the announced visit.

In addition, Sisti said a second police officer called Public Service of New Hampshire and obtained LaPlante's electrical records. He noted that the records were included in the affidavit submitting seeking a warrant for the search meaning neither the police nor the landlord, again acting as an agent of the police, had the legal authority to view his client's electrical records.

"Once it got kicked into motion, there was a subpoena after the fact," he said. "How in the world they got that information is a mystery."

Sisti also asked that the Attorney General's office to make the landlord available for a deposition.

Assistant Attorney General James Vara said the landlord did not enter the house the first day she was there, but reported seeing the water filtration system in the basement from outside the house. He said taking a deposition from the landlord was unnecessary.

As to making the landlord available, Vara said she wasn't included on his witness list and if Sisti wanted to talk to her so badly, he had her contact information. "She's not a witness of ours," Vara said. "We have not obligation to make her available."

Vara said Sisti's argument for the deposition was based on "fluff."

Judge James O'Neill said he would rule on Sisti's deposition request before he would hear any motions to suppress any evidence gathered as a result of her information.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 April 2014 12:32

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Laconia being sued over playground accident

LACONIA — A Franklin woman is suing the city for negligence and nuisance for injuries she sustained while pushing her granddaughter on the swings at Opechee Park in May of 2012.

Margaret Dolbeare, who was 74 when when the incident occurred, said she was walking toward the swing set when her right foot went under the edge of a mat and she fell on her left knee.

In her suit, filed on April 10, 2014, in Belknap County Superior Court, she claims she was unable to get up on her own and required assistance to get to her car so she could get home.

After a year of care with an orthopedic specialist, she underwent a total knee replacement on June 18, 2013.

Dolbeare argues that the city has a duty to maintain the premises of a public park including the maintenance and operation of its playground equipment.

She is asking for an unspecified amount of money for knee replacement surgery; pain, suffering and lost of enjoyment of life; permanent injury; past, current, and future medical expenses, and lost earning capacity. Dolbeare has asked for a jury trial, which has yet to be scheduled.


Last Updated on Saturday, 26 April 2014 12:56

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Laconia marks Arbor Day with sugar maple planting

LACONIA — With help from some two dozen children from the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region, the Parks and Recreation Department celebrated Arbor Day yesterday by planting a Green Mountain Sugar Maple tree at Leavitt Park, near the playground not, far from the stump of a large oak.

Amy Lovisek of the Parks and Recreation Department began by quizzing the children about the virtues of planting and nurturing trees. Most questions prompted a variety of responses, but when she asked why the maple should stand close to the playground and pointed to the stump she drew a chorus of "shade!"

In preparation for the event the children had made a banner for Arbor Day, festooned with pictures of trees and leaves. But, they brought one of two banners they had made and to everyone's surprise when it was unfurled it read "Happy Birthday." More familiar with birthdays than Arbor Days, the mishap simply added to their enthusiasm.

Mayor Ed Engler was on hand to read a formal proclamation to mark the day. But, first he offered the children their first lesson in Latin, explaining that "arbor" means tree in Latin.

After two of the children read poems, Lovisek invited them all to spread the mulch around the base of the newly planted tree, reminding them as they and the tree grew older to remember they were here for its birthday.

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 April 2014 12:53

Hits: 162

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