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Commissioners will begin road show today in Tilton

LACONIA — Belknap County commissioners are planning to meet with local officials over the next seven weeks to discuss the proposed $26.6 million county budget for 2014 as well as the ongoing jail planning process.
The meetings start today with commissioner slated to be on the agenda at the 3:30 p.m. meeting of the Tilton Selectboard and at the 7 p.m. meeting of the New Hampton Selectboard.
''We think it's important to have these meetings with town officials,'' said Chairman John Thomas (R-Belmont) when the commission met Wednesday morning. ''We want to go over the budget and our priorities with towns. We realize that it's a major time commitment for local officials to serve and want to keep the meetings as brief as possible, but also be there to answer questions they may have.'' said Thomas.
Commissioners also expect to be questioned about the planning which has been going on for nearly two years on a proposed new county jail, according to Commissioner Ed Philpot Jr. (D-Laconia), who chairs the County Jail Planning Committee.
The committee has been looking at an interim solution to crowded conditions at the Belknap County House of Corrections which would involve a $3.5 million bond issue. The funds would be used for 48-bed temporary housing unit, which would cost $1,584,681 for a three-year contract; $500,000 for a schematic design for a new county correction facility and $1 million for replacing the HVAC system at the current jail.
Next week commissioners will be in Belmont on Monday at 5 p.m. to meet with selectmen and will meet the same day with Gilmanton selectmen at 6:30 p.m.
The commissioners will meet with Gilford selectmen on Wednesday, December 18 at 7 p.m. and with the Laconia City Council on Monday, December 23 at 7 p.m.
Next month they are scheduled to meet with Meredith selectmen on Monday, January 6 at 5:30 p.m.; Wednesday, January 8 at 7 p.m. in Center Harbor; Tuesday, January 14 at 5:30 p.m. in Barnstead and Wednesday, January 15 at 4:30 p.m. in Sanbornton.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 December 2013 02:03

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Boys & Girls Club hopes to get back to normal in 2 to 3 weeks

LACONIA — Cheryl Avery, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region, said yesterday that work to overcome the damage done to the club by vandals is progressing well.

Avery said that the plan is to reopen the community room, kids' cafe and kitchen as soon as possible in order to restart the club's before-school program. She said that the program, which serves between 15 and 20 children of working families between 6:30 a.m. and the opening of school at 8 a.m., is the immediate priority. Recalling that the club operated in confined space at the Lakes Region Community Services building before moving to its new home at the former St. James Episcopal Church, Avery said that as space is restored and becomes available the club will resume normal operations a step at a time, but expected that two or three weeks would be needed to complete the cleaning and repairs.

Meanwhile, the after-school program will continue to operate at Laconia Middle School until further notice. "The arrangement with the Middle School is working very well," Avery said. "The teachers and staff have been very welcoming."

Vandals broke into the club last weekend, where they caused what Police Chief Chris Adams, the president of the club, called "significant damage," including extensive water damage to the sub-basement. On Tuesday, police announced that three students of Laconia High School, all males aged 14, 15 and 16, were arrested and charged with burglary and criminal mischief, both felonies. The three juveniles will be prosecuted in by the juvenile division of the 4th Circuit Court - Laconia.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 December 2013 02:00

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Barnstead Police Chief Ken Borgia retires

BARNSTEAD — Chief Ken Borgia has retired after heading the Police Department for 11 years.

Borgia was hired as police chief on January 1, 2002.

Before assuming the helm here, Borgia was a corporal with the Gilford Police Department.

In the interim, selectmen officially appointed Sgt. Joseph McDowell as the Officer in Charge.

McDowell said yesterday that Belmont has six part-time officers — four of whom are "very active." He is the only full-time employee.

McDowell said yesterday that the Board of Selectmen have not made any decisions as to the long-term future of the Police Department.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 December 2013 01:55

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Man will argue he wasn't resisting arrest, just trying to protect himself from getting hurt

LACONIA — A local man arrested on September 24 in a downtown parking lot said that his attempts to get away from the arresting sheriff's deputy were made as self defense.

Joseph Morrissette, 24, formerly of Court St. has filed notice of what is called an affirmative defense in the Belknap County Superior Court.

Morrissette was charged with one count of resisting arrest and one count of simple assault.

Atty. Jared Bedrick explained yesterday that when the state decided to pursue enhance penalties (or prison sentences) for resisting arrest and assault on the deputy, whose lip was cut during the fight, the case went over to superior court because the circuit court cannot impose prison sentences — only county-level house of corrections sentences.

Morrissette was also charged with two counts of possession of narcotics and one count of possession with intent to sell narcotics.

Morrissette filed a motion to suppress the drug evidence in the 4th Circuit Court, arguing that the arresting deputy had no reason to detain him. Judge Jim Carroll agreed and ruled on October 5 that the drugs seized by the Belknap County Sheriff's Department could not be used as evidence.

According to Carroll's ruling and affidavits submitted to the court, Morrissette was leaning into the back seat of a friend's car and was spotted by the deputy as he was driving north on Main Street in Laconia.

The deputy said he approached the car because it was illegally stopped but focused his attention on Morrissette, who told him he was there to get a hair cut. The driver of the car left and the deputy made no effort to follow the car.

During the ensuing minutes, the deputy said he grabbed Morrissette, who he knew from a previous drug arrest in a case that is still pending, and Morrissette objected to being grabbed.

A scuffle ensued and the deputy told him to stay still or he would be zapped with a Taser. The defendant said he was trying to get away from the deputy, fearing he would be hurt.

The deputy deployed his electric stun gun and Morrissette was taken into custody.

In his ruling, Carroll said "the Court finds that the action by the deputy was directed at the driver of the vehicle upon his approach to the vehicle."

"There is no basis in fact to warrant his seizure of the defendant — the leaning in of the defendant into the vehicle (and) his subsequent nervousness — do not add to the articulable facts supporting the deputy's seizure," he wrote.

Carroll said that once the driver was not longer illegally parked and since the deputy made no effort to follow the driver, his further contact with Morrissette and any "fruits of the poisoned tree" could not be used against him.

The three drug charges were bound over to Belknap County Superior Court however, to date, Morrissette has not be indicted by a grand jury.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 December 2013 01:52

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