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Pair of Gale Ave. residents arrested on drug charges

LACONIA — After what police describe as an investigation lasting eight months, a man and woman were arrested on drug charges around 2 p.m. yesterday at a home on Gale Avenue.

Roger R. Perkins, 31, of 209 Edgewood Road, Methuen, Massachusetts and 23 Gale Avenue, Laconia was charged with two counts of possession of a narcotic drug with intent to distribute. He refused bail and will be arraigned in the Fourth Circuit Court—Laconia Divisionb this morning.

Windyann M. Plunkett, 30, also of 23 Gale Avenue was charged with one count of possession of a controlled drug. She was released on $1,000 personal recognizance bail and will be arraigned in Fourth Circuit Court—Laconia Division on May 8.

Police said that the investigation remains ongoing and ask anyone with information that could assist officers with their inquiries to contact the Laconia Police Department at 524-5252 or call the Greater Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 01:37

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Zoning Task Force fine tunning regulation of electronic signs

LACONIA — After meeting on Monday, the Zoning Task Force will recommend an amendment to the zoning ordinance regulating electronic signage to the Planning Board when it meets next week.

The task force proposes distinguishing between two types of "electronic message center" (EMC) — "static" and "dynamic." Static electronic signs are those on which neither the copy nor pictures change during the message while their dynamic counterparts appear to move or change as they present a stream of images or words that fly in, fade out, rotate and scroll across the face of the sign.

Neither type of electronic sign would be permitted in the six residential districts. Where they are permitted the dimensions and heights of signs must conform to those of freestanding signs in the specific district.

The task force recommends that so-called EMC-dynamic display signs be confined to the commercial resort district, which includes The Weirs, and permitted there only by special exception. Joe Driscoll, an attorney and member of the task force whose family owns and operates an inn and cottages at The Weirs, said as that these signs have increased in number in the absence of regulation during the past decade residents and businesses have asked for tighter regulation.

"They don't want Las Vegas in Laconia," remarked Larry Guild, who serves on both the task force and the Planning Board.

EMC-static display signs would be excluded from the downtown riverfront district but permitted in the commercial resort district and permitted by special exception in the professional, business central, business central/industrial. commercial, industrial park, industrial and airport industrial districts.

After some discussion the task force agreed to recommend that the display, whether images or words, on EMC-static display signs not change more frequently than every five minutes. Planning Director Shanna Saunders stressed that rapidly changing messages and imagery distracted motorists.

Warren Hutchins, who chairs the Planning Board, said that the challenge in drafting the ordinance is to strike an appropriate balance between protecting the safety of the public and promoting the growth of business.

Noting that the city of Concord prohibits both types of electronic signage, Suzanne Perley, who chairs the task force and serves on the Zoning Board of Adjustment, said "I think we should allow them, but also protect the city." She added that no other municipality has such a detailed sign ordinance.

Saunders said that the Planning Board, after considering the recommendations of the task force next week, will schedule a public hearing on the proposed ordinance in May. Once the Planning Board approves the wording of the ordinance it will present its recommendation to the City Council for adoption.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 01:33

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Alleged armed robber held on $100k bail

LACONIA — The man who allegedly robbed an acquaintance at gunpoint Sunday afternoon was ordered held on $100,000 cash-only bail after appearing in circuit court yesterday afternoon.

Joshua A. McNeil, 31, whose most recent address is given as 239 Winter St. in Brockton, Mass., turned himself into police Monday night.

Police affidavits filed with the court said McNeil told them that he used a BB gun and that he admitted to the arresting officer that he was a heroin addict who had considered getting the police to kill him.

Police said McNeil had gotten a ride from two people he knew slightly but had allegedly pulled a gun near Vista Foods on South Main Street and ordered the passenger out of the car. He told the driver to turn onto Joliet Street where he tried to rob him.

The driver told police in his report that when McNeil realized he didn't have any money, he hit him in the head with the gun.

Both the driver and his passenger were able to pick McNeil out of a line up.

McNeil was represented by Public Defender John Bresaw who reserved the right to argue bail at a future date.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 01:28

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83 year old gym floor at Laconia Community Center to be replaced

LACONIA — The City Council on Monday night granted the request of Kevin Dunleavy, director of Parks and Recreation, to withdraw up to $70,000 from a reserve fund for the maintenance and repair of municipal facilities to replace the hardwood floor of the gymnasium at the Community Center.

Dunleavy said that a reference in the Master Plan of 1991 indicates that the floor dates from 1931, when the armory that became the Community Center was constructed. According to the plan, the floor had been sanded five times and in some sections was "very thin and very spongy," suggesting it would need to be replaced "in the next few years." He said that several times since 2005 the department has requested funding to replace the floor from the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Committee, most recently last September.

"We are having problems," Dunleavy said, adding "it's not an emergency, but an urgent need." The floor, he continued, was last refinished in 2011 and is scheduled to be refinished again at a cost of $3,000 to $4,000, which he considered would be "throwing good money after bad."

Dunleavy said that he was making the request because the reserve fund has a balance of approximately $180,000, with the likelihood that another $50,000 to $60,000, will be added at the end of the fiscal year. "As far as I know there no other requests for significant funding," he said.

The $70,000, Dunleavy explained, reflected an estimate of $66,000 to lay a mid-grade maple floor over half-inch plywood with five coats of urethane from one firm. He said that if the project is not undertaken in the summer months, when schools typically repair and replace their gymnasium floors, the cost could be $4,000 less. Dunleavy anticipated the job could be completed in two weeks in late April and early May.

The gymnasium hosts 34 different programs with almost 27,000 participants each year and is in use approximately 68 hours during a normal week.

NOTE: The City Council authorized the City Manager to accept a $40,000 federal matching grant to fund the first phase of the Jewett Brook Watershed Management Plan. Luke Powell, assistant director of Public Works, said that the grant, awarded under the Clean Water Act, would meet about 51 percent of the cost of removing barriers, regrading and planting vegetative buffers to restore the floodplain on the property that formerly housed the TD Bank up stream of Union Avenue. Restoration of the floodplain would reduce sedimentation beneath the bridge on Union Avenue and the Normandin Square Apartments, which has contributed to flooding of the Busy Corner intersection. Powell explained that once the floodplain has been restored the city will approach the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services about dredging under the bridge and apartment building. The city will match the grant, with in-kind engineering and construction services worth $38,590, to complete the $78,590 budget for the project. Powell expected the project could be designed this year and completed in 2015.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 01:24

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