30,582: festival organizers hope to eclipse world jack-o-lantern record

LACONIA — Can the first ever Laconia Pumpkin Festival establish a new world record for the most lit jack-o'- lanterns in one place?
That question will be answered when results are in at 8 p.m. on Saturday when the final tally is announced. The festival has been registered with Guinness in an attempt to break the world record of 30,581, which was set in Keene in 2013.
Amanda Bullerwell, the local volunteer in charge of the count, says that the count will take place during a five-minute span starting at 6:50 p.m. when teams of counters, each in charge of one section of downtown, will tally up the number of unlit jack-o-lanterns.
That number will be subtracted from the total number on display in the downtown area, which will already have been determined prior to the start of the lighting of the jack-o-lanterns at 4 p.m.
''This is the first time I've done this,'' says Bullerwell, who works at Titeflex and whose husband, Ben, is a partner in Wayfarer Coffee Roasters in Downtown Laconia.
She says that she has been to the Keene Festival several times and was glad to see it find a new home in Laconia.
''This is a good spot for it and I want to see it be a success,'' says Bullerwell, who signed on in April as a volunteer and says that she has been impressed with the enthusiasm being shown in the community for the festival.
Some unsolicited assistance showed up early Friday afternoon at Rotary Park, where Bullerwell was overlooking the placement of jack-o-lanterns, when Laconia High School students in Jon Myers' exercise and nutrition class pitched in to place some of them on stands.
''This is good for Laconia. I'm glad to see it here,'' said Leah Stivali, one of the students, a sentiment echoed by Ciara LaGarde, who said that she liked the festive atmosphere being created.
Welcome centers will be open at several entrances to downtown where visitors can log in their carved pumpkin or arrange to carve a pumpkin at the Community Carving Center at the Bank of New Hampshire.
Volunteers there were gutting some 4,000 pumpkins and were halfway through that amount Friday afternoon according to bank spokesperson Tiffany Benton.
''There's a lot of excitement here. There's even a marriage proposal that will be going up on display on the big tower.'' she said.

Meredith liquor store will remain open

MEREDITH — By reversing its decision to close its established store at Olde Provnce Commons, the New Hampshire Liquor Commission has ensured that Meredith will remain a wet town.

When the commission announced that a new liquor store would be opened in New Hampton on Rte.104 near Exit 23 on I-93, it indicated that the Meredith store would be closed. However, Joseph Mollica, chairman of the commission, said yesterday that the commission "determined that the Meredith area remained a strong market and therefore a viable home for an New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet. Although Jacksn's Star Market left Olde Provnce Commons, Ocean State Job Lots opened in its place, ensuring that the plaza would remain a shopping destination.

Mollica said that the goal of the commission is to maximize the revenue from liquor and wine sales, the net profits from which contribute to state general fund. In locating stores, the commission weighs a number of factors, including annual sales, proximity to other outlets, demand in the market, traffic counts and operating costs. In 2014, record sales returned $642-million to the general fund.

The New Hampton store, which will operate in 12,000-square-feet where the Tedesch Food Shop operated, is expected to open late this year or early next.

Man accused of 'flashing' in Opechee Park going on trial for alleged jail assault

LACONIA — Jury selection in the trial of a Concord man charged with assaulting a fellow prisoner at the Belknap County House of Corrections is slated to start Nov. 2 in Belknap County Superior Curt.
Daniel King, 53, of Concord, is charged with pushing Daniel Sellars against a wall during the incident which took place on April 21.
A final re-trial conference was held in Superior Court Wednesday on the case at which a motion was granted allowing the prosecution to cross-examine a defense witness about his criminal record as a way of assessing the credibility of the witness.
King, a registered sex offender who allegedly exposed himself on September 1, 2014 to some children at Opechee Park, faces two counts of felony indecent exposure and is slated to stand trial early next year on those charges.
He was arrested in Arkansas in December of 2014 by U.S. Federal Marshals and extradited back to New Hampshire. In July King entered a guilty plea in United States District Court in Concord to failure to register as a sex offender, according Acting United States Attorney Donald Feith.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 2.
King was convicted in 1991 of aggravated felonious sexual assault against a victim under 13.