New on the job

02-22 new LPD hires

Newly sworn in to the Laconia Police Department are Tyler Rouse, center, and Ryan Sickler, middle right. Conducting the ceremony Thursday is Ann Kaligian, as City Prosecutor Jim Sawyer, seated, and Police Chief Chris Adams look on. (Courtesy Laconia Police Department)

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Dangerous curve – Minivan loses control and lands on Squam Lake


SANDWICH — Four people in a minivan narrowly avoided a tragic end on Tuesday night, when their minivan lost control after hitting a patch of ice on Squam Lake Road, left the roadway and landed on the frozen surface of Squam Lake. The vehicle's occupants sustained only minor injuries, as the van remained upright throughout the ordeal and, though the force of the van's impact broke the ice, the ice was still thick enough to support the weight of the vehicle.

Sandwich Fire Chief Ted Call said that around 6 p.m., a minivan was traveling north on Squam Lake Road, between the intersections with Sabine Point Road and Range Road. There is a particular stretch of pavement there, just after a crest in the road, that is prone to ice, said Call, likely due to either run off from melting snow or a natural spring. Temperatures fell enough on Tuesday night for the roadway to freeze, and when the minivan hit that stretch of road, it lost control, struck the snowbank on the opposite side of the road and was launched about 50 feet, landing on Squam Lake.

Though the van landed not far from shore, the bank there is steep, said Call, and the water is about eight feet deep in that spot. There was more than a foot of ice there, and the van broke the ice but never sank. Call said his department's crew members, assisted by Stewart's Ambulance, were able to rescue all four occupants from the vehicle. One of the occupants, in a wheelchair, was rescued using a litter designed for mountain rescues.

All four occupants of the vehicle were transported with minor injuries.

Call said drivers should exercise caution, especially on the stretch of Squam Lake Road between Range Road and the Moultonborough town line, where the road is both subject to water from snow melt and is in close proximity to the lake.

"It's just a spot on that road that happens to have that hazard there, we potentially could have several more (similar accidents)."


02 22 Squam Lake Road

Ice and water flowed over a stretch of Squam Lake Road in Sandwich on Wednesday morning. On Tuesday evening, the water froze, and the four occupants of a minivan were fortunate to escape with minor injuries after the van careened off the road and fell onto the frozen surface of Squam Lake. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)

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Engaged, no wedding

Gilford selectmen weigh appeal in Timber Hill Farm on agritourism events zoning


GILFORD — When selectmen met in a nonpublic session Wednesday night, part of the expected discussion was whether to appeal a Superior Court ruling regarding the legality of weddings at Timber Hill Farm, an official said.
Under the heading of "consideration of litigation," the board anticipated considering their legal options in the drawn-out legal battle; the discussion was planned as a closed nonpublic session, according to Town Administrator Scott Dunn.
In a Feb. 14 ruling, Belknap County Superior Court Judge James O'Neill overturned a Gilford Zoning Board decision that concluded that, under the town's zoning ordinance, weddings were permitted agricultural uses at Timber Hill Farm. A neighbor sued to prevent weddings at the Gilford farm, located at 263 Gunstock Hill Road, overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee.
Abutter Monique Twomey took the case to court after the Gilford Zoning Board of Adjustment reviewed an appeal of an administrative decision, a cease-and-desist order dated Aug. 26, 2015, relating to a section of the Gilford Zoning Ordinance governing agriculture. The order barred weddings at Timber Hill Farm.
The Zoning Board of Adjustments voted against the cease-and-desist order, finding that weddings and other farm-to-table events at Timber Hill Farm were permissible under "other commercial agricultural activity." Judge O'Neill vacated the Zoning Board's decision, finding that the board improperly interpreted "agriculture" as defined by the town's zoning ordinance.
At Town Meeting last March, voters broadened local ordinances and created a new definition for agritourism.
For now, the ordinance changes made last year represent one of the avenues for Timber Hill Farm if the owners want to resume hosting weddings.
"There are no questions on the warrant this year to amend the zoning ordinance," Dunn said. "With the decision that came out last week, it would be an impossibility to do that this year."
Barring a legal victory, Timber Hill Farm will need to come before the Planning Board with a new application and comply with the newly amended zoning ordinance, Dunn said.
"The town is not doing anything this year in light of the decision that came down last week," he said.
Last year, the Superior Court declined to dismiss the case based on the Town Meeting vote to include agritourism in the local ordinance.
On Tuesday, Feb. 21, Andy Howe, who operates Timber Hill Farm, said the family had no comment because the case is still in the appeals process.

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