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Ellacoya drowning victim identified as East Boston man

GILFORD — The New Hampshire Marine Patrol has identified the man who drown Monday at approximately 4:50 p.m. off Ellacoya State Park on Lake Winnipseasukee on Monday evening as Oscar Hernandez Gonzales, 27, of East Boston, Mass.

People at the scene said Gonzales was with a group of work friends who had come to New Hampshire for the day. When his friend reported him missing to the lifeguards he was found an about 7 feet of water about 30 feet from the swim line.

Attempts by lifeguards and responding EMTs to save him were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia.

Marine Patrol continues to investigate.

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 July 2014 12:44

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Lipman suggests City Council play more active role on county jail front; priority should be placed on meeting all state & federal standards

LACONIA — City Councilor Henry Lipman (Ward 3), who chairs the Finance Committee, this week suggested that the City Council take an initiative to loosen the logjam that has stalled discussion of the future of the county jail by calculating what the city can afford to contribute to the project.

In 2013, the city, which budgets within the bounds of a property tax cap, bore 18.9-percent of county tax commitment and would bear the same share of annual debt service carried by the county to fund the cost of a new or renovated jail. When Ricci-Greene Associates presented a proposal for a facility of 184 beds and a community corrections component with an estimated cost of $42.5 million to the Jail Planning Committee, the City Council wrote to the Belknap County Commission expressing concern at the cost.

"We've got to make some progress," Lipman said, "and we've got to get something done." He indicated that the highest priority is to ensure that the facility complies with all state and federal standards by providing a structure that is "safe for both jail inmates and corrections officers."

Addressing his fellow councilors on Monday, Lipman said he considered rehabilitative programming, which requires additional space and personnel, as "step two."

Lipman said that by by reviewing the city's outstanding debt and annual debt service, the council could determine an amount or a range of amounts of additional principal and interest payments the city could carry. "We can say this is what we can afford," he said. "The number would not be an absolute post in the ground, but I think it would help move the ball."

So far discussion about the jail has been largely confined to the Belknap County Commission and its Jail Planning Committee, on the one hand, and the Belknap County Convention, on the other, and has reached a stalemate. Lipman ventured that an initiative by the City Council might change the course of the dialogue.

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 July 2014 12:42

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Gilford woman awakened by intruder at 3:30 a.m.

GILFORD — A transient 18-year-old broke into a woman's house on Breton Road at 3:30 a.m. yesterday morning, startling her as she was asleep in her bedroom.

The victim said she woke and found a young man she identified as Isaiah Hughes in her bedroom. She said the two briefly struggled and the assailant was able to get away from her. Police said the victim got a small cut on her hand but was able to tear intruder's shirt sleeve.

Police said yesterday that Hughes and the victim are known to one another but declined to elaborate. The victim told police who they were seeking.

Affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division said the victim contacted her mother who told her that Hughes was on her porch at an address on Old Lake Shore Road.

Two police officers went to the house on Old Lake Shore Road and made contact with Hughes, who they said had blood on his hand and was shoeless. They told him he was being detained but he ran from them.

The two officers struggled with Hughes who they said was actively trying to get away from them. After a short struggle he was taken into custody.

Police verified his identification by conducting a K-9 track from the victim's house to where he was found.

Police allegedly found Hughes's shoes, two backpacks and a coin jar and food that they believe he allegedly stole from the victim's home.

Hughes was already out of bail after being charge with theft by unauthorized taking on June 2 for allegedly stealing from Walmart, and for unlawful possession of alcohol — a bail violation — from June 21.

Hughes faces one new count of burglary, resisting arrest, and breach of bail.

While he has no criminal record, Gilford Police asked Judge Jim Carroll to hold Hughes on $10,000 cash-only bail because his recent behavior indicates he is unwilling or unable to obey the law and that he is a dangerous threat to the general public.

Judge Carroll ordered him held on $1,000 cash bail for the burglary and $5,000 personal recognizance bail for the misdemeanors.

He is order to stay away Breton Road and Walmart.

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 July 2014 12:36

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City orders evacuation of 'deplorable' apartments

LACONIA — City officials yesterday shuttered a four-unit apartment building at 145-147 Union Avenue, displacing five adults and eleven children, where Fire Chief Ken Erickson, who serves as the city's health officer, said they found numerous violations of the fire code and sanitary conditions he described as "deplorable."

Erickson, who spent several hours in the building with Code Enforcement Officer Steve McClusker, said that smoke detectors were not working, while corridors and doorways were obstructed, in some cases by clothes dryers that were installed in hallways. He said that garbage and debris was strewn about the four units and common spaces, which were "infested with flies."

Erickson said that officials were drawn to the building by complaint from the mother of a male tenant who lived there with his father. The building was immediately evacuated, its power disconnected and posted as "uninhabitable," Erickson said.

Residents of two of the four units received rental assistance from the Laconia Housing Authority (LHA) under the federal government's so-called Section 8 program. Erickson said that Dick Weaver, executive director of the LHA, "was shocked to see what his agency was paying for" after walking through the building.

Although the city welfare officer was on hand to arrange shelter for the residents, Erickson said that some chose to stay with friends or relatives and two went to the Carey House, the nearby shelter operated by the Salvation Army, but none sought assistance from the city.

Erickson said that repeated attempts to contact the owner of the building "came to no avail."

According to city records the building has been owned by Walter and Janet Hutchinson doing business as WJK Realty Corporation, with the address of a post office box at Winnisquam, New Hampshire, since June, 2004.

WJK Realty also owns a property at 322 Union Avenue and a building with commercial space and residential units at 322 South Main Street. Walter Hutchinson is listed as the owner of a single-family home at 34 Doloff Street and Janet Hutchinson as the owner of a three-unit residential building at 46 Winter Street.

"We're forming a task force to go after the irresponsible landlords aggressively," Erickson said. He noted that city officials will work closely with the LHA, which intends to withhold rent assistance for housing units that fail to pass inspection by the city. "We're going to make sure they clean up or have no tenants."

Noting that that there are many conscientious and responsible landlords in the city, Erickson said "if you're going to be a property owner in the city of Laconia, "you're going to have to do it the right way.

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 July 2014 12:29

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