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Keewakwa Abenaki Keenahbeh leaning back

LACONIA — Keewakwa Abenaki Keenahbeh — "The Defiant One" — who has stood over Opechee Park for the past three decades is listing.

"He's getting tired," remarked City Councilor Armand Bolduc (Ward 6), who as mayor dedicated the wood sculpture in 1984 and with friend and fellow councilor Bob Hamel (Ward 5) has tended to it ever since.

"It started to lean (backwards) last year," Bolduc said yesterday. "I've been watching it all winter." The statue, which was carved from a red oak felled on Cobble Mountain in Gilford, stands 36 feet tall and weighs 12 tons. He explained that it is held on a stone plinth by a half dozen steel rods four or five in length. "Carpenter ants got into it and ate around the rods, causing it to lean," he said, adding that he has not seen sign of ants since spraying the base with insecticide a few years ago.

Keewakwa Abenaki Keenahbeh is one of 74 "Whispering Giants" fashioned by Peter Wolf Toth, a Hungarian artist, that stand in all 50 states of the United States and several provinces of Canada to celebrate and honor Native Americans. Toth, who fled Hungary before occupying Soviet forces in 1956, told "The Citizen" in 2009 that he'd "worked for people that have faced injustice and it has always been my dream to utilize my God-given talent to specifically help the American Indians."

Each of his statues seeks to capture the appearance and character of the tribe that inhabited the area where they stand.

In addition, in 2008 he completed a statute of St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary who introduced Christianity to the Magyar people, which stands in Delegyhaza, a village near Budapest known for its nudist beach.

Bolduc said that he intends to seek advice from Toth, who resides in Edgewater, Florida, about how best to correct the lean and stabilize and preserve the statue. He said that every couple of years he and Hamel borrow the bucket truck from the Department of Public Works and stain and varnish the statue, but said "now we've got to straighten him up."

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 April 2014 12:33

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Suspicious fire in Opechee shore storage building caught just in time

LACONIA — A city police officer on routine patrol along upper Messer Street averted what could have been a building fire along the south shore of Lake Opechee, behind the former Irving Oil Company office building, when he smelled smoke yesterday morning and began to investigate.

Firefighters and police converged on the small warehouse just after 11 a.m. and removed what appeared to be a stack of burning wood that was about two-feet square along with a can of gasoline. After extinguishing the fire, firefighters opened the overhead door and began to disperse the smoke.

"This is definitely a suspicious fire," said Erickson.

The storage building is near the water on the Lake Opechee side of the WOW Trail. The back of the building is covered in graffiti and the surrounding dirt grounds are strewn with broken glass. On one side of the building there appears to be a hole in the wall that would allow unlawful access to it.

Police at the scene walked down both sides of the WOW Trail and interviewed people who may have seen something while firefighters extinguished the small fire.

Erickson noted the fire department was pretty lucky that the officer smelled the smoke when he did. He said with all the construction on Union Avenue and most of the traffic rerouted through Messer Street, it would have been a traffic nightmare if the Fire Department had had to extinguish a large fire in the area and close down Messer Street during that time of day.

Police and Fire officials continue to investigate. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Laconia Police at 524-5252 or the Greater Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.


CUTLINE: (Fire on Messer Street) Police and firefighters converge on a warehouse yesterday around 11 a.m. near Lake Opechee on Messer Street after extinguishing a suspicious fire. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 April 2014 12:25

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Gilford will look at compacting recyclables

GILFORD — Selectmen told representatives of the Public Works Department Wednesday night they are interested in learning more about leasing a compactor-equipped container for use at the town's Recycling Center.

Operations Manager Mia Gagliardi said her research shows that as of now, Casella provides the town with three roll-off containers each able to hold 30 yards.

She said there is no rental fee but the town is charged $120 for each container that gets shipped to the market and much of what is shipped is air. With each container holds about 2 tons worth of material and it costs the town about $60 per ton to have it hauled off.

She suggested leasing one 20-yard container with compactor would reduce the number of times containers need to be shipped to the market.

With funding in the budget to build three 30-yard concrete pads for the existing containers, Gagliardi calculated that the town could save money by instead building two 20-yard concrete pads. One would hold the 20-yard containers/compactor and the second would hold a regular container to be used as backup when the compactor is being emptied.

Selectmen said they liked the idea but suggested she get prices for two 30-yard concrete pads in case the town's recycling needs expand in the future.

Gagliardi said she would return to the next meeting with prices for both.

Last Updated on Friday, 25 April 2014 12:55

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Gilmanton warning shot incident involved rented land & burial of a pet

GILMANTON — According to information obtained yesterday from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, the people a Bean Road man was trying to scare of his rented property by firing a gun in the air were relatives of the property owner, who had been given permission to bury a family pet on the land.

Affidavits submitted to the court by Gilmanton Police said Jeffrey Sargent, 38, of 8 Bean Road was outside tending his boiler on April 16 around noon when police arrived.

At that point he was unarmed and told police that he had been yelling at the alleged victims and telling them they were on private property. He said he fired one shot and then ran down the driveway, yelling at the people and fired a second shot in the same general direction.

One of the perceived intruders said he and his son had permission to bury the body of their dog on their in-laws land but when they headed past 8 Bean Road and up a Class 6 road, he heard someone yelling and what he thought was a gunshot.

He said he continued to the spot where he wanted to bury the dog and called his wife who called the police. The victim told police he didn't feel safe until he saw a cruiser coming up the road.

A Sheriff's deputy found two spent .40 caliber casings.

Sargent invited the two officers into his house and showed the police where the gun was. Officers said they had his permission to handle it (it was loaded) and recorded 11 bullets in a 13-round magazine and the serial number.

Sargent told police that at no time was he afraid of the people in the car and he was not in fear of his life. He said he just wanted them off his property.

Police arrested Sargent Wednesday night and he was ordered held on $500 cash and $5,000 personal recognizance bail by Judge Jim Carroll after appearing Thursday morning in a video appearance.

Carroll also ordered him not to possession any weapons, not to consume any alcohol or non-prescribed drugs, and to stay away from the victims.

Last Updated on Friday, 25 April 2014 12:45

Hits: 255

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