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Police arrest 2 men wanted in Belmont stabbing case

BELMONT — Police have charged a Laconia man and a former Laconia man with allegedly stabbing two people in an apartment located upstairs from the Lakes Region Dock company at 252 Daniel Webster Highway early yesterday morning.

John J. Drouin, 27, of Laconia is charged with two counts of first-degree assault involving a deadly weapon, and one charge of simple assault. Robert Rama, 21, now of Concord, is charged with one count of criminal liability for another and one count of second degree assault.

The two were located yesterday by Belmont Police working with the US Marshall Joint Fugitive Task Force in an apartment on Union Avenue.

Drouin refused bail and Rama was held on $50,000 cash.

Police are releasing few details of the crime.

A statement they released to the media said police were called to the Daniel Webster Highway address at 1:05 a.m. after receiving a report of a stabbing.

Once they arrived they found two victims. The first is Corey Cromwell of 252 Daniel Webster Highway who police said had multiple stab wounds to his neck, throat, and upper body. He was taken by ambulance to Lakes Regional General Hospital and then transferred to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for treatment.

The second victim was identified as John Hynes of Laconia. Police said he was stabbed in the waist and was transported by a Laconia ambulance to Lakes Region General Hospital.

Police said a third victim, an unidentified female, received a small cut on her hand.

Police said they stopped a car being driven by an unidentified man and woman and impounded the car as evidence. The driver and passenger were not charged and were later released.

Police Chief Mark Lewandoski said yesterday that both Drouin and Rama are known to area police. He said that both victims are expected to survive, but declined to comment further on their injuries.

He said that Cromwell lived in the apartment upstairs and Hynes was visiting him when the stabbing occurred.

A person who works nearby said he had been seeing a lot of traffic coming into and out of the building recently. He said he thought it was unusual because Lakes Region Docks is closed for the season.

When asked what kinds of cars, he said they were mostly just regular cars, meaning nothing extraordinary, but said he did notice two women recently who got into a pretty nice Volkswagen GTI.

"They'd pull in here once, twice, three times, he said. "It's almost like they were watching for something."

The building is owned by Faoud Youssef. His son Josh Youssef said yesterday that he ran his business Same Day Computer from the site but it had been about eight years since he was there.

He said he thinks there are two small apartments upstairs that share a bathroom which is consistent with what Lewandoski described.

While Josh Youssef said he didn't know Cromwell, he said his father had only recently been renting to him and that he came with some good recommendations.

Lewandoski said the case itself is still under investigation but there is no ongoing danger to the general public. Anyone with any information is asked to call Det. Raechel Moulton or Sgt. Adam Hawkins at 527-8350.

Assisting Belmont Police with their investigation are police from Laconia, Tilton, Northfield, Gilford, and the New Hampshire State Police.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 02:22

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Gulick Says County Budget Has Already Passed, Maintains Phone Vote Was Illegal

LACONIA — State Rep. Ruth Gulick maintains that the Belknap County Convention has already passed a county budget of $26,570,997, and says that she will be asking the New Hampshire Attorney General's office to rule that Rep. Guy Comtois' vote by telephone at last Tuesday night's meeting that resulted in a 7-7 tie vote on the motion to pass the budget should be disallowed.
Gulick, D-New Hampton, raised the issue at last night's meeting of the convention and cited a statement by Assistant NH House Clerk Paul C. Smith on absentee voting which said, ''No member can vote who is not present when the question is put.''
''Comtois' vote doesn't count. Mason's rules of order, which the chairman claims we are following, doesn't allow it. And it that's not the rules we're following, then the state Right to Know law says the minutes of the meeting must specify the location from which the vote is being taken, and they don't. At the very least we should have taken a vote on his ability to vote. Therefore, his vote is improper and the budget actually passed by a 7-6 vote,'' said Gulick.
Last week's vote came during a heavy snowstorm after a 30-minute wait for a quorum of 10 members to arrive. Rep. Colette Worsman, R-Meredith, convention chairman, had proposed recessing the meeting. But after the number present climbed to 13, members voted to proceed and Worsman allowed Rep. Guy Comtois, R-Barnstead, who was tending to a failing roof, to join in by telephone.
All five Democrats voted for the the motion by Rep. Beth Arsenault, D-Laconia, to approve the budget as submitted by the commissioners, which the county convention majority had already trimmed by $850,000, and were joined by Republicans Don Flanders and Bob Luther of Laconia.
The Six Republicans present at the meeting were joined by Comtois in voting against the motion to pass the budget.
At the conclusion of last night's meeting Gulick invited any representative with a view of opposite hers to give their input to the Attorney General's office.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 01:55

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Correction: McCormack worked for N.H. State Employees Association

CORRECTION — Gilmanton's selectman candidate Stephen McCormack does not think the current selectmen are listening to the town residents and employees. Due to a typographical error, McCormack's position was misstated in a story that ran on February 22 on Page 9. In addition, McCormack was not a state employee but spent 21 years working for the N.H. State Employees Association.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 01:13

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Belmont Selectmen want all boards videotaped and broadcast over LRPA

BELMONT — Selectmen will send an official letter to members of the other governing boards in town to better understand why their members are reluctant to be taped for Lakes Region Public Access.

They also suggested that next year's Town Warrant have an article asking voters if they want the the selectmen and the Budget Committee, Planning Board and Zoning Board as well as others to be aired on Lakes Region Public Access.

"If those boards don't want to be videotaped, maybe that could have some bearing on an election," said Selectman Jon Pike, a long-time advocate of taping all of the town's the meetings. He said the request for a vote would be one way to determine who doesn't want to be taped.

All of the boards in Belmont meet publicly except within the allowances made by RSA 91-A which is the Right-To-Know Law that sets out specific instances where a board can meet behind closed doors.

To the best of the Daily Sun's knowledge, no member of the media or the general public has ever been denied access to any of the Belmont's boards' meetings nor have any Belmont boards or committees ever stopped an individual from the public from taping them.

The issue is whether or not these boards can be compelled to used the video system installed at taxpayers expense after voters agreed at Town Meeting about 10 years ago that the town should spend money to install the system and broadcast their meetings on LRPA.

The problem for selectmen right now, is that there is no money in the budget for paying a stipend to someone to tape any meetings, including theirs. Depending on the availability of volunteers, the Board of Selectmen has been on-again, off-again with taping its meetings and sending them to LRPA. The town's other boards have not expressed any interest in being taped or broadcast over LRPA.

The topic most recently came up at a meeting in early February when the selectmen questioned continuing to pay dues to LRPA when their meetings aren't being taped.

Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin told them that not having the meetings on LRPA was the fault of the town, not LRPA. She explained that LRPA will air any tapes sent to them, but only if the town does the recording.

Last night she elaborated for selectmen by telling them she learned this month that LRPA will tape any meetings, but the charge is $50 per hour.

Selectmen Chair Ron Cormier has suggested adding a stipend to the town budget to tape all town meetings, but said he would like to see all of the town's boards videotaped – not just the selectmen.

In early February, he asked Beaudin to ask the Town Attorney if selectmen can order the other boards to tape any meetings that are held in the room with the town's taping system. Beaudin reported last night that the selectmen's job is to manage the affairs of the town as set out by law but they do not have the right to order other boards to tape their meetings.

She reported to them that they could place it before the voters at a future town meeting but that it wouldn't be binding.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 01:39

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