MEREDITH — The graying population and economic challenges of the past decade are expressed in data compiled by the Internal Revenue Service between 2000 and 2011, the last year for which the information is available.
During those years the average adjusted gross income (AGI), adjusted for inflation, reported by those filing tax returns in the 03253 zip code, slipped by $11,129, or 20 percent, from $56,567 to $45,438. A 10 percent increase in the number of returns filed, which rose from 3,194 to 3,533, accounted for a share of the drop in average AGI. The number of business returns rose by nearly 100, from 616 to 708, an increase of 15 percent.
Reflecting the impact of the recession, the number of those filing returns for earned income tax credits, a refundable tax credit for individuals and couples — especially those with children — with low to moderate earnings, climbed almost 50 percent, from 303 to to 452, with most of the increase occurring after 2007.
The number of returns filed by taxpayers younger than 30 dropped 17 percent, from 856 to 712, while returns filed by those aged between 30 and 44 fell by 22 percent, from 830 to 644. By contrast, the returns filed by taxpayers aged between 45 and 60 rose 22 percent, from 862 to 1,052, and returns filed by those older than 60 jumped 73 percent, from 646 to 1,119. Taxpayers 45 and older accounted for 60 percent of all returns.
(The raw numbers referred to in this article are provided to the public by the website melissadata.com.)
Last Updated on Thursday, 03 July 2014 11:23
LACONIA — The defense attorney for a former Gilmanton man charged with three counts of arson is objecting to consolidating all three allegations into one trial because it could be confusing to the jury and is potentially prejudicial to his client.
Jason Clairmont, 36, who is represented by attorney John Bresaw, says the three arson charges he faces are three separate incidents, in three separate locations with three separate complaining witnesses.
Bresaw said the state is seeking to consolidate the cases to "use the allegations as propensity evidence (and) to insinuate to the jury that because Mr. Clairmont committed the acts in one instance, he must have committed the acts as alleged in the other pending indictments."
Typically, consolidation is granted when charges arise from the same set of circumstances, the same or a similar investigation, and when the witnesses are the same. Consolidation is meant to save time and money and is allowed when the evidence is brief, simple and unlikely to cause confusion to the jury.
Bresaw said the success of one indictment has no bearing on the success of the other and the cases should be tried separately.
Clairmont was indicted on April 24 for three counts of arson — one that occurred in a car parked near the Funky Monkey night club on Main Street between September 3 and 4, 2013 and two on January 25, 2015, a car fire on Academy Street and one that burned some lattice work on a house on Highland Street. All three cases are scheduled for the same trial of August 4.
On February 19, Clairmont appeared at a probable cause hearing in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division and after six hours of testimony that stretched over a two-week time span, Judge Jim Carroll ruled there was not enough probable cause to charge Clairmont with the Funky Monkey car fire in 2013. He also ruled that there was more than ample evidence presented to charge him with the two January 2014 fires.
During the same hearing, the state presented video tapes taken on by various surveillance cameras on January 25 that showed a man dressed in a white, hooded sweatshirt leaving the Funkey Monkey, walking down Academy Street and then by Young's Auto which is at the corner of South Main Street and Pine Street.
After his arrest, police affidavits said Clairmont told them that he may have accidentally dropped cigarette ashes into the car on Academy Street, through an open window, and that he may have tried to light a cigarette near the house on Highland Street.
Clairmont was detained on Highland Street by a Gilford Police officer who was patrolling in Laconia while city police were dealing with the car fire on Academy Street. He was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital for treatment of a dog bite. He was arrested by Laconia Police a few days later.
Clairmont is being held in the Belknap County House of Corrections on $50,000 cash-only bail.
Last Updated on Thursday, 03 July 2014 11:18
GILMANTON — A two-alarm fire caused by a lightening strike destroyed a barn and its contents at 216 Burke Road in the Iron Works section of town Wednesday evening.
Fire Chief Joe Hempel said his crews were just coming out of the Town Hall after responding to an alarm when the call for the fire was reported.
He said when the first firefighters arrived, the barn was completely engulfed in flames. He said there were two horses inside but the homeowner heard the strike and smelled smoke. He said she was able to save the horses but not the rest of the barns contents.
"It was quite a concussive blast," said Hempel. "We heard it while we were at Town Hall."
Hempel said he called for a second alarm because the homeowners house was only about 20 feet away from the burning barn and there wasn't a lot of water available at the site. He also said it was down a fairly long driveway.
Radio transmissions heard over the Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid radio continued to call for additional tankers to come to the Iron Works.
Hempel said the first firefighters who responded concentrated on saving the house while the second wave were able to bring the barn fire under control in about three hours.
He said the barn was filled with hay bales which continued to smolder and then flare up. He also said the homeowner's work shop was in the building and that he lost all of his tools and equipment.
Hempel said firefighters left the scene at 11 p.m. Wednesday but they yesterday morning and put more water on some of the still-smoking hay bales.
CAPTION (in news email) Firefighters work to extinguish hot spots at a fire site off Burke Road in Gilmanton Iron Works on Thursday. A two-alarm blaze started by a lightning strike destroyed a barn. (Photo courtesy of the Gilmanton Fire Department)
Last Updated on Thursday, 03 July 2014 11:14
LACONIA — Tenants of the Sunrise Towers and the Stafford House got a bit of bad financial news last month when they learned that the Laconia Housing Authority will end its contract with MetroCast for cable television service.
According to Housing Authority Director Dick Weaver, MetroCast has contracted with the LHA for residential cable service and the cable customers were billed by their landlord at a reduced rate.
Beginning August 1, each customer will be contracting directly with MetroCast and will be paying standard cable fares.
One woman said her bill for basic expanded service will go from $20 per month to to $76 per month. She said she knows about 100 tenants who are on a fixed income that will no longer be able to afford cable.
"Some of these people are bed-ridden and disabled and live for watching television," she said.
A review of the MetroCast website, showed basic cable service that includes all four major networks and the stations at the lower end of the number spectrum costs $35.95 monthly. Basic "expanded" service — the service most residents are receiving — costs $76.95 per month.
Weaver said the reason for the change is that all cable subscribers need certain equipment to watch MetroCast and the cost of the equipment is expensive. He said the housing authority is not in a financial position to assume responsibility for all of the digital converter boxes and the other equipment needed for cable service.
He said housing authority councilors have been working with some of the residents about the decision to have them contract directly with MetroCast for their cable service and a MetroCast customer service representative will be holding an information session for residents of the Sunrise Towers in the Community Room on Tuesday afternoon.
Last Updated on Thursday, 03 July 2014 11:09
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