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Circumstances of alleged rape on Batchelder Street outlined in court; suspect held on $15,000 cash bail

LACONIA — A Batchelder Street man accused of raping a woman who came to his house is being held on $15,000 cash-only bail after appearing in the 4th Circuit Court yesterday.

Fatmir Gasi, 51, of 72 Batchelder St. is charged with one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault.

Police affidavits obtained from court said two women allegedly met Gazi on Church Street sometime on the morning of January 17. Sometime between 12:30 and 1 p.m. the two women went to Gazi's home.

The alleged victim said her friend left the house sometime between 7 and 8 p.m. to go to the store. During this time, the victim said Gazi went into his bedroom and called for her to join him.

She told police when she entered the bedroom, Gazi allegedly grabbed her by the throat with one hand and choked her for about five seconds. She said she could barely breath.

She said Gazi allegedly grabbed her by the face and pushed her on the bed, forcing her to have non-consensual sex with him.

The victim went to the hospital on Saturday and police responded there. She was able to pick him out from a photo array.

Police got an arrest warrant and went to Gazi's home where he agreed to speak to them. During the interview, affidavits said he admitted he had sex with one of the women at his house.

Should Gazi post bail, Judge Jim Carroll ordered him to have no contact with either woman including through the internet. He also ordered Gazi was to have an interpreter at all future hearings.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 02:48

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Question arises as to why bus drivers are only school employees to be drug tested

LACONIA — The Laconia School Board's consideration of a mandatory drug testing for school bus drivers prompted questions of whether of other School Department employees should be subject to the same test as well.
The issue arose last night as the board took up a proposed policy requiring drug and alcohol tests for all bus drivers.
"Is there any reason we test only bus drivers?" board member Scott Vachon asked. "We have a lot of other people working in our schools who have direct contact with students."
School District Business Administrator Ed Emond said there was no requirement that teachers or other district employees submit to such tests.
Board member Beth Arsenault, who is also a state legislator, said she would inquire what state law or state Department of Education regulations say regarding a local district's ability to adopt such a policy.
Some on the board indicated that if a drug and alcohol testing policy were to be broadened that it would be subject to negotiation with the various collective bargaining units representing teachers and other unionized district employees.
The policy for school bus drivers received a first reading last night. The board will need to take it up a second time before it can be voted on.
The board did give unanimous approval to a policy regarding bomb threats. The policy states that the district will report to police the name of any student suspected of making a threat and that the student found to have made a threat will face disciplinary action, in addition to any criminal punishment. If a threat requires the evacuation of a school building no one will be allowed back into the building unless the superintendent or someone the superintendent designates gives approval.
NOTES: The board heard a presentation on the life skills program for special education students at the middle and high schools. As part of the presentation middle school student Hannah Harris demonstrated how she uses an electronic audio device to communicate, and Mark Lagueux, a high school student, told the board how the program has given him the skills that will help him get a job. . . . . . Arsenault noted that bills presently before the Legislature include one that would extend the school year to 190 days. Another bill would establish a dedicated fund for school robotics programs. . . . . . Resident and retired teacher Richard Coggon informed the board that former district Assistant Superintendent Al Blastos has died. Blastos served as assistant superintendent in the 1970s. . . . . . Coggon also drew the board's attention to the fact that Hoboken, N.J., Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who is now in the national news spotlight, is a 1986 graduate of Laconia High School. Last week Zimmer charged New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration conditioned Superstorm Sandy relief money for Hoboken to her support for a redevelopment project proposed by a company with ties to Christie. Her allegations, which the governor's administration has denied, have added a new dimension to allegations of hardball politics gone awry in New Jersey under Christie's leadership.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 02:41

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Kenney tops Boothby for GOP nomination to Executive Council

LACONIA — Joe Kenney of Wakefield topped Christopher Boothy of Meredith in the Republican primary for the Executive Council in District 1 yesterday.

Shortly before 9 p.m. Mark Laliberte, who managed Boothby's campaign, reported that approximately 60-percent of the districts reporting Kenney led Boothby by a margin of 2,117 to 1,756.

The vote for Mark Aldrich of Lebanon, the third candidate in the race, was not reported by press time.

In Laconia, where only 576 of the city's 9,620 registered voters — 6 percent — went to the polls, Kenney topped Boothby by 17 votes, 265 to 248, as the candidates split the six wards. Kenney carried wards 3, 5 and 6 while Boothby took wards 1, 2 and 4.

Boothby said that the number of voters who went to the polls appears to have fewer than the 9 percent he anticipated.

Boothby said, "I called and congratulated Joe Kenney and told him I intend to follow through on the promise I made to him when we first met during the campaign to support the Republican nominee. I will be endorsing Joe at a place and time of his choosing."

In a prepared statement, Boothby said that "in a two-month campaign, you get to know your fellow candidates for office real quick, and in talking with both of them, I learned a lot."

Boothby thanked his many volunteers and supports, especially the members of the "Boothby Brigade," whose "enthusiasm and company made the last five weeks so fulfilling." Likewise, he said that he enjoyed meeting the people of District 1 and was grateful to them for that opportunity.

Kenney will face Democrat Michael Cryans of Hanover, a longtime Grafton County Commissioner in the general election on March 11, town meeting day.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 02:30

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Hathaway House hearing tonight

LACONIA — The Heritage Commission will hold a public hearing this evening on the future of the Hathaway House in the the City Council chamber at City Hall beginning at 6:30 p.m.

In November, Cafua Management Company, LLC, the Dunkin' Donuts franchise holder that owns the property at 1106 Union Avenue formally applied for a demolition permit to raze the historic building.

Since the Hathaway House is more than 700-square-feet in area and 75 or more years old, as well as visible from a public right-of-way, the application was presented to the Heritage Commission for review. The commission refused to endorse the application and scheduled the public hearing in an effort to preserve the building.

Should the public hearing fail to produce an alternative to demolition, the Heritage Commission will meet with the owner within 10 days to seek agreement on an alternative. Without an agreement to preserve the building, the owner may proceed with demolition while the Heritage Commission, with the consent of the owner, can photograph and document the building as well as encourage the owner to salvage any of its important architectural features.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 02:21

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