Local transient man threatens to kill officer, assaults another one

LACONIA — An area transient faces a variety of charges that range from attempting to commit theft to allegedly assaulting a police sergeant to threatening to shoot one of the officers who brought him to jail.
Police affidavits said Joseph Costello, 23, first came to the attention of police at 6:47 p.m. on Dec. 11 when they were called to Blueberry Lane for two women who said a man was trying to get into her car. She said she was able to get the doors locked.
While filing her report, she saw a man with a coat that was being worn by Costello and pointed him out to the investigating officer who radioed to his sergeant the direction Costello was headed.
The officer said after his sergeant made contact with Costello, he heard him yell out and ran to his assistance. He said Costello was actively resisting the sergeant and was also making furtive movements towards his pockets.
The two officers were able to get Costello into handcuffs and he was searched for weapons. Police found a black case with an uncapped syringe and when asked if he had other needles on him, Costello allegedly said he didn't know while continuing to pull away from them. Police also found a bag with a substance the field tested for crystal methamphetamine.
Police were able to search him to the degree that they were reasonably confident Costello had no more needles. They also found gloves, a flashlight, two pair of sunglasses, a hat and a bandanna on him.
The arresting officer went to get his cruiser and learned that while he was gone, Costello allegedly grabbed the sergeant's right leg with a great deal of force.
Once the officer had Costello in his cruiser, he met two additional people who said Costello had tried to get into their apartment.
Costello was brought to Lakes Region General Hospital to be examined for possible drug ingestion. Once at the hospital, affidavits said Costello raised his foot in the air as if to kick the transporting officer, who said he was able to grab him in a way that prevented him from kicking. Costello said he thought the officer was going to cut off his genitals.
Affidavits said that after Costello was medically cleared by hospital personnel, the arresting officer brought him to the Belknap County House of Corrections. During the transport, the officer said Costello kept asking him for a cigarette and a shot, saying Costello was very agitated.
His report said that Costello continually threatened to "kick his ass" once he got out of jail. When Costello requested the services of a bail commissioner, bail was set at $5,000. Costello continued to struggle with jail officials and told the arresting officer he was "going to put a bullet in his head" once he got out.
Costello has previous convictions for criminal trespass, three for resisting arrest, hindering apprehension, three for simple assault, one for criminal threatening, one for breach of bail, and one for simple assault – domestic violence related.
For his alleged actions on Dec. 11, Costello is facing one count of attempting to commit theft, one count of breach of bail, one count of loitering, one count of disorderly conduct, one count of criminal for threatening, two counts of resisting arrest, one count of simple assault on a police officer, one count of criminal trespass, one count of attempted criminal trespass, one felony count of possession of narcotic drugs and one count of felony "improper influence" or threatening harm to a public servant by saying he "would put a bullet in his head."

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Institute for the Arts downtown still in the works

LACONIA — The city could become home to the Lakes Region Institute for the Arts if the initiative of a pair of musicians, Ryan Ordway and Franz Haase of the Recording Co-Op in Gilford, comes to fruition.

When Ordway and Haase opened their recording studio in 2014, they were already eyeing a grand project, an institute offering education and instruction for aspiring artists of all ages in performing and songwriting as well as audio and video engineering. Recently they have begun to pursue their vision in earnest.

"We have formed a nonprofit corporation, the Lakes Region Institute for the Arts," Ordway said Monday. He explained that originally the institute was intended for Wolfeboro, but on reflection they chose to
take a regional approach located in Laconia.

"It's going to take a community, several communities, to make it happen," he said.

Ordway anticipates financing the project with a mix of grant funding and private donations while at the same time drawing on his connections in the music business. He has recorded for television shows, including "The Office," and worked with both ESPN and NESN. He recently placed a survey online designed to measure interest and support for the project in the community and described the initial response as "really awesome." He counted more than 150 positive responses in the first few weeks. The link to the survey is www.surveymonkey/r/Letsbuild it.

"It will be a like mini music school," Ordway said, explaining that half the cost of tuition would be offset by scholarships. He said the cooperative has already worked with schools in the region, including Moultonborough Academy, Inter-Lakes High School, Prospect Mountain High School, and anticipates complementing the curriculum offered by the schools with instruction in audio and video engineering.
Meanwhile, Ordway has become a member of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, which is promoting the survey, and approached the Belknap Economic Development Commission.

"We've begun looking for a building or space in downtown Laconia," he said, adding that he was especially impressed by the Garden Theater at 634 Main St. The ideal venue would have space for teaching and rehearsal rooms, audio and video studios, and a sound stage.

A well-traveled singer-songwriter, Ordway recalled the project began five years ago when he met Franz Haase, a fellow musician, owner of the Folk Cellar in Wolfeboro and mainstay of the local arts community. They opened a small recording studio — Resort Recordings — and began pursuing plans to foster what Ordway called "a community of musicians."
Last year, Ordway and Haase moved their operation to Gilford, where, together they formed the nucleus of the Recording Co-Op.

"It began as a private thing," Ordway said, "for our band, Ordway, and our music."
Investing more than $100,000, they converted the horse barn to a recording studio, featuring a vintage mixing console acquired from Audio Magic, a studio in Buffalo, New York. Haase noted that Ani DeFranco recorded her first four albums on the console, which also laid down the voices of the Goo Goo Dolls and Willie Nelson.

"It's got a history," he said.

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Agritourism debate continues as Timber Hill Farm owners file request (366)

GILFORD — The fight continues by Timber Hill Farm owners Andrew and Martine Howe to be allowed to host weddings and Farm to Table events on their property. They have submitted a request to the Zoning Board of Adjustments to overturn the Planning Board claim that it can control zoning through its ability to review site plans.

Attorney Patrick Wood said that under state law, among other things related to agriculture, "activities are a beneficial and worthwhile feature of the New Hampshire landscape and shall not be unreasonably limited by use of municipal planning and zoning powers or the the unreasonable interpretation of such powers." In other words, if the law doesn't address a certain use or specifically prohibit it, such agricultural activities would be allowed, not limited.

Last week, Planning Board members, after deciding they could exercise control over how zoning is interpreted through its site plan review powers, came to a 4-to-2 decision that agritourism – or the wedding and farm-to-table events proposed to be held in 2016 at Timber Hill Farm – is not agriculture.

The Planning Board adhered to a 2015 State Supreme Court decision that said agritourism was deliberately withheld from the state definition of "agriculture" and given its own definition.

The Howes have hosted a farm-to-table event annually since 2008, and had hosted some weddings at the same place on its property. Abutter Monique Twomey filed a complaint with the town saying the activities disrupted her peace and quiet and could possible devalue her property by as much as $200,000. The planning department issued a cease-and-desist order that the ZBA has twice refused to enforce.

During the ZBA's most recent meeting, its members determined that the intent of the vote was meant that weddings and other activities are allowed under the town of Gilford's existing zoning ordinances.

Wood contends that the Planning Board does not have the jurisdiction to apply a different interpretation to the town's zoning ordinances.

He also cited a second State Supreme Court case that enumerated the "law of the case," meaning that the prior determinations of the zoning issue controlled the zoning issues on appeal."

He said the "Planning Board's decision to ignore the prior decision of the ZBA's interpretation of the Gilford Zoning Ordinance's definition of agriculture as it applies to the [Howes'] property is improper, unlawful and illegal and should not be upheld.

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