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Georgian to bring Mark Twain to life on Meredith stage this weekend

MEREDITH — "What people often don't realize is that Samuel Clemens wasn't Mark Twain and Mark Twain wasn't Samuel Clemens," remarked Kurt Sutton, an actor and musician who will portray them both in two one-man shows at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse this weekend.

Sutton, who emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1950, recalled becoming acquainted with Twain as a student at the University of Georgia. After watching the one-man shows of Hal Holbrook, who has played Twain for 60 years. Sutton determined "when I got older I would do Mark Twain, but in my own way." He said that his wife, Linda Patterson Sutton, who serves as his producer and director, had a white suit tailored for him. "It was two sizes too big," he remembered, "but she told me 'when you get ready to do Twain, it will fit.' It hung in the closet for 15 years."

The Georgian described Twain as "a Renaissance man" of wide ranging experience, interests and talents, stressing that as Clemens he plied several trades — printer, steamboat pilot and silver miner — before turning to journalism in Virginia City, Nevada where he took the pen name Mark Twain in February, 1863.

Sutton said that while Twain known for his writing he was also an accomplished musician, who played guitar, banjo, harmonica and piano for family and friends. A musician himself, Sutton added music to his portrayal. "When I tell a humorous story, I'm Mark Twain," he explained, "and when I sing a song I'm Sam Clemens. That way I'm playing both characters at one time and the audience is seeing both men on stage. When I tell the story about learning to ride a bicycle at the age of 70," he continued, "I sing 'Bicycle Built for Two,' which was a big hit in the 1890s, and when I get to 'Daisy, Daisy' the audiences signs along."

"It is an interesting, family friendly show," said Sutton.

Like Twain, Sutton has had a number of careers as a teacher, coach — "football and wrestling not wrasslin'" — band member, marketing director and consultant, but for the past 11 years he has crisscrossed the country performing as Twain. "I don't need a wig or mustache," he remarked. "I just put on the suit and go to work. I'm becoming nationally famous, one town at a time."

Sutton will perform at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse on Saturday, October 4 at 7:30 p.m. and again on Sunday, the 5th at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on-line at winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org, by visiting the box office or calling 279-0333. Orchestra seats are $20 and balcony seats are $10 for both shows.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 October 2014 12:34

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Scout builds lakeside oasis along WOW Trail

LACONIA — When Danny Iacopucci of Belmont wondered what project he could undertake to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, he called Kevin Dunleavy, director of Parks and Recreation, to ask about the prospect of enhancing the Winnipesaukee-Opechee-Winnisquam (WOW) Trail.

This summer, Iacopucci, together with his fellow Boy Scouts from Troop 366 from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the generosity of more than a dozen local businesses, completed a picnic area featuring a pair of tables, trio of redbud trees and perennial garden overlooking Lake Opechee.

Dunleavy said that he selected the site, a reclaimed and grassed stretch between the trail and the lake north of the New England Yard, a storage area for the Department of Public Works, and west of Dutile & Sons Oil Company.

Iacopucci, who oversaw the project from start to finish, said that stiffest challenge was soliciting the contributions and marshaling the resources to bring the vision to fruition. Altogether almost 150 hours were invested in the undertaking, he estimated.

Swain Landscaping and Construction prepared the site. Peal Pusher's Farm, Maggy D's Garden Center, Appletree Nursery and Osborne's Agway provided the flowering perennials and hardy shrubs arrayed in the framed garden. Timothy M. Hayes Landscaping assisted in selecting and planting the trees. Eased Edges donated a picnic table and, with lumber from Boulia-Gorrell. The scouts built another table to the same design. Engraving, Awards & Gifts, Entelechy, Inc., Melcher & Prescott Insurance and Patrick's Pub all donated to the project.

Dunleavy said that he was pleased to work with Iacopucci and delighted with the results of his project, which he is confident will be enjoyed by all hose who walk, run and ride on the WOW Trail for years to come. He said that the brush lining the shorefront will be cleared to offer a view of the lake from the picnic area.

A senior at Belmont High School, where he is a high honors student, Iacopucci intends to serve a two-year mission for his church before entering college to pursue a degree incorporating his passion and talent for music.


CAPTION: Danny Iacopucci of Belmont initiated and supervised construction of this perennial garden and picnic area along the WOW Trail with help from fellow Boy Scouts from Troop 366 and contributions from local businesses. The high honors student at Belmont High School undertook the project as a step to becoming an Eagle Scout. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)

Last Updated on Friday, 03 October 2014 12:27

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Defense in heroin case doesn't want reporters to hear tape recorded evidence

LACONIA — The defense attorney representing a Belmont man who is charged with allegedly selling the heroin that killed one of his friends has asked a Belknap County judge to close the courtroom during two suppression of evidence hearings.

In a motion filed yesterday, defense attorney Wade Harwood said he is seeking to suppress, or eliminate from evidence, statements made by his client Jonathan Woodbury to a Laconia Police detective who assisted Belmont Police with the investigation.

The decision the judge must make is whether or not the statements made by Woodbury were made voluntarily. Suppression hearings are part of the pretrial work done by attorneys before the actual trial.

Woodbury is charged with selling or providing heroin and/or fentanyl to Michael Chamberlain on February 4 at the Woodbury home on Arlene Drive in Belmont. Chamberlain died there of an overdose.

Harwood's fear is that if the information contained in the recording of the entire interview is played in an open courtroom and the judge determines the interview will not be heard by a jury, that newspapers will report on the the information anyway and it could negatively impact Woodbury's right to a fair and unbiased jury.

"This is because there is a real risk if inadmissible evidence is publicized pretrial it may never be altogether kept from potential jurors," Harwood wrote.

The motion was apparently triggered during the beginning of Laconia Det. Chris Noyes's testimony on Tuesday when, after answering a few preliminary questions from Belknap County Prosecutor Carley Ahern, Harwood asked to speak to the judge privately.

A reporter from The Daily Sun was at the hearing, along with a reporter from The Citizen, and four members of the general public. Harwood indicted in his motion he thought two of them were members of Michael Chamberlain's family.

Harwood said that under the constitution, "the press does not have a unique First Amendment right of access (to criminal proceedings) beyond that held by the general public."

"If the statements are widely reported, it will not be possible to unring the bell if the court ultimately rules that the statements are involuntary," he said.

In the course of Woodbury's court case, four motions have been filed by Harwood on behalf of Woodbury relative to suppression issues and this is routine for criminal cases. None of the four motions were filed under seal — or not for public view — and on September 10 The Daily Sun reported about their content.

Two of the motions are to suppress evidence taken from a phone allegedly belonging to Woodbury and those were heard aloud in Superior Court Tuesday.

Harwood argued that Noyes seized a phone in Woodbury's possession four days after Chamberlain's arrest without his permission. He also argues the affidavit filed by Belmont police to search the contents didn't connect the phone to Woodbury.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 October 2014 12:07

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Crack cocaine seized with aid of search warrant

LACONIA — Police seized what they are calling a significant amount of crack cocaine and cash while executing a search warrant at 25 Grove St yesterday morning.

Bountham Sonthikoummane, 52, of 25 Grove St. Apt. 1 is charged with possession of controlled drugs with intent to distribute and Onella Nguan, 37, also of 25 Grove St. Apt. 1 is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled drugs.

Both are scheduled to appear in the Fourth Circuit Court, Laconia Division this afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

Police said the case in still being investigated and ask that anyone with any information to call the Laconia Police Department at 524-5252 or the Greater Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 October 2014 12:03

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