Tilton man charged with arson after car fire

LACONIA — A Tilton man is being held on a total of $7,000 cash-only bail for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail on an woman's car while it was parked in a friend's driveway in Belmont Monday.

According to police, Shawn McKenney, 26, of 377 West St. had been in a relationship with the alleged victim and knew she was dating a man who lived on Concord Street in Belmont. Belmont Prosecutor Dave Estes said in the 4th Circuit Court yesterday that he likely knew where she would be.

When he drove by the house and saw her car, McKenney allegedly went to the Circle K gas station, bought some gas and rummaged around for a glass bottle and a rag and made a Molotov cocktail.

McKenney is alleged to have returned to Concord Street and thrown the device onto her car. She was in the house and called emergency crews who quickly extinguished the fire.

Police said witnesses noticed a passing driver discarded a burning gasoline container. Shortly after, a Tilton Police officer located McKenney's car and noticed a fresh burn mark on an interior door panel. McKenney clothes also showed signs of recent exposure to fire.

Belmont police interviewed McKenney in Tilton on Monday and were able to get a warrant for his arrest based on the conversation.

In court Tuesday, Estes argued for a minimum of $5,000 cash bail. He said McKenney had recently been arraigned in the Sixth Circuit Court, Franklin Division for a domestic assault on a different person with whom he had been involved.

McKenney's public defender argued for personal recognizance bail, saying his client said he has multiple mental health diagnoses including bipolar disorder and depression. He suggested to the court that McKenney be released and get some mental health counseling.

Attorney John Bresaw argued that McKenney has no criminal convictions, is not a flight risk and has lived in the area for his entire adult life, right now with his mother.

Bresaw went on to say McKenney's primary care physician said McKenney has recently been taking prescription Prednisone and it may have caused him some mental health issues. As for his mental health diagnoses, Bresaw said McKenney isn't currently being medicated.

After consideration, Judge Jim Carroll said that the nature of the crimes were too serious and the potential danger to the community is so great that McKenney should be held in jail.

Bail was set a $5,000 for the Class B felony of making a Molotov cocktail and $2,000 for the Class A misdemeanor of arson. Under state statute, if the damage is less than $1,000, that the target is not a dwelling and doesn't mean to cause personal injury and if the intent of the alleged arson wasn't to defraud an insurance company, arson is a misdemeanor.

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 841

Convention gets an earful on outside agency budget cuts


LACONIA — Belknap County Convention members, who last week partially restored some of the cuts a subcommittee made to funding requests for outside agencies, got an earful from the public last night telling them that they hadn't gone far enough in restoring the funds.
One woman, Nancy Thomason of Meredith, drew a sustained round of applause from the fully packed hearing rom at the Belknap County Complex when she said that she was embarassed to be living in a county which contributed so little to the support of agencies which are providing services which people badly need like Meals on Wheels.
She cited information provided in a news story in last Friday's Laconia Daily Sun about a study made by Belknap County Commissioner Hunter Taylor which claimed that the county only spends $6.95 per capita on outside agencies, the lowest amount per capita of any of the state's six counties with less than 100,000 residents, even though the median income for the county is $60,782, the highest of those six counties.
"It seems to me that we are really talking about supporting agencies who save us money by keeping people in their homes. I'm talking about an investment" said Thomason, who said that the poorest county in the state, Coos, spends $12.81 per capita, which is twice what Belknap County does.
"I'm ashamed. I beg you to think about about this," she said, drawing applause.
When questioned by Rep. Ray Howard (R-Alton), about whether or not she would consider volunteering to help the agencies, Thomason said that she would and drew a second round of applause by telling Howard "but that doesn't get you off the hook."
She was one of more than a dozen speakers who urged restoration of the full amounts requested by outside agencies and included by the Belknap County Commissioners in their budget request.
Only one person spoke in opposition, Rep. Howard's wife, Barbara, who said that she ''cringed'' when she heard requests for full funding. She said that the only people she saw speaking at the public hearing were ''People who stand to benefit financially from this spending'' and criticized a news story she had seen in the Daily Sun about Emerson Aviation benefiting from a Belknap County Economic Development Council program. "He could gave done this on his own," she said referring to the owner of Emerson Aviation.
Last week the Belknap County Economic Development Committee, whose $75,000 request had been cut to zero by the subcommittee, saw $60,000 of its request restored.
Genesis Behavioral Health, which had also been zeroed out, saw $30,000 of its $34,200 request restored.
UNH Cooperative Extension Service, which had requested $152,217 and had been cut to $116,703, was funded at $145,000.
The Belknap County Conservation District, which had requested $92,400 and was cut to $49,160, was funded at $80,000.
The Community Action program, which had requested $86,905 and had been cut to $54,905 was funded at $60,000.
Greater Lakes Region Child Advocacy saw its $11,000 request cut by 5 percent to $10,450.
Court Appointed Special Advocates, whose $5,000 request had been denied, was placed in the budget as a $1 line item.
The County Convention is expected to take final action on the $27 million county budget when it meets next Tuesday night.

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 405

Prepare for road work - Route 106 and Route 3 Bypass to be improved this summer


LACONIA — This year and next, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation will make improvements to N.H. Route 106 between Laconia and Belmont, as well as the entire length of U.S. Route 3 Bypass.

Outlining the projects for the City Council this week, Tobey Reynolds of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation said that work on N.H. Route 106 will consist of reclaiming and overlaying the pavement from South Main Street in Laconia to Perkins Road in Belmont as well as improving its intersection with Seavey Road.

The improvements at the intersection of N.H. Route 106 and Seavey Road include widening the highway to provide turning lanes for both north- and southbound traffic entering Seavey Road and widening Seavey Road from 26 feet to 40 feet, as well as reconfiguring the junction for vehicles turning onto Route 106 to accommodate school buses and box trucks.

Reynolds described the work on the bypass as "pavement preservation" that will stretch "from end to end" and include the off and on ramps at the junctions with N.H. Route 106 and N.H. Route 107, where the bridges will also undergo rehabilitation. The roadway will receive a three-quarter-inch shim and overlay while an inch of pavement will be removed and replaced on the ramps. Work on the bridge that carries the bypass over N.H. Route 11A in Gilford, which is on the department's Red List, will include replacing the deck. Stretches of guardrail along the bypass will also be replaced.

Reynolds said work on the ramps will be undertaken at night when traffic will be detoured.There will be no work three days before and one day after Laconia Motorcycle Week and NASCAR events at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway and work will be scheduled around the Timberman Triathlon and concerts at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion.

Work on the bypass is scheduled to begin in June and be complete by September this year, while the bridge work and rehabilitation of N.H. Route 106 will extend through the summer of 2017. The total cost of the projects is $9.6 million, of which $7 million will be spent on N.H. Route 106 and the bridges, $2.1 million on the bypass and $500,000 on Seavey Road.

This map shows the planned work on Route 106 in orange, the Route 3 Bypass in green, and where ramps and bridges will be improved. The work will run from June to September. (Courtesy graphic)

This map shows the planned work on Route 106 in orange, the Route 3 Bypass in green, and where ramps and bridges will be improved. The work will run from June to September. (Courtesy graphic)

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 1388