Fugitive still on run

Police hopeful Brouillard will turn himself in

BY ROGER AMSDEN, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

FRANKLIN — Police continued their search Thursday for Ryan Brouillard, 33, of 21 Pleasant St., who remains at large after having been the subject of an intense manhunt which spanned several neighborhoods in the city Wednesday.
12-28 Philip BrouillardFranklin police Chief David Goldstein said Thursday afternoon that state and local police have been joined by FBI officers as well as members of the U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force, in their search for Brouillard.
"I think we're getting close. We're asking for him to turn himself in," said Goldstein Thursday afternoon. The chief said that he had a long talk with Brouillard's father Wednesday and said that they are hoping to contact him through social media and arrange for him to surrender peacefully.
Goldstein said police were called to the Prospect Street area for a report of a domestic dispute around 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, which escalated when Brouillard allegedly fired a gun into the air. He said some of the people were injured before the gun was fired, but did not give any further details.
"To clarify any rumors out there, no police officers were shot. However, the police officers did see a gun and a round was discharged," Goldstein said. "That's when the officers decided to back off, take up a tactical position and secure the area."
A SWAT team was called to the area and police dogs aided the search while a State Police helicopter circled over the area for most of Wednesday morning. Several streets were closed throughout the morning and some homes were evacuated.
Goldstein said that police consider Brouillard to be "armed and dangerous and should not be approached. If you see him please call 911." Those with information are encouraged to call Franklin police at 603-934-2535.
Brouillard, who is described as 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing 250 pounds, has green eyes and brown hair and was last seen wearing a blue hoodie.

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Parking ban criticized by some businesses

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Charlie St. Clair, the owner of the Laconia Antique Center, said he could not remember the city ever declaring a snow emergency and imposing a parking ban that remained in place for 24 hours after the storm was expected to end. “This is New Hampshire,” he said, adding that he saw no need to close city streets, especially those downtown, to parking until Saturday morning.
John Moriarty, president of the Downtown Main Street Initiative, said that St. Clair was among a dozen of the some 90 business owners in the city center to express concerns. He said that most of the merchants he spoke with intended to open for business on Friday despite the parking ban. Moriarty stressed that the parking lots and parking garage would remain open throughout the storm and suggested that anyone planning on going to appointments or shopping downtown call ahead to ensure their appointment had not been canceled or the store would be open.
City Manager Scott Myers said that prohibiting on-street parking throughout the city is intended “to allow our crews to do an efficient job,” He said that “we are aware of the interests of the business community, but public safety is our highest priority.” He emphasized that the municipal parking lots at City Hall and on Main Street would remain open along with the first deck of the parking garage. “There will be parking space downtown,” he said.
Wes Anderson, the director of public works, said that the department prepares for storms based on the most reliable weather information. “Sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong,” he said, “and when they’re wrong, we’re wrong. There are two reasons for declaring a snow emergency,” he continued, “to get cars off the streets so we can clear them and to make space to put the snow.” He thought this was the first snow emergency the city had declared in 12 years.
“This is a significant event,” said Myers. The National Weather Service at Gray, Maine, he said, spoke with “high confidence” of snowfall of between 12 and 16 inches, with accumulations of 1 to 3 inches an hour Thursday night when winds were forecast to reach 40 mph. The snow was forecast to slow around 2 a.m. Friday morning then add another inch by dawn.
Anderson said “My guys have started and will work till it’s done,” emphasizing the importance of not compromising the safety of employees He explained that according to their contract, his people began work as usual at 7 a.m. on Thursday with the expectation of working through the night and into Friday morning. A dozen vehicles, he said, will be plowing streets and sidewalks during the storm.
“I don’t have any spare people,” Anderson said, adding that personnel from other departments, part-time workers and private contractors will supplement his staff.
He said that although there will be time for short rests during lulls in the storm, he expected his people would work throughout the storm and another six to ten hours after it stops clearing the streets before taking a significant break. “That’s a guess,” he said.
Myers said that “if there is a reason to lift the parking ban earlier, we’ll certainly do that.”

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‘A slap in the face’

$1.6M raise for Gilford teachers loses Budget Committee support

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILFORD — With $1.6 million in raises for teachers at stake, at least two members of the Budget Committee have said they will not support the proposed increase in teacher salaries as negotiated by the School Board and the Gilford Education Association.

"This is a slap in the face of the Gilford taxpayers," said Budget Committee Vice Chairman Kevin Leandro.

Budget Committee Chairman Norman Silber and Leandro said that, in their opinion, the contract was not negotiated on behalf of the wishes and desires of the Gilford taxpayers.

"As it stands right now, I don't think it's going to pass the Budget Committee," Leandro said Thursday.

The teachers union and the School Board, whose negotiating team was Sue Allen and Karen Thurston, agreed to a contract that calls for a school year 2017-2018 increase in salaries of $296,819. The second year calls for an additional raise of $258,198 plus the $296,000 from the first year or $538,017. The third year, 2019-2020 calls for an additional $245,392 plus the previous $538,017 or $783,449. The total increases in salary and benefits over the next three years will be $1,618,285 more that this year.

Leandro said that based on today's total assessed property values and using 7 cents per $1,000 for a tax rate calculation, this could bump the tax rate 21 cents per $1,000 valuation in the first contract year, 38 cents in the second contract year, and 55 cents in the third year.

"This is the cost before the school buys one computer or one book, and it's a time of declining enrollments." said Leandro.

Leandro and Silber contend that while these increases include a provision in the contract that the teachers gradually pay more of the cost of the premiums for their health insurance, from 5 percent in year 1 of the contract, graduating in steps to 10 percent of the premium in year 3, the three-year contract does not consider any future increases in health insurance costs.

"I'm sure not going to bet that health insurance costs will drop over the next three years," said Leandro.

Another bone of contention the leadership of the Budget Committee has with the proposed contract is the small amount of increase that teachers will pay for their insurance.

Leandro said he would have liked to see it go up 5 percent each year of the contract to where teachers would be paying 20 percent of their premiums by school year 2019-2020.

Both Kirk Beitler and Leandro say the Gilford School District's insurance plan qualifies as a "Cadillac plan" under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, however, in 2015 Congress delayed the excise tax provisions, meaning they wont come into effect until 2020.

Silber and Leandro have sent a request to Beitler asking him to request the School Board try to renegotiate the contract to prevent it from getting a non-support vote from the Budget Committee, which means it has a greater chance of failing during the March town vote.

The School Board next meets at 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 3. The agenda is to complete its work on the default budget, which has also not met muster with the Budget Committee.

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