Giant pumpkins to be carved by pumpkin sculptors at festival

LACONIA — The 2016 New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival is just a little over a week away, and preparations are coming together.
“We are excited to announce that two extraordinarily large pumpkins will be displayed at this year’s festival presented by Richard and Lisa Carey,” said Karmen Gifford, event organizer and president of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce.
The Careys will transport the pumpkins from New York, where they have have been carving pumpkins for 22 years. They have displayed pumpkins all over Broome County, New York, in many events, and have carved up to 300 pumpkins for displays, up to 1,200 pounds.
“They are true pumpkin people!” said Gifford.

10-15 carved giant pumpkin
This year, they will bring a 900-pound pumpkin and a 600-pound pumpkin, both sculpted by Richard Carey. They are officially weighed and registered with the National Pumpkin Growers Association in New York. One will be displayed in front of the 34-foot tower and the other in front of Prescott’s Florist in Veterans Square, said Gifford.
• Volunteers are needed, said Gifford. Between 7 and 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 21, volunteers will set up A-frames, display racks, bales of hay and other items that need to be staged.
“We still need help midday on Friday, with the arrival of volunteers on Saturday morning and at the Welcome Center,” said Gifford.  
Send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to volunteer. Please be sure to check NHPumpkinFestival.com for festival information.
• Don’t forget to carve your pumpkin!
“We have registered with the Guinness World Record for an attempt at the most lit jack-o’-lanterns,” said Gifford. “Every pumpkin counts.”  
The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival has officially submitted an application for the Guinness World Record for the most lit jack-o’-lanterns displayed. Pumpkins must be outside, carved and illuminated to count toward the record.
Groups with 20 or more pumpkins may drop them off between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Please bring them no earlier than 10 a.m. Enter from Union Avenue to Main Street. Vehicles will be guided by volunteers for drop-off locations. School pumpkins will be displayed along PumpCANALly this year. Download and complete a registration form indicating the name of the group and the number of pumpkins that have been carved to assist with the counting process.
There are still a few spaces left on the big 34-foot tower.  Registration is open online at NHPumpkinFestival.com/events-activities.
Pumpkins are still available at many local farms and businesses.
• Every pumpkin needs a candle that will stay lit for three hours. The preferred type is a three-hour votive wax candle. If weather is a concern, the battery-operated tea lights are an excellent choice, though not as bright as the real thing. If you have extra candles, please share them. As jack-o’-lanterns are lit, lighters will borrow extra candles for empty ones. Candles will be stocked at two Welcome Centers while supplies last.
“We can never have too many candles,” said Gifford, “so if you have access to three-hour votives or an aunt at Yankee Candle, we welcome all donations!”
Walgreens at the corner of Union Avenue and Main Street in Laconia has large quantities of votive candles available to purchase at a special pumpkin festival price.

Man suspected in Belmont shooting caught in Meredith

By BEA LEWIS, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

MEREDITH — A three-day manhunt ended Friday afternoon when the suspect in a Belmont shooting was captured by local police, allowing residents to breathe a collective sigh of relief.

10-15 Jason Cuocolo

Jason Coucolo, 42, was taken into custody about 1:20 p.m., after he knocked on the door of a mobile home at Currier Park at 125 Livingston Road and wanted to use the phone.

"He asked if he could use my phone and mumbled something about kids," the resident recounted moments after Coucolo had been handcuffed, placed in a cruiser and whisked from the scene by Meredith police.

The resident explained he'd been up all night on Thursday with his sick son, had worked one of two jobs that morning and was napping before going to his second job, when the knock awoke him about 1:10 p.m.

"I didn't interact with him, I just called the police," the resident said, as he got into his car and left for work.

Another resident at the park said he was reading the newspaper when he happened to look outside and spotted
Coucolo coming out of the woods across Livingston Road from the trailer park, located less than 2,500 feet from the intersection with Parade Road.

"I knew it was him. I'd just looked at his picture," he said.

 He watched Coucolo walk up the center driveway to the property and head directly to his neighbor's trailer and knock on the door.

Having lost his voice box to cancer six months ago, "I couldn't call police," he said, as he pressed an electronic larynx against his neck, a battery-operated device that allows him to speak. Because he doesn't have a home phone and uses a flip-style cellphone, he explained he couldn't tip off police.

Coucolo was wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans, a dark-colored baseball hat and was carrying a walking stick that looked like he'd found it in the woods, said the resident.

"He didn't put up a fight. They just grabbed him. He was probably sick of running," he said of Coucolo's arrest.

With overnight temperatures dipping into the 30s, Coucolo most likely found himself cold, hungry and tired.

He was booked into the Belknap County Jail shortly before 2 p.m., and ordered held without bail pending arraignment. He has been charged with first-degree assault, criminal threatening and robbery.

"It's been just crazy that last couple of days," said Mike Collins who works at Ready Equipment at 25 Daniel Webster Highway.

On Wednesday, after authorities learned that Coucolo had reportedly rented a room at Vacation Escape Motel across the street, police converged on the property and closed the highway to all traffic. Collins and his co-worker were busy putting their showroom back in order after spending the holiday weekend at the Sandwich Fair when
they noticed the commotion.

"Police were walking around with AK's. It was surreal. You're just not used to seeing that," he said. "We started getting calls from our customers after they shut the road down asking if we were OK."

On Thursday morning, a lone Meredith cruiser was parked in their lot. Between 12:30 and 1 p.m., more than a dozen cruisers had arrived and a State Police helicopter was circling overhead. As police canvassed the woods and patrolled nearby residential neighborhoods, they advised homeowners to use common sense, lock their
doors and report any suspicious activity.

Attempts to reach police for details were unsuccessful.

Man sought in Belmont shooting tires of running, is caught by police

By BEA LEWIS, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

MEREDITH — A three-day manhunt for the suspect in the shooting of a Belmont woman ended when Meredith Police arrested Jason Coucolo about 1:20 p.m. today.

10-13 Jason M. Cuocolo

A resident of Currier Park on Livingston Road, called police at 1:10 p.m. to report the wanted man had just knocked on the door of his mobile home and asked to use the phone.

"He asked if he could use my phone and mumbled something about kids," he recounted moments after Coucolo had been handcuffed, placed in a cruiser and whisked from the scene.

The resident said he'd been up all night on Thursday with his sick son, had worked one of his jobs that morning and was napping before going to his second job, when the knock awoke him.

"I didn't interact with him, I just called the police," he said.

Another resident at the park who didn't want to be identified, said he was reading the newspaper when he happened to look outside and see Coucolo coming out of the woods across Livingston Road from the
trailer park.

Having lost his voice box to cancer six months ago, the man said, he watched Coucolo walk up the center driveway to the property and head directly to Dubois' trailer and knock on the door.

"I couldn't call police," he said, as he pressed an electronic larynx against his neck, a battery operated machine that allows him to speak. Because he doesn't have a home phone and uses a flip-style cellphone,
he explained he couldn't tip off police.

Coucolo was wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans, a dark colored baseball hat and was carrying a walking stick that looked like he'd found it in the woods.

"He didn't put up a fight, they just grabbed him. He was probably sick of running," he said of Coucolo's arrest. "Everybody can relax now he is in custody."

With overnight temperatures dipping into the 30s, Coucolo most likely found himself cold, hungry and tired.

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