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Woman staying at New Hampton home allegedly assaults woman & child & then makes 4 fake 911 calls

CIRCUIT COURT — A former Florida woman was ordered held on $1,500 cash bail yesterday morning in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division after allegedly violating the terms of a five-day old protection order.

Police are also seeking additional arrest warrants for Paula Horne, 43, that will alleged she made four false reports to law enforcement Tuesday night.

According to New Hampton Police affidavits, the problems with Horne allegedly started on September 19 when police responded to 9 Riverwood Drive for a domestic assault. Horne allegedly kicked a female resident and her daughter.

She was charged with two counts of simple assault and told not to have any contact with the two alleged victims.

Police said Tuesday night's activities began at 4:49 p.m. when a female placed a call to 911 alleging there was a domestic disturbance at 9 Riverwood Drive. When the officer arrived, there was a lone man in the house and he was in the shower. He told the officer that it must have been "his crazy girlfriend" and identified Horne.

The man said he didn't know where Horne was so the officer contacted the number from which the 911 call was generated.

Affidavits said a female who sounded drunk answered. When the officer identified himself, she allegedly swore at him.

The officer learned from 911 who owned the phone and traced it to 20 Commercial Street in Concord. The 911 supervisor also said they "pinged" the call to an area around Commercial Street.

At 6:28 p.m. a 911 operator said a woman called from a different phone number and reported a knife attack at 9 Riverwood Drive.

During his second visit to the home, the officer learned from the original assault victim that Horne had called her cellphone a number of time using multiple phones and had made various statements to her. The female told police that she recognized Horne's voice.

At 7:53 p.m. 911 got a third call about a domestic violence report at 9 Riverwood Drive. The officer was still at the home with the residents and told all involved that there was no problem at the home. He issued a Be On the Look Out Alert for Horne for the protection order violation.

At 8:24 p.m. 911 got a fourth call for a domestic disturbance at 9 Riverwood Drive but this time Horne allegedly identified herself as the assault victim and said she was at Rite Aid in Laconia. Affidavits said Laconia Police responded but found nothing.

Concord Police made contact with Horne at 11 p.m. and delivered her to New Hampton Police where she was charged with two counts of violating a protection order. She was held overnight on $5,000 cash bail.

In court yesterday, Sgt. Prosecutor Monica Cunningham asked for $10,000 cash-only bail, saying Horne was a flight risk. She said Horne has no home, no job, and no reason to stay in New Hampshire. She said she would be seeking arrest warrants for the four false reports to law enforcement.

She noted that Horne's alleged actions on Tuesday used the resources of the New Hampton Police, the 911 Emergency Dispatch Center, the Laconia Police, the Concord Police and the New Hampton Fire Department.

Cunningham said Horne has an extensive criminal record from Florida with arrests dating back to 1999. Her most recent conviction in Florida was in 2012 for prostitution.

Horne's public defender said her client has no money to post bail and no money to flee the jurisdiction. She said Horne can stay at 20 Commericial Drive in Concord and had told her she has some mental health issues.

Judge Jim Carroll ordered her held on $1,500 cash bail, $10,000 personal recognizance bail and ordered her to stay away from 9 Riverwood Drive and the people who live there. He also ordered her to sign a waiver of extradition.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 12:48

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Council asks county to target $15M to $20M for jail project

LACONIA — The City Council this week unanimously adopted a resolution setting several criteria it believes should be met in renovating or reconstructing the Belknap County Jail.

City property taxpayers bear approximately 20 percent of the county's annual operating budget and an equivalent share of its annual debt service to fund capital projects.

Councilors agreed that the county jail must comply with all state and federal regulations and standards required of correctional facilities in order to eliminate any liability to the county arising from litigation initiated on behalf of inmates.

The council specified that a compliant facility should be built for between $15 million and $20 million, either by renovating some or all of the existing facility, constructing an entirely new jail or some combination of the two. The term of a borrowing to fund the project should be as long as possible considering the projected useful life of the facility in order to minimize the annual principal and interest payments.

Finally, the council proposed that the annual cost of additional personnel or programming at a new facility should, from a budgeting standpoint, be incorporated into the debt service carried by the municipalities. In other words, the higher the cost of constructing a new facility, the lower the cost of additional personnel and programming.

The positions were proposed by Councilor Henry Lipman (Ward 3).

Since 2006 the city has budgeted within the bounds of a property tax cap, which limits the annual increase in the amount to be raised by property taxes to the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index and the property tax value of new construction. If the increase in the county apportionment exceeds the limits on the county apportionment set by the tax cap, it must be offset by corresponding reductions in city and/or school expenditures.

The council also agreed to invite all current members of the Belknap County Convention and candidates for those same positions to attend a council meeting in October to discuss the jail issue. Invitations will also be sent to current members of the Belknap County Commission and all candidates for those same positions, as well as State Senator Andrew Hosmer of Laconia and his opponent, Kathy Lauer-Rago of Franklin.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 12:18

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With union negotiations behind them, police commissioners adjust benefits for non-union staff

LACONIA — After meeting in a non-public session last week, Police Commissioners publicly voted to change the compensation and benefits programs for their non-union staff.

The Laconia Police Officers Association agreed to terms on a new three-year collective bargaining agreement earlier this month and that contract was approved by City Council.

To bring the sergeants in line with the rest of the patrol staff, the maximum number of compensation hours or "comp time" that can be accumulated has increased by the commisisoners from 50 hours to 80 hours.

Civilian staff will remain at 50 hours.

Shift differentials for patrol officers and sergeants went to 60 cents per hours for the 4 p.m. to midnight shift and to 80 cents per hour for the midnight to 8 a.m. shift.

Dispatchers' shift differentials were set at rates half of the above with evening dispatchers earning 30 cents per hour and midnight dispatchers earning 60 cents per hour.

Commissioner Warren Clement voted against this provision because he felt dispatchers should earn the same shift differential, said Capt. Bill Clary.

Sworn officers earn five weeks of vacation beginning in their 20th year. Civilian employees are capped at four weeks. In addition, sworn officers must be employed for six years to earn a third week of vacation while civilian staff must be employed seven years to earn the third week.

For those employees hired after 2014, their severance package is limited to the value of 50 percent of their unused sick time. For those hired before July of 2014, the severance package includes 100 percent of the value of their unused sick time.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 11:54

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Lawmakers chastise county administration but approve budget transfer of $10k to get jail through the weekend

LACONIA — A rump of four of the seven members of the executive committee of the Belknap County Convention met in an emergency session yesterday and unanimously approved the request of Dan Ward, Superintendent of the county jail, to transfer $10,000 to ensure inmates necessary medications through the weekend.

Funding for medications was the most acute issue arising from the preliminary injunction issued by Justice James D. O'Neill, III of Belknap County Superior Court prohibiting the Belknap County Commission from either spending in excess of any 2014 line-item appropriation or transferring more than $300 from one line item to another without the approval of the executive committee.

Meanwhile, Representative Frank Tilton (R-Laconia), chairman of the committee, was more concerned with how the emergency arose. "I'm wrestling with the questions of when and why this need occurred," he said, "with why we're here today." He noted that O'Neill issued his order on August 28 and said "this could have been repaired in 20 minutes." Reminding the commissioners that the executive committee was scheduled to meet on September 15 and asked "why did you not give us a request on the 15th?"

"Why don't we just move forward?" replied Commissioner Steve Nedeau.

"The bigger issue is why did we go 20 days without a request for transfers," Tilton insisted.

County Administrator Debra Shackett then began speaking from prepared notes. She said the commission received the court order on August 29 and on September 4 advised the committee that neither the county commissioners nor the county administrator could attend a meeting on the 15th and asked for the meeting to be rescheduled. The meeting was not rescheduled, but Tilton indicated he would hold another meeting, most likely on September 29.

Shackett said that on September 18 the commissioners prepared requests to transfer funds within the budget and wrote to Tilton asking him to convene a meeting of the executive committee. On the 23rd Tilton announced that the committee would meet on the 29th. Claiming that operations at the nursing home and county could not be maintained past the 26th without transfers of funds, the commission asked O'Neill to compel the executive committee to meet on the 25th. The court refused the request.

"When exactly the emergency occurred and when it was conveyed to the public are not of primary importance to the safe and continued operation of this organization," Shackett said. "It has not been easy or quick to adapt to new procedures."

Tilton insisted that his initial question had not been answered, adding that the requests for transfers could have been presented and addressed in the first week of September immediately after the court order or when the executive committee met on the 15th. He pointed out that the committee did not require the presence of the commissioners to consider the requests.

Representative Colette Worsman (R-Meredith), who chairs the convention, said that although the court issued a preliminary injunction, management of the county budget must comply with the order. "Enough with the lawyers," she said, eying Shackett. "Just do your job." She indicated that funds appropriated for legal expenses may have been exhausted and repeated, "leave the lawyers out of it and let's move forward."

However, as the meeting adjourned Nedeau said that the commission, which has asked O'Neill to reconsider his decision, intends to appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, should he refuse to do so.

In the meantime, the executive committee will reconvene on Monday, September 29 at 5 p.m. to consider 13 more requests to transfer funds totaling $604,818.20. Finance Director Glen Waring anticipated that more transfers will be requested throughout the fourth quarter of the fiscal year ending on December 31.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 11:51

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