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Boys & Girls Club hopes to get back to normal in 2 to 3 weeks

LACONIA — Cheryl Avery, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region, said yesterday that work to overcome the damage done to the club by vandals is progressing well.

Avery said that the plan is to reopen the community room, kids' cafe and kitchen as soon as possible in order to restart the club's before-school program. She said that the program, which serves between 15 and 20 children of working families between 6:30 a.m. and the opening of school at 8 a.m., is the immediate priority. Recalling that the club operated in confined space at the Lakes Region Community Services building before moving to its new home at the former St. James Episcopal Church, Avery said that as space is restored and becomes available the club will resume normal operations a step at a time, but expected that two or three weeks would be needed to complete the cleaning and repairs.

Meanwhile, the after-school program will continue to operate at Laconia Middle School until further notice. "The arrangement with the Middle School is working very well," Avery said. "The teachers and staff have been very welcoming."

Vandals broke into the club last weekend, where they caused what Police Chief Chris Adams, the president of the club, called "significant damage," including extensive water damage to the sub-basement. On Tuesday, police announced that three students of Laconia High School, all males aged 14, 15 and 16, were arrested and charged with burglary and criminal mischief, both felonies. The three juveniles will be prosecuted in by the juvenile division of the 4th Circuit Court - Laconia.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 December 2013 02:00

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Barnstead Police Chief Ken Borgia retires

BARNSTEAD — Chief Ken Borgia has retired after heading the Police Department for 11 years.

Borgia was hired as police chief on January 1, 2002.

Before assuming the helm here, Borgia was a corporal with the Gilford Police Department.

In the interim, selectmen officially appointed Sgt. Joseph McDowell as the Officer in Charge.

McDowell said yesterday that Belmont has six part-time officers — four of whom are "very active." He is the only full-time employee.

McDowell said yesterday that the Board of Selectmen have not made any decisions as to the long-term future of the Police Department.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 December 2013 01:55

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Man will argue he wasn't resisting arrest, just trying to protect himself from getting hurt

LACONIA — A local man arrested on September 24 in a downtown parking lot said that his attempts to get away from the arresting sheriff's deputy were made as self defense.

Joseph Morrissette, 24, formerly of Court St. has filed notice of what is called an affirmative defense in the Belknap County Superior Court.

Morrissette was charged with one count of resisting arrest and one count of simple assault.

Atty. Jared Bedrick explained yesterday that when the state decided to pursue enhance penalties (or prison sentences) for resisting arrest and assault on the deputy, whose lip was cut during the fight, the case went over to superior court because the circuit court cannot impose prison sentences — only county-level house of corrections sentences.

Morrissette was also charged with two counts of possession of narcotics and one count of possession with intent to sell narcotics.

Morrissette filed a motion to suppress the drug evidence in the 4th Circuit Court, arguing that the arresting deputy had no reason to detain him. Judge Jim Carroll agreed and ruled on October 5 that the drugs seized by the Belknap County Sheriff's Department could not be used as evidence.

According to Carroll's ruling and affidavits submitted to the court, Morrissette was leaning into the back seat of a friend's car and was spotted by the deputy as he was driving north on Main Street in Laconia.

The deputy said he approached the car because it was illegally stopped but focused his attention on Morrissette, who told him he was there to get a hair cut. The driver of the car left and the deputy made no effort to follow the car.

During the ensuing minutes, the deputy said he grabbed Morrissette, who he knew from a previous drug arrest in a case that is still pending, and Morrissette objected to being grabbed.

A scuffle ensued and the deputy told him to stay still or he would be zapped with a Taser. The defendant said he was trying to get away from the deputy, fearing he would be hurt.

The deputy deployed his electric stun gun and Morrissette was taken into custody.

In his ruling, Carroll said "the Court finds that the action by the deputy was directed at the driver of the vehicle upon his approach to the vehicle."

"There is no basis in fact to warrant his seizure of the defendant — the leaning in of the defendant into the vehicle (and) his subsequent nervousness — do not add to the articulable facts supporting the deputy's seizure," he wrote.

Carroll said that once the driver was not longer illegally parked and since the deputy made no effort to follow the driver, his further contact with Morrissette and any "fruits of the poisoned tree" could not be used against him.

The three drug charges were bound over to Belknap County Superior Court however, to date, Morrissette has not be indicted by a grand jury.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 December 2013 01:52

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Heritage Com. will try to strengthen teeth of tear-down ordinance

LACONIA — The Heritage Commission will hold a public hearing on the application of Cafua Management Company, LLC, owner of the Hathaway House at 1106 Union Avenue, to demolish the building on Wednesday, January 22 at City Hall beginning at 6:30.

The commission has anticipated scheduling a hearing since October when a work crew shattered the glass and boarded the windows at the historic building. When Greg Nolan, director of development at Cafua, who oversaw the permitting and construction of the adjacent Dunkin' Donuts store and undertook to preserve and maintain the Hathaway House, failed to respond to inquiries, members of the commission began picketing on weekends.

When the commission met last evening, Pam Clark, who chairs the panel, recounted the fraught relationship with Cafua dating from 2008. Then Cafua, which acquired the 1.61-acre lot and 5,030-square-foot building in 2000, proposed demolishing the Hathaway House and constructing a Dunkin' Donuts store and strip mall on the site. However, after a series of meetings with city officials and concerned citizens, Cafua agreed to preserve the Hathaway House and build the Dunkin' Donuts outlet on the lot next door.

When the project was approved, Nolan assured the Planning Board that the Hathaway House would be repainted as well as fitted with a fire alarm and fire suppression system. He said the company had no plans for the building other than to preserve it. Two years later the building, which had not been painted or improved, was offered for sale or lease. At the time Nolan assured the Planning Department "there will be a condition that the house cannot be scrapped." Despite repeated assurances the building was never painted, but instead was neglected and allowed to deteriorate, Nolan said.

Dorothy Duffy, a member of the commission, reported that she reached William Bode, a regional vice-president of Dunkin' Donuts working from corporate headquarters in Canton, Massachusetts. She said that while he was "sympathetic," he explained that because the property is owned by a franchisee — Cafua — the parent corporation is "out of the picture" and "can't do anything about it." Nevertheless, Duffy said that Bode told her that corporate officials have been following the controversy over the Hathaway House closely.

Last week Cafua, formally applied to demolish it. Since the Hathaway House is more than 700-square-feet in area and 75 or more years old, as well as visible from a public right-of-way, the application, within five days of being submitted was presented to the Heritage Commission for review. Clark told the commission that she had refused to endorse the application for a demolition permit and intended to schedule a public hearing. She said she has been informed that Nolan or another representative of Cafua will attend the hearing.

Once the commission schedules a public hearing, the owner is required by ordinance to post a sign to that effect, along with the date, time and place of the hearing, on the building in plain sight within 10 business days.

Should the public hearing close without agreement on an alternative to demolition, the Heritage Commission shall meet with the owner within 10 days to seek agreement on an alternative. Without an agreement to preserve the building, the owner may proceed with demolition while the Heritage Commission, with the consent of the owner, shall photograph and document the building as well as encourage the owner to salvage any of its important architectural features.

Clark conceded that the ordinance lent little authority to the Heritage Commission and said that an effort to strengthen the ordinance is underway.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 December 2013 01:47

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