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Stolen car found torched in Gilford

GILFORD — Police from two communities are investigating a car fire over the weekend in the woods off Boyd Road.

The car, a 2010 Volvo CV C70, is not a common car. The vehicle had been reported stolen over the summer from Bay Street in Laconia and city police had been investigating the theft.

Gilford police Lt. Kris Kelley said the car fire was first noticed by Gilford Fire Chief Steve Carrier who was off duty and hiking. He apparently saw the black smoke coming from the area of Ramblin' Vewe Farm.

He said Gilford firefighters extinguished the fire that was reported around 7 a.m. Sunday, but an attempt at a K-9 search for the driver was thwarted by the number of first responders who arrived to put out the fire. He said the scent was indistinguishable at that point.

Kelley said the Laconia Police had made contact with the driver around 4 a.m. but he sped away.

Laconia Police Sgt. Mike Finogle confirmed Laconia officers made contact with the car around 4 a.m. while it was behind the Sacred Heart Church on Union Avenue, but he said the driver sped away toward Strafford Street.

Because of safety concerns, Finogle said no pursuit was made.

He said the car found burned was the same car.

Both departments said the investigation is active and ongoing.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 01:36

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18 year-old to serve a year in jail for Main St. robbery


LACONIA — An 18-year-old Meredith man received a suspended 3½- to 7-year prison yesterday for robbing a mentally challenged man on Main Street in July.

Christopher Skinner was also sentenced in Belknap County Superior Court to serve 12 months in the Belknap County House of Corrections for initially lying to police about his identity.

All of the prison sentence was suspended, dependent on his behavior, but he will serve the 12 months in jail. He was credited with 77 days for time already served.

Judge James O'Neill III initially rejected a more lenient plea of 12 months for the robbery and an additional 12 months suspended for lying to police.

In rejecting Skinner's first plea, O'Neill said he wanted to see some kind of prison sentence, whether it was suspended or not. Should Skinner commit any crime after his release from the house of corrections, he could serve the entire suspended State Prison sentence.

O'Neill said robbery occurred "in the very shadow of this courthouse," and 12 months in the house of corrections was too lenient. The judge also learned there was a witness and the victim, though challenged, was capable of testifying.

Assistant Belknap County Prosecutor Adam Wood told O'Neill the early morning of July 8, Skinner and another man came up behind the victim who was walking near the Landmark Inn. Skinner tried to grab the victim's backpack and demanded all of the money in his pockets.

When the victim told him he didn't have any money, Skinner told his friend to "get the Glock."

Wood that the friend ran away and there never was a gun. An employee of the Landmark Inn witnessed the robbery and called police.

Wood and Skinner's attorneys, who were from the University of New Hampshire School of Law, had initially agreed to the more lenient plea because of Skinner's age, the fact that he had no criminal record, and that he agreed to plead guilty almost immediately after he was indicted.

Skinner told O'Neill that he was sorry for what he did, that he knew it was wrong, and that he wanted to put this part of his life behind him.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 01:14

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Lakes Region Chamber to hand out 6 Community Hero Awards this year

LACONIA — The Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce will hold its third annual Community Hero Awards on Wednesday Oct. 15, at 5 p.m. at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse in Meredith.
Karmen Gifford, chamber executive director, said that two new awards are being added this year. One is a public service award to an individual who demonstrates a commitment to leadership and charity in public service. The other is a student leader award given to someone under the age of 25 currently enrolled in school whose studies and extracurricular activities show entrepreneurial spirit, peer leadership and a commitment to public service.

''We expanded the award categories to six this year and the community at large submitted over 65 names for consideration,'' said Gifford, who pointed out that the nominees come from many of the 18 communities served by the chamber, stretching all the way from Franklin to Moultonborough.
Nominees for the awards are as follows:
James P. Irwin Award for community leadership, a pioneering attitude and spirit of progress in the community: Debbie Frawley Drake, Rusty McLear, Paul Gaudet Sr., and Sandy Cleary.
J. Bart Conners Award, for an individual who exemplifies outstanding dedication and commitment to the mission of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce: Penny Raby, Christine Harris, Bill Quigley and Donna Keeley.

The Hurst Award given to a citizen of the Greater Franklin area demonstrating excellence in community leadership, passion for the betterment of the community, commitment to business and community development and avid volunteers serving the Franklin area: Michael Mullavey, Fred Caruso, Lynne and Bill Burns and Jeff and Beverly Brewer.

The Young Professional Award recognizing an individual living and working in the Lakes Region demonstrating a strong community engagement, demonstrating leadership development and an inspiring role model for young professionals: Calise Houle, Beth San Soucie, Kyril Mitchell and Chris Walkley.

Public Service Award to an individual who demonstrates a commitment to leadership and charity in public service: Dominic Decarli, Laura Brusseau, Chris Adams and Ken Merrifield.

Student Leader Award to someone under the age of 25 currently enrolled in school whose studies and extracurricular activities show entrepreneurial spirit, peer leadership and a commitment to public service: Joshua Allen, Olivia Conley, Samantha Mackes and Meredith Fay Ellis.

All 24 nominees will be honored at the Hero Awards with one nominee from each category presented with an award.

Business sponsors for the event include Metrocast Business Services, Franklin Savings Bank, LRGHealthcare, Bank of New Hampshire, Public Service of New Hampshire, Meredith Village Savings Bank, Beck & Bellucci, The Winnipesaukee Playhouse, Corner House Inn and Annie's Cafe and Catering.

Family, friends, teachers, co-workers and fellow students are invited to share in the recognition ceremony. Registration is $20 per person and is available on line at LakesRegionChamber.org or by calling the chamber at 524-5531. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the awards ceremony, at which chamber president Warren Bailey and Gifford will preside, will start promptly at 6 p.m.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 01:09

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Winter St. man ordered held on $500 bail after domestic disturbance

LACONIA – A local man was ordered held on $500 cash bail after police were called twice to his house Friday afternoon for domestic disturbance.

Justin Franquie, 23, of Winter St. is charged with one felony count of witness tampering, two misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief, one count of criminal threatening, and one count of simple assault.

Police affidavits said Franquie and one of his family members got into an argument at 4 p.m. about some found drugs that allegedly belonged to Franquie.

An argument ensued and Franquie allegedly punched the microwave and threatened to beat in the victim's head. The victim called police but Franquie left before they arrived and couldn't be located.

Affidavits said hour later police were called back to the home because Franquie returned and demanded his clothes and his dog.

The victim told Franquie repeatedly to leave, and at some point Franquie allegedly kicked in the back door, spit on the victim and allegedly threatened to kill him for calling the police.

In the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday, Prosecutor Jim Sawyer asked that Franquie be held on $3,000 cash-only bail.

He said despite his young age, Franquie had already served a 1- to 2-year sentence in State Prison. Sawyer also argued that Franquie returned to the home to assault his victim after threatening him and that this is the second time there has been a incident between the two.

Belknap County Public Defender Wade Harwood argued that Franquie was not a flight risk, had never failed to show up for a court date, had obeyed all of the conditions of his parole when he was on it, and had found another place to live.

Bail was set at $500 cash for the felony and $5,000 for the four misdemeanors.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 01:18

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