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Sleeping off duty police officer surprised by intruder

LACONIA — An off-duty police officer got quite a surprise last Friday morning when he was sleeping at his parents' home on Pine Street at 10:30 a.m. after some oral surgery and woke to find a burglar peering into his room.

The officer said he recognized Alan Johnstone, 23, of 37 Fair Street as someone he knew from school and, after a brief conversation, escorted him from his family's home.

After their conversation, the off-duty officer (who doesn't work for Laconia Police) called the Laconia Police, who began an investigation.

Johnstone is charged with one count of burglary.

He also said he heard someone opening the cabinets before Johnstone allegedly entered the bedroom.

During their conversation, affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday, noted that Johnstone told the officer that his mother had asked him to check in on him.

Police spoke with the homeowner who told them one of her rings was missing and she confirmed for city police that she had not told Johnstone to go into her home to check on her son.

Police said they interviewed a neighbor who told them she had allegedly seen Johnstone walking around the rear of the Pine Street Extension home. She said she saw him knock on a sliding door and then allegedly crawl into the home through a high bathroom window.

During Johnstone's video appearance in court yesterday, Laconia Prosecutor Jim Sawyer said Johnstone had numerous prior criminal convictions, including four for forgery, one for receiving stolen property, and one for attempted burglary.

Sawyer asked for $10,000 cash bail.

Johnstone's Atty. Robert Hemeon said Johnstone had "stopped by to see (the police officer)" and there was no reason for him to crawl through the window because the front door was open and he knew the victim's son. Hemeon said his client wasn't a fight risk, lived at home with his parents, and had turned himself in to police. He requested his client be released on personal recognizance bail.

In countering Hemeon, Sawyer said he wasn't worried about Johnston fleeing. "My problem is the entry to this residence," he said.

Hemeon argued that Johnstone had changed his everyday contacts since his release from jail and "his drug consumption has changed." He also said Johnstone was working.

"I think there's still a presumption of innocence," Hemeon said.

Sawyer said the officer doesn't live at this parents house and was only there because he had had surgery. He said there were no cars in the driveway and the victim's son had found him going through the cupboards.

"He's unable to control himself," Sawyer said.

Judge Jim Carroll agreed and set bail at $10,000 cash only. Should Johnstone post bail, he is to live with his parents, stay away from the officer and his family, and to not go on to Pine Street Extension.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 October 2013 02:29

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Water line break sends 200k gallons over Union Ave.

LACONIA — An excavator working at the intersection of Mechanic Street and Walnut Street struck a 12-inch water main around 2:30 p.m. yesterday, sending some 200,000 gallons of water cascading down Walnut Street and Harrison Street, across Union Avenue, through the Irwin Marine yard and toward Paugus Bay, as well as along Mechanic Street to Stark Street.

Seth Nuttelman, superintendent of Laconia Water Works, said that the mishap left approximately 30 homes without running water during the five hours it took to repair the break.

Traffic moved along Union Avenue in both directions as the water swept across the roadway, Although the street was not damaged, there was some scouring beneath the shoulder and around the guardrail of the southbound lane, opposite Walnut Street.

A storm drain emptying into Paugus Bay carried a heavy load of silt into the water. However, Nuttelman said that because the storm drain is downstream of the intake pipe that draws the municipal water supply from the bay, city water quality would not be affected. Moreover, since Paugus Bay, which holds about 13 billion gallons of water, is the sole outlet for the 625 billion gallons of water in Lake Winnipesaukee, any pollutants are quickly diluted and, depending on the flow at the Lakeport Dam, soon flushed downstream.

"It's not a bad situation," said Nuttelman. "There are no concerns."

Last Updated on Friday, 11 October 2013 02:24

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Shaker closing playing fields early because of West Nile Virus threat

BELMONT — Until the town sees its first hard frost, Shaker Regional School District Superintendent Marie Dreyer has said that all high- and middle-school fields will be off limits after 6 p.m. and the elementary school fields in town will be off limits at 5:45 p.m.

Dreyer is reacting to the news Wednesday afternoon that a horse in Belmont has been diagnosed with West Nile Virus, making the town a high-level risk for its inhabitants.

She said school staff combed all of the school properties for any containers that could possibly hold standing water and removed or destroyed them.

She said other measures taken by the Shaker Regional School District was either a letter or e-mail sent immediately to all parents as well as the purchase of cans of Off – an insect repellent that contains DEET. Dreyer said if parents permit it, the repellant will be applied by a school nurse to younger children and given to older children for self-application.

Dreyer also said she has been in e-mail contact with the superintendents from Gilford, Laconia, and Winnisquam about possible sporting events scheduled for Belmont that may have to be held earlier in the day or postponed to a day after a hard frost.

Fire Chief Dave Parenti said he was first notified about the West Nile Virus around 4 p.m. from the Code Enforcement/Health Officer Steve Paquin.

West Nile Virus and its evil cousin Eastern Equine Encephalitis are mosquito-borne illnesses that can infect humans. Although cases in humans are rare, an active infection can cause flu-like symptoms that usually appear four to 10 days after a bite. West Nile Virus can be lethal.

Susan Laverack at the Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health said people should avoid being outside at dawn and at dusk. She recommends wearing long-sleeved clothing, long pants, and socks when outside.

She said the recommendations Dreyer made for Belmont's students are the same as what she would recommend for all residents.

Dreyer said the e-mail she sent to parents made a similar request about clothing.

"It's been warm lately so I know it hard for the little ones to understand," she said.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 October 2013 02:51

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Make A Wish, John Bradley Thompson

GILFORD — Students and staff members at Gilford Elementary gathered outside the school yesterday afternoon to watch 6-year-old John Bradley Thompson and his family leave in a stretch limousine for a flight that will take them to the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia.
John, a first grader who was diagnosed earlier this year with an inoperable brain tumor, is making a week-long trip with his family thanks to the Make A Wish foundation, which grants wishes of children with life-threatening conditions.
The son of Jesse and Alison Thompson, John was hoisted atop the limousine by his father near the end of the ceremony, where he waved to his fellow students, many of whom held signs wishing him well and expressing their support for him in his struggle with the rare form of cancer.
''The community and the school have all been so great, so supportive,'' said his has grandmother, Darryl Thompson, as the limousine pulled out of the driveway at the school.
The Thompson family is very familiar with the Make a Wish Foundation, having donated nearly $3,000 to the organization in April of 2012 when Jesse appeared on the Wheel of Fortune television game show and held a party at the Lyons Den restaurant in Glendale for invited guests the night it was aired.
John was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) on June 2 this year after being taken by his parents to the emergency room at Boston Children's Hospital after experiencing double vision and dizziness and reaching the point where he was unable to lift his chin off his chest. An MRI revealed a large, aggressive tumor his brain stem.
A brain biopsy was taken to obtain tissue samples and on June 13 John traveled to Memphis, Tennessee to join a Phase I Trial Study at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. He received six weeks of radiation treatment, started daily chemotherapy and returned home to Gilford on August 1. He is enrolled in an experimental chemotherapy clinical trial at St. Jude and returns there frequently for tests. Only 150 cases are of DIPG are diagnosed each year, making it so rare that there is no federal funding for research.
A web site, Think John Bradley, provides updates on his condition A sports fan who is passionate about his artwork, John has two little sisters, Clara (4 years old) and Elizabeth (7 months) and a big yellow dog named Jackson.
Family members say that John has been feeling good, hanging out with his friends and checks daily on his blog, where he has been reading the comments and absorbing positive vibes.
A fund known as the JB Thompson Fund has been set up to accept donations from the fundraisers which are being held in the community for John. Two two are coming up in the near future, JBT Night at Patrick's Pub & Eatery on Tuesday, October 15 from 4 p.m. to close where 50 percent of the food portion of the checks will be donated, and The Cure Starts Now at Gunstock Mountain Resort on Saturday, October 26. The evening will feature a meal, a program, a live auction and dancing to local favorite Paul Warnick and Phil 'n the Blanks.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 October 2013 02:09

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