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Overheated electrical outlet that was powering space heater said cause of Gilford marina fire

GILFORD — An overheated electrical outlet that was powering a space heater was likely the source of a fire that damaged a local marina Christmas Eve.

Deputy Chief Brad Ober said yesterday that the space heated was plugged into a power strip that was connected to the electrical outlet with an extension cord. He also said three other things were plugged into the power strip but the only thing that was on at the time was the space heater.

Ober said no one had been in the building since Monday and that the space heater appeared to be the only source of heat in the room.

The fire that started in the second floor canvas room was noticed by a passerby around 4 p.m. who notified the Gilford Fire Department.

Firefighters were able to extinguish it using water they brought with them.

Ober said the owners were very fortunate that the passerby noticed the smoke when he or she did. He said the canvas in the room as well as the wall had started to burn and the whole room "was getting ready to go."

He said there was about $100,000 in damage done to the building and most of it was contained to the canvas room.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 January 2014 12:54

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Laconia man held on $5k cash bail after being charged with 2 assaults

LACONIA — A local man is being held on $5,000 cash bail after allegedly pushing his wife and then trying to enter his neighbor's apartment.

Richard Sweeney, 30, of Jewett St. is charged with two counts of simple assault and one count of criminal trespass.

According to police affidavits, Sweeney allegedly push his wife by putting his open hand on her face in the course of an argument they were having on December 28 at 8:46 p.m.

When he left his wife's apartment he allegedly went downstairs. One of the occupants of the downstairs apartment said she heard the argument and had opened her door to see what was happening.

The neighbor told police Sweeney tried to approach her door and she tried to close if before he got there but she was too late. She said Sweeney allegedly pushed the door open which struck her in her right knee.

She told police that Sweeney kept trying to push open her door and finally yelled to her brother who came and helped her. The neighbor's brother escorted Sweeney to the exterior door.

Affidavits said police spoke to Sweeney and he said he pushed his wife because she was trying to hit him. He didn't mention anything about allegedly trying to get into his neighbor's apartment.

The city prosecutor asked for cash bail because Sweeney's previous criminal activity included failing to appear in court four times, criminal mischief in 2013, simple assault in 2013, and breach of bail in 2013.

The state said Sweeney also has a criminal order of protection in which his wife is a protected party.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 January 2014 12:49

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Not much interest in Executive Council race if Kenney's appearance in Laconia is any indication

LACONIA — When Republican Joe Kenney brought what he bills as his "coffee shop campaign" to succeed the late Ray Burton as Executive Councilor in District 1 to My Coffee Shop yesterday only one voter, Cook Anderson, known to his neighbors at the Taylor Home as "Cranky Yankee," was on hand to "catch a cup of Joe."

Kenney of Wakefield, a colonel in the United States Marine Corps on the brink of retirement, is one of three Republicans competing in the primary to be held on January 21. Christopher Boothby of Meredith, a former Belknap County Commissioner, and Mark Aldrich of Lebanon, a former congressional aide and director of economic development in Claremont, complete the field. As the Republican candidate for governor in 2008, Kenney may be the most widely recognized throughout the district.

The reception reflected less on Kenney than on the challenge of catching the ear of voters celebrating the holidays in a district that sprawls across two-thirds of the land area of the state, reaches into six of its 10 counties and includes four of its 13 cites, 101 of its 221 towns and 19 of its 25 unincorporated places. Kenney recalled that when one voter asked him "are you crazy or insane?" he replied "no, I'm a United States Marine."

Casey Crane, who is managing Kenney's campaign, said that "in a lot of places we've gone they don't even know there's an election."

Kenney, who served four terms in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and three in the New Hampshire Senate, is touting his experience in state government. In the House he served on the Commerce, Labor and Executive Departments and Administration committees and chaired the Transportation Committee in the Senate, which he said familiarized him with the staff and work of most state agencies.

"I'm the guy with the state service," Kenney said, "who knows how to navigate state government for the benefit of my constituents. County experience," he continued, "doesn't prepare you for the executive council. The others will need nine months of on-the-job training, but I'll hit the ground running."

Kenney, who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, said that because he will soon be retiring from the USMC he intends to make serving as an executive councilor his full-time job, unlike the other candidates, all of whom have other occupations.

Kenney said that improving the infrastructure, especially the roads and bridges, in the northern reaches of the district would be among his highest priorities. He noted that firms have either avoided the region or relocated elsewhere for lack of adequate transportation. "Roads are my forte" he said, adding that he would seek to incorporate projects in the Ten-Year Highway Plan.

Kenney said that he would also continue Burton's legacy of seeking to ensure that the district is properly represented in state government by placing constituents on various boards and commissions.

The primary election will be held on January 21. The winner will face Democrat Mike Cryans of Hanover, who serves on the Grafton County Commission, in the general election on March 11.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 January 2014 12:26

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Both boaters involved in summer crash facing charges; first trial set for Monday

LACONIA — The pilots of both boats that collided near Governor's Island on the night of June 21, leaving some of the occupants with serious injuries, are scheduled to stand trial in 2014.

Barry Myers, 50, of Dracut, Mass is charged with one count of boating while under the influence of alcohol. His trial is scheduled for Monday morning. Myers is also charged with a violation for allegedly not having on the proper lights.

Dr. Brenda Stowe, 51, of Gilford is charged with a violation of the rules of operating a vessel for failing to keep to the right when approaching another vessel.

The crash occurred about 10:25 p.m. about 300 yards off the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee between the Governor's Island bridge and Saunders Bay. Of the five total occupants on both boats, four — two from each boat — were taken to the hospital for a variety of injuries ranging from broken bones to internal injuries.

At the time Marine Patrol reported both boats were heavily damaged and towed from the scene.

According to documents obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, Myers will present an expert witness, Dr. William A. Stuart, who is expected to testify that one of the people on Myers' boat who was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital, and whose blood alcohol level was tested there, had testified at an administrative hearing that his blood alcohol content was well below the legal boating limit of 0.08 percent and that he had consumed more alcohol prior to the accident than had Myers.

Stowe has filed for an affirmative defense. She says she was headed toward her home on Dockham Shore Road and had begun turning left from the open water. She said she saw a single white light heading toward her at a high rate of speed but that she didn't see any bow lights.

She said when she realized the driver of the boat (Myers) didn't see her, she made a split second decision to make a hard left and increase her speed to try to avoid the collision.

Rather that hit head on, Myers boat "T-boned" hers, said a Marine Patrol sergeant.

The state says that if she had stayed to the right, the collision may have been averted. Stowe said he was coming head on and keeping her course and trying to speed out of the way averted a head-on collision that could have produced even more serious injuries.

Stowe's trial is scheduled for early February.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 January 2014 11:54

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