Alleged meth dealer indicted, state to handle prosecution

LACONIA — A Belknap County grand jury has indicted an Appleton Street man for two counts of possession of a controlled drug – methamphetamine – with intent to sell, and one count of possession of heroin.

The N.H. State Attorney General's Office is prosecuting Peter Dauphin, 43, of 19 Appleton St.

Dauphin was arrested on School Street near his home after a routine traffic stop in which police said he squealed his tires while going from Clinton Street to Elm Street around 10:30 p.m. After following him to the corner of School and Appleton streets, police stopped Dauphin and said the license plates didn't belong to him.

During an inventory search of the car, police allegedly found some methamphetamine under the driver's seat and used that discovery to justify searching his home where they allegedly found 6.8 ounces of methamphetamine and $11,000 cash.

While Laconia Police were searching his home, Gilford Police searched his car repair business and allegedly found a small amount of heroin. It is not known where the heroin was found, but police allegedly searched all the cars and toolboxes in the shop and in the parking area.

During Dauphin's probable cause hearing, Atty. Mark Sisti argued that the car was still registered to the original owner and, despite the fact that Dauphin had bought it, he hadn't changed any of the paperwork.

Sisti also said noted that Dauphin was feet from his own property and called and paid for towing his car to his driveway. Police testified that they still had the right to search the car even if it wasn't going to be impounded.

A Laconia narcotics detective testified that Dauphin allegedly admitted the methamphetamine was his, that he used it and that he brought three or four ounces a week for sale into the area.

Fourth Circuit Court, Laconia Division Judge Jim Carroll determined there was probable cause to sustain the arrest and set his bail at $65,000 cash-only. Dauphin posted bail after the Belknap County Attorney agreed that the source of the money was not from drug sales.

The case will be tried in the Belknap County Superior Court however presiding Justice James O'Neill will not be hearing it.


Hosmer sketches budget impasse for City Council

LACONIA — Speaking to the City Council last night, State Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) said that while lawmakers have been working throughout the summer to resolve the stalemate over the 2016-2017 budget, he could offer no assurance that an agreement would be reached by the time the Senate reconvenes on September 16.

In June, the Senate and House of Representatives adopted a budget, which Governor Maggie Hassan promptly vetoed. Without the votes to override her veto, the Republican majorities in both chambers adopted a continuing resolution that maintains state spending at the levels authorized in the prior fiscal year.

Hosmer, who serves on the Senate Finance Committee, told the councilors that there will be no significant impact on cities and towns other than deferring reimbursement of tuition and transportation payments for students attending regional technical centers cities and towns that could effect the cash flows of some municipalities.

In particular, Hosmer reminded the council said that the sale of the former Laconia State School property on North Main Street is included in the budget and said that it has not been and is not likely to become a bone of contention. The budget projects the transaction will return $2-million in revenue, which he presumed represents the asking price. The terms of the transaction require that the state first offer the property to the city.

Likewise, funding for construction of the automotive technology facility at Lakes Region Community College, Hosmer said, will not be affected by the budget impasse and work at the site will continue until the building is complete.

Hosmer suggested that the outstanding issues in the dispute over the budget are the Legislature's insistence on reducing business taxes — both the business profits tax (BPT) and the business enterprise tax — the governor's wish to fund the contract negotiated with state employees and sustain the program to expand enrollment in the Medicaid program, and disagreement about the amount of the surplus accrued in the last fiscal year to be carried forward in to the next.

The governor, Hosmer said, proposed a compromise that would have immediately lowered the BPT from 8.5 percent to 7.9 percent, but added 21 cents to the tax on package of cigarettes and $5 to the automobile registration fee. The funds, Hassan claimed, would be sufficient to fund the state employees contract and expansion of Medicail enrollment as well as increase funding for the New Hampshire Community College System, enabling the colleges to freeze tuition.

Although the governor's proposal was rejected out of hand., Hosmer said that "it moved the discussion forward" and noted that senators and representatives have been meeting "outside the media spotlight," which is conducive to "frank conversations." Hesitant to sketch the outlines of an eventual settlement, he did say that while he doubted the expansion of Medicaid would be part of a budget agreement he believed the program would be reauthorized in 2016. At the same time he expected the budget would include reduced business taxes.

Because of the uncertainty surrounding the amount of the accrued surplus that can be applied to the budget, Hosmer did not expect the impasse would be overcome until the unaudited financial report for the last fiscal year is issued in September. He explained that while revenues in the last fiscal year exceeded projections, expenses, especially at the Department of Health and Human Services, also exceeded expectations. Until all the bills are paid and the tally is complete, the amount of the surplus available to fund the 2016-2016 cannot be calculated.

"We've got a ways to go," Hosmer said.

Loundsbury files for Ward 6 School Board seat

LACONIA — Heather Loundsbury, a registered nurse at Lakes Region General Hospital and mother of two students at Elm Street Elementary School, has filed to run for the School Board seat in Ward 6.

Loundsbury has been active in VISTESS (Volunteers in Support of Elm Street School), serving as one of the coordinators of the organization.

She is bidding to succeed Joe Cormier, who represented the ward on the board for 12 years, the last four as chairman. "I've got big shoes to fill and a big job on my hands," Loundsbury said yesterday. "But, I'm looking forward to the challenge if I get elected."