Wild turkey surprises woman by breaking through window


LACONIA — A resident of a large Union Avenue apartment building had an experience on Tuesday night that she'd like to soon forget, after coming home in the evening to find a feathered intruder had made a shambles of her unit. A wild turkey had somehow crashed through her second-floor window during the five hours that she was out, and when she opened the door at around 9 p.m., she was greeted with a scene of mayhem – her belongings toppled and smashed, the spaced covered with feathers, blood and excrement, and on the windowsill, a wild turkey trying to find her way out.

"By the time I got there and opened the door, I couldn't believe my eyes," said the tenant, who asked not to be named. The tenant said that she had to close and re-open the door to be sure that she was indeed seeing what she thought she was seeing.

Wild turkeys, which had disappeared from New Hampshire until a successful repopulation effort began in 1969, are now a common sight in nearly every corner of the state. Still, there are several reasons why it was shocking for the tenant to find one in her apartment. She lives in the Normandin Square Apartments, a Laconia Housing Authority property within the large building which once contained the Scott and Williams textile mill. She lives on the second floor, and her windows are double-pane thermal glass, and have several utility lines strung in front of them. 

"What that turkey was doing up on the second floor of the building, I have no idea," she said.

Bob Martel, maintenance worker for the Laconia Housing Authority, was equally surprised to get the call. He has worked in his current job for six years, and has lived in Laconia for all of his life. Still, this was a new experience for him.

"I've never had anything close to it," he said.

Martel said he received the call about the bird on Tuesday night, and called for police assistance while he was still on his way there.

He and the Laconia Police officer arrived at the same time, and when they entered the apartment they saw the bird perched on the windowsill.

"We looked and saw blood, a lot of blood – we were surprised that the bird was standing upright," he said. The turkey – Martel said it was a female – likely cut herself while breaking through the window.

Martel and the officer spent a few minutes observing the animal and trying to think of a way that they could humanely remove it from the building. He and the tenant were able to compile an assortment of items: a pole used for painting ceilings, a box and a large construction tote. Martel thought he could use the pole to hold the turkey in place.

"The bird didn't like that, though, when I held it down, and when the officer tried to put the box on top of the turkey, it took flight." The turkey smashed into a wall, knocking a light fixture to the ground. It then squeezed into a corner of the room, hiding behind a set of glass shelves. 

Then, taking their time so as to not further provoke the animal, Martel was able to slowly pull the shelves away from the corner, giving the officer enough space to drop the box over the turkey. They then slid the tote underneath the thrashing bird, and the officer was able to to take the turkey out of the building.

The officer didn't return a call for comment, but a dispatcher for Laconia Police Department reported that the bird was taken to a rural part of town. "It was released and it was fine," said the dispatcher.

It took more than an hour for Martel and the officer to remove the turkey from the apartment. Reached on Thursday, the tenant was still recovering from the ordeal. In its frantic search for an exit, the bird had damaged much of her collection of crystal keepsakes.

"There's so much destruction (to items) that can't be replaced," she said. However, she kept a sense of humor about the incident.

"You have to – it's either laugh or cry," she said, adding, "I've got enough feathers to make a turkey pillow."

Keene pumpkin festival won't affect Laconia plans


LACONIA — As Laconia and the rest of the Lakes Region looks forward to a pumpkin-filled fall festival celebrating the giant gourd, the former organizers of the Keene Pumpkin Festival are also proposing to bring a festival back to the college town that once drew tens of thousands of people.
The Keene Sentinel reports that a letter was sent to Keene Mayor Kendall W. Lane and the City Council by Tim Zinn, a member of Let It Shine, the nonprofit group that ran the Keene festival from 2011 to 2014, proposing a much smaller event. He suggested that they would limit the size of the festival by only accepting pumpkins from Keene State College students and faculty members.

The Keene festival, a 24-year tradition, was canceled indefinitely after crowds of young partiers rioted near the college, outside the festival's footprint, resulting in property damage, injuries and more than 100 arrests, according to the Sentinel.

Following that cancellation, the festival was resurrected in Laconia in 2015. Karmen Gifford, president of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the Laconia festival, said Keene's plans will have no affect on the local event.

"We are truly grateful to Ruth Sterling and Let It Shine! for bringing the NH Pumpkin Festival to Laconia and passing the torch to the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce as the official organizer.," said Gifford. "Our goal is to focus on our plans for Oct. 14. Plans are in high gear for this year's festival. We are looking forward to a press conference planned later this month around Earth Day to share exciting news. We will be promoting some new activities and events being organized here in the Lakes Region."


Owner of stolen excavator offers $1,000 reward

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Belmont Police hope a witness will step forward and identify the culprits who stole a Volvo Excavator Model #EC 140 CL from a property along Route 140 in March. (Courtesy photo)


BELMONT — The owner of a stolen Volvo excavator is offering a reward, while police continue their search for the stolen piece of equipment that went missing in late March.
"We have not located it," confirmed Belmont Police Lt. Richard Mann on Friday.
Police received several tips, one in Pembroke, another in Candia, but so far none has panned out, he said.
"The public is helping us. They are keeping their eyes open," Mann said.
Belmont-based contractor John DeWare, owner of the excavator, said the machine was stolen from a site at 151 Gilmanton Road, Route 140 in Belmont.
Police think the culprits loaded up the 35,000-pound piece of equipment in broad daylight, hoping that passersby would chalk it up to typical commercial activity.
DeWare is offering a $1,000 reward to "the first person with information that leads to recovery of the machine and/or the arrest and conviction of whoever is found responsible."
The stolen piece of equipment, a Volvo Excavator Model #EC 140 CL, did not have a key with it at the time of the crime, police said.
The excavator was parked at a residence where DeWare was preparing to start a job.
Anyone who was on the section of Route 140 in Belmont near the Belmont Elementary School and who saw an excavator being loaded sometime in the last week of March is asked to call Officer Evan Boulanger at the Belmont Police at 267-8350.