Pumpkin Festival looking for community partners

LACONIA — With 48 days remaining until the 25th New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in downtown Laconia on October 24, festival organizers are encouraging schools, businesses and civic organizations to strut their stuff by taking part in the event by either displaying or disposing of pumpkins.

Schools may register to carve and show pumpkins while businesses and civic organizations can contribute by sponsoring a school and providing it with pumpkins to display. Alternatively businesses and civic organization can display their own pumpkins by sponsoring one of the racks holding as many as 50 pumpkins, which will line the downtown streets.

When the festival ends, the Pumpkin Dump Derby begins as a dozen teams representing different charities compete for the top prize of $1,000 by removing pumpkins from their assigned areas in the shortest time. All competitors will receive $100 for their effort.

To register to receive, display or dump pumpkins visit the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce website — www.Lakes Region Chamber.org — or — PumpkinFestival2015.org. Questions may be addressed Karmen Gifford, executive director of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce at 524-5531.

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Police say Messer St. abduction report false

LACONIA — The 20-year-old woman who reported that a Hispanic male tried to kidnap her Tuesday evening made up the story because she missed her curfew.

The woman initially told police that someone had knocked her off her bicycle on Messer Street near the Lyford Street crossing of the WOW Trail, triggering an intensive investigation that involved at least one other police department.

She gave police a description and police released a photo of a man they were led to believe may have been involved.

Yesterday, Det. Sgt. Dennis Ashley said police received enough evidence to believe no attempted abduction had taken place and when presented with the new information, the woman allegedly admitted she fabricated the story.

Ashley said police are now investigating the false report.

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Judge tosses part of suit over 2011 Gilford drug raid

CONCORD — A federal judge has dismissed a civil suit filed by the owner of a Gilford strip club against the New Hampshire Drug Task Force for actions they took during a drug raid in October of 2011.

The court found that the NHDTF and its now-retired Commander James Norris are are an "arm of the state" and entitled to 11th Amendment protections.

Williard Drew filed suit against the NHDTF and its agents for allowing the members of the the Town of Gilford (also named) including selectmen – Gus Benevides, Kevin Hayes (ret), and John O'Brien (ret) – Code Enforcement Officer Dave Andrade and Town Administrator Scott Dunn into the building during the drug raid claiming their presence at the police action went beyond the scope of the warrant.

At the time, Drew owned the property but the night club, Mardi Gras North LLC, was being operated by a different company that was in his building and over which he had no direct management role.

Drew was cited by the Liquor Commission for a number of violations but was found responsible for three minor infractions and was fined a total of $350.

In the portion of the suit with claims against the Town of Gilford and Dunn and the members of the Board of Selectmen, individually and collectively, Drew said in the wake of the drug raid, Dunn, in conjunction with the board of selectmen, interfered with his ability to reopen a club under his own management by presenting a list of 12 questions regarding his exotic dancing application with questions related to matters that were dismissed by the N.H. Liquor Commission.

The suit also claims that the Board of Selectmen defamed Drew by publishing false statements saying the premises were being used for illegal activity, specifically the manufacture, possession, use and sale of illegal drugs and that these were "widely available" there when it knew it wasn't true.

The defamation suit argues that the board also published statements saying it was concerned because of the "'discovery of a variety of components that are commonly used in the illegal manufacturing of methamphetamine, along with residues thereof.'"

The case against the Town of Gilford and its employees and Selectboard continues.

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