Gilford rescuers search woods after cries for ‘help!’

GILFORD — Police, fire and N.H. Fish and Game searched in the Weeks Woods area yesterday for what was reported as a person crying for help.

Police Lt. Kris Kelley said a hunter told them he was in the woods and heard what sounded like someone calling for help. The hunter left the woods and called police.

Kelley said after interviewing the hunter, police accompanied the man back to the spot where he reported hearing the cries. He said police did a cursory search and then called Gilford Fire and Rescue for assistance.

"If there is someone out there, we need to try and find him or her," he said, saying he's not sure what the hunter heard, but said police believe he was being truthful to them.

He said police have not had any reports of anyone being missing. He said they went to houses in the area to see if anyone was missing and said no one said anyone was missing.

Kelley said Fish and Game took over the search and Gilford Police and Gilford Fire and Rescue stopped their portion of the search.

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Suit over awkward burial situation at Bayside Cemetery leads to lawsuit

LACONIA — A Tilton man is suing the Bayside Cemetery Association and a Massachusetts family for breach of contract because he claims the cemetery sold one of the plots in his family's site a second time to the Massachusetts family who buried one of their relatives there.

According to pleadings filed in the Belknap County Superior Court, Kenneth Dame purchased two grave sites, one for himself and another for his wife, in 1987 for their interment when the time came. Eleven other members of the Dame family are buried in the family plot and two additional plots are reserved for other Dame family members.

On Aug. 30, 2013, Michael Girardi died and arrangements were made for his burial in Bayside Cemetery.

Dame claims that the administrator of the cemetery sold Girardi's family one of Dame's lots. The administrator died about two weeks later and the error was discovered almost immediately However, Girardi's family will not give permission to have him disinterred and reburied at a different plot – even at the cemetery's expense.

According to the paperwork, Dame was offered a second double plot but it is 60 feet away from his family's lot with "dozens" of reserved or used spaces between the two.

The proposed solution, " much too far for him to agree too," wrote Dame's lawyer.

Dame claims that while the courts have determined that "good and substantial reasons must be shown before disinterment is to be sanctioned... the right to have a dead body remain unmolested is not an absolute one," but must be granted where reasons of the public good or the demands of justice require it.

He claims the cemetery breached its contract with him and was negligent in its administration of its affairs. Dame is demanding that the court order the remains of Girardi be moved and reburied at a suitable site.

Dame is also asking the cemetery and Girardi's family to pay for his attorney's fees.

Cemetery Trustee Edwin Burliegh said he hadn't read the court paperwork and declined to comment.


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A day after his release from prison, man who kicked roommate to death detained for drunkenness

LACONIA – Within one day of his release from N.H. State Prison, a former local man who kicked his roommate to death in 2011 was detained by city police for drunkenness.

Police Capt. William Clary confirmed yesterday that officers responded to Keasor Court Sunday night for a disturbance complaint and detained Jason Durgin, 40, of Pleasant Street in Concord.

Belknap County Corrections Superintendent Daniel Ward said Durgin was taken into jail custody just before 11 p.m. Sunday and released Monday at 9:30 a.m. He is not facing any new charges.

In June 2012 a Belknap County jury convicted Durgin of negligent homicide for the 2011 beating and kicking death of Leo LaPierre – a transient who occasionally stayed in the trailer Durgin rented behind Quik Laundry on South Main Street.

LaPierre was found unconscious by some friends of one of Durgin's other roommates and she called the police. He was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital and flown to Dartmouth- Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon where he died about six days later without regaining consciousness.

When police first arrived at the home around 9:30 a.m., Durgin and his roommate refused to come out of the trailer. The roommate testified at his trial that he held her down on the bed and refused to let her go to the door and speak with the police. Eventually the two came out of the trailer without further incident.

The roommate also testified that the night before, she saw Durgin punch and kick LaPierre during an argument.

After his conviction, Durgin received the maximum sentence of 3½ to 7 years in State Prison. Credited with 406 days of pre-trial confinement, Durgin served 2½ years and was released on parole on Nov. 13, said Jeff Lyons, a spokesman for the State Department of Corrections.

Lyons said Durgin is on parole until April 29, 2018.

In December of 2013, the N.H. Supreme Court upheld Durgin's conviction in a unanimous decision. He had argued that his defense team had been prohibited from offering an alternative theory of the crime and that one of the witnesses against him had allegedly unlawfully used his EBT card.

Clary said the LPD would be notifying Durgin's parole officer about his department's recent contact with him.

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Laconia ZBA approves first request to install an ‘electronic message center’

LACONIA — With little debate the Zoning Board of Adjustment this week approved the request of the Byse Agency Inc. to mount an electronic sign outside its offices at 208 Union Ave., which is the first to be erected under the ordinance adopted last May.

The ordinance distinguishes between two types of "electronic message center" (EMC) — "static" and "dynamic." Static electronic signs are those on which neither the copy nor pictures change during the message, while their dynamic counterparts appear to move or change as they present a stream of images or words that fly in, fade out, rotate and scroll across the face of the sign.

Ben Barr of Wildfire Signs told the board that the Byse Agency plans to add to its existing free-standing sign a static EMC, which will advertise the firm's insurance products and services along with time and temperature. He said the message would not change more frequently than every five minutes, in compliance with the ordinance, and the sign would dim automatically in order not to distract motorists.

Since the sign will stand in the professional district a special exception is required. Moreover, with the addition of the 2-foot by 6-foot panel, the total area of signage on the property will exceed the 44 square feet limit in the district set by the zoning ordinance by 5.95 square feet, requiring a variance.

Jeff Flanders of the Byse Agency said the firm was willing, but reluctant to remove the "Inc" from the sign on its building in order to comply with the limit, but said that since it has been there since 1972, "Inc" would remain visible on the masonry facade.

In the spring, when the ordinance was debated, several business owners questioned the requirement for a special exception as unnecessarily restrictive. City Councilor Henry Lipman (Ward 3), who attended the ZBA meeting, indicated that a number of businesses are eager to erect EMCs and urged the council to adopt the ordinance despite its shortcomings.

As yet the Planning Department has received no other applications to erect EMCs.

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