Father of woman killed in crash: She was a positive story

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

MEREDITH — As police continue to investigate the cause of a car crash that took the life of a young mother Wednesday night, her father is remembering her as a wonderful mother, an imaginative daughter, and as someone whose death represents a great loss to the community.

01-21 Bree RobinsonChuck Braxton of Meredith said his daughter Bree Robinson loved people, her three children and her job as the front office person and sales manager at the Marriott Town Place Suites in Gilford.

"Her life was such a positive story," Braxton said.

Braxton said Robinson was raised in North Carolina and loved challenges, so she voluntarily attended Oakridge Military Academy in Greensboro, North Carolina.

"This was something she wanted to do," Braxton said. After graduating, he said she attended Ohio State University for a few years and then spent a few years finding herself.

"She met her husband and really blossomed," Braxton said saying the two were living in Columbus, Ohio, but moved to Detroit, Michigan.

He said she was carjacked in a parking lot during in the middle of the day there, so he and her mother brought Robinson and her husband to Meredith to live near them.

He said they found a nice condominium and got jobs, then moved to Winona Shores after the birth of their first child, Anthony Jerome Robinson Jr. Braxton said motherhood brought out the best in his daughter. Robinson and her husband had two more children, a daughter, Alanna Jade, who was born in April of 2015, and Aaliyah, who was born last July.

He said she started working at the Town Place Suites and worked her way up to becoming the front-end and sales manager.

Braxton said the family and his daughter's circle of friends were devastated to hear of her death.

Robinson is the second person to die in a car crash on the Laconia Bypass is as many weeks.

Earlier this month, 88-year-old Arline Downing died after she was driving in the wrong lane in Laconia during a very foggy afternoon and collided with a dump truck.

Lt. Kris Kelley of the Gilford Police said the entire bypass has historically been the scene of some horrific accidents.

"It's a 55 mph zone but with nothing to stop the cars from crossing into the other lane," he said. 

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Weirs man allegedly threatens father with knife, is arrested

LACONIA — A 44-year-old man who allegedly threatened his father by holding a knife to his throat is being held on $50,000 cash or corporate surety in the Belknap County House of Corrections.

Affidavits said David Downing of 243 Endicott St. North #732 startled his father early Friday morning when he walked into the elder man's bedroom while talking on a cell phone.

When the elder man saw his son was carrying a knife, he jumped out of bed and later told police his son pushed him against a wall and held the blade of the knife to this throat.

The elder man said he yelled at his son and the younger man retreated to his own bedroom.

According to both the affidavit and a handwritten note from his attorney requesting a competency evaluation, David Downing may have a history of mental instability.

He is charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief for putting knife holes in the wall of his bedroom, one count of domestic violence simple assault, one count of felony reckless conduct, and one count of felony criminal threatening.

– Gail Ober

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Group plans to bring tennis back to Laconia schools

By DAVID CARKHUFF/THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — There is no tennis team at Laconia High School, but that could change this year.
"We are anxious to help get tennis established at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels in Laconia, and other towns in the Lakes Region," reported Robert Ronstadt, co-chair of the Lakes Region Tennis Association, a nonprofit organization of volunteers who are passionate about tennis. "For the last few years, we have primed the pump by offering free tennis programs in Laconia, Franklin, Gilford, Meredith and Tilton. The time is right to resurrect school tennis. The kids are ready. We are ready."
Within the next two weeks, administrators in Laconia schools can expect to hear from Kamal Gosine, coach for the Lakes Region Tennis Association.
Gosine, who lives and teaches in the Franklin/Tilton area, said he plans to approach staff at the high school and middle school in Laconia about reinstating tennis as a sanctioned sport.
"Laconia could have a great team," he said.
One of the goals of the Lakes Region Tennis Association has always been to bring back tennis to Laconia High through a grassroots tennis program for younger kids. The idea has been to create demand for a high school team by cultivating programs in elementary school and middle school, according to the association.
If it doesn't get done this year, Gosine said he fears it won't happen at all.
"We just want them to at least put a sign-up sheet out to see what interest there is," Gosine said.
The association won't be asking for a budget line from the school district, he said.
"This is totally free" for the school district, Gosine said.
The goal is to bring up a team this year and make it competitive.
"I want to see at least a full team. I want to see them competing again," Gosine said.
As a pilot program, this past winter the association tested the opportunity to run tennis programs in all of the Boys and Girls Club organizations in New Hampshire. Geared to ages 5 to 12, Gosine coached players and provided instruction.
"Each day that went on, we had more and more kids join in," he said.
Gilford High School allows him to come in and teach new sports, such as cricket, and these experiments in alternative sports flushed young athletes with unsuspected skills.
Tennis, likewise, can uncover hidden talents and occupy young people who may not fit in other sports programs, Gosine said.
Already, the association has discovered some exceptional athletes, he said.
"The talent is ridiculous, the hand-eye coordination," Gosine said.
With a self-funded approach, a Laconia-based school-sanctioned tennis program could swell into a successful option, Gosine said.
"We're going to donate our time. We're going to support the high school and the middle school," he said.

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