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Defense in heroin case doesn't want reporters to hear tape recorded evidence

LACONIA — The defense attorney representing a Belmont man who is charged with allegedly selling the heroin that killed one of his friends has asked a Belknap County judge to close the courtroom during two suppression of evidence hearings.

In a motion filed yesterday, defense attorney Wade Harwood said he is seeking to suppress, or eliminate from evidence, statements made by his client Jonathan Woodbury to a Laconia Police detective who assisted Belmont Police with the investigation.

The decision the judge must make is whether or not the statements made by Woodbury were made voluntarily. Suppression hearings are part of the pretrial work done by attorneys before the actual trial.

Woodbury is charged with selling or providing heroin and/or fentanyl to Michael Chamberlain on February 4 at the Woodbury home on Arlene Drive in Belmont. Chamberlain died there of an overdose.

Harwood's fear is that if the information contained in the recording of the entire interview is played in an open courtroom and the judge determines the interview will not be heard by a jury, that newspapers will report on the the information anyway and it could negatively impact Woodbury's right to a fair and unbiased jury.

"This is because there is a real risk if inadmissible evidence is publicized pretrial it may never be altogether kept from potential jurors," Harwood wrote.

The motion was apparently triggered during the beginning of Laconia Det. Chris Noyes's testimony on Tuesday when, after answering a few preliminary questions from Belknap County Prosecutor Carley Ahern, Harwood asked to speak to the judge privately.

A reporter from The Daily Sun was at the hearing, along with a reporter from The Citizen, and four members of the general public. Harwood indicted in his motion he thought two of them were members of Michael Chamberlain's family.

Harwood said that under the constitution, "the press does not have a unique First Amendment right of access (to criminal proceedings) beyond that held by the general public."

"If the statements are widely reported, it will not be possible to unring the bell if the court ultimately rules that the statements are involuntary," he said.

In the course of Woodbury's court case, four motions have been filed by Harwood on behalf of Woodbury relative to suppression issues and this is routine for criminal cases. None of the four motions were filed under seal — or not for public view — and on September 10 The Daily Sun reported about their content.

Two of the motions are to suppress evidence taken from a phone allegedly belonging to Woodbury and those were heard aloud in Superior Court Tuesday.

Harwood argued that Noyes seized a phone in Woodbury's possession four days after Chamberlain's arrest without his permission. He also argues the affidavit filed by Belmont police to search the contents didn't connect the phone to Woodbury.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 October 2014 12:07

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Crack cocaine seized with aid of search warrant

LACONIA — Police seized what they are calling a significant amount of crack cocaine and cash while executing a search warrant at 25 Grove St yesterday morning.

Bountham Sonthikoummane, 52, of 25 Grove St. Apt. 1 is charged with possession of controlled drugs with intent to distribute and Onella Nguan, 37, also of 25 Grove St. Apt. 1 is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled drugs.

Both are scheduled to appear in the Fourth Circuit Court, Laconia Division this afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

Police said the case in still being investigated and ask that anyone with any information to call the Laconia Police Department at 524-5252 or the Greater Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 October 2014 12:03

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Inter-Lakes schools to offer parents choice of all-day (Meredith) or half-day (Sandwich) kindergarten

MEREDITH — The Inter-Lakes School Board has voted unanimously to introduce all-day kindergarten at Inter-Lakes Elementary School in the 2015-2016 school year while continuing to offer half-day kindergarten at Sandwich Central School for children throughout the district, which consists of Meredith, Center Harbor and Sandwich.

The decision followed the recommendation of a committee convened in March to study the issue after parents and residents expressed interest in the prospect.

School Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond said that research indicates that children attending all-day kindergarten outperform their peers who attend for half-a-day in the first and second grades, but the difference narrows and disappears in the third grade. However, she stressed that evidence is overwhelming that all-day kindergarten, especially what she called "the rich language environment it provides", enables children from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds to compete successfully. Studies also indicate, she said, that children of all backgrounds attending all-day kindergarten scored higher on social, emotional and behavioral measures than those who attend half-day kindergarten.

Adding full-day kindergarten will require an additional full-time teacher and a para educator at estimated costs of $96,700 and $27,000 respectively along with approximately $15,000 worth of furniture, equipment and supplies for a total cost of $138,700. Ormond emphasized that "this is a rough estimate", but added that she expected the cost to be be very close to the estimate.

Ormond projected about 60 children to enroll in all-day kindergarten and said they would be divided into three evenly numbered classes. As of October 1 this year the district reported that 72 children in kindergarten and 27 in pre-school.

Ormond said that projections are challenging in part because the board chose to offer the option of half-day kindergarten at Sandwich Central School to all parents in the district. At public meetings a number of parents spoke in support of providing a choice between all-day and half-day kindergarten. Moreover, Ormond said that the half-day kindergarten is an integral element of the multi-age classroom model at Sandwich Central School.

Ormond said that goals would be incorporated into the kindergarten regimen. "all education, beginning with kindergarten, is influenced by the high expectations of 21st Century learning," she noted. She explained that at Inter-Lakes all learning is prefaced with "yet" as in "you will learn that, but not yet. "Kindergarten is our yet," she continued. "It is a growth mindset starting with five year olds." .

Last Updated on Friday, 03 October 2014 11:53

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World War II vet finds relative of Laconia buddy who died fighting alongside him in Germany in 1944

LACONIA — Seventy years ago next month, Joseph Picard of the Taylor Community lost one of his best friends to a fragment of an enemy artillery shell while fighting along side him outside a small town in southern Germany.

Picard, who is originally from Rhode Island, said he met Laconia native Raymond Bolduc while the two of them were in basic training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 1943 and they stayed together in the same unit.

Deployed to the European theater in 1943, Bolduc — a TEC 5 or the modern-day equivalent of a corporal — was killed in action on November 5, 1944. Originally buried in Henri Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium, Bolduc's family brought his body back to the United States in 1948 and he is buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Laconia

Picard, who relocated to Laconia after his retirement, said he spent many years looking for surviving family members of Raymond Bolduc but to no avail — until this summer when he took an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. and met Bolduc's nephew.

Honor Flight New England is a program for WW II veterans to fly to the capital and visit the WW II Memorial built to honor their service. Picard said he wanted to dedicate his flight to Raymond Bolduc.

He said that as he was preparing for his Honor Flight he went onto the program's webstie  and began scrolling down through the names of other honorees and found that a Jeff and Debbie Bolduc of Hookset had dedicated a flight to Raymond Bolduc.

He said that the registry is not an official archive but this was the first time he had seen a reference to Raymond Bolduc other than his research at the Laconia Public Library, visiting his grave in Sacred Heart Cemetery, and seeing his name on the WW II memorial in Veteran's Square.

Picard said that when Jeff Bolduc saw that he had listed Raymond Bolduc as his honoree, he reached out to him and told him he was not only a nephew but was a volunteer for Honor Flight New England.

The two men flew together during Picard's Honor Flight.

Picard recalled yesterday how Bolduc's wife had written to him shortly after her husband's death but because he was still fighting in Germany, he couldn't tell her how her husband had died because of military censorship.

"I wrote back and told her that if I made it back I would tell her everything," he said.

Picard made it back in 1946 and said he drove to Laconia to find Bolduc's wife but only had her mother's address. When he went to her mother's home he learned Bolduc's wife had remarried and he said decided not to pursue finding her.

"I think she lived in the area but I never knew her last name," he said.

But Bolduc's family was always something he thought about. "I know there are a lot of Bolducs in Laconia but none of them are apparently from his family," he said.

Picard said he and his family vacationed in Laconia for years and about 15 years ago, he and his wife moved here permanently.

He said he researched Bolduc's death in the newspaper archives at the library and noted that it was extensively covered. He said there were even stories about how the military made a mistake and originally told Bolduc's widow he was killed on October 5 and not November 5.

He said there were stories written in 1948 when his body was brought home and there was a letter about him written by the chaplin that was reprinted in the newspaper.

But until this summer he had never found a living relative he could share his memories with.

"I was so glad that Jeff got some more information about his uncle," said Picard, noting that finding one of his dead friend's living relatives was one of the great missions of his life.

 

CAPTION: Joseph Picard of the Taylor Community holds a picture of himself and Jeff Bolduc of Hooksett, the nephew of Raymond Bolduc of Laconia, one of his his best friends who was killed in action on November 5, 1944 while the two fought together in Germany during WWII. Picard spent 70 years looking for one of Raymond Bolduc's living relatives and found him on an Honor Flight this past summer. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Friday, 03 October 2014 11:50

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