Belmont police meet drug 'scourge' with 4 more arrests

BELMONT — Police made four drugs-related arrests last weekend, including three involving people wanted by their own department or others.

According to police logs, at 2:08 a.m. Saturday, police arrested Stephen Marando, 55, and Andrea Cross, 43, both of 72 Chestnut Street. Both were wanted by authorities and both were charged with possession of controlled and narcotics drugs.

At 5:02 p.m. Saturday, police arrested Adam Leisner, 27, of 37 Deware Drive after they saw him near his car which had broken down. He was charged with one count of possession of controlled/narcotic drugs.

At 8:44 p.m., police arrested Sean Mallory, 29, of 178 Shaker Road Apt. 3 on a number of outstanding warrants. He was also charged with possession of controlled/narcotic drugs.

Lt. Richard Mann said that based on the "scourge" of drug abuse in Belmont and in the Lakes Region, police are taking an "aggressive stance" toward people with whom they come in contact who are in possession of drugs.

"We know that every drug in our community gets here by some sort of conveyance so focusing on the basics can help us with drug interdiction efforts," Mann said.

He went on to say that for those who are making no efforts to get help, police will vigorously prosecute them for violating the drug laws.

In other police business, Mann wanted to caution drivers along the Route 107 and Route 106 corridors when the bicycle routes for the Ironman 70.3 Timberman route will be active from 7 am - 11 am this Sunday. Digital sign boards have been posted in and around the area for two weeks reminding residents of this event.

He said the bike race will affect traffic at all local roads that meet or intersect Route 107 near Leavitt Road, Federal Street and along the Route 106 corridor from Leavitt Road south to the Gilmanton Town line.

He said police officers will have a visible presence along the race route to assist motorists and ask that all motorists use caution while motoring in the area, especially on Sunday morning from 7 to 11 a.m.

Merrimack County grand jury returns numerous indictments against former Pines Center employee

CONCORD — A former police officer has been indicted by a Merrimack County grand jury on multiple counts of sexually assaulting children while he was employed at the Pines Community Center in Northfield, said Police Chief John Raffaelly.

Raffaelly said Friday that the grand jury met Thursday and he was unsure of the exact number and nature of the assaults Robert Magoon,73, of Tilton faces but said he expect to have the complete information on Monday.

Magoon was arrested in early May and charged with multiple counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault for allegedly inappropriately touching four girls who were between the ages of 6 and 7. He was also charged with simple assault for allegedly kissing a 13-year-old girl on the mouth.

Raffaelly said police actually began their investigation in 2015 after receiving a single complaint but were unable to get enough evidence to move forward with an arrest.

He said former Pines Director Jim Doane was notified about the allegation and Magoon was allegedly told to not be in the building when accompanied only by children. Doane resigned shortly after Magoon's arrest.

Magoon was a part-time maintenance worker who opened the doors for the children while they waited for school buses to pick them up.

Police affidavits said video camera footage shows Magoon with one identifiable child who was coloring while sitting on his lap and a second unidentifiable child also sitting on his lap while coloring. Police said footage showed him touching one child's buttocks and later playing with her hair.

Since Magoon's arrest, the center has changed the way it's before school program works, has added additional video cameras and doesn't allow any children inside unless there are two staff members.

Magoon is being held on $150,000 cash-only bail.

Gilmanton winery owner files for zoning exception for restaurant that has been operating since 2011

GILMANTON — A winery owner and selectman, Marshall Bishop, will go before the Zoning Board of Adjustments on Sept. 15 to ask for a special exception to operate a restaurant in the town's rural zone.

Bishop, who has recently come under fire by some for allegedly not having the proper local approvals to operate a restaurant at his winery and alpaca farm, has said he doesn't believe he needs the special exception because his use falls under the state agriculture and agritourism laws and is allowed by right.

Specifically, Bishop has asked for a special exception from Article 4 - Table 1 of the town's zoning ordinances. In his application, he describes the proposed use as "running a function area as described in the Planning Board minutes of June 9, 2011." He said the special exception is to run a restaurant.

Article 4 -Table 1 of the current town ordinances, as they appear online on the town website, say that operating a new restaurant building in a rural zone is not permitted, meaning it needs a variance, while making adjustments to an existing building to turn it into a restaurant requires a special exception. 

During the June 9, 2011 meeting, the Planning Board gave him site plan approval for what minutes say is to "operate a winery and social hall to facilitate gatherings in the converted downstairs of the home into an dining and function area to be open to the public with one sitting each night with no more than one bus tour per day between July and October each calendar year..."

Conditions were that the site plan be be signed and recorded, however it appears that never happened. Bishop said the plan needed to be recorded and signed by the Planning Board and that he shouldn't be penalized for an administrative oversight.

At the most recent Planning Board meeting, Chairman Wayne Ogni made it clear that his board was willing to work with Bishop to get him to where he needs to be as far as the town ordinances are concerned.

Bishop also said he was never told in 2011 that he needed any variances or special exceptions to facilitate his plan as presented to and approved by the Planning Board.

The Planning Board minutes also note that his site plan approval "is subject to expiration, revocation and changes in ordinances under town regulations and state (laws.)"

Earlier this year a state law defining agritourism by right as part of the state statutes for agriculture was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Maggie Hassan.