Police end search for missing Laconia woman

GILFORD — Gilford police have called off the search for a Laconia woman, last seen at a Gilford hotel, who had been missing since Saturday night. Officials would not confirm on Friday afternoon that her body had been found in Alton.

Around mid-day on Thursday, a post appeared on Gilford Police Department's Facebook page seeking information on the whereabouts of Jeanne Pochily of Laconia, who had last been seen on Saturday night, leaving the TownPlace Suites hotel. The Facebook page provided a photo and description of the 44-year-old woman, and later in the day, a description of the vehicle she was believed to be driving.

The information was not released to traditional state or local media outlets.

Gilford Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee said yesterday that Pochily's vehicle was located in Alton on Thursday night, and that Alton Police located Pochily on Friday morning. Bean Burpee said his department is no longer requesting the public's help in the matter.

Alton Police Chief Ryan Heath declined to discuss the issue yesterday, saying only, "We have no comment at this point, our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends."

Town of Meredith truck fished from bottom of big lake

MEREDITH — Firefighters, together with helping hands from Sea Town and Harper Towing, spent more than three hours yesterday seeking to retrieve a Ford F-150 pickup belonging to the Town of Meredith and assigned to the Parks and Recreation Department from 10 feet of water some 400 feet off the sands at Leavitt Beach.

The truck, driven by an unidentified town employee, was parked on the beach on Lake Winnipesaukee, but around 10 a.m. it rolled into the lake near the swimming area. Amid a strong current and stiff breeze it rolled through the shallows over a sand bar to deeper water where it sank at once. Although covered by 10 or 12 feet of water, the truck was only a few feet from the waist deep water covering the sand bar. Shortly after 10:30 a.m. Deputy Fire Chief Andre Kloetz and his team on the fire boat located the truck and soon a Marine Patrol officer also reached the scene.

Harper Towing stationed a Ford Super-duty pickup at the water's edge and ran a line to the Sea Tow boat. Kloetz said that air bags were inflated in the cab to lighten the sunken truck, which was then hooked to the line. He described conditions as "tough", explaining that positioning the boats to to inflate the air bags and connect the line proved challenging. However, once secured, the truck was lifted on to the sand bar and easily towed ashore by about 2 p.m.

Dead River Oil Co. gives refrigerated truck to N.H. Food Bank

LACONIA — The Dead River Company, the largest home heating service in northern New England, yesterday enriched its longstanding partnership with the New Hampshire Food Bank by donating a new refrigerated box truck to the charity, which hosted a mobile food pantry at the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region.

Mel Gosselin, executive director of of the N.H. Food Bank, said that the partnership between the company and the charity stemmed from the two being "sort of in the same business — keeping families together, fed and warm." Together they have distributed more than 700,000 pounds of food to the one in nine residents of New Hampshire who wonder where there next meal will come from.

"Our employees are in peoples' homes every day," said Deanna Sherman, vice-president of Dead River Company, "and they see the needs first-hand. We're humbled to be helping you here today."

"And the truck has food in it," added Gosselin.

Sherman said that when Gosselin was asked how the company could help, she answered that the charity needed a truck to deliver food to the more than 418 food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, day care centers, after school programs and senior programs it serves throughout the state. In 2014 the N.H. Food Bank distributed 11 million pounds of food — the equivalent of 9,166,666 meals — to meet the needs of more than 143,000 residents, many of them children. After increasing its distribution by 30 percent last year, Gosselin said the NH Food Bank aims to increase its distribution another 10 percent, to more than 12 million pounds, this year.

Gosselin said that the 26-foot truck, with capacity for 10,000 pounds of foodstuffs, will replace an aging vehicle, sparing the charity costly repairs. The N.H. Food Bank, which operates without state or federal funding, operates a fleet of four distribution vehicles.

Mayor Ed Engler noted that it was appropriate the partners chose Laconia, where the Got Lunch program, which has since spread to more than a dozen communities, originated. He noted that the number of students in the city schools receiving free and reduced lunch has doubled in the last decade to represent nearly two-thirds of the total enrollment. Stressing that "we appreciate all the work you do," he said "it's not enough to distribute the food. There are way too many hungry people and people living below the poverty line," he continued. "We need to stop and think about we can do to reduce the need."