Baer loses suit against Gilford Police lieutenant

CONCORD — A judge in the U.S. District Court District of New Hampshire determined that the Gilford police officer who arrested parent William Baer during a school board meeting in 2014 did not violate the man's rights when he arrested him.
Lt. James Leach has been granted summary judgment by the court meaning he cannot be held civilly liable for arresting Baer.
Baer had filed suit against Leach saying his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when he was arrested without a warrant for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest following a brief outburst at a school board meeting on May 5, 2014. Leach filed for summary judgment – meaning he asked the case against him be dismissed on legal grounds because there were no true objections over the facts surrounding his arrest.
In Baer's opinion, the book, "Nineteen Minutes" by Jody Picoult, assigned to his ninth-grade daughter as mandatory reading, contained a sexually explicit section that he believed was inappropriate.
Baer argued his arrest caused him embarrassment, emotional distress and mental anguish. Specifically, he said his arrest was broadcast widely on YouTube, that he was detained while crossing the Canadian border, and that his license to carry a firearm was delayed in the state of Maine.
Although the resisting arrest charge was dropped by the prosecution and the state's 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division Judge Jim Carroll dismissed the disorderly conduct charge on a First Amendment argument, Baer proceeded to sue Leach civilly in a federal court.
Judge Joseph A DiClerico determined that Leach had probable cause to arrest Baer during his outburst, saying that Board Chairman Sue Allen had repeatedly tried to get Baer to stop interrupting the meeting and then signaled to Leach to remove him. He determined Leach had no way of knowing if Baer's outbursts would continue, which gave him probable cause to arrest him. Probable cause that a crime has been committed and/or the imminent commission of a crime is forthcoming is the only way police can arrest someone in the U.S. absent a warrant.
DeClerico added that the length of the action, which was about 30 seconds, was not relevant to the action itself, dismissing a previous suit cited by Baer's attorney regarding a different and settled case. He said that twice Baer violated the proceedings – once by asking the board questions, which was not allowed, and the second time by interrupting.

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City holds off on accepting untracked money

LACONIA — The City Council voted Monday night to table adoption of a state law which would allow the city to accept and expend sums of less than $10,000 in unanticipated revenues or gifts outside of the normal appropriation process.
Citing litigation filed by former Mayor Tom Tardif which claims the provision violates state law as well as the city charter, the council voted unanimously to wait until that case is resolved before taking action.
Tardif claims the council violated the city charter when it voted 5-0 on Oct. 26 to allow two separate expenditures for a total of $17,891.82 after posted public hearings were held where no one spoke.
In addition, the suit claims that City Manager Scott Myers did not comply to Tardif's Right-To-Know request for information about drug forfeiture money in a timely fashion.
According to an attachment provided in the pleadings, which are now at the Carroll County Superior Court, Myers received an opinion from an attorney at the New Hampshire Municipal Association who advised that the city could use the provisions of RSA 32:95-b — which dictates how towns can spend unanticipated revenues that come after the budget is approved — as long as council authorizes the expenditure vote by a two-thirds majority vote.
Tardif said he disagrees with the advice given by the attorney at the New Hampshire Municipal Association and said giving the manager free reign to spend federal civil forfeiture drug money would be like creating a stream of money flowing through the city for which no one could account.
He has asked the court to stop the expenditure of $8,000 for drug surveillance equipment and $9,891.82 for items not specified. He also wants the court to stop the City Council from taking any action authorized by its October votes.
RSA 31:95-b allows any town or village district to accept and expend, without further action by the town or village district meeting money from state, federal or other governmental unit or private source which becomes available during the fiscal year. It requires public hearings for expenditures of $10,000 or more. It does not specifically mention city councils.
The resolution which was tabled cites RSA 47:1 which provides that all powers vested in towns shall be exercised by city councils and would require public hearings for all expenditures of more than $10,000 in unanticipated funds.
The council did vote Monday night to accept and expend $3,000 in donations made to the city ,$1,000 from New Futures Inc. for use in drug prevention and $2,000 from the Lake Winnipesaukee Association for the removal of milfoil in Black Brook.

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Downtown holiday parade will be colorful with late afternoon start (573)

LACONIA — The annual Laconia Holiday Parade, which for the last four years has been held on a Saturday afternoon, will switch back to a Sunday this year and will feature more than 60 groups and floats.
The parade will get underway at 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 29. Held snow or shine, the family-friendly event is organized jointly by the Downtown Laconia Main Street Initiative and the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce. The parade will begin at Wyatt Park and finish at Veterans Square.
"For decades, the Holiday Parade was held on a Sunday", said Karmen Gifford, executive director of the Chamber. "We experimented with Saturdays for a few years, but are returning to Sunday this year by popular demand."
"The parade culminates with the lighting of our city's giant tree in Veterans Square," said John Moriarty, president of the downtown group. "Starting the parade later means the tree will be lit at the best time so it can be displayed to full effect."

The change in time also will highlight the start of plans under way to upgrade the tree lights for 2016.
He said those individuals, families, or groups who wish to register a float still have a narrow window in which to do so by contacting Sue Bullerwell at All My Life Jewelers on Main Street for more information.
"The parade is a festive way for our community to kick off the holidays," said Bullerwell, who chairs the downtown group's Promotions Committee. "We are seeing a lot of groups returning, but with the new opportunities that a nighttime parade offers, we are seeing some new people with new ideas registering, too."
She said many groups are evidently enthusiastic about the new hours of the parade and the opportunity to let their light shine. Bank of New Hampshire's float is called "Gingerbread House on Candy Cane Lane," and, for the first time, will be illuminated.
Other parade participants will include Miss Winnipesaukee and Miss Weirs Beach, the Girl Scouts, the Streetcar Company with "A Christmas Story" theme; the Emergency Veterinary Hospital of Meredith with their canine company; plus the Kiwanis Club; the pace car from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, featuring their mascot, Milo the Moose; and the new Winnipesaukee Muskrats with their mascot, Scrat.
There will also be many classic cars featured, many chosen for their bright colors to show prominently in the parade lighting. Among them will be a handmade tribute re-creation of a 1934 Griffin, whose hues might even rival the holiday tree.
Another milestone of this year's parade involves the marching bands with Laconia, Belmont and Gilford High Schools performing.

"But this year will be the final parade for Debbie Gibson, who is retiring as band director of the Laconia Sachems band," Bullerwell said.
"We have heard a rumor from the North Pole that Santa will also be present and taking part in the lighting of the tree, assisted by elves from the Christmas Village," Gifford said.
Moriarty expressed gratitude for those businesses that contributed, which in turn makes this gift to the community possible.

"This is not a commercial or mercantile stunt" Moriarty said. "This parade brings together children of all ages 'from 9 to 92' from across the Lakes Region and provides a chance to catch up with neighbors and family."
This year's sponsors include All My Life jewelers, Bead Divine, Condodemetraky Engineering, Laconia Village Bakery, MC Cycle & Sport, Polished & Proper Barber Shop, The Studio, Wayfarer Coffee Roasters and Yoga from the Heart.

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