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Man sentenced to prison for variety of crimes in Laconia

LACONIA — A man who pleaded guilty to drug possession, burglary, and theft of a firearm in July also pleaded guilty this week to one count of criminal threatening with a deadly weapon.

Joseph Coughlin, 34, formerly of Spring Street was sentenced to three to six years, all suspended, in the N.H. State Prison for threatening a person on May 4 of 2013 with a knife by saying "I'm going to cut you up."

Coughlin is already in prison, having pleaded guilty in July of 2014 to possession of clonazepam on July 9, 2013 and was sentenced by Belknap County Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler to one to two years in the New Hampshire State Prison.

At the same time, he also pleaded guilty to one count of burglary for breaking into a home on Harvard Street and stealing a handgun. For the burglary he was sentenced to one to three years, suspended, and for the theft by unauthorized taking ( a hand gun) he was sentenced to three to six years, all suspended.

Coughlin was arrested on July 9 after three Laconia Police officers who were on their way to a special detail at a rock concert saw some suspicious activity near the Laconia Public Library and stopped to investigate.

Coughlin ran, was chased down by a Laconia police captain who was threatened by Coughlin with a knife. As part of a plea agreement, those charges were dropped as were possession of marijuana charges and two other counts of theft by unauthorized taking, firearms.

Should Coughlin re-offend after his release from prison, he faces an additional nine year of incarceration at a minimum.

Last Updated on Saturday, 20 September 2014 12:17

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Barbara Luther seeking school board appointment

LACONIA — Retiring Belknap County Registrar of Deeds Barbara Luther is the first person to officially put her name into consideration for the Ward 2 seat on the School Board left vacant with the resignation of Beth Arsenault.

Luther said that with her impending retirement from the registry, she thinks that serving on the School Board will "be a good way for her to continue to give back to the community."

Luther has lived in Laconia for 42 years and all three of her children attended Laconia schools. She has two grandchildren enrolled in the school district — one at Pleasant Street School and one who is a freshman at Laconia High School.

Originally from Waltham, Mass, Luther graduated from Waltham High School.

She began her professional career as an administrator at a law office and worked at Martin, Lord, and Osman.

For the past 30 years she has been with the Belknap County Registrar of Deeds.

Luther said she has no particular agenda when it comes to serving on the School Board but said she is very interested and supportive of the Huot Technical Center.

"My son attended Huot Technical Center and is now a master electrician," she said.

She also said she would like to learn more about so-called block scheduling at the high school.

If chosen, she said serving on the School Board would be a new challenge for her.

"It appears to me that the School District does the best possible with the amount of money they are given," she said.

Superintendent Terri Forsten said any additional candidates from Ward 2 have until September 23 (Tuesday) to express an interest in the position.

All candidates will be first interviewed by the Budget and Personnel Committee and then by the full School Board with some recommendations from the Budget and Personnel Committee. All of the interview sessions will be conducted in public and noticed as are regular meetings.

Last Updated on Saturday, 20 September 2014 12:13

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Sachems earn 58-19 homecoming win over Man. West

LACONIA — Running back Kyle Chiasson piled up 207 yards and 4 touchdowns on just 18 first-half carries as Laconia blasted Manchester West 58-19 in its homecoming football game last night on Jim Fitzgerald Field. Neither team scored in the second half as the "mercy" rule was in effect and clock was not stopped for any reason.

Connor Doherty sparked the Sachems' defense with a pair on interceptions.

Laconia, now 1-1, dropped season opener 22-21 at Lebanon. The Sachems were stopped on a two point conversion after a Matt Swormstedt touchdown with 22 seconds remaining in the game.

Manchester West had struggled over its first two games prior to last night. The Blue Knights have only scored one touchdown on the season while giving up over 40 per game over the same period. West will now have a week off before heading to Pembroke on October 3.

The Sachems will be back on the road next Friday at Hanover for a NHIAA Division II - North Conference match up. Laconia held off a late comeback by the Marauders to win 26-20 at Bank of New Hampshire Stadium last season.

Last Updated on Saturday, 20 September 2014 01:32

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WEEKEND - Lots of apples still to be picked in Lakes Region orchards

BELMONT — Pick-your-own apple season is in full swing and there's still plenty of varieties available at local orchards, which are experiencing good years despite a predicted drop in New Hampshire's statewide apple harvest from 807,000 bushels last year to only about half that much this year.
''We're having a really good year, better than last year, which was a bumper crop.'' says Wende Richter of Smith's Orchard on Leavitt Hill Road in Belmont.
She and her husband, Rob, view themselves as the caretakers of a long tradition of apple growing at the orchard, which still has many of the original Macintosh and Cortland trees planted by Charlie Smith in 1928, when he was entering his senior year at the University of New Hampshire.
The 15-acre field which was planted by Smith, a long-time Laconia city councilman, had originally been an open pasture across the road from a large farmhouse on Leavitt Road. The farmhouse burned and was replaced by a smaller home the Smith family built.
Over the years Smith hired crews of workers to pick the apples but by the 1950s, when only the reddest fruit was considered acceptable for sale and there was no wholesale market for the rest, Smith made the novel step of opening his orchard to sell directly to the public, becoming what may have been the very first "pick-your-own'' operation in the entire state.
"He told us he made more selling that way than he did on the wholesale market. And it became very popular with people coming here and picking the orchard clean every year," says Rob Richter
The orchard also sells pumpkins, mums, cider, gourds, cornstalks, and home-grown honey and on busy days provides tractor rides in and out of the orchard.
Among those out picking apples this week at Smith Orchard were Dick and Jean Vaillancourt of Dockham Shore Road in Gilford, who have made the trip to the orchard a fall tradition apple and were looking for Macintosh for apple pie making.
''He makes the pies, six at a time,'' said Jean .
Vaillancourt sad that he freezes the pies after he makes them in order to have them around for special occasions. And he uses half white sugar and half brown sugar when making the pies as well as a generous amount of cinnamon.
At the Surowiec Farm on Perley Hill Road in Sanbornton this year's crop is smaller than last year, which was a phenomenal year according to Katie Surowiec, who says that Macintosh, Cortland and Ginger Gold are now being picked.
''We're doing pretty good. It seems like a really good year is generally followed by a smaller crop,'' says Surowiec. The seven acre orchard which her husband Steve planted in the 1980s, also grows Macoun, Gala, Empire and Honey Crisp, but those varieties aren't part of the pick-your-own operation and won't be until the semi-dwarf trees grow a little more.
There are pre-picked apples available in the farms' farm stand, which will be open through November and December this year for the first time and features greens and vegetables grown in the farm's greenhouses throughout the colder months of the year.
At Stonybrook Farm in Gilford the 12-acre apple orchard has about 2,000 trees, mostly Macintosh and Cortland, but also some Ginger Golds, and offers rides in and out of the orchard on weekends.
Other pick your-own operations nearby include Hacklelboro Orchard in Canterbury, which offers a dozen varieties of apples as well as all sorts of pumpkins and gourds; Ledgeview Farm in Loudon with more than 15 varieties, tractor rides into the fields, and freshly-made cider doughnuts on weekends, and Cardigan Mountain Orchard in Alexandria.

Last Updated on Saturday, 20 September 2014 01:00

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