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Mechanic Street upgrades include work from end to end

LACONIA — Improvements to both ends of Mechanic Street, which assistant director of the Department of Public Works (DPW) Luke Powell called "one of the worst in the city," are anticipated to be complete by the end of October, weather permitting.

At the southern end of the street, the curve that carries the roadway northward, off of Union Ave., has been redesigned to afford greater visibility to drivers traveling in both directions. The project was undertaken by Cantin Chevrolet, which purchased the property on the corner, demolished the Victorian home and added 7,000-square-feet to its display area. In the process, the company is lining the roadway with granite curbing and a landscaped buffer 17 feet deep.

Meanwhile, Busby Construction Co. Inc., under the direction of DPW, has begun reclaiming and rebuilding the northern section of Mechanic Street that runs from Clinton Street to Stark Street. Major improvements to the sewer and drainage system are underway and nearing completion.

Powell said that an undersized stone culvert, which has carried stormwater for a century, which stretches some 300 feet — beginning on Manchester Street and running along Mechanic Street to Clinton Street — has been has been replaced with a 36-inch polyethylene line reinforced with steel bands. He explained that some sections of the line can only be buried to a depth of about a foot, instead of the usual two feet or more, and must be reinforced to bear the weight of traffic. In addition, a section of sanitary sewer at the steepest stretch of Mechanic Street has been relined and a number of catch basins and manholes along the street have been replaced.

Powell expects the drainage work to be completed in the next two weeks, after which the reclamation and reconstruction of Mechanic Street will begin. He said that weather permitting the roadway will be rebuilt and paved by the end of October.

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 September 2013 02:30

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'We're going to turn you electricity off' scam artists targeted Laconia biz on Friday

LACONIA — A local business owner said he nearly fell for a telephone scam Friday when someone who purported being from Public Service of New Hampshire called his shop and said the electric bill was unpaid and crews were coming any moment to turn off his electricity.

John and Brandon Morin of My Coffee House on Court Street said they knew the electric bill was paid but the man on the phone wouldn't hear it and kept telling him he needed cash.

Morin said he was given a telephone number and a fax number but was told he needed cash. He said he spent most of the day trying to straighten out what he thought was a legitimate error on the part of PSNH.

He said he was concerned that if his electricity was shut off his inventory would spoil.

At one point Morin said he called the bank and had an employee send a faxed copy of his canceled check to a fax number he was given. He also said the callers gave him a toll free number which would ring back to the alleged scam artist who would answer pretending to be a PSNH call-center employee.

Early in the afternoon, Morin got suspicious and looked up the PSNH number on his own and called them.

"They told me this was a new telephone scam that was unfolding as we spoke," Morin said.

"The manager at PSNH was wonderful," he said.

"PSNH told me the company never conducts business that way."

PSNH could not be reached by The Daily Sun for comment last night.

Morin said PSNH actually recognized two of the names being used as fraudulent representatives of their company.

He said a bank branch manager stopped by his shop personally and has helped him close his accounts and reopen new ones.

Morin said his purpose in calling the media was to warn others about the scam.
He said he planned on reporting the attempted fraud to the Laconia Police Department.

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 September 2013 02:13

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A 2nd Gilford police officer placed on paid leave

GILFORD — A town official confirmed yesterday that a second Gilford Police Officer has been placed on an paid administrative leave.

The official said that on or about September 15, Officer Holly Harris was placed on a paid leave. She is the Gilford School District's School Resource Officer.

Two weeks ago, officials confirmed Police Chief Kevin Keenan has been placed on paid administrative leave as of August 29.

The town official gave no reason for either leave.

Lt. James Leach is acting chief and last week Town Administrator Scott Dunn said Leach assumed the role of acting chief because of the way the department is structured.

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 September 2013 02:07

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Police charge Laconia man punched girlfriend in face & later returned to kick in her door

LACONIA — A Gilford Avenue man was ordered held on $5,000 cash-only bail yesterday morning after allegedly punching his girlfriend in the face with his fist earlier that morning and then returning to the home and kicking in the door.

City Prosecutor Jim Sawyer told the court that John M. Stebbins, 39, was arrested by police at 12:30 a.m. when neighbors called the police. He was charged with two counts of simple assault.

The on-call circuit court judge had granted an emergency temporary restraining order against Stebbins, who was originally released on personal recognizance bail. After leaving the police department, Stebbins allegedly violated that order by returning to the apartment and kicking in the door at 7:30 a.m.

Stebbins faces additional counts of criminal vandalism, breach of bail and violation of a restraining order. He appeared yesterday in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division.

Sawyer initially asked for $15,000 cash bail and said police were still investigating the initial assault and that additional charges could be forthcoming. Sawyer also noted that Stebbins has four previous convictions for simple assault, including one from 2012 and one from April of this year.

In two of those instances, Sawyer said he was also convicted of breach of bail.

Sawyer also noted that when Stebbins allegedly returned to the apartment, he also removed either the starter or the alternator from his victim's car. He said police continue to investigate that aspect of the early-morning events.

Public Defender Kate Geraci argued that $15,000 was an impossible amount of bail for Stebbins, who she said had just started a new job and hadn't yet gotten his first paycheck.

She said he had been employed for eight years by a different employer and had left that job to take the new one. Geraci said $250 comes from every one of Stebbins's paycheck to support his three children and if he lost his job, as he likely would if he were held on $15,000 cash bail, then his children would be the ones that would suffer.

Judge Jim Carroll deliberated for about five minutes before setting cash bail at $5,000. He said he didn't take setting cash bail on a working father lightly but that the risk Stebbins potentially poses to the community and his victim outweighs the importance of him keeping his job. Carroll said his decision on cash bail was largely swayed by Stebbins most recent assault convictions as well as his charges of breach of bail.

"(This bail) requires a significant investment by you to ensure your good behavior," Carroll said to him. Stebbins is also ordered to stay off Gilford Avenue and to stay away from the victims and the various neighbors assisted her.

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 September 2013 02:05

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