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Barnstead property owner holds thieves at gunpoint until police arrive

BARNSTEAD — A man, whose home has been under construction for at least a year, caught the latest people who were trying to steal from the residence, and managed to hold them at gunpoint until police arrived.

Police said the man went to his property at 300 Pitman Road on April 30 at 11:15 a.m. and saw a truck that didn't belong there. He confronted two people identified by police as Dana and Jeanan Main of Stockbridge Road in Alton and held them at pistol point.

He said that when Officer Frank Grow arrived the two suspects were lying face down on the ground and the property owner was standing guard waiting for police to arrive.

The Mains were charged with the theft of several metal items for scrap and one count of criminal trespass. Police Department Officer in Charge Joseph McDowell said the two had allegedly covered their license plate to avoid being identified.

McDowell said the two gave police permission by to search their truck and found some kind of narcotics. He said the substance was sent to the N.H. Crime Lab for identification.

Despite the iron gate over the driveway and numerous "no trespassing" sign, police said the Pitman Road building site has been vandalized and targeted by thieves a number of times.

McDowell said this is another case of residents being vigilant about what is is happening in their neighborhoods and notifying police.

In February, McDowell said Terince Belanger, 27, of Farmington and Kyle Belanger, 25, of Manchester were charged with one count each of receiving stolen property and criminal trespass after going on to the Pitman Road property.

McDowell said the Belangers were also apprehended when a neighbor alerted police to some suspicious activity on the property.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 12:25

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Gilford names police chief

GILFORD – With most of his future command staff in the audience, selectmen voted unanimously to name Anthony Bean Burpee as the police chief beginning on June 1. He will be paid $78,400 annually.

Bean Burpee is a lieutenant with the town of Kennebunk, Maine where he has served since 1998. He rose through the ranks after starting as a beach officer during the summer months. Before becoming a police officer, he was a corrections officer at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland, Maine.

Bean Burpee has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the Southern Vermont College and two Masters degrees, one in Criminal Justice and one in Public Administrion from Suffolk University in Boston.

"Chief Bean Burpee comes to Gilford with a great deal of experience in public relations and outstanding credentials in progressive law enforcement," said selectmen in a written media statement that was distributed yesterday afternoon after his appointment.

"He intends to enhance the community presence of the Gilford Police Department by improving citizen relationships, increasing public trust and taking pro-active steps to deter crime," selectmen continued.

In his spare time, selectmen said he works as an adjunct professor at York Community College in Wells, Maine, enjoys exercising and spending time with his two sons.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said Bean Burpee was chosen from a pool of 47 candidates and being vetted by two Boards of Selectmen and a citizens panel.

As chief he will head a department of 18 sworn police full-time officers, two part-time officers and six civilian employees. He will also oversee the $1.2-million renovation ofthe  Gilford Police Station.

Dunn said Bean Burpee will begin his duties on June 1. He said after the chief settles in for a while, the selectmen will host a "Meet the Chief" night for the benefit of the community.

Bean Burpee was the lead detective and media spokesman during the 2012 Kennebunk investigation into a prostitution ring being operated by Alexis Wright from a zumba studio. The case put Kennebunk in the national spotlight for about six months as more and more details emerged from the tantalizing small-town scandal.

According to a story from the UPI, Alexis Wright, 29, was convicted of 14 counts of prostitution, one count of promotion of prostitution and two counts of theft by deception and state income tax evasion.

She served six months of a 10 month sentence.

CAPTION - Prosecutor Sgt. Eric Bredbury (left) welcomes his new chief Anthony Bean Burpee (right) as Lt. Kris Kelley looks on.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 12:24

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Newfound Regional withdrawl study gets underway - 593

by Thomas P. Caldwell

BRIDGEWATER/HEBRON — Following an organizational meeting at the end of April, the Bridgewater-Hebron Withdrawal Study Committee will break into subcommittees this month to begin pulling together the facts needed to assess whether it makes sense for the two towns to withdraw from the Newfound Area School District.
Bridgewater and Hebron voters at town meeting endorsed the study as authorized by RSA 195 to determine the "feasibility and suitability" of pulling out of Newfound and operating their own K-8 school, and sending their high school students to either Newfound or Plymouth.
Bridgewater Selectman Terry Murphy explained at the organizational meeting that the Bridgewater-Hebron Village School was designed to handle K-6 or K-8 but the school district currently utilizes the building for only K-5 students, after which they attend Newfound Memorial Middle School and Newfound Regional High School.
The two towns considering withdrawal had formed a village district to enable them to build their own school at a time when school enrollments were increasing but district voters were unlikely to approve a new building project while still paying for the new high school. The Bridgewater-Hebron Village District maintains the building and grounds but leases the property to the Newfound Area School District for $1 per year. The district, in turn, provides the staffing and educational materials for the school.
Two years ago, the two towns asked the Newfound Area School Board to adjust the educational configuration of the schools to provide K-8 classes at the Bridgewater-Hebron Village School so their students would remain at their school longer before going on to the high school. For that reason and because the school district has been seeing decreasing enrollment in recent years, the board asked the new superintendent, Stacy Buckley, to do a comprehensive study to evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of reconfiguring the educational structure. Last November, she presented her findings which concluded the present arrangement makes the most sense.
Buckley said that adopting a K-6 or K-8 option would create the need for additional staff members while adversely affecting the district's ability to provide for unified arts and athletics and, in the case of K-6, the loss of foreign languages and algebra. She also cited the additional costs of aligning the curriculum between schools and updating the school libraries, as well as it creating scheduling problems with more lunch periods to fit in.
Murphy told the withdrawal study committee that it was because of that conclusion that the two towns decided to look into whether it would make sense to go it alone.
While the study committee was established to include all school board members as well as a selectman and alternate from each town in the school district, school board member Jeff Levesque of Groton agreed to step down after Vincent Paul Migliore of Bridgewater challenged him about negative statements Levesque had posted on Facebook about the study. Among other things, Levesque had said the district should ban Bridgewater and Hebron students from attending Newfound for at least 15 years if they decided to withdraw now.
The committee elected School Board Chair Ruby Hill of Danbury to serve as chair, while Danbury Selectman Jim Phelps will serve as secretary. The superintendent and business manager will serve as non-voting, ex-officio members.
On a recommendation by Don Franklin of Hebron, the committee agreed to create two subcommittees, one for financial analysis and the other to look at the educational model, and those committees will be meeting on May 20 and May 28. The next full committee meeting will take place on June 16 at 6 p.m. at the high school.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 01:52

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Council Mulls Sign Ordinance

LACONIA — The City Council divided 4-2 last night in voting to schedule a public hearing on the sign ordinance recommended by the Planning Board. The public hearing will held at next regularly scheduled meeting of the council on May 27, at which the council could either adopt or amend the proposed ordinance.

As proposed by the Zoning Task Force and endorsed by the Planning Board the ordinance would distinguish between two types of "electronic message center" (EMC) — "static" and "dynamic." Static electronic signs are those on which neither the copy nor pictures change during the message while their dynamic counterparts appear to move or change as they present a stream of images or words that fly in, fade out, rotate and scroll across the face of the sign.

Neither type of electronic sign would be permitted in the six residential districts. Where they are permitted, the dimensions and heights of signs would have to conform to those of free-standing signs in the specific district. Moreover, the electronic portion of the signs must not exceed 75 percent of the total area of the sign, a provision that ensures that all such signs are framed.

EMC-dynamic display signs would be confined to the commercial resort district, which includes The Weirs, and permitted there only by special exception.

EMC-static display signs would be excluded from the downtown riverfront district but permitted in the commercial resort district and permitted by special exception in the professional, business central, business central/industrial, commercial, industrial park, industrial and airport industrial districts. In addition, the display, whether imagery or script, on EMC-static display signs could not change more frequently than every five minutes.

After Suzanne Perley, who chairs the Zoning Task Force, explained the proposal, Steve Weeks, a longtime real estate broker and dissenting member of the task force, challenged two of its major provisions — the requirement for a special exception and the frequency of the changing display. Requiring a special exception, he said is "more bureaucratic red tape" and, since where EMC-static display signs are currently permitted they are permitted by right, is "going backwards instead of forwards."

Special exceptions are granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustment upon finding a request satisfies specific eight criteria and which may attach conditions to its approval. Weeks said the requirement "stiffens the ordinance," making it more difficult for the business owner seeking to erect an an electronic sign.

Likewise, Weeks said that the frequency of five minutes was unnecessarily restrictive, preferring to allow messages to change every 30 seconds or one minute "at the very most." In five minutes a driver traveling at 30 miles-per-hour would cover two-and-a-half miles, he said, while a driver stopped a traffic light would seldom see more than one message.

Planning Director Shanna Saunders said that both the task force and Planning Board placed a premium on preserving "community character" and chose to exercise greater oversight over electronic signage. She said the board sought to avoid what she called the "Las Vegas look." Saunders explained that if a less restrictive ordinance were adopted and subsequently found wanting, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to tighten it. The board, she said, decided "not to make all the changes at once and then be unable to back track."

"I'd rather be a successful Las Vegas than a dead Laconia," Weeks countered, emphasizing that local businesses must not only compete with their counterparts in neighboring communities but also with firms advertising on the internet. "They depend a lot on signs," he continued, explaining they need the opportunity to advertise as many of the goods and services they offer to as many consumers as possible.

Weeks struck a chord with the councilors. Councilor Henry Lipman (Ward 3) urged the council to adopt the ordinance as recommended, and immediately begin the process of amending it. Councilor David Bownes (Ward 2) also appeared open to amending the ordinance as recommended, but suggested the council first hold a public hearing.

Lipman insisted that with the advent of the summer business season the council should adopt the ordinance, which would allow businesses to proceed with their plans for signage and enable the city officials to judge the efficacy of the ordinance. If the ordinance proves too restrictive, he said it could be subsequently be amended.

With Lipman and Councilor Brenda Baer (Ward 4) dissenting and Councilors Ava Doyle (Ward 1), Bob Hamel (Ward 5) and Armand Bolduc (Ward 6) joining Bownes his motion to proceed to a public hearing prevailed.

City Manager Scott Myers advised the council that it could vote on the proposed ordinance following the public hearing on May 27. However, if the council chose to substantially amend the proposal, by eliminating the requirement for a special exception or changing the frequency of changing messages, another public hearing would be required before a vote.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 01:52

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