Belmont brush fire claims about 2 acres

CUTLINE — Rte. 106 in Gilmanton/Belmont was closed for about an hour around noon yesterday afternoon as crews from the two town's fire departments battled a fast-moving brush fire on the west side of the road. About two acres were burned. Central New Hampshire has been plagued with brush fires in the past two weeks including one that charred a section of Mile Hill Road Sunday afternoon. At press time local crews were fighting a two-alarm bush fire in Canterbury as well as one in Sanbornton. (Laconia Daily Sun Photo - Gail Ober)

Gilmanton standoff started with dispute over furnace repair

GILMANTON — An Indianhead Lane man who allegedly threatened a heating contractor was arrested Friday night with the assistance of the Belknap Regional Special Operations Group.

Police said they knew Glenn Bates, 54, had some issues and considered going to his home to serve a warrant for harassment a "high risk" so the SWAT team was called to assist.

Bates refused to exit so tear gas was used to make him come out of the house.

According to police affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, Bates allegedly went to the town welfare office and was being helped by the town and a local contractor with a faulty furnace that was installed in his home. It is not known if the contractor had anything to do with the furnace installation.

At some point over the winter, the contractor allegedly purchased one space heater for Bates at Home Depot for $50. Bates told him that one wasn't enough and the contractor bought three more. Bates paid for all four and the contractor only assisted him with procuring them.

Bates allegedly called the contractor recently and told him to come and get the heaters as they weren't needed anymore. The contractor allegedly paid Bates $200 and he alleges Bates kept the money and wouldn't give him the heaters.

Around 10 a.m. on Friday, the contractor got a voice message threatening him, saying in part that he didn't like him and that he didn't ever want to see him in Gilmanton again. Bates allegedly identified himself as "Satan" and told the contractor that he "was going to make (the contractor's) phone stop ringing and I'm going to make (the contractor) go broke overnight."

"Satan says stay out of Gilmanton you little punk," Bates is alleged to have said.

A local police officer, who knows Bates, recognized his phone number and tried to call him but Bates refused to talk with him and said he would only speak to the chief.

At 2:54 p.m., Bates came to the police station and told his story to Chief Joe Collins but said the contractor tried to give him $150 to buy the heaters and that Bates thought it was a crime that the contractor didn't install a heating system. He filed a police report to that effect.

Bates allegedly left a second threatening phone call at 6:04 p.m. on the contractor's phone, this time telling him he had about 25 friends who wanted to have a phone conversation with him. He accused the contractor of "ripping him off" for the heating system.

At 7:05 p.m. Bates allegedly made a third phone call to the contractor telling him he wants a brand-new heating system installed in 48 hours or he was going to make him go out of business.

He is charged with two counts of harassment, theft by deception, filing a false police report, and felony tampering with a witness or informant.

In court yesterday, Bates appeared by video and was still clearly agitated. He continued to say that the contractor lied about him. Judge Jim Carroll tried to tell him not to talk and to let his lawyer, John Bresaw, do the talking for him.

While Carroll was reading the affidavits, Bates could be heard trying to make his case to the sheriff who was guarding him in the video room at the Belknap County House of Corrections.

Gilmanton Police Prosecutor Dave Estes asked for $3,000 cash bail and Bresaw didn't make any argument yesterday although he retained the right to argue bail conditions at another date.

Bresaw said that the felony witness tampering charge was unsubstantiated and asked, to no avail, that Carroll dismiss the charge.

The Laconia Daily Sun has learned that in 2012 Bates was charged with one count of threatening retaliation against a federal employee.

According to federal case 12-CR-082-01, a federal judge determined Bates was, at the time, mentally incapacitated and not competent to assist in his own defense. He was placed in a secured facility for treatment and remains under the supervision of U.S. Federal Department of Probation.

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center expecting 1,000+ visitors today

HOLDERNESS — The Squam Lakes Natural Science Center set an all-time attendance record last year when it hosted 50,188 visitors and is poised for an even busier season this year, according to Iain MacLeod, executive director.
He says that the center is expecting more than 1,000 visitors for its annual New Hampshire Day event today, which is the busiest day of the year for the facility, which is now in its 49th season.
In addition to nature trail visitors, the center hosted 9,803 lake cruise passengers last year as well as hosting 14,608 school children and teachers and had 7,314 people attend non-school outreach programs.
MacLeod and Amanda Gillen, marketing and visitor services manager, led a media tour of the center Friday during which they showed new exhibits and new animals for the 2015 season, including a raven which is part of the Celebrate Birds Exhibit.
The raven replaces the blue jays which were part of a three-year research study completed by center in conjunction with the University of New Hampshire. The raven arrived at the Science Center in March as a former pet whose owners could no longer care for him. He is habituated to people and cannot be released into the wild.
MacLeod says that the raven, a very social bird, is adjusting well to its new home. Also new is a northern goshawk, who is still somewhat skittish but has shown signs that it is calming down.
Another new exhibit opening this year is the Gordon Interactive Playscape, A Predator-Prey Adventure. Visitors play the role of a red squirrel searching for food as they climb rocks and logs, scramble through tunnels, and balance on branches to escape predators in search of the bird's nest.
The Playscape is located next to the Gordon Children's Center and will open July 1.
The center is now featuring a three-dimensional art installation in the Mead Discovery Place of the Trailhead Gallery called Stream of Conscience. To build excitement and awareness about water and the upcoming new Water Matters Pavilion (scheduled to open for 2016), the Science Center is working with the non-profit organization Art for Water ( to create this installation. It will be on display through November 1, 2016.
The $1,250,000 Water Matters Pavilion is part of a $4 million Nature Matters Capital Campaign at the 232-acre property. As part of that campaign last year the center opened a $480,000 state-of-the-art wood energy plant. It is also planning to replace two outdated structures, a stockade and winter bird headquarters, at a cost of $200,000, as well as provide $1,450,00 in reserve funds.
Gillen said that the Water Matters Pavilion, which will feature live turtles and mink, as well as native warm water and cold water fish species, aquariums and an outdoor play area, the Adventure Playscape, which will cost $250,000.
The live animal exhibit trail features native New Hampshire animals such as coyote, red fox, gray fox, skunk, bobcats, mountain lions, white-tailed deer, river otters, black bears, and various raptors including bald eagle, great-horned owl, and red-tailed hawk. The Science Center features river otter feeding presentations every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11:30 a.m. starting May 2. River otter feeding allows visitors to learn about otter biology and ecology while watching the two resident river otters play and enjoy a special treat.
Visitors can also see live mountain lion training on Thursdays at noon during July and August. Mountain lion training and feeding shows off the tasks the mountain lions have learned that enable keepers to ensure the health and safety of the animals while providing enrichment. Up Close to Animals presentations offered five times a day in July and August allow visitors to meet an animal up close and learn about them from a naturalist educator.

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A coyote shows off his teeth at anexhibit at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

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A bobcat is one of the native New Hampshire animals featured in a wildlife exhibit at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. in Holderness. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

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A raven is one of the new attractions at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness this year. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)