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Man who allegedly ran illicit drug operation out of Laconia storage unit facing nearly a centuries worth of sentences after indictments

LACONIA — A man who was allegedly running his own illicit drug store from a commercial rental space on Province Road has been indicted by a Belknap County grand jury for 13 separate drug counts.

Tobey Comeau, 37, who is being held in the Belknap County Jail, is being prosecuted by the N.H. Attorney General's Office and could face up to 89 years in state prison if he is convicted on all 13 counts.

Comeau faces five counts of possession with intent to sell methamphetamine, one count of possession of anxiety medication, two counts of possession of steroids and two counts of possession with intent to sell steroids, two counts of possession with intent to sell pain killing narcotics and one count of possession of painkillers.

Affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, say that Laconia Police applied for a received a search warrant for his storage unit and cars at 505 Province Road. They were assisted by Concord Police, where Comeau was living at the time, and the N.H. State Police.

On him, police allegedly found $2,500 and in a search of his car found methamphetamine, steroids, pills that were at the time unidentified, a digital scale, radio equipment, GPS tracking device, and a handgun.

When told Laconia Police would be searching his storage unit on Province Street, he told them they would find a gun near a printer and a shotgun. He said he wasn't sure if there were any drugs there.

Police affidavits said they found several cameras facing inside and outside, counter surveillance equipment and a bag of methamphetamine.

Comeau is being held on $200,000 cash-only bail. At the time of his arraignment in May the affidavits for the search warrants were sealed by the circuit court judge.

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 December 2013 02:25

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Meredith reinventing Business & Industry (zoning) District

MEREDITH — Among the four amendments to the zoning ordinance recommended by the Planning Board is one that would expand and define the uses permitted in the "Business and Industry District" while maintaining the character of district, particularly its place in the Lake Waukewan watershed.

The district was established in 1983 and consists of approximately 241 acres along Rte. 104 between Rte. 3 to the east and Pease Road and Winona Road to the west. Reservoir Brook meanders through the district before flowing into Lake Waukewan. Of the 63 parcels within the district, 47 are developed and 16 are vacant. The district is screened from the highway a natural or landscaped buffer 50 feet from the right-of-way.

The purpose of the district was to reserve space for industrial growth by prohibiting most commercial uses while providing land for large office buildings. The permitted industrial uses are confined to those without adverse environmental impacts. Currently some 55 firms operate in the district. These include industrial and construction businesses along with service contractors, like landscaping, street sweeping, vehicle repair and an ambulance service.

Recently the district has become home to the Winnipesaukee Playhouse, as well as a chiropractic office, martial arts studio, fitness center and visiting nurse association, all far from the industrial uses originally envisioned.

The amendment would tailor the general purpose of the district to capture the diversity of uses it has come to house over the past 30 years while distinguishing it from residential and retail zones. The district is described as "ideal for small to medium size businesses" that do not "depend on high visibility from the roadway."

The permitted uses include light manufacturing, commercial printing, warehousing, laboratories, storage, building materials, clinics, offices and firewood processing. Building trades, equipment rental and repair, vehicle service, child care, recreational and cultural facilities, schools and restaurants would be permitted by special exception. The uses are clearly defined by the proposed ordinance.

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 December 2013 01:59

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Tilton bandit helps himself to cash register - 99

TILTON — A man walked into the Tilton Market Place store on Friday evening and helped himself to the contents of the cash register.

According to a police report, a white male entered the downtown business at about 5:30 p.m. and removed the contents of the register "without regard for the cashier. He then fled on foot. No weapon was shown.

Witnesses described the bandit as wearing a black or dark-colored hooded sweatshirt, black of dark-colored baggy pants and a ball cap.

Police ask people who may have information about the crime call the department at 286-44422 or leave a tip at 855-286-6565.

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 December 2013 01:55

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Residents wonder if they're still welcome on New Hampton School campus

NEW HAMPTON — To ensure greater security for its students and the community, the private New Hampton School has posted the perimeter of its property, begun screening visitors to the campus and contracted for a full-time security officer — all measures that have stirred a lively debate among friends, alumni and neighbors of the school.

Rep. Ruth Gulick, whose husband Peter taught at the preparatory school for two decades, lit the spark after reading an announcement of the measures posted by school officials in the town's on-line newsletter. The notice said that 15 "private property" signs would be placed on the perimeter of the campus, explaining that "it is in the best interest of New Hampton School community members that all visitors to campus have permission to be on school property." In addition the school partnered with the New Hampton Police Department to engage Officer Bill Melanson, who most recently served as a security officer at Plymouth State University, as a full-time school resource officer, charged with "ensuring that all visitors to campus have an appropriate purpose for being on school property."

Taking to her Facebook page, Gulick called the policy "a monument to paranoia" that "undoes the years of town-gown friendship and cooperation. We get to pick up the difference in your not paying your full share of property taxes," she closed, "and you cower from us?"

"I was outraged," Gulick said yesterday, while adding "sometimes I worry about my righteous indignation."

Gulick was quickly echoed by some who shared her ire. One alum who sometimes visits the school when shuttling between Massachusetts and Vermont found the "fascist and xenophobic tone" of the announcement "a slap in the face." Another declared "I will walk on that campus whenever I please. Let Barney Fife find me." One woman asked "are people going to be fined?"

Others were more philosophical. "Gone are the days when you can invite 150 of your closest classmates to your house for a party without consequences," one man remarked. "It is 2013 where the NHS faculty and administration have to be proactive and think of the realities that have happened in the recent past to protect all the current members of NHS." A woman who enjoyed visiting the campus noted that St. Paul's School in Concord has taken similar steps to secure its campus and struck a common theme by characterizing the situation as a "sad statement/reflection of the kind of times we live in."

In the school's defense, Jennifer Berry, director of college counseling, referred directly to "Ruthie" and wrote, "I am saddened by the comments from many of you, because you remain important members of the New Hampton community and are absolutely welcome." At the same time, she reminded the critics of "the legal and moral responsibility to be vigilant in protecting the safety of all those living, learning and working on the campus."

Jon Shackett, a science teacher, contended that the security measures are more "proactive than paranoid." He added that public schools in the state and region took similar steps years ago. He invited Gulick to stroll on the campus whenever she liked, advising her that if she was harassed "tell them you are visiting me."

The campus of New Hampton School covers 340 acres on the north side of Main Street (Rte. 132) and houses 246 of its 305 students from 24 countries and 20 states as boarders.

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 December 2013 01:43

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