Annalee Dolls has new owners, location


MEREDITH —Annalee Dolls, a New Hampshire tradition and Meredith landmark for more than eight decades, has new owners and a new home.

A partnership headed by Andrew Button recently acquired the firm, which since 2009 was owned by David Pelletier and Bob Watson of the Imagine Compnay headquartered in Hong Kong, which manufactured the dolls in China.

At the same time, the company, which left the "The Factory in Woods," where it began in 1934, for the Old Province Common on NH Route 104 then moved to The Shops at Meredith Place on Maple Street, will be moving to the building on US Route 3 that last housed Meredith Ford. Speaking for the company, Betsy Pelletier said "We are really very happy to be keeping the brand in Meredith."

Annalee Dolls will lease the building with an option to purchase it. Pelletier said that in addition to relocating its retail outlet, the company will bring its warehousing operation to Meredith from Maryland. The building will reconfigured and renovated to include a showroom, assembly area and office as well as the warehouse.

Pelletier said that along with the design team, which has always worked in Meredith, the "Assembled in America Collection" will continue at the new location. She said that two or three special dolls will be on offer and customers entering the show room and placing an order will be able to watch as their doll is assembled.

Pelletier said she expected the warehouse would begin to operate in June, with the remainder of the space to be occupied and opened by the middle of July.

Time machine instead of limo


05-13 Delorean


Troy Miner of The Weirs was told by his girlfriend not to get a limo to take her to the prom. He fulfilled her wish by borrowing his dad's 1983 DeLorean. (Gail Ober photo/Laconia Daily Sun)

Standoff after man fires shots near officer


LACONIA — A portion of Country Club Road was closed Friday as police surrounded the home of a man who allegedly fired three shots near a police officer who had gone to the home to serve him with a stalking notice.

05-13 Ernest Lee ThompsonPolice identified him as Ernest Lee Thompson, 32, of 246 Country Club Road and he is charged with two counts of felony criminal threatening, one count of improper influence, or refusing to be served a summons, and one count of felony reckless conduct.

According to Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams, an officer went to the home to serve Thompson with a notice that he was to appear in court for hearing on a stalking position.

He said Thompson allegedly first came out of the home with his dogs in a menacing manner and then returned inside. He came back out with a gun tucked into his waistband and fired numerous shots into the ground near the officer.

The officer was unharmed was able to back away and call for assistance. Additional responding officers saw a shirtless Thompson waving around a gun while he was in his front yard.

Police said Thompson was driving a tractor around the property and they presumed he was still armed. At one point, police radio transmission indicated he went to a barn police heard loud banging from inside. Transmissions also said he had a sledgehammer.

Police from Laconia, Gilford, Belmont and the New Hampshire State Police surrounded the area while the Belknap County Special Operations Group prepared to enter.

Thompson was taken into custody within about 30 minutes of the SWAT team entering into the area.

County Club Road was closed from Barbara Boulevard on the Gilford side to about the middle of Frank Bean Road on the Laconia side. The nearest neighbors were evacuated and others in the area were told to shelter in place.

At one point during the incident, an unidentified woman was brought to the temporary command center across from Giguere Electric where she had some kind of heated argument with police. After the incident, she was seen speaking with the state police.

Police obtained a search warrant for the home and were searching at press time.

In Laconia, Woodland Heights School was placed on soft lock-down until police notified the district that the situation had resolved, said business administrator Ed Emond. Buses from Woodland Heights were delayed by 10 to 15 minutes, he said, and students at other city schools who live near Woodland Heights were kept at their schools for pick up by parents.

Scott Isabelle, assistant superintendent for business at Gilford School District said all of the students who were supposed to take a bus down Country Club Road were asked to meet at the elementary school for pickup and/or delayed bus service.

Thompson was arrested in October of 2015 for threatening to kill all the firefighters whom he blamed for "killing his girlfriend" by giving her Narcan. A report was made to police by the employer of a woman who said she heard his threats when she stopped by to offer her condolences to him. He later pleaded guilty in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division to one count of disorderly conduct.

Thompson refused bail Friday after being booked into the Belknap County House of Corrections and will appear by video in Circuit Court on Monday morning.

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A member of the Belknap County Special Operation Group prepares to join police from multiple agencies to search for a man who allegedly fire a gun near a police officer who served him papers at his house on Country Club Road. (Gail Ober photo/Laconia Daily Sun)

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Police and fire vehicles line Frank Bean Road Friday afternoon as officers from multiple agencies surrounded a home on Country Club Road where a man who fired a gun near a lone officer was holed up.(Gail Ober photo/Laconia Daily Sun)

05-13 standoff 2

GILFORD Master Patrol Officer Doug Wall escorts an unknown woman to speak with Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams during a search for an armed man on Country Club Drive.(Gail Ober photo/Laconia Daily Sun)

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Belknap County Sheriff Craig Wiggin directs the Belknap Region Special Operations Group as one team readies to leave on foot and one team prepares to go in with a Bear Cat.(Gail Ober photo/Laconia Daily Sun)