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Laconia police predict spike in shoplifting arrests because much of new 'super' Walmart store is in city

LACONIA — Police Chief Chris Adams told the Laconia Police Commission yesterday that the city could see a spike in retail theft reports when the new "super" Walmart store opens on Lake Shore Road.

He explained that about 90 percent of the enlarged and newly configured store is in Laconia so city police will be responding to most of the calls for shoplifting.

In its old configuration, most of the Walmart was just over the line in Gilford.

Adams said the company has a good loss prevention team so he expects calls to the store will be on the increase.

To date, he said Laconia Police have responded one to three times daily to Walmart.

City Prosecutor Jim Sawyer said the only way Gilford will respond is if someone exits through the lawn and garden section, which is still in Gilford.

Last Updated on Friday, 18 July 2014 12:49

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Pair accused of cooking meth at Meredith house each held on $50k cash-only bail

CIRCUIT COURT — Two of the four Meredith people facing recent methamphetamine-related charges appeared by video yesterday in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division.

Mark Carpenter, 56, of 388 Daniel Webster Highway was charged with one count of manufacturing methamphetamine and one count of possession of methamphetamine.

He was represented by an attorney for the public defenders officer who preserved his right to argue bail at a future date.

As of yesterday, Carpenter is being held on $50,000 cash-only bail with a stipulation that if he were to post it the court would hold a hearing to determine the source of the money.

Carpenter was one of four people arrested simultaneously on Wednesday in two separate Meredith locations in a drug raid coordinated by the Belknap County Sheriff's Department and Meredith Police.

When they arrived at Carpenter's mobile home, police allegedly found an ongoing "one pot cook" of methamphetamine, materials that can be used to make methamphetamine, and some already made white amphetamine powder.

Police affidavits filed with the court said Carpenter has previous convictions for theft, issuing bad checks, three counts of deceptive forestry practices, two probation violations, possession of narcotic drugs, driving while intoxicated, filing a false report, violating weights and measures laws, controlled drug act, and criminal mischief.

Also arrested with Carpenter was Tracy McGuire, 42, of 230 Meredith Center Road.

She faces one count of manufacturing methamphetamine and one count of possession of methamphetamine.

McGuire is also held on $50,000 bail and was not represented by a lawyer. She preserved her right to be heard on bail at a later date. Should she post bail, the court will hold a hearing as to the source of the money.

McGuire's criminal history, said affidavits, included simple assault, resisting arrest, theft, and driving after revocation.

Both are being held in the Belknap County House of Corrections.

Two others were arrested at 9 True Road at the same time, Douglas Peters, 53, and Crystal Smith 28 were both charged with possession of a controlled drug and released on personal recognizance bail.

Last Updated on Friday, 18 July 2014 01:28

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Laconia Master Plan process will be altered some after input from council

LACONIA — After her sketch of the process for preparing a new Master Plan for the city met with a cool reception from the City Council this week, Planning Director Shanna Saunders acknowledged the legitimacy of the concerns and indicated she was addressing them.

In her presentation to the council, Saunders outlined "Re-imagine Laconia," the public outreach initiative that will be undertaken through October. The Orton Family Foundation of Middlebury Vermont and Denver, Colorado has underwritten this phase of the process by awarding the city $75,000 worth of in-kind technical services to pursue its "Heart & Soul" approach to fostering community engagement.

The Carsey Institute of the University of New Hampshire, which administers the New Hampshire Listens program, has contributed similar services valued at $25,000. Saunders explained a variety of tactics would be applied to encourage as many people — residents and visitors alike — to express their values and visions for the city and suggest measures for enhancing and realizing them.

Councilor Henry Lipman (Ward 3), who chairs both the council's Finance Committee and the Belknap Economic Development Council, said that while he appreciated the process "we have to be grounded in the reality of today's economy and the demographic we have to work with." He stressed the importance of assigning priority to the challenges posed by a sluggish economy and aging demographic . "The world is moving too fast," he remarked, fearing the process Saunders described would not ensure "that what we come up will be relevant. It's too slow to be relevant."

"What he (Lipman) was trying to say had some validity," Saunders said afterwards, adding that she had since had several conversations about the questions he raised. In particular, she said that because the economic and demographic issues are not contingent on the results of the public outreach effort, work on the economic development component could proceed parallel with it. The values and visions of the public, she noted, bore more directly on the section of the Master Plan dealing with land use and would inform the recommendations for planning and zoning.

Meanwhile, Saunders said that staff of the Planning Department and members of the Planning Board have recruited the "core" of the Master Plan Advisory Team, a sub-committee of the Planning Board that will play a major role designing and executing the public outreach campaign. There are two members from the Planning Board — the chairman, Warren Hutchins, and Hamilton McLean — and two from the Zoning Board of Adjustment — Suzanne Perley and Michael Foote. Joe Driscoll, Jr., who resides at The Weirs, John Moriarty, president of the Main Street Initiative, and Dorothy Duffy of the Lakeport Association represent the "three villages," which are also represented by three business owners: Jeff Thurston of Thurston's Marina, Ruben Barrett of Burrito Me and Michelle Dupont of the Opechee Lake Opechee Inn and Spa. Sal Stephen-Hubbard of the Laconia Area Community Land Trust and Mark Warren, pastor of the Grace Capital Church represent the non-profit community. Kevin Dunleavy, director of parks and recreation, and Seth Nuttleman, superintendent of the Laconia Water Works also serve on the committee.

Saunders said that when the school year begins she expects to add students from Laconia High School to the panel. Moreover, she emphasized all willing volunteers are welcome to join the team and noted that all its meetings are posted and open to the public.

Saunders said that she expects to begin work on the Master Plan this summer and complete the first four chapters of the plan — community character, land use, economic development and housing — in a year and aim to finish the other chapters — transportation, natural resources, cultural and historic resources and community facilities and services — by December 2016.
When Saunders addressed the council this week, Lipman expressed misgivings about the timeframe she outlined and he expected the City Council to revisit the issue at a future meeting.
State law recommends that municipalities revise their master plans every five to 10 years. The city last adopted its master plan in May 2007.

Last Updated on Friday, 18 July 2014 01:20

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3 teens said resonsible for Barnstead bombs

BARNSTEAD — Police say they have learned that three juveniles ages 14 and 15 were responsible for the three explosive devices found on Halfmoon Bay Drive this past June.

Police said after interviewing a number of area residents and following up on many leads they were able to determine the three explosive devices were a juvenile prank and there is no further danger to the public.

After consulting with the Belknap County Attorney, Barnstead Police determined they would deal with the teens through the family court system in Belknap County.

Last Updated on Friday, 18 July 2014 01:16

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