Belmont police arrest man in factory bathroom for heroin possession

BELMONT — A Franklin man was ordered held on $2,000 cash after police and fire officials found him unconscious in a bathroom at a local manufacturing facility.

Joseph D. Lawrence, 33, of 188 Main St. is charged with one count of possession of controlled drugs — heroin. Judge Jim Carrol of the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division said if he could get placement in a secure residential treatment program, his cash bail would be reduced to personal recognizance.

Affidavits obtained from the court said the officer responded with emergency crews and found Lawrence in the bathroom and was told by fire officials that Lawrence was seen with a syringe while he was regaining consciousness.

The officer said Lawrence agreed to a search of his person and police found a needle cap, a cap for a syringe plunger and a spoon. The officer began a search of the bathroom and a Belmont Fire lieutenant picked up a stack of paper towels and a syringe with liquid fell from them.

When the officer brought the needle from the bathroom, Lawrence allegedly told him that he has a drug problem and the needle contained heroin.

Fishers suspected as culprits behind recent disappearance of number of Lakeport cats

LACONIA — During the past several weeks, some half-dozen cats have gone missing from homes near Bond Beach Park in the Lakeport area of the city, arousing suspicions among their owners that they may have fallen prey to a family of fishers.

Doug Shaw of Franklin Street said that cats belonging to his daughter and two of their close neighbors have disappeared since late last month while a woman on Bell Street is missing three cats. Shaw and at least one other cat owner have posted signs with color photographs and telephone numbers on utility poles around the neighborhood in hopes of recovering their pets.

Shaw said that a family of fishers (a member of the weasel family) has been sighted near the entrance to Bond Beach Park and that officials of the Elm Street School, which is adjacent to the park, are aware of the presence of the fishers in the neighborhood. He said that he spoke with New Hampshire Fish and Game Department only to be told that there is nothing the agency can do. Instead, they suggested residents hire a trapper to remove the fishers.

Fishers, or fisher cats — though they are not feline — are small carnivorous animals, once prized for their pelts. With slender bodies, short legs and long tails, males may reach three feet in length and weigh between 4 and 12 pounds in weight while females are half that size. Fishers live and hunt in deep forests, preferably with dense cover. They are nocturnal as well as active at dawn and dusk. One of the few predators to hunt, kill and eat porcupines, fishers also feed on rabbits, squirrels and other small mammals while supplementing their diet with insects, nuts, berries and mushrooms.

Fishers have long been suspected of devouring cats. However, a study undertaken in New Hampshire in 1979 that analyzed the stomach contents of trapped fishers found evidence of domestic cats in only one in 1,000 stomachs. Likewise, a study of 24 fishers trapped in suburban areas around Albany and Saratoga Springs, New York and 25 kill sites found no evidence that fishers had preyed on cats. Researchers in New York believe the rising population of coyotes, whose numbers have risen throughout the northeast, are more likely than fishers responsible for disappearing cats.

Teamsters' union contract before county convention on Monday

LACONIA — A collective bargaining agreement between Teamsters Local 633 and the Belknap County Commission which will come before the Belknap County Convention for funding Monday night will have a $14,586.67 impact on this year's county budget and will save the county more than $26,000 next year.
The two-year contract was approved by commissioners two weeks ago and ratified by a majority vote of the 23 employees covered by the contract last week.
The agreement provides for pay-scale step increases for employees, which are based on individual performance reviews, as well as a 1.4 percent cost of living increase retroactive to April 1 of this year. In return, the employees agree to move to a less expensive health insurance plan which provides an option for dental insurance.
County Commission Chairman Dave Devoy (R-Sanbornton) said that the contract reduces health insurance costs and provides flexibility for the commissioners to change insurance carriers. Employees will change to a so-called "site of services" plan which he says will help the county keep from reaching the Affordable Care Act "Cadillac tax" threshold, which is a penalty on expensive health insurance plans that is due to kick-in in 2018.
A cost summary of the contract shows health insurance costs for the covered employees dropping from $336,433 this year to $322,543, a $13,890 decline, and from $356,881 next year to $300,400, a $56,481 decline.
In March the Belknap County Convention unanimously rejected a three-year collective bargaining agreement with the Teamsters local, which would have added $25,581 to the 2015 county budget.
The convention is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Monday evening at the Belknap County Complex. It will be preceded by a meeting of the convention's Executive Committee at 4:30 p.m. Commissioners are asking for the transfer from the Jail Planning account in the Department of Corrections' 2015 budget in order to fund a pilot program at the House of Correction which would provide assessment services to determine treatment needs of jail inmates.