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Foul language in courthouse lands man in jail

CIRCUIT COURT — A local man was taken out of the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday afternoon after using foul language when speaking to a court clerk earlier in the day.

When Joseph J. Cerella entered Judge Jim Carroll's courtroom yesterday afternoon, Carroll stopped the ongoing hearing and ordered Cerella to come to the front of the bench.

Cerella told Carroll what he did wasn't so bad and also told Carroll the court needed a new judge.

Carroll ordered the bailiff to handcuff Cerella and take him to the Belknap County House of Corrections where he will be held until 7 a.m. this morning.

Cerella had appeared on June 23 on a four-year old restitution matter that he had apparently ignored. During that time, Carroll ordered him to return that day with $90 but he never returned.

The court didn't see him again until yesterday morning when he apparently used some offensive language in the clerk's office.

Cerella is scheduled to appear for the restitution hearing in August.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 12:18

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Old Salt Band is first on stage

LACONIA — Without taking to the road, a local band has been traveling in fast company and playing big dates, opening for headline acts at both the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook and the Flying Monkey in Plymouth.

Greg Miner, lyricist and vocalist, recalled that it all began at the memorial service for the late Bob Harding, the founder of Meadowbrook, in 2008. Together with his longtime band mate Doug Gray, Miner performed "Say Hello to Johnny," a song he penned as a farewell to Harding that anticipated the reunion between the impresario and Johnny Cash. R.J. Harding was so taken by the tribute to his father that he, along with his sons Luke and Nick and drummer Beau Skonieczny, joined Miner and Gray for a set featuring the song on the main stage at Meadowbrook to open for Lynrd Skynrd and Joan Jett.

Miner, Gray and Skonieczny were joined by Kirk Meloney on bass guitar and vocals to form the Old Salt Band. Since 2009 the band has opened for Rick Deringer, Badfinger, Grand Funk Railroad, Dave Mason, the Monkees, Jefferson Starship, Marshall Tucker, Blue Oyster Cult, Foghat, the Grass Roots, Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Turtles Gary Wright and the Buckinghams.

"We just open for big acts," said Miner. "That's it." He said that the Old Salt Band has recorded one album — "First Ones On Us" — and is working on its second, but limits its gigs to the opening for the headline act on the main stage. "It's great fun," he said, confessing to butterflies in his stomach before striking the first chord. "What we play, we write," he continued. "We get to play our own songs for big crowds." Miner described the Old Salt Band's repertoire as a blend of "classic rock and modern country."

On Thursday, July 3, the Old Salt Band will open for Boston at Meadowbrook.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 12:13

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Judge rules police lacked probably cause to charge Belmont man who held gun

CIRCUIT COURT — A judge dismissed a single charge of criminal threatening with a gun levied against a Belmont businessman yesterday after determining there was no probable cause for his arrest.

Belmont police charged Henry Dionne Jr. of Laconia Road with criminal threatening after a woman he knows accused him of putting a gun on her shoulder. The woman was apparently in a  truck on his property while attempting to retrieve some things she said were hers.

Under direct examination, police said they responded to Dionne's home on April 2 after getting two phone calls from 9-1-1 — one from a man who was a friend of the woman and later one from the woman herself.

Her statement was that as she went to light a cigarette, Dionne, who was also in the truck at that point, put a gun on her shoulder and said something like "why don't you light it with this." She described the gun as silver.

Under cross examination by Dionne's attorney Bob Hemeon, the officer said Dionne was cooperative during the entire investigation and had opened the safes where he kept his guns.

He said the alleged victim told him she had asked Dionne to get out of the truck and put the gun in a safe. The officer also said that she said Dionne never pointed the gun at her.

Police said Dionne was nowhere near the truck when they got there and was inside his home. He came out on the porch when police asked him too.

Under cross examination, Hemeon also got the officer to say that the alleged victim never called the police until after she spoke with her friend and after he had already called them.

In addition, Hemeon said the woman allegedly sent Dionne a letter in the mail changing her story and Dionne turned that writing in to police.

Judge Jim Carroll determined that the police didn't provide enough probable cause to sustain a felony charge of criminal threatening with a deadly weapon and ordered the case dismissed.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 12:05

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Come together: Cleveland Place neighbors rally to replace car for young couple who lost theirs in fire

LACONIA — Saturday was a day of celebration on Cleveland Place after neighbors of the close-knit south-end neighborhood presented a Chevy van to two young women who lost both of their cars in a suspicious middle-of-the-night fire on June 4.

Lindsay and Rebecca Thayer and their son were truly taken by surprise when they learned the freshly paint van decorated with balloons was theirs.

"Look Mommy, I have a car that's not of fire," the boy said when she saw a car seat in the back of the van, according to neighbor Loriann Poole.

The Thayers were both sound asleep when they were awakened by neighbors who told them their cars were both on fire. In all, three cars burned that night and the siding of the building next to where the cars were parked was melted and scorched.

Fire Chief Ken Erickson said yesterday the fire is suspicious and is still under investigation.

Poole said she and the rest of the neighbors came up with the idea of getting a car for the Thayers and her son, Kevin Hutchins, who owes a car restoration business, put a notice on Craig's List about looking for a car that could be fixed up.

Poole said both women work and have another child on the way. She said neighbors had been pitching in to get the two women back and forth to their jobs since they lost both of their cars.

She said a man from Derry donated the 1998 Chevy Venture and Hutchins, Jesse Garneau, Christian Brown and Jen Merrill worked with local businesses to get paint and parts donated for the restoration project. She said they replaced the rocker panels, the brakes lines, the air conditioning system and the fuel line to get the vehicle street worthy.

Poole said Lindsey Thayer even did some of the work on it, thinking it was for one of Kevin Hutchins' clients.

On Saturday, the neighborhood had an block party complete with a food cart, a neighborhood yard sale, and a bake sale. Poole said they decorated the van and sneaked in up Clay Street and parking it behind the concession stand so the Thayers couldn't see it.

Poole said the neighbors told the Thayers the bake sale was to raise money to get the street paved.

"They fell for it," said Poole, laughing about how the entire neighborhood was able to fool them into thinking they were raising money for street paving.

Poole said they people who live in the area are more like a family than a neighborhood.

"We cover each others backs and take care of each other," Poole said. "This is a great place to live and we all help each other out."

She said the Thayers had enough money to register and inspect the van and "everything worked out the was it should have."

As for getting their street paved, Poole said that's a job for another day and she doubts a bake sale is going to do it. "We really would like to have the city pave this street," she said. "We barely have any pavement left and the cold patch only lasts a few days."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 12:00

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