Barnstaed beach/cat feces feud stretches into a third year

BARNSTEAD — A Belknap County Superior Court judge has given a Barnstead couple some additional time to get a lawyer to argue that it is not their cats that are pooping on the neighbor's Locke Lake beach.

Gilles and Victoria Dube filed motions in June telling the court that Victoria and Bruce Bednarski's cats are continuing to defecate on their beach and diminishing the value of their property.

The Dubes and the Bednarskis have been fighting over the Bednarskis' cats since 2012. In 2013 the two couples went to court where Judge Kenneth McHugh ordered the Bednarskis not to let their cats defecate on the Dubes' beach. He also ordered the Dubes to stop firing Roman candles and the occasional gun near the Bednarski's property line. The Dubes asked for financial damages they say came from the Bednarskis' cats' poop.

Last year the two couples returned to court, each claiming the other had violated the terms of McHugh's order. The Dubes entered two years of pictorial evidence of cat poop on their beach.

The Bednarskis have three cats and the Dubes have one cat.

Judge O'Neill ordered that the conditions of McHugh's order remain in place and asked Guldbrandsen to conduct an investigation into whether or not either party violated the terms of McHugh's order and should be held in contempt.

On May 21, Gulbrandsen submitted a written memorandum to the court saying she could find insufficient evidence that the Bednarskis violated McHugh's order.

"While circumstantial evidence can often be enough to meet the high burden of proof (needed to charge the Bednarskis with contempt) beyond a reasonable doubt, the evidence here is too circumstantial," she wrote.

"Further, proving the criminal intent would require proving the Bednarskis intentionally violated the court's order. There is no evidence that any violation of the court order was committed intentionally by Bednarski, rather it is Bednarski's cats who are possible offenders," Guldbrandsen concluded.

She said she found the cats' behavior troubling and that alleged violations of a court order "undermine our system of justice" but that it doesn't rise to the level of a prosecutable offense.

The Dubes, however, returned to court and filed a motion on June 5 claiming the Bednarskis let their cats out when they know the Dubes are not home and watch their home for their comings and goings.

The said they called the Barnstead Police and reported the officer saw no signs of cats during two weeks in late May. He didn't stop one day because the police were busy, but Dube said the next day there were cat feces on his beach.

The Dubes said they have filed 20 police reports since 2012 and haven't been able to use their beach for three years.

They said they did a full remediation of the beach in 2013 but it proved to be a waste of time and money. He also accused Bednarski of lying to police and being skilled at subverting the law.

Police Chief Joe McDowell said yesterday that there is no cat ordinance in Barnstead and his officers are not likely to respond to any more cat complaints.

New Ray Carbone book focuses on 'Legendary Locals of the Lakes Region'

LACONIA — More than 100 "legendary locals" of the Lakes Region — many familiar, some obscure — are profiled in the most recent book by Ray Carbone, whose byline has appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the state for several decades.

Carbone said yesterday that Arcadia Publishing of Mount Pleasant, S.C., best known for its "Images of America" series, approached him about sharing the stories of unique individuals who left their mark on the region. Hesitant at first, he confessed that "once I got into I really loved it."

In 2009, Carbone published a coffee-table book titled "The Lakes Region of New Hampshire: Four Seasons, Countless Memories".

Carbone acknowledged the assistance of Daryl Carlson, a photographer who has also worked in the Lakes Region for years and Warren Huse, the mainstay of the Lacona Historical and Museum Society, with whose help he drew up a list. At the same time, he reached out to a dozen local historical societies and a number of libraries and museums for suggestions. Finally, Carbone remarked that "some people just fell into my hand. Some I don't even remember how I came upon them." In addition, he said that he took care to ensure that all towns in the region were represented in the book.

Carbone starts at the beginning with the surveyors who defined the northernmost boundary of Massachusetts at Endicott Rock at Weirs Beach in 1652 and Governor John Wentworth, who little more than a century later built the first vacation home in Wolfeboro, starting a tradition to which Mitt Romney is heir.

A section on the growth of the region features Ralph Cutillo of Steele Hill Resorts, who developed a farm in Sanbornton said to be "the best piece of real estate in the state"; Bob Lawton of Funspot, publisher of the Weirs Times and owner of the world's largest arcade; and Rusty McLear of Hampshire Hospitality Holdings who made over downtown Meredith. Some may find this fast company for Lin Bi, owner of the Chine Bistro restaurant in Gilford and the sisters, Stephanie McKim and Shelli Shumway, of Lakes Region Cupcakes of Tilton.

In "Community Glimpses", Carbone introduces John "Bud" Fowler, a black second baseman who managed the Laconia baseball team in 1885 and drew accolades for his play against the Boston Beaneaters of the National League. Then there is Annie Forts of Moultonborough, who put the "ability" into "disability" to champion the interests and expand the opportunities of the developmentally disabled.

Among the artists and craftsmen are the familiar faces of the late Bill Morrissey of Ossipee, whose hardscrable tunes earned two Grammy nominations; Grace Metalious of Gilmanton, who lifted the lid on the scandals of a small town in her best-selling novel "Peyton Place;" and Pepi Herrmann of Gilord, the master of cut glass.

Alongside them are Jules Olitski, once called "the greatest painter alive," a pioneer of abstract art who worked on Bear Island in Meredith; and Edra Toth, a Hungarian emigre who made the leap from living in a tenement in Boston to the stage of the Boston Ballet, and now lives and teaches dance in Wolfeboro.

Carbone tells of Thomas Cogswell, George Washington's wagon master who hauled tons of ammunition and materiel 400 miles in four weeks from New York to Virginia to force the British surrender at Yorktown; Brigadier General Harrison Thyng, born in Laconia and raised in Barnstead, an ace in both World War II and Korea and witness to the atomic bomb falling on Nagaski; Bernie Boutin, twice mayor of Laconia, who set John F. Kennedy on his way to the White House by engineering his victory in the New Hampshire Primary; Earl Sweeney, named Police Chief in Belmont at age 24 who recently retired as assistant commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Safety.

No list is complete. Some will question the absence of Tom McIntyre of Laconia, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1952 to 1978; Hugh Bownes of Laconia, the celebrated federal judge; and J. Oliva Huot and Dick Swett, two United States congressmen from Laconia.

Likewise, some may wonder why the late Ray Burton of Bath counts as a local legend in the Lakes Region. But then, during his 36 years on the Executive Council, he came to belong to the entire state. In the same vein, Babe Ruth on holiday in Meredith hardly qualifies as a "local," but the rare photograph is a genuine treat and Claude Rains's brief residency in Sandwich and permanent interment in Moultonborough might also be questioned.

These are petty quibbles and grist for a second volume but Carbone said he has no immediate plans for a sequel.

The book — "Legendary Locals of the Lakes Region" — is on sale at local bookstores, including Innisfree Books of Meredith, Bayswater Books of Center Harbor and the Country Bookseller of Wolfebooro.


N.H. Joint Fugitive Task Force looking for Ken Blankenship

BELMONT — Police and the N.H. Joint Fugitive Task Force are seeking the public's help in located Kenneth Blankenship, who is wanted out of the Belknap County Superior Court for failing to appear for hearing on July 7.

Blankenship, 33, has been indicted by a grand jury for one count of burglary and one count of resisting arrest. Gilford Police found Blankenship in December of 2014 after noticing a truck that was stuck in the driveway on Cherry Valley Road. He allegedly ran from two police officers but was quickly caught and arrested.

He was released on bail and ordered to live at a home on Elm Street in Laconia.

According to paperwork filed in court, Blankenship was arrested by Belmont Police for domestic violence assault on March 26. Because of the arrest, the Belknap County Attorney's Office requested his bail be revoked but he failed to show up for the hearing.

Additionally, Blankenship was arrested on June 16 and June 20 and is facing additional charges for domestic related violence and witness tampering. On June 20 he was held by the court on $2,000 cash bail, which he posted.

There are two separate bench warrants for failure to appear for Blankenship's arrest — one from the Belknap County Superior Court issued on July 8 and one issued from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division on July 10.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Belmont Police Department at 267-8350 or the Belknap County Sheriff's Department at 527-5450.