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Most people arrested in drug sweep already out on bail


LACONIA — Twenty-five of the people who were targeted by a wide-sweeping drug bust last week have been arrested, but many are already out on bail, police officials told Laconia police commissioners Thursday.
Detective Lt. Thomas Swett told commissioners that the department is still looking for eight people for whom they hold outstanding warrants.

Commissioner Armand Maheux said that it "must be discouraging" for the police officers who worked so hard on the warrants and arrests to know that 13 of those 16 picked up that day by Laconia police were released on personal recognizance bail.

"It's like they almost laugh at you," Maheux said.

Commissioner Thomas Tarr, who participated by telephone because he is out of the state, said Maheux was "right on the money."

Tarr wanted to know how much, if any, pretrial supervision each was getting and Swett responded that there is very little pretrial supervision available for people who haven't been convicted of the crime.

"They're still considered innocent," he said.

Swett said, historically, a high number of the arrestees will appear in court for their arraignment and trial.

Chief Christopher Adams said that working with the drug community and with victims of drug overdoses in general can take its toll on all police officers. He said that often times police must give CPR to someone until emergency crews arrive.

"We keep our eyes and ears open and we have sessions for officers who undergo a particularly stressful or catastrophic event," he said, adding that CPR falls under that category.

Adams went on to say that so far this year, Laconia is doing fairly well, with eight or nine overdoses and one death until this past weekend, when there were four overdoses in the city with one reported fatality. He said that Northfield also reported two overdoses and said the problem is taking its toll everywhere and not just on larger, city police departments.

When asked by Tarr if any of the people who have overdosed on drugs have done it before, Adams said that it is "not uncommon for people to overdose over and over again."

He said there was one man who lived in the city that was administered Narcan by emergency crews about five times last year but he, unfortunately, died.

When Tarr asked if Narcan is the correct way to approach the problem, Adams said it gives addicts a lifeline so they can survive and hopefully seek help or treatment, which could mean waiting for a bed in a rehabilitation facility somewhere in the state.

Adams added that along those lines, Laconia's Prevention, Education, and Treatment Officer Eric Adams will be awarded with the New Hampshirre Public Health Association's annual Friend of Public Health Award at a ceremony on April 13 at the Christa McAuliffe Center in Concord.

Adams will be honored for all of his work within the community helping to get assistance for those who have drug problems and for his outreach efforts to educate people against drugs and drug abuse.

County will see $64,000 savings if new contract wins approval

LACONIA — Unionized employees of the Belknap County House of Corrections have voted unanimously to approve a proposed two-year contract with the county which will provide them with their first pay raise in four years.
Belknap County Commission Chairman David DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) said that all 21 members of the Belknap County Corrections Officer Union this week voted for the contract, which has been negotiated in recent weeks by union representatives and the commissioners.
DeVoy said that the contract, if approved by the Belknap County Delegation, will save the county $64,000 in health insurance costs over the next two years.
The contract provides a 1.4 percent pay raise in each of the two years as well as step increases, which could increase total compensation by 4.4 percent each year for eligible workers.
It also provided for health insurance changes from an HMO plan to a "site of service" plan. DeVoy said that change will save the county $3,000 per employee, even though the county will pick up the entire cost of the health insurance premiums. Currently employees pay 5 to 6.5 percent of the premiums for the HMO plan.
There is also an incentive bonus of $1,000 in the first year for employees who make the switch to the site of service plan, which provides for $1,000, $2,000 and $3,000 deductibles on single, two-person and family plans.
DeVoy said that he has contacted Belknap County Delegation Chairman Frank Tilton (R-Laconia) about the contract, which needs approval from the delegation before it can take effect, and asked him to set up a meeting of the delegation at which the contract can be voted on.
The proposed contract is similar to the collective bargaining agreement between Teamsters Local 633 and the county which was approved by a 10-5 vote by the County Delegation last August.
DeVoy said that contract talks will be held next week with the new union representing the Belknap County Sheriff's Department. On Monday employees of the department voted unanimously to switch from the State Employees Association to the Teamsters Union.

Man trying to aid motorist struck in Tilton, now recovering


TILTON — A good Samaritan who who struck by an oncoming vehicle while hastening to the aid of stranded motorist has been released from hospital and is recovering at home.

The accident occurred at the traffic signal on US Route 3 directly across from the AutoServ dealership on March 10. When the driver of a Chrysler sedan stalled at the light in the eastbound turning lane, several men from the dealership crossed the street to assist him by pushing his car clear of the intersection.

Among them was Larry Holdsworth, one of several retired New Hampshire State Troopers employed by AutoServ. As Holdsworth ran toward the median strip, he was struck by a red vintage Jeep traveling eastbound.

Chris Miller, a fellow salesman who witnessed the accident, said the driver of the Jeep "never stopped or braked." He said that he has a lasting image of Holdsworth being hit, his shoes in the air, his head hitting the hood of the Jeep and his body skidding in the roadway.

Police Chief Bob Cormier said that Corporal Steve Henry of the Tilton Police Department was in his cruiser directly behind the stalled Chrysler. Immediately, he rushed to Holdsworth's aid, immobilizing his head and neck and stanching the bleeding from cuts to his leg and head, and calling for Tilton-Northfield Fire & EMS.

Holdsworth was transported to Concord Hospital, where he was treated for a broken neck, broken collar bone and lacerations to his leg and head that required some 200 stitches. Cormier said that when he visited Holdsworth in the hospital soon after the accident, Holdsworth told him that Henry saved him from more serious injury, even death, by immobilizing him as he tried to regain his feet.

Cormier said that after investigating the accident, police decided against filing charges. He explained that the driver of the Jeep was not exceeding the speed limit or running a traffic signal while Holdsworth was not crossing the street with a signal or in a crosswalk. He said that Holdsworth told him that he saw the Jeep, but expected it to make a left turn into Sherwood Drive and Northway Bank across the street.

"It was just a very unfortunate accident," Cormier said.