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Risky behavior - New survey shows tenth of Laconia high school students considered suicide


LACONIA — "This is a picture of our community," began Jim McCollum, the principal of Laconia High School as he presented the results of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey to the School Board Tuesday night. "These are our kids," he said.

The survey, developed in 1991 by the Center for Disease Control, a federal agency, was undertaken in 2015 at the high school. Altogether 463 of the 627 students completed the survey, which measures the prevalence of tobacco, alcohol and drug use, suicidal inclinations, and sexual and physical activity. The report measures responses of students at Laconia High School against those of their counterparts in the region — Belmont, Franklin, Gilford, Meredith and Tilton — and the state.

The report indicates that the prevalence of risky behaviors among Laconia is greater than that of their peers in the region and state. Nearly a third of students reported they currently use marijuana and almost two-thirds responded they perceive no moderate or significant risk in doing so, both levels higher than in the region and state. More than third drink alcohol. McCollum noted that that teenagers who smoke marijuana and drink alcohol are 65 percent more likely to turn to heroin than those who do not.

On the other hand, less than one in five students smoke cigarettes and only about one in 10 dismiss the risks of smoking tobacco. But, almost a third use electronic vapor products, prompting McCollum to express his chagrin that what he said "used to be called a head shop" plies a brisk trade in the paraphernalia of vaping within sight of the high school.

More than a third of students responded that they were sexually active and almost half said they had engaged in sexual intercourse. Half of that sexually active group said they did not use a condom and three-quarters said they did use birth control pills when they last had intercourse. 15 percent of students said they had been the victims of sexual violence and 10 percent reported they were physically forced to engage in sexual intercourse.

More than one in five students reported they had seriously considered suicide and one in 10 had attempted to take their own lives. McCollum said that a counselor from Genesis Behavioral Health who serves students at the high school is "booked solid."

Almost a fifth of students responded that a member of their family was serving a sentence in jail or prison, more than a fifth "saw or heard" domestic violence in their home, and 45 percent had lived in a household where a member abused alcohol or drugs.

MacKenzie Harrington-Bacote, who coordinates the program funded by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said that the survey "is not a report on the school. It's a reflection of our community."

"This how our kids live day to day," said McCollum. "We all deal with this on a daily basis. It is a serious situation."

Recount demanded on biosolids and selectman votes in Gilmanton

GILMANTON — The town will hold a recount at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Academy Building for the three-year seat for one position on the Board of Selectmen and for warrant Article 2 relative to banning biosolids.

The election results for selectman as reported on March 8 were 513 for Steve McWhinnie and 501 for Don Guarino, or a 1.25 percent difference in the number of votes cast. Town Clerk Tax Collector Debra Cornett said Guarino paid a $20 fee for the recount as is mandated by state law because the difference was greater than 1 percent.

The vote for the ban on biosolids was 501 for the ban and 531 against the ban. One of the lead petitioners Len Swanson and nine others petitioned the town for a recount and paid a $10 fee as is mandated by state law for petitioned articles.

Cornett said the Board of Recounts consists of her, Town Moderator Mark Sisti and the three selectmen. She said that because one of the requests for a recount involves Guarino and McWhinnie, outgoing Selectman Rachel Hatch will accompany Marshall Bishop and Michael Jean.

She said the first recount beginning at 6 p.m. will be for the selectman's seat and the second one will be for the sludge ban.

— Gail Ober

Judge tosses evidence in 2015 meth case


LACONIA — A Superior Court judge has thrown out the evidence the Belknap County Attorney's Office was depending on to convict a Lakeport man of possession with intent to sell nearly $44,000 of methamphetamine.

In a 17-page ruling issued late last week, Judge Peter Fauver determined that the police had already relinquished control of the car being driven by Peter Dauphin, 43, of Appleton Street before they searched it. The search led to the discovery of the methamphetamine as well as a confession.

"In the present case," wrote Fauver, there is no dispute that law enforcement had not taken physical custody of the Pontiac at the time Officer [Richard] Carlson conducted the inventory search."

Carlson and his training officer saw Dauphin drive from Clinton Street across Lakeport Square on to Elm Street at what they said was a higher rate of speed than was allowed. They followed him to the corner of Sheridan and Appleton Streets and pulled him over.

After realizing the license plates didn't not belong to Dauphin, the police decided to cited him for speeding and for misuse of plates, which required the plates come off of the car and that it be towed.

Dauphin, who lives about 200 feet from the traffic stop, asked police if he could have the car towed to his house. Police agreed and told him he could negotiate his own tow contract with tow company. While Dauphin was arranging the tow, police decided to conduct an "non-investigative" inventory search of the car but it was after he had arranged for his own tow.

During the search, police found methamphetamine under the front passenger seat. Dauphin was arrested and taken to the police station where he admitted he had more methamphetamine in his home. All totaled, Laconia Police found 8.3 ounces of methamphetamine and $11,000 cash in his home. Gilford Police found a small amount of heroin somewhere in his business in that community.

Fauver wrote that "the word 'impoundment' necessarily centers of the broader concept of 'possession': namely that law enforcement must take legal possession of the property in question."

Because Fauver determined the search of Dauphin car was unlawful, he suppressed all of the evidence in the case under the doctrine of "fruits of the poisonous tree," which means the statements he made to police and subsequent search warrants for his house and business came from an unlawfully searched vehicle.