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Local man encounters small alligator on sidewalk while walking his dog in Lakeport

LACONIA — A local man and his pet pooch had a close encounter of a different kind one recent Friday night when they went for a walk and saw an alligator resting on an Elm Street sidewalk.

The man, who asked not to be identified, said his dog started acting a little skittish so he knew the dog heard or smelled something. He saw the alligator seconds later.

"It was lying on the sidewalk," he said, describing it as a two-foot "crocodile" that ran into a neighboring property when it noticed he and the dog.

The man said he called the Laconia Police.

Lt. Rich Simmons said yesterday that on August 16 at 9:25 p.m. police were notified about a 2-to-3 foot alligator near the corner of Jefferson and Elm Streets.

Two officers responded and the supervisor called Lt. Mike Eastman of the N.H. Department of Fish and Game and learned the alligator belongs to one of the few licensed alligators owners in the state.

Simmons said Eastman told his officers where the alligator's owner lived and the man's two teenaged daughters came and picked up the gator and carried it home.

A lieutenant with the N.H. Fish and Game Department said owning alligators has been illegal in New Hampshire since 2007, however the people who owned one before the law went into effect can keep them under the grandfather clause.

She also said it is rare but not unheard of for alligators to escape captivity and she personally recalled one incident where someone had released an alligator into the wild and Fish and Game officers brought it to Plaistow for shelter.

Kevin McCurley of New England Reptile Distributors in Plaistow said alligators cannot survive in New Hampshire unless they are kept in a controlled environment.

McCurley said there are about a dozen alligators owned legally in the state and all of them are bred in captivity and quite docile. Kept in a controlled environment, he said alligators can be kept small by regulating their habitat and diet.

He said the biggest alligator he owns is close to 200 pounds and he has had her for years. He recalled a man in Indiana who does exhibits with his alligator named "Bubba."

"You can't equate these to the 12-foot alligators in Florida you see on television," McCurley said, adding alligators sold by legitimate sellers are never taken out of the wild.

"Once the temperature gets to about 40 degrees they'll die," McCurley said. "That alligator was probably terrified."

He said he does rescue work for the state Department of Fish and Game and through his network is typically able to find safe and secure homes for the occasional alligator whose former owner decided it was too much work and released it to fend for itself.

He said the irresponsible people are the ones who get an alligator unlawfully, get sick of it, and let it go into the wild. He likened it to someone getting a large-breed dog and then dumping it when it becomes too big for the apartment.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 August 2013 02:12

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Opechee milfoil treatment set for next week

LACONIA — Milfoil in Lake Opechee will be treated with a chemical herbicide applied on or around Thursday, September 5. The treatment was originally scheduled for early July but was postponed when the chemical herbicide that was to have been applied was found to have produced less than optimal results at other locations.

Suzanne Perley of the Lake Opechee Preservation Association said that the treatment will cover 13 acres, divided between the areas at the north end of the lake near Anthony Drive and the eastern shore below the Lakeport Dam, at a cost of $13,256. She said that DES awarded the association a grant equal to 40-percent of the cost and the city and the association are splitting the balance evenly.

On the day the herbicide is applied restrictions on the use of water will be imposed and posted. Swimming will be prohibited within 200 feet of the treated areas. Water drawn from intakes within 1,200 feet and wells within 50 feet of the treated areas should not be used for drinking, irrigating or watering plants until further notice. These restrictions will be posted on the shoreline prior to the treatment and any questions can be addressed to Marc Bellaud, Aquatic Control Technology, 11 John Road, Sutton, Massachusetts 01590-2509, (508) 865-1000 or info@aquaticcontroltech. com.

Last Updated on Saturday, 24 August 2013 02:55

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Tilton Police raid nets 'large amount' of illegal drugs & cash & 2 arrests

TILTON — Police yesterday raided a residence on Autumn Drive and report the seizure of a "large amount" of drugs and cash, along with a firearm. Placed under arrest at the home were 31-year-old Benjamin Ricks and 25-year-old Sarah Swett.

Police Chief Robert Cormier said a search warrant was executed with the assistance of the Sanbornton Police Department and the N.H. State Police K-9 Unit.

Ricks is charged with illegal possession of controlled drugs/narcotics and possession with intent to sell illegal drugs/narcotics. He is being held in lieu of $10,000 cash bail.

Swett was charged with illegal possession of controlled drugs/narcotics and was released from custody on personal recognizance bail.

Last Updated on Saturday, 24 August 2013 02:46

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Council to took at details of $252k downtown 'gateway' plan on Monday

LACONIA — The Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Advisory Board will present a revised plan for improvements to what has been dubbed "Gateway Plaza" on the north side of the Main Street bridge to the City Council when it meets Monday night.

The plan consists of adding four elements to the existing space. Planting beds edged with granite curbing, each with two shade trees, would be placed in front of Sawyer's Jewelry to the west and near the entrance to the parking garage to the east. In addition, to the planting bed there would be a brick island with planters and benches on the west side of the foot of Main Street. A green space, ringed with shade trees and lined granite seating, would front the Grace Capital Church, accented by circular brick plaza, 20 feet in diameter, at the corner of Main Street and Beacon Street West. Finally, a brick island with planters and would lie along Beacon Street East overlooking the Winnipesaukee River.

The budget for the project is $252,276.

The Advisory Board suggested landscaping the traffic island, by installing irrigation and granite curbing, as an option with an estimated price tag of $11,730.

The original plan proposed replacing the concrete fronting Grace Capital Church and the parking garage on one side and Sawyer's Jewelry on the other with brick pavers and both areas would be landscaped with shade trees and raised planters. Intended as a pedestrian plaza, it would include granite benches, timbered seating, trellises, sculpture and lighting. The traffic island on the bridge itself would also be landscaped. The cost of the design was estimated at between $417,000 and $455,000 depending on the type of materials used.

When the Main Street Initiative group questioned whether investing in a pedestrian plaza at one of the busiest intersections in the city, the council trimmed the budget to include infrastructure — irrigation, drainage and electricity — required to support improvements while reducing the scope of the landscaping. The cost of the revised plan falls within the limits of between $250,000 and $300,000 set by the council.

Last Updated on Saturday, 24 August 2013 02:38

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