Laconia schools add initiatives to tackle mental & behavioral health issues

LACONIA — "Mental health and behavioral health issues are very present 24/7," School Superintendent Terri Forsten told the School Board last night as she mentioned several initiatives underway to address them.

With a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the School District has hired a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, who has begun work in both the high school and middle school. In addition, mental health counselors from Genesis Behavioral Health are spending two days each week in the high school, middle school and three elementary schools.

Meanwhile, school staff are undergoing Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) training and PBIS consultants are present in the each of the five schools.

"I'm smiling and laughing at the strength of our consultants," Forsten said, stressing that the district is very fortunate to be working with people of national reknown.

When the Budget and Personnel Committee met prior to the board meeting both Scott Vachon and Mike Perrson referred to the rising costs associated of educating children affected by alcohol and drug abuse as well as financial hardship in the home. Perrson noted that the committee approved transferring nearly $222,000 from other items in the budget to fund contracted services, salaried teachers and aides in special education. "We can't cut the budget as these costs continue to increase," he remarked.

Wolfeboro police arrest 4 on drug charges

WOLFEBORO — In a statement released to media yesterday, Police Chief Stuart Chase said that after months of investigation police made four arrests for various drug violations — including the sale and/or possession of heroin, cocaine and marijuana.

Chase said Erik True, 36, of Pleasant Valley Road was charged with the unlawful distribution of a controlled drug. He is scheduled to appear in the 3rd Circuit Court, Ossippe Division in February.

Tyler Morgan, 28 of Varney Road was charged with three sales of controlled drugs after police arrested him on warrant after stopping his car last Friday. A passenger in Morgan's vehicle, Amanda Allen, 25, of South Street was charged with two counts of possession of controlled drugs. Both will appear in court in February.

Kyal Pkrake, 24, of Beech Pond Road was charged with the sale of a controlled drug and is schedule to appear in court in February.

A former Wolfeboro resident who now lives in Rochester was charged with burglarizing the All Saints Church and allegedly stealing a number of gift cards.

Police said David Lowe, 28, of Winter Street in Rochester was taken into custody by Wolfeboro Police and was being held on cash bail in the Carroll County House of Corrections. He is scheduled to appear in court this week.

He is charged with one count of burglary and one count of criminal mischief.

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Women charged with assaulting boyfriend

LACONIA — A city woman is free on $2,500 personal recognizance bail after she appeared Tuesday in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division for allegedly biting and scratching her boyfriend on Sunday night.

Police affidavits filed with the court said Sheri Leighton, 31, of 12 Jewett St. Apt. B got into an argument with her boyfriend and allegedly bit him on the arm and scratched his throat.

On January 14, Leighton was charged with simple assault for allegedly hitting the same victim.

She is charged with one count of breach of bail, two counts of simple assault, and one count of domestic violence (simple assault).

A second man, who witnessed the assault, told police that this is what happens when Leighton and her boyfriend "clash" and that she never knows when to stop.

Leighton was taken to Belknap County House of Corrections on Sunday and appeared by video in court yesterday.
Police said she had previous convictions for simple assault and for a false fire alarm.

Judge Jim Carroll ordered Leighton to stay at least 25-feet from her alleged victim and to refrain from the consumption of all alcohol and non-prescribed drugs. She was also ordered to appear every Tuesday at 11 a.m. for Compliance Court — a special court held by Carroll one hour a week where people who are either taking legitimate drugs for mental health or who are in counseling check in with him and report their progress.