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Car stolen from Laconia dealer recovered on Bay St.

LACONIA — Police charged a Belmont man with one count of theft of an automobile for allegedly taking a car from the Irwin Automotive Group on October 15.

Samual P. Vachon, 21, is free on personal recognizance bail and is scheduled to appear in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division on December 12.

On October 16, police received a call about a suspicious vehicle that had no plates in the area of Bay and Winnisquam Streets.

Police stopped the 2001 red Chevy Cavalier and learned that it had been reported stolen by the local dealership.

Last Updated on Friday, 18 October 2013 03:10

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Man arraigned in connection with Meredith heroin death

LACONIA — A former Meredith man was arraigned in Belknap County Superior Court yesterday for allegedly selling the heroin that killed a Moultonborough man in May.

Andrew Currier, 50, now of Messer Street in Laconia, was ordered held on $2,500 cash bail by Belknap County Superior Court Judge James O'Neill, which he posted.

According to arrest warrant affidavits obtained through the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division — the court where Currier initially appeared after being charged, Currier sold "a bump" of heroin to 31-year-old Jason Dostie on May 29.

Dostie was found dead in the back of his father's truck in his father's Moultonborough driveway. Police determined he died while he was at 7 Enterprise Court in Meredith.

Toxicology results from the State Crime Lab later indicated Dostie died of a heroin overdose.

Affidavit's said Detective Cpl. John Eicchorn of the Meredith Police used text messages, interviews with Dostie's friends and co-workers to create a time line that led them to determine Dostie sent text messages to Currier beginning that morning saying he wanted to buy some heroin. Evidence collected indicates Currier allegedly dropped off a bag of heroin for Dostie by leaving it in his vehicle.

The N.H. Chief Medical Examiner's Office determined the cause of Dostie's death was "acute heroin intoxication" according to the affidavit.

Currier turned himself into police and had been free on $25,000 personal recognizance bail. He was indicted by a Belknap County Grand Jury last week.

Dostie's death is the fifth confirmed heroin death in the area this year. To date, two people have died in Laconia and two people have died in Gilford from heroin overdoses.

Last Updated on Friday, 18 October 2013 02:51

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Team of Laconia police officers focussing on curbing incidents of domestic violence

LACONIA — A team of Laconia Police officers have turned their attention to domestic violence and how to curb it by working with community partners and educating victims on the services available to them

Office Adam Batstone presented a Problem Oriented Policing (POP) team spoke to the Police Commission yesterday, telling them that this year alone 290 of the city police calls were related in some way to domestic violence. Ninty-eight of those calls resulted in criminal investigations and police made 122 arrests.

Batstone acknowledges that since "Sumaria and before that" there has been domestic violence but recently public attitudes and police responses to it have changed.

Critical to the way Laconia Police handle domestic violence is using the Lethality Assessment Protocols, which is a series of questions responding officers ask every potential victim. If police thinks a person is being abused, the officer calls a hotline for the victim who gets an opportunity to discus his or her problem.

Before the new protocols, police would hand the victim a flyer and hope they sought help on their own.

"I have never had an issue with them (the hotline) answering," Batstone said, noting that he uses the hotline almost every time he responds to a domestic violence dispute.

He told the commissioners that New Beginnings, which is a woman's shelter in Laconia, Catholic Charities, the Family Violence Prevention Council and other advocacy groups work with victims to understand the law and to educate them as to what will happen when their abuser gets arrested.

Batstone said one of the key things police try to do in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence call that has resulted in an arrest is to encourage the victim to seek shelter somewhere else for the rest of the night.

He said some of the victims will "grab their children and go to the shelter."

"They (the alleged abuser) are released unless it's so serious they get cash bail," Batstone said, saying New Beginnings and the hotline advocates explain the difference between a bail order and a restraining order to the victim so he or she can better protect themselves.

Lt. Al Lessard said the Laconia Police Relief Family Fund has money to put a victim in a motel if there is no friends or family he or she can turn to for shelter.

Batstone also said the POP Domestic Violence team is working with New Beginnings and Catholic Charities and the Media Arts Program at the Huot Technical Center to produce a series of public service announcements for victims of domestic abuse.

Chief Chris Adams said the long-term police goal is the break the cycle of violence. He said it's not uncommon to have people who grew up in violent homes become abusers as adults.

POP Projects are conducted by the city police who set up teams of officers, supervisors, and civilians employees who study one particular police issue in a community and work to mitigate it.

Other recent examples of POP projects include under-aged drinking and the safety of Wyatt Park in the city's south end.

Members of the Domestic Violence POP are Capt. Matt Canfield, Sgt. Gary Hubbard, Sgt. Dennis Ashley, Batstone, Officer Michelle Cardinal, Officer Eric Adams, Detective Kevin Butler, Dispatcher Ken Smith, and Administrator Lori Marsh.


Last Updated on Friday, 18 October 2013 02:37

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Mitchell tells Rotarians his run for mayor is part of 'natural progression'

LACONIA — "Leadership is something I am familiar with," said Kailief Mitchell, the second of the two mayoral candidates to field questions before the regular weekly meeting of Laconia Rotary Club in as many weeks. Ed Engler, president and editor of The Laconia Daily Sun, addressed the group the week before.

Mitchell, who works as an academic aid at Spaulding Youth Center in Northfield, described his decision to run for mayor as "a natural progression" from his longstanding commitment to civic affairs that began with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts when he was a schoolboy at Woodland Heights Elementary School, Holy Trinity School in Laconia and Bishop Brady High School in Concord.

After a year at Maine Maritime Academy, he became an optician, eventually serving as president of New Hampshire Board of Opticians. Since 2002, Mitchell has served in the U.S. Navy Reserve and is president of the New England chapter of the Chief Petty Officers Association. As a corrections officer, he worked at the Lakes Region Facility. He has served as a member of the city's Conservation Commission and as moderator in Ward 5 since 2006. Referring to the leadership positions he has held, Mitchell said he was confident that his experience prepared him for the responsibilities of mayor.

Mitchell said that after speaking with outgoing mayor Mike Seymour, he approaches the office as "a liaison position," meaning that the primary role of the mayor is "representing the community to the City Council." He acknowledged that "if the council is polarized, the mayor must step in. But, first and foremost," he continued, "the role of the mayor is to represent the people to the council." He described the mayor as "the eyes and ears of the community."

The incidence of drug abuse and trafficking, Mitchell said, represented the biggest challenge to the city. "We're seeing more and more drug busts," he noted, adding that the number of arrests is not a sign of "the problem getting worse, but of the solution getting better."

He also pointed to the stagnant and aging population of the city as an impediment to growth and prosperity. "The aging can be a concern, but it's that people aren't staying," Mitchell said, adding that although he returned to Laconia, he is not sure his children will.

Remarking that opportunities "kind of present themselves," Mitchell said that the natural setting of the city, marked by a chain of lakes and ringed by wooded mountains, was perhaps its greatest attraction. "People love the look of Laconia," he said. However, he called for steps to create more jobs, increase property tax revenues and draw more visitors to the city. He suggested that big box stores would generate entry-level jobs for young people as well as attract retail shoppers while "some sort of additional venue," like a casino or resort, would be an attraction for tourists. When the weather, too much rain in the summer and too little snow in the winter, deters visitors, the ripple effect is felt throughout the economy. Other than providing tax incentives to businesses and developers he doubted there much the city could do to attract and support commercial enterprises.

Calling the tract on North Main Street that once housed the Laconia State School "spectacular," Mitchell recommended that the city work with the state to attract a private buyer rather than purchase the property itself. The site, he suggested, could be redeveloped for a hotel, resort or casino — "something that will bring people to our community." Likewise, without commenting on tax increment financing, he said "we can't just spend money to make the city look pretty. We must have something to bring people here."

Mitchell said that the WOW Trail "accents our best asset — the river and waterfront and serves much like a city park." He agreed that the project warranted some public funding. On the other hand, he expressed concern about the prospect of a new county jail. "It's in our backyard and it's an asset to us," he said while asking "how much are we willing to invest in it? Should we sign up for the bill or is there another option?" Noting that the original estimate of $45-million was high, he wondered if county officials have considered adding a second level to the existing facility, which would reduce the cost of the project.

"Good communication is always key," Mitchell said of the sometimes strained relationship between the City Council and School Board. Conceding that "breakdowns" are sometimes unavoidable, he stressed "you have to be as transparent as you can." Without taking a position on the recent decision of the council authorizing the School Board to pursue a $1.8-million loan to fund renovations at the high school, Mitchell stressed the importance of deciding "what is a necessity and what is not." With the sluggish economy, he that "everyone must tighten their belt."

Mitchell said he would not support a "Pay-As-You-Throw" program, insisting the collection of trash and garbage should be a service funded by property taxes. At the same time, he said that the city should continue to promote recycling and acknowledged "we're not doing enough yet."

Mitchell and Engler will appear together, along with the candidates for City Council, at a forum sponsored by Weirs Action Committee at the Weirs Community Center on Thursday, Oct. 24, beginning at 7 p.m.


Last Updated on Friday, 18 October 2013 02:33

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