Arbo Ministries gets Gilford Planning Board approval

GILFORD — After months of discussion and negotiations with neighbors and various planning officials, the Planning Board approved last night an application for Arbo Ministries, Inc. to run a ministry from their Curtis Road home.

The conditions placed by the board include a provision that this permit, although issued to Arbo Ministries, Inc. is to be used by the corporation principals Barbara and Steve Arbo.

The Arbos can have overnight guests as long as it is not part of the ministry unless there are extraordinary circumstances like a snow storm or other event. Their attorney Pat Wood said they have no intention of running a guest house but occasionally they will have friends and family who will spend the night.

They agreed there will be no outdoor bells, camping, tents, or sound amplification and that any ministerial outdoor activities shall cease by 11 p.m.

The site plan limits the parking to 12 cars other than those in garages and the Arbos have said they plan on using the Curtis Road driveway as an entrance and the Route 11A driveway as an exit. Excluding family, the Arbos may have no more than 35 people on the property at any given time.

The ministry is not a church, said Planning Board member Norm Silber, who was initially of the opinion that the Arbos, by applying for a home-based business, were trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

He said his original thinking was that a church was something open to all however one of the stipulations of the Arbos' ministry is that only people who are invited can be on the property.

He said after the site visit last week, he was convinced that their plan was acceptable for the site.

Member Jerry Gagnon still had a few issues with exiting on to Route 11A and said that he would like it if they took one layer off from the brick wall in front of the home to help visibility.

Other members, including Chair John Morgenstern,said that wasn't necessary and Gagnon voted for the site plan approval without any changes to the brick wall.

The Arbos also agreed that they would maintain all of the natural buffers on the land and would not alter any of the structures on the land.

About seven people attended last night's meeting, down from a packed house when the Arbos first made their application to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a special exception to operate a church.

Only one neighbor spoke and she said that she was very happy with the way the Arbos had reached out to the neighbors and was in favor of them having their ministry.

The site plan is contingent on Arbo Ministries satisfying all other local, state, and federal rules and regulations. Wood said last night that Arbo Ministries would be withdrawing their application to the ZBA for a special exception.

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Belmont Old Home Day Committee wants to buy school district’s portable stage equipment

Town selectmen were supportive of a request from the Belmont Old Home Day Committee for financial support in purchasing up to 18 risers from the Shaker Regional School District which can be used for setting up portable stages at Old Home Day and other community events.
The request came to selectmen at Monday's meeting from Gretta Olson-Wilder, a member of the Old Home Day committee who is also a member of the Shaker Regional School Board. She said that the risers had been rented from the school district for $250 at this year's Old Home Day to create a 16 foot by 20 foot stage area which worked out well. She said the school district is eager to sell the risers, which are carpeted, in order to free up space in the high school music department.
''They're very sturdy, very heavy and got praise from the band which used them at Old Home Day,'' said Olson-Wilder, who estimated that it might cost as much as $2,000 for the town to acquire them and that with a new pavilion in the downtown area they might be used as many as five or six times a year.
Ruth Mooney, chair of the board of selectmen, asked if they would be used only for town events and Olson-Wilder said yes and that people or organizations who used town facilities would have to rent similar equipment for those events. She said that the Old Home Day Committee was willing to put up some money toward the purchase and that funds would also be sought from community organizations.
She pointed out that it would save rental money for the town in the long run and that there was adequate space at several town facilities for storing the risers.
Mooney suggested that the town might be able to transfer funds within this year's budget to come up with 50 percent of the costs now and 50 percent next year.
Olson-Wilder said that given the town's interest she hopes to bring up the subject of the sale to the townvat tonight's Shaker Regional School Board meeting.
In other business:
— Selectmen will meet with Mike Izzard of the Lakes Region Planning Commission at 10 a.m. on Thursday, September 11 for a discussion of the Rte. 140 and Main Street intersection and the state Department of Transportation's 10-year plan.
— Selectmen will meet with Bonnette, Page and Stone contractors on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 2 p.m. for a discussion of options regarding the Belmont Mill reconstruction project.

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Academy St. man alleged to have beaten man with cane

LACONIA — An Academy Street man was ordered held on $1,500 cash only bail for allegedly hitting a man repeatedly with his own cane during an argument.

Police said Carroll Akerman, 44, had been drinking with the alleged victim when the two apparently got into a fight around 8 p.m. on Thursday on High Street.

The victim's brother called police when he looked out his window and allegedly saw Akerman preparing to strike the victim. He was able to get the cane away from Akerman.

When police arrived, the victim was covered in blood and had a number of severe lacerations to his face and large welts on his back, according to affidavits obtained from the witnesses. Police also found a pair of sneakers with blood on them they believe belong to Akerman. The victim said Akerman also kicked him.

Police found Akerman, who they said appeared intoxicated, and had difficulty standing.

When they tried to talk to him, he said he wanted a lawyer.

Corrections officers found a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana when they searched Akerman's jacket.

He is charged with one count of second-degree assault, one count of first-degree assault and one count of possession of marijuana.

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Belmont man Tasered, charged with disorderly conduct & resisting arrest

BELMONT – A Union Road man faces one count each of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest for allegedly barricading himself in his house after arguing all day with one of his neighbors.

Michael Sweeney, 40, of 514 Union Road was ordered held on $300 cash and $5,000 personal recognizance bail after his arrest Sunday night.

According to affidavits, police said they were called to the Sweeney residence for the third time at 8:36 p.m. and each time they responded he appeared to be drunker and drunker. He was allegedly screaming obscenities at his neighbors with whom he shares a driveway.

Affidavits said two Belmont officers and a Sanbornton officer learned from the neighbors that Sweeney "was acting crazy," and was upset because of a recent death in the family and because his mother is very ill.

A woman described by police as his common-law wife and the neighbors had been trying to calm him down all day, unsuccessfully.

Police also learned from his wife that there were firearms in the house and he had threatened to use them. One of the neighbors said he threatened suicide and was going to burn down the house.

Sweeney kept telling officers to get off his property or call the SWAT Team to get him out.

While one officer watched Sweeney from a front window, the other two went to the back, but found the back door locked. One officer broke a pane of glass with his baton to gain access but then they heard what sounded like a shotgun rack.

Although police had the door open, they took cover. When Sweeney tried to close the door, one officer tried to hit him with his Taser. He missed and the cartridge hit the door.

One officer drew his weapon while one used the other officer's Taser and they entered the house. Sweeney allegedly threw something at the officer with the Taser. He ducked and was able to zap Sweeney who went down.

The other officer tried to get control of Sweeney's arms but the charge had worn off and he began to fight and get up again. He was Tasered a second time and police were able to get handcuffs on him.

The home was filled with haze and police learned that Sweeney had allegedly tried to set the couch on fire. Police searched the house and found a pellet gun but no weapons.

Sweeney was allegedly screaming and trying to resist again, so Belmont Police called an ambulance and later for the Laconia Police transport van. Affidavits said he was thrashing around the van so much that it was rocking back and forth.

When police opened the door at the jail, Sweeney had allegedly tried to escape his handcuffs but had instead gotten his hands stuck under his knees. Corrections officers allegedly had to carry him into jail.


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