$50,000 cash bail holding Laconia man charged with selling heroin

LACONIA — A Merrimac Street man was ordered held on $50,000 cash bail yesterday after his appearance in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday for sale of a controlled drug — heroin.

William V. Brown, 32, of 123 Merrimac St. was also held on $1,000 personal recognizance bail for a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child.

According to a written media statement issued by police, Brown and Trisha L. Carroll, 27, of the same address were home when police arrived to serve an arrest warrant on Brown.

Police said they found heroin, packaging and cutting materials used to dilute the drug, a scale and $1,185 in cash.

When the arrived they found three children, ages 18-months, 2-years and 7-years old in the home. The children were released to a guardian and the N.H. Division of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) was notified.

Carroll was charged with conspiracy to commit sales of a controlled drug and endangering the welfare of a child.

Brown was arrested and released on personal recognizance bail during the most recent Laconia Police "round-up" of suspects wanted on outstanding warrants, which City Prosecutor Jim Sawyer mentioned in court when asked for a bail recommendation. The court also granted Sawyer's request for a "source of funds" hearing should Brown post bail.

Public Defender Steve Mirkin told the court he was not prepared to make a bail argument at the time because Brown didn't know how much money he could produce. He reserved Brown's right for a bail hearing and asked that the probable cause hearing be scheduled as quickly as possible because he feared Brown would be unable to post $50,000.

Carroll did not appear in court yesterday and is not listed as being incarcerated on the Belknap County House of Corrections Website.

In other police action yesterday, police arrested Wesley Follansbee, 31, and charged him with two counts of sales of a narcotic drug — one for methamphetamine and one for heroin. While the warrants for his arrest were issued for the "round-up", police said Follansbee is transient and could not be found that morning.

Police said when they found him yesterday, he had a syringe and a small amount of methamphetamine in his possession. He was charged with an addition count of possession of methamphetamine and is being held on $500 cash bail because there was also a bench warrant for his arrest.

Follansbee is scheduled to appear in court today.

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Gilford drops underage drinking party charges against local woman because it can't produce the drinkers at trial

LACONIA — A case against a Gilford veterinarian charged with facilitating an under-aged drinking party at her home was dismissed in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday.

After attorney Matt Lahey made a motion to dismiss the charge against Dr. Brenda Stowe for lack of prosecution, Gilford Sgt. Prosecutor Eric Bredbury told the court that the state was unable to produce five witnesses who would testify they were at the party and under the age of 21 at the time.

"The witnesses are all over the world, including Vietnam," Bredbury said.

Stowe was charged with a misdemeanor after police were called to her home on May 26 after someone made a noise complaint. In a media release, Lt. Kris Kelley announced 18 people under the age of 21 were found in the home that were alleged to have consumed alcohol.

In this case, the attendees at the party were from an area private school and few of them were from New Hampshire.

While the law says five or more people who are under 21 must be at the party, Bredbury said, and two other local prosecutors agreed, that RSA 644:18 is very difficult to prosecute because the state, in Judge Jim Carroll's court, is required to produce at least five people who are not related to the defendant who will testify under oath that they were under 21 at the time of the party.

Belmont Prosecutor Dave Estes and Alton Prosecute Anthony Estee, Esq. said they had lost similar cases in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division and that Lahey had been the defense attorney in all three cases.

All three prosecutors said that police testimony regarding the ages of those who are at the party is considered hearsay — or not first party testimony — and serving subpoenas on five people not related to the homeowner who don't live in the immediate area is economically not a good use of limited state resources for prosecuting a misdemeanor.

Bredbury also explained that prosecutors have an obligation not to "waste the court's time" by trying cases when eye witnesses aren't available so he and his chief made the decision not to prosecute Dr. Stowe.

According to a training PowerPoint presentation for underage alcohol enforcement prepared by former Portsmouth Police Chief Michael Magnant in 2007, legislative work on RSA 644:18 began in 2002 when a group of students in Dover wanted to make it more difficult for people to host under-aged drinking and/or drug parties.

He said the state Legislature was slow to embrace a law that had the potential to make parents criminally liable for the actions of their children and in 2003 a legislative subcommittee determined the original bill was inexpedient to legislate, effectively killing it.

In 2004, said Magnant, a new bill was introduced and it was amended to require that the facilitator of the party had to know about it and act overtly to make the party happen. The new bill also added the clause about needing five or more people not related to the homeowner or occupant to be present.

Magnant said the law was designed specifically to make it difficult to prosecute because the Legislature was still fearful of criminalizing parents for actions of their children.

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With help, Plan N.H. team 're-imagines' Laconia

LACONIA — After hosting three design charettes last Friday, Plan N.H., a volunteer team of architects, engineers and planners, capped its contribution to the effort to the Planning Department's enterprise to "Reimagine Laconia" by presenting its suggestions to some 15 interested residents at the Grace Capital Church on Saturday afternoon.

Drawing on information gathered during the charettes, the team addressed each of three busineses "villages" composing the city — downtown, Lakeport and The Weirs — confining its vision to central elements of each. The team is in the process of preparing maps, including overlays of existing conditions, to illustrate its findings.

Dowtown, the team stressed calming the traffic and catering to pedestrians on both Beacon Street East and Beacon Street West. Beacon Street East, they suggested could be narrowed to a single lane of vehicles and a narrower lane for bicycles. At the same time, so-called bump-outs could be installed at pedestrian crossings, which by increasing the visibility of both the crossing and pedestrians would enhance safety. The street lights, which are currently more appropriate to a highway, could be lowered to match those on Main Street, creating a more urban ambence.

The team suggested breaking Becacon Street West near the intersection with Water Street where it would take a right angle turn toward Main Street then turn south to the Main Street Bridge. The reconfigured streetscape, they said, would create space for small shops facing Beacon Street West, which now looks on to the backs of stores on Main Street. Likewise, the team foresaw developing a portion of the City Hall parking lot by lining Beacon Street East, north of Hanover Street, with retail space.

At Weirs Beach, the team envisioned a destination hotel on the lot fat the corner of Endicott Street North and Lakeside Avenue overlooking the sign, formerly occupied by a waterslide. They encouraged completion of the WOW Trail from downtown through The Weirs to Meredith. The parking lot at Endicott Rock, they suggested, could be replaced with grassed park and a picnic pavilion and the connection between the beach and the Weirs Community Park over the Weirs Channel Bridge could be improved. The plan emphasized moving parking to the perimeter and enhancing the walkability of the center of Weirs Beach.

In Lakeport, the team concentrated on Lakeport Square, especially with proposals to improve the safety of pedestrians navigating the junction from all directions. Noting that the dearth of parking is a major concern of business owners, they suggested businesses operating at different hours be encouraged to share parking spaces. But they also decried the overall amount of asphalt in the area and recommended the dedication of a portion of the large Lake Opechee Inn & Spa parking lot to additional retail (canoe rentals, etc.) and a more direct connection to the lake itself.

Assistant Planner Brandee Loughlin said the results of the design charettes will be be incorporated into the land use chapter of the Master Plan.

Meanwhile, the Community Opportunities Group of Boston, which is contributing to the economic development section of the Master Plan, also met with residents on Saturday to discuss four major themes — identity and branding, entrepreneurship, workforce training and recruitment and strengthening existing businesses. Much of the emphasis fell on defining the unique identity of the community and fashioning a persuasive that would enable the city to market its assets and opportunities to potential entrepreneurs and investors.