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Man connected to heroin sale seeks release from jail through monitoring bracelet program; prosecutor objects

LACONIA — A Meredith man who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess a controlled drug has been approved by the Belknap County House of Corrections for the electric monitoring bracelet program.

Andrew Currier, 51, pleaded guilty to the sole count on March 24, 2015 as part of a plea bargain that included the state dropping a single count of sales of a controlled drug — heroin, death resulting against him.

Currier admitted to withdrawing money from an account at a local bank and driving to victim Jason Dostie's place of employment in Meredith. Dostie was found dead in his father's truck by his father at their home in Moultonborough. An investigation determined Dostie died in Meredith.

Judge Peter Fauver of the Belknap County Superior Court sentenced Currier to 12 months in the house of corrections in March and granted him work release.

Belknap County Deputy Attorney Roni Karnis has filed an objection to Currier being released on an electronic bracelet. In her motion to object, she said the judge ordered work release but not a bracelet. She also said that since he is on work release, home incarceration "would not have the same punitive and deterrent effect on (Currier), particularly given that (he) is already at liberty during the day for work release."

"Said participation in the (electronic monitoring bracelet program) is the functional equivalent of release from custody," Karnis continued, adding she would be providing the court with statements from the victim's family when they become available.

Shortly before he was set to go to prison, Currier joined a Stand Up Laconia meeting and spoke openly about his addiction. He said he had also agreed to go to schools and speak of drug addiction as part of his rehabilitation.

Stand Up Laconia is a grass roots organization dedicated to stopping the use of illegal drugs especially for young people in the city of Laconia.

At that time, which was in January, he said he had been clean and sober for 20 months and admitted his real drug of choice was alcohol.

He said when he learned he was complicit in Dostie's death, he confessed all of his drug use to his wife of 27 years who threw him out of the house and subsequently divorced him.

Admitted to the Riverbend Program in Meredith, he said when he learned two months later that the Meredith Police were looking for him, he turned himself in.

He had been a counselor at the Riverbend Program but when he agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy, the program director removed him that position.

He told the group that sobriety had forced him to remember what he had and what he lost. He also recalled the embarrassment of having his name and mug shot in the newspapers. His case was covered by local media as well a state media.

"It's my fault," he said at the time.

The motion for the Department of Correction's request that he be released on the electric monitoring system has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

The objections raised by the Office of the Belknap County Attorney in a previous request for electronic monitoring had at least one member of the Belknap County Commission crying foul and accusing County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen of not "being a team player."

Guldbrandsen replied that she was a "team player" and cited, in part, her volunteer work in the 4th Circuit Court's, Laconia Division Recovery Court as an example of how her office is working with the courts, the jail and numerous other local agencies to help people get clean and sober in lieu of incarceration.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 July 2015 11:19

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Parades, fireworks and music will highlight local Indpendence Day celebrations

LACONIA — Parades, fireworks and concerts will mark Fourth of July celebrations in the Lakes Region.
On Saturday Ashland's July 4th opens with a pancake breakfast fundraiser at The Common Man Restaurant starting at 7 a.m. with the Independence Day Parade beginning at 10 a.m.
There will also be a parade at 10 a.m. in downtown Bristol and Gilmanton's Fourth of July also kicks off at 10 a.m. near the Gilmanton Academy Building. In Wolfeboro, a parade also starts at 10 a.m..
Parades in Moultonborough and Waterville Valley get underway at 11 a.m. while Andover's parade starts at noon.
In Andover a full day of festivities is planned Saturday with a pancake breakfast at 7 p.m., a flea market and concerts throughout the day on the Village Green. Fireworks will be held at dusk.
The fun kicks off in Moultonborough with the parade beginning at 11 a.m. at Blake Road, continuing through town to Old Route 109 and ending at the Lion's Club with a free barbecue for all.
Center Harbor will have a parade at 2 p.m. and there will be band concert at 7 p.m. with fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
In Laconia a parade gets underway at 4:30 p.m. which proceeds from Wyatt Park to Opechee Park, where vendors will be set up and local bands will entertain from 5:30 until 10 p.m., when fireworks will begin.
The Meredith July 4th celebration includes a chicken barbecue from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hesky Park; Meredith Lions Rubber Duckie Race at 4 p.m. at Mill Falls Marketplace. There will be a concert at 7 p.m. with fireworks at dusk.
Crystal Lake Park will open at 6 p.m., in Gilmanton and there will be vendors and live music with fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
Steele Hill in Sanbornton will host a barbecue at 2 p.m., live entertainment starting a 3 p.m. with fireworks at dusk.
Waterville Valley's fireworks show will be held at dusk.
Also on Saturday there will be a crafts fair at Gunstock Recreation Area in Gilford which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Mt. Washington cruise ship will hold a fireworks cruise from 7-10 p.m. with music by Annie and the Orphans and will return to the Weirs Beach dock following the Meredith Bay fireworks.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 July 2015 11:13

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Disparate nursing home budget numbers lead to delay in transfer request

LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners put off until today a decision on the total amount of funds they will request be transferred within the 2015 Belknap County Nursing Home budget to cover projected shortages in different accounts.
The commissioners on Wednesday were presented with a proposed transfer of $43,750 by Belknap County Administrator Deb Shackett, which differed with numbers discussed in an e-mail Nursing Home Administrator Mathew Logue had sent to them.
''I'm totally confused about what we're looking at,'' said Commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton), who sought an explanation for the differences.
Shackett said that she and Logue were working off from different documents and that hers was based on the most recent county budget report, which she said was available electronically to all department heads, while Logue's reflected an older report.
Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) said that he would like to see an agreed on number reached so that commissioners could act on it a meeting which will be held at 1 p.m. today.
Shackett said that was possible and said she would show Logue how to access the latest budget report so that they would be working on the same page.
Shackett said that it was important that the transfers, which must be approved by the Belknap County Convention's Executive Committee, be handled promptly. ''We've been putting transfers off and we're already over-expended.''
Taylor said ''we're in violation of a court order and need to do something'', a reference to last fall's ruling in Belknap County Superior Court as a result of a lawsuit brought by the county convention against the previous commission which prohibits transfers of more than $300 between budget lines without prior approval of the Executive Committee.
He said that he thought it very important that commissioners meet as soon as possible with the Executive Committee, noting ''if we don't get some relief, there will be a need for layoffs.''
A pressing concern for the commissioners is a projected $80,000 shortfall in funding for health insurance for employees, which DeVoy has said could be met by using some of the $200,000 in contingency money in the county budget.
Taylor points out that that transfer will require Executive Committee approval and says ''we need some direction from the Executive Committee shortly.'' He has said that the longer it takes for the county to act on the situation, the more severe ant staff reductions would have to e.
Commissioners approved a three-year physician services agreement for the Department of Corrections with American Institutional Medical Group LLC with service fees of $8,013.16 monthly in year one, $8,253.36 per month in year two and $8,501.10 a month in year three.
They also approved a request from Sheriff Craig Wiggin to hire a full-time Deputy Sheriff and awarded a contract for installing a new 3-ton air handler on the roof of the sheriff's dispatch center to the Eckhardt and Johnson firm, which had submitted the low bid of $9,892 for the project.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 July 2015 12:38

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State officials make plea for safe 4th

CONCORD — After seven deaths by drowning in the past six weeks and about two dozen hikers billed for their rescue each year, officials from the New Hampshire Marine Patrol, Fish & Game Department, Division of Parks and State Police met with the media yesterday to sound a caution to those intending to enjoy the water and outdoors over the 4th of July weekend.

As five of the seven drownings occurred in rivers, Sergeant Joshua Dirth of Marine Patrol warned swimmers of high water, strong currents and dangerous undertows following heavy summer rainfall. Boaters, he said, should ensure that all required safety equipment, which varies with the size of the vessel, is on board before taking to the water. In particular, life jackets should be properly sized and in good condition. Dirth also urged boaters to check that their lights and horns are in working order and that the lanyard controlllng the emergency sut-off is always attached to the wrist of the person operating the boat.

Dirth urged boaters to visit the Marine Patrol website at www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/nhsp/fob/marine-patrol for further information about how to ensure that time spent on the state's waters is spent safely.

Tom Dakai of the Fish & Game Department noted that hiking poses all kinds of safety issues, most of which can be addressed by taking care to plan a hike of distance and difficulty that is within the limitations of the hikers. He noted that in the mountains conditions, particularly temperatures, can change quickly and significantly at higher elevations and urged hikers to have appropriate clothing for cold, wet weather. He also stressed the importance of carrying adequate food and water. He reminded hikers they can indemnify themselves against being charged the expense of their search and rescue should they be deemed to have acted negligently by purchasing a "Hike Safe Card," which is available on the department's website at www.nhfishandgame.com/HikeSafe.aspx.

As many as 60,000 people may line the one-and-half mile strand at Hampton Beach on the holiday, said Jeff Kelley of the Division of Parks and Recreation. He said that ocean currents and undertows present risks, especially to children, who he stressed should be kept under close supervision. But, he added that experienced swimmers should be aware of their capabilities and avoid unnecessary risks. He said that 18 lifeguards are on duty at the beach and red flags where red flags are flown to signal dangerous conditions.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 July 2015 12:33

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