County reps unanimous is support of allowing guns on floor of N.H. House

CONCORD — Of the 18 members of the Belknap County House Delegation — all Republicans — 17 voted with the majority yesterday to amend the rules of the New Hampshire House of Representatives to allow representatives and visitors to carry, but not display, firearms in the chamber, anteroom, cloakrooms and gallery of the House. One was absent.

In 2010, the Republican majority lifted the longtime ban on deadly weapons only to have the Democratic majority reimpose it two years later. With the GOP again in the majority, the ban was lifted once more yesterday by a vote of 228 to 149 as the House divided along party lines.

The members of the county delegation voting with the majority were: Glen Aldrich, Russ Dumais and George of Gilford,'Dennis Fields and Brian Gallagher of Sanbornton, Don Flanders, Peter Spanos, Bob Luther and Frank Tilton of Laconia, Valerie Fraser of New Hampton, Ray Howard and Peter Varney of Alton, Shari LeBreche and Michael Sylvia of Belmont, Dave Russell of Gilmanton and Herb Vadney of Meredith. Robert Fisher of Laconia was absent and did not vote.

County attorney drops sex assault charges against Albanian immigrant

LACONIA — Charges against a Laconia man for aggravated felonious sexual assault and second degree assault have been dropped by the office of the Belknap County Attorney.

Fatmir Gasi, of 72 Batchelder St. was arrested on January 19, 2014 and indicted by a Belknap County grand jury in March of 2014. Gasi is an Albanian-speaking immigrant from Bosnia.

His attorney, Steve Mirkin, had filed a motion to suppress or exclude the evidence taken from Gasi's statements to police because it was clear that Gasi didn't understand enough English to understand his waiver of his Miranda rights.

In addition, the police didn't record the initial part of the interview when Gasi was allegedly having his rights explained to him. The tape only began with the arresting officer asking him if he he understood them.

The Belknap County Attorney's Office did not respond to Mirkin's motion but both of the charges were dropped sometime yesterday.

Gilmanton selectmen asking voters to put road agent under their control

GILMANTON — Selectmen have recommended 2-to-1 that the position of road agent be switched from an elected position to a position to be appointed by themselves.

An article to that effect will appear on the 2015 town warrant and will likely be discussed at the annual SB-2 deliberative session.

If the measure were to pass, the change to appointed road agent will take place in March of 2016.

Selectman Don Guarino voted against putting the warrant article on the ballot. He said he prefers to keep the road agent as an elected person and use the recently created Road Committee to provide direction to the road agent.

Guarino also said the selectmen have made a recommendation to commit $50,000 to have an independent contractor to come in and do some ditching.

"(Selectman) Brett (Currier) thinks that it's time to put it (highway department) only in control of selectmen," he said.

"We're doing this so we can have some say," said Currier, who said with an elected road agent there is no accountability but it's the selectmen who get the phone calls when someone is unhappy with their roads.

"We have to keep telling people that we have no control," Currier said.

"When the selectmen are taking the heat, they can at least take the heat back to the road agent," he said.

Long-time elected Road Agent Paul Perkins has easily survived the past three elections. In 2006 he defeated Israel Willard by a vote of 502 to 47. In 2009 he defeated Richard Emmons, who was also employed by the highway department but a vote of 391 to 42.

In 2012, Perkins defeated Tony Botten by a vote of 610 to 210 in an election that saw a 38-percent turnout largely attributed to the controversial funding for the Gilmanton Year-Round Library.

Perkins is up for re-election for another three-year term in March and as of yesterday hasn't decided if he will run again for a new term.

Perkins said he didn't want to say much about the warrant article other than he is "up in arms" and it "takes away the people's choice."