Belmont bank building could be new recreation/community center


BELMONT — Selectmen gave the go ahead Monday night to have Code Enforcement Officer Steve Paquin continue getting estimates from contractors about how much it would cost to turn the former Northfield Bank Building into a recreation/community center.

So far, Paquin has learned that it would cost between $28,000 and $30,000 to install an ADA-compliant elevator where the curved stairway is, and an additional $12,300 to replace the floors, including one in a recreation area. He also said it would cost just under $6,000 to upgrade the alarm system.

Paquin went to selectmen to get their approval before he brings in electrician(s) to give the town estimates on rewiring and bringing all of the wiring including the panel(s) up to current code.

"It would take a couple of days for (companies) to put together a bid," he said, saying he wanted to be sure the project was viable with the select board before he asked the electricians to do the specifications.

He told the board that it could cost $50,000 to $60,000 to do the electrical work plus another $50,000 to do the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and that he is getting an estimate from Peter Dutile, who is doing some work on the Belmont Fire Station.

"Why do anything (more) without the electrical?" asked board Chairman Ruth Mooney. "If there's going to be kids in there, yeah (we need electrical estimates.)

The former Northway Bank was purchased by the town from William and Carolyn McDonough for $250,000 in 2012 after the town held a special Town Meeting in August. Purchasing the building had failed at Town Meeting twice before, in 2008 and 2009.

Since the town has bought the building, there have been may ideas for using it, as well as tearing it down, as was recommended by a Belmont Village charrette. The town considered using the building for a police department but it was deemed too small and there wasn't enough space for a sally port. Another idea was having LRGHealthcare relocate its offices from the Belmont Mill there.

The town also fought a lengthy court battle with the McDonoughs, who claimed that the town diminished the value of the property by announcing plans to reconfigure the former Mill Street, which would eliminate much of its parking. Ultimately, the town prevailed; however, the case was in the Merrimack County Superior Court for about two years before it was resolved.

Selectman Ron Cormier said that building a new recreation/community center for the town would cost millions and that if they could do one for $150,000 plus the cost of the building it would make complete sense.

Other board members agreed.

Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said that if the final estimates are acceptable to the selectmen, the town would use some of the money it has in the capital improvement fund, which has a balance of $480,000.

Judge: Cotton swabs and bloodshot eyes not enough for a search


LACONIA — Cotton swabs and bloodshot eyes are not enough to justify interrogating a driver and searching a car, ruled Belknap County Supreme Court Presiding Justice James O’Neill Thursday.
O’Neill also ruled that the state trooper who stopped Dawn Marie Miller on Dec. 9, 2015, at 2:30 a.m. had no reason to search her wallet after he stopped her for have one of two rear license plate lights out.
O’Neill determined the trooper had a legitimate reason to stop Miller and to potentially issue her a citation or warning about her plate light.
“Put simply,” he wrote, “there is nothing tying the defendant’s bloodshot eyes and the (cotton swabs) in her vehicle with any unlawful activity.”
During the course of the stop, Miller was questioned about drug use and told the trooper she only used medical marijuana for which she had a prescription. She said she no longer used any hard drugs and had been through rehab.
He asked her when she last used marijuana, and she told him it had been 90 minutes or so. He asked her if she used a pipe and she said she used rolling papers. He asked her if she had them on her, and she gave them to him, in the course of which he saw some marijuana in her wallet.
Although Miller was never charged with possessing marijuana, she was charged with transporting drugs in a motor vehicle. O’Neill determined that the plain site exception didn’t apply in this case because the trooped conducted an “unconstitutional expansion” of the scope of the seizure.
The trooper testified that when he asked Miller to get out of the car, she showed no sign of intoxication but he asked if he could search her car. She gave him permission and began to walk away with her wallet in her hand, but he put his arm out and told her he had to search the wallet because it had been in the car.
He found some pills in it that were a generic version of Adderall but O’Neill ruled that since the officer had expanded the search beyond what he should have that the evidence would not be told to a jury.
O’Neill also gave an explanation of the “fruits of the poisonous tree doctrine,” which required the exclusion from trial of evidence obtained through a violation of the New Hampshire Constitution.
He explained the three points of the rule. The first is to deter police misconduct, the second is to redress the injury of the victim of an unlawful police conduct, and the third is to safeguard compliance with the state constitutional process.
To consider the doctrine, the court had to consider how much time elapsed between the unlawful police activity and the acquisition of the evidence, the presence of intervening circumstances, and the purpose and flagrancy of the official misconduct.
O’Neill determined that inquiry was immediate to the stop and there were no intervening circumstances. He said he does not believe the trooper flagrantly or purposefully violated Miller’s rights; however, the appearance, even if not the reality, led him to think the trooper was on a “fishing expedition” by exploiting her ignorance of her constitutional rights. He said the state could argue that her consent to a search of her vehicle was an intervening circumstance. O’Neill determined that had he not unlawfully expanded the scope of the traffic stop negates any consent she may have given.
The marijuana evidence will not be presented at a trial.
O’Neill also discussed the search of Miller’s purse he found that she didn’t consent to a search and she was already out of her car with it in her hand. Since the trooper never asked for her permission to search her wallet, she didn’t freely, knowingly,and voluntarily allow the officer to search it. Noting the pills led to the most serious charge, he declined to let the evidence be offered at trial.


Antiques and classics - 43rd annual Lake Winnipesaukee Boat Show will feature boats built in Wolfeboro


WOLFEBORO — The 43rd annual Lake Winnipesaukee Antique and Classic Boat Show, an event which draws hundreds of spectators from all over the Northeast and features classic wooden boats from earlier eras, including Chris Crafts, Garwoods, Hackercraft and Century, will have a new location this year at the Wolfeboro town docks
The show was held at the pubic docks at Weirs Beach in Laconia for nearly 30 years, starting in 1974, and was moved to the Meredith town docks in 2003.
Among the wooden boats which will be on display this weekend will be two boats which were made right in Wolfeboro at Goodhue and Hawkins, Regina, a 30-foot Laker owned by Howard Newton, a summer resident of Alton, and Keen Kutter, a 36-foot Laker owned by Richard Hapgood of Tuftonboro.
Newton says that Regina is one of only six known Lakers that were built in Wolfeboro and that it dates back to 1913. It is unique in that it has an oak rather than mahogany deck and is an original boat which is 99.9 percent unrestored.
"It took me 47 years to buy it," said Newton, who has had Regina for 15 years and says that he first saw it antique boat races in Alton Bay when it was owned by the Downing family.
He says that the original engine in the Regina is now owned by Jeff Fay at Fay's Boatyard in Gilford and was replaced was six-cylinder flat head Universal engine which produces about 95 horsepower.
"It's nice to have a boat which is over 100 years old and get to use it on the lake where it was built," says Newton, who also owns a 28-foot Johnson Laker which was built in Lakeport as well as a 1952 Century Gentleman's Race Boat and 1966 Chris Craft.
The 36-foot long Keen Kutter was built around 1915 for Thomas Plant, who built Lucknow, now known as Castle in the Clouds at around the same time. It was the longest Laker ever built and reportedly was named for the shoe cutting machinery developed by Plant.
The boat show has its roots in the Roaring Twenties and those years in which pleasure boating really started to come of age. There were literally hundreds of boats that came to Lake Winnipesaukee, and in the 1930s organized racing among the high-powered runabouts on the lake became big events, attracting national news media and thousands of spectators. Speedboat rides were big business by the late '40s, and it was during that time many of those attending the show experienced the thrill of their first ride in one of these mahogany beauties. The Miss Winnipesaukee speedboats, which made daily trips out of Irwin's Winnipesaukee Gardens, were some of the '20s vintage craft offering "thrill rides" on the lake.
The Winnipesaukee Antique and Classic Boat Show began because Jim Irwin of Irwin Winnipesaukee Gardens and Irwin Marine and Vince Callahan, owner of Channel Marine at the Weirs, business competitors and friends for years, attended the Clayton New York Antique Boat Show in 1973. It was clear to them that the preservation of old boats was an exciting thing that could best be achieved through a boat show. They started planning that summer and fall and the result was the first annual national Northeastern Antique and Classic Boat Show in 1974.
Jim Irwin wrote of that first show: ''Under sunny skies on beautiful lake Winnipesaukee, nestled at the foot of the New Hampshire White Mountains, the dream of two local boat dealers came true. The show displayed over 50 power boats,creating all the color and nostalgia of yesteryear. Vince Callahan and I put together an 'in the water' show that delighted thousands of spectators and old boat lovers. Working directly with city officials, the public docks at the Weirs became the stage for a wide variety of beautiful wooden boat masterpieces.''
In 1976, the New England Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society was formed as a result of gathering at the Boston Boat Show when a group of wooden boat enthusiasts gathered in admiration around a couple of show winning woodies: Ted Larter's "Scotty Too" Goldcup Racer and Ray Hawe's prized possession, 18' Garwood "Norma Jean."
In the years following the formation of the chapter, the boat show became its major event, with Jim and Vince providing valued direction and support. The show was a competitive one from the beginning, with numerous classes, a panel of judges, and sometime had special featured race boat events. Consequently it developed a prestigious reputation. Only one year in its history, 1980, did it try a new approach — no judging.
Despite dire predictions of failure without judging and awards, 85 boats registered and the quality was as good as ever. A truly successful event, proving that giving antique boat owners a chance to shine up their prize and show it to 10,000 people will get them every time.
In 2003, the show moved to the public docks at Meredith and has continued to be one of the premiere classic boat shows in the entire country.
This year's show is co-chaired by Scott Robinson and Phil Spencer of the Wooden Boat Works in Wolfeboro, a noted local boat restorer.
The schedule for this year's show calls for boats to dock between 7 and 9 a.m. with the show itself running from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Following the show, awards will be presented at a buffet at the Wolfeboro Town Hall at 5 p.m.

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The 43rd annual Lake Winnipesaukee Antique and Classic Boat Show, held in Meredith since 2003, will move to Wolfeboro this year. (Courtesy photo)

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The Regina, a 1913 Goodhue and Hawkins Laker, will be one of many classic wooden boats on display Saturday at the 43rd annual Lake Winnipesaukee Antique and Classic Boat Show in Wolfeboro. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)