Former Bristol police chief under county investigation

BRISTOL — The Grafton County Attorney’s Office has confirmed that it is conducting an investigation into allegations against former Bristol Police Chief Michael Lewis.
The Bristol Board of Selectmen placed Lewis on paid administrative leave on Sept. 5, and Lewis resigned from the job on Oct. 4. The selectmen offered no reason for placing Lewis on leave and they refused to release a copy of his letter of resignation.
Members of the Grafton County Sheriff’s Department are reported to be questioning the 11 officers who have resigned from the Bristol Police Department over the past 3 years, although Sheriff Douglas Dutile referred any questions about the investigation to County Attorney Laura Saffo. She was not in the office on Friday afternoon, but Special Services Investigator Wayne Fortier was able to confirm the investigation.
Residents have been increasingly critical of the Bristol selectmen for withholding any information about personnel they have placed on paid leave or dismissed. The selectmen had placed former Fire Chief Steve Yannuzzi on paid leave for several months before reaching a confidential settlement that ended with Yannuzzi’s resignation.
In both Lewis’s and Yannuzzi’s situation, the selectmen issued a statement saying, “The Town takes very seriously its obligation to protect the privacy rights of employees and former employees, and as a result the Select Board will not be commenting further.”
Resident Paul Simard filed a Right-To-Know request for information about Lewis’ earnings and the turnover in the police department. Town Administrator Nik Coates responded that Lewis had earned $58,474.40 in regular pay, $8,252.53 in overtime pay, and $1,280 from special-duty assignments this year, as of Sept. 18.
The document also identified six officers who resigned in 2016 and 2017. One of them, Jonathan Francis, who now works for the Franklin Police Department, filed a federal lawsuit against the town, seeking compensation for all of the hours he spent at the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training facility. As part of the lawsuit, he alleged unprofessional behavior by Lewis and sloppy operating procedures in the department. Francis also alleged that, after he applied for work in Franklin and the city was conducting a background check, Lewis placed false information in his personnel folder in an effort to make sure he would not be hired.

  • Written by Tom Caldwell
  • Category: Local News
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Former Laconia High School Principal Robert St. Lawrence recalled as caring person, tireless worker at his death


LACONIA — Former Laconia High School Principal Robert  St. Lawrence, who died Friday at his home on Hurricane Road in Belmont, is remembered as a tireless worker on behalf of teachers and students.

“He was a person who really cared and loved the work he was doing,” said former Laconia School Board Chairman Judi Reever, who was on the School Board for most of the 20 years that St. Lawrence served as principal at LHS.

“He was always one of my favorite educators and a  really good person. I had a lot of respect for him,” said Reever.

She said that, among the things that she liked most about St. Lawrence were his authenticity as a person and the  patience and humility with which he approached his work.

He is also remembered fondly by his long-time colleague, Dave Witham, who served as assistant LHS principal from 1979 until 2000.

“We retired at the same time because neither of us wanted to break in someone new,” said Witham.

He said that St. Lawrence worked very well with teachers, making certain that they mastered the skills needed to become certified, and was always available to teachers, parents and students.

“He had an open-door policy and anyone who had something to discuss with him was always welcome in his office,” said Witham.

“He attended every athletic event he could. I remember going to football games all over the state with him,” said Witham, who added that St. Lawrence began his career in education as a physical education teacher in Belmont and met his future wife while serving as  athletic director at Mascoma Regional High School.

St. Lawrence., who was 77, is survived by his wife of 45 years, Sandra (Frazer) St. Lawrence; two sons, Kenneth St. Lawrence of Billerica, Massachusetts, and Robert F. St. Lawrence of Dover, as well as nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 3 p.m. at the Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home in Laconia.

There will be no calling hours.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to support cancer research and patient care at the institute.

  • Written by Roger Amsden
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Good heart turns over lost ring found in supermarket thanks to ad


MEREDITH — A treasured family ring, lost on a shopping trip, is now back on the finger of the woman who thought she’d never see it again.

Karin Nelson said she owes her good luck to an honest man who found the ring and sought out its rightful owner.

Nelson said she was running errands in Meredith on Sunday, and it was not until she got home that she realized that the ring was missing. She retraced her steps, leaving her name and telephone number at each stop, and she turned to The Laconia Daily Sun, where she works as office manager, to place an advertisement for the ring.

The ad appeared on Tuesday and, Wednesday evening, she received a voicemail from a man who said his friend had found the ring. The friend, who does not have a car and lives with his brother, often wanders through Meredith and he spotted the ring at the Meredith Hannaford supermarket.

The caller asked Nelson to describe the piece — a narrow ring with a band of emerald green — and it matched the one that had been found. The next day, he brought it to her at work.

“I was so overwhelmed, I didn’t ask for any details,” Nelson said.

She had to call him back to find out more.

The man who found the ring didn’t know what to do with it, but then he saw the ad with contact information.

Both men wanted to remain anonymous and declined an interview.

“I’m just so grateful this guy was honest and did the right thing,” Nelson said. “They were both a couple of really, really good guys.”

The ring means a lot to her because it had belonged to her sister-in-law, with whom she was very close. After the woman died, it went to Nelson’s nephews, who gave it to her.

“She wore it every day, and now I do,” Nelson said.

She added, “I feel very strongly that this was what I call ‘a God thing.’ It wasn't about me or the ring. I believe that God used this event to reach out to these two men, and maybe anyone else who hears the story.”

12 01 Karens Ring

Karin Nelson displays a family ring she lost but regained when a Daily Sun reader saw her ad looking for the lost jewelry. (Adam Draphcho/Laconia Daily Sun)


  • Written by Tom Caldwell
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