CIRCUIT COURT — A judicial hearing for the Gilford man who is facing three misdemeanor charges as a result of his alleged illegal actions at a school board meeting has been postponed until November 10.
William "Billy" Baer was charged with three counts of disorderly conduct after he allegedly disrupted a school board meeting, where he went to complain about a book that was assigned to his daughter, who was in ninth grade at the time.
Baer's attorney has filed with the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division motions to dismiss all three charges. The state has objected.
The hearing was supposed to have been held at 8:30 a.m. this morning but both parties agreed to a continuance to allow them to process the information gathered at recent depositions.
Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2014 11:48
BELMONT — The fourth annual Community Heritage Awards were given last night by Heritage Commission Chair Linda Frawley and Selectboard Chair Ruth Mooney to three people who "make Belmont Belmont."
Everett Bailey was recognized for his outstanding contribution to traditional crafts and rural New Hampshire. After retiring from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bailey began learning and has since mastered the art of Shaker broom making.
He teaches the story of Shaker and innovation and entrepreneurship at the Canterbury Shaker Village, sells his brooms at its store through the League of New Hampshire and gives yearly workshops.
Bailey was active for 14 years in the Belmont Baseball Organization.
Thomas Garfield was recognized for his regional leadership and outstanding service to town-meeting tradition.
Garfield was first elected town moderator in 2004 and is noted for his fair administration of town meeting with tact and humor. He served during the transition from traditional town meeting to Belmont's transition to SB-2 or being an Official Ballot community.
Garfield recently retired as the executive vice president at the Bank of New Hampshire in Laconia, served as chairman of the Belknap Economic Development Council, on the board of the LRGHealthcare, on the Lakes Region Community College Advisory Council and Lakes Region Rotary.
Chester A. Lewandoski was recognized for his exceptional committee to baseball, Belmont and the community.
Years ago, he attended a gathering of Little League parents to see if they had uniforms and spent the next 37 years a sponsor. His grandson Jordan Cote is on a farm team for the New York Yankees.
Lewandoski continues to be an Old Home Day supporter and holds down the back page of their annual publication. He is also very active in the Belmont Rotary.
CUTLINE: (Heritage awards) Everett Bailey, Selectman Ruth Mooney, Chester Lewandoski and Thomas Garfield at the Belmont Selectboard meeting last night. Bailey, Lewandoski and Garfield were the recipients of the Belmont Heritage Commissions Fourth Annual Community Heritage Awards. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)
Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2014 11:45
CIRCUIT COURT — A Gilmanton man is being held on $5,000 cash-only bail after being charged Friday afternoon with his third driving while intoxicated offense this year.
Richard Kelley, of Middle Route, is charged with one count of driving while intoxicated — subsequent offense, a violation of the open container laws, driving with a suspended registration, and driving after being deemed a habitual offender.
Police affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court say the police received a call at 12:15 p.m. from someone who reported a car at the intersection of Gale Road and Middle Route was running and it appeared the driver was passed out while behind the wheel.
When police arrived the car was still at the intersection. When the officer looked in the car he could see the car was still in drive and Kelley was allegedly looking out the passenger-side window.
The officer reported seeing two bottles of liquor on the center console — one that was about half empty and one that was missing a small amount. When the driver rolled down his window, the officer said he smelled a strong odor of alcohol and that Kelley appeared disoriented with bloodshot eyes.
When the officer told Kelley to put the car in park and turn off the engine, Kelley allegedly turned it off but didn't put it in park.
The car starting rolling backwards and the office wrote in his affidavit that he had to repeatedly instruct Kelley to step on the brake and put the car in park.
Affidavits said Kelley had trouble getting out of the car and, after being read his rights he refused any field sobriety tests. The arresting officer noted Kelley had "dexterity issues" while signing his name.
According to information from the N.H. Department of Safety, Kelley pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated on March 27, 2014 in Plymouth District Court and has his license suspended. In May of 2014 his right to operate was revoked for one year.
In June of 2014, Kelley pleaded guilty to one count of driving while intoxicated and one count of driving after his license was revoked In Manchester District Court. On June 16, the Department of Motor Vehicles determined him to be a habitual offender.
In Court yesterday, the Gilmanton prosecutor asked for $1,000 cash bail.
Kelley's attorney asked for personal recognizance bail saying her client was sick, has had open heart surgery and was scheduled for back surgery.
Judge Jim Carroll disagreed with both of them and set bail at $5,000 saying he felt Kelley was a danger to himself and others.
He has a probable cause hearing scheduled for October 30.
Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2014 11:41
by Thomas P. Caldwell
BRISTOL — Despite a report from the Lakes Region Planning Commission that found little problem with the "back-in" or "head-out" parking in the reconfigured town center, the Board of Selectmen directed Town Administrator Michael Capone to send a letter to Highway Engineer William Rose of the N.H. Department of Transportation, asking about the town's options for changing the parking to address lingering concerns among residents and downtown businesses.
The selectmen told Michael Izard and Dan Collis that they appreciated their work in completing a traffic study for the DOT at no cost to the town, but said they believed a longer study would have shown more serious traffic problems.
Betsy Schneider commented, "It would have been nice to have a larger sample than just mid-week. I've witnessed a lot of problems, and it's scary to me. I'm not sure it's really right for us."
Izard, who led the analysis of Collis' data, conceded, "If we had more time, we might have seen more." While acknowledging that traffic flow is "tight to facilitate all vehicles" passing through Central Square, he said a lot of the problems were associated with a lack of good driver behavior.
Collis told selectmen at their Oct. 16 meeting that he had made six one-hour site visits, all of them mid-week, to observe traffic movement during the peak traffic periods of 7 to 8 a.m. and 4 to 5 p.m., as well as reviewing a 24-hour video supplied by the town, recorded on June 25-26.
The two men from the LRPC reported that travelers on Route 104 exceeded the speed limit by more than 10 mph more frequently than on any other approach to Central Square, while those southbound on Route 3-A exceeded the limit by more than 10 mph more frequently than any other route from Central Square. About one percent, or 100 vehicles per day, were large trucks and Izard said anecdotal information indicated that many of them had been seen going too fast, creating an additional risk if they should need to stop suddenly. He noted that those reports were not supported by their observations, however.
The LRPC took traffic counts last November and during July and found no significant difference in the daily traffic volumes, only in the time of day when the peaks occurred.
The problems they did observe involved the queuing of up to five vehicles waiting to turn from Route 3-A onto Route 104 and, while they were not lengthy stops, they held the potential of blocking traffic turning onto Central Street. Additionally five motorists in a 12-hour period traveled the wrong way on North Main Street; 45 percent of the pedestrians crossing the street did not use the crosswalks; and several small cargo trucks made brief stops along the traveled portion of Route 3-A while making deliveries.
As for the parking, the team noted that large vehicles utilizing the reverse-angle parking space at the southern end of the square obstructed views of pedestrians on that crosswalk; large vehicles were observed in spaces reserved for compact vehicles near the Central Street crosswalk, obscuring that view; and the easterly three reverse-angle parking spaces on Central Street were observed being used for nose-in parking.
Based on their observations, the LRPC team recommended speed enforcement at key periods of the day, along with enforcement of the one-way rule on North Main Street; bulb-outs at the crosswalks to provide better visibility for both pedestrians and motorists; and the creation of legal, on-street parking for deliveries.
In its key finding, the report stated, "There was no conclusive evidence to indicate motorists utilize one type of parking in favor of another, or that less familiar parking configurations are avoided in favor of alternative parking options. Accessibility to businesses and services by motorists that park and become pedestrians appears to be convenient, connected, and relatively safe in the compact square and not dependent on the location or configuration of the parking space. While challenges using the reverse-angle parking were not observed, there were instances observed where this type of parking was misused on Central Street."
The recommendation for the parking issues was additional education, perhaps using police, driver's education, the town newsletter, and public access television to spread awareness.
Resident Steve Favorite passed around copies of Lebanon's report on its Colburn Park Traffic Circulation Project in which the pilot program utilizing head-out parking was found to disrupt normal business operations, with people complaining of exhaust fumes in their buildings. The report found that large SUVs obscured views of oncoming traffic; the hoods of cars pulling out into traffic were not as visible as the back-up lights of vehicles leaving traditional parking spaces; and they narrowed the roadway so there was less room for cyclists to travel without getting into the travel lane.
"It was the distance of each car backing up that was the problem," said Favorite. "That's what's happening in Bristol. When a car is backing out and another car comes around the corner, there it is. There is also the problem of overhanging trucks; if they back until the tires hit the curb, it cuts down on sidewalk space. And people try to go around you while parking, but there's very little space to do that."
Schneider agreed, saying most elderly people choose not to back up. "And that's important to note," she said.
Izard reported that they also did a traffic signal warrant analysis, as Bristol residents have said for years that a traffic light would help guide traffic in the square. Izard said that, according to the "100 percent volume criteria" the state uses, Bristol does not qualify. Conceding that not all traffic engineers agree with the criteria, Izard said a traffic light in the square could pose a problem for large trucks entering the square from the hill on Route 3-A if they had to stop for the light.
Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2014 11:37
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