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Laconia girl getting head start on career in law enforcement

LACONIA — Since 16-year-old Alexis Felch was a student at Laconia Middle School she has aspired to a career in law enforcement and last month stepped toward her goal by completing the first of three annual classes at the New Hampshire Police Cadet Training Academy.

Now in its 41st year, the Academy, is a week long residential program of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police held at the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord. The program features a paramilitary structure and classroom instruction designed to foster discipline, pride and teamwork. Alexis was among some 130 enrolled in the basic class this year, of whom about a fifth were women.

"We got up at 5 a.m. for physical training before breakfast," Alexis said. "Then marched in formation to breakfast. We marched everywhere. At first I thought it was going to be a long week." She said that the cadets were woken in the middle of the night by fire alarms, for physical training and once by a cry of "officer down!"

Alexis said that transgressions of the rules —speaking out of turn, failing to address instructors as "sir," uniform askew and the like — warranted press-ups, counted as "one sir, two sir" and so on. Although an accomplished gymnast and varsity lacrosse player, she confessed "it was exhausting."

"There were lots of classes," Alexis said, "two in the morning, afternoon and evening." She said that the classes touched on various aspects of police work such as traffic control, criminal law, K-9 units, and forensic analysis. Among them, she said that she enjoyed those bearing on the analysis of crime scenes the most, noting that as a high school sophomore she scored 98 in a forensics course at the Huot Technical Center, where the final exam required students the assess the evidence collected at the site of a murder.

Alexis said that she was most impressed by an instructor who recalled his experience in the search for those who planted the bombs at the Boston Marathon. She said that he described being among the officers who encountered the suspects at night in Watertown and engaged them in a firefight. "He explained the risks of working in law enforcement," she remarked, adding that she was impressed but not dissuaded by experiences.

Likewise, Alexis said that during a panel discussion, at which cadets questioned officers about their work, she was taken when "they were telling us that each day, when you go to work, you don't know what's going to happen." She noted that this element of uncertainty is among the aspects of the career she finds most attractive.

A high honors student as a sophomore, Alexis has already enrolled in the two-year course in law enforcement at the Huot Center, which is taught by former Laconia Police Chief Mike Moyer. She also intends to apply for one of the 30 places in the advanced program at the Police Cadet Training Academy next summer, with hopes of winning one of the 15 places in the Leadership Class the year after.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 12:36

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Foul language in courthouse lands man in jail

CIRCUIT COURT — A local man was taken out of the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday afternoon after using foul language when speaking to a court clerk earlier in the day.

When Joseph J. Cerella entered Judge Jim Carroll's courtroom yesterday afternoon, Carroll stopped the ongoing hearing and ordered Cerella to come to the front of the bench.

Cerella told Carroll what he did wasn't so bad and also told Carroll the court needed a new judge.

Carroll ordered the bailiff to handcuff Cerella and take him to the Belknap County House of Corrections where he will be held until 7 a.m. this morning.

Cerella had appeared on June 23 on a four-year old restitution matter that he had apparently ignored. During that time, Carroll ordered him to return that day with $90 but he never returned.

The court didn't see him again until yesterday morning when he apparently used some offensive language in the clerk's office.

Cerella is scheduled to appear for the restitution hearing in August.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 12:18

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Old Salt Band is first on stage

LACONIA — Without taking to the road, a local band has been traveling in fast company and playing big dates, opening for headline acts at both the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook and the Flying Monkey in Plymouth.

Greg Miner, lyricist and vocalist, recalled that it all began at the memorial service for the late Bob Harding, the founder of Meadowbrook, in 2008. Together with his longtime band mate Doug Gray, Miner performed "Say Hello to Johnny," a song he penned as a farewell to Harding that anticipated the reunion between the impresario and Johnny Cash. R.J. Harding was so taken by the tribute to his father that he, along with his sons Luke and Nick and drummer Beau Skonieczny, joined Miner and Gray for a set featuring the song on the main stage at Meadowbrook to open for Lynrd Skynrd and Joan Jett.

Miner, Gray and Skonieczny were joined by Kirk Meloney on bass guitar and vocals to form the Old Salt Band. Since 2009 the band has opened for Rick Deringer, Badfinger, Grand Funk Railroad, Dave Mason, the Monkees, Jefferson Starship, Marshall Tucker, Blue Oyster Cult, Foghat, the Grass Roots, Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Turtles Gary Wright and the Buckinghams.

"We just open for big acts," said Miner. "That's it." He said that the Old Salt Band has recorded one album — "First Ones On Us" — and is working on its second, but limits its gigs to the opening for the headline act on the main stage. "It's great fun," he said, confessing to butterflies in his stomach before striking the first chord. "What we play, we write," he continued. "We get to play our own songs for big crowds." Miner described the Old Salt Band's repertoire as a blend of "classic rock and modern country."

On Thursday, July 3, the Old Salt Band will open for Boston at Meadowbrook.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 12:13

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Judge rules police lacked probably cause to charge Belmont man who held gun

CIRCUIT COURT — A judge dismissed a single charge of criminal threatening with a gun levied against a Belmont businessman yesterday after determining there was no probable cause for his arrest.

Belmont police charged Henry Dionne Jr. of Laconia Road with criminal threatening after a woman he knows accused him of putting a gun on her shoulder. The woman was apparently in a  truck on his property while attempting to retrieve some things she said were hers.

Under direct examination, police said they responded to Dionne's home on April 2 after getting two phone calls from 9-1-1 — one from a man who was a friend of the woman and later one from the woman herself.

Her statement was that as she went to light a cigarette, Dionne, who was also in the truck at that point, put a gun on her shoulder and said something like "why don't you light it with this." She described the gun as silver.

Under cross examination by Dionne's attorney Bob Hemeon, the officer said Dionne was cooperative during the entire investigation and had opened the safes where he kept his guns.

He said the alleged victim told him she had asked Dionne to get out of the truck and put the gun in a safe. The officer also said that she said Dionne never pointed the gun at her.

Police said Dionne was nowhere near the truck when they got there and was inside his home. He came out on the porch when police asked him too.

Under cross examination, Hemeon also got the officer to say that the alleged victim never called the police until after she spoke with her friend and after he had already called them.

In addition, Hemeon said the woman allegedly sent Dionne a letter in the mail changing her story and Dionne turned that writing in to police.

Judge Jim Carroll determined that the police didn't provide enough probable cause to sustain a felony charge of criminal threatening with a deadly weapon and ordered the case dismissed.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 12:05

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