Howes tell neighbors to stay off their property

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILFORD — A few of the neighbors who have been vocal in their objections to Andrew and Martina Howe operating an outdoor wedding venue on their property on Gunstock Hill Road have received notice of trespass letters from the Howe's attorneys.

The letters serves as notice that these particular individuals are not allowed on any of the Howe's property, including but not limited to the Howe property that abuts their own.

What is not clear from the communique is whether these neighbors are barred from Beans and Greens, which is a local farm stand and shopping venue the couple has operated for years on their commercial property on Intervale Road.

When asked, the Howe's attorney, Ethan Wood, said he wasn't able to comment on how they would like him to respond to the question but only that the letters were sent at the request of the Howes.

Much of the property that abuts their neighbors is in a conservation trust managed by the the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests.

According to Forest Society Director Jack Savage, the Howes donated their land to conservation, meaning there were no public dollars that were allocated toward its purchase.

Savage said that according to the terms of the easement, there is nothing that restricts them from granting public access but also there is nothing that requires them to allow it. In other words, they can restrict access to their property under the terms of the easement.

As to whether there will be agritourism events on Gunstock Hill Road, that decisions lies with the Belknap County Superior Court. In addition to two complaints filed by abutter Monique Twomey against the procedures allowed by the Zoning Board when it refused to uphold a cease-and-desist order, there is a case also filed by Twomey challenging the site plan granted to Timber Hill Farm by the Planning Board. Until that case is adjudicated, there is a hold on activities on Gunstock Hill Road as they relate to weddings and other such events.

In a conversation earlier this month with the Howe's co-attorney Patrick Wood, the Beans and Green farm stand is open and the Howes expect a bumper crop of locally grown produces and other homemade items this year. Wood said the family can and likely will hold weddings and similar events this summer at the pavilion on their commercial property on Intervale Road, which is allowed by right.

Hospitality jobs big in northern counties

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

CONCORD — A study prepared by the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security concludes that the hospitality sector plays a disproportionate role in the economies of Belknap, Carroll and Coos counties.

For the purposes of the study the hospitality sector is distinguished from the tourist industry. Tourism generally refers to goods and services provided to non-resident visitors. But, common measures of tourism includes goods and services provided to both residents and visitors. To segregate the economic impact of the hospitality sector it is defined as businesses engaged in arts, entertainment and recreation, on the one hand, and accommodation and food services, on the other. This classification excludes retail sales, seasonal housing and transportation services, which are less identifiable as tourist activities.

In 2014, employment in hospitality averaged 66,300, representing 9.2 percent of total employment in the state. Throughout the state employment in the hospitality sector is distinctly seasonal — strongest in the third quarter — July, August and September — and weakest in the fourth quarter — October, November and December. And in 11 of the 14 industry groups in the hospital sector the average weekly wage was $500 or less, little more than half the average weekly wage for employees in all industries.

The hospitality sector represented the largest share of private employment in Carroll County at 30 percent, followed by Coos County at 24.9 percent and Belknap County at 18.5 percent. Accommodation and food services accounted for the lion's share of employment in the sector — 25.3 percent of employment in Carroll County, 20.2 in Coos County and 15.5 percent in Belknap County.

The greatest number of employees in the hospitality sector were in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties, the two most populous in the state, where they accounted for a smaller portion of total employment.

The study indicated that in Belknap, Carroll and Coos counties taken together almost one of every five jobs was supported directly or indirectly by the hospitality sector. Without these jobs, the study projected that by 2024 employment in the three counties would shrink by 19,500 and gross domestic product would fall $1 billion or 14 percent. In other words, the economic impact of the hospitality sector is twice as great in these three counties as in the state as a whole.

Northfield street fight leads to four arrests

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

NORTHFIELD — Four men have been charged with rioting after a street fight broke out on the corner of Dearborn Road and Park Street Friday at 7:42 p.m.

Of the four men, two are current residents of Northfield. They are Justin Gebo, 21, and James Weatherbee, no age given. The other two are Trevor Hoyt, 20, of Stuart, Florida, and Demetrius Furse, 33, of Indian Town, Florida. Police said Hoyt used to be a Northfield resident.

Police said they were initially called to the corner because of a car accident and callers were telling them that people were fighting in the street.

When police arrived they found a "chaotic" scene with people fighting and others either trying to break it up or watching from the side lines.

Police also learned that it appears the minor car accident was not related to the street fight. One of the drivers was taken by ambulance to Franklin Regional Hospital for what police described as minor injuries.

The above four men are all charged with one felony count each of rioting.

Hoyt was also charged with disorderly conduct and breach of bail as he was on bail from a May 16 incident where he was charged with criminal threatening with a deadly weapon and simple assault.

Furse is additionally charged with resisting arrest and operating without a valid license.

Gebo is additionally charged with disorderly conduct, obstruction government administration and two counts of resisting arrest.

Weatherbee was additionally charged with disorderly conduct, obstruction of government administration and one count of resisting arrest.

Police said the incident is still under investigation and more arrests are possible. Tilton Police and the State Police assisted Northfield Police at the scene.