Backpack search ruled legal, drug case to proceed


LACONIA — A Belknap County Superior Court judge has said the methamphetamine found by Meredith Police in a backpack for a man who was behaving erratically will be admitted into evidence after Joshua Pike, 29, of no fixed address, was charged with possession. The finding will allow the case to move forward, rather than being thrown out.

Judge James O'Neill wrote that the search of Pike's backpack in January met the criteria established by the state legislature that says police were allowed to search Pike's backpack before he was taken to the hospital by an ambulance to make sure nothing in it posed a threat to police or the ambulance and hospital personnel.

On Jan. 26, Meredith officers had responded to a report of a man who was "acting weird." While responding, the officer learned the man, who was later identified as Pike, was trying to remove his clothes.

The first responding officer noticed that Pike was removing his jacket and that his pants were unzipped. He said Pike was making erratic movements with his hands and arms and was grabbing at own face. He noticed Pike had sores on his body and fresh blood on his hands.

The officer, who was assisted by two other officers, called for an ambulance and noted in his report that through his training and experience believed Pike was under the influence of methamphetamine. He said Pike had a backpack that he dropped at the officer's feet.

The officer who searched it said he was only checking it for weapons so he could put the backpack in the ambulance to go with Pike to the hospital.

After Pike himself was checked for weapons, the officer went through the backpack and found a pink sack that he said was heavy enough and big enough to hold a small gun. When they searched it, they found some methamphetamine.

O'Neill determined that the officers were correct in placing Pike into protective custody, despite the fact that he didn't smell of alcohol, because of his erratic behavior and his attempts to remove his clothing on a cold January day.

He also ruled they were correct in searching the backpack because of the potential danger its contents could have posed to Pike, themselves, the ambulance crews and the people at the hospital.

Pike's trial for possession is scheduled for November.

Bolduc: Put fire station on Historic Register


LACONIA — With the City Council set to consider whether or not to offer the Lakeport Fire Station for sale, City Councilor Armand Bolduc (Ward 6) has asked his colleagues to request that building be put on National Register of Historic Places, which would ensure the preservation of the building forever.

"The people of Lakeport don't want to see the building go," Bolduc said. "They want to want save it. If it makes the list like it should, it will be there forever."

The future of the property was thrown into limbo in September when Erica Blizzard, who owns and operates Lakeport Landing Marina, offered to purchase it, along with one abutting and another nearby lot, where the company would demolish the fire station and construct its showroom and offices. She offered $127,700 for three lots, which together amount to less than an acre. The offer represents the assessed value of the land and does not include a value for the building.

The offer fell on the heels of a tentative settlement of litigation Blizzard brought against the city after the council agreed to sell property Lakeport Landing had leased from the city for 30 years to Irwin Marine. Soon after Blizzard made her offer, a number of other parties expressed interest in the property, but Irwin Marine, which is a party to the lawsuit, was not among them.

Earlier this month, the council took the the first step toward offering the property for sale by holding a public hearing, but deferred its decision whether or not to declare the property "surplus" and available for sale. Instead, the council authorized City Manager Scott Myers to commission an appraisal of the property. When the council meets on Monday, it will be faced with two alternatives: either to declare the property "surplus" and for sale or to apply to place the fire station on the National Register of Historic Places.

At the public hearing, nearly a dozen people, including Catherine Tokarz, who chairs the Heritage Commission, and members of the Lakeport Association, urged residents of Lakeport, many of them residents of Lakeport, urged the city to retain ownership of the property and preserve the building. Only one speaker favored selling the building and redeveloping the property.

Bolduc said he told Blizzard from the beginning that the people of Lakeport want the fire station to remain and that he would he would support their effort to preserve it. He said that while he had not counted votes among the councilors, "I would hope they will go long with what the people want. We've done what the downtown people want and what the The Weirs people want and I hope we will do the same for the people of Lakeport."

Built in 1955, the station has not operated since the early 1981, but has served as a dormitory for student firefighters and housed fire vehicles from time to time until relatively recently. The building currently serves as a garage for vehicle of the Community Emergency Response Team. Deputy Fire Chief Kirk Beattie said that the expansion and renovation of Central Fire Station was designed to render the Lakeport Fire Station redundant.

There are 14 buildings and places in the city listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the Federal Building, Evangelical Baptist Church, Endicott Rock, Busiel-Seeburg Mill, John W. Busiel House, Belknap-Sulloway Mill, Gale Memorial Library, Goss Reading Room, Laconia District Court, the Railroad Station, New Hampshire Veterans Historic District, the United Baptist Church, the Post Office and The Weirs.

"It will be interesting," Bolduc said of the upcoming discussion at City Council. "If Hillary can get away with what she's doing, we ought to be able to get away with doing the right thing."

Lakeport Fire Station

The possible sale of the Lakeport Fire Station, overshadowed by its surviving hose tower at the rear where fire hoses were hung to dry, will be the subject of debate when the city council meets Monday. City Councilor Armand Bolduc proposed the building be put on the National Register of Historic Places, while Erica Blizzard, the owner of Lakeport Landing Marina, and others seek to purchase and redevelop the property. (File photo)


Gilford Budget Committee member resigns, search is on for replacement

GILFORD — A long-standing member of the Budget Committee resigned earlier this week without giving a reason.

Kevin Roy was often in the opposition to the rest of the board and was the only member who supported disbanding the Budget Committee at the end of last year's budget season.

Chairman Norman Silber said the committee met Thursday night and decided to fill the position. The Budget Committee reviews both the town and the school district budgets, and it is their budget, as amended by deliberative session, that appears on the ballot in March.

He said they are posting a notice of vacancy on the town's website and encourage any one who is a resident of Gilford to apply by letter and include some expression of interest.

Silber said that at the Nov. 3 meeting, the committee will give each applicant five minutes to discuss his or her reason for wanting to serve, after which the full board will take a vote.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said that nearly all of the town's boards are in need of volunteers who are willing to serve. Anyone who is interested in assisting the town by being a member of a board is asked to call Gilford Town Hall at 527-4700.

– Gail Ober