Mayhew sues over crematory accusations

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Peter Mayhew, owner of the Mayhew Funeral Home Inc. in Meredith, has asked the Belknap County Superior Court to silence his next-door neighbor, Douglas Frederick, owner of the American Police Motorcycle Museum, who has repeatedly told public officials and news outlets that emissions from the crematory at the funeral home carry human ashes on to his property.
On Wednesday, attorney Marc van Zanten, representing Mayhew, filed an ex parte motion, that is without Frederick's knowledge or presence, in Belknap County Superior Court seeking a temporary restraining order against Frederick and his wife, Leslyee. Justice David Ruoff denied the motion, but summoned both parties to a hearing on Mayhew's request for a preliminary and permanent injunction on Friday, May 27, in Belknap County Superior Court.
Mayhew contends that there is no evidence for Frederick's claims that "human ash" is falling from the crematory chimney and and fouling his property, yet he and his wife "loudly and publicly continue their groundless complaints."
The suit asks the court to forbid the Fredericks from making any statements that are published in a public medium that bear on either character, credibility and reputation of Mayhew, his wife or his funeral home or on the reflect directly or indirectly on the operation of the crematory at the funeral home.
Moreover, the suit claims that the Fredericks "maliciously published false and misleading statements, which falsely accuse the Plaintiffs of business conduct that is abhorrent to a civilized society, with ill will, evil motive, intent to injure and wanton disregard for Plaintiffs' rights and the consequences that were likely to follow," and seeks appropriate damages.
The brief in support of Mayhew's motion claims that Frederick began voicing public complaints about the crematory in 2013 and refers to public statements he and his wife made this month and last before the Meredith Board of Selectmen, in the pages of the The Citizen and The Laconia Daily Sun and on New England Cable News TV. Likewise, the brief alleges Frederick lodged similar complaints with the Office of the Governor, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, New Hampshire Attorney General and Board of of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers as well as with the Meredith police and fire departments.
In addition, the brief claims that in an undated letter Frederick complained to his neighbors about the "material fallout from the incinerator" and said he had "maintained samples of the fallout." It alleges that in the same letter Frederick charged that Mayhew displayed a "callous disregard to the danger he places to those who live and work around his property."
Mayhew's brief notes that twice, first in April and again in May, Frederick told the Meredith selectmen that he intended to appear and speak at at every meeting until steps were taken to quell the fallout of ash on his property.
Calling Frederick's claims "groundless," the brief states that the "crematory has been operating strictly according to state law for over five years" and adds that while Frederick claims to have collected material from his property, he admits it has not been tested and consequently has no knowledge of its composition.
The brief notes that after an on-site observation earlier this month Thomas Guertin, senior compliance assessment specialist with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services reported "he did not see smoke (much less the soot of human remains) coming from the chimney during the cremation." Nevertheless, the brief continues, The Citizen quoted Frederick as saying the cremation was "set up so there would be no way it would fail."

The Sun was unable to reach either party for comment by deadline.

Laconia PD swears in three new officers (396)

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Three rookie police officer were sworn in at the Police Commission's monthly meeting yesterday afternoon.
Matthew Wolak is originally from Thompson, Connecticut, and graduated cum laude from Worcester State College with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Before coming to Laconia, he worked in the psychiatric unit of the New HampshireState Prison for Men.
Kira Goodheart is from Meredith and graduated from Inter-Lakes High School. She graduated summa cum laude from Plymouth State University with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. She is a gymnast and a power lifter who did an internship with the Laconia Police Department.
Holly Gage is from Nashua and graduated from Merrimack High School. She has an associate's degree from Hesser College and previously worked as a loss prevention officer at J.C. Penney. She completed an internship with the Merrimack Police Department.
All three will attend the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Academy in the fall but will be doing local training until that time.

Other police news
• Chief Christopher Adams said Sgt. Gary Hubbard is working with the Laconia School District in preparing a pamphlet for schools to distribute at the end of the year informing parents and children about finding needles during their summer vacations, warning them about the dangers of touching them, and explaining to them that the police should be called to safely dispose of them.
• Adams announced that Patrol Officer Kyle Jepson was named Officer of the Year at the recent awards banquet.
•Capt. Matt Canfield said he has been in daily communication with the organizers and promoters of Laconia Fest, which is hosting live musical entertainment at the Weirs Drive-In during the annual Motorcycle Week. He said he is being kept up to date on preshow ticket sales and hopes to get fairly accurate numbers in time for the show.
Adams said that the three newly sworn officers will be working at Motorcycle Week but will be working exclusively with field training officers.
• Prevention Education and Training Officer Eric Adams is earning his Licensed Alcohol and Drug Councilor certificate and will be attend a seminar that can be used a credit toward his certification.

05-20 new cops

From left are Patrol Officer Matthew Wolak, Commissioner Doug Whittum, Patrol Officer Holly Gage, Commissioner Thomas Tarr, Patrol Officer Kira Goodheart, Commissioner Armand Maheux, and Police Chief Christopher Adams. (Laconia Daily Sun Photo - Gail Ober)

Child Advocacy Center wants to buy old United Way building

By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — The Greater Lakes Child Advocacy Center is seeking a Community Development Block Grant which will enable it purchase a building at 95 Water St., which it moved into last year.
The building is owned by the Granite United Way and was formerly the main office for the Lakes Region United Way, which merged with Granite United Way several years ago.
Belknap County Commissioners on Wednesday agreed to hold a public hearing at their second meeting in June on the CDBG request. No dollar amount was specified at the meeting at the Belknap County Complex at which Donna Lane, who is helping to prepare the grant request for the center, told commissioners that normally the request would have been made to Laconia but the city has already made a request for a $500,000 block grant for another project, which uses up its allotment.
The center is part of a statewide network of advocacy centers which helps young victims of physical and sexual abuse and has been located in Laconia since 2006.
Director Meghan Noyes said that last year the center handled 225 investigations of physical or sexual assaults involving children in the Lakes Region area.
The GLCAC coordinates child abuse investigations using a multi-disciplinary team approach. Professionals from law enforcement, child protective services, victim advocacy, the GLCAC, the Belknap County Attorney's Office, and medical/mental health professionals join together at the Child Advocacy Center to investigate child abuse and provide best practice care to children and their families. Children are interviewed by one person in a child-friendly, neutral environment by trained Child Advocacy Center staff. The child and family receive on-site support services and referrals to appropriate community resources.
Lane told the commissioners that the deadline for the grant applications is July and that the funds are awarded on a competitive basis. She said that if the request is approved, the funds would be available by early next year.
Commissioners said that they will talk with the County Delegation about the grant request and the possibility that it would require a supplemental appropriation by the delegation in order to comply with the procedure being developed by the delegation for dealing with grants.