Vadney rejects call for reconsideration of Belknap County budget


LACONIA — Herb Vadney (R-Meredith) chairman of the Belknap County Delegation, said Tuesday afternoon that he is not inclined to call a meeting to reconsider the $27.5 million budget passed by the delegation last week.

Belknap County Commissioners have requested the budget reconsideration, maintaining that the cuts made by the delegation threaten the ability of both the Corrections Department and the Sheriff's Department to carry out the statutory and constitutional obligations placed on their departments.

Belknap County Corrections Superintendent Keith Gray said last week that he will not open the new 18,000-square-foot, 64-bed Community Corrections Center this September unless he has the money to adequately staff it.

Sheriff Mike Moyer said that the $126,736 which was cut from his budget endangers the department's ability to carry out its duties, which include serving civil process papers and court security. The cuts removed one full-time deputy position and one full-time dispatcher position and cut overtime by $10,000.

Gray made the statement after the delegation last Monday night rejected by a 7-5 vote a motion by Rep. Tim Lang (R-Sanbornton) to restore $95,400 which had been cut from the proposed Corrections Department budget.

Gray has maintained that he cannot safely open the annex without two additional staffers. Lang's motion would have restored the $55,400 for the two positions and $40,000 for dietary department at the jail, which Gray had added to his original $3.964 million budget request.

He also cited potential liability issues which the county could face with inadequate staffing if someone is injured in an incident. And he said that the cut places in jeopardy the possibility of obtaining $450,000 in grant funding over a three-year period for programs at the community corrections center.

Man facing assault charge once convicted of kicking roommate to death


LACONIA — A parolee who served time in prison for kicking a roommate to death has been arraigned on a second-degree assault charge in the severe beating of a man at the Landmark Inn.

03-22 Jason DurginJason Durgin, 43, a transient, was returned to jail after his arraignment Monday. Bail was set at $50,000.

Policeman Gary Allen said in a court document the man who was attacked had a large cut on his lip when officers arrived at the hotel late Thursday. Blood was covering his face, which was extremely swollen. One eye was swollen shut.

The man, whose name was not released, said Durgin had punched him in the face and "tortured" him after they got into an argument about getting a woman to join them in a room in the hotel, according to the document.

Durgin was on parole from a 2011 negligent homicide conviction in the beating and kicking death of Leo LaPierre, a transient who occasionally stayed in a trailer Durgin rented behind Quik Laundry on South Main Street.

He served two-and-a-half years in prison in that case. One day after his release, he was picked up by Laconia police for drunkenness.

A witness testified at trial that Durgin was angry at LaPierre over a damaged water heater.

LaPierre was found unconscious by some friends of one of Durgin's other roommates and she called the police. He was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital and flown to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon where he died about six days later without regaining consciousness.

Four injured in NH snowmobile accidents


HEBRON — Four people were injured in snowmobile accidents over the weekend amid difficult trail conditions.

"Riders are warned that most trails have only recently reopened, after warm weather left very little base under the snow, making trails rough, even with the fresh snow," the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said in a news release.

A 39-year-old Windham man was in good condition in Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital on Monday, two days after being injured when he lost control of his snowmobile and hit a tree in Hebron.

Christopher Wilcox appeared to be driving too fast for conditions when his machine broke through a berm and went off a trail during the accident, officers said.

Also Saturday, Melissa Kolodziej, 44, of Hudson, was thrown off her snowmobile after missing a turn in Plymouth. She had an injury that was described as not being life threatening. Officers said she was also traveling too fast for conditions.

In the third accident, a 29-year-old man crashed on ice on Umbagog Lake in Errol.

Keith Filteau of Berlin was returning to his family's camp after getting fuel when his snowmobile hit an embankment where a bob house had been. He was thrown from his machine. He also had what was described as a non life-threatening injury. Speed and unforeseen hazards on the lake were the chief causes of the accident, officers said.

He was alone at the time of the crash, but had a flashlight that he used to signal family members who were watching for his return and were able to get help.

Finally, a Massachusetts woman was injured when her snowmobile went off a trail as she tried to avoid oncoming traffic. Her snowmobile went down a steep embankment before hitting a tree in the town of Atkins and Gilmanton Academy Grant.

Erin Kotchian, 37, of East Falmouth, was taken to Central Maine Medical Center. Calls to inquire about her condition were not immediately returned on Monday.

"The crash is still under investigation, however it appears that oncoming traffic, unreasonable speed for existing conditions and inexperience could all be factors in the crash," said Fish and Game Conservation Officer Eric Fluette.