Potter Road residents prefer rough road to slow speeders in Gilford


GILFORD — When the town plans to rebuild a road, some residents on the road question whether their dreams have come true – or not.

Potter Hill Road, which runs parallel to Cherry Valley Road or Route 11A, presents one of those dilemmas. It is on the 2017 town road plan for reconstruction .

By all accounts, including that of Gary Kiedaish and 11 other resident families, Potter Hill Road is in very poor condition. The lower part is washed out and, in Kiedaish's opinion, that is a "godsend."

But after it's rebuilt, Kiedaish and his neighbors fear Potter Hill Road will become a speedway from the center of Gilford Village to where it connects to Cherry Valley Road near the Gilford Outing Club.

Kiedaish told selectmen Wednesday that he hopes with next year's road rebuild some kind of speed barriers will be installed.

"When it's in good condition, it gets a lot of traffic," said Kiedaish, who added he doesn't know why, because it is actually shorter and quicker to go from Gilford Village along Route 11A to get to the same place.

This is not the first time speeding on Potter Hill Road has been brought to the attention of the selectmen.

The town reduced the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph a few years ago, but Kiedaish said it hasn't helped much.

Police consistently monitor the road for speed and recklessness but obviously can't be there all of the time.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn told Kiedaish that beginning on July 25, there will be a third data collection done by the police department. Measuring volume and traffic speed, Dunn said the police will file a report for the selectmen and the Public Works Department director to evaluate.

He also said the preliminary plans call for the intersection with Cherry Valley Road to be made into a "T," which is not necessarily for speed control but will make exiting from it safer by providing better sight lines.

Selectmen's Chairman Richard Grenier said the town just installed a speed table on Edgewater Drive as part of its reconstruction for this season and will have the winter season to evaluate it before construction begins on Potter Hill Road.

"This is the perfect time to discuss it," said Grenier. "It's before construction time."

There will be a public hearing on Potter Hill Road on Aug. 24 at the Gilford Town Hall.

Forum Monday to explore issues with resettling refugees


LACONIA — As present global conflicts are forcing millions of individuals to flee their home countries, nations around the world are opening their borders to refugees in need of a place to resettle. Recognizing that Laconia has been one of the cities in New Hampshire welcoming refugees for the past 20 years, the Laconia Human Relations Committee is hosting an educational refugee resettlement roundtable forum in Laconia which will allow community members to better understand the process of resettlement in the region.
The forum will be held on Monday, July 18, at 6:30 p.m., at the Woodside Building at the Taylor Community. The forum aims to educate citizens on why refugee resettlement occurs and the process individuals must go through to get refuge in the United States. Carol Pierce, director of the Laconia Human Relations Committee, will facilitate a conversation with local refugees who have first hand accounts of how the process works in our region.
One individual speaking about his experience as a refugee is Seifu Ragassa, who arrived in the United States in 1999. Prior to his resettlement, Ragassa worked as a journalist in Ethiopia. However, due to his politically charged articles, he was forced to flee his country to escape persecution from the government. Seeking refuge in Kenya, Ragassa worked with the United States embassies and was able to assist in finding terrorists in Africa, until he was able to resettle as a refugee in the Lakes Region, where he has since continued to live and work.
"Coming to the United States as a refugee was a challenge," said Ragassa. "There was limited transportation and resources, and even though I had a college degree abroad, I could only get an entry-level job when I entered the United States. It definitely was not an easy transition."
Despite the initial challenges, Ragassa worked countless hours at various jobs and applied to local scholastic institutions to continue his education. Attending Southern New Hampshire University, he studied political science and business, and additionally received his master's degree in justice studies. After completing his educational endeavors, Ragassa was able to secure a job with the New Hampshire Department Corrections - Laconia Facility and continues to work as New Hampshire probation and parole officer, and is presently studying to receive his MBA.
Although Ragassa has acclimated to life in the United States well, he recognizes that integration into the United States is not as smooth for other people. Thus, Ragassa has spent his time in the Lakes Region working with other refugees to help them find jobs and a place in the community.
"It is a hard transition for refugees and often there is a language barrier that makes it hard for people to easily adapt and find jobs," said Ragassa. "But I found that by working with new refugees and connecting them to people like Carol Pierce has made their resettlement a success."
Stories like Ragassa's will be shared at the roundtable forum, specifically discussing what challenges refugees had when they came to the United States and how they overcame them, as well as an informational presentation explaining the difference between immigrants and refugees. The forum is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested by calling 524-5600.

Attorney General steps into Laconia methampetamine case


CONCORD — After all of the evidence in a case against a Laconia man who allegedly had a half of a pound of methamphetamine in his possession was disallowed by a Belknap County Superior Court judge, the state Attorney General has asked the state's highest court for a review.

Attorney General Joseph Foster is challenging the court's determination that the inventory search of the car Peter Dauphin, 42, of Appleton Street was driving in late April of 2015 was not justified, so the evidence found and subsequent statements made could not be used against him.

Foster has asked the Supreme Court to determine Judge Peter Fauver erred when he found Laconia Police conducted a warrantless search of the car. That's because the car never was going to be in police custody, but instead was towed to Dauphin's home about 200 feet away.

Foster is also challenging the court's determination that the search violated Dauphin's constitutional rights because it didn't serve "any important non-investigative government interests."

The Laconia Police towing policy, which is similar to, if not exactly like, other police departments' towing policies, says that vehicles being taken into police custody or that are towed at the request of the police are subject to a non-investigative search so as to protect the police against false claims of theft and to protect the car's driver against theft or damage by either the police or the tow company.

In this case, the court suppressed the discovery of methamphetamine in the car because Dauphin arranged the tow directly with the tow company and paid them to take the car to his home.

The Attorney General is also asking the high court to review the court's exclusion of Dauphin's statements to the police that he had additional methamphetamine in his home. These statements were made to the police after his arrest and Fauver suppressed them under the "fruits of the poisonous tree doctrine," which means that if he had not been arrested he never would have made the statements.
Foster argues that police obtained a warrant for the search of his home.

The case is currently on hold at the Belknap County Superior Court until the Supreme Court rules on the suppression issues.

At the time Dauphin was arrested, police determined the plates to his car belongs to a man who had sold the car to Dauphin and confiscated them, leading to the tow. Dauphin asked police if he could tow the car to his house and police agreed that they didn't need to impound it. After speaking with a duty sergeant, the officers did an inventory search and found about half ounce of methamphetamine in a sunglass holder-type bag under the front seat. After he was read his Miranda Rights and arrested, Dauphin allegedly told police there was more methamphetamine in his home and where they could find it.