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Laconia man said to have burned down wife's house ready to plead guilty

LACONIA – A former Taylor Street man has tentatively agreed to serve two to four years in the New Hampshire State Prison for allegedly setting his wife's house on fire in September of 2014.

John E. Woodbury, 51, also agreed he would undergo mental health and substance abuse therapy if the court accepts his plea offering.

The state alleges that on September 5 at the late afternoon and following an argument with his wife, Woodbury set the house the two shared at 44 Taylor Street on fire.

According to police affidavits, Woodbury was calling his wife and one of his wife's friends on their cell phones and leaving messages with a blow-by-blow account of what he was doing.

When police and firefighters arrived, Woodbury was standing across the street with his dog watching the house burn.

Witnesses said he made no effort to help firefighters drag the four-inch hoses down the street as did other neighbors and onlookers.

During a probable cause hearing held in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, a deputy fire chief testified that during his investigation, which was conducted with the assistance of a N.H. state fire marshal, they examined every possible way the house could have caught fire and were able to eliminate all of them except arson.

Deputy Fire Chief Charles Roffo also testified that there were two points of ignition — one on the back porch in the left rear of the house and one in the bedroom in the right front of the building.

Roffo said there was no fire in the basement and there was much less damage done to the two middle rooms than at the ignition points.

Woodbury is scheduled to plead guilty Tuesday morning in the Belknap County Superior Court.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 February 2015 11:56

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Hosmer raises ire of 'concealed carry' advocates with 'half baked' comment in letter

LACONIA — State Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) found himself in the cross-hairs of the distaff wing of the gun lobby this week. In reply to an e-mail from Susan Olsen of Warner, legislative director of the Women's Defense League of New Hampshire, touting legislation to repeal the requirement for a license to carry a concealed firearm, Hosmer wrote "thank you for contacting me but your points are half baked at best."

In support of Senate Bill 116, Olsen wrote it "will allow women who are legally able to defend themselves and their children INSIDE their homes to legally defend themselves and their children OUTSIDE their homes without seeking the permission of the Legislature and local law enforcement." Under the current law, she pictured a victim of domestic abuse or stalking compelled "to cower behind closed doors and drawn draperies for as long as 14 days while waiting for her local police chief to determine whether he believes she is suitable" to carry a concealed firearm.

Hosmer was met by a volley of rebukes from supporters of the bill, some of which appeared on GraniteGrok, the local Internet blog, to which Olsen contributes. In a prepared statement, the Women's Defense League of New Hampshire wrote it was "taken aback that a sitting N.H. Senator would treat any Granite Stater in this manner," found his "response to a woman asking him to support women's rights offensive," and asked him to apologize.

Kimberly Morin, a conservative advocate, called Hosmer's remark "condescending misogynistic and rude" and dismissed his professed concern for victims of domestic violence, charging that when given "a chance to actually help the women he pretended to be so concerned with . . . he's turning his back on them."

"Such a fine and upstanding example of 'political civility'" this is not!", sniffed Skip Murphy, the founder of GraniteGrok.

Writing on GraniteGrok, Steve MacDonald asked "Is State Senator Andrew 'Half-Baked' Hosmer implying that Susan Olsen should just stay in the kitchen where she'll be both safe and can get better at baking/" Meanwhile, Olsen, who described herself as "a little old lady who is armed and fabulous," posted her picture on the blog above the line "Baking Bad."

Hosmer said yesterday that he was "inundated" with phone calls and e-mails. Although he conceded his tone was "sharp", he declined to temper his opposition to the bill. "The introduction of a weapon into a tense domestic situation does not increase the likelihood of a positive outcome," he said. "I can attest to that as a former prosecutor in hundreds of domestic violence cases." He said that the current law requiring a license, does not deny weapons to those who need them and that police chiefs approve "99-percent" of all applications.

Yesterday, when SB-116 carried the Senate on a party line vote, with Republicans in favor and Democrats, including Hosmer, against, the senator found a half-pint of Ben & Jerry's Half-Baked ice cream on his desk.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 February 2015 02:26

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Gilmanton Selectboard candidate says too much town business done in private

GILMANTON — Selectboard candidate Michael Jean said yesterday that he had been thinking about running for a seat for quite a while and felt this was the year to do it.

"This town need some changes (to) the Board of Selectmen specifically," he said. "They go into 'executive session' a lot and I don't know why."

Jean was a selectman in Epping for three years in the 1990s and has lived in Gilmanton for 10 years.

Jean is running against Scott Dunn — the Gilford town administrator who recently moved to Gilmanton and said he put his name on the ballot because at 1 p.m. on the last day of the sign-up period, no one else had entered the race. Incumbent Selectman Brett Currier is no seeking re-election.

Dunn said now that there is a candidate more familiar with Gilmanton, he won't be campaigning for the seat. His name will remain on the ballot and he said he hopes to become an active member of his new community.

Jean said that while he doesn't know Dunn and has nothing against him, his concern with Dunn becoming a selectmen is that he fears there could be meeting conflicts with Gilmanton and Gilford that could impede Dunn's full participation in town affairs.

He noted that when Town Administrator Arthur Capello was hired, the Gilmanton selectmen had to change their meetings from Mondays to Tuesdays because Capello is also a Farmington selectmen and there was a time conflict.

Jean said that the thinks the existing Selectboard has too much involvement in the day-to-day operations of the individual town departments and department heads should have more autonomy — as long as the job is getting done and the department stays within its budget.

He supports eliminating an elected road agent and said during his first year as an Epping selectman, he hired that town's first non-elected one.

Jean said he supports the SB-2, Official Budget Act, system of running annual town meeting.

"We've only had it for two years," he said. "I think that when people understand it better, they will like it more. It's give them time to study the issues."

Jean said he'd like to be a proactive selectmen who will take the time to talk to people in town and get their opinions on things they would like to see.

Professionally, Jean works for the state of N.H. Adjutant Generals Department (N.H. National Guard) as an inspector. He was a part-time police officer and a call firefighter in Epping and is an on-call firefighter in Gilmanton.

The election is March 10.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 February 2015 02:21

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Belmont convenience store sells million dollar Powerball ticket

BELMONT — On the day before he sold his D & D Country Market on the corner of Rte. 106 and Rte. 140, owner Mark Dickson learned his team sold a $1 million winning ticket in Wednesday's Powerball drawing.

Dickson who was apparently at a sale closing yesterday and unavailable for comment, will collect $10,000 for his role in selling the lucky ticket.

Employees at the market yesterday were excited to learn about selling the ticket.

One employee said he thinks it was sold to a gentleman who owns the Dunkin' Donut franchise in the same building however, a state lottery spokesman said the winner has not claimed his or her prize yet.

"I guess he was at a meeting next door," said one D & D employee, who noted the man rarely comes to the area.

N.H. Lottery spokesman Maura McCann said yesterday there were six big Powerball winners in New Hampshire Tuesday night. She said a $30,000 winning ticket was sold at the Pittsburg Trading Post and five $10,000 winning tickets were sold — two in Nashua, one of Goffstown, and one in Somersworth.

Employees who were at the store yesterday said they were not the ones who sold the winning ticket but that it was one of their coworkers.


CUTLINE - ($1-million lottery) D & D Market Employee Dylan Malcolm shows off the signs celebrating the sale of a $1-million lottery ticket in Tuesday's Powerball drawing. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Friday, 13 February 2015 02:06

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