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2- alarm fire scorches log cabin in Gilmanton

GILMANTON — Firefighters spent most of yesterday afternoon fighting a stubborn two-alarm fire in a log cabin on Loon Pond Road, about three miles from Route 107.

Homeowner Don McNulty and friend Adam Foley said they were in the basement of the home at 4 p.m. when Mark and Cameron Haradon drove up to the home to mow the lawn.

"We saw the front right corner of the house on fire," said Mark Haradon, noting they could see the flames coming from a light fixture on the outside of the house.

Haradon said he knew McNulty was in the house and said he ran in and began screaming to him that the house was on fire. He said his son (Cameron) called 9-1-1.

McNulty and Foley heard them yelling and scrambled up the stairs, leaving the house just before the fire began spreading inside.

McNulty said he and his wife just bought the house about a week ago and had yet to move into it. He said he and Foley, a retired electrician, were in the basement looking around to see what work needed to be done before his family moved into it.

"It's a blessing they came around when they did," McNulty said. "If we'd been in there any longer it may have been too late to get out."

You'd be surprised to see how fast we moved when we heard the house was on fire," McNulty said.

He also said that except for some small windows, there is only one way out of the basement and the fire was spreading to that area.

McNulty said other than the kitchen appliances there were no furnishings in the home except for a large-screen television the prior owner had left because it didn't fit into her new home.

Aside from the hot temperatures and the lack of nearby water supply, Fire Chief Joe Hempel said the log house had wood-beam rafters on the second floor, but the original roof was covered with metal making it very difficult for firefighters to get water on to the fire.

Hempel said firefighters began with an interior attack, but ordered them to evacuate the structure when it became too dangerous and he knew no one was inside.

As the fire continued to burn, smoke and occasional flames billowed from the eaves and firefighters were able to stream water and temporarily knock down the flames — only to have them pop up in a different eave.

Firefighters could be heard using a power saw to try and cut holes in the metal roof to give the heat and flames a place to ventilate.

After battling the flames for about an hour with the first alarm crew, Hempel called for a second alarm that brought fresh crews and water from as far away as Concord and Laconia.

Firefighters were still on the scene at 8 p.m.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 June 2014 01:29

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County Convention denies request for $3-m jail bond

LACONIA — The Belknap County Convention last evening rejected the request of the Belknap County Commission to borrow nearly $3-million to fund improvements at the existing county jail and further the process of designing a new facility.

The motion to approve the request, which required a two-thirds majority or 12 of the 16 members present and voting to succeed, failed by a vote of seven in favor and nine against.

The nine opposed, all Republicans, were Reps. Richard Burchell of Gilmanton, Guy Comtois of Barnstead, Charles Fink and Michael Sylvia of Belmont, Bob Greemore, Herb Vadney and Colette Worsman of Meredith, Stephen Holmes of Alton and Frank Tilton of Laconia.

Four of the five Democrats on the convention were present and all — Reps. Lisa DiMartino of Gilford, Ruth Gulick of New Hampton, David Huot of Laconia and Ian Raymond of Sanbornton — voted to approve the borrowing. They were joined by three Republicans — Dennis Fields of Sanbornton and Don Flanders and Bob Luther of Laconia. Beth Arsenault, a Democrat representing Laconia and Belmont, was absent and did not vote.

Rep. Jane Cormier (R-Alton) resigned her seat on May 28, leaving the convention with 17 members.

Altogether the commission requested a borrowing of $2,960,000, of which $1,600,000 would be applied to a three-year lease for a temporary housing unit with capacity for 48 inmates. Another $1-million would be invested in replacing the HVAC system at the existing jail, much of which could be incorporated into a newly constructed facility. The remaining $360,000 would fund a schematic design of new county jail, without which the cost of the project cannot be estimated.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 June 2014 01:39

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LRCC professor to run for Belknap County Commissioner

LACONIA — Democrat David Pollak of Laconia, a professor at Lakes Region Community College, will challenge Republican David DeVoy of Sanbornton for the seat on the Belknap County Commission opened by the retirement of Ed Philpot.

Pollak is a graduate of George Washington University with a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in education from Antioch University New England. He is a member of the liberal arts faculty and teaches a variety of courses in the social sciences, including psychology, government and ethics. He is married with four children.

Pollak said yesterday that he has followed the often contentious course of county government during the past several years closely and would seek "to dial down the rhetoric and find consensus." Noting that the future of the county jail is the overriding issue facing both the commission and the Belknap County Convention, he said, "I am coming to that with an open mind." He recalled that he had taught classes at the jail and is familiar with conditions at the facility.

"I am not an expert," Pollak said, "but I am a good listener and a good learner." He said that he "admires people with strongly held principles" and finds "if you start from a place of respect, you get to a good outcome." Although a newcomer to local politics, he served as a sewer commissioner in a rapidly growing rural township in southeastern Pennsylvania before coming the New Hampshire.

Pollak said that in deciding to run for county commission he remembered one of his favorite sayings: "You don't want to go to a place where they don't need you."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 June 2014 01:18

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Mass. man charged with endangering young child

LACONIA — A Massachusetts man is charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child after police found him stumbling and staggering along Lakeside Avenue while in the company of a very small child.

According to affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, police located Jared Leone, 28, of 416 Rogers St., Tewksbury, Mass., Sunday at 5 p.m. and after several passersby reported seeing him either fall or jump into the water next to the city docks, allegedly leaving the child unattended on the dock.

Observers reported that at one point the child was trying to wake him up but was unable to.

Police observed the man pulling the child who was riding on a toy motorcycle. Police observed that he was about to pour a Red Bull on the child's head when they interceded.

When police approached Leone, he immediately became defensive and evasive, affidavits stated. He also told police that he drove to New Hampshire.

Police described him as unsteady on his feet, slurring his speech and exhibiting mood swings from very agitated to calm and cooperative. They also said he had saliva built up in the corners of his mouth.

They told Leone he was not leaving with the child and asked him repeatedly if there was someone they could call who would come and get the child.

Police said Leone refused to give him the name of the child's mother, telling them only her first name and that she lived in Newton, N.H. He mentioned that he was in debt because of "court battles" he had with her.

They said Leone made efforts to contact his own father but only "fumbled with the phone."

After several attempts to learn the name of the child's mother, police told him they would put the child in temporary foster care.

"Do what you have to do," Leone said, as reported by police.

Affidavits said the child was out of ear shot of the conversation.

After Leone was advised that he was in police custody, they said he still refused to give police any information and allegedly became so irrational that police determined he was not going to be any additional help to them.

Leone was taken to the Laconia Police Station while the child was taken to a different location. City police contacted police in Newton, N.H., who were able to identify the child's mother who agreed to come immediately.

The child was taken to the police stations and her mother arrived at 8 p.m. with her current boyfriend. Affidavits said the child ran to his mother.

Leone's criminal history, according to police, includes a conviction for breaking and entering in 2004, burglary on 2010, possession of a controlled drug in 2004, bail jumping in 2004, driving after suspension in 2013, and disobeying an officer in 2013.

He was held overnight and released on $5,000 personal recognizance bail after appearing in court yesterday morning. Judge Jim Carroll ordered that he have no unsupervised contact with any children under the age of 16, no contact with his child unless he has the permission of the child's mother, and that he not consume any alcohol or drugs.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 June 2014 12:25

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