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Laconia man charged with hitting Center Harbor police chief with car

CENTER HARBOR – Police Chief Mark Chase is recovering from minor injuries to his left and right arms and left leg after being struck by an alleged drunk driver late Saturday night.

Meanwhile, Matthew McKeen, 27, of 40 Fair St. in Laconia was ordered held by Judge Edward "Ned" Gordon on $10,000 cash or corporate surety bail after his video appearance in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, yesterday.

Affidavits said Chase was on routine patrol and in full uniform when he saw a Subaru Forester parked in the parking lot at the Center Harbor baseball field on Route 25B on Dane Road at about 11:58 p.m. Chase pulled up to where the two cars were facing each other and Chase saw a man in the front seat wearing a red shirt.

The Subaru turned on its lights and began to back up. Chase turned on the cruiser's blue lights and spot light and got out of his cruiser. McKeen allegedly stopped and gave Chase a hand gesture. Chase told him to stop, but said the Subaru accelerated toward him rapidly, striking him with the left side of the car.

Chase was knocked to the ground. He received minor abrasions to both arms and one leg. He was treated at the scene by Stewart's Ambulance.

McKeen allegedly fled on to Dane Road then south on to Route 3. A police broadcast was put out to find him.

About 30 minutes later, Meredith Police Officer Michael Rand saw McKeen near Laconia Harley-Davidson on Route 3. Affidavits said Rand noticed the driver's side mirror was pushed in.

Rand tried to stop McKeen who allegedly fled for a second time. Rand pursued McKeen until he crashed the Subaru on Pickerel Pond Road that runs between Meredith Center Road and Parade Road.

Chase responded to Pickerel Pond Road in Laconia and identified the car and McKeen as the driver who allegedly hit him.

McKeen faces two sets of charges. In Center Harbor, he is charged with one count of felony reckless conduct for placing another in danger with a deadly weapon, one count of conduct after an accident for striking Chase and then fleeing, one felony count of second-degree assault for hitting Chase with his car, and one misdemeanor count of disobeying an officer for not stopping when Chase told him to.

According to a media release issued by Center Harbor, Meredith Police charged McKeen with one count of aggravated driving while intoxicated, one count of reckless operation, and one count of disobeying an officer.

McKeen appeared in court yesterday to initially face only the charges from Center Harbor. He will be scheduled to appear again in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division on the Meredith charges.

The Center Harbor Police were represented by Atty. Robert Libby who asked that bail remain at $10,000 cash or personal recognizance.

McKeen was represented by Laconia Public Defender Lauren Breda who made no bail argument, saying she reserved the right to argue it at a later date.

A probable cause hearing has been set for 11 a.m.

Last Updated on Monday, 08 June 2015 11:20

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Memorial tennis courts closed for resurfacing

LACONIA — The Memorial Park tennis courts will be locked until Wednesday, June 10, advises the Parks & Recreation Department. Assistant Director Amy C. Lovisek said Friday the courts have been resurfaced and need to set for a few days.

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 June 2015 12:57

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Motorcycle Week concerts canceled, promoter to start planning for next year

LACONIA — There will be no concerts at the Weirs Beach Drive-In Theater during Motorcycle Week, Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the Motorcycle Week Association announced yesterday.

St. Clair said that Vesslar Global Partners, LLC of West Jefferson, N.C., the promoter staging the concerts, issued a statement early Friday canceling the events just two days after the Special Events Review Committee granted approval for two concerts, one featuring Quiet Riot and the other Hoobsstank, on Thursday and Friday during the rally. Originally Vesslar Global Partners applied to stage live music on the last four evenings of Motorcycle Week with celebrated bands performing each night.

"I'm disappointed," said St. Clair. "A lot of people, both city officials and members of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, put a lot of time and energy into making this happen. I knew it was a shot in the dark," he continued, "because of the lateness in the initial planning, which only began in March." He said, "The upside of this is that the city has shown itself willing to work on any plan to bring big, great events like Motorcycle Week, the Pumpkin Festival and big concerts to Laconia."

St. Clair said that representatives of Vesslar Global are expected to meet with city officials in July to begin the process of planning a concert series during the 93rd running of Motorcycle Week in June 2016.

Meanwhile, the Weirs Beach Drive-In Theater will serve as parking lot for cars and motorcycles during the rally this year.

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 June 2015 12:51

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Winnisquam Scenic Trail ready to go in Belmont

BELMONT – After 15 years of planning, raising money and bartering with the state Department of Transportation, Phase 1 of the Lake Winnisquam Scenic Trail is just about ready.

Yesterday, the owner of Piche's, Bob Bolduc, accepted and then donated back the money he received for allowing a slope easement across his property. He said his store is holding special sale in July to support the trail.

Accepting the easement and donation were Belmont Land Use Technician Rick Ball and Lake Winnisquam Scenic Trail President Ron Mitchell as they walked the portion of it behind the wholesale outlet.

"Fifteen years," said Mitchell quietly. "It's been a long, long time."

"I sure am waiting for the day I can stick my shovel into the ground," said Mitchell who has spearheaded the Belmont segments, working in conjunction with people working on the Franklin, Tilton, Northfield, Laconia and Meredith portions.

When the Federal Transportation Enhancement Grant first became available in 2002 and 2003, Belmont initially looked at three portions of a trail that was supposed to go from downtown Franklin to Meredith.

The phase being built now, and scheduled for a late August groundbreaking, runs from Agway, near the Mosquito Bridge, to the Belmont Town Beach. Phase 2, said Ball, is slated to go to Jefferson Road. However, with the Federal Enhancement Grant set to expire at the end of this federal fiscal year (Oct. 1) it would have to be re-approved by Congress.

Since its initial design, there have been a few changes and speed bumps – most notably a redesign near the Belknap Mall, a requirement for a fence along the railroad, and an archeological study last year that threatened to hold up the project to the point where it appeared the money would run out before it could be finalized.

With the hiccups behind them, Ball said he has negotiated all of the easements and has acknowledgments for the few he hasn't finalized. Once those are completed, he said the plan goes back to the state Department of Transportation for a final review.

The final cost for this segment of the trail is $188,000 in engineering costs, $756,000 in construction costs and $10,500 in oversight costs.

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 June 2015 12:44

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