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Parks & Rec agrees to take responsibility for financial affairs of Tardif Park Association

LACONIA — With the Tardif Park Association down to a single member, the Parks and Recreation Department has assumed responsibility for its financial affairs for an indefinite period.

Kevin Dunleavy, director of Parks and Recreation, said this week that Kevin Moulton, who has been managing and maintaining the park house alone for more than four years approached the Parks and Recreation Commission in November, seeking assistance with the operations of the park. Last week, the commission agreed to manage the finances while Moulton will continue to schedule and manage the renting of the park house, located off Highland Street.

Dunleavy said that Moulton, with help from the department, will also continue seeking to enlist volunteers to assist with the management of the park. "We're still looking to shake people out of the bushes," he remarked.

The turn of events was not unexpected. The Parks and Recreation Commission has been concerned about the viability of the park associations for some time and more than a year ago directed Dunleavy to take steps to increase membership. Dunleavy said that in their heyday the park association memberships ranged between 50 and 100 and served as the social hub of close-knit neighborhoods. The park houses were originally constructed by the city and leased to the park associations, which in turn rent them to civic and social organizations as well as families and individuals for meetings and functions. The associations apply the rental income to the upkeep of the park houses.

However, Dunleavy said that as alternative forms of entertainment have multiplied, demands on two-income households have mounted and bonds among neighbors have frayed, membership has declined. Without viable associations, he said, the responsibility for maintaining and managing the park houses would fall to the city.

Memorial Park, where the park house has been leased since the 1980s, has not an active association for years. At Wyatt Park, also in the South End, the park house was closed, demolished and not rebuilt when major improvements were recently undertaken at the park. Leavitt Park and the Weirs Community Park both enjoy active associations while the association at Opechee Park has been in limbo in anticipation of rebuilding the park house, which was demolished in 2011.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 December 2013 12:05

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Laconia man charged with choking girlfriend and another woman who came to rescue

LACONIA — A city man is being held on $20,000 cash only bail after allegedly punching and choking his girlfriend during an argument at 1 a.m. yesterday and then punching and choking a friend who came to help her.

Christopher Greenleaf, 27, of Laconia is charged with two felony counts of second-degree assault, two misdemeanor counts of simple assault, and one misdemeanor count of criminal threatening.

Police affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division said Greenleaf and the first female victim were at home and arguing when she decided to leave for the evening and take their child with her.

When she started to leave Greenleaf allegedly hit her and when she began screaming for help. He then is said to have choked her and told her he would kill her if she didn't shut up.

He allegedly grabbed her by the hair and pulled her into he living room where he hit her with a closed fist. She told police she gave up trying to scream for help and he went to bed.

When one of her friends called her, she told police she asked her to come and get her and the child.

The second woman went into the house to get the victim's baby while the victim installed the car seat and she encountered Greeneleaf. The friend was able to hold him off until the victim was able to get the child in the car.

During the struggle, the second woman said Greenleaf also pushed her to the ground and choked her.

Both women and the child were able to get away, however, and when Greenleaf allegedly showed up at the victim's friend's house, someone called the police.

In court yesterday, Greenleaf's application for a public defender was rejected by the judge because of his income and assets, however for the limited purposes of arraignment Public Defender Howard Clayman said Greenleaf, if released on bail, would live in Gonic with his parents, would continue in his job as a machinist, and would agree to any probation restrictions placed upon him, including staying out of Laconia.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 December 2013 12:01

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City will lease 2 downtown parking spaces to new restaurant assite for required dumpsters

LACONIA — The City Council this week agreed to lease two downtown municipal parking spaces to David Kennedy to house two dumpsters, one for trash and another for recyclables. Kennedy intends to convert the former Evangelical Baptist Church at Veteran's Square to a restaurant with an Irish pub theme.

In a memorandum to the councilors, City Manager Scott Myers explained that the church building hugs the lot lines so closely that there is no space on the property to accommodate one, let alone two, dumpsters. After failing to negotiate an arrangement with David Gilbert, doing business as Reneda Properties, LLC who owns an abutting property at 660 Main Street, Kennedy deferred closing on his purchase of the church from December 20 to January 10 and asked to lease the two parking spaces.

Myers recommended leasing the spaces, an area of 20 feet by 10 feet at the rear of the church hall of the Congregational Church of Laconia, UCC, for five years at $100 per year with a provision to renew so long as the building remains a restaurant. In accordance with the zoning ordinance, the dumpsters must be fenced at the cost of the lessee, who must also carry insurance and pay taxes on the leased space.

Looking at a photograph of the location, Councilor Bob Hamel (Ward 5) noticed an dumpster on the adjacent Gilbert lot and wondered if space could be found to fence all three dumpsters together, saving one city parking space in the process. Myers said he would raise the issue with Gilbert.

No one questioned why, despite the zoning ordinance, the existing dumpster was not already fenced.

Chris Snow of the Planning Department confirmed Wednesday that dumpsters must be fenced and said that when a nonconforming situation comes to the attention of the department, property owners are advised of the violation by letter and asked to correct it.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 December 2013 11:55

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Plow driver allegedly drunk when he backed into LPD cruiser

LACONIA — A Gilford man has been charged with driving while intoxication after the plow truck he was operating allegedly backed into a Laconia police supervisor's cruiser — a 2014 Ford Interceptor SUV.

Gilford Police — who are investigating the crash — said Sgt. Dennis Ashley was patrolling on Lake Street (Rte. 3 North) when Douglas Fisher, 53, of Lake Street backed his 2004 Chevy pickup into the road from the Margate parking lot on the Gilford side of the roadway. Fisher is also charged with one count of operating after suspension.

The crash happened on December 15 at 2:48 p.m.

Gilford Police Sgt. Eric Bredbury said Ashley tried to take evasive action by moving into the oncoming lane but his cruiser was struck in the passenger side rear door and rear quarter panel. Ashley was not seriously injured and was not transported to the hospital. Fisher was not injured.

Bredbury said the truck Fisher was driving is registered to Plymeg Hotel Management.

According to information obtained from the N.H. Judiciary call center, Fisher was found guilty on July 23, 2012 of driving while intoxicated in May of 2012.

He was fined $620 and his license was suspended for nine months. He was ordered to complete a Impaired Driver Education Program.

Bredbury said Fisher entered a not-guilty plea on December 19 in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division and has a trial date scheduled for February 4.

Laconia Police Lt. A Lessard said the cruiser is being repaired by Irwin Motors and he is unsure when the repairs will be completed. "Right now it's in the hands of the insurance companies," he said.

Lessard said the department has put it's Ford Explorer back into service until the SUV is repaired. He also said the department is thankful that Ashley wasn't injured.

 

CAPTION: The passenger side of a 2014 Laconia Police SUV after an allegedly impaired plow truck driver backed into it while plowing on December 15. (Gilford Police photo)

Last Updated on Friday, 27 December 2013 11:51

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