Meredith voters back vendor fees for Motorcycle Week

By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN

MEREDITH — Voters approved a warrant article authorizing selectmen to establish licensing fees for Motorcycle Week vendors by a 98-42 vote at Wednesday night's town meeting.
The town will start collecting the $450 license fees in 2017. They are designed to offset the costs of police, fire and public works department activities during the week, which amounted to $18,000 last year.
The vote came after some discussion and two attempts to amend the ordinance. One of those amendments was proposed by David Sticht, who said he was opposed to the article, and would have established a licensing fee schedule for all vendors doing business in Meredith. It was defeated after Laura Specter-Morgan, town counsel, said that it was her opinion that the amendment was too broad and changed the subject matter of the article from Motorcycle Week to all events at which vendors participated.
Doug Frederick, owner of the American Police Motorcycle Museum, proposed an amendment which would have allowed vendors for non-profits to either pay no fee or a reduced fee and would have directed that any profits from the fees be split between the police and fire departments.
That too was defeated.
Voters approved a $12,625,39 operating budget, up 2.4 percent from last year.
Also approved were warrant articles providing $300,000 for the Department of Public Works Equipment Replacement Fund, $100,000 for the Fire Department Vehicle Replacement Fund and $60,000 for a Solid Waste Trailer Replacement Fund.
Voters approved using $62,500 from the town's fund balance for a feasibility study for a new Department of Public Works facility. Town Manager Phil Warren said that a study which was undertaken last year showed that it might be necessary to build at a site other than the current Jenness Hill Road location and that other options would be explored by the new study.
After a brief discussion voters approved a petitioned warrant article for ending the scenic road designation for Blueberry Hill Road on Meredith Neck, Proponents of the change maintained that dead and dying trees along the dead end road posed safety hazards.
Total spending approved at the meeting amounted to $14,168,3 43, with $8,951,293 to be raised by taxes, a $483,513 increase over last year which will result in a 28 cent per thousand increase in the tax rate.

Missing 14-year-old girl found dead

03-10 Alex Caraballo

PIKE — Emma "Alex" Lee Caraballo, a 14-year-old reported missing last week, was found deceased on March 10. Law enforcement is investigating the circumstances of her death, which at this time are not considered to be suspicious. 

Questions can be directed to the office of the Grafton County Attorney at 603-787-6968.

Man Tasered in Laconia after allegedly taking a swipe at a police officer

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — A man who told police he was staying at the Landmark Inn was arrested around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday after being zapped with a Taser in the front parking lot of the Shang Hai Restaurant.
Sgt. Mike Finogle said police were called to the restaurant because David McLaughlin, no age given, was "acting out" and had refused to pay for his meal.
When the first responding officer arrived, Finogle said McLaughlin allegedly took a swing at the officer and knocked off her glasses.
He was subdued with a Taser and handcuffed.
As he was waiting for an ambulance to take him to Lakes Region General Hospital, McLaughlin was sitting in the parking lot, his hands cuffed behind him and surrounded by two Belknap County Sheriff's deputies who assisted city police.
On the ground in front of him was a partially consumed 1.75-liter bottle of Popov vodka and some ear buds. Officers were also examining a prescription bottle of pills they found on him.
Finogle said he wasn't sure what charges would be filed against McLaughlin but said they could possibly include assault on a police officer, theft of services and drinking in public. He said he did not know if the pills belonged to McLaughlin or what kind they were.
McLaughlin was able to walk with assistance to the ambulance.
The night supervisor said last night that the charges had not been finalized.