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Credit card theft case in Tilton takes mysterious twists & turns

TILTON — The victim of a credit card theft from last year said this week he is getting frustrated by the lack of information forthcoming from the police regarding his card and its ultimate use.

Mike Gagne said he had bought some cabinets at Lowe's Department store and had received an in-store Lowes reward card worth $2,000 for later use.

He said a Lowe's subcontractor was doing some installation work at his Tilton home when one of the contractor's employees allegedly stole the card, apparently in May.

Gagne said he discovered the theft and reported it to the Tilton Police sometime in August of 2013 and the case was referred to the Merrimack County Sheriff's Department. Gagne said he was told the theft investigation was being handled by a different agency because someone who had connections to the Tilton Police Department had a conflict on interest in the case.

In addition, although the theft occurred in Tilton, Belknap County Attorney's office referred the matter to the Granfton County Attorneys Office.

Sheriff Scott Hilliard confirmed last week that his department conducted the investigation into the theft and on December 19, 2013 a Grafton County grand jury indicted Richard H. Miner, 35, whose last known address was Park Street in Northfield, for one count of theft by unauthorized taking and one count of conspiracy for receiving stolen property for allegedly conspiring with one or more people to dispose of the card.

Miner has been arraigned in Belknap County Superior Court and the case has been assigned a Belknap County docket number.

"All of a sudden I was told that the theft was in conflict with the Tilton Police and the (Richard) Miner investigation," said Gagne.

Gagne also said he was shown videos taken by Lowes of the people who used the card. He said he was told the card was used once for $30 at Lowes in Gilford and then the balance was used at a Lowes Home Improvement Store in Littleton.

He said he was told the person who used the card ordered roofing materials to be delivered to a job site in Tilton.

He also said he was shown the pictures of the people who used the card and said Richard Miner was not one of them, although he said he was told the Merrimack County Sheriffs Department was able to get Miner to confess to the theft of the card from his house.

Since Miner's indictment, Gagne said he hasn't heard anything from any agency.

"I'm just frustrated that nobody has ever sat down with me," he said, noting that since Miner's indictment he hasn't heard from anyone in law enforcement.

He said the only other thing he's learned is that the card was sold for 30-cents on the dollar.

Tilton Police Chief Robert Cormier said he turned the case over to the Merrimack County Sheriff's Department because the was an apparent conflict within his department but declined any further comment.

Hilliard said the his department's involvement with the theft ended with the indictment of Miner for theft and conspiracy.

Additional sources told The Daily Sun the investigation into how and where the card was used is being conducted by the N.H. State Police.

Gagne said he would just like to know who actually used the card and if anything is going to be done about it.

"All I know is Richard did not use the card," he said.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 March 2014 11:59

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Getting to & from parking garage will be trickies part of downtown detour plan that starts on Monday

LACONIA — R. M. Piper, Inc. the general contractor, has confirmed that work on the first phase of the reconstruction of the Main Street Bridge will begin on the morning of Monday, March 31 when downtown traffic will be rerouted.

Beacon Street East will be closed to traffic at the bridge. However, motorists seeking to reach the parking garage can proceed north on Main Street, turn right on to Hanover Street then right again on to Beacon Street East to the entrance to the parking garage. Between Hanover Street and the parking garage, Beacon Street East will be open to two-way traffic entering and leaving the garage.

There will be no other changes to the downtown traffic pattern during the first and second phases of the project, which will be underway from March until August.

Information about the progress of the project, along with maps of the downtown traffic pattern, is posted regularly on the city's website at www.laconia.city.nh.us.
(#laconiamainstbridge)

Last Updated on Friday, 28 March 2014 11:55

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Winni Sailing Assoc. buys Smith Cove property

GILFORD — "It's been a long odyssey," said Tom Mullen, president of the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association, Inc. (LWSA), which after seeking a permanent home for the past eight years yesterday acquired a three-quarter acre property with 160 feet of shorefront on Smith Cove.

Established as a nonprofit corporation in 1988, the LWSA operates instructional, recreational and competitive sailing programs for youths between six and 16 each summer with support from Fay's Boatyard and the Winnipesaukee Yacht Club. Since 2007 Mullen has searched for a site for a sailing center where the association could expand its offerings, particularly its adaptive sailing programs for those with disabilities.

For several years Mullen sought to persuade the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) to lease land at the easternmost edge of Ellacoya State Park where the center would be built. The project would include construction of a launching ramp, breakwater, dug-in boat basin, docking facilities, and a pavilion — approximately 50 feet by 75 feet — equipped with a catering kitchen and walk-in refrigeration. In 2011, George Bald, then commissioner of DRED, put and end to the association's plans for the park, which met with opposition from neighbors and abutters.

Mullen said that the LWSA scouted properties in Alton, Gilford, Laconia and Meredith before finding the lot at 25 Davis Road, which he described as "as close to ideal as I could imagine." He said that the lot is very flat to the water and has a "perfect dock" as well as a house that can be converted to house office space and classrooms. "It is virtually adjacent to Fay's Boatyard," he continued. "I can't imagine a better property for our needs."

Mullen said that the association plans to acquire two sailboats equipped with computers that operate the sails and rudders, costing some $60,000 apiece, for its adaptive sailing program and to fit the dock with a lift to enable sailors bound to wheelchairs to board and disembark.

According to public records, the association purchased the property for $595,000.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 March 2014 11:08

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3 & 25 intersection solution remains allusive for Meredith

MEREDITH — "It may seem slow to some people, but we'll try to speed it up," said Don Lyford of the N.H. Department of Transportation (DOT), speaking Thursday to a committee of local stakeholders that first convened in 2006 to address traffic congestion in the Rte. 3/Rte. 25 corridor. Gene McCarthy of McFarland Johnson, Inc., the project manager, assured the panel "we'll start getting into the meat of the project."

Two-and-a-half hours later the committee found itself at the intersection in question, which the American Automobile Association once ranked the 17th worst bottleneck in the country, with limited funding and awkward choices.

In June 2009, McFarland Johnson prepared a report for the DOT outlining a half-dozen plans for improving the flow of traffic from the junction of Rte. 3 and Rte.104 along Rte. 3 through the intersection of 3 and 25, across Rte. 25 to Center Harbor, a distance of 4.2 miles. However, with only $5 million allocated for the project and the prospect of more funding bleak McCarthy said "it doesn't make sense to be looking at the whole four miles."

Instead, McCarthy told the committee the scope of the project would be narrowed to "the village core," from the 104 and 3 junction to the intersection of Rte. 25 and Pleasant Street and allowed "that may start to shrink."

"You throw the rock in the pond and look at the 99th ripple," remarked Jack Carty, "our problem is the intersection of 3 and 25."

"Well get to 3 and 25," Warren Clark assured him, "but we'll talk about a lot of things to get there."

When Rusty McLear asked "is the money there," Lyford replied "yes and no. I'm not saying you can't find a dime over $5-million."

Lou Kahn, who chairs the committee, sought to force the pace, observing that "we've had experience in this town of finding that the money had moved on when we didn't act fast enough."

Faced with selecting a preferred alternative, the committee quickly rejected two similar options, each consisting of a roundabout at the intersection of 3 and 25 and two other roundabouts — one to the north on Rte. 3 and another at the junction of Rte. 25 and Pleasant Street — which would be joined by two or three-lane bypass roadway crossing Hawkins Brook.

"Keep it simple," said Kahn. "This is not simple." He said that the cost of acquiring land and constructing a road and bridge would far exceed the $5 million budget. "This is DOA," Carty agreed. this is DOA."

Likewise, the committee discarded a plan to turn the corridor into a string of beads with a grassed median strip and one-lane roundabouts at  104 and 3, Terrace Avenue, Mill Street, Church Landing, Lake Street, 3 and 25 and Pleasant Street. John Edgar, director of community development, pointed out that the plan would eliminate left turns, which he said "anywhere in the corridor are a hassle if not a hazard. " Others said that by slowing traffic the plan presented an opportunity to transform Rte. 3 from a highway to a "main street," in keeping with the character of the town center. But, all agreed the cost would be far beyond the available funding.

As Carty and Clark foresaw, discussion returned to the 3 and 25 intersection. McCarthy reminded the committee that congestion could not be eased without reconfiguring the intersection. DOT estimates that northbound traffic on Rte. 3 passes through the intersection at a rate of at least 900 vehicles per hour at peak times in the summer while Rte. 25 carries between 700 and 800 vehicles per hour westbound at the same time.

Three options were presented to the committee — a one-lane roundabout, a two-lane roundabout and an elliptical roundabout open to two-lanes of northbound traffic from Rte. 3 at its southeast corner.

The committee favored a one-lane roundabout, which would have the least impact on the surrounding properties. However, when the flow of traffic through a one-lane roundabout was simulated, the queues either side of the intersection lengthened. "It's worse than it is now," Clark said. "If that's what is going to be like, go back to the drawing board."

Although the elliptical roundabout fared no better, Kahn suggested the engineers reconfigure it to accept a higher volume of westbound traffic from Rte. 25 and run fresh simulations.

A two-lane roundabout at the intersection markedly lessened the congestion. But, a majority appeared to share the opinion of Rusty McLear that "it's more pavement than we need as a town, except on summer weekends."

Kahn said that his hope to find a solution "in my lifetime that is as inexpensive as possible, with as little land acquisition as possible and with minimal impacts on existing businesses."

Last Updated on Friday, 28 March 2014 11:05

Hits: 495

 
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