N.H. Supreme Court agrees that Laconia enjoys immunity from responsibility for playground accident

LACONIA — The state Supreme Court has overturned a Belknap County Superior Court decision that found the city was liable for injuries sustained by a Franklin woman who slipped under the swing set at Opechee Park and hurt her knee.

She filed suit against the city and the city moved to dismiss it, saying it enjoyed immunity under state law. Judge Larry Smukler disagreed and stopped the city's attempt to dismiss Dolbeare's suit on those grounds.

The trial court had ruled that the swing set didn't constitute "outdoor recreational activities" as defined in RSA 212:34. The plaintiff, Margaret Dolbeare, had argued that the city owed her a duty of care and that it was not immune from suit according to RSA 508:14.

The city sought to come to some kind of settlement with Dolbeare, was unsuccessful, and appealed Smukler's ruling to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court considered the case as a new case because it is "the final arbiter of the intent of the legislature as expressed in the words of the statute considered as a whole."

The court determined that RSA 212:34 includes playground equipment and that outdoor recreation involves the use of man-made equipment. That the playground equipment in question was supplied by the owner of the property — the city of Laconia — or the user — Dolbeare — was "immaterial".

Dolbeare's argument was that since playground equipment was not specifically stated in the law, then it should be excluded in the list of outdoor recreational activities for which the legislature intended. The Supreme Court ruled that when the language of a law includes some types of man-made equipment as examples, the law is not exclusive to those enumerated items.

As to whether the city was negligent, the court ruled that RSA 508:14 says that an "owner, occupant, or lessee of land, including the state or any other political subdivision, who without charge permits any person to use land for recreational purposes or as a spectator of recreational activity, shall not be liable for personal injury or property damage..." when the damage is not intentional".

Dolbeare's case returns to the trial court for consideration under the guidance of its instructions. The Supreme Court ruling was unanimous.

Manchester police search Laconia store

LACONIA — Undercover police officers from Manchester and possibly one other agency raided a shop at 617 Main Street yesterday morning but it is unknown what they were looking for.

Laconia Capt. Bill Clary said yesterday that he was contacted last night by the Manchester Police Department and told they had a search warrant but declined to comment further saying it wasn't Laconia's operation and a few of Laconia's officers accompanied Manchester for a short while.

They raided the Mystique Fashion Boutique which is owned by Michael Smith and Jeannette Hardy according to the N.H. Secretary of State Website. The paperwork was filed in December of 2014, however some of the paperwork on file was signed in 2012. A phone number listed for Michael Smith was not answered.

The Daily Sun doesn't know what, if anything was found, but noticed that the inside of the store was trashed — racks containing potato chips were pulled to the floor and clothes racks were knocked around, pushed over and left there. Randomly ceiling tiles were removed and holes were made in various parts of the store.

Police also apparently used a battering ram to break down the back door. Baldi, who was visibly upset upon arriving at her building and seeing all of the damage, said maybe the business owners had changed the locks.

As one Laconia Police Officer was leaving he told Baldi, who is in her 80s, that she had better secure the back door.

Undercover officers left in a gray Dodge Durango AWD with a Massachusetts plate of 759 FN4, which is actually a plate registered to a Black Jeep Cherokee from the Boston area.

It is not known if yesterday's Laconia raid is connected to a recent Manchester shooting, but numerous new agencies reported that a woman named Jeannette Hardy was shot in her Winter Street home in Manchester on June 22 by what she said was a black man dressed in all black clothing. Hardy was treated for non life threatening wounds.

Responding Manchester officers allegedly found 2,000 grams of heroin in her apartment and which triggered an investigation that took police to Lawrence, Mass. where they arrested two additional people. Over the next fours day police from Massachusetts and Manchester allegedly found 22 kilograms of heroin and fentanyl and $226,000 in cash.

Manchester Police didn't return phone calls yesterday and Laconia Police said they were at the store only briefly.

The store is part of the Colonial Theater properties that are being purchased from Baldi by a limited liability corporation set up by the Belknap Economic Development Council. The closing on the sale is scheduled for today (Friday). Members of the BEDC Board of Directors were touring the theater at the time of the raid.

Johnson & Harvick running 1-2 in the 2015 'Race for the Chase'

LOUDON — The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moved to a ''win and in'' formula last year, which rewards drivers for wins by making the winners of any of the first 26 races automatic qualifiers for the 16 open spots in the season-ending Chase for the Sprint Cup, providing they are in the top 30 in the overall points standings. The pack is currently led by 6-time champion Jimmie Johnson with four wins.
Points leader and defending champion Kevin Harvick, who has won two races, is in second place followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., also with two wins. Kurt Busch with two wins is in fourth place followed by Joey Logano, who won last year's September race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards, all of whom have one win.
The others in the top 16 are determined by their standings in the points race and show Jamie McMurray in 11th, followed by Jeff Gordon, who is retiring after this year, Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer.
Still looking to move into the top 16 in the chase is Kyle Busch, who won last week at Louisville and has won two of the seven races he's run and has climbed to 35th place in the points standings since his return from a compound fracture of his right leg and a fracture of his left foot suffered in the season-opening XFinity series race at Daytona International Speedway.
Busch must finish in the top 30 in order to qualify for the chase.
These Chase drivers compete against each other while racing in the standard field of 43 cars. The driver with the most points after the final 10 races is declared the champion.

Special NASCAR traffic control plan will be in place on Sunday

LOUDON — A comprehensive traffic control plan will once again be implemented this Sunday, July 19, when the NASCAR Sprint Cup race takes place at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The event is expected to draw a crowd of more than 100,000 spectators and 37,700 vehicles, according to the state Department of Transportation. The race is due to get under way at 1:45 p.m., with the period of maximum traffic congestion occurring in the late afternoon and early evening hours.

The traffic control measures planned for the July 19 race involving Route 106, Interstate 393 and Interstate 93 include:

—  On race day morning, Route 106 will be two lanes northbound and one lane southbound from I-393 to the intersection of Shaker Road. There will be three lanes northbound and one lane southbound from there to the speedway's south access road. As traffic builds up in the three northbound lanes, traffic control personnel will extend the three lanes southerly to a point south of the Route 129 intersection.

—  Also, on race day morning, the I-93 northbound Exit 15E off‑ramp will provide two temporary lanes of traffic onto I-393 eastbound. In order to reduce congestion on I-93 and promote safety, the I-93 northbound on‑ramp at Exit 14 (Loudon Road) will be closed from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. The ramp traffic will be detoured to either I-393 Exit 1 via Fort Eddy Road or I-93 Exit 15 via Bridge Street and North Main Street. The I-393 Exit 1 eastbound off ramp to Fort Eddy Road will be closed from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. Ramp traffic will be detoured off I-393 via Stickney Avenue or I-393 Exit 2 (East Side Drive).

—  Between 2:30 p.m. and approximately 9:30 p.m., Route 106 will be closed to northbound traffic from I-393 in Concord to NHMS. During this time, three temporary southbound lanes will be provided on Route 106.

For safety reasons, the intersections of the following roads with Route 106 will be closed during the one-way conversion: Hollow Root Road, Mudgett Hill Road, Clough Pond Road, Currier Road, Sheep Rock Road, South Village Road, Wales Bridge Road, and Josiah Bartlett Road.

Motorists using Clough Hill Road, Beck Road, New Shaker Road, Soucook Lane, North Village Road, Goshen Drive, Route 129, East Cooper Street, Hemlock Hill Drive, Chichester Road, and Autumn Drive will be able to enter Route 106, but only for southbound travel. During the approximately seven-hour period Route 106 is limited to one-way southbound traffic. Safety vehicles will be stationed at four strategic locations to respond to emergency calls.

—  Route 106 in Belmont will again be made one-way northbound between the Concord Street/Route 106 intersection and the intersection of Routes 140 and 106. This section of roadway will be converted to a temporary two lane one-way northbound roadway between approximately 4 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. On Route 106, two northbound left-turn lanes and one thru/right lane will be provided at the Route 140 intersection. Southbound Route 106 traffic will be detoured onto Route 140 west to Concord Street, and then back onto Route 106. North Main Street will be temporarily closed. All other streets in Belmont will continue normal operations.

— From approximately 2:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., the I‑393 Exit 3 eastbound off‑ramp will be open to southbound Route 106 traffic only, and the northbound Route 106 travel lane will be closed. The I‑393 Exit 3 westbound off‑ramp will be closed to all traffic.

— The I‑393 Exit 1 westbound on‑ramp From Fort Eddy Road will be closed from approximately 3:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

— At the I‑393 and I‑93 interchange, the I-93 northbound off‑ramp to I-393 west (Exit 15W) and the I-393 eastbound off‑ramp to I-93 south will be closed from approximately 3:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Motorists attempting to use the I-393 eastbound off‑ramp to I-93 south will be diverted to Stickney Avenue from which they can access I-93 south at Exit 14.

— The I-93 Exit 14 southbound off‑ramp and the I-93 Exit 15E southbound off‑ramp to I-393 eastbound will be closed from approximately 3:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Motorists will be directed to use Exit 15W to reach Exit 14 destinations.

— Special measures will be used on I-93 during the late afternoon and early evening hours of July 19. Three southbound lanes will be provided for five miles on I-93 from just north of Exit 15 (I‑393) in Concord, south to just beyond the junction of I-89 in Bow. This will be accomplished by "borrowing" a lane from the normal two-lane northbound barrel of I-93 and converting it to a temporary southbound lane from approximately 4 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. As traffic approaches Exit 15 from the north, it will have the opportunity to cross the paved median and use the "borrowed" lane to, in effect, create an express lane to the Hooksett Toll Plaza. No exits will be accessible from the "borrowed" lane through Concord. Southbound I-93 traffic destined for I-89 must remain on the usual two southbound lanes and not use the "borrowed" lane.

— Special measures on I-393 westbound will also be in effect at Exit 15 to enhance access to I‑93 southbound. From approximately 2:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., the loop ramp for this movement will provide two lanes of traffic. The two lanes will be merged on I-93 southbound prior to reaching Exit 14.