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Belmont investigates record number of felonies for 1 week

BELMONT — Police said yesterday they are on track to break a record regarding the number of alleged felonies they have responded to in one week.

According to Lt. Richard Mann, on May 12, an adult woman came to the department with visible injuries caused by an alleged assault by Daniel Elliot, 26, of Concord Street who she said tried to strangle her with a metal broom handle.

Elliot was charged with second-degree assault and was able to post $5,000 cash bail and was released with a number of bail conditions.

Also on May 12, police were able to charge Katherine Urquhart, 29, of Pine Street in Laconia with one count of felony theft by unauthorized taking in connection to a burglary on Laconia Road that had been reported on May 6.

Police said a portion of $30,000 of stolen jewelry was traced to a local pawn shop.

Urquhart is scheduled to appear in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division on June 17.

On Wednesday, Mark Royea, 29, of Linda Drive was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated and endangering the welfare of an 8-year-old child who was a passenger in his car. A passenger in the car was placed into protective custody.

Also on Wednesday, police responded to 19 Church St. and found Justice Welcome, 18 allegedly threatening his mother with a baseball bat.

Welcome is charged with two count of simple assault and resisting arrest. The arresting officer zapped Welcome with a Taser after Welcome allegedly hit him during the arrest.

He was also charged with one count of felony criminal threatening.

Belmont Police are also investigating an alleged sexual assault and a burglary on David Drive. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Belmont Police at 267-8351.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 May 2014 01:35

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Beer tent decision doesn't sit well with all at Weirs Beach

LACONIA — This week's decision by the City Council to allow the operators of beer tents to begin serving two days before the opening of Motorcycle Week on June 14 has not set well with at least two owners of watering holes at The Weirs.

Brett Loring of the Paradise Beach Club said that he only learned of the decision from a report in yesterday's newspaper. He said that the challenge of running a business at The Weirs, where the warm months account for such a large volume of sales, is stiff enough without the additional competition from itinerant enterprises that cater to Motorcycle Week then leave. He conceded that beer tents have become fixtures during the rally, when the crowds are large, but said to allow them to operate beyond the bounds of the event, was not fair to local businesses.

"Before Bike Week it's pretty slim pickings," Loring said. "It picks up as the vendors arrive and the bikers begin trickling in before the first weekend." He questioned why the council saw fit to allow the beer tents to take a share of that business. "To serve beer, wine and liquor we have to run a restaurant and we pay property taxes," he said. "There's no full service in the beer tents. They don't even have to sell hot dogs." He said that the impact would not only fall on local businesses but also on their employees, who live and work in the community.

"I'm with Brett," said Tommy Mack, who owns Weirs the Beef, as he grilled a hamburger. "We have to have a full liquor license and pay property taxes." He said that the beer tents should not be allowed to open before the start of Motorcycle Week. "It's bad for the local businesses," he said.

Not all agreed. Chris Clark of the Crazy Gringo said she was somewhat surprised by the decision, but doubted it would have a significant impact on local businesses. "I just don't expect they'll be that busy," she said.

The council acted in response to Bill "The Boss" Niland, who owns the Chop Shop Pub in Seabrook and operates the beer garden at the Weirs Beach Drive-In during the rally, who claimed the timing of this year's rally would cause confusion. Every year, Motorcycle Week begins on the second full weekend in June, which most often means that it ends on the third Sunday of June — Father's Day. However, in those years like this one, when June begins on a Sunday, the rally begins rather than ends on Father's Day weekend.

However, Niland assumed that because this year's rally begins rather than ends on Father's Day, the dates of the rally had been changed. He wrote to the council recalling that when the rally last began on Father's Day weekend, in 2008, rally-goers booked rooms for the wrong week and, he claimed, have not returned. "Should this happen again this year," he warned, "I am in fear that it would be another nail in the coffin to an already declining event."

To address the problem, Niland suggested opening the Beer Garden, with entertainment, on Thursday and Friday, before the rally begins on Saturday, June 14. "This would at least those who attend on the wrong week a small taste of Bike Week events so that their vacation not be a total loss," he explained.

In a memorandum to the council, Planning Director Shanna Saunders, who chairs the Motorcycle Technical Review Committee/Special Events Review Committee, wrote "as we know from a few years ago when this happened, the change confuses the tourists that come up," adding the police found crowds on the first weekend were larger than on the last. She told the council that the committee approved Niland's request and recommended allowing the operators of beer tents at the Lobster Pound, Looney Bin, Broken Spoke and Marketplace to apply for special events permits to open on Thursday, June 12 and Friday, June 13.

However, Tom Pucci of the Grand View Motel & Cottages and former president of the Weirs Action Committee, said he could not recall significant numbers of rally-goers either booking rooms or arriving at The Weirs expecting Motorcycle Week only to discover they were a week or days early. He said that innkeepers routinely advise prospective guests of the dates of the rally, whether they want to attend it or avoid it. Moreover, he noted that patrons are also informed of the higher rates charged during the rally.

"It hasn't happened," he said flatly.

Nor could Karmen Gifford, executive director of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, which closely monitors bookings at hotels, motels and cottages before and during the rally, recall a situation like Niland described.

Loring said that he hopes the council will reconsider its decision. "When we want to go right, the city says go left and if we want to go up, the city says go down," he remarked, "but they do what this guy wants right away without even notifying local businesses."

Last Updated on Friday, 16 May 2014 01:27

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Norman Silber picked to join Gilford BudCom

GILFORD — The Budget Committe voted five-to-three with one abstention to name attorney Norman Silber to fill the one-year balance of the term created when Selectman Richard (Rags) Grenier was elected to the Board of Selectmen.

Silber said he plans on running for the Budget Committee in March 2015. The other two candidates who expressed interest in the seat, retired engineer J. Scott Davis and aerospace engineer Stuart Savage both said they were unsure if they would run in March.

Silber has been a Gilford taxpayer since 2005 and relocated here with his wife permanently two years ago. He described himself as a nearly retired trust and bankruptcy attorney who has three minor cases to complete before he is completely retired.

A long time member of the executive board of the Boy Scouts of America in Florida, Silber is now an member of the executive board of the Daniel Webster Council of New Hampshire.

He is also an recently appointed alternate member of the Planning Board and said he didn't see where there would be any possible conflict with the two roles but agreed to step down from the Planning Board or recuse himself from a particular item should a conflict arise.

He said that municipalities, like the Boy Scouts, never have enough money to do what they would like to do but said the members of the Budget Committee spend "your money and your neighbor's money."

Silber said his priorities are public safety, public education and public works. "We have to balance this with keeping taxes as low as possible," he said.

Nine of the 11 members of the board were there last night. Two of them, Kevin Roy and Fred Butler, said that while all of the three candidates were qualified, they would lean toward supporting J. Scott Davis because he actually ran for the seat in March and lost.

"My hesitation is that Davis came in fourth." said Butler. "He put his name on the original ballot."

Karen Thurston reminded the committee that they had decided at the last meeting to open the position to the general public when they could have appointed Davis at that time. She said it would have been a "waste of time" if the committee simply had people from the general public apply only to name the person who came in fourth simply because he came in fourth.

Grenier agreed.

Speaking as a member of the general public, Conservation Commission member Doug Hill spoke in favor of Silber's appointment to the Budget Committee, saying the town had a "unique" opportunity to take advantage of his experience and skills in finance that are not normally available to municipal governments.

"He really know what the numbers are and where the money is," Hill said.

Voting for Silber were Kevin Leandro, Thurston, Grenier, Sue Greene and Jeffrey Beane. Voting against were Roy, Alan Voivod, and Chair Phyllis Corrigan. Butler abstained.

Because Silber was the first nominee and he got a majority of the votes of the members who were there, the other two candidates were never placed into nomination.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 May 2014 01:16

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Commissioners to formally request meeting with lawmakers to discuss jail planning

LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners voted unanimously when they met Wednesday at the Belknap County complex to formally request a meeting with the Belknap County Convention to consider a request from the Belknap County Jail Planing Committee for a $2.96 million borrowing for improvements and planning.
Commissioners made the decision after being told by Belknap County Administrator Debra Shackett that she had not been successful in getting the Jail Planning Committee on the agenda of a May 27 meeting of the convention at which the jail will be discussed.
She explained that she had made a written request last week to Belknap County Convention Chair Colette Worsman (R-Meredith) to have the committee included on the agenda of the May 27 meeting but was told by Worsman that the committee could have 15 or 20 minutes of time during the public input session but would not be on the agenda nor would any bond issue be discussed.
Shackett's e-mail asked that the committee be placed on the agenda ''to explain our next steps and discuss the possibility of borrowing money to address the most urgent needs at the jail as well as continuing to plan for a new facility. We would also be available to answer any questions about the process to date.''
Worsman replied ''Yes, as always everyone is welcome to attend our meetings. If the Jail Planning committee would like to add their input that would be great. I will be placing one hour for public input on the agenda beginning with the Planning Committee. Please be sure it is limited to 15-20 minutes as I am certain most of us are well aware of their efforts to date. I also want to ensure there is time for other public input. Secondly this meeting is not scheduled for additional appropriation so that is not part of this meeting.''
The jail committee met last week, and, despite reluctance expressed by its chairman, County Commissioner Ed Philpot (D-Laconia), about committee members attending the May 27 meeting, reached a consensus that it should bring its plan for a $2.96 million supplemental appropriation to the convention and have County Corrections Superintendent Daniel Ward make the presentation.
The committee wants $360,000 so that it can begin work on a schematic design plan for a new jail, $1 million for replacing the HVAC system at the current jail and $1.6 million for a three-year contract for installation of a 48-bed temporary housing unit at the jail.
Shackett told commissioners yesterday that a bond issue vote would require a pubic hearing and that the request for the $2.96 million bond would need approval from two-thirds of the county convention's 18 members.
Philpot asked Shackett who might be speaking at the public input session the convention has scheduled for May 27 and she said that she had no idea.
''We have no idea what the purpose of the meeting is and who will be speaking,'' said Philpot, who said that the fact that the convention would even be talking about the jail might be seen as a step in the right direction.
The Jail Planning Committee meets again on May 20 at 6 p.m. at the Belknap County Complex and may consider whether it wants to accept being limited to public input only at the May 27 meeting or wait until the convention sets another date for a meeting at which it will be on the agenda and can make a request for funding for what it sees as major priorities for the jail.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 May 2014 12:58

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