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Barnstead neighbors still fighting about cat poop

LACONIA — Two Barnstead neighbors were back in court yesterday apparently still fighting over whether or not one women's cats are destroying one man's property with cat poop.

The issue began last year when they filed restraining orders against each other — Gilles Dube claims Victoria Bednarski's three cats continually defecate on his property, ruining his beach and the landscaping around his house.

Bednarski complained that Dube lights fireworks off next to her property line and occasionally fires guns.

After hearing the complaints in June of 2013 in the Belknap County Superior Court, Judge Kenneth McHugh issued a reciprocal restraining order.

Both parties stipulated that Bednarski has three cats while Dube has one but Dube insists that it is Bendarski's cats that continue to defecate on his property.

McHuge ordered Bednarski to keep her cats inside and not allow them to "use (Dube's) property as a giant litter box." In return he ordered Dube to stop firing guns and lighting fireworks at odd hours of the night.

As the winter snows melted this spring, Dube said he came to his property and once against found evidence of multiple cat poop on his (Locke Lake) beach. He said yesterday in Judge James O'Neill's courtroom that Bednarski recently told him he could "eat cat (poop)" and that her cats were there for her enjoyment.

He offered O'Neill pictures of what he said was cat poop but the judge didn't want to look at them.

Attorney Emily McLaughlin, representing Bednarski, told the court that her client said that she would think this whole case was funny if it wasn't happening to her. But it is.

McLaughlin said Dube has not stated a legal remedy and only provided a written "screed" about the allegedly misdoings of the Bednarskis as well as the Board of Selectmen and the Barnstead Police Department. who have at some point in time tried to defuse the tension between the two warring parties.

McLaughlin characterized Dube's recent request that the court find Bednarski in contempt as "vexatious litigation" and asked that it be dismissed.
"This is a waste of resources and was filed solely to harass," McLaughlin said, who also asked for the court to order Dube to pay her legal fees because Bednarski had to hire a lawyer.

She said the Bednarski is afraid to let her cats out of her house because of the alleged harassment and has had to contact the Locke Lakes Board of Trustees to try and ameliorate the situation.

In reply, Dube said he recently collected another pile of cat feces and that Bednarski was using cat poop as a way to "keep destroying his property."

O'Neill said he would make a ruling shortly but ordered that the mutual restraining order issued remain fully in place.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 May 2014 11:49

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Amy Lafond listens to Lily Johnson's family before sentence is handed down

LACONIA — As more than 50 relatives and friends of the victims sat quietly in Belknap County Superior Court, Justice James D. O'Neill, III of Belknap County yesterday sentenced Amy Lafond to three-and-a-half years in prison for causing the death of Lilyanna Johnson and severely injuring Allyssa Miner.

"I cannot imagine the pain you all must be suffering," O'Neill said after passing sentence. This is truly a tragedy for our community."

Lafond was sentenced a week after pleading guilty to negligent homicide, second degree assault, possession of a narcotic drug and unlawful possession of a prescription medication. Other charges arising from the incident — manslaughter, a misdemeanor drug offense and three traffic violations — were dropped as the result of a plea bargain. Belknap County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen told the court, as she did a week ago when Lafond entered her plea, that the families of the victims accepted her decision to negotiate the plea bargain rather than take the case to trial.

For negligent homicide Lafond was sentenced to three-and-a-half to seven years in prison and required to undergo counseling and treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, forfeit her driver's license indefinitely and have no contact with the family of Lilyanna Johnson. She was also sentenced to three-and-a-half to seven years, for the second degree assault, to be served consecutively with six months of the minimum suspended conditional on counseling and treatment and good behavior for seven years while on parole. Lafond is also forbidden contact the family of Allyssa Miner.
The three-and-a-half to seven year sentence for possession of a narcotic drug was suspended, conditional on her good behavior for 10 years while on parole. Finally she was given a suspended sentence of a year in the Belknap County House of Corrections for unlawful possession of a prescription drug, a misdemeanor.

In addition, Lafond was ordered to make restitution of more than $265,000.
"This was certainly not what we anticipated," said Lilyanna Johnson's mother Bethany Davis after the hearing. She said that she expected a sentence of at least 20 years.
Earlier Davis, her gaze fixed on Lafond, told the court of watching the life leave her daughter's eyes and said "there's nothing left for us. You've taken it all."
Davis was among eight family members and close friends to address the court, several of them facing Lafond, who did not turn away. Spike Davis, who described himself as Johnson's favorite uncle, said that "she took away our angel. The world is not as good a place without Lily." To Lafond, he said, "I'm praying for you, because she asked me to."
"You took her away," declared Johnson's grandmother Susan Fleming, adding "I will never, ever forgive you. Your sentence should end when Lily's sentence ends," she continued. "You can go home when Lily comes home to us."
Jenn Camire said that "someone who made so many bad decisions took from us one who made so many good ones," then eyed Lafond and challenged her "to turn around and look at Lilyanna's family and friends." Asking for the maximum sentence, she said that "the punishment does not even come close to fitting the crime."
"This is a difficult, heartrending day for the entire community," began Pamela Littlefield, who said that "this was not an accident, but the result of poor decisions. And the results are irreversible."
The two girls, both 14 year old students at Laconia Middle School, were struck by the Jeep Cherokee driven by Lafond while on the sidewalk near the crosswalk at the south end of the Messer Street Bridge at approximately 2:30 p.m. on April 19. Lafond was traveling northbound on Messer Street toward its intersection with Opechee Street. A car going in the same direction had stopped at the crosswalk, apparently to enable students to cross the street. Lafond skirted the stopped car, crossed into the southbound lane of Messer Street, mounted the raised sidewalk and hit the two girls. That evening Johnson died from her injuries while Miner suffered a fractured pelvis and ruptured spleen as well as severe lacerations and internal injuries.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 29 May 2014 11:40

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June 7 motorcycle ride will celebrate too short life of former LHS football captain

LACONIA — Friends of Devin Denoncourt, former Laconia High School football captain who passed away in March in Washington, D.C., just a few days after the birth of his son, Dylan, are planning a motorcycle run on June 7 to raise funds for his son.
Denoncourt, who was 35, was an offensive and defensive lineman during the Sachems back-to-back state championship seasons in 1995 and 1996 and played in the Shrine Bowl in 1997. He died of an unspecified heart condition.
Patrick O'Reilly, one of his friends who is helping organize the ride, said that it will be called ''2014 Ruckus Ride for Dev'' and that details are available on a Facebook page by that same name which is hosted by Benjamin Emery and Josh Corringham, who are organizing the event.
He said that Denoncourt had for the last five or six years organized a local motorcycle ride that was a reunion-like event for his friends and last year even flew up from Washington DC and rented a bike to take part in it.
More than 40 people had already signed up for the event, which was originally scheduled for last Saturday, but postponed to June 7 due to the forecast of rain.
''He was the type of person who was always a leader and just made everyone feel welcome,'' said O'Reilly, who said that Denoncourt had always been there for his friends and that they feel motivated to do the same for his family.
He had worked for Marriott International starting as a front desk manager while in college and working his way to his most recent position as general manager at the Courtyard Marriott at Foggy Bottom in Washington, D.C.
Denoncourt is survived by his fiancé, Sheila Rhilinger, originally from North Attleboro, Mass.; and their son, Dylan Michael, both of Rockville, Md.; his bulldog Moxie; his parents, Dennis and Susan Denoncourt; his brother, Jason Denoncourt of Lexington, Mass. and wife, Rena, their children Mike, Luke, and Amelia; his sister, Nicole Sloane of Bedford, and her husband, Geoffrey and daughter, Susan; his grandmother Cleo Spain of Concord; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
The cost of the ride is $35/rider, $20/passenger, or $20/person for those who show up for the barbecue only. This includes food and a T-shirt, and there will be 50/50 raffles as another means to raise money.
The ride includes registration at 9 a.m. at a place to be determined. It will pass by Laconia High School and depart Laconia at 10 a.m., head to Alton and go around the backside of Lake Winnipesaukee, up to North Conway for a lunch (cost not included), head across the Kancamagus, then back to Belmont for a 4 p.m. barbecue at 77 Hoadley Road.
O'Reilly said memorial donations for those who can't attend can may be made to the Dylan Michael Denoncourt Trust Fund c/o Bank of New Hampshire, 62 Pleasant St., Laconia, NH 03246.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:51

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Pair of duck blinds discovered on public lands abutting Lily Pond

GILFORD — After hearing from Everett McLaughlin that there were two duck-hunting blinds built on Lily Pond sometime during the winter, last night selectmen asked the police to locate the owner of the one located on town property and ask the architect to remove it within 30 days.

In addition, selectmen asked Lt. Jim Leach to notify the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the Laconia Airport Authority especially about the one on state property that could interfere with the Lily Pond approach to Runway 8.

"There's been a lot of work put into these," said McLaughlin. "It won't be easy to get them off."

Selectboard Chair John O'Brien, who sat on the airport authority for a number of years and is a pilot, said the FAA would likely be the agency to "put the kibosh" on the blind near the runway approach.

When asked, Leach said there is a potential safety hazard other than the airport with one of the blinds that he said in his opinion is a little too close to Lily Pond Road for hunting.

According to Town Administrator Scott Dunn, no hunting blinds are permitted on any property without the permission of the property owner — in this case the town of Gilford.

Selectmen were also concerned with the logistics and costs associated with removing the blind that is on their property and said that if the town if forced to take the blind down, it should assess the costs to the person who put it up.

McLaughlin said it appears the blinds were set up some time over the winter when the pond was low and frozen. He said this time of year the pond is high and the area is accessible only by boat. Because the pond is only about six or seven feet deep, he said it is unlikely the town could get a boat in there powerful enough to remove the blind that is almost 20 feet long.

Selectmen said they would hold off on any action to remove the blind on its property until next month and after Leach has had an opportunity to do some background and investigative work.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:21

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