Winni Dip raises $$$ for Special Olympics

LACONIA — There are many ways one can raise money for charity – walking or running, dances, jumping rope, pouring ice over your head – but few demand the intense dedication to the charity or the ability to withstand cold like a plunge into freezing water. Nevertheless, there was no shortage of willing participants for the Winni Dip this weekend at the Margate at Lake Winnipesaukee.

The Winni Dip took place Saturday along with the High School Dip and Middle School Plunge on Sunday, together raising nearly $100,000 for Special Olympics. Many of those participating Saturday were in law enforcement. Each dipper is required to raise at least $250, but the average raised was more than double that amount.

Prizes were awarded to the "Grizzly Bear" – the dipper raising the largest amount; "Grizzly Band of Bears" – a minimum of five dippers with the highest dollar average per dipper; "Black Bear" – the dipper with the best costume; "Band of Black Bears" – a minimum of five dippers wearing the best costumes; "Brown Bear" – the public safety professional who raises the largest amount of money; and the "Band of Brown Bears" – to the county whose public safety professionals raise the most money collectively.

Not a balmy day at the beach for members of the Laconia and Sanbornton Police Departments as they enter the lake for the 8th annual Winni Dip for Special Olympics at Margate Beach on Saturday.  (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Not a balmy day at the beach for members of the Laconia and Sanbornton Police Departments as they enter the lake for the 8th annual Winni Dip for Special Olympics at Margate Beach on Saturday.  (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

GYRL fights to stay open

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILMANTON — Chris Schlegel, president of the Gilmanton Year-Round Library Association said Monday that, following the vote of Town Meeting not to contribute the library's operating budget, "We have received donations and pledges of all kinds and I am optimistic that if we have to close the library, it will not be for the long term."

Schlegel said the association has received $30,000 in contributions toward the $47,500 it requires to meet its annual operating budget of $76,400, leaving a deficit of $17,500. She added that several fundraising events are scheduled.

Earlier this month, voters at Town Meeting rejected two petitioned warrant articles to fund the library. One would have provided $47,500 a year for two years and, if that failed, another would have appropriated $50,000 for 2016 alone. Within days of the vote, the Board of Directors of the association announced that without sufficient funding to operate for a full year the library would close on Friday, April 1.

Meanwhile, last week the directors hosted the first of several "community conversations" to consider options for placing the library on a sound financial footing for the long-term. Schlegel said that the nine directors were joined by New Hampshire State Librarian Michael York and some 45 residents.

Schlegel said that discussion turned on two options. First, the library could continue in the future as it has in the past, raising about two thirds of its operating budget through a solicitations and events and requesting the town to fund the balance. Or the board of directors could seek to transfer ownership of the library to the town.

Schlegel said that that although many town libraries originated as privately constructed and endowed institutions, the transition of ownership and management from the association, a nonprofit corporation, to the municipality raises a number of questions and issues.

"We have just begun to explore the many pros and cons of transferring ownership," she said, stressing that ultimately ownership of the library is less important than ensuring that it is adequately funded and properly managed to meet the expectations of the community.

Four arrested in Meredith home invasion (577)

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Four people are each being held on $5,000 cash-only bail for their alleged role in an home invasion and armed robbery at 125 Livingston Road on March 6 at 4:20 a.m.

Keith Renaud, 40, whose last known address was 72 Chestnut St. in Franklin, is charged with criminal liability for the conduct of another. Lt. Keith True said Monday Renaud was arrested on a warrant while he was incarcerated in the Merrimack County House of Corrections on a separate issue.

Affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, said Renaud appears to be the ringleader and allegedly sat on the victim's couch and ordered the other three alleged participants, Robert Estes II, 27, of 35 Woodrow Ave. in Franklin, Meghan Tighe, 22, also of 35 Woodrow Ave. in Franklin, and Tyler Best, 37, of 35 Woodrow Ave. in Franklin to commit the crime.

True said Franklin Police picked up Tighe and Best while Estes turned himself in to the Tilton Police.

Affidavits said Best pulled the female victim from her bed and smashed her in the head with the butt end of a handgun. She was able to describe him by a tattoo she drew for police that was later identified as one on Best's left forearm. A second man who was a guest in the hone also said he was hit with a metal pipe and a baseball helmet by a darker skinned man. A third man in the home was also threatened with a metal pipe.

Police said Estes, while armed with a metal pipe and a handgun, was present at the armed robbery, while Tighe was allegedly going around the residence stealing items at the direction of Renaud. Tighe and Renaud are each charged with one count of criminal liability for the conduct of another.

Affidavits said police were called to the home shortly after 4:20 a.m. and alleged victims identified Best, Tighe and Estes as people who had been there earlier because they recognized the clothing they were wearing when they came back.The female victim was able to pick identify Renaud by a photo.

Numerous items were stolen from the home, including but not limited to electronics, a wallet with credit and debit cards, a PS 4 with game controllers, a cell phone and other items.

On March 11, police said an anonymous female caller notified the Meredith Police that she overheard the four of them "bragging" about what they had done and their comments included statement about assaulting people and stealing several things.

The information told police that Renaud allegedly talked about sitting on the couch and ordering everyone around.

Meredith Police obtained a search warrant for the Franklin home and learned that Renaud and Best had just kicked Estes and Tighe out of the house. During a search of the home, police found a debit card belonging to the female victim in Best's bedroom and in an outside shed the found a green shirt with four other cards belonging to the female victim as well.

In court Monday, Tighe, Best, and Estes were not represented by an attorney, as the Public Defenders Office is representing Renaud. Best told the judge he couldn't afford the bail, as did Tighe, who said she only wanted to get out and work and would return to jail at night and on her days off. Estes said nothing.

Probable cause and bail hearings will be held for all three on Monday, March 28.

Police continue to investigate and said additional charged could be forthcoming.