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Is your street on the list?

7 miles of Laconia roads may lose maintenance


LACONIA — Just because your street has always been plowed and maintained, it is no guarantee that will continue.

Wes Anderson, director of Public Works, will present a report to the City Council Monday night indicating that the department maintains more than 7 miles of streets, or more than 8 percent of the 83 miles of roadway in the city, which may or may not qualify for being plowed, repaired and rebuilt at public expense.

Anderson stressed that the department is seeking guidance from the council and that no recommendations will be offered or decisions made with respect to specific streets until their history and circumstances have been thoroughly researched. "This is just the beginning of the process," he said, adding that there will not be any immediate changes to the department's maintenance program.

The Department of Public Works has identified more than three dozen streets which Anderson describes as "problematic," meaning that there is no record they have been formally accepted as city streets, as well as a handful of private roads that the city plows. In addition there are another eight so-called "paper streets" that appear on development plans but were never built or were built on either private or city property with no right-of-way.

In a memorandum to the council, Anderson notes that state law (RSA 231:59) stipulates that municipal highway funds can only be spent to maintain Class 4 and 5 public highways and not private roads. The department, he explained, has determined that the streets it has identified as "problematic" he explains, may not qualify as Class 4 or 5 public highways.

Anderson outlines several approaches to resolving the issues with the problematic streets. State law allows municipalities to designate some private streets as "winter roads" and plow them between Nov. 15 and April 1 while charging the residents for the cost. However, the city attorney has cautioned that the city could be liable if winter maintenance creates conditions leading to personal injury or property damage. At the same time, residents on other private streets may seek the same designation, leading to an increased demand for city services. Likewise, state law authorizes municipalities to designate a private road as an "emergency lane." But, the benefit of the keeping the road opened cannot be confined to the residents of the street but must serve the city by providing emergency vehicles timely access to other public streets. Finally, the betterment process provides a means of bringing a private road to the standard required to be accepted as city street by assessing the abutting property for the cost of the improvements.

The first step in addressing the issue, Anderson said, is to identify which streets the city should cease plowing and maintaining, which should be designated as "emergency lanes," and which they should consider accepting through the betterment process and proceed to accept in their present condition. He emphasized that it is essential not to set a precedent that could lead the city to improve or maintain any streets that were always intended to remain private roads, like those at South Down Shores and Long Bay.

The department has arranged the "problematic" streets into four categories. The first category consists of 18 paved streets — altogether 1.5 miles — in the downtown area, Lakeport and The Weirs that date to 19th and early 20th centuries and have been maintained and improved, but not formally accepted, ever since. They are: Arlington Street, Paradise Drive, Brittany Lane, Bayside Court, Hamilton Avenue, Dell Avenue, Cleveland Place, Jameson Street, Lane Court, Madison Street, Park Street, Tremont Street, Veterans Square, Wallace Court, Wentworth Avenue, Wilson Court, Riverside Court and Varney Court as well as Methodist Circle and the neighboring streets, dubbed "cat alleys."

Another 11 paved streets, representing 3.5 miles, in the rural reaches of the city have no record of being accepted as city streets. These are: Regis Road, Channel Lane, Cotton Hill Road, Fillmore Avenue, Lane Road, Lucerne Avenue, McKinley Road, Pickerel Pond Road, Prescott Avenue-Prescott Park and Hillcrest Drive-Phase1.

There are almost two miles of gravel streets, for which there are plans, but no records of having been accepted. These are: Colonial Road, Plantation Road in the Plantation Beach development, Hutchingson Street, Margin Avenue and Fisk Avenue at the Methodist Campground, Paugus Avenue and Truland Street.

There are half dozen private roads currently plowed by the city: Pendleton Beach Road, New Hope Drive, Hadey Road Wentworth Cove Road and Hillcrest Drive-Phase 2. Woodwinds Hill Drive, is also a private road plowed by the city, which the department suspects has been accepted. Anderson said that  if the city decides to stop plowing particular streets, residents could form a homeowners association and either pay a private contractor to plow and maintain them  or pay to improve them to city standards and have them accepted as city streets. Alternatively, residents could request that the road be improved and accepted through the betterment process.

Messer Court, Clarendon Street Bell Street Extension and the south extension of Eastman Shore Road are all paper streets as are Jewett Avenue, Gordon Avenue, Albany Street and Dover Street, which lie beneath Sacred Heart Cemetery.

Anderson estimates that the cost of bringing all these streets to city standards could exceed $10 million.

Two trials intertwine due to cellblock discussion of cases


LACONIA — Two high-profile cases are still scheduled for jury selection on Monday despite the contention of one attorney that information from the other case is relevant to his.

The charges against Randy Nadeau of Laconia and Brian Watson of Northfield couldn't be more different.

Nadeau is charged with six separate counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault that involve a girl in Laconia while Watson is charged with one count of selling a deadly dose of fentanyl to a 21-year-old man in Tilton. He is also charged with one count of possession.

Their involvement comes from statements Nadeau allegedly made to Watson about who he said actually sold the fentanyl that Watson allegedly sold.

Belknap County Corrections records show that while they are now separated, Nadeau and Watson, who are both incarcerated while awaiting trial, shared the same cell block.

According to various court hearings and motions, Watson said Nadeau told him that someone else sold the lethal dose to the Tilton victim but that he refuses to testify on Watson's behalf while his case is still pending. Through his attorney, Watson asked that his case be continued until Nadeau's is completed.

The state argued that whatever Nadeau told Watson was hearsay and wouldn't be allowed into evidence under court rules of procedure.

This week, the presiding judge agreed with the state and refused Watson's request to continue his trial.

Watson has made one last ditch effort to have his case delayed by asking the court to separate his two charges into two separate trials as they occurred on different days and under different circumstances.

Judge James O'Neill is scheduled to hear the motion to sever the two this morning.

Because Belknap County has only one judge, only one case can be tried at a time. As of Thursday, the court had not yet scheduled trial dates.

Two more sentenced in Meredith home invasion last March


LACONIA — Two more people charged in a Meredith home invasion last March were sentenced this week in Belknap County Superior Court.

Tyler Best, 38, of Franklin pleaded guilty and was sentenced to serve 1 ½ to 5 years in the New Hampshire State Prison for one count of armed robbery. One a second count of armed robbery, the court sentenced Best to a suspended sentence of 3 to 6 years to be served consecutive to the first sentence. The suspension is conditioned on Best's maintaining good behavior after his release from prison and that he pay for and participate meaningfully in a substance abuse program within 45 days of his release.

He is credited with 188 days of pretrial confinement.

Meghan Tighe, 23, of Tilton pleaded guilty to a single count of accomplice to armed robbery and was sentenced to serve 12 months in the Belknap County House of Corrections. She will be on probation for two years after her release and is ordered to do 200 hours of community service and is credited with 57 days of pretrial confinement.

A third man, 41-year-old Keith Renaud of Franklin, was sentenced in December and will serve 3 to 8 years in the New Hampshire State Prison for being an accomplice to armed robbery.

The above three entered a home at the Currier Mobile Home Park at 125 Livingston on March 6 at 4:30 a.m. and stole a number of items, including debit and credit cards and electronics.

Two people reported being pulled from their beds by Best and struck on the head by the butt of a handgun. Best was identified by his unique tattoo on his forearm and Tighe was wearing the same clothing she had worn during an earlier visit to the victims home.

Meredith Police also received a tip from an anonymous caller who said she was in Franklin and who said she overheard a conversation in which some of the people involved were bragging about what they stole and where they sold it.