County OK’s grant request to pay for expert witness in drug death trial


LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners Wednesday morning approved a $5,500 grant request to pay for travel and and expert witness fees for a Pennsylvania doctor to come to Laconia to testify in the trial of a man alleged to have sold fentanyl-laced heroin that caused the death of 21-year-old Seth Tilton-Fogg.
Brian Watson, 51, formerly of Northfield, is charged with selling the heroin/fentanyl to Tilton-Fogg in early April of 2015. His trial had been scheduled to start this week in Belknap County Superior Court, but has been postponed until Sept. 12.
County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen told commissioners that the toxicologist is one of the key witnesses in the trial. She said that the state forensic laboratory has subcontracted with NMS Labs in Pennsylvania for the analysis and that the New Hampshire medical examiner's office ruled that the death was caused by fentanyl, based on the report from NMS Labs.
She said that the county is seeking a $5,500 grant from the New Hampshire Department of Justice to pay for the expert witness fees, which call for NMS to be paid $175 an hour for travel time, estimated at a total of 11 hours, as well as $350 an hour for court time, estimated at four-and-a-half hours.
Guldbrandsen said she is not happy with a process in which the state hires an out-of-state firm to handle toxicology analysis and wondered why the state doesn't hire its own toxicologist.
She said that as there were not enough funds in her expert witness budget to pay the fees being sought, she talked with the Attorney General's office and was told that grant funds were available to cover the costs of expert witness testimony.

Watson's attorney, Mark Sisti, has asked the court to not let the jury hear the toxicology evidence from this Pennsylvania lab because the doctor interviewed by the Belknap County assistant county prosecutor was not the person who performed the tests.

Sisti said Dr. Daniel Isenschmid didn't oversee the test, didn't conduct the tests, didn't observe the individuals who conducted the tests and had no personal knowledge of any of people who did.

The commissioners unanimously approved the request, which will also require approval from the Belknap County Delegation's Executive Committee.


Photo contest to highlight local food, sources, retailers


LACONIA — Frequent farm stand visitors, vegetable gardeners, wildcrafters and farm-to-table goers are invited to take part in the first-ever photo contest promoting local food, held as part of New Hampshire Eat Local month.

The Lakes Region Food Network is collaborating with the Belknap County Conservation District to celebrate local food during the month of August. Rather than just handing out fliers at local farmers markets to explain what New Hampshire Eat Local month is, the Lakes Region team said they wanted to do something that would engage the public, and thus the photo contest was born.

The photo contest is running until the end of August, with the winners of the contest chosen during the Lakes Region Food Network meeting in September. The contest is not limited to people or food in the Lakes Region; however, all photos submitted must be from somewhere within the state of New Hampshire. Wineries and breweries that produce local drinks are also eligible for the contest. The seven categories for photo submission include farmers markets, retail establishments, CSA shares, farm-to-table meals, farm stands, gardens or wildcrafting. Wildcrafting is finding wild sources of food, such as mushrooms or wild berries. Examples of edible weeds are dandelions, chickweed, lambs quarter and violet leaves.

"People can be as creative as they want with their photos," said Karen Barker of the Lakes Region Food Network. "They can brag about their gardens or take pictures at local farm stands, anything is an option as long as it highlights something produced within the state.

There will be one winner awarded to each category of photo submission, and winners will each receive a $25 gift certificate from a local store including Wayfarer Coffee Shop, Local Provisions, Local Eatery, Burrito Me and Laconia Village Bakery.

Photos for submissions can be sent to Lisa Morin of the Belknap Country Conservation District at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or sent in the mail to 64 Court St., Laconia.

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Freshly picked blueberries at a local farm in New Hampshire were taken by Karen Barker as part of the New Hampshire Eat Local month food contest presently being conducted throughout the state during the month of August. (Courtesy photo)

Boat from Down Under draws attention at antique and classic boat show


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Peter Cavill of Brisbane, Australia and the Marguerite, a 27-foot Gold Cup racer that he built himself. 

(Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)



WOLFEBORO — Drawing a lot of attention at the 43rd annual Lake Winnipesaukee Antique and Classic Boat Show held at the Wolfeboro Public Docks on July 30 was a 27-foot replica of a 1922 Gold Cup racer which was built in Australia and is currently making the rounds of classic boat shows in the United States.
The Marguerite is immediately recognizable due to the Australian flag that it flies and the unique unstained mahogany which attracts curious wooden boat enthusiasts wherever it goes says Peter Cavill, 59, of Brisbane, Australia, who built the boat in 2008 after he retired from the hospitality industry.
"I love boats and had built a few plywood boats myself. I thought it would be an interesting project that would take half a year. It actually took me two-and-a-half years,'' says Cavill, who says he enlisted some help in the form of supervision from experienced boat builders to to help guide him through the process.
"I had never seen a Gold Cup boat before but I liked the way they looked. The best part is I got the plans for free off the internet. I think there have been 10 of these boats built from those plans," says Cavill, who named it the Marguerite in honor of his mother, who died in February of 2015 but lived to see the boat completed.
"When people look at it, they can't believe the light color of the blond mahogany. They've never seen anything like it before. That's because they're used to seeing the dark-stained mahogany on American-made boats. But we like to celebrate the different styles of mahogany, and leaving it unstained but varnished creates a really different look," said Cavill.
Last winter he shipped the boat to the United States in a 40-foot container on a cargo ship and had it brought it to New Hampshire for some work, including replacing the motor with a 615-cubic-inch V-8 Big Block Chevy motor, which he says has greatly improved the boat's performance.
With the weather still cold in New Hampshir,e he and his wife, Helen, had the boat towed to the Sunnyland Antique Boat Festival in Tavares, Florida, and since then they have taken the boat to number of antique and classic boat show, including Clayton, New York, and James River in Virginia.
"It's been a lot of fun going to these boat shows and seeing the reaction to the Marguerite," said Cavill.
The Winnipesaukee Antique and Classic Boat Show, held in Wolfeboro for the first time this year, drew 58 entries, the largest number in four years, and featured classic wooden boats from earlier eras, including Chris Crafts, Garwoods, Hackercraft and Century.
The show was held at the public docks at Weirs Beach in Laconia for nearly 30 years, starting in 1974, and was moved to the Meredith town docks in 2003.
Among the wooden boats which were on display last weekend were two boats which were made right in Wolfeboro at Goodhue and Hawkins, Regina, a 30-foot Laker owned by Howard Newton, a summer resident of Alton, and Keen Kutter, a 36-foot Laker owned by Richard Hapgood of Tuftonboro.
Newton said that Regina is one of only six known Lakers that were built in Wolfeboro and that it dates back to 1913. It is unique in that it has an oak rather than mahogany deck and is an original boat which is 99.9 percent unrestored.
The 36-foot long Keen Kutter was built around 1915 for Thomas Plant, who built Lucknow, now known as Castle in the Clouds at around the same time. It was the longest Laker ever built and reportedly was named for the shoe-cutting machinery developed by Plant.
Another boat on display was a 1921 Long Deck Launch built by the Ditchburn Company, which was located in Canada. The boat is now owned by Robert Brian Hennessy and Abigal Adams of Tuftonboro.
Adams said that they acquired the boat last year and that this year's boat show is the first time they have shown it.

first two photos
Peter Cavill of Brisbane, Australia and the Marguerite, a 27-foot Gold Cup racer that he built himself. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

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The 43rd annual Lake Winnipesaukee Antique and Classic Boat Show drew 58 entries and hundreds of spectators to the Wolfeboro Public Docks. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)


Abigal Adams of Tuftonboro in her 1921 Ditchburn Long Deck Launch. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Two boats which were in Wolfeboro at Goodhue and Hawkins, Keen Kutter, left, a 36-foot Laker owned by Richard Hapgood of Tuftonboro, and Regina, a 30-foot Laker owned by Howard Newton, a summer resident of Alton. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
Keen Kutter, left, a 36-foot Laker owned by Richard Hapgood of Tuftonboro, was built in Wolfeboro at Goodhue and Hawkins. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

The steering wheel and front panel of the Keen Kutter. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)