Belmont bandstand named to state Historical Register

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

BELMONT — The newly restored bandstand has been named to the New Hampshire State Register of Historical Places by the state Historical Resources Council, and the town is ready to celebrate.

The bandstand was constructed in 1908 near the Belmont Mill, which is also listed on the state register, at the height of the popularity of the outdoor brass band era.

Built in the latter part of the Victorian Era, historian Wallace Rhodes said high level color- and paint-chip imaging determined that its original colors were the rusts and greens as one sees it today. Rhodes speculated that it was likely painted while during the Colonial Revivalist period that followed and in which many houses were painted white.

The roof of the bandstand was reshingled using cedar shingles in the same diamond patterns, as were the originals. Rhodes said part of the restoration was replacing a ball that sat on top and which he thinks blew away in a storm at some point.

Restoring the bandstand was a largely volunteer effort offset with some taxpayer dollars, a Land and Heritage Community Investment Program or L-Chip grant and money raised by the Belmont Heritage Commission for the project.

Before it could be restored, it needed to be relocated to a different spot in the village during the revitalization project and in 2012, Mark Roberts of Leslie E Roberts LLC moved the bandstand in one piece while the foundation was back and returned it one piece.

Once back in place, the bandstand was rehabilitated on site by J.R. Graton, who specializes in historical renovation, beginning in October of 2013.

To celebrate the recent designation, the Belmont Public Library and the Belmont Heritage Commission will celebrate with a Heritage and Preservation Fair on May 21.

Events begin at 10:30 a.m. at the library with a welcoming by Selectmen's Chairman Ruth Mooney. Attendees are invited to stroll through the village and take advantage of the walking trails and the new sites.

During this time, there will be displays, activities and refreshments; and booths by the Belmont Historical Society, Friends of the Bandstand, Bratt/Winni Trail, the Save Our Gale School Committee and others.

The library will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with some special exhibits. Guests will be allowed to see and use the Ancestry Library Edition.

People are encouraged to bring their old Belmont photos and postcards for scanning and adding to the Belmont Historical Society and Library Collections.
People can learn to research their historic homes and family trees. There will be some resources for barn preservation.

05-12 Belmont bandstand 2015The bandstand last year, fresh from renovation.

05-12 Belmont bandstand past colorA 1908 postcard shows the bandstand as a village landmark.

05-12 Belmont bandstand past Another historic postcard shows the bandstand as part of a playground.

05-12 Belmont band from pastOne of the bands that may have played in the bandstand in the past.

Home invasion case stalled for witnesses

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILYL SUN

LACONIA — For the second time in as many months, the Belknap County Attorney's office has failed to produce the witnesses it intends to call to further its case against a man they say committed a home invasion on Harvard Street in June of 2014.

In the state's case against Tyler Twombley, 31, five potential witnesses have allegedly asked for immunity in exchange for their testimony. To date, one has been served with a subpoena but has yet to appear in court and three others, including two women yesterday, have not appeared for their immunity hearings.

Twombly is accused of burglary for entering a home with another as yet unidentified man, and for robbing one of the people in the home of some controlled substance after either hitting him or shooting him in the head.

Twombly attorney Mark Sisti said yesterday he would file a motion asking the judge to eliminate the four from the state's potential witness list if they cannot be produced in two weeks. Jury selection is scheduled for mid June.

Sisti also reapproached the topic of granting immunity to Joshua Pike, who has been charged with conspiracy to commit burglary and robbery, but who has yet to be indicted. Sisti has long claimed that Pike, who was in the home during the incident, can and will testify that Twombly was not one of the two men who entered wearing hoodies and bandannas across their faces.

The judge has refused to grant Pike immunity.

Yesterday, he said he would be inclined to grant Sisti's motion to eliminate all the remaining people the state intends to use a witnesses who do not show up for their immunity hearing if the state can't get them into the court room within two weeks.

Blanchette asks judge to throw out jury’s guilty verdict

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

MANCHESTER — A former Belknap County deputy convicted on April 28 of one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault has asked the judge who presided over his case to set aside the jury's verdict because he was not employed by the Department of Corrections.

Through his attorney, Brad Davis, Ernest Justin Blanchette of Valley Street in Manchester argues that when the legislature was writing RSA 632-A:2,I(n) the lawmakers made it clear that the law was only intended for corrections officers, parole and probation officers, and for those who have direct supervisory control over secured psychiatric hospitals.

Davis also claims that a correctional institute is a building, enclosure or a structure used for the confinement and not a concept of corrections.

"In viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the state, the jury could not have properly found the defendant was an employee of the correctional institute under the plain language of the statute," wrote Davis.

Davis cited state laws that establish employer-employee relationships and a letter written from Associate Attorney General Ann Rice to Sen. Andrew Peterson who was the chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary who asked for language to be added that said "where the actor is employed" be inserted at the end of the sub-paragraphs dealing with correctional officers.

In his reply, Assistant Hillsborough County Attorneys Michael Zaino and Nicole J. Schultz-Price said Davis took Rice's communications with Peterson out of context. The state says that the reason the language was added was to clarify jurisdictions of off-duty corrections officer in area where they were not employed, like work release, and how it applies to non-working sexual relationships.

In this particular case, the state said Davis eliminated references to the words "or for any other matter related to confinement." Zaino said a sheriff's vehicle is an enclosure and a space and certainly a structure used for confinement or for any matter related thereto.

"It would be illogical to assert that individuals handcuffed and locked in the back seat of a fully marked police cruiser are not confined," he wrote.

In her order on the verbal motion raised by Davis about Blanchette's employment as a county sheriff, Judge Gillian Abramson wrote on the same day he was found guilty that to interpret the statute in a manner that would absolve a defendant, "This case a sheriff's deputy with direct disciplinary and supervisory power over (the victim) by virtue of her status as a N.H. State Prison for Women inmate and and his delegated duty to deliver there thereto – of criminal liability simply because he does not receive a paycheck from the NHSPW would be directly contrary to (the) underlying purpose of the statute. Moreover, it would create and untenable loophole under which inmates, despite being protected from the coercive acts of those with authority inside the wall of a penal institute, are subject without restraint to the coercive acts of those delegated with similar authority outside of the wall."

She determined the inherent vulnerabilities of a defendant don't go away when he or she leaves the insides of those walls.

No hearing date is set. Blanchette is expected to be sentenced on May 27 at 10:30 a.m. in the Hillsborough North Superior Court.