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Gilford argues officer lawfully ordered Baer to leave school board meeting

GILFORD — In his response to a motion to dismiss three counts against a local man who was arrested during a May School Board meeting, Town Prosecutor Eric Bredbury said Friday that a school board meeting is not an opportunity for a "heated discussion" but rather a chance for those interested in school business to make a brief statements about policy.

In Gilford's case, each person is allowed, by board policy, two minutes to speak their mind.

Bredbury wrote the monthly school board meeting is a business meetings and not an open air political forum and that the stated business of the board would not have continued unless Lt. James Leach removed William Baer, who he said was disrupting the meeting.

Baer's attorney, Mark Sisti argued that the meeting continued and two more residents spoke while Leach was encouraging Baer's to leave. Sisti noted the interruption lasted 27 seconds.

Sisti, had argued that the three charges faced by Baer — two counts of breach of the peace and one count of disobeying a police officer — are unlawful because they violated his client's constitutional rights to speak his mind at a public forum.

Baer was a short-lived media sensation after his arrest for speaking out against the mandatory reading of N.H. author Jodi Picoult's novel "19 Minutes." Baer's daughter was reading the book as part of a class assignment for her freshman honors English class.

In general, the book described the prelude and aftermath of a school shooting in a fictitious New England town. Specifically, Baer objected to a passage that he described as pornographic that graphically describes a rape scene between the book's two youthful protagonists.

When he verbally interrupted another town resident who was speaking at the meeting, Bredbury said the School Board Chair Sue Allen and Superintendent Kent Hemingway motioned to Leach using head nods that Leach apparently interpreted as a request from them to escort Baer out of the room.

Although Allen continually ordered Baer to "desist" or stop talking, she never verbally requested Leach to remove him.

Baer said aloud, "Why don't you have me arrested? Why don't we do that as a civics lesson?" when Leach approached his seat.

Bredbury said Baer disobeyed a legal order from a police officer to leave the meeting. Sisti argues Baer was under no obligation to obey an illegal order from the police because he was in a public forum held specifically to discuss the book.

As to Sisti second argument that Allen was not the "moderator" of the meeting, Bredbury responded that she was the chair of the School Board and empowered to keep order during the meeting at her discretion.

Judge Jim Carroll is reviewing the motions and will be issuing a ruling.

Should the case not survive Sisti's motion to dismiss, presumably it will go to trial.

All three charges faced by Baer are Class B misdemeanors and there is no possibility of incarceration.

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 September 2014 01:22

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Up With People experience allows young performers to stretch their comfort zones

LACONIA — Members of the international Up With People cast who arrived her Sunday say that one of the things they value most about their experience is that they have had to reach out beyond their comfort zone and develop new skills.

Five young-adult performers from around the world were interviewed at The Daily Sun office on Tuesday.
''I was so shy I was unable to speak in front of my classes in college. Joining Up With People was the best decision I could have made,'' says Pablo Arechauala of Mexico City, who has been with the organization for a year and is now a staff member,.
''I've always planned on a career in business and that's what I've been working for. I'm not a natural performer and I'm super shy. But I had to learn how to talk with people and find ways to feel more comfortable around them. The kind of experiences I've had with travel and performing have helped me to do that. I'm now planning to move to Belgium and learn a new language after I leave Up With People,'' says Arechauala.
T.J. Neilson of Edwards, Colorado, says that he loves musical theater but an intense stage fright has always held him back. ''I always loved performing, but not audiences. But now I'm totally into performing in front of people and may even end up with a solo,'' says Neilson, who lives several hours west of Denver, where the Up With People Cast undergoes orientation and training.
He says that he got into community service before joining the organization by tutoring young trumpet players and that is one of the things he is looking forward to doing.
Alejandra Hernandez Aguirre of Mexico says that she had never really spoken in public in her native Spanish language but is now doing readings, in English, and feels comfortable doing it. ''My cousin told me about Up With People and his experiences with it and said I should look into joining. I'm really glad that I did.''
Riann Lippe of Philadelphia, Pa, says that she really enjoys the community service aspect of Up With People . She's a student at Spellman College who says that while her long-term goal is to direct theater production she's had to overcome her reluctance to participate on stage and now has found an inner confidence that allows her to take part in dancing and singing without being self-conscious.
''I'm so glad we came to the Lakes Region. It's such a wonderful place to visit.''
Dan Wang of Beijing, China, has a background in tourism and holds a Masters degree in business management but says she had no experience at all in performing on stage.
''When we first started rehearsals I thought that 'this is too professional. I can't make it.' But I kept trying and it's worked out. It's a self-achievement I'm very proud of.'' says Wang.
While staying in the Lakes Region with their host families this week the 100 young performers will be involved in a variety of community service project, including painting a mural, working with members of the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region and other non-profits.
On both Friday and Saturday nights (Sept. 5 and 6) at 7 p.m., Up With People will perform in concert at the Laconia Middle School. Their spectacular, 2-hour "Voices" show will feature both original and popular music and is dynamic blend of feature soloists, full-cast production numbers, fast-moving choreography and colorful costumes.
Tickets are priced at $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens and are on sale at all Meredith Village Savings Bank locations. Additionally, tickets may be purchased online at www.upwithpeople.com/Laconia.
Net proceeds from the concerts will benefit three local not-for-profit organizations: Stand Up Laconia, Gilford Got Lunch and Got Lunch! Laconia.
An Up With People ensemble will also perform a special, free 20-minute show in Rotary Park at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning (Sept. 6) as part of the opening ceremony for the city's annual Multicultural Festival.

Up With People cast members enjoying their stay in the Lakes Region include Pablo Arechauala of Mexico City; Alejandra Hernandez Aguirre of Mexico; Dan Wang of Beijing, China; Riann Lippe of Philadelphia, Pa, and TJ Neilson of Edwards, Colorado. (Roger Amsden photo for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 12:47

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Casino has been paying down back tax bill to Town of Belmont; slots removed

BELMONT — The assessed value of the 213 acres of land and 35,000-square-foot buildings of the Lakes Region Casino, which has been put up for sale with an asking price of $3.5 million, is $2,070,000, which is $1-million less than when it changed hands in 2005.

Belmont town administrator Jeanne Beaudoin said that the Lakes Region Casino was steadily reducing it arrearage in property taxes owed to the town. After peaking at around $250,000, the total back taxes have been reduced to $175,700. She said that the casino has been paying $3,000 a week for some time and the arrangement is working well.

The venue is owned by Potts Gaming, LLC, whose principal Craig K. Potts of Scottsdale, Arizona, the former president and chief executive officer of Cash Systems, Inc., then the largest provider of cash access services to the gaming industry, operates gaming establishments in Alabama and the Carribean. Potts partnered Marlin Torguson Torguson Gaming Group, which owns casinos on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, when he acquired what had been Lakes Region Greyhound Park in 2005. In 2006 Potts held an $8,150,000 mortgage on the property and financed operations until securing sole ownership in 2011.

What began as The Lodge at Belmont, a pari-mutuel venue with wagering on live greyhound races as well as simulcast greyhound, thoroughbred and harness racing, has become a charitable gaming facility. The facility has rooms for table games — roulette and craps— and bingo and stages two poker tournaments , some with guaranteed winnings of $1,000, nightly.

The venue employs about three dozen people and contributes to about 20 charities in the region. According to data tabulated by the New Hampshire Pari-Mutuel Commission the Lakes Region Casino reported proceeds from charitable gaming after awarding prizes of $1,139,960, of which $398,614 was allocated to some three dozen charities, most of them in the Lakes Region, during the fiscal year 2013-2014.

Last week, the management removed the so-called redemption slot machines from the venue. Paul Kelley, director of the New Hampshire Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission said yesterday that the decision was prompted by legislation that will become effective on July 1, 2015 prohibiting slot machines that pay out in cash or cash equivalents. The machines at the casino, he said, paid winnings in credit or debit cards and would become illegal under the new law.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 01:42

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Boats collide on Lake Winnipesaukee, off Fort Point in Alton

ALTON — A collision between two powerboats near Fort Point on Lake Winnipesaukee on Saturday night left one passenger injured, though both vessels departed the scene under their own power.

According to the New Hampshire Marine Patrol, a 24-foot powerboat with Justin Rivet, 34, of Tyngsborough, Mass. at the helm collided with a 26-foot powerboat driven by Michael Donahue, 51, of Moultonborough around 9:25 p.m.. Personnel from the Alton Fire Department transported a passenger aboard Donahue's boat to Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro with injuries to the lower body

Sergeant Joshua Dirth of Marine Patrol reported that alcohol was not a contributing factor to the accident.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 01:38

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