Opechee flasher appeals conviction to Supreme Court

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

CONCORD — A transient man convicted of exposing himself to children at Opechee Park on Sept. 1, 2014, still maintains his innocence and has asked the New Hampshire Supreme Court to review his trial.

Specifically, Daniel King, 54, formerly of Concord, contends that the Belknap County Court erred when it allowed a previously unnamed and unidentified witness to authenticate a video recording after the court determined the state didn't have anyone on its witness list that would do so.

Secondly, King said the court also made a mistake when it wouldn't allow his defense team to cross examine an eye witness as to whether or not there were conversations with others before their interview with the Child Advocacy Center.

King also says the fact that he left the state, even though he was homeless, not under arrest, and never told not to leave New Hampshire, should not have been allowed into evidence.

He also asked the Supreme Count to determine if the state presented enough evidence to the jury for it to determine beyond a reasonable doubt that he was the person who exposed himself that day.

King, who is a registered sex offender, was convicted by a jury of two counts of indecent exposure and sentenced to serve 3 1/2 to 7 years in prison. He is to complete a sex offender program.

Laconia Police initially tracked King to Concord after viewing camera footage and having one of the children who was at the park pick him out of photo array of eight men.

She told police he was manipulating his genitals with one hand while exposing himself with the other. He had left the area before the children notified police but they were able to give police a decent description of his car.

King was interviewed about the incident at the Concord Police Department on Sept. 19. He initially denied being in Laconia that day, but when he was shown footage of his car from the middle school cameras, he remembered passing through the city that day.

King left the Concord area at some point after that interview. About a month after the incident, Laconia Police obtained a warrant for his arrest.
He was found by U.S. Federal Marshals in Garland, Arkansas, and arrested on Dec. 10, 2015. Police found him by pinging his burner cell phones. He had abandoned his car in Maryland.

King was also convicted in U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire for failing to register as a sex offender in New Hampshire and Arkansas.

Potter Road residents prefer rough road to slow speeders in Gilford

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILFORD — When the town plans to rebuild a road, some residents on the road question whether their dreams have come true – or not.

Potter Hill Road, which runs parallel to Cherry Valley Road or Route 11A, presents one of those dilemmas. It is on the 2017 town road plan for reconstruction .

By all accounts, including that of Gary Kiedaish and 11 other resident families, Potter Hill Road is in very poor condition. The lower part is washed out and, in Kiedaish's opinion, that is a "godsend."

But after it's rebuilt, Kiedaish and his neighbors fear Potter Hill Road will become a speedway from the center of Gilford Village to where it connects to Cherry Valley Road near the Gilford Outing Club.

Kiedaish told selectmen Wednesday that he hopes with next year's road rebuild some kind of speed barriers will be installed.

"When it's in good condition, it gets a lot of traffic," said Kiedaish, who added he doesn't know why, because it is actually shorter and quicker to go from Gilford Village along Route 11A to get to the same place.

This is not the first time speeding on Potter Hill Road has been brought to the attention of the selectmen.

The town reduced the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph a few years ago, but Kiedaish said it hasn't helped much.

Police consistently monitor the road for speed and recklessness but obviously can't be there all of the time.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn told Kiedaish that beginning on July 25, there will be a third data collection done by the police department. Measuring volume and traffic speed, Dunn said the police will file a report for the selectmen and the Public Works Department director to evaluate.

He also said the preliminary plans call for the intersection with Cherry Valley Road to be made into a "T," which is not necessarily for speed control but will make exiting from it safer by providing better sight lines.

Selectmen's Chairman Richard Grenier said the town just installed a speed table on Edgewater Drive as part of its reconstruction for this season and will have the winter season to evaluate it before construction begins on Potter Hill Road.

"This is the perfect time to discuss it," said Grenier. "It's before construction time."

There will be a public hearing on Potter Hill Road on Aug. 24 at the Gilford Town Hall.

Forum Monday to explore issues with resettling refugees

By ALANA PERSSON, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — As present global conflicts are forcing millions of individuals to flee their home countries, nations around the world are opening their borders to refugees in need of a place to resettle. Recognizing that Laconia has been one of the cities in New Hampshire welcoming refugees for the past 20 years, the Laconia Human Relations Committee is hosting an educational refugee resettlement roundtable forum in Laconia which will allow community members to better understand the process of resettlement in the region.
The forum will be held on Monday, July 18, at 6:30 p.m., at the Woodside Building at the Taylor Community. The forum aims to educate citizens on why refugee resettlement occurs and the process individuals must go through to get refuge in the United States. Carol Pierce, director of the Laconia Human Relations Committee, will facilitate a conversation with local refugees who have first hand accounts of how the process works in our region.
One individual speaking about his experience as a refugee is Seifu Ragassa, who arrived in the United States in 1999. Prior to his resettlement, Ragassa worked as a journalist in Ethiopia. However, due to his politically charged articles, he was forced to flee his country to escape persecution from the government. Seeking refuge in Kenya, Ragassa worked with the United States embassies and was able to assist in finding terrorists in Africa, until he was able to resettle as a refugee in the Lakes Region, where he has since continued to live and work.
"Coming to the United States as a refugee was a challenge," said Ragassa. "There was limited transportation and resources, and even though I had a college degree abroad, I could only get an entry-level job when I entered the United States. It definitely was not an easy transition."
Despite the initial challenges, Ragassa worked countless hours at various jobs and applied to local scholastic institutions to continue his education. Attending Southern New Hampshire University, he studied political science and business, and additionally received his master's degree in justice studies. After completing his educational endeavors, Ragassa was able to secure a job with the New Hampshire Department Corrections - Laconia Facility and continues to work as New Hampshire probation and parole officer, and is presently studying to receive his MBA.
Although Ragassa has acclimated to life in the United States well, he recognizes that integration into the United States is not as smooth for other people. Thus, Ragassa has spent his time in the Lakes Region working with other refugees to help them find jobs and a place in the community.
"It is a hard transition for refugees and often there is a language barrier that makes it hard for people to easily adapt and find jobs," said Ragassa. "But I found that by working with new refugees and connecting them to people like Carol Pierce has made their resettlement a success."
Stories like Ragassa's will be shared at the roundtable forum, specifically discussing what challenges refugees had when they came to the United States and how they overcame them, as well as an informational presentation explaining the difference between immigrants and refugees. The forum is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested by calling 524-5600.

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