LACONIA – The Police Department is scheduled for an on-site assessment as part of a program to attain International Accreditation.
Administered by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), the program requires agencies to meet and maintain compliance with state of the art standards in four basic areas; policies and procedures, administration, operations, and support services. The assessment includes file review, interviews with employees and citizens, and ride-a-longs with patrol officers. At the completion of the assessment, the team prepares a final report for the commission to review when considering the department's accreditation status.
As part of the on-site assessment, agency employees and members of the community are invited to offer comments at a public information session on Wednesday, August 7, beginning at 5 p.m. The session will be held in the Community Room of the Police Station at 126 New Salem Street. Agency employees and the public are also invited to offer comments by calling, (603) 524-5257 extension 349 on Wednesday, August 7t between the hours of 1 and 3 p.m.
Telephone comments as well as appearances at the public information session must address the agency's ability to comply with the commission standards. The local contact is Lieutenant Alfred Lessard, (603) 524-5257 extension 356.
Anyone wishing to submit written comments about the Laconia Police Department's ability to comply with the standards for accreditation may send them to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320, Gainesville, Virginia 20155, Attention Stephen Mitchell, Program Manager.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 July 2013 02:26
BELMONT — A local teen is charged with driving while intoxicated and conduct after an accident for crashing into the living room of a small house on Depot Street (Rte. 140 West) just after midnight on Tuesday and fleeing the scene after the crash.
Police said Derek Addington, 18, of 16 Village Apartment Road Apt. 3 was driving on the roadway toward Belmont Village and apparently missed the left-bending turn that is about one-quarter of a mile away from the village.
Police noticed Addington running down Main Street and questioned him near the Village Store. He allegedly told them he hit a house but ran because he was scared.
Walking behind him was passenger Logan Kessler, 19, of Laconia who was charged with a violation of unlawful possession of alcohol. Both teens were uninjured and declined treatment.
Police said victim was an older woman who was sleeping in a back bedroom when the car slammed into the house. She was uninjured and fire officials said she is staying with friends or family because the house is now uninhabitable.
The unidentified victim also called 9-1-1 but police initially learned of the crash when they spotted Addington running through town.
Lt. Mike Newhall said Addington missed the fire hydrant in line with the house by about four inches. He said he can't count the number of vehicles that have hit the hydrant but, until Tuesday and to the best of his knowledge, no one has ever hit the house.
Newhall and Police Chief Mark Lewandoski said they were grateful the woman was sleeping in her back bedroom and not sitting in the living room when the car crashed.
The 2000 Nissan Altima Addington was driving belonged to a friend and was being used with the owner's permission said police.
The online tax assessors data base says the house belongs to Everett Weeks. The lot and house are valued at $42,300.
CAPTION – The front porch and living room of a house at 49 Depot Street were heavily damaged early Tuesday morning when a car driven by an allegedly drunk teenaged boy crashed into it. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 July 2013 02:21
GILMANTON — Selectmen have accused former Planning Board Chair W. John Funk of running smear campaign against the town's police sergeant and its planning administrator. The board apparently believes Funk besmirched the two when he contributed to a private e-mail chain that went viral.
The accusation, that was presented in a letter presented to the Planning Board and signed by all three selectmen on June 13, said they had lost confidence in Funk's ability to lead the Planning Board and called on him to resign as chairman. Instead, Funk quit the Planning Board.
"Because Mr. Funk continues to support the paragraph in the September 26, (2012) letter (to the operator of a rented commercial property) and the continued disrespect of our employees, we, the selectmen, have lost confidence in Mr. Funk's ability to be a reasonable leader of the Planning Board," they wrote.
The "paragraph" was one that was drafted by Planning Administrator Desiree Tumas, approved by former Chair Nancy Girard, and sent to the property owners in Florida on October 15, 2012 telling them the Planning Board had revoked contractor Ryan Benson's approval to operate a commercial business and had converted their property back to residential use. The letter said they could have his things removed from the property.
The owners had a local man clear the property and Benson reported to police that his items were stolen. Sgt. Matt Currier investigated, Girard and Funk were distressed by the questions and methods he used to pursue the case, and ultimately the police chief and the selectmen got involved.
Girard was not reappointed to the board in March, although she and Funk stand behind the state law they used to justify telling the property owners they could have Benson's belongings removed from their property.
Both Funk and Girard are lawyers, however they were not the Planning Board's lawyer.
Police reached out to Belknap County Attorney Melissa Guldbransen who said she would be unable to successfully prosecute any theft (by the man who took the Benson's property) because of the letter from the Planning Board that seemingly negates intent on the part of the man who took Benson's items. Gulbrandsen also wrote she didn't think the man had the right to take Benson's belongings.
Funk said yesterday a letter from Town Attorney Walter Mitchell to selectmen said pretty much the same thing. He said Mitchell's opinion was presented as an attachment to the letter from selectmen to the Planning Board in a public session on June 13 — the night Funk resigned.
When challenged by Selectman Chair Ralph Lavin, who was the Selectboard representative to the Planning Board the night Funk resigned and who made the motion to remove him as chair, Funk said yesterday he told Lavin that "lawyers disagree" but it's not the lawyers who make the decisions as to who's right and who's wrong.
The problem, said Chief Joe Collins, is the landowners never officially evicted Benson through a court of law and instead used the letter from the Planning Department as the reason for having someone remove Benson's property from the site.
Funk said yesterday he still stands by the letter. He cited RSA 540-A:3, VII that states a landowner can dispose of property from non-residential property after seven days once a tenant has vacated, either by eviction or voluntarily, as the reason for his support of "the paragraph." He also said had nothing to do with its drafting or approval.
He said he only jumped into an e-mail chain circulating through the town's electronic rumor mill when he became concerned about what he perceived as misrepresentations by contributors to the chain regarding the Benson property, the police, the selectmen, and the Planning Board.
"I only wanted for people to understand why the letter (to the property owners) was written," he said. He also said he wanted to support the integrity of the Planning Board. The e-mail chain was cited by Lavin as one of the reasons selectmen lost confidence in him.
When asked yesterday why he didn't stay on the board as a regular voting member, Funk said he felt that if a majority of the board didn't have faith in his ability to lead then he didn't want to continue to serve in any capacity.
Funk also noted that Lavin and Planning Board member Wayne Ogni were members of the board when the problems with Benson became known and didn't object at the time when the board decided to convert the property back to residential use. Ogni seconded Lavin's motion to remove Funk as chair.
He also said yesterday he sent a letter of apology to Sgt. Currier before the June 13 Planning Board meeting.
Funk had been on the Planning Board for 15 years. He said yesterday that at this point in time, he would be unlikely to serve again if asked.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 July 2013 03:23
Downtown business leaders think city spending $400k on sprucing up Main Street 'gateway' is misguided priority
LACONIA — The Main Street Initiative, representing downtown business and property owners, has expressed misgivings about the plan for constructing "Gateway Plaza" at the Main Street Bridge over the Winnipesaukee River. Earlier this week the executive committee of the organization voted unanimously to oppose the project, which is slated to be presented to the City Council for its approval next week.
The project was recommended by the Advisory Board of the Downtown Tax Increment Financing District, which is chaired by Kevin Dunleavy, director of Parks and Recreation and includes Planning Director Shanna Saunders.
Under the plan, the concrete fronting Grace Capital Church and the parking garage on one side and Sawyer's Jewelry on the other would be replaced with brick pavers and both areas would be landscaped with shade trees and raised planters. Conceived as a pedestrian plaza, it would include together with granite benches, timbered seating, trellises, sculpture and lighting. The traffic island on the bridge itself would also be landscaped. The project is estimated to cost between $417,000 and $455,000 depending on the type of materials used.
Saunders said yesterday that because the project requires irrigation, drainage and lighting, its design must be incorporated into the engineered plan for the reconstruction of the Main Street Bridge. She said that the N.H. Department of Transportation expects to put the reconstruction of the bridge out to bid in September or October and will need the plan for the plaza "within a couple of weeks."
Reuben Bassett, co-owner of Burrito Me restaurant, said the project is "too expensive and too small." He agreed that improvements should be made, but questioned whether investing in a pedestrian plaza at one of the busiest intersections in the city was an appropriate use of funds. "It should be scaled back and made part of a larger project."
In a separate motion, the executive committee asked the Advisory Board to lend priority to the completion of the downtown riverwalk, particularly the stretch along the north bank of the Winnipesaukee River between the bridges at Fair Street and Church Street. The committee also recommended that the Advisory Committee collaborate with the WOW Trail to develop interchanges and signage between the trail and the riverwalk.
Saunders said that while the scope of the "Gateway Plaza" project could be reduced the cost savings would not be significant. She said that infrastructure — irrigation, drainage and electricity — required to support the landscaping, not the benches and seating, accounted for the largest share of the costs. At the same time, she said that the project would be presented as part of a larger initiative funded by using the annual revenue from the downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district, which is budgeted at $173,688 in 2013-2014, to service principal and interest payments on a borrowing.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 July 2013 02:10
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