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Narrow majority of Sanbornton voters decides to stick with 3

SANBORNTON — The Board of Selectmen will continue to made up of three people as a petitioned warrant article that would have upped the number to five failed on Tuesday by four votes.

The final tally was 244 against the increase and 240 for it.

The petition was signed by nearly every member of the Budget Committee and all three sitting selectmen.

The most compelling reasons people cited for expanding the board were to lighten the load for each individual selectman in terms of other boards and commissions for which they are responsible.

One of the more compelling reasons against, cited by the same people, was there are not enough people in Sanbornton willing to volunteer for the many boards and commissions that already exist.

Voters did approve an operating budget that was $5,000 higher than the Budget Committee recommended. The difference was a $5,000 annual raise for the Town Clerk Tax Collector.

Article 4 asked the voters to approve two additional firefighters and was defeated by four votes after a secret ballot was requested in writing by five voters.

Voters approved a $542,000 capital outlay for the town as well as a $31,000 police cruiser. Police Chief Steve Hankard said he would only buy the cruiser if and when he absolutely needed it.

The Fire Department will get its utility truck for $40,900 and the voters approved $225,000 of transfers to capital funds.

Voters approved changing the purpose of the Town Hall Restoration Fund so that it can be used for planning, engineering and design as well as construction.

An Article for a noise ordinance failed, however all five recommended zoning changes passed.

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 March 2015 01:18

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Temporary downtown traffic pattern kicks in on Monday & Tuesday

LACONIA — As the final phase of the reconstruction of the Main Street Bridge gets underway, downtown traffic will be rerouted beginning this week.

On Monday, Main Street will be closed to northbound traffic from the Main Street Bridge to the Pleasant Street intersection as crews re-stripe lane markings and parking spaces. On Tuesday downtown traffic will be rerouted.

Beacon Street West will be closed to southbound traffic near Sawyer's Jewelry, but the parking lot behind the stores on Main Street will remain accessible. Beacon Street West will be open to two-way traffic from Veterans Square with vehicles traveling in both directions able to turn into Water Street.

Pleasant Street, which will remain one-way, will serve as the major southbound route. Main Street will become southbound from Pleasant Street to the Main Street Bridge, but will remain one-way northbound from Pleasant Street to Church Street. Southbound traffic on Pleasant will be able to turn north on to Main Street, to reach Beacon East by way of Hanover Street, which will remain two-way, and turn south on to Main Street.

Beacon Street East will serve as the major northbound route. Traffic from Beacon Street East will be able to reach Main Street by way of Hanover Street, which will remain two-way. But, trucks traveling northbound will be directed to Church Street. Southbound traffic on Main Street will be able to turn left to reach Beacon Street East and to access the parking garage.

All downtown businesses will remain open and accessible during while traffic is detoured. Most downtown parking will remain available and residents are encouraged to patronize downtown businesses

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 March 2015 01:06

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Gilmanton woman faces witness tampering charge

ALTON — Alton Police have charged a local woman with witness tampering for allegedly reaching out to the victims of an allegedly burglary and asking them not to get her in any more trouble.

Prosecutor Anthony Estee said yesterday that Julie Moulton, 42, of 6 Old Town Road in Gilmanton is also charged with one count of burglary and one count of criminal trespass for crimes allegedly committed against the same people.

She faces the same burglary and criminal trespass charges as Brandon Prue of Northfield.

Alton Police said the two entered a home in Alton on December 30, 2014 and were found inside by an Alton Police officer after one of the neighbors called them to report seeing flashlights inside.

They told the officer that they were in the home at the request of the homeowners who was out of town and had asked them to board up the house. Estee said the homeowners denied this.

In early February, after a brief probable cause trial in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, Judge Jim Carroll determined there was no probable cause to charge Prue with burglary.

Estee said Moulton faces the same charges in the same incident and it will be the Belknap County Attorney's Office that will ultimately determine if the allegedly burglary charge against both of them will be presented to a grand jury for possible indictment.

He said the witness tampering charge is separate and distinct from the other two charges Moulton faces and she is scheduled to be arraigned on April 16 in the Laconia Circuit Court.

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 March 2015 01:03

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Restorative Justice Program moves to more suitable quarters at county complex

LACONIA — Belknap County's Restorative Justice Program has relocated from the Belknap County Courthouse to the administrative wing of the Belknap County complex and program director Brian Loanes says that he and his staff like the change.
''It's so much better here. We have office space for the case managers which provides the privacy we need when dealing with clients. It was very difficult to do that in the courthouse,'' says Loanes.
The program, which has four part-time employees, serves youthful offenders (minors) as well as adult and juvenile diversion and bail supervision offenders. It currently supervises 65 participants, about half of whom are adults. It was originally affiliated with the Belknap County Sheriff's Department and later combined with the former Youth Services Bureau in 2010. It began serving adults in 2011 in a program developed in cooperation with Judge James Carroll in the Laconia Circuit Court.
Loanes says that the goals of the program are to encourage a sense of responsibility and accountability on the part of the offender while saving the county money and resources by minimizing the offender's involvement into the justice system and reduce the amount of recidivism through appropriate education for offenders. There is also a community service requirement ranging from 50 to 500 hours for adult offenders.
''Many of the first-time offenders we deal with are really good kids who have made a mistake and run afoul of the law. We try to turn them around and put them in a situation where they don't have a criminal record and can experience some success and build their self-confidence. It's really rewarding when that happens,'' says Loanes.
He says that many of the first-time offenders have been involved with drugs and that the program utilizes the services of Genesis Behavioral Health, the regional mental health provider, along with Horizons Counseling and the Nathan Brody Center for drug and alcohol programs and is involved with Recovery Court program in Laconia Circuit Court.
The move from the courthouse to the Belknap County complex took less than a month from the time it was first proposed and was based on a plan developed by Loanes in cooperation with Belknap County Corrections Superintendent Dan Ward, County Facilities Manager Dustin Muzzey and County Administrator Debra Shackett.
Restorative Justice now occupies space in the commissioner's wing of the county complex, including the former facilities manager's office, the three offices once occupied by county commissioners and conference room two, which would be used as a classroom. Muzzey's office was relocated to the Belknap County Home.
Loanes says that move allows closer coordination of activities with the Belknap County Department of Corrections, which has access to the offices and conference room and has some of the same responsibilities in pre-trial confinement and community service areas. The only drawback is that the program no longer has the downtown Laconia access, which made it easier for clients to get to the program's offices.
But Loanes said that is offset by having adequate facilities, which include a public restroom where drug testing can take place.
The wing where Restorative Justice is now located remains a mixed-use space and allows access by the public to Conference Room 1, which is used for voting, commission and county convention meetings and public hearings, as well as by other county departments for meetings and training.

Brian Loanes, director of the Belknap County Restorative Justice Program, in his new office at the Belknap County Complex. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2015 01:37

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