Vandals cause thousands in damage in Gilford


GILFORD — Police are investigating a weekend vandalism spree that cost home and property owners thousands of dollars in damage.

Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee said that at least eight of the strikes were reported to police beginning at 7 a.m. and continued through most of the day, while police drove around and discovered many more.

Most significantly, Bean Burpee said the vandals shattered some of the windows on heavy equipment owned by Busby Construction on Potter Hill Road. Numerous mailboxes were either spray painted or removed from their spots and run over by a vehicle. He said there was some serious damage done near Ellacoya State Park and into parts of Alton and Laconia.

He said police first noticed the vandalism themselves when Detective Sgt. Eric Bredbury was responding early Sunday morning to assist the police with a search for a missing man and noticed various incidents as he was driving down Cherry Valley Road toward the police station.

It was shortly after that that the phone calls started coming in to police. Bean Burpee said they have done a number of interviews and ask that any one who was a victim or who has any information to call 527-4737.

Bow WOW Fest to benefit Humane Society will be May 7


LACONIA —  Now in its sixth year, the annual Bow WOW Fest will be held on Saturday, May 7, and this year will benefit the New Hampshire Humane Society.

"We're just thrilled to be partnered with a group that's already in place," said Marylee Gorham, executive director of the Laconia-based animal shelter that serves towns throughout the region.

The Bow WOW Fest, since its inception, invites dogs and the people who love them to gather at Lakeport Square, at the intersection of Elm Street and Union Avenue, for a stroll down and back on the WOW Trail. Registration for the event is $10, with all proceeds benefiting the Humane Society. To pre-register, available through April 29, go to Registration will also be available the morning of the event, from 8:45 to 10 a.m.

"You don't have to have a dog to come," added Molly Lounsbury, marketing and development assistant for the Humane Society. She also encouraged dog owners to attend solo if their pooch is problematic around other dogs. "It's OK to leave your dog at home," she said.

The event is organized by a committee that includes representatives from the Humane Society, officials from the City of Laconia, as well as other community members. Last year, about 200 people attended; and 100 dogs, representing a wide range of breeds and mixes. Ann Saltmarsh, of Laconia DPW, said she hopes to see at least that many this year.

"The more the merrier," she said.

A blessing of the pets will be held at 10 a.m. From 10:15 to 11, there will be a police K-9 demonstration as well as a puppy bowl, featuring puppies that are available for adoption at the Humane Society. At 11:30, judges will name the winners of the pet costume contest.

"The costumes are always really fun to see," said Gorham.

The walk down the WOW Trail will commence at noon. When walkers make their return to Lakeport Square, they will find hot dog and popcorn vendors ready to serve lunch.



Ann Saltmarsh and Amy Reardon from the Laconia DPW join NH Humane Society representatives Molly Lounsbury and Marylee Gorham in front of the Lake Opechee Inn. The Bow WOW Fest will be held on May 7 this year, and will benefit the Humane Society. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)


Ann Saltmarsh and Amy Reardon from the Laconia DPW join New Hampshire Humane Society representatives Molly Lounsbury and Marylee Gorham in front of the Lake Opechee Inn. The Bow WOW Fest will be held on May 7 this year, and will benefit the Humane Society. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)

Fighting fires - Rescuers kept busy over weekend with blazes, search for missing man


Building and brush fires, a search for a missing man and a guy who jumped out of a car on the bypass kept area firefighters busy for most of the past weekend.

The weekend began with a house fire accompanied by a brush fire on Reservoir Road in Northfield that was reported around 4 p.m. Friday. Tilton-Northfield Fire Chief Mike Sitar said the house fire was caused by an electrical problem, but since no one was home, it burned for quite a while before it was noticed and reported.

He said the house fire spread to the dry grass and fields around the house and it was police officers from Tilton and Northfield who kept the grass fire at bay.

"It was a trying situation," said Sitar, who said they could only get one truck up the long driveway to the home and many firefighters had to walk up the hill with their gear.

Sitar said his department also responded to several mutual aid calls that included sending a three-person crew and a brush truck to Stoddard on Friday to assist them in a four-day battle with a forest fire.

On Saturday, firefighting began early with a brush fire near Hickory Stick Lane, where Belmont, Laconia and Gilford crews extinguished the flames before they could reach a nearby home. Laconia Fire Chief Ken Erickson said it appears the fire was started by a discarded cigarette.

At 2 p.m., Laconia, Belmont and Gilmanton crews responded to a garage fire on Allens Mill Road in Gilmanton and just after clearing from there, firefighters from Laconia, Meredith and Gilford went to a fire at Petal Pushers on Parade Road, where two greenhouses and a pile of mulch burned for several hours.

Erickson said they had just finished with Petal Pushers when they were called to Center Street in downtown Laconia for a small brush fire burning between two three-story wood-frame houses.

Erickson said it appears a small child set the fire, knew what he had done was wrong and immediately told his mother, who called 911.
At 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Laconia and Belmont crews responded to a Sargent Lake Road for a brush fire that went to a second alarm and brought crews from Tilton-Northfield to the scene.

At midnight, crews from Laconia, Gilford and Meredith responded to a burning garbage barrel on the front porch of a building on Messer Street. Erickson said the fire was quickly extinguished and did minimal damage to the house.

While Gilford was providing mutual aid to the surrounding area, Deputy Chief Brad Ober said they spent eight hours on Sunday seeking a man who was later found deceased by members of the state Department of Fish and Game.

On Saturday, Ober said they responded to a report of a man who jumped from a moving car on the Laconia Bypass after having an argument with his girlfriend.

Ober said firefighter spent about 30 minutes looking for him. The man eventually came out of the woods and declined treatment. Ober said fire crews left him in the company of the Gilford Police.

All chiefs said they wanted to thank all of the regular and call firefighters for all of the work they did on what all agreed was an extraordinarily busy weekend.

"Throughout the weekend the Lakes Region area fire departments were tasted several time and did great work each time," said Erickson. "The mutual aid system proved it's value time and time again."

04-26 Northfield house fire

This home in Northfield burned for several hours before the fire that destroyed much of the building was noticed. (Photo courtesy Northfield-Tilton Fire Rescue)

04-26 Northfield house fire