Low gas prices bring smiles

Gas prices fallAllivia Burbank of Canterbury is liking the low rate of $1.579/gallon at her regular fill-up station, Penguin Fuels in Loudon along Route 106, on Sunday morning. (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)Low gas prices are bringing happy faces to customers pumping their own gas at places like the Irving station at the junction of Union Avenue and Messer Street, where the per gallon price dropped to $1.67 yesterday according to the Gas Buddy website.
“I don’t travel that much, but I’m filling my tank today because I”m driving to the airport in Manchester to pick up my daughter. It’s nice having prices this low,” said June Houle of Laconia.
At the next pump, Diane Carr of Meredith said that as far as she’s concerned the low prices are “great. I came over here after I saw a $1.89 price on Parade Road. I shop around and this was the best price I could find “ said Carr.
“This is having a huge impact on me,” said Ben Peaslee of Gilmanton, a construction worker who drives every day to a job in Northern Vermont. He said that last year at this time he was spending $150 a week on gas and now he’s down to about $60 a week for his truck, which gets only 12-and a-half-miles a gallon.
Kim Perkins, an accountant who has clients ranging from Center Harbor to Newburyport, Massachusetts, said that a year ago it cost her $56 to fill the tank of her Ford Escort and now it’s in the $26 to $28 range, which she says is a giant savings for her.
It’s the same story all along Route 106 from Laconia to Loudon, where Gas Buddy reports the lowest gas prices in the state can be found, $1.55 at the EZ Stop across from the south entryway at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, $1.59 at Penguin Fuel at Route 106 and Shaker Road and $1.65 at Penguin Fuels on Route 106 just north of the Route 140 intersection.
“’It’s good anytime customers save money at the gas pump. That means they have more money to spend on other things, like a candy bar or a car wash,” said Dave DeVoy, who owns and operates the Gilford Mobil Mart as well as the Bosco Bell and Blueberry Station convenience stores in Barnstead.
He says that the lower prices don’t impact his bottom line, as he’s paying less for the gasoline than he was a year ago, and he thinks it’s providing a good boost to the local economy by increasing consumer spending.
Statewide, Gas Buddy reports the average price is $1.84, just a penny above the national average, and that the price per barrel of oil is the $30 range, compared with the $90 to $100 range of two years ago.
The drop in per-barrel prices is also having a big impact on home heating oil prices, according to Curtis Stafford of Stafford Oil, who says that his price is $1.739 per gallon right now for a delivery of 125 gallons or more, compared to $2.589 per gallon last year at the same time, a drop of over 30 percent.’
“People think we’re making less than we were when prices are higher, but it’s absolutely the opposite. People can now afford to have their fuel tanks filled, rather than partial deliveries, so we’re making fewer trips. Our delivery trucks use diesel, and we’re saving money there as well. The fuel oil dealers love it, “ says Stafford.
He says that lower prices have allowed many customers to save their money and spend it on other things, which has a positive impact on the local economy.
Benjamin Wilson, a financial adviser with Edward Jones Investments, says that company analysts say that the average consumer saved $550 last year due to lower gas prices and that has had a major positive impact on the on American economy.
“People have more money to spend on goods and services and since two-thirds of the American economy is tied to consumer spending that’s a big boost. If you multiply the amount of your increased spending by the millions of other Americans who are also saving money on gas, you can see that you and you and your fellow consumers are are likely adding billions of dollars to the economy.”
He said that from an investment standpoint it is important not to overreact to what may prove to be a temporary development.
“The recent decline in oil prices has certainly had an economic impact, but no one can predict how long these prices will stay low or what other factors may arise that would affect the financial markets.”

Alleged ‘Opechee Flasher’ jury pick is scheduled for Monday

By Gail Ober

LACONIA — A jury is scheduled to be picked Monday morning for Daniel King, who allegedly exposed himself to a group of children on Sept. 1, 2014.

A description of King was provided to police and a description of his car was provided to police during the investigation.

After a month-long investigation, King, who was homeless and supposedly living in the Concord area, was identified and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was found in Garland, Arkansas, and arrested on Dec. 10 by U.S. Federal Marshals.

King was extradited back to New Hampshire and has been incarcerated in the Belknap County Jail since then. He is being held on $50,000 cash-only bail.

King, 53, was convicted of three counts of indecent exposure and lewdness in 2006 as well as one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault involving a child younger than 13, in 1991.

In the time he has been back in New Hampshire, he was convicted in U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire for one count of failing to register as a sex offender during the time he lived in Concord. He has yet to be sentenced.

King recently filed a motion to eliminate evidence that he was "out of state" from Oct. 14, 2014, until his return as overly prejudicial. He claims he was homeless and free to travel anywhere.

The state wishes to introduce evidence that King was interviewed by Laconia Police on Sept. 19, 2014, and that there was some video footage of a man whom King allegedly admitted looked like him.

The state claims that his car was  abandoned at a rest stop in Maryland on or about Oct. 6, 2014, after he had run out of gas. The state claims that King abandoned his cell phone and used pre-paid phones that he regularly replaced.

The state said the Laconia Police were able to connect or "ping" these phones to assist U.S. Marshals in finding him and that it is evidence of flight, although it acknowledges that flight is not evidence of guilt and should be left to a jury to consider.

In addition, King has also filed a motion to exclude telephone conversations he had with a pastor while waiting trial as not relevant. He says the burden is on the state to explain why the conversation was relevant as these recordings are "highly prejudicial" at trial because of where they were recorded.

King argues that if the state wants to use any portion of the recording, it should have to prove the relevance of any one thing it wishes to introduce.

During the conversation, the pastor and King discussed who he would like to be on his witness list, some of his feelings about jury trials versus bench trials and his confusion as to how the Laconia Police were able to find him.

King has continually maintained his innocence.

Gilford files motion to dismiss Twomey appeal at Timber Hill Farm

By Gail Ober

LACONIA — The town of Gilford has asked a Belknap County Superior Court judge to dismiss as untimely an appeal of the Zoning Board of Adjustments decision not to uphold a cease-and-desist order on Timber Hill Farm.

According to attorney's for the town and the Superior Court file, the motion for a rehearing in superior court was filed on Jan. 4, 2016. The decision not to enforce the cease and desist order was made on Dec. 1, 2015.

"A timely appeal is a necessary prerequisite to this Court's obtaining jurisdiction over the appeal," wrote Town Attorney Laura Spector-Morgan. "Even one day may be fatal to a party's appeal."

Monique Twomey, an abutter of Timber Hill Farm on Gunstock Hill Road, had complained about wedding reception activities at the farm and had succeeded in getting a cease-and-desist order from the town of Gilford. The Zoning Board voted on Nov. 24, 2015 not to enforce it and during Dec. 1, 2015 at the rehearing of its decision, the chair refused to allow additional testimony. The ZBA voted again not to uphold the cease-and-desist. Twomey appealed the decision to the Superior Court.

In her motion for a hearing in Superior Court, Twomey argued that the minutes were not made available regarding the ZBA's decision until Jan. 4, however Spector-Morgan said the availability of minutes have no legal bearing on the time line regarding the 30 days to file from the date of the decision.

Twomey has not consented to the motion to dismiss. There has been no ruling nor has a date been set for any hearing.