2nd-hand stores that buy from the public would be covered by new pawshop regulation ordinance

LACONIA — The Government Operations and Ordinances Sub-Committee of the City Council on Monday unanimously endorsed a proposal by the Licensing Board to tighten the ordinance regulating the operations of pawnshops and secondhand dealers, which will be presented to the council for approval next month.

A secondhand dealer is defined as any person or corporation that buys, sells or exchanges secondhand goods, but the definition would apply only to those who purchase secondhand articles "directly" from the general public.
Both pawnshops and secondhand dealers are regulated by the state. The statute bearing on pawnbrokers (RSA 398) applies only to municipalities with populations of 40,000 or more, but may be adopted by all cities and towns. Although the city enacted an ordinance "to ensure compliance of pawnshops to deal in legally obtained items" in 1975, the state law authorizing the city to license pawnbrokers was not adopted until 2010. The state law authorizes municipalities licensing pawnbrokers to also regulate them. Consequently, at the same time, the ordinance was amended to require pawnbrokers to provide the police a written record of property within 24 hours of receiving it and to hold property for 14 days before selling it.

However, the ordinance applied only to pawnbrokers, and in December 2013 the police recommended it be extended to secondhand dealers under the authority granted to municipalities by state law (RSA 322).
Detective Kevin Butler told the committee that less than 20 businesses in the city would be subject to the ordinance. Although no business owners attended the committee meeting, Butler said that when the terms and purpose of the ordinance were explained, the legitimate businesses understood that it was intended to discourage trade in stolen goods and would protect them against receiving stolen goods.
The proposal prepared by the Licensing Board would apply to both pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers and would require both to be licensed by the city. A pawnbroker is defined as any person or corporation that lends money at interest and takes property as security, which may be sold if not redeemed.

Applications would be submitted to the city and investigated by the police. who would report to Licensing Board. No license would be issued to any firm, whose owners or employees had been convicted of theft, burglary, fraud or receiving stolen property in the prior 10 years. Licenses would be issued for a specific location and could not be transferred to another person or corporation. Licenses would carry an initial fee of $100 and an annual renewal fee of $25.
Pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers would be required to record the date and time of purchases, amount paid or loaned, as well as the interest rate, along with the name and address of the seller or borrower, type of article, brand name, model number, and serial number, color, any identifying marks; and if jewelry, the metal as well as kind, number and, if known, carat of any stones. The transaction record would include a color image of the property. The ordinance would require transaction records be kept for seven years
Sellers and borrowers would be required to produce photographic identification, including their full name, date of birth and street address, which the pawnbroker or secondhand dealer would attach tot he transaction record. Transactions with anyone younger than 18 would be prohibited unless they were accompanied by a parent or guardian, who would be required to sign the transaction record.
Pawnbrokers would required to hold property taken in pawn for four months after acquiring it, unless the item was perishable, in which case it could be disposed of within a month with permission of the police. Pawnbrokers or secondhand dealers purchasing property for money would be required to hold it for 14 days. Pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers would be required to file transaction records electronically on a specified form with the police within 24 hours of the close of the business day when the transaction occurred. Violations of the ordinance would carry a fine of $100 per day or suspension or revocation of license

LHS graduation date to be firmed up April 7

LACONIA — With seniors at Laconia High School reportedly concerned about the date of graduation, school Superintendent Terri Forsten said yesterday that "we're following the same process we've followed for years. We wait until the the snow stops flying, determine how many days we need to make up, consider our options and set a date."

Students expecting to graduate on Saturday, June 6 fear that to compensate for school days lost to foul weather the ceremony may be held a week later on June 13.

Forsten said that school closed for three days because of snow storms this winter, noting that a state of emergency was declared on one of those days, reducing the number to be made up to two. In addition, she said there were several late starts to be taken into account. She explained that in the past 30 minutes were added to the end of the school day and seniors took classes or performed community services on Saturdays. "We have a number of options," she remarked.

"This year there has been a bit of clutter," Forsten observed. "There are a few processes we need to go through," she continued, stressing that "no decision has been made"

Forsten anticipated that the School Board will weigh the issue when it meets on Tuesday, April 7. "That is within our normal time frame," she insisted.

Hanson will again chair Inter-Lakes School Board

MEREDITH — In a brief reorganization meeting this week, the Inter-lakes School Board unanimously re-elected incumbents Richard Hanson of Center Harbor, who has served on the board since 1998, as chairman, Lisa Merrill of Meredith as vice-chairman and Sally Whalen of Center Harbor as secretary.

The board amended its policy on fundraising by students to prohibit "door-to-door" fundraising. Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond explained that the safety of students was the uppermost concern prompting the change of policy. Proposals to amend the student dress code and the process of appointing an interim or new principal in the event of either an unforeseen or anticipated vacancy were tabled pending further consideration.

No charges will be filed in aftermath of pedestrian death in Laconia crosswalk

LACONIA — Police will not be pressing any criminal charges against a Belmont woman who stuck and killed a man in a wheel chair while he was crossing South Main Street in a designated crosswalk area last June.

The final police investigation that was reviewed by The Daily Sun said Claire Haynes struck John Guiffrida at 2:45 p.m. on June 7 as he was attempting to cross the street after shopping at Vista Foods. She was headed northbound and the weather was clear.

During their investigation, city police used the services of the Belknap Regional Accident Reconstruction Team — a group of police officers specially trained in motor vehicle crashed and their causes — for their investigation.

About 15 interviews with witnesses were completed and a video tape of the crash was obtained from a security camera owned by the nearby Meredith Village Savings Bank branch office

Police said Haynes stopped immediately after the crash and got out of her van. She stayed on the scene and cooperated with police — allowing herself to be taken to Lakes Region General Hospital where she voluntarily submitted to tests to determine in she had consumed anything that may have affected her ability to drive. She had not, said police.

After reviewing all of the information, local police determined that Guiffrida's death was tragic but Haynes role in it didn't rise to the level of criminal behavior.

"We would have to prove in a court of law that she was either reckless or negligent and there is not enough evidence for that," said Lt. Richard Simmons.

Simmons noted that Haynes was not speeding, was not distracted by a cellular phone or any other device and was not impaired by any drugs and alcohol.

Simmons added that since Guiffrida's death, the police have recommended frequent painting of the heavily used cross walk by the Department of Public Works and the addition of a "pedestrian crossing" sign that can be used when there is no snow on the ground — both of which were used last summer. He expects both will be used this summer as well.