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Austie ‘Candy’ Mellett, 70

WOODSTOCK — Austie "Candy" (Berry) Mellett, 70, passed away Feb. 25, 2017, with her family at her side after a long, courageous battle with COPD.
Born in Woodstock on May 1, 1946, Candy was the daughter of Fred Lawrence Berry and Ella Kinne Berry. Candy lived in Woodstock her entire life. In 1964 she graduated from LinWood High School as a member of the first class to graduate from the new school.
Candy was a homemaker and the most important thing in her life was her family. Candy's grandchildren were the love of her life and even in the darkest hours just the mention of Elizabeth or Zachary would bring a smile to her eyes. She enjoyed gathering with family and friends either as a group or with small visits to her home. She loved Christmas and would plan her giving all year long.
Candy was active in the community, spending over 20 years as a ballot clerk and election official. She worked in the Woodstock Town Office for 10-plus years, and at one time held the job of tax collector. She was an active member and past president of the Woodstock Baptist Church Ladies Aide. She was active member and past president of the Woodstock Fire Department Auxiliary as well as a member and past secretary of the Pemigewasset Valley Fire Wardens Association. Candy was an avid historian documenting activities and newspaper articles about the Woodstock fire department for the better part of 50 years.
Candy was predeceased by her parents; sisters Edna-Jean Merrill and Bonnie Coleman; and brother, Harvey Berry. She is survived by her husband of 53 years, William "Bill" Mellett; son Jeff and wife Danielle of Belmont; daughter Jennifer of Biddeford, Maine; granddaughter Elizabeth Joslin and her husband, Nick, of Belmont; grandson Zachary and his wife, Megan, of Gilmanton; aunt Edna Woodman of Concord; cousin Nancy West of Bow; as well as many special, nieces, nephews and in-laws.
Family and friends will honor and remember Candy's life by gathering for a memorial service in the Pemi Valley Church, 1091 Daniel Webster Highway. (NH Route 3) Woodstock, on Thursday, March 2, at 2 pm. A springtime burial will take place in the Woodstock Cemetery. There are no "in lieu of flowers" – Bill and Candy love flowers.
To view or leave a message of condolence on Candy's Book of Memories, please visit www.mayhewfuneralhomes.com.
The Mayhew Funeral Homes & Meredith Bay Crematorium of Meredith and Plymouth is assisting the family with arrangements.

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Concealed carry - no permit needed

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Change in law hailed as symbolic victory

By ADAM DRAPCHO, LACONIA DAILY SUN

With a stroke of Gov. Chris Sununu's pen, New Hampshire Republican legislators achieved on Wednesday a goal they had been twice denied under Democratic governors – the repeal of the requirement for a special permit to carry a concealed firearm. However, whether people were for or against it, it seemed that the passage of the law affording what supporters call "Constitutional carry" is more symbolic than sweeping, as gun owners had already been permitted to openly carry a firearm in public, and those who wanted to carry a concealed firearm could apply for a permit to do so at their local police department.

The legislation, known as SB 12, was sponsored by Sen. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro), who issued the following statement after the bill's passage: "Today, I am proud to finally say that New Hampshire citizen's right to carry a concealed firearm without a permit has been restored ... This bill, signed by Gov. Sununu, allows what is known as constitutional carry, ensuring that citizens who are already legally able to own a firearm are able to carry that firearm on a concealed basis without requiring permission and a license from the local police department."

Sununu also issued a statement after signing the bill into law: "SB 12 ensures New Hampshire citizens are guaranteed the fundamental right to carry a firearm in defense of themselves and their families, as prescribed by Article 2a of our state constitution," said Sununu. "This common sense legislation aligns our concealed carry laws with that of our neighboring states of Vermont and Maine, and states across the country."

The law was not without its detractors, though, including the New Hampshire Chiefs of Police Association, which took issues with the law's terminology, which, according to a press release from the association, could allow children, or people convicted of a violent misdemeanor, to conceal a firearm.

"I'm opposed to it," said Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams. The process for acquiring a concealed carry permit, he said, "gives an added level of protection."

Adams said he has processed hundreds of concealed carry permits per year since he became chief, and has only declined a handful of applications. He might deny an application because of mental health problems or the applicant's criminal history, especially regarding drug use or sales.

Though he opposed the law, Adams said that his officers always act as though the person they're interacting with might be concealing a weapon.

"It's always a concern ... That's something that can be done anyways. That's always in our minds," said Adams.

At Abe's Awesome Armaments in New Hampton, store manager John Elliott and sales staff Chris Fowler were both glad to see SB 12 signed into law.

"The permitting process was kind of unnecessary," said Elliott. "By definition, the criminal doesn't follow the law. The only people being affected by those laws were law-abiding citizens." He added that his customers were "all pretty happy about it." Elliott didn't consider it a business opportunity for the store, though, because most people who wanted to carry could already do so, either openly, or, for a $10 permit at their local police department, concealed.

"Nothing has really changed, except, a bit of relief to the law-abiding citizen's wallet," said Elliott.

"I think some of the stereotype about this becoming a wild-west mentality is just hype," said Fowler, adding that SB 12 doesn't change who can purchase or possess a firearm. "It's just reaffirming the basis of the Second Amendment ... There's a lot of respect for the Constitution in this state, which is nice."

At Skip's Sport Shop in Bristol, Skip Reilly welcomed the news of Constitutional carry with a mixed reaction. He didn't feel that it was too burdensome for people to apply for a concealed carry permit – "They're fairly easy to get if you're not a criminal or a bad guy," he said – but he also didn't object to removing the requirement for a permit.

"I do have mixed emotions about it. As long as they don't inconvenience law-abiding residents, I'm fine with it," said Reilly, adding that he respected the process by which the change was brought about. "If it's what the people wanted, then, fine. They're the ones that have the final say on it."

With more people likely to be carrying a concealed weapon, Adams said those people should be aware that, though they are within their legal rights to have a hidden firearm, they should be aware of how it could affect a situation, especially if it suddenly becomes revealed. He suggested that people with a weapon, should they interact with a police officer, make sure the officer knows that the firearm is present and ask the officer how he or she would like to proceed.

"If they don't tell them, and then they see the weapon, it could cause some concern," said Adams.

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Felons are still prohibited from having guns despite change in law

According to a New Hampshire State Police press release, the main language change in this law is as follows:

• The length of time for a permit to carry a concealed pistol or revolver changed from four years to five years

• A person may carry a concealed loaded pistol or revolver without a license, unless such person is otherwise prohibited by New Hampshire or federal statute.

• Requires the Director of State Police to negotiate and enter into agreements with other jurisdictions to recognize the validity of the New Hampshire license to carry.

• Repeals the requirement to obtain a concealed carry license, both for residents and non-residents, and making the seeking of a license voluntary.

Residents and non-residents who wish to continue participating in the concealed pistol or revolver permit system may continue to file applications with either their New Hampshire city or town as previously required, or in the case of a non-resident seeking a concealed pistol or revolver permit, an application will need to be filed with the Department of Safety, Division of State Police Permits and Licensing Unit.

Concealed pistol or revolver permits issued within the State of NH will be required for residents and non-residents seeking to carry under a reciprocity agreement within another state.

New Hampshire law prohibits the possession of a firearm under the following:

• Felony conviction against person or property

• Felony conviction in violation of RSA 318-B, the New Hampshire Controlled Drug Act, or

• The subject of a valid domestic violence protection order.

For further guidance related to Federal prohibition, refer to: https://www.atf.gov/firearms/identify-prohibited-persons

02-25 concealed carry seller 02-25 concealed carry tiny gun

Chris Fowler, an employee at Abe's Awesome Armaments in New Hampton, displays a Keltec .380-caliber pistol, only slightly heavier than a cell phone, that would be easy to carry concealed. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)

 02-25 concealed carry purses

Skip's Sport Shop in Bristol carries a line of handbags and pocketbooks made by the brand Gun Totin' Mammas, designed for women who wish to carry a concealed handgun. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)

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Landlords say subsidized housing is making rental market tough

Rivers Edge Apartments on opening day

Some city landlords complain they are being squeezed out of the rental market by subsidized housing, such as the new River’s Edge apartments that opened this past summer in Laconia. (File photo)

 

 

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — "The private sector is being squeezed out of the rental housing market," said Harry Bean, who owns and operates 70 apartments in the city. "We can't compete with the government."

The prospect of the Laconia Housing Authority acquiring property on the southeast corner of the intersection of South Main Street and Union Avenue has prompted Bean and other private landlords to complain that the challenges of the rental market are compounded by the development of housing financed directly or indirectly by government.

According to the most recent estimates of the United States Census, there are nearly 3,000 rental units in the city, representing 44 percent of the total housing stock and housing some 6,600 people, or 41 percent of the total population. There are at least 420 subsidized rental units in the city, which represent about 14 percent the rental housing market. The Laconia Housing Authority owns 243 units divided among four buildings, including 98 units at Sunrise Towers, 60 at Normandin Square Apartments and 50 at the Tavern. In addition, the authority issues some 300 so called Section 8 vouchers, which subsidize the rents of qualified tenants.The Laconia Area Community Land Trust owns 107 units in the city, nearly a third of them at River's Edge, which opened last year.

Bean, who has rented apartments in the city for 40 years, said that the proliferation of subsidized low-income housing has depressed rents in the private sector, leaving landlords without the means to reinvest in the maintenance and improvement of their properties. He said that a unit he rented for $185 per week in 1982 is renting today for $204 per week, an increase of 10 percent, a fraction of the increase in the costs of maintenance, utilities and property taxes.

At the same time, as subsidized units have added to the inventory of rental units, Bean said that vacancies have risen in the private sector. He estimated his vacancy rate fell between 15 percent and 20 percent. Sheri Minor, who rents some 75 apartments and manufactured homes, said until recently her units were usually full, but now vacancies are approaching 10 percent. Like Minor, Dick Allen of Allen Enterprises, who rents some 50 units, said "we've usually been full, but vacancies are near 20 percent." He said that he lost tenants when River's Edge opened, noting that his older units are no match for newly built apartments.

Bean said that the Laconia Housing Authority and Laconia Area Community Land Trust qualify and restrict their tenants, which leaves private landlords renting to a disproportionate share of those at greatest risk of defaulting on their rent. One landlord, who asked not to be named, said $45,000 in back rent will be owed at the end of this month, adding "I don't like to see this list because it ruins my day."

"I can take four weeks rent as a security deposit, but eviction takes seven weeks," Bean said. "Tell me how that adds up."

Bean said that his wife, Priscilla, like most landlords, handles evictions to spare the cost of an attorney, which can run to $3,000. Minor said that a recent eviction left her with $1,800 in unpaid rent, $300 in legal costs and $5,000 in costs to repair and clean the unit.

Bean said that private landlords are caught between the challenge of competing with subsidized housing developments and the risks of serving a financially challenged demographic.

"The worse it gets, the worse it gets," he said.

He noted that several landlords including the Gilbert family and Warren Howard, both mainstays of the rental market for many years, are divesting their properties.

Minor said that several landlords intend to voice their concerns to the City Council when it meets on Monday evening.

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