Assailant caught

Man wounded during flight from choking incident in Belmont


BELMONT — A 21-year-old Gilford man is facing a Class B felony charge of second-degree assault and a Class A misdemeanor assault charge after allegedly choking a woman and fleeing when an armed neighbor intervened.
Police say the incident began shortly before 6 a.m. Friday when Izaiah J. Conway allegedly struck a Belmont woman several times with a baton at her residence on Cycle Lane, then choked her until she started to lose consciousness.
A male neighbor, who police have not identified, later told police he heard the woman yelling during the assault, and he went to her door and started pounding on it. His intervention caused Conway to break off the alleged assault and run to the door, kicking it outward with enough force to shatter it, according to police. The neighbor’s gun discharged, striking Conway in the leg, and Conway fled in a vehicle.
The woman called police who interviewed the witnesses and alerted area hospitals to be on the lookout for an adult male seeking medical attention for a gunshot wound to the leg. They also contacted his family and asked them to try to locate him to find out whether he was, in fact, injured.
Police recovered the handgun and a single shell casing. Based on the interviews and the physical evidence, police issued an arrest warrant for Conway.
The woman was evaluated for her injuries at a local hospital, and then released, police say.
At 5:34 p.m. Friday, members of the Gilford Police Department located Conway in that town and made the arrest, with Gilford medical personnel evaluating what was described as a grazing flesh wound to the leg. Gilford turned Conway over to Belmont police for booking.
Conway, who is being held in lieu of $15,000 bail, is scheduled to be arraigned at 1 p.m. today in Belknap County Superior Court.
Conway had a prior felony drug conviction in December 2015 and in 2016 was charged by Tilton police with being a felon in possession of loaded handgun. In December 2017, Laconia police arrested him on charges of breach of bail, domestic violence and criminal mischief.


Students begin this year’s FIRST Robotics competition


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Hunter Davies; Sophie Leggett and Tyler Hanf talk over strategy forthe Gilford High School FIRST Robotics Team; which is designing a robot for compeitions next month. (Roger Amsden/Laconia Daily Sun)


GILFORD — Members of the Gilford High School FIRST Robotics Team are putting in a lot of hours these days building a robot that will compete for glory over the coming months in competitions that culminate with championships on April 18-21 in Houston, Texas, and on April 25-28 in Detroit, Michigan.

2018 power up logo promoThe 20 students involved spend four to five hours a day and as many as eight to 10 hours on Saturdays working on the project, which is as much time as they spend in all of their other courses combined.

The competition sees teams involved in a six-week project in which they build a robot from a kit that is provided for them. The competition requires them to use their math, science, technology and engineering skills to design and program the robot to perform certain tasks.

Tyler Hanf, a senior, whose favorite subjects are math and science, sees his future as a computer science major in college. He said that his experience in working with the robotics team “completely changes how you view what you learn in the classroom. You go from the abstract to seeing how what you learn can be applied to creating something you can see in the real world.”

Hunter Davies, a junior from Belmont, has been involved in robotics programs there since the eighth grade, and is taking part in the Gilford program because it’s the only one in the area that provides the opportunity to compete at a high level.

“It’s like a  small family, where we all rely on each other and work together,” said Davies.

This year the team has changed the way it approaches the program. Instead of having a team captain or project leader, they’re using a non-hierarchical style that encourages input from all team members.

“It’s better than a sports team where you’re only together for practices and games. By the time the 45 days are over, we’re going to have spent 360 hours working together,” said Sophie Leggett, a  junior.

The enthusiasm the students have for the project they’re working on is exactly what Dean Kamen, founder of the FIRST program, had in mind.

“I want to compete for the hearts and minds of kids with the excitement of the Super Bowl,” Kamen said  in 1992 when 28 FIRST Robotics Competition teams met in a high school gym for the inaugural FIRST event.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded by Kamen in 1989 to inspire young people's interest in those fields. Based in Manchester, the not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

Participation is proven to encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields, inspire them to become leaders and innovators, and enhance their 21st century work-life skills, according to Jackie Drever, one of the mentors of the Gilford High School FIRST Robotics Team.

"It takes a lot of effort and a lot of dedication on their part," said Drever, who pointed out that the benefits of the intense involvement are shown by the fact that, in the last 10 years of the FIRST program in Gilford, students who took part in the program have received more than $500,000 in college scholarships.

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Shu-Shu Sawyer and Katrina Boucher are looking forward to using the math skills they are developing as part of the Gilford High School FIRST Robotics Team in their future careers. (Roger Amsden/Laconia Daily Sun)


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The Gilford High School FIRST Robotics Team is using a computer-aided design program to play this year’s game, called Power Up, in which teams are “trapped in an arcade game and have to defeat the boss to escape.” Shown are Haylee Perry, Brad Parker, student at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord who is helping the team, Noah Presby and Neal Miller. (Roger Amsden/Laconia Daily Sun)

Swept away

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Martin Kimbell, of Ashland, took advantage of the ice conditions on Lake Winnipesaukee on Monday to use a Kitewing to sail from Ellacoya State Park. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)

Icy conditions draw specialty sports enthusiasts


LAKE WINNIPESAUKEE — While most snow lovers were cursing the soaking rain that fell at the end of last week, a small subset of people were cheering the forecast – especially the frigid weather that arrived on the heels of the rain. Skaters, ice boaters and kitewingers knew that the result would be lakes covered with thick, smooth ice.
And, it turned out, it wasn’t only the locals that were thinking about the Lakes Region. Social media groups, blogs and forums were discussing ice conditions, and on Sunday and Monday, ice hounds found their way to Lake Winnipesaukee.
Martin Kimbell, of Ashland, was joined by Eric Morse and Laura Bonk at Ellacoya Beach on Monday, where they set up kitewings – handheld sails that range in size from 9 to 15 feet across, with which they planned to voyage all over the lake.
“It’s basically a small hang-glider,” said Kimbell. “They’re incredibly fun.” Kimbell operates Squambats Kitewing, which sells the Kitewings and associated equipment.
Morse said that part of the attraction of the Kitewings is that they allow winter outdoor sports enthusiasts something to do when Mother Nature spoils the snow.
“When you get a January thaw, and we usually do, and skiing isn’t as great, this gets better,” Morse said.
It was through media such as the Squambats Facebook page that people from further away were tipped off to the cold, thick and snowless surface of Lake Winnipesaukee – a condition that occurs rarely, but which offers unique opportunities when it does occur.
“Everybody talks to everybody, ‘where’s the best ice?’” Kimbell said.
Kitewingers can choose between wearing skis or skates as they sail along – Kimbell chose skis, Morse and Bonk skated. Many others came with skates alone.
Sue McNamara, from Portsmouth, and Forrest Barker, from Stratham, were part of a small group that also set off from Ellacoya on Monday. Their means of adventure was Nordic skates, which feature a blade much longer than a hockey or figure skate, with an attached binding that can be clipped into a pair of cross-country skiing boots. The longer blade allows for much less friction on the ice and for greater stability over bumps and cracks.
Though the ice is thick, those who venture onto it still have to be cautious, as Kimbell found out on Sunday when he skied into a pool, three-feet deep, which had formed between two plates of ice. He was fortunate that he could retrieve his skis and kitewing and quickly head off the lake, and that he was sailing with others that could help him.
“Be safe out there on the big ice,” Kimbell wrote on the Squambats Facebook page. “Remember your safety gear and wingmates. Conscious safety is a must.”

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Forrest Barker drove from Stratham to spend Monday skating across the thick, cold ice of Lake Winnipesaukee. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)