GILFORD — The Daily Sun has verified that Patrol Officer Holly Harris is back on duty with the Police Department.
An unnamed town official had confirmed she had been on a paid administrative leave since the middle of September.
Harris, at one point the School Resource Officer, was place on leave about two weeks after Chief Kevin Keenan was placed on a paid administrative leave at the end of August.
Keenan remains on paid administrative leave.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 01:38
LACONIA — The attorney representing the Belknap County Commission has written to her counterpart representing the Belknap County Convention, which last month voted to petition the Belknap County Superior to resolve the dispute between the two over the county budget, questioning the authority of the convention to sue the commission.
Throughout the year the Republican majority of the convention has insisted that the convention can rewrite the budget proposed by the commission by adding or deleting, raising or lowering appropriations for particular line items. And, in the course of managing the budget, the commission may only reallocate funds from one line to another with the approval of the Executive Committee of the convention.
With equal resolve, the commissioners claim that the authority of the convention is limited to itemizing appropriations in 13 categories accord with the "Statement of County Appropriations and Revenue as Voted," or MS-42 form, submitted to the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration. Within these categories, the commission contends it can distribute funds among different lines without the approval of the convention as long as expenditures do not exceed the total appropriations of the particular categories.
In her letter Sharon Cuddy Somers of Donahue, Tucker & Ciandella, reminded David Horan that since July, when he was retained by the convention, she has twice asked him to explain the legal authority supporting the convention's position. Receiving no reply, she wrote "we can only assume that no such authority exists."
Furthermore, Somers noted that the prospect of litigation raises the question of whether the convention can bring legal actions and claimed that it has no such authority. The enumerated powers of the convention are prescribed by statute, but "nowhere does the statute indicate that the delegation (convention) may bring legal actions in court on behalf of the county, let alone against the county commissioners."
Likewise, Somers challenges the authority of the convention to retain and pay legal counsel. Although the authority to appropriate funds rests with the convention, the authority to enter contracts and approve expenditures rests with the commission. Before retaining Horan, the convention, without authorization from the commission, sought legal advice from the Mitchell Group, incurring a bill that has yet to be paid.
In closing, Somers advised Horan that the commissioners seek to avoid spending scarce public funds defending a lawsuit without merit, which the convention has no authority to initiate. Nevertheless, she continued "the commissioners will defend against the action and will seek to have those individuals who voted to proceed with the action be held personally responsible for attorney's fees and costs."
The vote to file suit was 10 to 4, with all 10 of the Republican members present voting in favor and all four of the Democratic members present voting against. Those in the majority were Representatives Colette Worsman, who chairs the convention, Bob Greemore and Herb Vadney of Meredith, Jane Cormier and Stephen Holmes of Alton, Guy Comtois of Barnstead, Chuck Fink and Mike Sylvia of Belmont, Richard Burchell of Gilmanton and Frank Tilton of Laconia. The four Democrats present were Lisa DiMartino of Gilford, Ruth Gulick of New Hampton, David Huot of Laconia and Ian Raymond of Sanbornton. Three Republicans — Don Flanders and Bob Luther of Laconia and Dennis Fields of Sanbornton — and one Democrat — Beth Arsenault of Laconia — were absent.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 01:36
MEREDITH — Other than waterfront properties on Lake Winnipesaukee worth more than $2 million each, all classes of property diminished in value when the valuation was updated in anticipation of setting the 2013 property tax rate.
Assessor Jim Commerford reported that the aggregate taxable value of the town decreased by $116,115,857, or 6.25-percent, from $1,858,056,791 in 2012 to $1,741,940,934 in 2013. The percentage change was consistent with the 2012 assessment ratio, which measures assessed values against market values, of 106.1 percent.
While the value of all waterfront properties dropped 4.6 percent, properties on Lake Winnipesaukee valued at more than $2 million appreciated 11.9 percent, their steepest increase since values were last updated in 2009. By contrast the value of all property on Lake Winnipesaukee fell 5.3 percent, with those valued at less than $1 million experiencing the sharpest decline of 9 percent while the value of properties valued between $1 million and $2 million slipped just 0.2 percent. The value of island properties on the lake slid 3.5 percent.
The value of properties on Lake Winnisquam declined 1.8 percent, on Lake Waukewan 2 percent, on Lake Wicwas 4.7 percent and Lake Pemigewasset 12 percent.
The value of single family homes dropped 9 percent, condominiums 5 percent, and multifamily dwellings 5.4 percent. Manufactured housing units in parks suffered the greatest loss of value — 30-percent.
Commercial and industrial property depreciated by 3.2 percent and vacant land fell 17 percent in value.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 01:15
LACONIA — After four days of testimony, Eric Grant took the stand in his own defense yesterday, telling the jury that he was not the "monster" is accused of being.
"I did not do this," he said breaking down into tears for the first time since his trial for aggravated felonious sexual assault began on November 12.
"I have lived for a year not thinking I could go home and see my little boys," the popular local band leader said. "I've waited a year to tell the jury — these people — that I did not do this."
Grant ex-wife's sister's daughter accused him of digitally assaulting her at a 2006 New Year's Eve Party at his former house in Gilford. The girl was 10 when the alleged assault happened and she told her therapist about it during a session with her therapist in 2012.
During her testimony, the girl was sitting next to Grant on an "L" shaped couch during the party when he allegedly slipped his finger down the back of her pants and touched her private parts. She said the alleged assault lasted "two minutes" and there was a room full of people that included her mother, step-father and her grandmother.
Grant's recollection of the night was similar in many way to the prosecution witnesses that included the girl's mother, Grant's ex-wife, and the girl's step-father, yet all who testified remembered different things happening at different times.
Under direct examination from his lawyer, Emily McLaughlin, Grant said the first time he was aware of any kind of issue with his niece was when his family went to visit her family in California about seven months later. He recalled the girl didn't want to be around him and the family sat and discussed what happened that night. He said yesterday he recalled the girl had farted in his face and that he had called her an unflattering name like "fart-face" or something and that he forcibly removed her from his lap by pushing her to the floor.
He said yesterday that he recalled having his thumb in her lower back and may have grabbed her pants in a "wedgie" way so she didn't get hurt on the coffee table when he put her on the floor.
He said she began crying and was undoubtedly embarrassed. He said when the two families were together in California he spoke to her an apologized for embarrassing her.
He recalled that his apology was triggered by the girl's desire to go shopping with his ex-wife and the girl's mother and the decision had been that the two sisters should have some alone time. He said the girl "had a fit" and she was acting "bratty" because she couldn't go.
That was when the families had their discussion, testified Grant. He said he didn't remember any talk of a "wedgie" but said he and the step-father disagreed about child rearing in general and how he thought that the alleged victim and her brother were ill-behaved and disrespectful to adults.
Grant also testified that when the two families vacationed together in Jamaica in 2011 the girl was sometimes acting like an overly dramatic teenaged girl but also recalled the vacation as one of the best he ever had.
Grant said it came to his attention that his ex-wife's side of the family may be treating the New year's Eve incident as something more when he and his soon-to-be ex-wife were having an argument regarding their business and their divorce.
He said he called her a "procrastinator" and then she retorted by saying, "well, at least I'm not a child molester."
Grant said about a year later, Belknap County Sheriff's Deputy Judy Estes knocked on his door and asked him about the event. Estes testified yesterday about his voluntary interview with her and the written statement he gave her.
Both Estes and Grant agreed he spoke willingly and was told he didn't have to talk to her and that he could get a lawyer.
During Asst. Belknap County Prosecutor Carley Ahern's cross examination of Grant, she pointed out some inconsistencies between his statement to Estes and his testimony yesterday.
Final arguments are scheduled for today at 9 a.m. Wednesday. The judge will give his jury instructions and the 9-man 3-woman jury will begin deliberations.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 01:09
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