Entries in New Hampshire (28)


Keene, N.H., Sues 'Robin Hooders' for Alleged Harassment

Eric O'Connell/Getty Images(KEENE, N.H.) -- A group of friends who call themselves the “Robin Hood of Keene” and put their name into action by feeding parking meters for strangers are now facing something much more serious than a parking ticket.

The group, part of the “Free Keene” movement in the small New Hampshire town, is being sued by the city itself, charged with harassing and taunting the city’s parking enforcement officers, and asked to stay 50 feet away from the officers at all times.

“I was definitely surprised,” Garret Ean, one of the six Keene residents named in the lawsuit, told ABC News. “The city had been talking about taking some sort of action and we didn’t know what they would be doing because we knew they couldn’t take criminal action against us.”

The lawsuit, filed by the city on May 1, alleges that Ean and his co-defendants -- James Cleaveland, Kate Ager, Ian Bernard Freeman, Graham Colson and Pete Eyre -- have, “regularly, repeatedly and intentionally taunted, interfered with, harassed and intimated” the city’s three officers by “following, surrounding, touching or nearly touching and otherwise taunting” them.

The six Keene residents have, since December 2012, committed themselves to “Robin Hood-ing,” their term for ensuring that at least one person is monitoring the city streets and feeding meters with donated money so that no Keene resident has to pay the $5 fine that comes when a meter expires or the approximate $20 fine if the car is left on the street for more than two hours.

“This is one instance when you can physically prevent an enforcement mechanism of government from occurring,” Ean said of the group’s motivation.  “The idea that you can physically shut down an enforcement arm of government, we’re not at that level of success yet, but it’s a goal to shoot for.”

Ean estimates that his group feeds $8 to $15 a day into the meters, or about $1,700 since they started in December. Keene has a population of about 24,000, according to the 2010 Census.

The city’s lawsuit claims the group’s efforts have led to the three parking officers’ being taunted online and on their days off, having had to alter their work duties because of “harassing behavior” and, in the case of one officer, experiencing “adverse physical effects.”

“That kind of shocks me,” Ean, who posts videos of his “Robin Hood-ing” efforts online, said of the medical claim.

“It was a positive relationship at the beginning,” he said of his contact with the officer. “I tried to find common ground but within the past month or two he got more standoffish and ceased being interested in talking to us at all.”

Officials with the city of Keene have not responded to a request for comment.

Ean, who makes a living landscaping and cooking in addition to the 25 hours or so per week he volunteers with the “Robin Hood of Keene,” says he plans to defend himself against the city’s claims using video evidence.

“Any interaction that I’ve done under the umbrella of ‘Robin Hood of Keene’ has been positive and the video evidence I’ve posted immediately after demonstrates that,” he said.  “I’d be interested to see what video they [the city of Keene] claim to have that shows any negative actions of anyone associated with Robin Hood-ing.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


WATCH: New Hampshire Man Reunited with Dog 10 Years Later

Courtesy of Emily Lafasciano(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Jamie Carpentier of Nashua, N.H., had always wondered whatever happened to Ginger, the dog that dropped out of his life nearly a decade ago.

On a whim, he logged on to the website of the Humane Society of Greater Nashua one night last month and looked through the dogs that were up for adoption, according to a report from ABC News affiliate WMUR in New Hampshire.  One click brought him to the listing of a 13-year-old basset hound named Ginger.

There was something about the description of Ginger that reminded Carpentier of his long-lost dog.  Though there were no pictures attached, Carpentier was struck by the dog’s description, which read: ”I have the longest ears and the biggest heart of any dog you will ever meet!  I am an older girl, but I still have a lot of spunk left.”

Without Carpentier’s knowledge, his ex-wife had surrendered Ginger to the Nashua Humane Society shelter in 2003.  An older couple adopted Ginger, but they returned her to the shelter last October when caring for Ginger became too difficult, according to the shelter.

It’s a tough adjustment for older animals coming into the shelter, and members of the Humane Society staff opened their homes to Ginger while waiting for a new family to adopt her, Noelle Schuyler, an event and outreach coordinator for the Humane Society shelter, told ABC News.

To Carpentier, the dog on the shelter’s website sounded like his lost companion.

“Just the paws, that’s the thing I remembered about her,” Carpentier told WMUR.  “She had these ‘ginormous’ paws.”

It was not until Carpentier was on the phone with staff members, who excitedly compared Ginger’s spots with the markings in the old photos that Carpentier had sent to them, that everyone realized Ginger could be the same dog.

“She’s a little bit more white now,” Schuyler said, “but she has three markers on her side that matched up.”

Shortly after that call, Carpentier met Ginger at the shelter.  Ten years had passed, and many of the staff members wondered how Ginger would react when Carpentier came down to the basement, where she was sleeping, Schuyler said.

Carpentier nudged Ginger gently out of her sleep, and Ginger began to sniff at Carpentier, Schuyler recalled.

“At one point he was petting her head, and he bent his face down, and she started licking his face.  That was the moment we saw that she recognized him,”  Schuyler said, as Ginger had never done that with anyone before.

“She just seemed like she knew it was me,” Carpentier told WMUR.  “It was me and my father that were there.  She just recognized us.”

After 10 years and some slobbery kisses, Carpentier and Ginger were reunited for good.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


NH Home Invasion Leaves Doctor and Wife Hospitalized

Comstock/Thinkstock(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Authorities are combing through a million-dollar New Hampshire mansion for clues to determine who brutally assaulted a local doctor and his wife before leaving them for dead last week.

Police responded to the home of Dr. Eduardo Quesada, 52, and his wife Sonia after they were attacked Saturday night in an apparent home invasion.

Police investigators, assisted by the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, have said that the house is still an active crime scene as they dust for fingerprints and search for any evidence to explain what happened in the $1.4 million suburban Manchester home.

"The homeowners were obviously confronted by a person or persons of interest," Chief John Bryfonski of the Bedford police said.

There have been no arrests but police say they are seeking a person of interest.  Investigators also say they have some leads, but none specific enough at this point to be helpful.  They are waiting to do more intensive interviews with the couple.

Meanwhile, Dr. Quesada, a respected anesthesiologist at the Elliot Hospital Pain Management Center in Manchester, clings to life in the same facility where he works.

Police say the couple were attacked Saturday night in the home, which was up for sale.  Quesada's wife was able to escape during the attack.  Covered in blood, she knocked on the door of a neighbor's house, where police found her shortly after someone called 911.

"It could have potentially been a hostage situation," Bryfonski said.  "That was a consideration, that was part of the plan, but the overarching concern was the safety of the homeowner and the child."

Police who stormed the house found the couple's 2-year-old child unharmed, and no sign of intruders.  Dr. Quesada, however, was so battered that police said they thought he was dead.

Police have not released details of his injuries or what caused them.  His wife is still in the hospital but the extent of her injuries is unclear.

"The focus of this case was the couple and maybe, in particular, the doctor and they went there with intention to perhaps steal something but perhaps harm the doctor," Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent and ABC News consultant, said.

Dr. Quesada was reportedly arrested at the house last year after a domestic disturbance call.  The charges were reportedly dropped, and police won't say whether the two incidents are related.

Authorities will not say whether the family was targeted, or whether anything was stolen.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ring Them Bells - Not! Salvation Army Noise Complaint

PRNewsFoto/The Salvation Army(PORTSMOUTH, N.H.) -- A New Hampshire woman has called the cops on the Salvation Army. Her complaint? Loud bell-ringing.

Sarah Hamilton-Parker, who works in the Portsmouth jewelry store, Lovell Designs, says the Salvation Army has been encamped outside her store every year for the past four. By her calculation, she has been exposed to 1,400 hours of bell-ringing.

"My customers complain about it," she tells ABC News. "They ask me how I possibly can stand it." In fact, she cannot. She has to wear ear plugs in the store to keep her sanity, but even those can't keep out the noise of the four people outside, standing alongside one of the Army's signature red pots, lustily clanging away. The store's huge plate glass windows, she says, only make the noise worse. "They bring it in," she says.

She's been told that the ringers will hold this position for a month. "Is it unreasonable to ask them to move around a little—to go somewhere else so I can get a break?" she asks. In the past, she has tried to beg relief from local Salvation Army leaders; but her calls, she says, have gone unreturned.

This year she cracked, and called police.

Despite her complaint, the bells continue. Police captain Mike Schwartz told Seacoast Online that he appreciates the woman's concern but that the Army has been granted an exemption from the city's anti-noise ordinance.

Hamilton-Parker says the ordinance expressly prohibits noises that are annoying, prolonged, disturbing of the peace, or excessive. "Excessive?!" she asks. "I'm not sure what could be more excessive than 360 hours a year."

Jennifer Byrd, the Salvation Army's national public relations director, says about 25,000 ringers and pot-watchers blanket the U.S. every holiday season, taking up their positions the day after Thanksgiving and laying down their bells on Christmas Eve. They took in $147.6 million last year, she says, up a few percent from the year before.

"We don't actually hear a lot of noise complaints," Byrd says. Most people, she thinks, look forward to the arrival of the ringers every year, since they associate them with Christmas and with giving. But, says Byrd, "we definitely value our relations with our local merchants—the folks that let us stand our kettles in front of their stores. And because we do, we try to work out complaints on a case-by-case basis."

Yet, Hamilton-Parker says that if she fails to get satisfaction from local Salvation Army representatives, her next step will be to write to the city council. Seacoast Online is reporting that a local Salvation Army captain has offered to equip the ringers outside Hamilton-Parker's store with a quieter bell and to reduce their number from four to one.

She's no Grinch, Hamilton-Parker insists, nor does she hate Christmas (as Seacoast Online had quoted her as saying). She tells ABC News she understands the affection many people feel at Christmas time for the red pot and the ringing. "What a world of merriment their melody foretells," she says, quoting a line from the first stanza of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Bells."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


High School Football Ban Proposal Under Attack in New Hampshire

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A retired New Hampshire doctor and school board member has caused an uproar with his proposed ban on high school football, saying the game is too dangerous for underage students.

High school football is an American institution, so when Dr. Paul Butler advanced what many people believe is a radical idea at a sparsely attended meeting in Dover, N.H., the former high school football player caused a commotion near and far.

"We have a moral imperative to at least begin the process of ending this game," Butler told ABC's Good Morning America.  "The literature is clear.  This is a dangerous game for children to be playing."

The local news media soon got wind of Butler's idea, and coverage of his notion that the beloved Dover High School team -- The Green Wave -- has to go, quickly went national.

Big blows taken on the football field can be the equivalent of taking a sledge hammer to the head, according to ESPN.  And it's not just in pro football.  New studies show that minors who play high school football, even Pee Wee League football, are also exposing themselves to the dangers of head trauma.

"A game that uses the head as a battering ram is not a smart game to allow a youngster to play," Butler said.

Critics of his proposed ban include the school board chairman and the local newspaper.

Butler admits that he lacks the votes to ban football right now, but given the mounting evidence, he adds, his proposal is a first step toward the inevitable.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cops Search Sea for Missing UNH Student, Believed Strangled

Comstock/Thinkstock(PORTSMOUTH, N.H.) -- A New Hampshire martial arts instructor was held without bail Monday, accused of strangling or suffocating college sophomore Elizabeth Marriott, whose body remains missing, and which authorities believe was dumped at sea.

Seth Mazzaglia, 29, of Dover, N.H., appeared in court via video conference Monday to be charged with second degree murder.

"You caused the death of Elizabeth Marriott," Judge Stephen Morrison read in a description of the case. "The circumstances that manifested in an extreme indifference to human life by strangling her and/or suffocating her."

Marriott, a 19-year-old marine biology major at the University of New Hampshire, was last heard from Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Her body has yet to be discovered and authorities have not yet disclosed how they know the cause of death.

Authorities said Marriott knew Mazzaglia and believed her body had been deposited in the murky, choppy waters near Pierce Island, N.H.

"Marine patrol continues to search the waters, specifically looking at Lookout Point at Peirce Island. Given the eddies and current, there have been many challenges. The search may last several more days. They have not exhausted that search," Associate Attorney General Jane Young told reporters following Monday's hearing.

Young said investigators were using sonar and underwater cameras as well as cadaver dogs to search the water and along the coast.

"I can tell you [Marriott and Mazzaglia] were familiar with one another and this was not a random incident," she said.

Mazzaglia did not enter a plea, and is next expected in court on Oct. 29 for a probable cause hearing.

"She was a very good student with a pleasant personality," Anthony Hanna, Marriott's uncle told ABC News, soon after her disappearance.

"She volunteered at the aquarium and wanted to be a marine biologist. She's a sweet kid and a very pretty girl with a lot of enthusiasm and was excited about earning her degree," said Hanna, with whom she lived while she was attending school.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NH Hospital Employee Blamed for Infecting Dozens of Patients with Hepatitis C

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(EXETER, N.H.) -- A New Hampshire hospital employee has been indicted for causing a Hepatitis C outbreak that infected 31 patients in the hospital's cardiac catheterization lab.

David Kwiatkowski, 32, was arrested and charged with acquiring a controlled substance by fraud and tampering with a consumer product with "reckless disregard" for the risk of others, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire.

"The evidence gathered to date points irrefutably to Kwiatkowski as the source of the Hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital," U.S. attorney John P. Kacavas said in a press release. "With his arrest, we have eliminated the 'serial infector' posed to public and health safety."

The controlled substance was Fentanyl, an anesthetic more powerful than morphine. Kwiatkowski had allegedly been stealing the Fentanyl syringes intended for patients, injecting his own arm and then refilling those empty syringes with another liquid like saline, according to the press release.

Since Kwiatkowski tested positive for Hepatitis C in June 2010, he passed it on to the hospital patients, according to the affidavit.

Exeter Hospital employees discovered the outbreak in May 2012, prompting an investigation that spanned several local, state and federal government agencies, including the FBI, according to court documents obtained by ABC News.

Investigators wrote that they suspect Kwiatkowski grabbed the loaded syringes when he brought lead aprons into the procedure room, an area he didn't need to be inside at all. They suspect Kwiatkowski then replaced the Fentanyl syringes with saline syringes that were tainted with his strain of Hepatitis C.

Kwiatkowski was known for erratic behavior and suspected of abusing controlled substances, according to the affidavit. Other hospital employees said he would often sweat through his scrubs and made frequent trips to the bathroom.

One employee told investigators she saw "fresh track marks" when she tried to draw his blood. Another told investigators he remembered seeing Kwiatkowski with, "a red face, red eyes and white foam around his mouth" during a shift at the lab.

Kwiatkowski also had a tendency to lie, employees told investigators. He told coworkers that he played baseball in college, and that his one-time fiancée died "under tragic circumstances," neither of which were true. He also once excused bloodshot eyes by saying he was crying all night about a dead aunt who never existed.

When his roommate inquired about the needles in his laundry, Kwiatkowski told her he had cancer and was being treated at Portsmouth Regional hospital, according to the affidavit. Investigators found no documentation to prove this.

Kwiatkowski, who does not yet have a lawyer, was arrested Thursday morning in Massachusetts, where he was being treated at a hospital. He faces up to 24 years in prison. Each offense could also result in a $250,000 fine.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fireworks Deck Explosion Injures 9 In N.H., 2 Toddlers Severely Injured

John White Photos/Flickr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A fireworks explosion on a deck injured nine people in New Hampshire and left two toddlers severely injured in an accident one neighbor said "sounded like a million gunshots."

Five people were taken to the hospital by ambulance, while two children ages 3 and 4, who were described as "severe," were taken by helicopter for treatment in Boston.

One neighbor said he could feel his house shake 200 yards away during the explosion, ABC News' affiliate WMUR reported. Another neighbor likened the explosion to gunshots.

"I heard it sounded like a million gunshots, and I thought maybe they were testing it, and then I saw the huge mushroom cloud and I was like, 'Oh man, that can't be good,'" Taylor Jackson told the station.

At least 30 people were inside the Pelham, N.H., home attending a party when disaster struck.

Elsewhere in New Hampshire, police said four children were injured on Rye Beach after they put several lit sparklers inside a glass jar, causing it to explode.

Police did not release the ages or conditions of the injured, but said one was transported by helicopter to Massachusetts General Hospital late Tuesday night, while the other three were taken by ambulance to Portsmouth Regional Hospital.

A 24-year-old man is recuperating in a Florida hospital after fireworks he was handling blew off his left thumb and severely injured his hands, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Matthew Lewandowski was loading a firework mortar when it exploded in the tube he was holding, blowing off his left thumb and giving him serious burns on his hands, arms, stomach and right leg, the newspaper reported.

Lewandowski's condition was not immediately known.

The dangers of fireworks are also compounded by a heat wave sweeping the nation.

Cities and counties in 20 states banned fireworks this 4th of July due to scorching temperatures and drought conditions.

Parts of nearly a dozen states, from the Southwest to the West, are in severe drought.

Thousands of square miles have been charred by wildfires in recent months. Firefighters in Colorado are currently working to contain the Waldo Canyon Fire, which burned through more than 18,000 acres after it started in June 23.

Fireworks were blamed for more than 15,500 blazes and $36 million in property damage in 2010, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Several Injured in New Hampshire Fireworks Accident

Thinkstock/Getty Images(PELHAM, N.H.) -- Police say nine people were hurt when a neighborhood fireworks display exploded prematurely on a backyard deck in Pelham, N.H., Tuesday.

Witnesses described hearing what sounded like gunshots coming from the home and at least one resident reported seeing a “huge mushroom cloud” of smoke.

Three of the victims were children. Two of the kids suffered serious burns and were flown to Boston-area hospitals for treatment. The other victims were transported by ambulance to local hospitals.

Residents say that the family holds a neighborhood fireworks display every year and that there were dozens of people at the home at the time of Tuesday’s accident.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Hampshire Man Writes Letter a Day to Mom for 30 Years

Eileen Bach/Thinkstock(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- There’s no doubt that Mike Geraci loves his mother. He’s been showing her how much by writing her a letter a day — and sending it by snail mail — for the last 30 years.

Eleven thousand letters later, the software engineer from Portsmouth, N.H., has no plans to slow down.

“You should appreciate the ones you love and show your appreciation because you never know. One day they might not be there,” Geraci said in an interview with ABC’s New Hampshire affiliate, WMUR.

His mother, Gloria Britt, is appreciative, but says, “I could never do that, sit down and write every day. He’s lucky to get a letter from me once a year.”

Geraci told WMUR that he started the practice in 1981. He was 19-years-old, and was just starting out in his career in California when he got word that his mother had been in a horrible car accident. He couldn’t be by her side, so he wrote to her every day through her recovery and rehabilitation and just never stopped.

Every 1,000th letter is either framed or in the form of a plaque. Geraci said he once considered writing his mom on email, but decided to continue his daily communication the old-fashioned way.

“I have no plans of stopping, ever. I’m here to stay. The letter-writing will continue on,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio