Officer Assault

LACONIA, N.H. (AP) – A former professional boxer found guilty of beating a Belmont police officer was sentenced Monday to 21/2 to 65 years in prison.

Richard Edson, 36, was sentenced based on four earlier convictions and an earlier assault against another officer.

Belknap County Attorney Lauren Noether sought a longer sentence under a state law allowing enhanced penalties for some crimes. Edson was found guilty last month of repeatedly punching and kicking Officer Judy Estes in the head and chest as she tried to arrest him for driving under the influence.

Edson previously served time for running over a Laconia police officer with a motorcycle.



Driveway Fire

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LACONIA, N.H. (AP) – Firefighters are investigating whether lightning may have set three vehicles on fire in a downtown driveway Monday.

The vehicles included a Jaguar coupe, a minivan and a camper. One neighbor said she heard a loud boom shortly before the fire was spotted.

Fire Captain Michael Drake said lightning was reported in the area at the time. He said a lightning bolt hit a fire alarm box near Lakes Region General Hospital shortly before the driveway fire was reported.



Flagpole Dispute

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TILTON, N.H. (AP) – The state Supreme Court has ruled against a businessman who wanted to erect a 90-foot flagpole in front of his tractor dealership.

In a decision issued Monday, the court upheld the town planning board, which had said the flagpole could be no higher than 50 feet. Board members were worried about noise and safety in flying an American flag the size of a small house.

MB Tractor and Equipment owner Marc Bourgeois had appealed the decision saying there was no law against putting up a 90-foot flagpole.



Historic Church

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PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) – A historic church where Martin Luther King, Jr., once spoke is up for sale.

The Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail organization is considering buying the former home of the New Hope Baptist Church. The church is known as the Pearl of Portsmouth. It was built in 1851 and hosted a visit from the civil rights leader in 1952. It is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

The church’s owner said she is proud of restoring the building but felt it was time for her to move on with her life.



Drug Arrests

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DURHAM, N.H. (AP) – A two-month investigation has led to the arrest of 13 people on drug charges.

Police said 11 of those arrested are University of New Hampshire students. Charges include sale and possession of illegal drugs.

The arrests came after an investigation involving Durham, Dover, Newmarket and university police. Those arrested have been freed on bail for appearances in Durham District Court.

AP-ES-05-24-04 1630EDT



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