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Local and Regional Briefs


Sunday, May 26, 2019
Three in Upper Valley arrested for soliciting sex from minors

LEBANON — Lebanon police last week arrested three Upper Valley men on allegations that they tried to solicit minors for sex acts.

The arrests were part of a larger investigation by the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which launched a three-day undercover sting operation to crack down on people allegedly victimizing children, according to a news release released on Friday.

In all, the Lebanon and Nashua, N.H., police departments arrested a total of 12 men between Tuesday and Thursday on similar crimes. The men allegedly tried to meet up with what they thought were juveniles through a social media site for sex acts, police said. Undercover police officers, however, were the ones corresponding with the men charged.

The Upper Valley men are Jake Clarke, 33, of Newport, Richard Balla, 31, of Charlestown, and David Kendall, 25, of White River Junction. They all face charges of attempted sexual assault on a minor and uses of computer services prohibited.

Clarke has pleaded not guilty to the allegations. It wasn’t immediately clear if Balla and Kendall had been arraigned.

Several other people have been arrested on similar accusations in Lebanon this year.

House passes bill to helpgrandparent caregivers

CONCORD — Two bills aimed at helping New Hampshire grandparents who are the primary caretakers of their grandchildren are on their way to the governor’s desk.

One of the bills would give grandparents access to child care that is offered as a preventive and protective service through the state Department of Health and Human Services. The other would re-establish a commission to study the problems faced by such grandparents and address the availability of resources.

Supporters said the commission is especially important given that more and more grandparents are raising their grandchildren due to the opioid crisis.

The House gave both bills final approval on Thursday, sending them on to Gov. Chris Sununu.

10 Vermont arts groups to get grants from the NEA

MONTPELIER — Ten Vermont organizations are getting grants through the Art Works program of the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Vermont Arts Council will receive more than $724,000 to support arts programs, services and activities associated with carrying out the agency's National Endowment for the Arts-approved strategic plan.

Among the organizations that will be receiving grants in Vermont are New Music On The Point in Brandon, which will receive $10,000 to support the John Luther Adams Festival. The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington will receive two separate $35,000 grants to support a number of projects, including the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival.

The grants are part of $80 million for 1,114 new awards in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 4 U.S. jurisdictions.

Veterans home getting $1M for laundry, kitchen upgrades

TILTON, N.H. — The New Hampshire Veterans Home is getting more than $1 million in funding for some renovations.

The grant for the Tilton home is funded through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The money will be used for upgrades to the laundry and kitchen facilities.

Peggy LaBrecque, commandant of the veterans home, said the grant will improve efficiency and working conditions for the staff.

New Hampshire's congressional delegation supported the announcement and said it will improve the quality of life for the veterans.

Six taken to hospital after 2nd-floor deck collapses

NASHUA — Authorities say six people have been taken to the hospital with minor injuries after a second-floor porch collapsed in the city of Nashua.

First responders say about 20 people were on the deck Saturday night when it collapsed.

Nashua Fire Rescue says a half dozen of the people were taken to the hospital with minor lower extremity injuries.

The city's Building Safety Department is investigating.

— Staff and wire reports