MARCH 30, 2011

Union Leader Correspondent
PELHAM -- Local gaming enthusiasts can partake in their favorite arcade offerings for a worthy cause next week when a Pinkerton Academy graduate teams with a local business to raise money to fight the disease that struck her mother and stepmother.
Windham native Heather Pfeifer, 36, who graduated from Pinkerton Academy in 1993, and The Pinball Wizard Arcade, located behind Chunky’s Cinema Pub on Route 38 in Pelham, are holding a breast cancer fundraiser in honor of Pfeifer’s mom and stepmom on April 4, 5 and 6 at the arcade.
Owner Sarah St. John has agreed to donate 25 percent of the days’ sales to each patron who presents one of Pfeifer’s coupons.
The arcade, which features a collection of vintage pinball machines and retro video games, as well as more modern favorites, is open each of those days from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Pfeifer is organizing the fundraiser in conjunction with her participation in the 39-mile Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Boston on May 14 and 15.
Her goal is to raise $1,800 for the Avon Foundation this spring, which will be used to fund education programs, accessible patient care and research for new treatments and cures.
“It’s a big commitment, one that will require me to spend the next several months training and fundraising,” Pfeifer said. “But breast cancer is a big disease, one that still affects far too many people, and I’m determined to do everything I can to help put an end to it.”
Pfeifer said she was inspired to participate in the event in honor of her mother, Bonnie MacLeod of Pepperell, Mass., and stepmother, Diane MacLeod of Windham. Both are breast cancer survivors.
“They are the two most important women and friends in my life, and I am glad they are still with me,” Pfeifer said this week. “I know so many other people who were not so lucky.” Pfeifer’s stepmother was diagnosed with breast cancer 13 years ago, and overcame the disease following a partial mastectomy and radiation treatment.
Her mother was diagnosed with the disease just over a year ago. It was Pfeifer’s 35th birthday.
“She spent the next six months battling and, thankfully, overcoming it,” Pfiefer said. “She went through a mastectomy and aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Thanks to research and fundraising like this walk, she had the best doctors and treatment available to her.”
Those who would like to attend the arcade fundraiser can contact Pfeifer at heather_  with the subject line: Avon Coupon.
Checks made out to “Avon Walk for Breast Cancer” can also be dropped off at The Pinball Wizard Arcade. 

MARCH 24, 2011

Union Leader Correspondent
PELHAM -- Despite a 21count indictment against Pelham Public Library Director Robert Rice stemming from his previous job at a Massachusetts library, town officials here not only stand by him but continue to give him high marks.
Last week, a Massachusetts grand jury handed up the 21count indictment charging Rice, former director of the Revere Public Library, with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars by purchasing items with city funds and either keeping them or selling them and pocketing the proceeds, District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

The indictment charges Rice, 45, of Rowley, Mass., with three counts of larceny over $250, three counts of embezzlement by a city officer, and 15 counts of procurement fraud. All of the offenses are felonies. Rice is expected to be arraigned on the charges in Suffolk Superior Court on April 1.
On Tuesday, Pelham Library Trustee Chairman Fran Graboski said he did not expect a balanced portrayal of the situation involving Rice to be made in the public arena.
A statement issued by the trustees said the board was surprised by the recent action against Rice by Revere library officials.
“When we hired Bob in October 2009, we were aware there were issues regarding his prior position. Nevertheless, we were satisfied with his explanation, and his references were excellent. Bob’s service to the Pelham Public Library has been nothing short of exemplary. All of our financial matters are accurate to the penny, and our financial reports are open to public review at any time. We have complete confidence in our director to effectively run the library, and have no evidence to question his ability to perform his job. This board will continue to support him and look forward to putting this unpleasant situation behind us,” the statement reads. 

The charges against Rice date back to 2005 and allege that he bought books, software, DVDs, and collectible curios that were billed to the city of Revere. The purchased items ended up in Rice’s possession or in online auctions on eBay, according to court documents. In some cases, Rice allegedly used city funds to pay for items that were not shipped, then kept the refund checks sent to him by vendors, Conley said. Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Benjamin Goldberger of Conley’s Special Prosecutions Unit led the grand jury investigation, which followed an investigation by Revere police detectives, an audit by accountants retained by the City of Revere, and financial records analysis by the New England State Police Information Network. 
Revere city officials launched an investigation into the library’s financial records in 2009 after an audit turned up “questionable purchases.” 
Revere police were brought into the investigation, assisted by New England State Police Information Network and an outside accountant. 

MARCH 9, 2011
Proposed fire station fails in Pelham

Union Leader Correspondent
PELHAM -- Voters at the Pelham polls favored Article 2, the construction of a $3,700,000 new fire station on Village Green, with 1,505 voting in favor of the item and 1,107 opposed. The vote fell short, however, of the three-fifths majority required for the article to pass.
All 17 of the town warrants passed, though on the school side, Article 2, asking voters to spend $3,815,000 on a new kindergarten and preschool failed, with 1,101 voters in favor of the item, and 1,307 opposed.

The town’s two School Board candidates won an uncontested race, with Brian Carton earning 1,704 votes and Megan Larson earning 1,739.

The selectman race was likewise unopposed for the two open seats, with candidate Douglas Viger earning 1,694 votes and William McDevitt earning 1,788 votes.

FEB. 11, 2011


Union Leader Correspondent

PELHAM -- Deliberative session voters this week restored funding for a portable library building at the elementary school and debated a controversial kindergarten project.

After Wednesday’s deliberative session, the proposed school district operating budget sits at $24.7 million, down about one half-percent below the current year. The default budget is $24.6 million, about $82,000 less than the proposal.

The budget committee had earlier cut about $200,000 from the School Board budget request to purchase a portable building to house the library at Pelham Elementary School. A majority of voters Wednesday decided to put $150,000 back in the budget to purchase the portable building.

“Memorial school is busting at the seams,” said Linda Dart-Kathios. “... How many more times are we going to go back to Memorial school and ask them to be more creative?”
Early estimates showed the cost to lease the portable at $200,000, but School Board Chairman Rob Hardy said Wednesday that the $150,000 figure would cover the first year under a different lease agreement.
Voters Wednesday also spoke to both sides of a proposed $3.8 million combined preschool and kindergarten building.
The 17,000-square-foot building would replace the portable classrooms on the site of the elementary school with six kindergarten classrooms and four preschool classrooms intended to serve children who require special education services from age 3, as mandated by law.
The portable buildings are being leased by the district with state reimbursement until August 2012, according to district staff.
Kindergarten-related portions of the new building would qualify for a 75 percent state reimbursement guarantee, which district business administrator Adam Steel said is estimated to be about $1.1 million. Steel said that aid is only guaranteed through March and works as a reimbursement once the building is constructed.
If the new building does not pass in March, school board members said they would likely purchase the existing portables for $562,740.
“(Children) need to be educated here in our town, and this is the time to get it done,” said resident Maryalice Cookinham. “Don’t listen to the naysayers. This is $1.1 million they are going to give to us, don’t turn it away.”
But former School Board member Lorraine Dube said there are other options, like existing private kindergartens.
“Our children are worth kindergarten, but we could all contribute to the private kindergartens for our children, which would also provide the parents who must work with the option for full-day kindergarten,” Dube said.
The Budget Committee did not recommend the article. Committee Chairman Larry Hall said Wednesday that the committee had first been given a version of the plan that “lacked detail” for review, ultimately voting against the proposal.
Calling for the budget committee to reconsider their vote, resident Bill Scanzani convinced voters Wednesday to increase the bond amount by $10,000 to fund a new parking lot. The change will be enough to allow the committee to reconsider the plan.
A lengthy discussion surrounded three petition warrant articles presented by School Board member Linda Mahoney. The three would together fund the installation of a sprinkler system and a new heating and air conditioning system at Pelham High School and the construction of a new parking lot nearby. Citing last year’s failed high school proposal, Mahoney said it was time to start making improvements to the existing building.
But numerous others spoke out against the articles, calling them “Band-Aids” to a building riddled with other issues. Neither the School Board nor Budget Committee recommended the proposals.
Ultimately voters added language to the petition articles saying that the deficiencies were each “one of many” issues outlined in an accreditation report.

FEB. 9, 2010

Union Leader Correspondent
PELHAM -- The elderly Pelham man jailed since his standoff with police last month has been moved to a local hospital where doctors are evaluating him for admission to the state hospital.
George Labonte Sr., 72, of 4 Jones Road in Pelham, had been held on $50,000 cash bail at the Valley Street jail in Manchester since his arrest on Jan. 15 after a 33-hour standoff with police outside his home.

But after a bail order issued Monday, Labonte has been moved to Elliot Hospital in Manchester, where he was being evaluated as of yesterday afternoon, according to Labonte’s attorney, Joseph Caulfield of Nashua. 

“I am understandably relieved,” said Caulfield yesterday. He said he had not seen his client recently and had no information about his condition. 

Labonte is facing misdemeanor charges of criminal threatening and resisting arrest or detention. His trial is scheduled for Feb. 22. 

At Labonte’s arraignment last month, Caulfield asked that his client be released on personal recognizance bail to enter treatment for depression. 
Caulfield said that Labonte also suffers from “intractable” leg pain associated with his insulin-dependent diabetes. Labonte had intentionally overdosed on insulin at the time of the standoff, Caulfield said. 
Pelham police prosecutor Dennis Mannion said Labonte had been given an evaluation at the time of his arrest but that the state hospital would not admit him. 
At the time, Mannion said he could not release any information about why Labonte was not admitted. Mannion could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. 
But Caulfield said the only reason Labonte was not admitted to the state hospital after his arrest was because he was being held on cash bail. 
“He wasn’t rejected because he didn’t need help, he was rejected because of the cash bail,” Caulfield said Tuesday. “I expect him to be admitted now.” 
At the January arraignment, Judge Michael Sullivan said he would support Labonte’s hospitalization but could not sign off on his release without further assurances. 
Those bail conditions were nailed down in an order signed yesterday by Judge David Huot allowing Labonte to be transferred to Elliot Hospital in Manchester. 
If doctors find cause for an emergency inpatient admission to the New Hampshire State Hospital, Labonte’s bail will be adjusted to $50,000 personal recognizance, according to the bail order. 
But if Labonte is discharged, the order says that the hospital must notify Pelham police ahead of time and that Labonte’s bail will immediately revert back to $50,000 cash. Labonte would be immediately transported back to jail, the order said, with a new bail hearing to be scheduled. 
In another motion filed yesterday, Mannion asked the court to order Labonte to reimburse police for the cost of the standoff. 
Under state law, agencies can seek restitution for response expenses in cases where a person “takes another person or persons hostage or threatens to harm himself or another person” or “recklessly or intentionally creates a situation requiring an emergency response.” 
That individual’s liability is not to exceed $10,000 for any “single public agency response incident,” the law says. 
Police said Labonte threatened to kill officers who responded to his home on Jan. 13, after he allegedly made threats of suicide to his wife. Labonte was seen with a rifle on his shoulder during the standoff and several other weapons were found during a subsequent search of his home, according to police. 
Nine agencies responded to the standoff, according to police, for mutual aid and as part of three special operations units. A tally of the total costs exceeds $43,000. 
After reading newspaper reports about the cost of the standoff, Caulfield said he was expecting to see a restitution request come through but that he has not yet seen a copy of the motion. 
Caulfield said on Tuesday he could not comment on whether Labonte would consider paying restitution voluntarily. 
“At this time it would be premature to commit Mr. Labonte to one strategy or another,” he said. “I haven’t received the motion or discovery, and I’ll want to wait until (Labonte’s) condition has stabilized to see what he wants to do.” 

FEB. 5, 2010
Caitlin Yankowskas is held into the air by her partner, John Coughlin, during the pairs free skate program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro, N.C., last week. 

Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- It takes a certain amount of courage to pack up everything and move across the country at the age of 17 in pursuit of a dream that few achieve.
But Pelham native Caitlin Yankowskas, now 20, said she knew that a pairs figure skating training camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., could propel her skating career to the next level.

Yankowskas moved to Colorado in 2007 with her mother, Patricia, while her father, James, and older sister, Erica, stayed behind in Pelham.

James Yankowskas owns a dental practice in Massachu-setts, she said.
“It’s challenging and I get very emotional not being home around the holidays,” Yankowskas said. “I really miss my family and my friends, but to be the best you have to make a lot of sacrifices and I’m willing to do that.”
After approximately four years of training in Colorado with pairs coach Daliah Sappenfi eld, Yankowskas and her partner, 25-year-old John Coughlin of Kansas City, Mo., are finally getting a taste of that sweet success. 

The duo won their first pairs title at the U.S. Figure Skating National Championship last week in Greensboro, N.C. 

Beyond the elation of becoming national champions, Yankowskas said the moment held special meaning for the couple. Their long program, set to “Ave Maria,” was dedicated to Coughlin’s mother, Stacy Leigh Holmes Coughlin, who died last year after a lengthy battle with illness. 

“It was emotionally hard, but it was magical to skate something so beautiful,” Yankowskas said. 

“We stepped on the ice at Nationals and we both had goosebumps and knew that Stacy was with us. All we could think about was each other, not the audience or the judges or marks.” 
Yankowskas described the months leading up to Nationals as a trying time, compounded by the death of Coughlin’s mother, who had been an integral part of their skating team. 
During especially difficult practices, Yankowskas said she would reassure her partner with three quick squeezes to the hand – their secret way to say “I love you,” she said. 
And while Yankowskas was quick to clarify that she and Coughlin are not a couple off the ice, she described her skating partner as her best friend. 
“There is something very special that I have with John and I knew it the minute I met him,” she said. “I wasn’t really sure what it was, but we have a mental connection and an emotional connection and a physical connection.” 
While living in Pelham, Yankowskas was homeschooled and split her time between ballet lessons and hours of daily skating practice. For several years in her early teens, she competed as both a single and pairs skater. But by the time she moved to Colorado and almost immediately began skating with Coughlin, Yankowskas said she knew pairs skating was her calling. 
“It’s great to have a companion out there on the ice, and I’ve always loved being lifted and thrown and twisted,” she said. “Like in a pas de deux in ballet, it’s just beautiful to see two people out there, and you can’t help but relate because it looks like a love story on ice.” 
After a few days off this week, Yankowskas and Coughlin have again picked up an intense training regiment to prepare for the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taiwan starting Feb. 15. 
Then in March, the duo will compete at the World Figure Skating Championships in Tokyo. 
“It’s a big bounce-back and you can’t even think about how tired or sore you are,” Yankowskas said. “You just have to go with the flow and compete because that’s what our country wants us to do.” 
And after falling short of making the Olympic team in 2010, Yankowskas said she and Coughlin have their hearts and minds set on getting to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 games. 
“I can’t explain the fire in my heart for skating, but I have that and it has never gone away,” Yankowskas said. “Even when we didn’t make the Olympic team, I knew I had skating and that I was destined to be something great. I just had to be patient.”  I can’t explain the fire in my heart for skating, but I have that and it has never gone away.”

JAN. 29, 2011

A Pelham man is facing six felony sex assault charges after police say he allegedly assaulted a child numerous times between 2003 and 2008. The alleged assaults began when the child was 6-years-old. 
Robert Kreisz, 37, of 2 Lorraine Drive, in Pelham was arrested Thursday by police after an eight-week investigation launched after reports from the victim and family, police said.

Kreisz was arraigned in Derry District Court Friday, where his bail was set at $50,000 cash.

He is being held at the Hillsborough County House of Corrections pending a probable cause hearing.

Police said the case is still under investigation and may result in other charges.

JAN. 21, 2011
Union Leader Correspondent
PELHAM -- The cost of a recent 33-hour standoff has already exceeded $43,000, as area police officials begin to tally overtime hours for restitution.
More than 90 officers from Pelham and surrounding towns responded to the 33-hour standoff last week outside the Jones Road home of 72-year-old George Labonte Sr.
And Pelham police Lt. Gary Fisher said the de­partment plans to ask a judge to require Labonte to cover those costs. 
“This is the first time we’ve done this,” said Pelham police Lt. Gary Fisher regarding the restitution process. 
Each of Pelham’s 19 full-time officers spent time at the scene, Fisher said, ranging from three to 30.5  hours. With a total of 335 overtime hours, Pelham will pay $14,438 to its officers working the standoff, Fisher said. 
Costs to Pelham’s fire department are $3,700, he said. 
Fisher has asked all agencies that were involved in the incident to send their overtime and equipment expenses to the Pelham department, which will then be forwarded to a police prosecutor. 

Nashua’s Special Response Team brought 25 officers to the standoff, first arriving at about 8 a.m. Friday, said Nashua police Capt. Scott Howe, commander of the response team. 
Nashua officers spent 326 hours in Pelham with a total cost of $13,900 in overtime pay, Howe said. 
“Our information will be forwarded to (Pelham) Chief (Joseph) Roark and whatever he can do for restitution will be greatly appreciated,” Howe said. “I think it’s a great idea because obviously it’s a huge expense on any agency that has to go through this.” 
Thirty officers from surrounding towns responded to Pelham as part of the Southern New Hampshire Regional Special Operations Unit, said Derry police Capt. George Feole, unit commander for the SOU. 
Derry contributed eight of those officers for a total cost of $3,487, Feole said. 
In Salem, where four officers spent a combined 54 hours in Pelham last week as part of the SOU, Deputy Police Chief Shawn Patten said the town will pay about $2,400 in overtime expenses. 
Windham contributed one officer to the SOU for 14 hours and $585 in pay, said police Capt. Michael Caron. 
Police officials from Londonderry, Litchfield and Raymond could not be reached Thursday for comment, though Feole said the towns sent a combined nine officers to the SOU response. 
Hudson police helped Pelham officers direct traffic at the scene, costing another $5,270, Fisher said. 
The State Police SWAT team spent about 8 hours at the standoff, relieving the Nashua team at about 8 p.m. on Friday and continuing negotiations until Labonte’s surrender at 4:30 a.m. Saturday. 
Though State Police Maj. Russell Conte said he did not have specific numbers for the Pelham response, he said SWAT teams usually consist of between 15 and 20 troopers. 
But unlike other teams, the State Police SWAT does not usually incur large overtime expenses, Conte said, as it has members on regular overnight shifts. Conte said that at least half of the team called to Pelham was likely working a regular shift. 
And though the final decision lies with State Police Director Col. Robert Quinn, Conte said the division does not usually seek restitution for emergency call-outs. 
“We provide the service as an assistance to the towns and to the citizens and, generally, we don’t bill them,” Conte said. 
And there’s still some uncertainty about much of that total bill Labonte could be made to cover. 
Under state law, a town can seek restitution for response expenses if a judge finds that a person “takes another person or persons hostage or threatens to harm himself or another person” or “recklessly or intentionally creates a situation requiring an emergency response.” The law, which went into effect in 1999, says that a person’s liability for response expenses “shall not exceed $10,000 for any single public agency response incident.” 
Feole said he believes the statute would limit Labonte’s total liability to $10,000 for the entire Pelham incident, but said he does not know of previous cases where a town has sought restitution above that limit. 
In Raymond, for example, police collected $2,361 in court-ordered restitution from Thomas McNeil of 28 Mildred Ave. after a three-hour morning standoff in 2009, said Raymond police Sgt. David Spinney. All of that money was disbursed to other towns, he said, as Raymond officers were on their regular shifts during the incident. 
“It’s all dependent upon the judge,” Feole said Tuesday. “We ask for reimbursement, but it’s up to the court to order it.” 
Labonte’s wife, Phyllipa, declined to comment Thursday on plans to recover standoff costs from her husband. 

JAN. 19, 2011 

George LaBonte Sr. was arraigned Tuesday in Salem Distric Court.

Union Leader Correspondent

PELHAM -- For 33 hours last week, police say an armed 72-year-old George Labonte Sr. of Pelham taunted police officers with vulgar gestures and offensive language during a standoff at his Jones Road home. As Salem District Court Judge Michael Sullivan set bail at $50,000 cash Tuesday, Lt. Gary Fisher said Pelham police are looking to recover the costs of keeping officers at the standoff.

Each of Pelham’s 19 full-time officers spent at least a few hours on the scene, said Fisher, who has not yet tallied all the overtime hours.

“I wouldn’t even know where to begin,” he said. “At one point or another, the majority of our officers were there.”By law, a town can seek restitution if a judge finds that a person “takes another person or persons hostage or threatens to harm himself or another person” or “recklessly or intentionally creates a situation requiring an emergency response.”

State law says that a person shall not be found liable for more than $10,000 in any single incident.
Labonte’s attorney, Joseph Caulfield of Nashua, told Judge Sullivan that Labonte is a sick man, suffering from depression and painful, insulin-dependent diabetes. He doesn’t even remember the beginning of the Thursday incident, Caulfield said, after intentionally overdosing on insulin. 

“(Labonte) sent his wife away and decided to kill himself,” Caulfield said. “He took an overdose of his two types of insulin and lay down to die. The next thing he remembers, your honor, is tear gas canisters flying through his window.” 

Dressed in patterned pajama pants and with what looked like bruising on both sides of his face, Labonte moved slowly to his seat in the courtroom with the help of several police officers. He sat quietly, barely addressing the court at his arraignment on misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and criminal threatening. 

Pelham Police Officer Dennis Mannion told the court that Labonte was seen walking around his house with what looked like a rifle on his shoulder and had at least one phone conversation with negotiators during the standoff. Several guns were recovered after a search Of his 4 Jones Road home, he said. 

The standoff first began Thursday evening after Labonte’s wife, Phyllipa Labonte, told police that her husband had been in pain associated with his diabetes and had talked about killing himself, according to court documents. She told police that her husband was drunk and asked her to leave the home so “she wouldn’t see this,” court document say. When Pelham police responded to Labonte’s home about 7:30 p.m. last Thursday, he allegedly told officers he would “kill all of you,” Mannion said. 

Ultimately, the Southern New Hampshire Regional Special Operations Unit was called to help with negotiations, which later included efforts by the Nashua Special Reaction Team and the State Police SWAT team. Labonte surrendered to police about 4:30 a.m. Saturday. 
It’s not the first time that Labonte has been caught up in armed encounters with police. In October 2007, Labonte was involved in a 5 1 ⁄ 2- hour standoff at his home, after police responded to a domestic dispute between Labonte and his wife. Labonte was charged with simple assault and resisting arrest, but court documents show those charges were later dropped. 
In September of that year, Labonte was arrested on a charge of reckless conduct after police said he fired a gun at a neighbor’s home. When confronted by police, Labonte told officers, “I fired the gun, so what? It was on my property,” according to court documents. 
He was convicted in that case and was required to complete a firearm safety class. Labonte said in court Tuesday that he successfully completed the course. 
Mannion said that officers confiscated his firearms after the 2007 incident, but that Labonte successfully petitioned the court to get his guns back. 
Judge Sullivan set Labonte’s bail at $50,000 cash after Mannion called Labonte a “danger to society” and a “flight risk.” 
“There’s obviously a history of some abhorrent behavior that involves weapons and danger to the community,” Sullivan said. 
Caulfield argued that Labonte should be released on personal recognizance bail and allowed to enter treatment for depression. 
“He’s not a menace to anyone,” Caulfield said. “... The reaction of the police was serious and I accept that, but now we’re talking about taking this poor fellow and locking him up as opposed to putting him in a hospital.” 
Mannion said that Labonte was given an evaluation for an involuntary emergency admission to the state hospital, but that the hospital did not admit him. 
Labonte’s case is scheduled for trial in Salem District Court on Feb. 22. His wife and son, attorney George Labonte Jr., were present at the arraignment, but would not talk to reporters. 
Altogether, the Southern New Hampshire Regional Special Operations Unit brought 30 officers from surrounding towns to the Pelham scene, though not all at once, said Derry Police Capt. George Feole, unit commander for the regional SOU. Those supervisors, tactical officers and negotiators came from Derry, Londonderry, Hudson, Salem, Windham, Litchfield, Pelham and Raymond, he said. 
Nashua’s team took over for the SOU at about noon Friday, Fisher said, and State Police SWAT arrived at 8 p.m. Friday to relieve Nashua. 
Feole said that he has already asked police chiefs who sent officers to the SOU to tally up their town’s overtime expenses associated with the Pelham standoff. 
Those numbers, along with SOU equipment costs, will be forwarded to Pelham police prosecutors to bring to court, Feole said. 

JAN. 16, 2011 
Union Leader Correspondent
PELHAM -- After a 33-hour standoff at his Pelham home, a 72-year-old armed man surrendered peacefully to police early Saturday morning.
At about 4:30 a.m., George Labonte Sr. walked out of his 4 Jones Road home, after having no contact with negotiators for about five hours leading up to the surrender, said Pelham police Lt. Gary Fisher Saturday morning.
"All of a sudden he appeared," said Fisher, who had arrived back at the scene about half an hour before Labonte surrendered. "He was still argumentative, but he wasn't physically aggressive."
Officers arrived at the scene and tried to speak with Labonte, but he told officers he would "kill all of you" and refused to leave his home, Fisher said.Police first responded to Labonte's home at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday after his wife told police he had threatened to kill himself with a gun and asked officers to check on him, said Fisher.
At that point, members of the Southern New Hampshire Regional Special Operations Unit were called in to open negotiations.
Labonte remained "aggressive" and "hostile" throughout the standoff, Fisher said, at times making vulgar hand gestures and shouting obscenities at officers from his home.
Fisher said officers saw Labonte walking around the house with what looked like a rifle on his shoulder.
Pelham officers are executing a search warrant on the Jones Road home today, and Fisher said investigators have already found more weapons in the home.
Nearby Sherburne Road was closed Friday to block off a perimeter around the home, causing traffic headaches for residents and commuters alike.
While many called for swift police action to end the lengthy standoff, Fisher said negotiators were committed to a peaceful surrender.
"We were concerned not only for (Labonte's) safety, but the safety of police officers," Fisher said. "We knew there was a high probability of weapons in the building and because of comments he was making we did not want to escalate the situation to shots being fired on either side."
Labonte is being evaluated at Southern New Hampshire Regional Medical Center in Nashua for any medical and mental issues, Fisher said.
He will be arraigned on class A misdemeanor charges of criminal threatening and resisting arrest on Tuesday in Salem District Court.
In 2007, officers spent more than 5 hours in a standoff with Labonte after an alleged domestic assault. In that case, Labonte exited the home after making a single demand that he not be handcuffed.
In addition to Pelham police and members of the special operations team, Nashua's Special Response Team, the New Hampshire State Police SWAT team and Hudson police assisted in the standoff.
Many officers remained on the scene for more than 12 hours battling frigid overnight temperatures, Fisher said. Some had come to Jones Road directly after completing regular shifts in other towns, he said.
Fisher said the town of Pelham will be responsible for the overtime hours of its officers, but that other departments that sent officers to the scene will cover their own expenses.
Fisher said Pelham police will look into recovering their costs from Labonte in court.
"I'm happy it's over and I'm happy it came to a safe resolution," Fisher said. "And I'm more than grateful to all the agencies that assisted us. Without them, I don't know that we would've had this outcome."

JAN. 15, 2011 
Union Leader Correspondent
PELHAM -- Police on Friday blocked off portions of Jones and Sherburne roads as an armed 72-year-old man remained in a standoff against police. 
As of 11 p.m. Friday, George Labonte Sr., who also engaged police in a standoff in 2007, had refused to come out of his 4 Jones Road home. He had been holed up since 7:30 p.m. Thursday, when he threatened officers who had responded to his home at the request of his wife to check on his welfare. 
Labonte is armed with at least one weapon, said Pelham police Sgt. Michael Pickles. 
Neighbors said they could hear flash bangs and voices over a megaphone throughout Friday as Labonte continued to refuse to come out of his home. 
“The sounds would go in spurts,” said Donna Quigley, who lives two houses from Jones Road on Sherburne Road. “They did flash bangs during the night. There would be eight of those occurrences and then none for hours and then another three. And there was a lot of communication through the blow horn.” 
The incident began after Labonte’s wife went to the Pelham Police Department about 6:30 p.m. Thursday to report concerns about her husband’s “safety” and his “state of mind,” according to Pickles. 
Responding officers picked up Labonte’s son on the way to the Jones Street house, where he and police tried to talk to Labonte from the home’s garage about 7:30 p.m., Pickles said. 
“We tried to make contact with (Labonte) and he threatened everyone on scene,” Pickles said. 
After allegedly making threats Labonte refused to speak further with officers, and Pelham police called the special operations unit to the scene, Pickles said. 
Quigley said she could see officers in camouflage with large rifles in the woods behind her house, moving toward Labonte’s home and then backing away in repeating cycles. One officer crossed into her backyard for a brief time, she said. 
A total of 45 police officers from the Pelham Police Department, Southern New Hampshire Regional Special Operations Unit and Nashua SWAT unit were at the scene Friday. 

JAN. 14, 2011 
Police block off Jones Road after George Labonte Sr. threatened to harm himself
 or police if they tried to remove him from his home.
Union Leader Correspondent
PELHAM – For more than 13 hours, police have been in a standoff with a 72-year-old man who has refused to leave his Jones Road home after allegedly making threats against police.
Police said this morning the standoff is continuing and that members of the Southern New Hampshire Regional Special Operations Unit and Pelham Police Department remain at the scene. 
Police believe George Labonte Sr. of 4 Jones Road is armed with at least one weapon, said Pelham police Sgt. Michael Pickles.
After last night directing vehicles along Jones Road and around the scene, police have pushed back their perimiter to about a half-mile from Jones Road, closing Shelburne Road to traffic from Mammoth Road to Dracut Road in Hudson. Pickles said officers have had to reevaluate their strategy as daylight provided Labonte with better visibility from his home.
Pickles said that some neighbors have been evacuated, but that others have remained in their homes due to medical issues.
Drivers and school buses were advised to avoid the area, using alternate routes through Hudson and Dracut, Mass.
The incident began after Labonte's wife went to the Pelham Police Department about 6:30 p.m. Thursday to report concerns about her husband's "safety" and his "state of mind," according to Pickles.
Responding officers picked up Labonte's son on the way to the Jones Street house, where he and police tried to talk to Labonte from the home's garage about 7:30 p.m., Pickles said. It was at that point that Labonte began making threats, he said.
"We tried to make contact with (Labonte) and he threatened everyone on scene," Pickles said.
After allegedly making threats, Labonte refused to speak further with officers and Pelham police called the special operations unit to the scene, Pickles said.
"At this point, it's in the hands of the SOU and they'll do what they do," Pickles said at about 11 p.m. Thursday.
Altogether, about 45 officers from the SOU, Pelham, Windam, Salem and Londonderry were on scene until after midnight Thursday and many remained at Jones Road through the night.
Pickles said Labonte will be charged with criminal threatening.
Thursday's standoff is the third time officers have responded to Labonte's home for similar incidents, Pickles said.
In 2007, officers spent more than five hours in a standoff with Labonte after an alleged domestic assault. In that case, Labonte exited the home after making a single demand that he not be handcuffed.

JAN. 14, 2011 
Union Leader Correspondent
PELHAM -- Special operations negotiators were on the scene of a Pelham standoff late into the night Thursday, where police said a 72-year-old man threatened officers and refused to leave his Jones Road home.
George Labonte Sr. of 4 Jones Road remained holed up inside the home past 11:30 p.m., refusing to talk with negotiators, said Pelham police Sgt. Michael Pickles.
Pickles said officers believed Labonte was armed with at least one weapon.
At about 6:30 p.m. Thursday,
 Labonte’s wife went to the Pelham Police Department to report concerns about her husband’s “safety” and his “state of mind,” said Pelham police Lt. Michael Pickles Thursday night.
Responding officers picked up Labonte’s son on the way to the Jones Street house, where he and police tried to talk to Labonte from the home’s garage at about 7:30 p.m., Pickles said. “We tried to make contact with (Labonte) and he threatened everyone on scene,” Pickles said.
After allegedly making threats, Labonte refused to speak further with officers and
 Pelham police called the Southern New Hampshire Special Operations Unit to the scene, Pickles said.
“At this point, it’s in the hands of the SOU and they’ll do what they do,” Pickles said at about 11 p.m.
Altogether, about 45 officers from the SOU, Pelham, Windam, Salem and Londonderry were on scene until after midnight Thursday.
The entrance to Jones Road was blocked off throughout the incident, as officers directed traffic around the scene. Pickles said no one was evacuated from the area but that neighbors were advised to stay in
 their homes. At least one ambulance remained on scene throughout the night.
As of 11:30 p.m., Labonte had refused to speak with negotiators.
Pickles said Labonte will be charged with criminal threatening.
Thursday’s standoff is the third time officers have responded to Labonte’s home for similar incidents, Pickles said.
In 2007, officers spent more than five hours in a standoff with Labonte after an alleged domestic assault. In that case, Labonte exited the home after making a single demand that he not be handcuffed.