Called to action - Tilton woman an eyewitness to history at Standing Rock


TILTON — Jennifer Hyslop found much to admire in the water protection activists she met when she went to North Dakota last month to show support for those fighting to prevent an oil pipeline from being built which threatens the water supply of the Standing Rock Reservation, the Missouri River.

“It's like building a pipeline around Lake Winnipesaukee,” said Hyslop, who is the secretary of the Laconia Indian Historical Society, and felt motivated to make the trip in order to use her skills in photography and bring back video footage which would enable her to tell the story about what is happening.

“No one seems to be aware of what is happening there. I think it is important that we show support for this effort to protect the water and for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe,” said Hyslop.

She said she grew up attending the annual pow wows held by LIHA on Labor Day weekends in Sanbornton, and now works with the other members of the organization to try and keep Native American heritage and traditions alive, including respect for the earth and the environment.

On Nov. 15 she left Tilton with two friends, Kayla Lent and Amanda LeBrecque, and the trio drove for nearly 30 hours to reach Cannon Ball, North Dakota, a trip that covered 1,426 miles.

“Our Subaru was to packed to the max with donations, so much so that we had to strap some to the roof. I fund-raised over $700 and over $1,000 in donations on my own. Going to Oceti Sakowin was a life-changing event. I met many kind people and I have a lot I would like to share,” said Hyslop.

Before she arrived at the camp, she and her friends stopped to rest and celebrate the fact that they had reached South Dakota. She was so excited that they were nearing their goal that she did a little impromptu dance to celebrate and ended up landing awkwardly, breaking her left foot.

“At first I thought it was going to be all right. But a few hours later thee was a burning sensation and it was starting to swell, so I ended up going to a hospital and having a boot cast put on my foot,” said Hyslop, who was determined to complete her journey despite the pain and discomfort from the injured foot.

Once she told the nurses at the hospital where she was going, they expressed fear for her safety and told her to be careful.

“That really unsettled my friends, but at that point I had no fear. I was just proud of what we were doing and feeling very humble at the same time.

The one thing she noticed when she first arrived at the camp at Oceti Sakowin was how there was a law enforcement presence just about everywhere and how huge searchlights, trained on the camp, were on as soon as it got dark and stayed on throughout the night.

The effort to halt the pipeline has been in the national news for months and nearly 6,000 people have joined in the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the most recent being 2,000 military veterans who arrived last weekend in North Dakota. After the Standing Rock Sioux tribe lost its court battle seeking an injunction to stop construction, state authorities ordered them to leave the camp or face arrest. But as the deadline for leaving approached, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would not permit an easement through federal land and temporarily halted the construction of the pipeline to allow an environmental impact review.

Hyslop was cheered by the news about the easement, but said she is concerned that Donald Trump will reverse the action next month after he becomes president. She said she will continue to try and explain how important it is to keep the pipeline, which will take crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois, from being built.

She said that one of the most impressive people she met while in the camp was Lee Sprague, an instructor at the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, who stands nearly 7 feet tall and was teaching his fellow activists water rescue techniques which could be used in the river which passes through their camp.

“He's an amazing person and talked to us a lot about how deeply the Native Americans feel about the way the land and is being violated,” said Hyslop.

She said that shortly after they left on Nov. 18 to return to New Hampshire the canoes and boats that he had been using were stolen by private security guards hired by the company which is building the pipeline and taken to Turtle Island in the river, where they were smashed and dented and secured behind a razor-wire enclosure. Sprague eventually was able to cut the wire and bring back the canoes and boats, which had been rendered virtually useless, and that a fund drive has since been launched to replace the boats.

“It was an experience that I'll always remember. And I want to share it with as many people as I can who will listen,” said Hyslop, who is 22 and holds a degree in art education from Plymouth State University.

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Kayla Lent, Amanda LeBrecque and Jennifer Hyslop stand with Lee Sprague, an instructor at the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, one of the water protectors engaged in a protest to prevent an oil pipeline from being built in North Dakota. (Courtesy photo)

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Jennifer Hyslop, left, of Tilton returned recently from Standing Rock, North Dakota, where she joined with activists, shown in main photo, right, who are trying to prevent an oil pipeline from being built which threatens the water supply of the Standing Rock Reservation. She is on crutches after having broken her foot in an impromptu victory celebration after having arrived in North Dakota. (Courtesy photos)

Dragged - City police sergeant has close call when trying to arrest wanted man


LACONIA — City police captured a wanted Belmont man who had skipped out on his recent sentencing hearing in Superior Court but it took a police chase and the dragging of a city police sergeant to do it.

12-08 Joshua LevesqueA city police sergeant recognized Joshua Levesque, 26, of 12 Countryside Circle in Belmont as he was traveling on Valley Street around 4 a.m. Wednesday.

According to affidavits, the sergeant activated his blue lights on Stark Street. Levesque, who was headed toward him, drove past the sergeant but stopped.

A second officer in the area arrived and saw the sergeant out of his cruiser and talking with Levesque through the driver's window. Affidavits said that Levesque was still in the car and the second officer saw that Levesque's car wheels were spinning in snow as he tried to inch forward.

He said the sergeant opened Levesque's door and told him there was a warrant for his arrest, but Levesque's wheels caught some traction and he started driving away, dragging the sergeant, whose feet were sliding in the snow as he hung on to Levesque's open car door.

The sergeant let go of the door and fell away from Levesque's car. He told the second officer that Levesque was driving that car and to follow him cautiously as it was snowing.

The officer followed Levesque through downtown Laconia, but when Levesque passed a snowplow and headed into Belmont at speeds of 30 to 60 mph the officer stopped chasing him.

City police began an investigation into where Levesque could have gone and received information that his car had recently been seen on Edwards Street. Police found his vehicle abandoned at the end of Truland Street with his female passenger sitting on the steps of one of the houses.

Officers followed Levesque's tracks in the snow, which went through three back yards on Joliet Street, across Dolloff Street, and eventually to a back door on Cottage Street.

While police were speaking with a resident of the Cottage Street home, one of the officers saw what looked like a jacket in the bushes in the front of the house. He peering in and recognized Levesque, who began running.

The officer tackled Levesque in the front of the neighbor's yard. He was carrying two packages of suboxone and taken into custody.

Last week, Levesque had been scheduled to appear in Belknap County Superior Court where he had agreed to be sentenced to serve a 3- to 7-year sentence for various counts of possession of drugs, including methamphetamine, buprenorphine and alprazolam, as well as resisting arrest.

Levesque, who was out on bail, came to court that day but his hearing was postponed until the next day. When he failed to show, the court issued a warrant for his arrest.

Levesque faces new charges of felony reckless conduct for dragging the sergeant, two counts of disobeying an officer, one count of possession of drugs and one count of resisting arrest.

He is being held on $20,000 cash-only bail.

Police Chief Chris Adams said Wednesday that the sergeant was not injured in the incident. Adams said he was glad it was snowing because his sergeant was able to slide on his feet and not be dragged under the car.

CruCon Cruises grows

M’boro company joins Travel Leaders Group


MOULTONBOROUGH — CruCon Cruise Outlet has entered an agreement with the Travel Leaders Group, which will make a significant investment and take an equity stake in the company. Neither the amount of investment nor the terms of the agreement were disclosed.

Founded by Sandy Cleary, CruCon grew from an internet travel agency begun in her mother's basement in 1995, established its headquarters in Moultonborough in 2004 and now sells cruises at discounted prices to some 100,000 guests a year and books annual sales of more than $125 million. Cleary said Wednesday that as a result of the agreement CruCon will become one of many subsidiaries of the Travel Leaders Group under the umbrella the Travel Leaders Leisure Group.

Established in 2008, the Travel Leaders Group has grown, primarily through acquisitions, into the largest traditional travel agency company in North America with annual sales approaching $21 billion. Among its subsidiary companies is the Travel Leaders Network, formerly, a consortium of travel agencies which CruCon joined in 1999.

in a joint statement, Ninan Chacko, chief executive officer of the Travel Leaders Group and Cleary said that the with the investment in CruCon they will seek to increase annual cruise sales to as much as $1 billion during the next several years.

"By investing significantly in CruCon Cruise Outlet, one of the industry's foremost cruise leaders, we see an opportunity to rapidly increase Travel Leaders Group's cruise volume," he said.

Cleary, who will manage CruCon and oversee its investment strategy, said Wednesday that the funds will be applied to expanding the company's infrastructure and workforce as well as streamlining its operations. At the same time, she said that the with access to the Travel Leaders Group's other subsidiaries, CruCon will be positioned to add air travel, hotel accommodations and other offerings at discounted rates to its portfolio, which "will enable our clients to enjoy more fulfilling and cost-effective cruise experiences." She said that CruCon expects to triple its sales from 100,000 to 300,000 a year.

Cleary said CruCon currently employs 130 people and operates in one building while owning two others in Moultonborough.

"With the investment, we aim to grow into the other two buildings and increase the number of employees," she said, adding "if we can find the people." Like other employers in the region Cleary said that finding help has proven a challenge despite offering a competitive package of wages and benefits and providing employees three square meals a day.