Sanbornton chief bids for fulltime firefighters


SANBORNTON — Voters will again be asked to add two full-time firefighter/EMTs to a department staffed by on-call and per diem personnel, which Fire Chief Paul Dexter said is increasingly hard pressed to ensure the town of the emergency services it requires. A year ago, the proposal fell just four votes short of the required majority.

"We schedule according to the availability of our members," Dexter, the lone full-time member of the department, said Tuesday, "not the needs of the community or the department. I can't tell my volunteers when to work."

A proposed warrant article requests $135,200 for the salary and benefits of the two firefighter/EMTs, which would increase the department's operating budget by more than a third. The additional personnel would enable the department to staff a 12-hour daytime shift from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. seven days a week, with one full-time firefighter/EMT and one part-time per diem firefighter/EMT. Dexter said that ideally he would like to hire two full-time firefighter/paramedics.

Dexter explained that currently the department runs four shifts: a daytime shift from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; an evening shift from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.; a nighttime shift 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., and a morning shift from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. He said that the department can guarantee coverage only for the daytime and nighttime shifts and even then only one per diem firefighter/EMT and the chief or the chief alone may be on duty during the day.

The morning and evening shifts, when on-call firefighters are leaving and returning from work — often from outside the town — may or may not be staffed. Together these shifts represent nearly a third of the department's call volume. "Our response time on these shifts may be 20 or 30 minutes," Dexter said, adding that "30 minutes for a cardiac patient is death."

About half of all calls for service, the overwhelming majority for medical emergencies, occur during the daytime shift, a reflection of the aging demographic of the town. Dexter said that while Sanbornton has always been predominantly a residential community, it has increasingly become a retirement community as seasonal second homes have been converted to year-round primary residences by older homeowners.

"We're seeing more slips, trips and falls as well as congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)," Dexter said. "people who are really sick and need to go to the hospital. It's not the overuse of emergency medical services."

Dexter said that last year he predicted "a landslide either way" and was surprised by the margin of four votes and this year has simply sought to make the best case based on the numbers.

The Board of Selectmen recommended the warrant article with Karen Ober and Johnny Van Tassel voting in favor and chairman Dave Nickerson dissenting, while the Budget Committee recommended against it.

Reeling in the dough - Ice fisherman's winning catch came in shallow water

Josh Philbrick reacts as his name is drawn for the grand prize of $15,000 for his 4.26-pound rainbow trout caught Saturday morning in Alton Bay during the awards ceremony held on Sunday afternoon at Derby Headquarters in Meredith. (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)


Josh Philbrick reacts as his name is drawn for the grand prize of $15,000 for his 4.26-pound rainbow trout caught Saturday morning in Alton Bay during the awards ceremony held on Sunday afternoon at Derby Headquarters in Meredith. (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)


MEREDITH — The winner of the Great Meredith Rotary Fishing Derby said his winning 21.5-inch-long, 4.26-pound rainbow trout was landed early Saturday morning in Alton Bay in less than 6 feet of water.
Joshua Philbrick of Kittery, Maine, said he and his four fishing companions had scouted out Alton Bay on the previous weekend and experienced some problems with less than ideal ice conditions when they got on the ice Saturday morning.
"We came pretty close to breaking through and going in the water," said Philbrick, who landed what proved to be the winning fish in the derby at 6:45 a.m. Saturday.
He took home the $15,000 prize when his name was the last of the three drawn at Derby headquarters in Meredith Bay Sunday afternoon.
A home builder who has been taking part in the derby for the last four years, Philbrick said Sunday that he had no idea what he was going to do with his derby prize.
The grand prize winner is chosen at random from the seven anglers who land the largest fish of the weekend in their respective categories.
The second place prize of $5,000 went to David Young of Boylston, Massachusetts, who landed a 15-inch, 2.61-pound black crappie. The third place winner was Elijah Pitkin of Fremont, who won $3,000 with a 14.5-inch, 1.6-pound yellow perch.
Others eligible for the prizes included Wyatt Buhrman of Center Harbor with a 15-inch, 2.86-pound white perch; Chris Dopp of Loudon with a 27-inch, 5.16-pound pickerel; Jay Hubbard with a 32-inch, 11.2-pound lake trout and Pat Carberry of Sanbornville with a 31-inch, 7.09-inch cusk.
Buhrman, only 8 years old, said that he was fishing on Squam Lake with his brother, Van, who is 11 years old, and his father, Chuck.
Both boys had gotten up at 4:30 Sunday morning to go out to the bob house with their father, who had prepared them a breakfast sandwich and both landed white perch around 7 a.m. Van's catch, which weighed 2.46 pounds, ended up in third place on Sunday's leader board.
Ticket sales were down from last year, according to Anthony Avrutine, chairman of the 2016 derby, due to the uncertain ice conditions around the state caused by a winter that has been much warmer than normal. But derby officials have not yet released final ticket sale numbers,
The derby, originally scheduled for Feb. 13-14, was postponed for two weeks, marking only the second time is 37-year history that the derby has been postponed.
There were no bob houses in Meredith Bay, site of derby headquarters, for the first time since the event was started, and a temperature sign at a Meredith Bay business read 57 degrees at 3:30 Sunday afternoon.
Ice fishermen were philosophical about the warmer-than-normal weather. Greg Stefan of Gilford and Matt Bickford of Meredith said that they switched to fishing on Squam Lake rather than Lake Winnipesaukee this year.
"It was still fun with the nice weather. I'm all for not freezing, and it was nice to be able to wear sweatshirts and not have to put on long johns," said Stefan.
Stephen Delendick of Moultonborough said he fished near the Long Island bridge over the weekend and didn't see nearly as many ice fishermen as he normally does during the derby.
"There are still a lot of fish on the leader board so it looks like people were catching some good-sized fish," he said.
Adam Clancy of Portsmouth said this was his fourth year at the derby and that he was happy to get on the leader board Sunday with a third-place catch of a 22-inch, 3.7-pound rainbow trout from Merrymeeting Lake.
He said he works as a landscaper and does snow removal work in the winter.

"With it being so warm so far, it hasn't been a real busy winter for me. So it was good to be able to get in some ice fishing," said Clancy.

Fishing buddies Travis Ouellette, Josh Philbrick – the $15,000 winner, Ryan Clauson and Tim Ester celebrate in front of the “wall” Sunday afternoon after Philbrick wins the 2016 Great Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby with a 4.26-pound rainbow trout that he caught in Alton Bay at about 6:30 Saturday morning.  (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Fishing buddies Travis Ouellette, Josh Philbrick – the $15,000 winner, Ryan Clauson and Tim Ester celebrate in front of the "wall" Sunday afternoon after Philbrick wins the 2016 Great Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby with a 4.26-pound rainbow trout that he caught in Alton Bay at about 6:30 Saturday morning. (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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Bare breasts could result in long prison sentences


CONCORD — To free or not to free the female nipple came before a public hearing Monday morning of the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee in the form of House Bill 1525-FN.
The bill, which would make exposure of the female nipple a misdemeanor, is sponsored by Belknap County representatives Brian Gallagher, R-Tilton and Sanbornton, Rep. Peter Spanos, R-Laconia and Rep. George Hurt, R-Gilford and Meredith and seeks to criminalize the exposure of the female breast in public with the exception of breastfeeding.
Gallagher and Spanos both said in their testimony that they were responding to a number of constituent complaints in the wake of two women being cited for violating the Gilford Town Beach ordinance on Sept. 6, 2015.
The case against Heidi Lilley of Gilford and Barbara MacKinnon was dismissed by 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division Judge Jim Carroll who said that since it is not illegal in the state criminal code and therefore Gilford's ordinance is unenforceable.
Gallagher is the lead sponsor and he testified that "there are moms and dads who live in New Hampshire with young children, as well as grandparents with grandchildren who struggle with this public conduct and (evolutionary) challenge to family values."
He said that men and women are psychologically and physically different and this goes back to "the beginning of time." Gallagher also said he feared female toplessness would be a trend, a slippery slope that could lead to unintended consequences.
"To allow topless sunbathing creates a precedent," said Spanos during his testimony. He said the goal is not to go back in a time machine but to make people know that it's something "we" don't want to see.
Hurt did not attend.
Members of the committee had a number of questions for Gallagher and Spanos, including what activities topless sunbathing would lead to. Spanos said Europeans have their own way and "New Hampshire has different standards."
"Once the genie is out of the bottle, we can't go back," Spanos said.
Although Laconia and Gilford are two of the few, if any other, municipalities in New Hampshire that have an ordinance preventing toplessness for women, no one from either community was at the hearing to defend their ordinances except Spanos.
There were, however, a number of people, including Lilley, McKinnon and their attorney, Daniel Hynes, who were there to speak against Gallagher's bill.
Hynes told committee members that if they were to recommend this bill for passage they would be "criminalizing being female." He said the only way this is enforceable under the equal protection clause in both federal and state constitutions and the free speech amendments is for the state to make toplessness for men unlawful as well.
When asked by the committee's ranking Democrat Laura Pantelakos, D-Portsmouth, what they should do if a majority of people at the beach don't want topless women there, Hynes responded by saying the First Amendment doesn't address majorities.
Gilles Bissonette of the New Hampshire American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said if going topless at the beach is made a criminal offense, by law a second offense would constitute a Class B felony that can be punishable by up to seven years in jail and the offender would have to register as a sex offender for life.
He said toplessness is considered free speech in that it is conduct that conveys a message, is against gender equality, and is overbroad as there is no harm. He said that amending the criminal code makes female political speech for toplessness a sex offender statute.
When Rep. John Burt, R-Hillborough, asked about Carroll's ruling that banning topless women was constitutional, Bissonette said that while he has the utmost respect for Carroll, in this case he thinks the ruling was wrong.
Others said that banning toplessness for women and not men is hypocritical because the state is contemplating banning something for women only and yet preaching to the Muslim countries in parts of the Middle East that the burka or hijab is discriminatory.
One man testified that he is more offended by people brandishing their weapons in public than he is by topless females at the beach.
Lilley said HB 1525 is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. She said that children don't even notice these things.
"They look and go about their business," she said.
Lilley also said she has heard that women being topless at the beach leads to rape.
"Rape happens," she said, adding that she had been assaulted twice as a young child and both times she had on clothes.
She said rape is about power and urged them not to take women's powers and make them worse.
Others, men and women, said it is discriminatory.
"I have the right to be where a man can be," said Keri Barnes, who said she is a grandmother, a mother, a daughter, a wife and a sister.
Barnes said she had been all over the state and gone topless but the only bad encounter she had was in Gilford. She said she was also abused as a 6-year-old and didn't even have breasts and this was no time to criminalize the female breast.
"We are not lunatics or radicals," she said, noting that the legislators they should not be alarmed by the human form at their ages.
Testimony ended after two hours. When Gallagher was asked if he would consider amending his bill to include men as well as women, he said he would have to think about it.
The committee will meet in an executive session and determine the fate of HB 1525-FN within the next two weeks.

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