Dept. of Safety not in favor of ‘Bike Week’ license plate

CONCORD — A proposal to introduce a special license plate commemorating the 100th running of Motorcycle Week in 2023 has met with resistance from the New Hampshire Department of Safety, which claims that there is neither the authority nor the capacity to undertake the project.

Charlie St. Clair, the executive director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, suggested that the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) begin issuing special plates, bearing the logo of the association in advance of the centennial. The proceeds from sale of the plates, less the cost of manufacturing and issuing them, would benefit the LMWA, which in turn would apply the funds to promoting and managing the rally.

This year Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) introduced legislation (Senate Bill 252) establishing a committee to study issuing a plate to commemorate Motorcycle Week without specifying how the proceeds from issuing the plates would be allocated. At the same time, bills were filed to issue special plates for the Civil Air Patrol, circuit court judges and breast and pediatric cancer as well as a motorcycle plate for disabled veterans.

The bill proposing plates for beast and pediatric cancer — House Bill 567 — provided for nonprofit corporations to apply to the DMV to issue at least 1,000 plates. All proceeds in excess of manufacturing and administrative costs would be distributed to the applicant on the understanding that they would be spent for the benefit of New Hampshire residents. The bill was retained by the Transportation Committee.

Many states issue special license plates for the benefit of various nonprofit organizations – but not New Hampshire. Although New Hampshire issues the conservation (moose) plate and the state park plate as well as a combination of the two, it does not issue plates for the benefit of private organizations as contemplated by St. Clair and the sponsors of HB 567.

In commenting on HB 567, the Department of Safety said that the DMV is in the process of replacing several of its operating systems, including those associated with driver licensing, financial responsibility, auto dealerships and inspection stations and added that diverting resources to issue a special plate could jeopardize its ability to complete this project within its current appropriation.

Hosmer said that when the study committee met, officials of the Department of Safety questioned whether applying proceeds from the sale of state license plates to private nonprofit organizations would pass constitutional muster and said that the DMV lacked the technology to issue special plates to a multiplicity of nonprofit organizations. "It looks like a non-starter," Hosmer said of the notion of issuing a special plate for Motorcycle Week to benefit the LMWA.

In 2004, the Legislature authorized the director of the Division of Motor Vehicles to adopt rules for designing, selling and distributing special plates by cities and towns to mark the anniversary of their founding or "similar special occasion" in their history. These plates could be mounted in place of the front license plate for not more than the one year during which the celebration takes place.

Dec. trial set for topless sunbather

LACONIA — A December trial has been set for a woman charged with not wearing a top at the Gilford Town Beach on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.
Heidi Lilley, 54, is scheduled to stand trial in Laconia circuit District Court on December 15 at 1 p.m. on the misdemeanor complaint of toplessness, which police say violates a beach ordinance (Article G number 7) that prohibits topless sunbathing for women.
Lilley, who is co-organizer of the Free the Nipple NH campaign, had spent two days topless at Weirs Beach in Laconia that weekend and said that she and other members of the movement left at 5 p.m. that Sunday when Weirs Beach was cleared so that an upcoming fireworks show could be set up.
She told the Daily Sun that when they arrived at Gilford Beach some kids yelled at them and said the beach wasn't a nudist camp but she said they ignored them. Shortly there after, she said two women approached them and asked if they realized Gilford Beach was a private beach.
Lilley said she told them she was a Gilford resident, that she paid taxes and had every right to be there. She said one of the women "got into our faces" and was "extremely verbally abusive."
Gilford Police responded and Lilley said they were "very polite and professional." She said they initially told them they could be cited for criminal trespass, however Lilley told them she lived in Gilford and produced identification to prove it.
She said the officers explained there was a Gilford Beach ordinance that prohibits topless sunbathing and then asked them to put on their shirts.
Lilley said all of them complied with the police who then asked if any of them wanted to be cited. She said three of them said "yes" but the police only wrote two summons – one for her and one for another woman. She said the officers explained to them that they violated a beach ordinance not a town ordinance.
The Free the Nipple NH campaign intends to call attention to inequalities between men and women. Lilley said the only thing her organization wants is for women to be able to go to the beach without tops, like men can.
The group took part in an earlier demonstration at Hampton Beach and announced in August that they were targeting Weirs Beach because the city of Laconia has an ordinance that exceeds state law in that it prohibits publicly exposing the female nipple.
Passed in 1998, largely because the city hosts Motorcycle Week, the ordinance also addresses people who encourage women to expose their entire breasts.

Woman Arrested for sale of narcotics (165 w/cut slugged A.CROSS)

LACONIA — Police say they found heroin and meth along with a large quantity of prescription medications when they searched the Pine Street apartment of a 43-year-old woman Tuesday morning.
Andrea Cross of 33 Pine Street, Apartment #3, will be arraigned in Laconia Circuit District Court this morning on a two felony charges for the sale of narcotic drugs.
Police say that they executed a search warrant at her apartment at 11:36 a.m. Tuesday and found 7.5 grams of heroin, a half gram of meth, a sizable quantity of prescription drugs, scales, packaging materials and a quantity of cash.
Police said that actions came after an extensive investigation which began in February of this year in which narcotic officers were able to make several "controlled buys" from the residence, primarily from Cross.
Drugs purchased included, heroin, meth, and a variety of prescription medications. Police say the investigation is on-going and more charges may be filed.