'Free the Nipple' protest targets Labor Day weekend

LACONIA — An attorney representing Heidi Lilley of the Free The Nipple – New Hampshire has asked the City Council and the police chief to change the local ordinance prohibiting women from publicly displaying the nipple portion of their breasts so it complies with state and federal laws.

Atty. Dan Hynes of Liberty Legal Services sent the written request to Police Chief Christopher Adams with a courtesy copy to the City Council Thursday in part to notify them that the Free The Nipple campaign and Lilley would be coming to Weirs Beach over the three-day Labor Day holiday and "they could be topless".

"I have advised them that they may be facing arrest or a citation, but that we will zealously defend their actions in court while taking other appropriate action," said Hynes.

He said the ordinance "is essentially criminalizing being a woman and violates women's constitutional rights to equal protection under the law."

Free the Nipple is targeting Laconia because it said to be the only municipality in the state which 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. According to local police, there have been a handful of citations issued annually in the past five years.

Hynes asserts that Chapter 180 also exceeds state law in that because New Hampshire is not a home-rule state, meaning that municipalities only have such powers as are expressly granted to them by the legislature, the law is not legal.

He also said the it violates the Natural Rights clause of the N.H. Constitution and the N.H. and U.S. Constitutions as violating free expression and equal rights under the 14th Amendment.

Lilley said she doesn't want the Labor Day Weekend event to become a spectacle. She said all that will happen as far as her group is concerned, is coming to beach, having a barbecue, suntanning and enjoying what she hopes is a sunny and warm Labor Day weekend.

Mayor Ed Engler said he has spoken to City Manager Scott Myers about the possibility of the campaign coming to Laconia before he knew the exact date. Though he has not spoken to Police Chief Chris Adams, he said enforcement of the ordinance is a police matter.

When asked if he supports the ordinance Engler said he has "home rule concerns about the validity of (it)."

"We are not a home-rule state and I think the legality of the ordinance should be looked into," he said. "To my knowledge, nobody has ever challenged the ordinance on a home rule basis."

Adams did not return The Daily Sun's phone call.

'Lucky, Jr.' is honored guest at Profile Bank celebration

ALTON — "Lucky Jr.", the mascot at Sanborn's Auto Repair on Court Street in Laconia, is perhaps the best known dog in the Lakes Region, thanks to his frequent appearances in the company's ads in The Daily Sun.
He has fans all around the area and was the natural choice to be the guest of honor at the Profile Bank's ''Dog Days of Summer'' celebration which marked the 10th anniversary of the opening of the bank's Alton branch office.
The bank's office was decorated with dog-related items, with one full window dedicated to photos of "Lucky Jr." which have appeared in the Daily Sun, and employees at the bank grilled up hot dogs for customers, who were also invited to enjoy a piece of a birthday cake .
An affable English Lab, "Lucky Jr.", is also a registered therapy dog according to his owner, Ginny Sanborn.
She says that he will be three years old on October 1 and that she feels lucky to have acquired him after the death of the repair shop's original mascot, "Lucky".
''Everybody loves 'Lucky'. He's a well adjusted dog who loves being around people,'' says Sanborn. She says that a phone call to Michigan in an attempt to find an English Lab led to her being referred to a person from Nashua who was an English Lab breeder.
''He had already been sold to a family but the girl thought he was too big so they brought him back and took home his sister,'' says Sanborn.
''This has been a match made in heaven,'' says Sanborn, who handles advertising and public relations for the auto repair business and is no stranger to the news media, having appeared on the Nashville Network Show in 1996 hosted by Katie Haas in which she was New Hampshire's representative in ''America's Ultimate Cowgirl'' competition.

"Lucky Jr.", the mascot at Sanborn's Auto Repair in Laconia, was the guest of honor at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Profile Bank's branch office in Alton on Friday. Taking part in the event were "Lucky's" owner Ginny Sanborn, Tina Toutain, teller and customer service representative at the bank; Tonia Cardinal, assistant branch manager and Scott Littlefield, market manger for Profile Bank. (Roger Amsden/ for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Homeless man held on assault charge

BELMONT — A man who lives in a makeshift homeless camp behind the N.H. State Liquor Store off Rte. 3 is being held on $2,000 cash-only bail after allegedly choking and punching his fiance last weekend.

Kenneth Wright, 52, is charged with one count of second-degree assault and two counts of domestic violence simple assault. Affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division said Wright's alleged victim was carried to the ambulance after the fight was broken up by responding officers.

Police said one of her eyes was closed and she complained that she couldn't move her neck because Wright allegedly choked her earlier in the day to the point where she nearly passed out. She also told police Wright allegedly had assaulted her over the past several days.

In court Tuesday, Wright's public defender said her client wasn't going anywhere because he lives in a homeless camp. She said he is a former Navy veteran with post-tramautic stress disorder (PTSD) and has been working with counselors to get back on his medicine.

The Belmont prosecutor said Wright had a fairly lengthy criminal record from the Laconia Courts as well as Claremont court. He also said Wright had previously violated a bail order to stay away from the same victim.

Wright has originally being held on $2,000 cash or corporate surety however Judge Edward "Ned" Gordon agreed with the prosecutor and changed the bail to cash-only.