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Three arrests for toplessness


LACONIA — The effort to "free" female nipples was renewed over the weekend, with three activists from the Free the Nipple NH campaign being arrested for topless sunbathing. One woman was arrested at Weirs Beach on Saturday, two more on Tuesday.

Heidi Lilley of Gilford said she and her friend Kia Sinclair were there Tuesday to protest the arrest of a different member of the Free the Nipple campaign at Weirs Beach on Saturday for public nudity. The name of the woman arrested Saturday has not yet been released.

When the Free the Nipple Campaign, which advocates for gender equality and calls attention to body shaming, targeted Weirs Beach last year, now retired Capt. Bill Clary said the ordinance was not the city's attempt at a morality play, but a way to stem harassment of women at the annual Motorcycle Week. The ordinance also prohibits encouraging or harassing women to remove their tops or to display their breasts.

All three women were cited by police for violating Laconia City Ordinance 180-2, which regulates public nudity. It "prohibits the showing of the human male or female genitals, pubic area or buttocks with less than a fully opaque covering, or the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any part of the nipple."

Lilley was cited on Labor Day last year for being topless at Gilford Beach. Earlier that day, she and some of her friends spent the day at Weirs Beach but left around 4 p.m. when the beach was cleared so the fireworks display could be set up.

After a prolonged court battle, Judge Jim Carroll of the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, dismissed the case against Lilley and her co-defendant because he said there is nothing in the state criminal code that prohibits female toplessness, and because New Hampshire is not a home-rule state, towns and cities are preventing from making something illegal that is not illegal under state law.

The town of Gilford chose not to move the case from the Circuit Court to the state Supreme Court because of the costs involved. With a town violation, there is no appeal to Superior Court.

Lilley said she and Sinclair were escorted to a cruiser at the beach parking lot Tuesday. She said she was given the opportunity to put on a shirt but Sinclair didn't have a shirt, so she was given a towel. They were handcuffed before being put into the cruiser.

Lilley said the woman arrested Saturday was handcuffed, given a towel and brought to waiting cruiser. Lilley said she observed the incident on Saturday. Lilley was not arrested because she was not topless at the time.

At the station Tuesday, she said police took booking photos of her and Sinclair but didn't fingerprint either of them. Lilley said  the police were respectful and polite to them at all times.

Sgt. Mike Finogle said the arrests were triggered by complaints from beach goers. He said a caller complained that female toplessness isn't appropriate because there were small children at the beach.

Finogle said police are operating under a city ordinance and that the city attorney has told them the ordinance is enforceable.

Lilley said one of her next goals is to get on the Laconia City Council agenda and ask them to repeal the ordinance because it is not legitimate under state law.

She said she phoned City Councilor Brenda Baer, who told her that her proposal is "disgusting" and that she didn't want to talk about it. She said Baer hung up on her.

Baer confirmed that Lilley called her a few times and that she hung up after the third call.

"She wanted my support and I find it disgusting," Baer said. "I'm entitled to my opinion."

Lilley said the fine is $250 and she was given a court date of July 25. She said attorney Daniel Hynes continues to represent her and the Free the Nipple Campaign but plans on involving the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union. She said her lawyer is drafting a letter to the Laconia city manager requesting to be on an agenda in the near future.

Abbot-Downing’s truck - Gilford Cruise Night attracts rare vehicle which was built in 1923


GILFORD — Some old and unusual vehicles turned out for the Gilford Community Church's Family Car Cruise Night last Thursday, including a rare truck which was made in Concord and an unrestored 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe which was the People's Choice Winner in last year's Lakes Region Rotary Club Car Show at Weirs Beach.
Some 60 vehicles, including hot rods, dragsters, sports cars, muscle cars and pickup trucks from different eras filled the parking lot at the church for the annual cruise night, which continues to be major attraction for Lakes Region automobile enthusiasts.
A 1923 two-ton, four-cylinder Concord truck built by Abbot-Downing, the firm which made the famed Concord Coach, was one of the more historic attractions. Owned by Ted Valpey of Dover, who recently restored it, and is one of only a handful still left.
Andy Buckman, who was driving the truck for Valpey, said that Abbot-Downing built about 625 Concord trucks between 1916 and 1925 and only about 13 are still known to exist. The truck had originally been bought by Stratton and Company, which ran a mill in Penacook which produced flour up until around 1920.
Valpey said that the truck found its way to the Rowe Farm in Dover, where he first saw it and had been trying to buy it for over 30 years.

"They used it to haul around a Cletrac tractor, but I'm not sure how good it was for that," said Valpey, who brought the Concord truck five years ago and has since restored it.
He said that Thursday marked its first appearance at a car show and that he plans to make the round of car shows in the Northeast the rest of the year with the vehicle.
Another auto at the show with a lot of history was a 1917 Chalmers Record Speedster, owned by Bob Valpey of Center Harbor, which set an endurance speed record that year by averaging 81.4 mph in a 24-hour race on a wooden track at Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, New York.
Larry Young of Belmont, owner of Young's Old Tyme Service Station in Rumney, says that he bought the business from Aaron Short, who had run the garage for 64 years and was the personal driver for General Douglas MacArthur during World War II.
Young brought along an unrestored 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe, which sports a well-rusted coat of paint and has a license plate which indicates that the car may have been used to transport moonshine liquor.
He says that he bought the car out of a garage in Charlotte, North Carolina, on 2006 and let it sit for several years before his son worked on it and it got it running five years ago.
"It's an unrestored original with the same paint job that it had when it was new. I'm not going to change a thing about it because I like the way it looks just fine,'' said Young.
Young is proud of the fact that the coupe was the People's Choice award winner at last summer's Lakes Region Rotary Club Car Show at Weirs Beach.

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A 1923 two-ton Concord truck built by Abbot-Downing, the firm which made the famed Concord coach, was a big hit at the Gilford Community Church's Family Car Cruise Night last Thursday. It is owned by Ted Valpey of Dover, who recently restored it, and is one of only a handful still left. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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A 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe owned by Larry Young of Belmont is an unrestored original which sat in a barn in Charlotte, North Carolina for many years before Young was able to buy it several years ago. It was the People's Choice award winner at last summer's Lakes Region Rotary Club Car Show at Weirs Beach. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)
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Bob Gage and Bill Pond by Pond's 1956 Thunderbird during Cruise Night at the Gilford Community Center on Thursday evening. (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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A jail 'break' - Groundbreaking held for county community corrections center


LACONIA — Ground was broken Tuesday afternoon on a $7.3 million project which will see an 18,000-square-foot, 64-bed community corrections facility built next to the current county jail, which will have repairs and renovations as part of the project.
Belknap County Commission Chairman David DeVoy (R-Sanbornton), who chaired the jail planning committee which came up with a design for the new facility, said that a little over 18 months ago there was talk of a $42 million plan for a new jail and said that a well-thought out program was developed which brought in a plan which is both affordable and holds great promise for dealing with inmates who have drug and alcohol addiction problems.
The community corrections center will feature a rigorous regimen of substance abuse, mental health and educational programs and services, which Corrections Superintendent Keith Gray says the county currently lacks. The new facility will have 64 beds, 44 for men and 20 for women and will have mental health and drug abuse professionals available on site to provide programs for inmates.
The architectural plans were developed by Sheer, McCrystal, Palson Architecture Inc. of Concord and project manager Anthony Mento of the firm says that plans call for the project, including renovations, to be completed in September of 2017.
The county commission has hired Bauen Construction of Meredith as construction manager for the project.
The Belknap County Delegation last November unanimously approved an $8 million bond for building the community corrections center and renovation of parts of the current county jail, which will now have 60 beds.

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County officials gathered for the official groundbreaking of a new Belknap County corrections facility on Tuesday. Renovations will also be done to the current facility. Construction should be completed by September 2017. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun.