Stand Up Laconia explores root causes for drug abuse among the young


LACONIA — Stand-Up Laconia this week held the second of three workshops in preparation for applying for a federal grant of $125,000 for five years awarded to community coalitions by the Drug-Free Communities Program.
The workshops are part of a process of prioritizing the drugs presenting the most severe risks to young people between the ages of 12 and 18 as well as determining the local conditions that lend them appeal and developing strategies to curb their use.
At the first workshop earlier this month participants chose alcohol, heroin, marijuana and prescription medications as their highest priorities. The grant competition requires that prescription medications be included on the list. The workshop this week was intended to identify the root causes of drug use among the young.
The group ranked the drugs in order of priority based on the results of surveys taken at Laconia High School and other schools in the Lakes Region, which asked students to rate the risk of using different drugs and to report how often they used different drugs. Students at Laconia High School reported that they perceived the risks of smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and abusing prescription medications much greater than smoking marijuana. And while upwards of 80 percent of students said they had never smoked a cigarette or misused a prescription medication, nearly half had drunk alcohol and 60 percent had smoked marijuana.
Mike Persson, who hosted the workshop, said that persistent messages about the dangers to health posed by smoking appear to be have been very effective in reducing smoking among teenagers while there has been very little comparable messaging about the risks associated with marijuana. He suggested that attitudes about marijuana may also be affected by the ongoing debate about decriminalizing or legalizing its use.
Persson said that students appear to appreciate the risks of abusing prescription medications. Although misuse of prescription medications is more prevalent among an older demographic, he pointed out that prescription medications frequently serve as the "gateway" to heroin, which presents a need for education and prevention among the young.
Among the local conditions leading to substance abuse, Persson said the group discussed the the importance of parenting skills and parental involvement and oversight in the lives of young people. At the same time, he said there were suggestions the community could offer more activities to engage the energy and talents of its teenagers.
Persson said in anticipation of the third and final workshop, at which strategies for preventing and reducing substance abuse will be developed, Stand-Up Laconia intends to broaden participation, in particular by including more young people and recovering addicts in the conversation.
The last workshop will be held in March in anticipation of submitting the grant application by March 18.

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 601

Gilford, Laconia advance in Division III girls tournament

Laconia's Kalie Nute and Prospect Mountain's Delia Everhart go after a loose ball during NHIAA Division III second round tournament game Thursday night at Laconia High School.  (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Laconia's Kalie Nute and Prospect Mountain's Delia Everhart go after a loose ball during NHIAA Division III second round tournament game Thursday night at Laconia High School.  (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)



Second-seed Gilford and fourth-seeded Laconia advanced to the quarterfinals of Division III girls' state tournament by virtue of wins on their home courts Thursday night.
Undefeated Gilford (19-0) held off Berlin 45-31 and will host number 10 ranked Monadnock tonight at 7 p.m. Gilford trailed 15-14 against Berlin (9-11) midway through the second quarter but clamped down on defense, especially in the third quarter, when Berlin managed just one field goal.
The Golden Eagles were led offensively by Stevie Orton and Cassidy Bartlett, both of whom netted 11 points.
Laconia (15-2) topped 13th ranked Prospect Mountain 41-27 and will host 12th ranked Campbell (11-8), which upset fifth-ranked Newfound Regional 15-4) 64-58 Thursday night. The game will be played at Laconia High School at 7 p.m.
The Sachems led by only three points, 26-23, early in the fourth quarter, but pulled away after Kailey Nute hit a three-pointer and finished the game on a 10-1 run. Nute led Laconia with 11 points followed by Cali Swormstedt with 9 and Natalie Compton with 8.
Newfound trailed 11-2 early in its game but rallied to within one point in the fourth quarter before losing. Amanda Johnston and Savanna Bony led the Bears with 14 points each.
In other tournament games involving local teams, Belmont lost 48-26 to top-ranked and undefeated Conant (19-0) and Winnisquam lost 63-33 to number three ranked Pelham.

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 455

Gilford asks for reconsideration on toplessness ruling


LACONIA — The town of Gilford has asked Judge Jim Carroll of the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, to reconsider his ruling that topless sunbathing is not a crime because it is not included in the state criminal code.

Attorney Justin L. Pasay argues that RSA 41:11-b grants authority to town governing bodies to manage all of the real property it owns and to regulate its use, meaning the town believes the court erred in its ruling.

Pasay argues that anyone who violates the town ordinance against "topless sunbathing, skinny dipping, nude tanning or the exposure of genitalia" at the Gilford Town Beach "shall" be guilty of a violation.

He said that it appears the court overlooked this and so there are grounds for granting reconsideration.

Reconsideration is based on the premise that the court allows the town to intervene in the case, which is a request made after the decision was rendered. Until that time, the state, as represented by Gilford Sgt. Prosecutor Eric Bredbury and Lilley and MacKinnon, who are represented by attorney Daniel Hynes, were the only parties to the case. Both have assented to allow the town of Gilford to become a third party to the case.

Gilford resident Heidi Lilley and Barbara MacKinnon were cited on Sept. 6 for violating the ordinance when they and a few of their friends went to Gilford Beach. Both are members of the Free the Nipple campaign, which says women should be allowed the same rights as men when it comes to exposing the top parts of their body. The campaign also addresses what it calls the "body-shaming" culture of the U.S.

In his five-page ruling issued in early February, Carroll ruled the ordinance was constitutional but that, because there is no state law in the New Hampshire Criminal Code prohibiting female toplessness in public, the ordinance is unenforceable.

Lilley and MacKinnon have also filed for reconsideration but for the opposite reasons – namely that their actions are protected by the First Amendment as free speech and under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Hynes could not be reached Friday afternoon.

All of the motions are being reviewed by Carroll in chambers and The Laconia Daily Sun was unable to get a copy of Hynes' request for reconsideration.

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 426