Extreme 'Punkin Chunkin' comes to NHMS next weekend

LOUDON — How far do you think you could chuck – or "chunk" – a pumpkin? With the right equipment, it might be nearly a mile! And distance is just what pumpkin throwers are looking for when they enter the Extreme Chunkin event the weekend of Oct. 15 and 16 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

10-15 American ChunkerLaunched from air cannons, catapults and trebuchets, pumpkins will be flying high.

Nearly 20 teams from six states are competing in the event, including the world record holder, the American Chunker, a $180,000 air cannon from Merrimack. Last year the American Chunker shot a pumpkin more than 4,500 feet across the speedway's land.

"This is an awesome regional event that will really give us an opportunity to hone in on what we need to do to prepare for the World Championship in November," said Brian Labrie, owner of American Chunker. "The good news is that there will be lots of good air cannons to compete against at the speedway. Extreme Chunkin is a very beneficial event for us."

Along with the Air Cannon Division, Extreme Chunkin will feature Trebuchet and Catapult/Torsion divisions, as well as – for the first time ever – Eastern Propane and Fuel Youth Division.

"There is a concerted effort to get kids involved because they are the future of this pumpkin chunkin," said Labrie. "This year's Extreme Chunkin is going to be 10 times what it was last year. People are really going to enjoy everything this event has to offer."

"We started the youth division this year to encourage young people to learn about math, physics and engineering," said Steven Seigars a partner in the International Chunkin Coalition. "What better way to learn than hands-on experience? The United States ranks 24th in the world in science; we need to change how we teach it. Tuning and tweaking a machine helps to reinforce concepts."

There will be five youth tems taking part in the Eastern Propane and Fuel Youth Division. All are from New England and 17 and younger.

On top of the launching events, New Hampshire Motor Speedway will have a number of opportunities for attending fans to participate in various activities, including airbrush tattoo artists/stations, a carnival archery tent, go-karts, and different food and drink vending services.1015 giant trebuchet

Exhibition events include a 200-foot crane that will be making drops on every half hour – including a 700-pound pumpkin, while the 2015 trebuchet champion, Yankee Siege II, will feature top-of-the-hour jaw-dropping launches of cars, pianos, and a 1,200-pound pumpkin.

It all begins on Saturday morning with the Extreme Chunkin 5K, a road race to honor former Nashua Police Chief Don Gross – one of the founding members of the International Chunkin Coalition and Nashua PAL – who died tragically in January.

The month of October is a busy one at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with Extreme Chunkin set for Oct. 15-16 and the 24 Hours of Lemons on Oct. 22-23. For more details and ticket information on these events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, or to purchase tickets to the 2017 July and September NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends, stop by the ticket office, visit www.nhms.com, or call Fan Relations at 603-783-4931.

10-15 World Chunkin trophy

Tentative Extreme Chunkin' 2016 schedule:

Saturday, Oct. 15
8 to 9 a.m. – Extreme Chunkin' 5K - Don Gross Memorial Run
8:15 a.m. – Captains Meeting and Pumpkin Weigh-In
9 a.m. to noon – Round 1 of Competition for Distance, Firing 8- to 10-pound pumpkins for open competitors
9:30 a.m. – Crane Drop (100 foot crane boom)
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Car Show (antique race car and car show)
10 a.m. – Yankee Siege I
10:30 a.m. – Crane Drop
11 a.m. – Yankee Siege I
11:30 a.m. – Crane Drop
Noon – National Anthem
Noon to 1 p.m. – Halftime Show – Yankee Siege I
1 to 4 p.m. – Round 2 of Competition for Distance
1:30 p.m. – Crane Drop
2 p.m. – Yankee Siege I
2:30 p.m. – Crane Drop
3 p.m. – Yankee Siege I
3:30 p.m. – Crane Drop

Sunday, Oct. 16
8:15 a.m – Captains Meeting and Pumpkin Weigh-In
9 a.m. to noon – Round 3 of Competition for Distance (Final Round)
9:30 a.m. – Crane Drop
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Car Show (antique race car and car show)
10 a.m. – Yankee Siege I
10:30 a.m. – Crane Drop
11 a.m. – Yankee Siege I
11:30 a.m. – Crane Drop
Noon – National Anthem
Noon to 1 p.m. – Halftime Show – Yankee Siege I
1 to 3 p.m – Free Fire
1:30 p.m.– Crane Drop
2 p.m. – Yankee Siege I
2:30 p.m. – Crane Drop
3 p.m. – Yankee Siege I
3 to 4 p.m. – Awards

2016 Extreme Chunkin Teams – as Sept. 22

Air Cannons
American Chunker
Chunkin Under de Influence
Second Amendment Too
Yankee Doodle

Hurling Chunks
Launch-Ness Monster
The Clark Chunkers
Tired Iron
Yankee Siege II

Chunk Norris (Catapult)
Dayton Destroyer (Catapult)
Mista Ballista (Torsion)
Pumpkin Warrior 3 (Catapult)
Sir Chunks-A-Lot (Catapult)
Socket Monkey (Catapult)

Youth Trebuchet
Yankee Scout
'Ya Buddy'

Special feature events and half-time shows by Yankee Siege I (6 time World Champion Trebuchet coming out of retirement) and special drops by a 100 foot Crane! See Pianos, 55 gallon water barrels, pumpkins of all size and who know maybe a car flying in the air over speedway grounds!

10-15 chunkin sign



Council approved $250,000 addition to Lakeside Avenue project (535


LACONIA —The City Council this week agreed to extend improvements to Lakeside Avenue at The Weirs beyond Tower Street to Foster Avenue while at the same time endorsing the recommendation of City Manager Scott Myers to install parking kiosks rather than parking meters along the street.

In June, the council voted to authorize spending $1.35 million, funded by borrowing serviced by the Weirs Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District, to bury overhead utilities as well as install new street lights, concrete sidewalks with brick accents, and stamped colored concrete crosswalks between Route 3 and Tower Street.

Extending the underground utilities, adding street lights and install concrete sidewalks from Tower Street to Foster Avenue is projected to add $250,000 to the cost of the project, bring the total cost to $1.6 million. The Weirs TIF District will fund the entire project by paying the debt service on a borrowing with a term of 20 years.

Only Councilor Brenda Baer (ward 2), who voted in favor of the original project to Tower Street, dissented. After Myers explained the financing of the project Mayor Ed Engler asked, "Everybody understands the numbers we're talking about?" and Baer replied "Unfortunately."

When the improvements were discussed at an earlier meeting, Councilor Bob Hamel (Ward 5) remarked that the success of the city's investment at The Weirs would depend on the business and property owners at resort investing in the improvement of their properties.

This week, Robert Ames of Half Moon Enterprises reminded the council that "There has been lots of investment on the street" and pointed to the Weathervane Restaurant, Tower Hill Tavern and Cozy Inn along with the removal of a water slide, new facade on the arcades, new dining room at the Winnipesaukee Marketplace and other improvements.

Nevertheless, Hamel repeated his concern. He recalled that his parents both worked at the Winnipesaukee Pier and that he has been visiting The Weirs for all his years, then said "It's been the same for my 65 years." Noting the investment the city is making to enhance the resort, he turned to the property and business owners at The Weirs and said "It won't help if the people that own property up there don't invest in it. We have to all be in on this."

Meanwhile, the question of whether to replace the parking meters on Lakeside Avenue with kiosks or meters has arisen from time to time without being either resolved. This week Meyers presented an comparative analysis of the cost of installing 18 kiosks or 105 meters to serve the 210 parking spaces. The estimated costs of purchasing and operating kiosks and meters for three years are $170,325 and $192,480 respectively while the annual operating costs are $18,985 for kiosks and $39,060 for meters.

Moreover, Myers said that kiosks issue a receipt for a specific amount of time, which is displayed on the dashboard of the parked car, while the time purchased on a meter remains there for another motorist when the parked car is moved. Without free time on meters at empty spaces, parking revenue is expected to increase with the introduction of kiosks.

Myers said that the purchase and installation of the kiosks could be funded by drawing on unexpended funds from several accounts in the city budget.

Court to hear Free the Nipple case Friday


LACONIA — The city is legally free to enact public decency ordinances, countering the claim by three women who freed their nipples on Memorial Day at Weirs Beach and were cited by police, said City Prosecutor James Sawyer said Thursday.

In his objection to a request to dismiss the case against Heidi Lilley, Kia Sinclair and Ginger Pierro, Sawyer says RSA 47:17 states that cities are authorized to pass ordinances for "order and police duty. To regulate the police of the city; to prevent any riot, noise, disturbance, or disorderly assemblages..."

Specifically, wrote Sawyer, "cities may also enact ordinance(s) to restrain and punish 'all kinds of immoral and obscene conduct, and to regulate the times and places of bathing and swimming...in the waters of the city and the clothing to be worn by bathers and swimmers.'"

He said Weirs Beach is defined as a "commons" or a piece of property set aside for public use and that the city's public nudity ordinance is relevant to this.

The three women are participants in the Free the Nipple campaign, which seeks gender equality and speaks against body shaming and their perceived rape culture that blames the victim.

Sawyer said that the defendants argue that New Hampshire is a Home Rule state, which means that a municipality cannot criminalize something not made criminal by the state, is not an applicable argument because, it that was correct, "(it) would render all police power ordinances unnecessary or a mere duplication of statutory mandate."

Using zoning as an example and citing case law to support it, Sawyer said that one set of rules may work for one community but not another because of their individual characters, geography, identity, current community standards and morals.

He said if the state legislature didn't want individual communities to regulate the common areas of their town, then the city couldn't make rules regarding operation hours for libraries and parks or to prohibit using bicycles, rollerblades or other similar items at Smith Track.

Sawyer said there is nothing in state law that stops the city from passing an ordinance on public nudity or exposing female nipples in public.

He said there is no actual conflict between state law and Laconia's ordinance because conflict only occurs when a municipal ordinance allows "that which a state statute prohibits and vice versa."

As for Lilley's, Sinclair's and Pierro's claim that the ordinance violates the Equal Protection Clause, Sawyer said that equal protection demands "that all persons similarly situated should be treated alike."

"The male body and the female body are different," wrote Sawyer, adding that the Equal Protection Clause doesn't pretend that men and women are the same.

He said the U.S. Supreme Court "'has consistently upheld statutes where the genders classification is not invidious, but realistically reflects the fact that the sexes are not similarly situated in certain circumstances.'"

Regulations such as the public nudity ordinance, Sawyer said, have an important government objective which is to protect the public's sensibilities..., which is an objective based not on cultural stereotypes but on "real 'physical difference between the sexes which have implications for the moral and aesthetic sensitivities of a substantial majority of the country.'"

As to whether Laconia's ordinance violates the First Amendment Rights to self expression and free speech, Sawyer puts it to a four prong test, namely that it is within the city's right to enact it; that it furthers an important government interest, that the city's interest is unrelated to free expression and the restriction is no greater than is essential to Laconia's interest.

Sawyer said the ban on exposing nipples has nothing to do with suppression of free speech saying that other courts have said they "cannot accept the view that an apparently limitless variety of conduct can be labeled 'speech."

He said Laconia's ordinance seeks to prevent the public health, public safety, morals and public order and also prevents the secondary effects of increased crime and reduction of property values.
He said the movement is not inhibited its participants having to cover their nipples.

"The are able to advocate the benefits of nude sunbathing albeit while fully dressed," he wrote, quoting a ruling from Florida.

Trial is scheduled to begin today (Friday) at 8 a.m. in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division.