Standing up in Bristol

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Cindy Young of Alexandria, Allison Wade of Bristol and Jessica Pratt join in a protest against TD Bank in Bristol Wednesday afternoon. They support the protests in North Dakota against the oil pipeline going through Native American land. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)

Dakota pipeline protesters demonstrate at TD Bank


BRISTOL — About eight people demonstrated in front of the TD Bank in downtown Bristol Wednesday, saying they were there to show support for the demonstrations against the Dakota Pipeline.

Alexandria resident Cindy Young said she and her supporters are standing up to all of the financial institutions that are financially backing the pipeline the builders want to run through the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota.

"Lots of people in this area don't understand," said Young who temporarily put down her drum to speak. "A lot of this desecration of sacred burial sites isn't common knowledge."

In recent days, the protests against the pipeline going through Sioux Reservation lands have grown violent. According to nation news media outlets, police turned fire hoses against the protestors in freezing North Dakota winter weather near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, over the past two nights.

Police have also allegedly used rubber bullets and tear gas in other efforts to disperse the growing crowds. Protesters in North Dakota are led by David Archambeault II, the chairman of the tribe.

"It's like a perpetrator committing a crime against innocent people," Archambault told ABC news reporters about the Dakota pipeline plans.

In Bristol, things were calm. Occasionally a T-shirt-wearing young person would lean out of a car window and flip his middle finger at them, but just as often people would drive by a toot their horns in solidarity.

Young said they have a permit for their protest and the Bristol Police have largely ignored them.

"They smile, maybe half-heartedly, when they go by," she said.

The Dakota lands west of the Missouri River are protected as part of the greater Sioux Nation by the 1851 Treaty of Laramie, which was amended in 1868 after gold was discovered in the South Dakota Black Hills in 1861.

The protesters say the pipeline will run through waters of the Cannon Ball River which is part of the Great Sioux Nation.

Young said she and some of her fellow Grafton County supporters will be heading to Cannon Ball in January to continue the protests.

TD Bank media spokesperson Alison Ford said, "We respect the rights of those who wish to voice their opinions in peaceful protest. TD supports responsible energy development, employing due diligence in our lending and investing activities related to resource development. To enhance our understanding of key issues and promote informed dialogue, we work closely with our clients, local communities, aboriginal governments and environmental groups.

TD continues to engage in discussions with key stakeholders and Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline. And we support efforts to ensure environmental sustainability and the safety of the site. We will continue to encourage ETP to engage in constructive dialogue and work towards a resolution with stakeholders and community members, including the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe."

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Maya Hardcastle, left, and Elsa McConologue stand in front of the TD Bank in Bristol Wednesday, making their feelings known about the Dakota Access Pipeline being constructed in North Dakota. The bank is one of the businesses financing the project. (Courtesy photo)

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Chimney trim - 82-foot smokestack on Water Street is shortened


LACONIA — The brick chimney that once towered above the Laconia Car Company and now casts its shadow over the offices of Rist-Frost Shumway Engineering has been topped, but spared to remain among the enduring landmarks of the city's industrial past.

Chris Shumway said that the condition of the chimney, particularly the deterioration of the brickwork at its highest reaches, had become "a serious safety concern." He explained that the chimney is owned by The Foundry, a condominium association, whose members hired Apex Chimney Company, Inc. to undertake a thorough inspection of the structure. "We considered every alternative, from restoring the chimney to taking it down," he said, "and wound up somewhere in the middle."

Shumway said that the uppermost 18 feet of the chimney have been removed, shortening the height of the structure from 100 feet to 82 feet. The top of the chimney will be fitted with a concrete cap, which by minimizing the condensation and moisture within the structure will preserve the integrity of the brickwork. The chimney will be fitted with a lightening protection system and the brickwork on all four sides will be repointed from top to bottom.

"We wanted to be respectful," Shumway said, adding that the chimney has stood on the site for more than a century. "But, we couldn't just wait for a piece of it come down on somebody in the wrong place at the wrong time. And," he continued, "it's good to keep it."

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A team from Apex Chimney Company, Inc. work atop the 82-foot chimney that originally served the Laconia Car Company. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)

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Grand marshals chosen for this Saturday's holiday parade

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Olivia, now age 6, tenderly looks after her younger brother, Max 4. The two will lead the region's Holiday Parade Saturday, Nov. 26. (Courtesy photo)

LACONIA — The grand marshals for this year's holiday parade, which steps off at 4 p.m. this Saturday, are a beloved little boy and girl in the community. Max Gagnon, 4, and his sister, Olivia, 6, will lead the parade and set the tone for the entire evening of festivities, according to the Downtown Laconia Main Street Initiative statement released Monday at the Laconia City Council meeting. The parade will culminate with Santa Claus lighting the tree at Veterans Square.

"Everybody knows Olivia and Max", who are the daughter and son of residents Michael and Amber Gagnon, said John Moriarty of the Main Street Initiatie. "Many of us are aware of the health issues that Max has endured, and we are overwhelmed with his recovery, and look forward to the day when he is fully healthy", said Moriarty, making reference to the Gagnon family's very public battle with ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) which has afflicted their son.
"Young Olivia and Max don't care who was elected president of the United States; they don't care whether the lights on the city's Christmas tree go up and down or round and round, or even whether the lights are pretty, or pretty-ugly. Young Olivia and Max only care that they are loved by their family, and feel the warmth and compassion of the community they live in. What makes them the ideal Grand Marshals is that each of us recognizes a little bit of their struggle in ourselves, and craves the people-to-people connections that unites us and provides the synergy that makes the community as a whole stronger."
Moriarty said that typically, grand marshals have made a lasting impact on the Lakes Region, Laconia, and downtown, with their time, effort, influence and sometimes a generous checkbook as well. He added that the panel that made the selection of this year's grand marshal cited the need for the community to be healed following what has been, nationally a divisive election cycle, which was even more acute in New Hampshire where the campaign has consumed nearly two full years of pitting neighbor against neighbor, with more rancor than ideology.
All are invited to watch the parade, and participate in the second annual Snowman Hunt which starts at 10 a.m. to garner a chance to win $500 cash to be drawn live on WEMJ 107.3 FM just as the parade starts. To join Olivia and Max in the parade, visit for guidelines on decorating your team's, group's, club's or business's float or contact the Downtown Laconia Main Street Initiative at 603-455-2084.

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