Public is invited to attend LHS Athletic Hall of Fame Friday

LACONIA — The Laconia High School Athletic Department will host its 2016 Athletic Hall of Fame induction Friday Nov. 25. This class consists of two standout coaches and four athletes from over the past 100 years.

The ceremony will commence at the Huot Center on the LHS campus at the Meredith Village Savings Bank Culinary Arts Center on the first floor at 5 p.m. After a social hour, everyone will move to the LHS auditorium for the formal induction ceremony at 6 p.m. The legendary "Voice of the Sachems," David Rea, will be the master of ceremonies once again. The event is free of charge and open to all. Inductees and their families would embrace the support of former teammates and players' attendance.
• First honored will be former coach and athletic director Socrates Bobotas. Soc, as he was referred to as, was a native of Manchester, where he attended Manchester Central, went on to a postgraduate year at Tilton Prep, and spent his collegiate years at the University of New Hampshire. In 1949 he came to Laconia High School to teach physical education and coach baseball. In 1954 he took on the basketball position. In 1958 he transitioned to become the athletic director and director of physical education. He held that position until his retirement in 1976. As a baseball coach, he led the Sachems to state titles in 1956 and 1972 and runners-up in 1954, 1955, 1960 and 1966. In addition to leading the LHS athletic program, Soc was the founder of the Laconia Little League in 1953. One of his greatest legacies was his implementation of Title IX sports at LHS in 1972, which mandates equity between boys and girls playing sports. The passion for Soc's contribution to athletics recognized forever with the naming of the practice field space at Laconia High School.

Paul Phelps• Second, was legendary coach Paul Phelps. Paul graduated from Laconia High School in 1962 as a student and athlete. Upon graduation from Plymouth State Teachers College, Paul came back as an assistant football coach from 1967-1986, 1993-1998. He was either the assistant or head track coach for winter and spring from 1968-1980 and 1992-2001. He also coached basketball from 1967-1973. His football teams appeared in state championships in 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1993, 1994, and 1995 where the Sachems took home the title in the latter two. His track team won the 1978 Class I outdoor Championship and he has coached numerous school and state individual record holders. He was named Coach of the Year during that '78 season. He was a committed history teacher and assistant principal for the district for 35 years. Former athletes rave about his dedication and devotion he showed towards his athletes. His knowledge and understanding of his role as an assistant and as a head coach set him apart from many who have coached this game. In 2002, he was named AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year. He truly coached his players on and off the field. Frequently athletes were at his house to lift weights in his basement, or just to stop by for guidance. He has a heart of gold.

Former player, and head football coach at Brown University Phil Estes said, "It was about 43 years ago that Paul Phelps changed my life. He introduced to me the game of football and the many life lessons it taught me. Humility, trust, team, perseverance, and most of all, caring. He changed my life because he cared so much about me as a person, not just a football player."

Current athletic director Craig Kozens said, "Paul is one of the nicest men you could ever meet. He will do anything to help anyone. He took me under his wing as a first-year employee, and until this day, he constantly checks in and is there to listen. I have met thousands of people from Laconia in my 16 years here, and every person that I have met have had nothing but great stories to tell about Coach Phelps. When you think of Sachem Pride, you envision Paul Phelps."

Wilbur Fay• Next is Wilbur Fay, a multi-sport athlete at LHS from 1921-1924. Wilbur was a member of the varsity football, basketball and baseball. He also competed in statewide speed skating events including the races that were held at Pearl Street where he placed second overall in the state, and the Laconia entry won the state championship. His 1923 basketball team competed at Tufts College where they were eventually eliminated by a Salem, Massachusetts, team. He went on to teach and coach at various places until he settled back into the area where he opened Fay's Boat Yard in 1942. The business still stands and is family owned and operated.

Amy Cantin• Inductee Amy Cantin, Class of 1986 was an alpine skier, field hockey and softball standout. She shined as captain of the field hockey team in her senior year where she earned NH All-State status and was named the team MVP. She culminated her career playing in the Field Hockey Classic for Team NH as they snapped a three-year drought with a victory over Team Vermont. Amy went on to begin her ski career on the Varsity team as a seventh-grader and eventually captained the team in her senior year. She dominated the slopes and earned the team MVP award in her sophomore, junior and senior seasons. In 1985 she was the NHIAA Giant Slalom state champion. In 1986, she won the NHIAA Slalom State Championship. As a softball player, she lettered in her junior and senior seasons. From LHS she went off to Keene State College where she played both field hockey and skied. She was referred to as by many coaches as not only an outstanding player, but an outstanding young lady during her playing days.

Charlene Emond• Inductee Charlene Emond was  a track and basketball standout from the Class of 1988. Charlene captained her senior basketball team where she lettered for three years. In her senior season she earned the basketball team's MVP honors. Charlene shined even greater as a track and field athlete. Her Laconia High School record in the women's shot put has stood since 1985. She earned All-State honors in shot put throughout her four years of high school, while she posted the same honors in her junior and senior seasons in the discus event. In 1987 and 1988 she was a NHIAA Shot Put State Champion. She qualified for the New England Meet of Champions where she was a Top 10 finisher. In her senior year she earned the LHS Most Outstanding Field Athlete Award. She culminated her high school athletic career earning the coveted Joyce H. Bobotas Award.

Christian Birt• And lastly, is 2009 graduate Christian Birt. Christian excelled on the basketball court as a four-year starter and prolific scorer, and on the football field as a dominant two-way starter. As a basketball player he was named co-MVP in his senior year and team captain in both his junior and senior seasons. He was All-State in his senior year. He scored his 1,000th point in his senior season and guided his team to a final four finish. In football, he led the Sachems to an undefeated State Championship team in 2007, and returned to the state championship finals in 2008. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in his junior and senior seasons and ended his career with 12 interceptions from his safety position. He was recipient of the McDonald's MVP his senior year as well as being named the Elk's Scholar-Athlete award winner. He was a First Team Division IV All-State recipient in his junior and senior seasons. He was named by the Union Leader as All-State for all divisions. He received the Joe Yukica NH Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame award in his senior season. In addition he was selected to play for Team NH in the Maple Sugar Shrine Football game, but had to decline due to having to report to preseason at the University of Massachusetts where he was a full scholarship football player. Also was a Mr. NH Football finalist for all divisions. LHS head football coach Craig Kozens says, "Christian not only was one of the best pure athletes that I had the opportunity to coach, but he also was humble in his accomplishments and was an exemplary student in the classroom. He was the real deal. His fluidity as an athlete made it all look so easy for him. One of the best athletes that I have ever coached."

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Seven file claims against Laconia Fest saying they were not paid for working


LACONIA — Seven people have filed unpaid wage claims against the promoter of last summer's Laconia Fest and the two corporations with which he was associated.

One man, Kenneth D. Martinsen of Manchester, filed his claim for $582.50 plus costs and his $100 filing fee in the Belknap County Superior Court and received a judgment for the same.

A lien was placed on any property or assets of Michael Trainor, LaconiaFest, and Yesslar Global Partners, LLC, all of Gilford, for three years.

A spokesperson from the state Department of labor said Thursday the total of the seven unpaid wage claims is $4,215 including Martinsen's.

LaconiaFest was an attempt by Trainor to bring high quality rock bands to the Weirs Beach Drive in Theater property, which he did.

However, the event was in trouble from the beginning when much smaller crowds than predicted came to the shows and pre-ticket sales numbers proved to be smaller than LaconiaFest promoters had hoped.

Conflict between LaconiaFest and the city grew because venue managers wanted to keep the gates open and reduce the cost of admissions, meaning police and fire services had to be coordinated according to the possible maximum occupancy of as many as 25,000 per show.

By the end of the week, the three top entertainers, including Ted Nugent, Brett Michaels and Steven Tyler, performed to crowds of about 3,000 to 4,000 each. The concerts themselves were considered to be very well performed; however, the crowds never materialized to allow LaconiaFest to pay its bills.

By the end, the city covered some $63,000 in public safety costs and it now appears at least seven people were not paid the wages they were promised by the promoter.

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No nipples - Judge rules Laconia can forbid bare female breasts on public beaches


LACONIA — A local judge said Monday that the city ordinance against exposing female nipples in public is authorized by state law and has ruled against dismissing the city's citations against Heidi Lilley, Gina Pierro, and Kia Sinclair.

Judge Jim Carroll of the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division said that he agrees with the city's argument that RSA 47:17, XIII gives city's the right to to regulate "times and place of bathing and the water of the city and the clothing to be worn by bathers and swimmers."

He said the above state law that the "(Laconia) ordinance is neither invalidated nor repugnant by legislative authority preemption in RSA 645:1."

RSA 645:1 is New Hampshire's indecency law, which does not prohibit the baring of female breasts in public and because of that statute, he earlier ruled a similar ordinance at Gilford Town Beach is unenforceable because what the state legislature doesn't criminalize can't be made criminal by a town.

Lilley, Pierro, and Sinclair were arrested on Memorial Day Weekend in 2016 for appear topless on Weirs Beach as a demonstration of the Free the Nipple Movement, which they say advocates for equal treatment of women and men and for the desexualizing of the female breast. The charges against them are now still pending.

Carroll's ruling, in his words, involved actions that were "similarly factual to several cases that involved the township of Gilford earlier."

Key to Carroll's decision are the words "township" and "city council." RSA 47:17, is specific to cities only and does not include townships, which are governed by RSA 41:11.

Like he did in the Gilford case, Carroll also ruled that Laconia's ordinance does not violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment in that all people are not being treated equally.

He said that in Laconia's case, "All women who wish to be present in a 'public place,' which includes 'any public street, way, alley, parking area, park common, beach or other property or public institution of the city," must be properly clothed.

"The subject ordinance creates no violation of the Equal Protection clause as it treats all females equally," Carroll wrote.

As to the argument presented by Lilley, Sinclair, and Pierro that exposing their breasts at the beach is artistic expression and is protected as free speech, Carroll against disagreed, much like he did in the Gilford case.

They argued that their artistic endeavors are the same as those in "Hair," a musical in which actors appeared naked at the end of the play.

Carroll said that in "Hair," the argument was that certain municipalities limiting access to public property were acts of "prior restraint." In this case, Carroll said that women were not prohibited from using public property but only limiting the manner in which it is used. He said none of the defendants are prevented from advocating for female toplessness at the beach or anywhere else.

"The ordinance is not content based, but is conduct based," wrote Carroll.

When reached for comment, attorney and state Rep. Daniel Hynes said that there is still a trial to be held but if his clients are found guilty, then they will appeal Carroll's recent ruling to the state Supreme Court.

Laconia City Attorney Jim Sawyer said he is pleased with Carroll's ruling but also said he wouldn't be surprised to see it appealed to the higher court.

11-22 free the nipple women

Heidi Lilley (seated), Kia Sinclair and Ginger Pierro were at a hearing to dismiss charges from Laconia Police for going topless on Weirs Beach on Memorial Day weekend. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)

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