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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Local hospitals report just 4 ‘adverse events’


LACONIA — LRGHealthcare reported four "serious reportable events" — three at Lakes Region General Hospital and one at Franklin Regional Hospital — in 2015.

Since 2010, the state has required all hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers to report to the Department of Health and Human Services 29 adverse events, divided among six categories, specified by the National Quality Forum, a nonprofit corporation with the goal of enhancing the quality of medical treatment. Sometimes called "never events," the list consists of events that can be identified, measured and prevented and serves as a nationwide standard for mandatory reporting systems operated by the states.

Altogether, New Hampshire hospitals reported 64 adverse events, none of which were either associated with the death of a patents or complaints lodged with the Department of Health and Human Services. In 2014, 73 events were reported.

The three events at Lakes Region General Hospital were all surgical and included one procedure on the wrong body part and two cases of foreign objects left in patients after surgery. At Franklin Regional Hospital there was an error in administering medication. Lakes Region General Hospital admitted 4,614 patients and performed 1,686 inpatient and 8,125 outpatient surgeries in 2015 while Franklin Regional Hospital admitted 1,196 patents and performed 25 inpatient and 1,168 outpatient surgeries.

In 2014, Lakes Region General Hospital reported three falls by patients, while Franklin Regional Hospital reported one case of a foreign object left after surgery.

Falls and bedsores each account for a third of reported adverse events while incidents arising from surgery represent another 16 percent.

Sandy Marshall, director of public relations and volunteer services at LRGHealthcare, said that the organizations "work hard every day to ensure the safety our patients." She said that events reported to the state were not "abnormal for a hospital of our size, volume and scope" and stressed that "we take each one of these situations very seriously and are pleased to note that they had minimal impacts on our patient's health outcomes. Of the four events reported," she continued, "we have worked very closely with the patients and their families to insure that they remain in the best of health."

Marshall said that the safety and quality committees review "the root cause of any events and implement corrective action plans to ensure their is no recurrence. We are proud of of our internal focus on safety and quality measures," she said, "as well as our commitment to remain vigilant."

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Fatal crash - Head-on collision claims Northfield man’s life in Tilton near country club


TILTON — A Northfield man died when the car he was driving collided with an oncoming vehicle on the crest of a hill on Laconia Road, US Route 3/NH Route 11, in front of the Lochmere County Club around 6:15 p.m. on Sunday.

ArteagaROBERT112116Robert Arteaga, 29, was traveling eastbound along the windy, hilly stretch of the road when he his Mazda sedan collided head-on with a SUV traveling westbound driven by Dorothy Lebrecque, 51, of Belmont just as the two vehicles crested the hill. Although there were reports that Arteaga was attempting to overtake another vehicle in the no-passing zone on the blind hill, Tilton Police Chief Robert Cormier said Monday that he was awaiting the report of the Belknap County Accident Reconstruction Team before commenting on the cause of the accident.

Lebrecque was taken to Franklin Regional Hospital and subsequently transferred to Lakes Regional General Hospital where she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. She was wearing a seat belt and her vehicle was fitted with dual air bags, which together spared her more severe injuries.

The reconstruction team, headed by Lt. Al Graton of the Laconia Police Department, was at the scene of the collision until 3 a.m. Cormier said that the investigation, including blood tests of both drivers, is ongoing.

Cormier said this section of the heavily traveled road, which is marked by two blind hills and a sharp bend, is especially dangerous and should be driven with caution. There was a fatal accident at virtually the same spot in 2005.

11-21 Accident map

This is the general location of the accident, near the Lochmere Country Club in Tilton. Robert Arteaga, 29, of Northfield, did not survive the head-on collision. (Google Maps)

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