To the rescue - Three Belmont men describe efforts to save kayaker

06-30 kayak rescuers

 

 

Tyler Zinland, Tylor Bouchard and Trevor Bouchard were warm and dry in their Belmont home after rescuing a woman who plunged over Clement Dam in Tilton on Sunday. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)

 

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

BELMONT — Trevor Bouchard knew something was different with river last Sunday.
The 23-year-old construction worker who, along with his brother and an a friend saved a woman who fell over the Clement Dam in Tilton, said he spends a lot of time tubing along the Winnipesaukee River.
"I knew the minute I went around the last curve (before the Riverside Mill) that the water was too shallow," he said Wednesday.
"It was 'rapid-y,'"he said, creating his own descriptive word for how fast the river was flowing.
Trevor, his brother Tylor and roommate Tyler Zinkand were part of a group of friends who took advantage of the hot weather on June 18 and spent the latter part of the afternoon floating down the Winnipesaukee River on giant inner tubes.
Their group of friends were ahead of the woman who plunged over the dam after being thrown from her kayak. She has yet to be identified.
While Trevor, Tyler and Tylor were able to pull themselves out of the river, the woman was not. Tyler, who said he had never been down the river before but was warned by Trevor to get out of the water when he first saw that one of the dam gates was open.
Tyler said he saw the woman get thrown from her kayak after it either came near or hit a rock. He said a man and his dog that were with her were also thrown from theirs, but he was able to get to shore.
She was not able to get to shore and he said he saw her headed down the river toward the dam, where a gate was open. Normally there is a fence to prevent such accidents, but it was missing.
"I began running toward the dam and then ran down the embankment below it," said Tyler, a Department of Transportation construction worker who is a member of the U.S. National Guard, adding he was pretty sure she would be swept down. He said she was yelling for help.
He said he waited at the bottom of the dam but when he didn't see her, he said he ran back up to the top of the dam and saw she was hanging on to a tree branch that had gotten stuck in some rocks about 10 to 15 feet above the dam opening.
Meanwhile, Trevor and Tylor said they saw her hanging on to a tree branch.
Trevor tried to reach her by holding on to an oil boom that was tied to the shore and swimming along the closed part of the dam.
"I kept talking to her and trying to calm her," he said. "I told her they (the fire department) would be here."
All of them said Tilton-Northfield Fire Captain David Hall made an amazing effort to try and reach the woman in a kayak he commandeered from another kayaker.
"He was awesome," they all said, noting that Hall went over the dam himself but was able to get out of the water.
"He was very (mad) that he couldn't reach her, but he did an amazing job," said Trevor.
Tylor, an associate of Snap-On Tools, said he also went into the water to help his brother try and reach the woman but said the oil boom was too short.
"She was really strong," he said, noting she held on to the tree branch for a while but the current was too strong.
The three of them, and a another man named Matt, got out of the water and began running through the woods and bushes down the river.
Still barefoot, all of them ran along the bank through puckerbrushes, climbing two chain link fences in their efforts to find her along the lower part of the river.
"One of them had barbed wire on the top, too," said Tyler.
It was Trevor who saw her first and said he was able to get into the river and pull her to shore. All three said they reached he about a quarter of a mile down river from the dam.
From there, Tyler said he started to use some of his military training to try and stop her from going into shock. The said she was breathing but very shallowly.
Describing her as disoriented, he said the goal was to keep her from losing consciousness by asking her questions until firefighters could get down to the riverside and bring her out.
"Normally, I would want to keep her warm," said Tyler, who added that unfortunately they didn't have anything like that with them because they were wearing wet shorts and little else.
He said they began yelling to the firefighters so they could find them and bring the woman up the embankment to safety.
All three of them said they got a number of small cuts and scratches on themselves from running down the river's edge, mentioning the puckerbrush again.
"One guy who was with them told us that our parents had done a good job of raising us," said Tyler.
They also suggested that the people who manage the dam and the river post a sign just before the last turn that says "Dam Ahead" because people are able to get out of the river before the last bend.
"I know we should have checked to see if the dam was open," said Tyler.
"For future people, check the river," they echoed.
As for the woman, Chief Mike Sitar said she was out of the hospital.
"We don't care about the thanks," said Trevor. "We only care that she is OK."

Free speech at stake - Counter suit filed against Mayhew Funeral Home (370)

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

OSSIPEE — The owners of a Meredith motorcycle museum have filed a counterclaim to a slander suit against them by the crematorium next door, saying the quality of their lives has been severely diminished by its emissions, odor and noise.

Douglas and Leslyee Frederick have also asked to court to schedule a hearing for a request for a temporary injunction to stop the crematory use by the owners of Mayhew Funeral Home.

The Fredericks are responding to a suit filed against them by Peter Mayhew that asked the court to order them to stop saying in public forums what they claim are lies about his crematory.

For weeks prior to the defamation suit filing in Belknap County Superior Court, they have attended Meredith Board of Selectmen meetings and said that not only are the ashes, noises and smells from the crematory adversely affecting their lives and business, but that they believe the town didn't properly give notice to abutters about building the crematory in 2010.

In their counter suit, the Fredericks made six separate private and public nuisance claims against Mayhew.

The first private claim states the odors that allegedly emanate from the chimney cause "substantial annoyance to a person of ordinary health and normal sensitivities." They claim Mayhew's professional, social or personal utility of the facility does not outweigh their discomfort.

The second claims the substantive emissions of "smoke, ash-like material (and) fine particulate matter" have caused and are causing interference with the use of their property.

Third, the Fredericks claim the noise from the incinerator have interfered with their personal enjoyment of their property.

Because of the business nature of the American Police Motorcycle Museum, the Fredericks claim the noise, odor and material discharges have created a public nuisance as well.

There has been no date set for a hearing on the Fredericks' request for an injunction that, if granted, would stop the Mayhews from using the crematory. Oral arguments regarding Mayhew's threat to file a slander suit were held on June 6, however, to date, Judge Amy Ignatius has not issued an opinion.

The case was originally filed in Belknap County Superior Court but was sent to Carroll County Superior Court because of a conflict.

Gilford farmers await judge's decision on events at Timber Hill

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — It's now up to a Belknap County Superior Court judge to determine if the Gilford Planning Board acted properly in giving a site plan approval to a family that wants to hold weddings and other outdoor events on their Gilford farm.

Attorneys for all three parties told Judge James O'Neill their side of the nearly year-long saga that has divided a neighborhood on Gunstock Hill Road, however in this particular case, he has to decide if the Planning Board acted "unreasonably or unlawfully" when it gave Andrew and Martina Howe permission to host their events.

Abutter Monique Twomey filed the suit against the town claiming that the Planning Board didn't take into consideration her rights to enjoy her property, the traffic hazards that she says will be created and the potential devaluation of her property.

Her attorney likened the proposal to putting a bar in a single-family-residential area with all of the baggage a bar brings, like noise, traffic, alcohol and drunken behavior.

Twomey said there was no way she could have anticipated the wedding events when she purchased her home and now must suffer the consequences because the Planning Board allowed what she thinks is a flawed, illegal and unreasonable use of it property.

The town claims the Planning Board considered all of the factors that went into the approval and discussed each condition, of which there are many, that are imposed on any future wedding or like events on Timber Hill Farm.

The town's attorney countered that the Planning Board found no quantified detriment to her claim that her property would be devalued. She noted that the Howes will be building a barn further away from her home to hold the events and that it will be enclosed on the side of the property that faces hers.

The Howes' attorney said the Planning Board did 15 hours of hearings and research that included two site visits. He agreed with the town that each condition of the approval was discussed separately and voted before the final 3 to 2 vote that granted the site plan.

The argument heard Monday referenced one of four lawsuits filed by Twomey against the town. One was dismissed as untimely and the other two are still pending.

Any wedding or other events on Timber Hill Farm cannot be held until Planning Board suit is litigated.

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