Free the Nipple proponent fights city for right to bare breasts


LACONIA — Heidi Lilley of Gilford, the woman at the forefront of the Free the Nipple movement, appeared before the City Council this week, dressed in a blouse and jeans and accompanied by Dan Hynes, her attorney, wearing a brown suit.

Hynes told the councilors that the city ordinance, which forbids "the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any part of the nipple" in a public place, violates the United States Constitution. He said that the ordinance infringes on the fundamental rights of individuals and discriminates against women and reminded the councilors that should it be challenged, it would be liable to "strict scrutiny," the highest standard the court can apply. He urged the council to enact what he called "a gender neutral ordinance."

Councilor Bob Hamel (Ward 5) replied that 50 people had just died in Orlando, Florida, three-quarters of Laconia schoolchildren qualify for free or reduced lunch, the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region is full of children from broken homes and the Senior Center feeds hundreds of elderly residents. Under the circumstances, he called Lilley's issue "pretty pathetic" and suggested she "put her thoughts in more caring ways."

Lilley said that she worked in hospice care and insisted "I do not want to show my breasts. My issue is women have the same rights as men." As she spoke, Councilor Brenda Baer (Ward 4) said "You live in Gilford," and Councilor Armand Bolduc (Ward 6) said "Go back to Gilford."

Undaunted, Lilley handed Mayor Ed Engler a proposal that she said would address the issue of harassment.

The city enacted the prohibition to discourage men from encouraging women to bare their breasts, particularly during Motorcycle Week. Lilley said that her proposal would address the issue of harassment without discriminating against women.

Meanwhile, a pair of young women, colorfully painted above the waist, tested the ordinance Tuesday as they touted a body art concession strolling among the crowd at Motorcycle Week on Lakeside Avenue. As cameras clicked, they passed two police officers who were left to ponder whether paint qualifies as "opacity," which the law requires as a covering for nipples.

06-15 nipples and body paint at Bike Week

Covered in body paint, these women flirted with the limits of the city ordinance prohibiting women from baring their breasts in public on Lakeside Avenue during Motorcycle Week. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)

Oak tree project approved for Gilford’s Kimball Wildlife Forest


GILFORD — Squirrels and deer love them. Wild turkey, ruffled grouse and wood ducks crave them and even the pesky blue jay will try to steal an red oak acorn or two from an unwitting adversary.

Because of their high carbohydrate content and their rough shells that can take an entire winter to desiccate, the town of Gilford has given the go ahead to the Kimball Wildlife Forest Committee for a team of UNH Foresters to conduct a limited project designed to promote the growth of the red oak within the wildlife preserve.

Technically, crop tree release is a scientific way of increasing individual tree growth and seed production. In reality, a team of foresters will select 60 of the healthiest red oak trees that are in the interior of the forest and eliminate the competitors around it.

This, said UNH Forest Researcher Ethan Belair, will allow the 60 selected trees to grow a better crown, produce better quality timber, and allow for a "seed orchard" around its base to provide nourishment for the critters that live there. He said the red oak is the best producer of acorns of all of the oak trees.

Each tree will be evaluated and documented as part of the initial selection process and will be re-evaluated in five years prior to a possible harvest.

The board's role in the management of the Kimball Wildlife Forest is one of fiduciary responsibility as the board is the only authority that can expend money from the trust fund managed by the forest trustees.

The project will cost the Kimbal Wildlife Forest Trust Fund $6,250 leaving a balance of $230,505.

Sandra McGonagle is the chair of the fund and she spoke in favor of the project saying that Charlotte Kimball was the last Kimball to live on the properly and her primary concern before her death was for the forest being used as a wildlife sanctuary.

Hawkins Brook Nature Trail plan shown to Meredith committee


MEREDITH — The Village Pathways Committee this week unveiled the designed the design of the Hawkins Brook Nature Trail, almost six-tenths of a mile passing through wetland and woodland to link Meredith Bay and Prescott Park.

Josh Ryan of Timber & Stone, LLC of East Montpelier, Vermont, who has designed dozens of trails in a half a dozen states, took residents on a virtual tour of trail, emphasizing that it is designed to be accessible to all, including those requiring wheelchairs.

Ryan said that 1,665 feet of the trail would be surfaced with stone dust while the remaining 1,450 feet would consist of a boardwalk fashioned from the wood of the black locust. Where the boardwalk is 30 inches or more above the ground it would be railed with white oak and elsewhere it would be be curbed. The trail would be studded with five observation decks and one bridge along its length.

Angela LaBrecque, the town planner, said that since the project was originally conceived five years ago the committee has been working closely with the schools, which have incorporated the ecology of the Hawkins Brook watershed in the science curriculum. She said that the observation decks are designed to serve as outdoor classrooms and placed to offer access to both wetland and upland environments.

"The trail will be an incredible resource for the schools," she said.

LaBrecque said the committee is in the process of seeking wetland permits from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. She said the cost of constructing the trail is estimated to fall between $417,000 and $448,000 depending on the materials used and the project will be financed by donations and grants. She said that because the trail is accessible to so many different constituencies serves so many constituencies, the project will be eligible for an array of grants.

In 2018 Meredith will celebrate its 250th anniversary and LaBrecque is hopeful that the ribbon on the Hawkins Brook Nature Trail will be cut in time for the festivities.

Hawkins Brook Trail Alignment 2015

The proposed route of the Hawkins Brook Trail. (Courtesy graphic/Google maps)