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  • Written by Marcy Greene
  • Category: Local News
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1,500 runners raise $31k for 16.4.26 Foundation

GILFORD — The runners came from all corners of New Hampshire. Some came from places as far away as Tennessee and Ohio.
Others came from nearer places New London and Sutton, which had 31 staff members from the Kearsarge Regional School District taking part, and Amherst, which sent 21 runners from Souhegan High School. There were 16 runners from Winnacunett High School in Hampton, three teams of runners from the Deerfield Elementary School and dozens of runner from Lisbon. In all some 78 school districts from across New England sent runners.
In all, more than 1,500 runners participated in Sunday's 26.4.26 Foundation relay Marathon between Gilford Elementary School and the three elementary schools in Laconia. Organized locally by GES Principal Danielle Bolduc and school Resource Officer Holly Harris, the event was dedicated to the memory of the 26 people — 20 children and six adults — who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, 2012.
And participants were in Gilford Sunday for a number of reasons, from showing support for the surving Newtown families to speaking out against violence and gun deaths across the country.
Sam Brown of Easton, a small town just west of Franconia, was there along with his wife, Jenny Johnson, because they know Amy Lawton, an English teacher at Lisbon High School whose stepmother Dawn Hochspung, Sandy Hook Elementary School principal, was among those shot to death.
''She's a good friend,'' said Johnson, who said that she and Sam were both running in the relay and taking different laps so that one of them could be with their 18-month-old son, Thatcher, while the other was running.
Lawton, who lives in Bethlehem, told the hundreds who gathered at the Gilford Village bandstand before the start of the event that she misses Hochsprung's wide smile and cheering morning text messages and that she was overwhelmed with her initial response to the December 14 tragedy which claimed the lives of 20 first graders and six school teachers and administrators.
''The first thing I pictured in my mind was what would have happened if that had been my son's kindergarten class,'' noting that Sunday marked the sixth birthday of her son, Wyatt.
She said that image still stuck in her mind and brought tears to her eyes in January when the Lisbon school held an intruder drill in which classroom teachers had to react along with their students to an imminent threat of violence within the school.
Lawton said facing tragedy like that which took place at Newtown is the only way to deal with it. ''Facing tragedy and not looking away, not running away from pain, is important. We're hard-wired for empathy, compassion and connections. Something like this should make us more kind and more considerate,'' said Lawton.
Also speaking at the ceremony was Robbie Bruce of Nashville, Tennessee, founder of the 26.4.26 Foundation, who organized a relay marathon in Nashville only eight days after the shootings which drew 1,000 runners and raised $30,000 for the Newtown Youth Academy.
He said that although there are many evil people in the world capable of creating tragedies such as school massacres ''the more we do that shows there are good people in the world, the more the world will change, for the better. We must protect what is beautiful and what is happening here today shows all that it takes is a spark to get something good going.''
The 26.4.26 Facebook page on Monday reported that $31,000 was raised in Sunday's event.
Principal Bolduc said ''we proved today that the world is going to get better'' and thanked all of those who had worked with her to make Sunday's relay race a success.
She said hundreds of volunteers helped out Sunday and that she had been inspired by the example of Bruce in organizing the Nashville event.
All of the school districts which took part were presented with a Blue Spruce seedling, courtesy of Belknap Landscaping, which they will plant at their schools in memory of those who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School.



Amy Lawton of Bethlehem, a teacher at Lisbon High School, speaks Sunday at the Gilford Village Field bandstand before the start of a marathon relay honoring the victims of the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Her stepmother, Dawn Hochsprung. principal at Sandy Hook, was among those killed. Behind her are Robbie Bruce of Nashville, Tennessee, founder of the 26.4.26 Foundation, and Danielle Bolduc, principal of Gilford Elementary School. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)


Thatcher Brown, 16 months old, of Easton, watches from behind the Gilford Village Field bandstand, as his father, Sam, who ran in Sunday's relay marathon honoring the victims of the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn keeps his eye on him. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Young couple charged with no-pay shopping spree at Kohl's in Tilton

TILTON — A pair of suspected shoplifters, who allegedly threatened to run over employees of the last store they pilfered while making their getaway, were captured shortly afterward in Franklin on Saturday night.
Tucker Bean, 20, of 290 Main Street, Franklin was charged with robbery as well as felony reckless conduct and possession of narcotics while his accomplice, Catherine Plaia, 18, of the same address, was charged criminal liability for the conduct of another, receiving stolen property and possession of narcotics.
Tilton Police Chief Bob Cormier said that although no one was injured, Bean was charged with robbery, a felony, for using or threatening the use of deadly force to further the commission of theft.
After receiving several reports of shoplifting Tilton police responded to Kohl's department store at approximately 7.55 p.m. They learned that when the two refused to pay for merchandise employees tried to stop them from leaving the parking lot by standing behind their silver Volkswagen GTI, but stepped aside as the driver reversed toward them. The description of the vehicle was radioed to local law enforcement agencies and within minutes was stopped in Franklin. The suspects matched the description provided by the employees and stolen merchandise was found in the vehicle.
Bean and Plaia were arrested and booked by Tilton police then released on cash bail penning their arraignment in Franklin District Court on May 20. The vehicle and merchandise were seized as evidence.

Half of Tilton-Northfield Fire's 294 winter medical calls required advanced life support

TILTON-NORTHFIELD — Chief Brad Ober of Tilton-Northfield Fire & EMS reported that call volume declined slightly this winter, between December 1 and March 31, from 482 emergency calls in 2012 to 467, with 48 simultaneous calls representing ten-percent of the total.
Ober said that medical emergencies accounted for 63 percent and fire emergencies for 37 percent of all calls. The department responded to 14 building and nine chimney fires, which together represented estimated losses of $400,420.
Of all emergencies, 261 originated in Tilton and 162 in Northfield while the department also responded to 44 calls for Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid.
Half of the 284 patients treated received advanced life support and a fifth basic life support. Ober said that the intervention of bystanders and EMTS, who employed newly purchased cardiac monitors and mechanical CPR devices, spontaneously restored circulation to a patient in cardiac arrest who was subsequently treated at Concord Hospital and now enjoys a normal lifestyle.
Firefighters reached the scene of 57 percent of all emergencies in six minutes or less with an average response time of six minutes, thirty-seven seconds. Slightly more than a fifth of all emergencies occurred between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Celebrity bartenders at Crazy Gringo raise money for Pan-Mass. Challenge

LACONIA — The second annual Celebrity Bartender event at The Crazy Gringo Saturday afternoon saw Pan-Massachusetts Challenge bike-a-thon competitors Rich Dow of Sanbornton and his brother, Mike, of Akron, Ohio, serving up drinks for three hours.
All of the tips, which largely came from the Lick Cancer Team from Watertown, Mass., whose members crowded into the popular Weirs Beach restaurant and watering hole, go towards the donations the brothers are raising for the Jimmy Fund, which has set a goal of raising $38 million this year.
The challenge features a two-day, 192 mile bike ride from Sturbridge, Mass., to Provincetown with hundreds of cyclists raising money in a variety of ways to support cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
It will be Rich's first Pan-Mass Challenge. His brother, Mike, took part in last year's event.
Team Lick Cancer, which started with three riders in 2005, now has 40 riders and a large support van with the Lick Cancer logo.
Additional funds were raised by nine-year-old Ellie Monahan of Watertown, Mass., who had her hair cut for Locks of Love, which also raises funds to fight cancer.

Rich Dow of Sanbornton and Mike Dow of Akron, Ohio, were celebrity bartenders at the Crazy Gringo on Weirs Beach Saturday afternoon as they raised funds for the Pan-Mass Challenge which benefits the Jimmy Fund. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Nine-year-old Ellie Monahan of Watertown, Mass., looks at her hair which was cut by Shelley Brewer for Locks of Love at the Crazy Gringo at Weirs Beach Saturday as part of a fundraiser to fight cancer. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun