Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? To Make a Political Statement.

The man in the chicken suit was arrested during this year's Old Home Day Parade. Photo credit: Jamie Reynolds.

A man in a chicken suit was arrested for disorderly conduct at this year’s Londonderry Old Home Day Parade on Saturday, August 16, 2014. Reports indicate that the man, 23-year-old Michael Zona, was trying to send a political message by following Senator Jeanne Shaheen along the parade route. It was reported that he was trying to send the message that Shaheen was “too chicken to hold town meetings.”

Kathy Wagner, Chair of the Old Home Day Committee, states that she, along with several others, saw the chicken at the start of the parade route. He was told to leave and his sign was taken away by Rick Mansfield, the parade Chairman, Wagner states. “We then saw the chicken run off and thought it was gone. About 10 minutes later, Rick got a call that the chicken was back in the parade near Senator Shaheen.”

Zona was seen carrying this sign, which Old Home Day organizers were able to take away from him, before the start of the parade.

Zona, who acts as the Operations Coordinator for the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, was seen later as the parade approached the high school. Steve Young, School Board Member, saw him running up the pathway while he was in the parade. “We were three or four units behind the Senator. He ran across the road from the fire house side in front of Dan Lekas another School Board Member and I, Dan made a joke about ‘now we know why the chicken crossed the road, to get to the other side of the parade,’” said Young.

Police reported they received several complaints of a man in a chicken suit running in and out of the parade route in the area of the Governor and Senator Shaheen. Zona was warned multiple times to stay out of the parade before he was apprehended. He was escorted from the parade route and was ultimately handcuffed. Wagner added, “The police did a really nice job because I think most of the people watching the parade didn’t even know what was happening, they did it so discretely.”

Zona was charged with the misdemeanor of disorderly conduct, was released on a hand summons, and will appear in court in September. But he still defends his actions. “I believe that Senator Jeanne Shaheen should be holding town halls and I have a First Amendment right to express that point of view,” he was quoted as saying. “I wasn’t bothering anyone. I wasn’t disturbing anyone. In fact, I got a good deal of encouragement from people along the parade route.”

Be sure to listen to the audio clip below of the arrest! Please note, the clip has been edited to remove dead air and unrelated police calls.


Senator Ayotte Tours Londonderry Coca-Cola Facility

During a stop last Tuesday at Coca-Cola’s production facility in Londonderry, Senator Ayotte met with company officials and employees and toured the company’s bottling and distribution facility. Company officials also discussed their support for legislation Ayotte introduced, the True Safety Act, which would roll back new hours of service regulations to restore more common sense, flexible hours for Coca-Cola Northern New England’s product distribution.

“I appreciated the opportunity to visit Coca-Cola’s Londonderry facility and meet with employees to hear what’s on their minds,” said Senator Ayotte. “It was exciting to see first-hand the work being done here in New Hampshire at of one of the nation’s largest Coca-Cola bottling operations, which is an important employer in our state.”

Mike Elmer, Director of Capabilities, Coca-Cola Northern New England said: “On behalf of our more than 500 New Hampshire associates, we were thrilled to host Senator Ayotte at our Londonderry production facility. The Senator’s visit allowed us to showcase our commitment to local jobs, sustainability and healthy communities across New Hampshire.”


Stephanie E. and Those of Her Ilk

I often wondered about those “Live On-Line Chat Rooms” that are available on web sites. You know, those little boxes that show up on the computer screen when you’re trying to get information from a web site but it just isn’t cooperating? So you get frustrated. You want an answer to your dilemma right away, but you’ll be darned if you’re gonna call them and wait on line for 20 minutes only to get a canned recorded voice or even worse, someone in Bangladesh or Moravia whose command of the English language rivals your knowledge of Swahili. So you take the chance and click on the On-Line Operator – that dream girl (usually), who is going to solve whatever technical problem you have – live and in person! Magic!

Last week, I needed a Live Operator desperately. That ol’ magic. I’d had just about enough of trying to sign into RCI, when I noticed the little Live Operator Chat box winking at me. Apparently it knows when you’ve hit the boiling point. Since I don’t interpret either Bengali or Moravian-accented English, I figured the typed English from a live person would fit the bill. So I clicked on the box and checked in.

A minute later, the interaction began! “You are next in queue… Estimated wait time is 0 hours 1 minutes 29 seconds.” Given the English in that sentence, I was beginning to think that I might have a Bengali on the line. But less than 0 hours 1 minutes and 29 seconds later, another message popped up. “Stephanie E. has joined this session!” I was in – and texting with a live person! She typed “Hi, this is Stephanie E. How may I help you?”

So I typed out my problem.

A few seconds later, Stephanie responded. “Thank you. One moment please.”

I waited for almost five minutes. No problem though. After all, she probably had to do some research on this. And maybe she needed to use the ladies room or blow her nose. But Stephanie finally returned. “I don’t see that you have a RCI Weeks account set up. Have you deposited Pollard Brook Resort in the past with RCI?” So I explained the situation with my typed response.

And Stephanie came back…a few more minutes later. “You can contact us at 877-968-7476 to have a Weeks account set up and associated with your RCI Points account.” And she proceeded to list the hours they would be available, not only for my time zone, but in Canada, Hawaii, Alaska, and the Caribbean.

I was a bit disappointed with Stephanie by now. She was obviously sloughing off her work to other people, with whom I would have to wait until tomorrow to speak, since it was past the calling hours. Although I now knew I could contact them from anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. But I just cheerfully said, “Okay, Stephanie. Thanks!”

To which she responded, “You’re welcome. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

“Not unless you can make the current time be before 8 p.m. Eastern Time!” I jokingly responded. I find it’s always good to end a conversation with the other person smiling.

But Stephanie did not appear to be amused. Her response: “I’m sorry. I am unable to assist with that. Thank you for contacting RCI.com!” And she signed off.

That odd response to a joke sealed the deal for me. Stephanie wasn’t a real person at all – she was a computer, programmed to respond to a wide assortment of questions. I was tempted to call her back and ask if she could curl my toe hairs for me – just to confirm my suspicions if she also answered that question with “I’m sorry. I am unable to assist with that.” But chances are I would probably get another canned program person – probably Ernie P. or Lester F. Or maybe even John Doe. And I wouldn’t want any of them curling my toe hairs, real or not…

So my advice to you if you need assistance with a web-based frustrating moment. Call the live person at the call center. If you start getting the “Press this button, press that button” run-around, just press 0. Someone always comes on the line when you press 0. Leave the Live On-Line Chat Room to the amateurs. Pooh to you, Stephanie E.!

Visit Londonderry Hometown Online News every Tuesday Morning for another one of Joe’s great columns! Select “Share this story” and share your favorite columnist with your friends!

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Joe Paradis is one of Londonderry’s most popular columnists and authors. Visit his web site at www.joes2cents.com today and order his latest autographed book, “It’s Great to Be Alive!


LHS Administration Answers the ALS Challenge

By all accounts the ALS ice bucket challenge has raised over $15,000,000 to help with research for a cure to this heinous disease.  Multiple challenges have been made around Londonderry and Facebook pages have been full of folks dumping buckets of ice water over their heads.  The LHS Administration has received and met the challenge with a ‘waterfall’ of buckets pouring over them as they were videotaped for posterity.  They have challenged the administrative staff at Pinkerton Academy to meet the challenge.  See the video here:  LHS Administration ALS ice bucket challenge

Way to go Guidance Director Maureen O’Dea, Assistant Principals Amity Ferraro, Katie Sullivan, Greg Warren, Special Education Director Connie Biedrzycki, Curriculum Coordinator Kim Lindley-Soucy, Assistant Principal Abbey Sloper and Principal Jason Parent.


EEE Found in Londonderry Mosquito Batch

The Town of Londonderry Health Division announced that a batch of mosquitoes collected in Londonderry has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). The mosquito species, Culiseta melanura, is the primary vector of EEE and mainly bites birds but will occasionally, although rarely, bite mammals including humans.

The news of mosquitoes carrying EEE in Londonderry is not unexpected at this time of year. The Town of Londonderry wants to reassure the residents that they are monitoring the situation closely. They will continue with weekly mosquito trapping and testing throughout the Town to ensure they stay on top of this. Mosquito breeding sites are monitored regularly and treated as needed. Residents should use utmost caution regarding exposure to mosquitoes. Given the continued low risk to the public and the Old Home Celebrations this past weekend, the Town will be conducting a spray of the area beginning this week. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to utilize the precautionary measures outlined below.

EEE is transmitted through the bite of an infected moquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. There is no risk for people being around horses. If a mosquito bites a horse or a human, it cannot transmit the disease to another human. The risk of contracting the infection is low. If illness does occur, it happens within 4 to 10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. If someone is experiencing flu-like symptoms including fever and headache, they should contact their local medical provider.

The Town would like to remind the residents of Londonderry to continue to take steps to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes and to eliminate standing water on their property. With all the recent rain, it is imperative that mosquito breeding areas are eliminated to help reduce the risk.

You can protect yourself and your family with a few simple steps:

  • Reduce outdoor activity between 3 PM and 8 AM.
  • Use mosquito repellent containing DEET or Picaridin.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants.
  • Check around your home for standing water and remove it.
  • Ensure window and door screens fit properly so that mosquitoes cannot enter your home.

The risk of contracting EEE or West Nile Virus does not end until two hard frosts. In this part of the State that may not occur until after Halloween. There is still a significant amount of time before that happens. Residents must take personal precautions to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.

If you need more information about mosquitoes, EEE or West Nile Virus contact Dragon Mosquito Control at 734-4144 or email info(at)dragonmosquito.com.