Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Puller says float struck man

Puller says float struck man after brakes gave out ; The accident, which injured a bystander, occurred despite new parade safety measures in Bath.

Portland Press Herald (Maine)


Puller says float struck man after brakes gave out ; The accident, which injured a bystander, occurred despite new parade safety measures in Bath.
Byline: MATT WICKENHEISER Staff Writer
Edition: Final
Section: Front

The man who lost control of a lawn tractor pulling a float in the Bath Heritage Days Parade last weekend said he lost his brakes before hitting and seriously injuring Mark J. Shapiro, a Maine Maritime Museum official who was handing out fliers along the route.

"I was going down Center Street hill and I lost the brakes - it just came on sudden," William Gibson of Damariscotta said Thursday. "I went to go on the side of the road, get out of everybody's way. I even tried to stop and put the emergency brake on, tried to stop it with my foot."
Shapiro, 47, remained in serious condition with a head injury Thursday at Maine Medical Center while police continued to investigate. Sunday's incident was the fourth parade accident in Maine and seacoast New Hampshire in the past year that has resulted in death or serious injury.

In the most serious, a 9-year-old boy died in December after falling from and being run over by the float on which he was riding during the annual holiday parade in Portsmouth, N.H.

Days before, a 3-year-old girl fell from a float in a Freeport parade and was seriously injured when she was run over.

Also in December, a 5-year-old girl's leg was broken while she was marching in a parade in Ellsworth and was hit by a truck towing a

Coincidentally, the accident that injured Shapiro happened during the first year of new safety rules adopted by Bath parade organizers in response to those accidents. Police Chief Michael Field, who was chair of the Heritage Days Parade, was on the committee that worked out the new rules.

Volunteer firefighters were stationed along the parade route.

Riders couldn't hang their legs over the edge of the floats, and safe ratios of children-to-adults were determined. Riders in pickup truck beds had to be seated, he said, and tailgates had to be closed. And, Field said, parade participants weren't allowed to throw candy to the crowd - they could only hand it out.

"I was part of that parade committee, and I'm just horrified," Field said.

He said the lawn mower tractor is being inspected by a mechanic who works specifically on such vehicles, to determine whether there was a mechanical problem. He expected to have a report on the vehicle by the beginning of next week.

The department's accident reconstructionist is investigating the case, and police have interviewed witnesses as well, Field said.

Asked if criminal charges could result from the accident, Field said the District Attorney's Office would review the investigation report.

"What comes out of that, I don't know," said Field. "There's nothing pending at this point."

Field said he didn't think his involvement on the parade committee complicated the accident investigation.

"I am confident that the investigation is being handled professionally and independently of me personally," he said.

Gibson, 41, said he has had a float in the parade for the past five years to advertise his business, Will's Landscaping. He was driving a Wizard lawn mower tractor that was towing a trailer carrying his wife, brother-in-law and sister-in-law.

"I yelled, 'Watch out' really loud. The next thing you know, I hit somebody. I didn't do it on purpose. It was an accident," Gibson said.

He said a police officer and other people grabbed his tractor and trailer to stop it.

Gibson hit the steering wheel and threw his back out, he said, and his sister-in-law hurt her leg.

Shapiro joined the Maine Maritime Museum on May 24 as manager of communications and marketing, said Executive Director Amy Lent.

Shapiro also is a professional photographer and artist who maintains a studio in Tenants Harbor called "tech-tiques gallery." Shapiro is engaged to be married, Lent said.

The museum is collecting contributions to assist Shapiro's family. Anyone who is interested may call the museum at 443-1316.

Staff Writer Matt Wickenheiser can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:


Caption: Courtesy photo Mark Shapiro, who suffered a serious head
injury when struck by a runaway float, is engaged to be married.

Copyright 2006 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

5-year-old hit by vehicle at parade

Accident drives talk of candy ban


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Photo gallery: UI Homecoming Celebration

Organizers of the University of Iowa homecoming parade said it was unfortunate that a child was run over during Friday's parade, while some people want to ban candy being distributed during the event.

"It is really up to parents to keep their kids back," said Shelly Stout, the executive director of the UI Homecoming Council, the group that planned the parade. "We can only do so much with our crowd control. It is unfortunate that this happened."

Police responded at 6:23 p.m. Friday to the Washington and Dubuque streets intersection, which was on the parade route, to an unnamed 5-year-old who was run over by a vehicle, according to Sgt. Troy Kelsay, the public information officer with the Iowa City Police Department.

"The dispatcher was under the impression it was more of a scare than anything, but I don't know the extent of injuries," Kelsay said, adding the child was transported by a private vehicle to a hospital, but he was not sure which one.

Kelsay and Stout said this is the first accident they can recall during the annual parade, and they had not received any complaints or heard of other incidents this year.

Stout said she did not have many details about the accident but said that a girl fell off a truck bed.

Some residents have expressed concern that the parade is dangerous because people on the floats toss candy into the crowd, prompting children to run into the street and potentially in front of moving vehicles.

Stout said their policy forbids throwing candy from floats, but they can hand it to people directly.

Rhys Jones of Iowa City attended the parade with his wife and 6-year-old twins. He said the candy makes the parade dangerous.

Jones said he watched four or five incidents where people would grab candy from the floats and dump handfuls into the middle of the street leading children to run into the middle of traffic.

"Every year you hear complaints from parents," Jones said. "It's hard to believe that Iowa City, with all its rules and regulations, allows this."

Jones said some communities don't allow candy in their parades, and that Iowa City should ban it, too.

"I am seriously questioning if we can go to another parade," Jones said, noting they have been going for the past four years.

Sgt. Doug Hart, who has been with the Iowa City Police Department for the past 15 years, was on duty at the parade Friday. He said he thinks the parade is safe and that parents must take responsibility to ensure their own children's safety.

Bill would change laws for parades... Guess what?? It FAILED.


Bill would change laws for parades

By Chris Dornin
Golden Dome News
CONCORD -- A Portsmouth lawmaker has filed a bill to ban flatbed
trailers with outrigger wheels from parades after the recent death of
a Greenland Cub Scout. Nine-year-old Thomas Fogarty was riding on a
Portsmouth Holiday Parade float with his Scout pack around 6:15 p.m.
Dec. 2 on Islington Street when he somehow fell in front of a double-
axle wheel. Authorities don't know what caused the tragedy, but they
have ruled it an accident.

Representative Paul McEachern, D-Portsmouth, is prime sponsor of HB
296, a one-line bill that says, "No person may use any type of
flatbed trailer with outrigger wheels in a parade." McEachern said
the wheels on Fogarty's float stuck out from the side of the trailer.

"The police said the boy was sitting forward of the outrigger wheels
and either fell in front of them or got his leg caught in the wheel
and was pulled under," the Portsmouth rep said. "Many trailers have
the wheels underneath. Those wouldn't be outlawed."

Senator Maggie Hassan, D-Exeter, has filed a companion bill that
might merge with McEachern's. She hasn't seen the final draft, but
her legislation would require a parade permit for any float that
carries minors. The float would either have a 3-foot railing to keep
kids from falling off, or the adults would tether or seat belt the
kids onto the platform. If these options were impractical, the
sponsors of the float could set up radio communication between the
adult on the flatbed and the driver so the truck could stop at the
first sign of danger.

"They've got to be able to hit the brakes right now," Hassan said.
"The intent isn't to dictate what to do in every case, but to get
them thinking about the situation they're placing kids in. Hopefully,
the adult would see a dangerous problem in time to intervene."

Rep. Jim Splaine, D-Portsmouth, is a co-sponsor on both bills, and
other Seacoast lawmakers may be signing on.

McEachern said a second serious accident in the same holiday parade
could have become a fatality. A man walking beside a flatbed float
was using a rope to tow the bell of a restored antique fire pump. The
heavy trailer wheels ran over his toes.

"He's had all kinds of complications," MacEachern said "He was either
walking too slow, or the parade started back up when he wasn't
expecting. People have to realize how dangerous these trailers are,
despite their slow speed. They're just not designed for parades,
which are stop and go by definition."

Walter Lebor, the owner of Great Northern Excavating in Exeter, said
he's never seen the trailer addressed in McEachern's bill. He assumed
it applies to specialty trailers for hauling extra-heavy equipment.

"The standard low-bed around town doesn't have them," Lebor said.
"Some have metal brackets to give it an extra foot of width, but the
wheels are way inside the outrigger. I can't think of any trailer it
would apply to."

McEachern said he has in mind wheels that jut outside the outline of
the trailer as viewed from above.

Portsmouth Police Lt. Rodney McQuate headed the accident
investigation and confirmed that no charges would be filed.

The boy's parents could not be reached by phone, but they have set up
a memorial fund for their late son to support school enrichment
programs. Donors may send gifts to the Thomas Edward Fogarty Memorial
Fund, c/o Greenland Central School, 70 Post Road, Greenland, NH 03840.

Brian and Deborah Fogarty issued a statement a few days after their
loss, thanking the community for its overwhelming support and
praising the rescue workers.

"We ask that you please keep everyone involved in this tragic
accident in your thoughts and prayers," the parents said, describing
Thomas as a beautiful, bright, energetic, and life-loving boy.

"Although this is a tragic and sad time in our lives, we believe that
something positive will come out of this," they added. "Last, we ask
that you give your children an extra hug tonight and value the time
that you have together.

2 Killed in Brooklyn Parade, 3d Dies in Accident Afterward

September 7, 1999

2 Killed in Brooklyn Parade, 3d Dies in Accident Afterward

Two 11-year-old children were killed and another child was injured yesterday afternoon when a minivan lurched out of control at the annual Caribbean parade in Brooklyn. The accident cast a pall over a joyful festival that has grown into one of the largest gatherings in New York City.

The van, which was covered with feathers and carrying costumes for parade performers, struck the children as they danced in the streets to the bouncing rhythms of Trinidadian soca music, pinning them against a mammoth sound truck just in front.

Hours later, as revelers were dispersing after the parade, an 18-year-old man was struck and killed by a sound truck along the parade route, the police said.

The accident that killed the two children came at the peak of the West Indian American Carnival parade, a festival that offers the city's West Indian immigrants a joyful release from the activities of daily life. The police did not have a crowd estimate last night, but in previous years the parade has drawn two million people, making it the largest parade in New York.

The accident delayed the festivities but did not stop them. Under unexpectedly sunny skies, nurses and cooks, housekeepers and lawyers donned sequined and feathered costumes for the procession along Eastern Parkway. Vendors served jerk chicken, curried goat and the cool juice of sorrel while flags from every Caribbean nation doubled as head scarves and sarongs. Spectators squeezed against one another, most of them unaware of the crash.

The two 11-year-olds, a boy named Dawn Joseph and a girl named Zacehel David, were taken to Kings County Hospital Center, where they were pronounced dead. A third child, Kara Charles, 10, suffered neck and back injuries and was in stable condition last night. Four others in the parade suffered minor injuries.

The police said the crash, which occurred shortly before 2 P.M., appeared to have been an accident. The driver of the van and the driver of the truck, which was carrying a soca band called Caribbean Magic, were tested for alcohol but were not intoxicated, said Inspector Michael Collins, a police spokesman.

''The victims appeared to be dancing between the van and the truck,'' Inspector Collins said. ''It doesn't appear to be alcohol-related or mechanical failure. It just looks like an accident.''

The van, a black Astro, was carrying costumes for dancers and performers up ahead. Just before the accident, the police said, the driver, Ashton P. Gertton, 71, of Brooklyn, had stepped out of the van to help some dancers with their costumes.

When he returned to the driver's seat, he apparently lost control. The driver of the truck ahead, Winston G. Scott, also of Brooklyn, was arrested on a charge of driving with a suspended license, but he was not cited in connection with the accident, the police said.

Dawn Joseph had moved to Brooklyn from Florida in July to live with his mother and grandfather, the grandfather, Augustus Joseph, said last night. The boy was to start junior high school this week, and his mother, Donna, planned to enroll him in karate classes, Mr. Joseph, 54, said from the porch of his house on Midwood Street in East Flatbush.

Instead, Donna Joseph held her only child in her arms as he died, Mr. Joseph said.

''She said she just saw the van take off and she couldn't believe it was going to hit those kids,'' he said. ''But by the time she ran to try to get him out of the way, the van had already hit him. He was just crushed.''

For a little more than two hours, police officers blocked the westbound lanes of Eastern Parkway near the corner of Nostrand Avenue, where the accident had occurred. The parade continued on the two other lanes, and a cadre of police officers tried to keep an increasingly frustrated crowd behind barricades. Those who witnessed the accident described it as a momentary flash of horror, almost soundless in the midst of a noisy and boisterous celebration.

James Charles, 43, of Paterson, N.J., was standing in the shade of a tree near the intersection when, he said, he saw the minivan inexplicably accelerate. ''It just picked up speed all of a sudden and rammed into the truck,'' said Mr. Charles, a maintenance man and a native of Trinidad. ''The people were pinned in between.''

Like dozens of others, he jumped over a barricade in an effort to help, he said. A woman was pumping a little girl's chest. Another was trying to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Paramedics arrived within minutes, he said, and the police blocked off the area.

A jumble of white and pink feathers along with crushed plastic bottles lay on the street yesterday afternoon, marking the spot of the accident. After the police cleared the area and reopened the eastbound lanes of the parkway, a sound truck bearing a Trinidadian band, Krosfyah, sang their version of Bob Marley's ''Redemption Song.''

It was not the first time the Caribbean parade has been marred by fatal accidents. In 1997 a parade spectator was struck by a vehicle and killed, the police said, and in 1994 a man was crushed by the wheels of a float .

The second fatal accident yesterday occurred about 8 P.M., after the parade had ended but before all the sound trucks had been cleared off the parkway, the police said. Kevon Donovan, 18, apparently got his clothing caught in the wheel of a tractor-trailer truck near the corner of Brooklyn Avenue and was dragged under it, said Officer Valerie St. Rose, a police spokeswoman.

Witnesses said that Mr. Donovan, of Clarkson Avenue in East Flatbush, had backed into the street along with several other people when someone in the crowd brought out a large yellow snake.

''A guy came through with a snake and that's what I guess got him shook,'' said Ryan Girard, a friend of Mr. Donovan's who was mourning him outside Kings County Hospital, where he died at 9:25 P.M. ''Everybody started pushing. I tried to pull him out from under the truck, but I couldn't do nothing. He looked at me and called out my name.''

Mr. Donovan was from the Caribbean island commonwealth St. Lucia and was going into 12th grade at Frederick Douglass High School, Mr. Girard said.

The driver of the truck, Hugh Bennett, 50, of Mount Vernon, N.Y., was not charged in connection with the accident, although he was arrested on a warrant for failure to pay child support, the police said.

For the last several years, the parade has become the major event for Labor Day in the city, eclipsing the procession organized by union leaders, who this year held their parade on the Wednesday before Labor Day.

Even though the parade is an expression of Caribbean culture rather than labor solidarity, the celebration is in many ways a fitting Labor Day procession, led by thousands of men and women who make the city work. But for this Labor Day parade, workaday clothes often take a holiday.

Yesterday, a nurse who works the night shift at Kings County Hospital strutted around in a costume with six serpents dancing above his head.

A security guard who commutes for two hours every day called herself Tiger Tiger, outfitted in a leopard-spot bodysuit. A beautician from Far Rockaway, Queens, became a butterfly with gossamer wings of blue and silver.

Indeed, for those who do it year after year, playing mas, as the masquerade of Carnival is called, is not just a reminder of the rituals of home, but a brief escape from the trouble and toil of everyday existence.

''Because of the stressful life we have, everybody looks forward to this,'' said Ricardo Lorick, the nurse, who was parading yesterday with a group called Hawks International. ''Instead of taking my frustration out on my family and my patients, I save it up and take it out here.''

Several of his colleagues from Kings County marched in hospital T-shirts. ''That's boring,'' Mr. Lorick said flatly. Instead, he posed for pictures early yesterday afternoon in an outfit he designed and built at home -- an imaginary creature with gold wings and six snake heads. He called himself Beast Master. ''I like being in the spotlight.''

He wasn't alone. Michael Lewis, the king of Hawks International, showed a visitor his turquoise blue costume, which weighed 60 pounds.

He said he and his wife had spent nearly $10,000 on their costumes this year and had spent countless evenings cutting and sewing in the backyard of their house in Richmond Hill, all for a hot afternoon of dancing and extravagant display.

Today, he will return to work in a suit and tie, as a chief financial officer of a legal services agency. ''For 35 to 55 hours a week, you're in an office, and you need an outlet,'' said Mr. Lewis, 48. ''Although this is very difficult work -- a lot of time goes into it -- it's very relaxing to me. A lot of people will tell you this is therapy for me, instead of paying a psychiatrist.''


Date: Monday, August 7, 2000

Release #306-00

Contact: Sunny Mindel / Michael Anton (212) 788-2958


The Mayoral Task Force which -- working in conjunction with the West Indian American Day Carnival Association, Inc. ("Parade Organizers") -- reviewed operations at the West Indian American Day Parade today delivered its findings in a report to Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. The Task Force evaluated possible safety measures and developed safety guidelines that will be applicable to this year's parade.

The Mayor appointed the Task Force after last year's parade was marred by tragic accidents. In one incident, two children were killed and four other participants were injured when a supply van lurched forward and pinned the children against a truck. In another fatal incident, an eighteen-year-old, who was frightened by another spectator carrying a snake, became entangled in the wheels of a passing parade float while attempting to get away from the snake.

The Task Force's membership includes: Counsel to the Mayor Dennison Young, Jr.; Deputy Mayor for Community Development and Business Services Rudy Washington; and also representatives from the Police Department, the Department of Transportation, the Community Assistance Unit, the Street Activity Permit Office, the Office of Emergency Management, the Law Department and the Parks Department.

The Task Force worked closely with the Parade Organizers in developing the following safety guidelines:

  1. Modifications to floats and trucks to enhance driver visibility and prevent injuries involving their wheels;
  2. An NYPD pre-parade review of driver and vehicle suitability;
  3. The addition of NYPD officers riding in passenger cabs pulling floats and sound trucks to enhance safety and control spacing between vehicles;
  4. The issuance of identification cards for participating children;
  5. Heightened enforcement of regulations regarding animals which may cause spectators fear or alarm;
  6. The use of towed non-motorized support vehicles in the parade rather than motorized supply vans;
  7. The inclusion and training of parade marshals; and
  8. The NYPD has recommended, and the Task Force agrees, that no permits will be issued to vendors or sponsors that allow them to sell or distribute alcohol or allow alcoholic beverages to be consumed at, or in conjunction with, the West Indian American Day Parade, or any other large parade.

"The West Indian American Day Parade is an exciting New York City tradition," Mayor Giuliani said. "The Parade Organizers cooperated with the Task Force's effort to help prevent accidents like those that occurred last year, and to improve the overall safety of the event. The adoption of these safety guidelines is expected to make the parade safer for the parade participants as well as the approximately 2 million spectators that attend each year."

The West Indian American Day Parade is the largest parade in New York City. The parade's origins date back more than 2,000 years, and the first parade in the Americas took place approximately 200 years ago in Trinidad. The tradition first arrived in New York in Harlem in the 1930s. Since the 1960s, the West Indian American Day Parade has been celebrated in Brooklyn. The parade generally kicks off at 11:00 a.m. and runs along Eastern Parkway culminating at the reviewing stand in Grand Army Plaza, and ends at 6:00 p.m.


Would Float Railing Have Prevented N.H. Parade Tragedy?

East News

Would Float Railing Have Prevented N.H. Parade Tragedy?

A bill rejected by the state Legislature four years ago would have required a safety railing on parade floats � a measure that might have prevented the death of a 9-year-old boy in Portsmouth's holiday parade.

Some witnesses said Thomas Fogarty of Greenland was sitting with his legs dangling over the side of his Cub Scout troop's float when it hit a bump and he fell in the path of the wheels. Others said he was walking beside the float when he fell. He was run over and later died of his injuries at Portsmouth Regional Hospital.

The 2002 bill would have required floats to be equipped with a railing at least 3 feet high and solid enough to prevent a small child from squeezing through. It was rejected by the state Senate.

The bill's sponsor, former Senate President Beverly Hollingworth, D-Hampton, said it was impossible to know whether such a law would have prevented Saturday night's accident.

"I can't say this would have never happened. I can't even go there,'' said Hollingworth, who was recently elected to the Executive Council.

"I just want to say I am heartsick for the family, the people driving the float, the chaperones and everyone involved,'' she told Foster's Daily Democrat. "It must be one of the most traumatic experiences for them. Everybody can second-guess, but that's not what we should be doing right now.''

Hollingworth said many people felt at the time the bill was not needed.

"The reason legislation failed, I believe, is because everyone felt they were doing everything necessary. My feeling for sponsoring the bill was that without a lot of expense we could make sure the kids were contained within the floats,'' she said.

Hollingworth said she sponsored the bill after years of watching her children and grandchildren take part in parades.

"I always preferred to have my kids marching or walking,'' she said. "In a parade, there is just so much going on, adults can't watch every single one of the kids.''

The state's mandatory vehicle restraint law for children doesn't apply to school buses, antique cars or parade floats traveling less than 10 mph.

The Portsmouth death came a day after a 3-year-old girl was seriously injured after falling from a parade float in Freeport, Maine.


Information from: Foster's Daily Democrat,

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Teen Dies In Homecoming Parade Accident

Teen Dies In Homecoming Parade Accident


Paul Day

(CBS4/AP) WESTCLIFFE, Colo. The town of Westcliffe is mourning the death of a teen who was injured during a high school homecoming parade Saturday.

Custer County High School canceled its homecoming game and dance after the accident.

County officials say Courtney Curtis, 15, tried to climb aboard a float built on a flatbed trailer and fell under the trailer's back wheels.

"She was trying to get on between the trailer and the tractor portion of the float … and her feet slipped," Sheriff Fred Jones said. "This has bothered me a lot and I've seen a lot in my career, but this has bothered me more than most of them."

She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

"She was a happy girl lots and lots of friends." Principal Barb Jones said. "She was a quiet student, but very well loved."

Custer County High School has canceled classes for Monday.

Grief counselors will be on hand when school resumes.


Accident last year prompts Clemson to make changes to parade
Published: Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - 6:00 am
The Greenville News

By Anna Simon

CLEMSON -- A Clemson Elementary student run over by a float in Clemson University's First Friday parade last year will ride in the parade as the grand marshal this year.

Now recovered from serious injuries, she will ride in a convertible in the parade that starts at 6 p.m. Friday, said Pam Davis, associate director of union programs at the university.

Caroline Terry, then 9, ran up to a float where people were handing out bottled water on the hot summer evening when she slipped and was run over by a tire of the trailer bearing the float.

She was airlifted to a hospital, and what had been an enjoyable annual outing for her family turned into a nightmare.

"Caroline's accident last year was one of the hardest things we have ever been through as a family," said her mother, Melissa Terry. "However, the support of our family, friends and the Clemson community was unbelievable. As soon as Caroline was injured, it was incredible to see the number of community members and students who dropped to their knees to pray."

Terry believes her daughter survived because of their prayers.

Support kept coming. Every athletic team at Clemson sent T-shirts, cards and other get-well wishes, Terry said. The Tiger and Central Spirit came to visit Caroline at her house to lift her spirits as she recovered.

When Caroline returned to school, she joined the fourth-grade Cruisers program that teaches children to make good choices when in cars, on bicycles or on foot. Caroline created a PowerPoint presentation and tells her story to other children to help prevent accidents like hers.

It's helped her deal with the emotional side of the trauma, her mother said.

Caroline will wear her purple Cruisers shirt in the parade, her mother said.

Her teacher, principal and fellow students in the Cruisers program will walk behind her convertible "wearing their purple Cruisers shirts, to show their support of her and to let others know about this program," Terry said.

There are about 45 entries in the parade, which runs along State 93 from Cherry Road in front of the President's House to Williamson Road, just past the lower intramural fields, Davis said.

Entries include the Clemson Tiger Band, various ROTC military groups, the Clemson Sports Car Club and 11 sorority floats, Davis said.

The sorority floats are already under construction behind Bryan Mall next to the President's House.

The theme for the parade this year is "From Fun in the Sun to Death in the Valley," in advance of the first home game of the year on Saturday, when the Clemson Tigers take on Florida Atlantic University at 3:30 p.m.

There are new rules for this year's parade in the wake of the incident last year to create a safe environment for participants and spectators, Davis said.

No one will be allowed to hand out or throw any materials or items before, during or immediately after the parade. No one will be allowed to ride on top of vehicles, and anyone walking with a vehicle or float must remain at least five feet behind the vehicle at all times.

A pep rally will follow the parade at Riggs Field.

A Local Leader who just does not get it.

Biden digs his own grave with intolerant words

Joe Biden has a big mouth.

He doesn't think before he talks and he never stops talking.

To those of us who have had to endure the Delaware senator's presidential delusions over the years, it was no surprise at all to see in the news that Biden's mouth had gotten him into trouble, although even his harshest critics might have been surprised at how quickly he got himself into hot water.

Biden, talking about Democratic phenomenon U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, described him as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."

The implication that previous candidates Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were not "clean" has had Biden backpeddling ever since.

It doesn't help that just last summer he made a crack about Indians working in 7-Eleven and Dunkin Donuts. This latest misstep also served to inform those who might not have known about the plagiarism charges that led Biden to drop out of the presidential race in 1987.

The fact is, after you get to know Biden, you realize you wouldn't trust him with the combination to your bicycle lock.

As the old expression goes, loose lips sink ships, and sometimes, mercifully, they also sink presidential candidates.

Parade safety up to towns, not state

The tragic death of a Greenland boy in a float accident at the Portsmouth Holiday Parade in December has given us all a reason to pause.

The death of 9-year-old Thomas Fogarty is understandably an emotional issue. While we agree old regulations should be closely reviewed and perhaps new ones considered to better ensure the safety of those participating in local parades, we believe it's not the state's job to determine the breadth and depth of those rules.

Rep. Paul McEachern, D-Portsmouth, is prime sponsor of a House bill, and Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-Exeter, is sponsor of a Senate bill, both which aim to enhance parade float safety. They call for a parade permit for any float that carries minors, and they seek safety regulations such as having a three-foot railing to keep kids from falling off or requiring adults to tether or seat belt kids onto the platform.

These are among many sensible measures legislators are reviewing, but enacted at the state level, they raise a host of enforcement and jurisdictional issues that would be lessened if individual towns and cities set their own parade safety regulations.

For example, Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand said he hopes to discuss different possibilities with other city officials as well as groups that have traditionally had floats in Portsmouth parades to develop any specific recommendations.

We believe the state can be helpful in providing guidelines to cities and towns or fostering the sharing of best practices between municipalities. But parade safety is strictly a local issue and not one requiring state legislation.

-- Portsmouth Herald

Float accident disrupts Homedale's homecoming parade

Float accident disrupts Homedale's homecoming parade

03:15 PM MDT on Saturday, September 22, 2007
Scott Evans/KTVB

HOMEDALE - Homedale High School students are recovering after a float accident during their homecoming parade Friday. Six students were injured in the float accident and one was taken by Life Flight to Boise in critical condition.

See the damaged float

The freshman float came off the hitch from the truck pulling it and then smashed into a parked car. The float didn't even make it to the parade it came loose in route.

Before the football game, the crowd gave a moment of silence for those injured in the accident

It was a very scary time for a community, and especially for nearly 20 freshmen students on the float when it became unhitched from the truck.

"My feet were hanging off the side so I moved into the middle of it because I didn't want to jump off and get my stitches ripped out," float rider Jessica Henry said.

As the float made a turn on its way to the homecoming parade, it crashed into a parked car.

Aiesha Zenor is one of the five students injured.

"I just remember like flying off and sliding on my side and then I... when I woke up or whatever everybody was like screaming and I looked down and my wrist was bleeding and I couldn't move my arm,” Zenor said.

Zenor along with four other of her classmates were taken to West Valley Medical Center in Nampa with minor injuries.

Unlike her classmates, Martha Benitez wasn't able to make it to the homecoming festivities.

She was transported by Life Flight to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center with a fractured skull, and was later transported to another hospital for further treatment.

Superintendent Tim Rosandick says this unfortunate event clearly had an impact on the day's festivities.

"We care a great deal about our students, and it saddens us that we had this accident today,” Rosandick said. “I am pleased with the kind of reaction that the safety professionals performed for our kids, and I think we've done a good job of responding appropriately."

They built the float Friday morning and Aiesha and Jessica said they had a rough go with the float from the beginning.


girl who stumbled and fell beneath the wheels of a parade float.

Monday, October 02, 2006

POTTSBORO (AP) - A small Red River town is in mourning after the death of a five-year-old girl who stumbled and fell beneath the wheels of a parade float.

Police in the Lake Texoma-area town of Pottsboro say they're withholding the girl's name at her parents' request.

She died at a Dallas hospital Saturday after the accident at the tail end of Pottsboro's annual Frontier Days festival parade that morning. Witnesses say the girl was walking beside a float from which candy was being thrown when she slipped and fell beneath the wheels of the trailer bearing the float.

Several men were able to lift the trailer off the girl, and she was airlifted about 70 miles south to Children's Medical Center of Dallas, where she died.

The girl attended Wakefield Elementary School in nearby Sherman. School district officials there say counselors will be available there for students who need them.

Pottsboro is a town of about 2,000 residents about ten miles northwest of Sherman.

Boy dies in N.H. holiday parade float accident

Boy dies in N.H. holiday parade float accident

9-year-old killed after being struck by trailer carried by pickup truck

Updated: 3:45 p.m. ET Dec 3, 2006

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. - A 9-year-old boy has died after being hit by a float in the city’s annual holiday parade.

The boy was hit around 6:15 p.m. Saturday, shortly after the parade started. The float, a trailer being pulled by a pickup truck, was carrying about 20 Cub Scouts ranging in age from 8 to 11, police said.

Authorities did not say if the boy who was struck was one of the scouts on the float. The boy’s name was not released.

It wasn’t clear how the boy was struck. Investigators are trying to sort out many different accounts provided by witnesses, said Lt. Rod McQuate. Authorities are also asking anyone with photographs or videotape of the accident to come forward.

“It goes without saying this is a terrible tragedy,” Chief Michael Magnant said.

One witness said that the boy had been seated on the float with his feet dangling from the side and fell off when the trailer appeared to hit a bump in the road. The boy landed in the path of the trailer’s wheels and was run over, said James Collins, a cook a local restaurant.

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