Death at Golden View Nursing Home ruled a homicide

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

MEREDITH — The New Hampshire Attorney General yesterday confirmed that the death at Golden View Health Care Center last week is being investigated as a homicide.

According to a statement by the Office of the Attorney General, law enforcement officers were called to Golden View on the evening of Wednesday, March 16 where they learned that nursing staff intervened upon finding a male resident, Donald Sleeper, 87, assaulting a female resident, Barbara Whittier, 82, in her room. Despite emergency medical treatment, Whittier died that same day.

After an autopsy was performed the next day, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was hypertensive and coronary heart disease "with a contributing cause of attempted strangulation." The statement issued by the Office of the Attorney General read "the manner of death was homicide."

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin said that Sleeper suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

"We are conducting a criminal investigation to determine whether or not to bring charges against Mr. Sleeper," he said, adding that in light of his condition, "It is unlikely that criminal charges will be brought against him." He stressed that "we are looking at all the circumstances surrounding the incident and will not make any decisions until our investigation is complete."

Sleeper came to Golden View last fall and after the incident was taken from Golden View to another medical facility.

"This is a very difficult situation for both families," Strelzin said.

Winni Dip raises $$$ for Special Olympics

LACONIA — There are many ways one can raise money for charity – walking or running, dances, jumping rope, pouring ice over your head – but few demand the intense dedication to the charity or the ability to withstand cold like a plunge into freezing water. Nevertheless, there was no shortage of willing participants for the Winni Dip this weekend at the Margate at Lake Winnipesaukee.

The Winni Dip took place Saturday along with the High School Dip and Middle School Plunge on Sunday, together raising nearly $100,000 for Special Olympics. Many of those participating Saturday were in law enforcement. Each dipper is required to raise at least $250, but the average raised was more than double that amount.

Prizes were awarded to the "Grizzly Bear" – the dipper raising the largest amount; "Grizzly Band of Bears" – a minimum of five dippers with the highest dollar average per dipper; "Black Bear" – the dipper with the best costume; "Band of Black Bears" – a minimum of five dippers wearing the best costumes; "Brown Bear" – the public safety professional who raises the largest amount of money; and the "Band of Brown Bears" – to the county whose public safety professionals raise the most money collectively.

Not a balmy day at the beach for members of the Laconia and Sanbornton Police Departments as they enter the lake for the 8th annual Winni Dip for Special Olympics at Margate Beach on Saturday.  (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Not a balmy day at the beach for members of the Laconia and Sanbornton Police Departments as they enter the lake for the 8th annual Winni Dip for Special Olympics at Margate Beach on Saturday.  (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

GYRL fights to stay open

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILMANTON — Chris Schlegel, president of the Gilmanton Year-Round Library Association said Monday that, following the vote of Town Meeting not to contribute the library's operating budget, "We have received donations and pledges of all kinds and I am optimistic that if we have to close the library, it will not be for the long term."

Schlegel said the association has received $30,000 in contributions toward the $47,500 it requires to meet its annual operating budget of $76,400, leaving a deficit of $17,500. She added that several fundraising events are scheduled.

Earlier this month, voters at Town Meeting rejected two petitioned warrant articles to fund the library. One would have provided $47,500 a year for two years and, if that failed, another would have appropriated $50,000 for 2016 alone. Within days of the vote, the Board of Directors of the association announced that without sufficient funding to operate for a full year the library would close on Friday, April 1.

Meanwhile, last week the directors hosted the first of several "community conversations" to consider options for placing the library on a sound financial footing for the long-term. Schlegel said that the nine directors were joined by New Hampshire State Librarian Michael York and some 45 residents.

Schlegel said that discussion turned on two options. First, the library could continue in the future as it has in the past, raising about two thirds of its operating budget through a solicitations and events and requesting the town to fund the balance. Or the board of directors could seek to transfer ownership of the library to the town.

Schlegel said that that although many town libraries originated as privately constructed and endowed institutions, the transition of ownership and management from the association, a nonprofit corporation, to the municipality raises a number of questions and issues.

"We have just begun to explore the many pros and cons of transferring ownership," she said, stressing that ultimately ownership of the library is less important than ensuring that it is adequately funded and properly managed to meet the expectations of the community.