New Belknap County Nursing Home head worked her way up


LACONIA — Shelley Richardson, the new administrator of the Belknap County Nursing Home, made her way up through the ranks to the leadership position she assumed last week and says that she always felt while working as a nurse at the home that someday she would end up occupying the administrator's office.
"I was definitely determined. I even thought that one day I would changing the look of this office by putting up curtains," says Richardson, who has been at the nursing home for 12 years.
She jokes that that she she has been so busy in recent years mastering the knowledge that she needed to qualify as a licensed administrator that she wants to take some time for herself "to read a book I don't have to highlight."
Richardson's comment displayed that same sense of humor that Belknap County Commissioners cited in a press release announcing her appointment, in which they also praised her 35 years of health care experience and the work ethic she has shown in preparing herself to professionally manage a large organization.
She served as administrator in training at the 94-bed facility for a year under the tutelage of Robert Hemenway, interim administrator since the departure of Matthew Logue more than a year ago, and last month earned both state and federal certifications as a licensed nursing home administrator.
Richardson says she has always wanted to work in the health care field and earned her Licensed Nursing Assistant status while still in high school in Lowell, Massachusetts, later working at St. Joseph Hospital in Lowell, for seven to eight years. When she started to raise a family, she ran a family day care center in her home which was licensed for 12 children during the day, and six before and six after school hours.
She's always kept busy and when she and her husband, Clay, moved to New Hampshire she worked in special education at Belmont Elementary School and later at the Taylor Home in Laconia before joining the staff of the nursing home. During that time, she and her husband, who is a builder, built their own home in Meredith while living on the land they had purchased.
Richardson said she was fortunate to be able to take advantage of the county nursing home's tuition reimbursement plan to earn her certification as a registered nurse at Lakes Region Community College while working a split shift at the nursing home. She then went on to earn a bachelor's degree in health care at Granite State College, often traveling to North Conway, Concord and Manchester for her classes.
"I was determined to work my way up. I started in the trenches and now I can see what's needed at every level of the profession," she said.

During her time at the nursing home, she has been a day charge nurse, a unit manager and has expertise in hospital care, long-term care and skilled nursing care. While working as the county's clinical specialist, she completed the administrator-in-training program.
Two of her goals are to bring the reimbursement for education back to the county home so that there is career path for people to advance in the nursing profession and to work with others in the county to find ways to help elderly people stay in their homes longer.
Richardson is also working closely with staff at the nursing home to create a warm and homelike atmosphere by making the corridors more like streets with displays and visual reminders of the communities in the county, as well as special recognition of residents with displays featuring their photos and memorabilia. The nursing home last month held its first annual tree-lighting ceremony with real trees in both of the courtyards and in recent weeks residents have enjoyed seeing the snowmen built in the courtyards by the grandchildren of a maintenance department worker. Residents enjoyed Christmas light tours to New Hampshire Motor Speedway and downtown Laconia.
She said there is a great deal of competition statewide for trained nursing professionals and that the Belknap County Nursing Home is working to provide high quality care as well as the opportunities for advancement that will attract and retain skilled professionals.
County Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy said Richardson is a hard worker "who has proven her ability to manage a large organization with professionalism and a great sense of humor. She is a very welcome addition to the county's management team."

01-20 Shelley Richardson
Shelley Richardson worked her way up through the ranks to become administrator of the Belknap County Nursing Home. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

01-20 Shelley Richardson and crew

Belknap County Nursing Home Administrator, second from right, is shown with Teresa Wright, administrative assistant; Kris Mills, billing coordinator, and Carolee Sliker, right, dietary manager. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

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Meredith library trustees awaiting advice on keeping library or building new one


MEREDITH — Now that library trustees have consulted with Concord attorney Biron Bedard, they are looking to the next steps in solving their problem of a crowded building with fire and safety code violations.
Trustee Duncan McNeish said a quorum of board members, with alternates, attended the nonpublic session Thursday, Jan. 19, with Bedard. Now, the board is asking Bedard to come up with his suggestion for a warrant article or articles for Town Meeting.
Already, the board has unveiled a pair of choices. Cost to stay at the existing library, including renovations to the 3,300-square-foot historic building and construction of a 12,000-square-foot addition, would reach $4.145 million, according to library board consultant Ron Lamarre. The town could build a 14,000-square-foot library for $3.15 million on the "Robertson property," a parcel of land at Parade Road and Route 3, Lamarre told selectmen on Jan. 9.
Phil Warren, town manager, confirmed that he still thinks that voters should be asked to support placing $50,000 in an expendable trust fund, with $30,000 to support a feasibility study on use of the Robertson property. This would be a de facto "yes or no" question about moving, he said.
In an email to The Laconia Daily Sun on Jan. 17, Warren wrote, "It is my recommendation that the Select Board insert a warrant article to create an Expendable Trust Fund for the explicit purpose of funding costs relative to the relocation of the Meredith Library to the 'Robertson' property and to deposit $50,000 into that fund. No formal vote has been taken at this time by the Select Board; the Capital Improvements Committee has made the same recommendation."
Once Bedard returns with his advice, tentatively at a library board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 24, McNeish said he expected several of the library trustees and librarian Erin Apostolos to meet with Warren and talk about the town warrant.
Bedard, who lives in Meredith, is managing director of Ransmeier & Spellman P.C., a law firm with offices in Concord and Alton.
Bedard and fellow attorney Andrew Livernois are both assisting the library board.
Trustees are wrestling with the task of convincing voters that the historic Benjamin M. Smith Memorial Library building — an ornate multi-level building — no longer suffices as a home to the public library. Limited parking, space and accessibility are among the chief complaints, but trustees point to more serious concerns, such as fire and safety code violations particularly on the second and third floors.
Over two years ago, the library trustees formed a Library Master Plan Committee and hired a library consultant to analyze space needs. A library planning committee, regarding a public forum at the time, reported, "There is a clear and identified lack of space. This is true of collection space, meeting space, quiet space, and parking space. A number of codes with regard to access and safety have drastically changed over the more than a century since the library was built. It is currently in violation of a number of the current codes, including lack of an elevator, lack of a sprinkler system, and lack of appropriate, sufficient egresses from the higher levels. The library being on seven levels presents a number of problems both for safety and efficient operation."

Senate lifts limits on motorcycle handlebars, House to consider next


CONCORD — Legislation repealing the restriction on the height of motorcycle handlebars — Senate Bill 27 — carried the New Hampshire Senate by a voice vote on Thursday and will be referred to the House of Representatives where most likely it will be assigned to the Transportation Committee.
The current law prescribes that the hand grips can be no higher than the shoulders of a rider seated in the saddle. Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, first pressed for repealing the restriction a year ago, when a bill sponsored by then Sen. Andrew Hosmer was referred to interim study. This year, Sen. Harold French (R-Franklin) introduced identical legislation.
The Senate Transportation Committee amended French's original bill by adding to the repeal a provision prescribing "It shall be illegal to drive a motorcycle with improvised, defective, or repaired handlebars."
St. Clair said that if the House endorses and the governor signs the bill, New Hampshire will become the 19th state and first in New England not to restrict the height of handlebars. In 2015 South Dakota, home to the Sturgis Rally, became the most recent state to repeal its restriction. However, since as written the bill would not become effective until 60 days after its passage, it is not yet clear whether the restriction will be lifted before the 94th running of Laconia Motorcycle Week in June. As the host of the nation's oldest rally, which attracts visitors from across the country, St. Clair said that New Hampshire should not impose restrictions that may inconvenience motorcyclists from other states.
Limits in other states vary considerably from shoulder height in Massachusetts, Maine and Connecticut, to eye level in some states and to heights above the saddle measured in inches in others. Most restrictions on high bars, called "ape hangers" or "apes," were introduced in the 1960s. Although touted as a safety measure, many motorcyclists claimed the restrictions were imposed to provide police with a pretext for stopping and searching riders suspected of belonging to outlaw gangs or other infractions.

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