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Center Harbor house fire believed to have started under room built over no foundation

CENTER HARBOR — A single family home is at least temporarily uninhabitable after an early morning fire gutted a bedroom built on to the back of it.

Fire Chief Leon Manville said the department responded to 311 Daniel Webster Highway at 3:09 a.m. and found the addition to the house engulfed in flames.

He said all three adults who were in the home at the time were outside of the building. Manville said one of the adults was woken by a working smoke alarm.

He said first responders called for a first alarm and began an aggressive interior attack, successfully stopping the fire from spreading to the rest of the home.

Manville said he it appears the fire started underneath the bedroom which was an addition built on posts with no foundation. He said there was a wood stove in the bedroom however he doesn't think that was the origin of the fire.

"At this point in time I believe this is an accidental fire," he said.

Manville said the first alarm brought firefighters from Meredith, Moultonborough, Holderness, Ashland, New Hampton, and Laconia. Firefighters from Sandwich covered the Center Harbor station.

He said the Red Cross is assisting the displaced family.

Manville said the smoke detector likely saved the lives of those in the house and encourages all Center Harbor residents who have question about smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to call the Center Harbor Fire Department.



Firefighters believe the fire that burned at 311 Daniel Webster Highway in Center Harbor yesterday morning started underneath the addition on the rear of the home. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)

Last Updated on Friday, 04 April 2014 12:39

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Wall tiles colored by Boys & Girls Club members will be sponsored as fund raiser

LACONIA — To the casual onlooker at the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region yesterday, the two tables of children coloring was just that — kids coloring.

A closer look revealed each was working on his or her own personal work of art that will some day be immortalized into a wall tile and incorporated into a mural that will hang on a wall of the club.

The coloring tile project is one of the fund raisers created by the Boys and Girls club to raise money for their capital campaign, said Laconia Police Chief and Boys and Girls Club Board Chair Chris Adams.

Adams said the drawings will be superimposed on one of three standard tiles and sold to people who wish to make donations. The smaller tiles cost between $250 and $400, the medium tiles cost between $500 and $999, and the larger tiles cost $1,000 to $2,499.

Each one will have the donors name included in the art work done by the children.

Adams said the Club has raised just over $1-million dollars of the $2.4-million capital campaign that will ultimately convert the former St. James Church on North Main Street into a state-of-the art centrally located spot dedicated for the use of the children of the Lakes Region.

To make a donation or volunteer please contact the Boys and Girls Club at www.lakeskids.org or call 527-0198.


CUTLINE: Boys and Girls Club Program Director Amber Royea and Police Chief Chris Adams help some children at the club yesterday afternoon with their coloring tiles. Each will be sold as part of a fund raiser for the clubs capital campaign. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Friday, 04 April 2014 12:28

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LRGH finds preventable readmissions program is paying off

LACONIA — With about one-fifth of Medicare patients readmitted to hospitals within 30 days, Lakes Region General Hospital has embarked on a program to reduce preventable readmissions. Since starting Project BOOST five years ago, the hospital has seen about a 20 percent decrease in preventable re-hospitalizations.
The program was one of four initiatives designed to improve quality of care and make it easier for patients to get the care they need in the most suitable treatment setting which were outlined to a gathering of LRGHealthcare's corporators at the organization's annual meeting Wednesday evening at Church Landing at Mill Falls in Meredith.
Gloria Thorington, director of Medical Safety and Healthcare Quality Management for LRGH, said the hospital was one of 24 nationally chosen to launch the BOOST program which aims to reduce 30-day readmissions rates, provide a higher degree of patient satisfaction about their care, and improve the flow of information between the hospital and a patient's regular doctor or specialist. The program also aims to identify the needs of hospital patients considered high-risk, and that greater effort is made to educate the patients and their families about care after they leave the hospital.
In addition to being dangerous to patients, readmissions are costly. A New England Journal of Medicine study found that unplanned readmissions cost Medicare $17.4 billion annually.
Thorington said that under BOOST — Better Outcomes for Older Adults through Safer Transitions — patients are told what risks they need to be aware of when they leave the hospital. In addition the hospital ensures the patient has a scheduled follow-up appointment with their primary care physician within seven days of leaving the hospital, and prior to discharge hospital personnel collaborate with other community health agencies to ensure the patient receives any needed support services. As part of this follow-up, every discharged patient gets a call from a nurse within 48 hours of leaving the hospital, who will ask them how they are doing and if they are having any problems.
Another program focuses on the high-risk chronically ill. It features what LRGH calls embedded care coordinators who regularly touch base with patients and medical practitioners. The embedded care coordinators work with the patients for the first 30 days after they leave the hospital. Because these patients are often on dozens of medications, Karen Davis, LRGH clinical process specialist, said the coordinators sometimes arrange for these patients to have medications delivered to them if they cannot get to a pharmacy themselves and have no family or friends to can do so. This program has cut down on emergency room visits, Davis noted.
Another program which aims to help reduce the unnecessary emergency room use is the Patient Navigator Program.
Margaret McLean, a nurse practioner at LRGH, said the purpose of the program is to get people to go to a doctor's office rather than going to the emergency room.
McLean, who works in the emergency room, sees those who other emergency room personnel have determined do not require urgent treatment. McLean and her colleagues work with these patients get them an appointment with their regular doctor, or find a doctor they can see if they do not already have a doctor of their own.
McLean said that since implementing the Patient Navigator Program at LRGH, statistics show that out of a group of 826 patients, 653 were referred to the program because they did not need to be in the emergency room.
Unlike the other two programs which deal heavily with older patients, McLean said that many of the patients she sees are between the ages of 18 and 45. Many of them do not have any insurance.
For many years now LRGHealthcare's Medication Connection has helped certain patients obtain medications they could not otherwise afford. The company helps qualified patients navigate the medication assistance programs offered by the various pharmaceutical companies.
Marge Kearns, who as vice president of clinical support services heads LRGHealthcare's pharmacies, said Medication Connection currently serves 329 clients in 35 Lakes Region communities. She said that in the last fiscal year alone the program had dispensed $1.8 million in medications to needy patients.
Without directly addressing the BOOST program, Kearns underscored its importance when she said, "The riskiest part of patient care is transition."
NOTES: There was special recognition for Suzanne Stiles, LRGHealthcare's vice president for Administrative and Support Services, who has announced her decision to retire in June. In honoring Stiles, company President Tom Clairmont recognized her work as director of Human Resources at Franklin Regional Hospital before FRH merged with LRGHealthcare, and then her work with the larger organization for the past 12 years. Clairmont praised her for carrying out her duties with dignity. "She the V.P. of class," he said. . . . . . The annual meeting also honored Christine Dzujna for her work on behalf of Franklin Regional Hospital. Dzujna helped to revive the FRH Auxiliary and has worked on a wide variety of auxiliary programs. In recognition she was honored with the Sally Proctor Award. . . . . . The annual Rhoda Ladd award was presented to Nancy Paterno of Gilford, who has been active in the LRGH Auxiliary for many years, and has headed the organization for the past four.

Last Updated on Friday, 04 April 2014 12:25

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Republicans tell judge Dems didn't object to phone vote at the time

LACONIA — The skirmishing among members of the Belknap County Convention reached the Belknap County Superior Court yesterday, when Judge James D. O'Neill, III heard the suit brought against Rep. Colette Worsman (R-Meredith), the chairman of the Belknap County Convention, for permitting a member to participate by telephone in what proved a critical vote.
After a hearing that lasted about 45 minutes O'Neill said he would take the matter, together with a motion to dismiss filed by Worman's attorney, under advisement.
The vote was taken when the convention, then wrestling with the 2014 county budget, met in the midst of a heavy snowstorm on February 18, which delayed the assembly of a quorum until three-quarters of an hour past the appointed time of 5 p.m. Only 13 of the 18 members were present when the meeting was convened. Prior to convening the meeting Worsman arranged for Rep. Guy Comtois (R-Barnstead), who was tending to a failing roof, to participate by telephone. When the meeting opened, Worsman explained Comtois would participate by telephone, an instrument was placed on the table and she spoke with him to confirm their connection.
Rep. Beth Arsenault (D-Laconia) offered a motion to adopt the commission's budget, which was second by Rep. Lisa DiMartino (D-Gilford). The members in the room divided seven-to-six in favor of the motion, but Comtois, participating by telephone, voted against and the motion failed. Two weeks later, on March 4, the normal convention majority adopted its own version of the county budget.
Meanwhile, on March 3, the five Democrats filed suit, charging that Worsman violated the provisions of the Right-to-Know Law bearing on members participating by telephone. The Democrats noted that the statute authorizes but does not require the convention to allow one or more members to participate by "electronic means" and claimed that the decision properly rested with the convention, not the chair. Moreover, they charge that no notice was given to the convention that Comtois would be permitted to participate by telephone nor was the reason he could not be physically present recorded in the minutes as the statute requires. Finally, contrary to the law, Comtois failed to identify anyone else present at the location from which he was participating.
Consequently, the Democrats, concluding that Rep. Comtois's vote was "unlawful," asked the court to set it aside, overturn the vote of convention rejecting the commission's budget, and set aside the vote of March 4 adopting the convention's budget.
Representing the Democrats, Rep. David Huot (D-Laconia), told the court yesterday that the issue hinged on the authority of convention to permit a member to participate by telephone. The statute reads that "a public body may, but is not required to, allow one or more members of the body to participate in a meeting by electronic or other means of communication." He said that Worsman failed to put the question to the convention, which did not consider or discuss Comtois's participation.
Attorney Barton Mayer, representing Worsman, countered that the statute does not suggest the convention must expressly "permit" or "authorize" a member to participate by electronic means. Noting that public bodies like the convention adopt their own rules, he said that the county convention is governed by the chair, subject to the will of the majority. For example, Mayer recalled that earlier on the evening of February 18 Worsman proposed recessing the meeting because of the weather only to be overruled. He said that no one objected either when Worsman announced Comtois would participate by telephone or after he cast his vote and the tally was taken.
The statute, Mayer continued, reads "allow," and asked "was he allowed to participate?" He answered "no doubt, no dispute. He voted. No dispute." Mayer said that the video tape recorded a member saying he was not aware the convention had adopted a rule allowing a member to vote by "proxy." Calling the remark "an invitation to object," Mayer repeated that no one objected.
Mayer noted that by voting to adopting the 2014 county budget on March 4, the convention confirmed the legitimacy of the vote rejecting the commission's recommended budget on February 18. To overturn that vote the court would have to find that Comtois was not allowed to participate, for which there is no evidence. Moreover, Mayer explained that the court could set aside the action of the convention but not the vote of one of its members. Since the convention took no action on February 18, he said the issue was moot.
"This a political question brought to this court," Mayer told the judge.
Finally, to underscore his argument, Mayer cited the New Hampshire Supreme Court, which held that "Although interested parties are entitled to object to any error they perceive in governmental proceedings . . . they are not entitled to take later advantage of error they could have discovered or chose to ignore at the very moment when it could have been corrected."

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 12:06

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