Laconia man found guilty of reckless conduct for pistol whipping

LACONIA — After a three-day trial a Belknap County Superior Court jury found a city man guilty of felony reckless conduct for placing another person in danger during a pistol whipping at an Estates Circle address in January of 2014.

Parker Cathcart, 20, formerly of Winter Street went to an apartment building because his sister had called him to say the eventual male victim had just hit her.

Cathcart waited for his victim in the outside hallway and when he came down the stairs, he hit him with a pistol. The pistol discharged and the bullet went through the foyer door.

In July of 2014 Cathcart pleaded guilty in Belknap County Superior Court to one misdemeanor charge of simple assault for his actions. Belknap County Attorney Melissa Guldbransen said that as part of his plea agreement, the state would not prosecute him for the felony with the condition that he obey the rules of his probation to which he agreed.

However, in October of 2014, Manchester Police said Cathcart became involved in a fight at a party, left and returned with a pistol to threaten the party goers.

Manchester Police allege he also hit or pistol-whipped two people.

After learning about the Manchester arrest, the Belknap County Attorneys Office got a grand jury to indict him a second time for his previous reckless conduct with a gun in Laconia.

Since the guilty verdict last Thursday, Cathcart is being held in the Belknap County House of Corrections. A pre-sentencing investigation is ongoing and he will be sentenced at a later date. The maximum allowable sentence is 3 1/2 years to 7 in the N.H. State Prison.

As to the Manchester charges, Cathcart is scheduled for trial in August in the Hillsborough County Superior Court.

Frustrated selectman advocates tearing Belmont Mill down

BELMONT — Selectman Ron Cormier came within a hair's-breadth of making a motion to tear down the historic Belmont Mill last night but was convinced by fellow selectmen to reach out again to the voters.

Cormier, who has been wrestling with the future of the mill for about 11 years, made his threat in the wake of the resounding March 10 defeat of a $3.4-million bond issue to rehabilitate the building and renovate it for Town Officers.

"Knock the friggin' thing down," said Cormier in frustration. "Every time we try to do something, nobody approves."

Even more frustrating to Cormier was the town voting down putting $125,000 into the capital account for building maintenance, which affects all town buildings and not just the mill.

Selectman Chair Ruth Mooney and Selectman Jon Pike were both disappointed and disheartened by the number of people who said no — 467 of the 631 who voted — but told Cormier they weren't quite ready to give up on it. There are about 4,500 registered voters in Belmont said Town Clerk Cynthia DeRoy.

Pike and Mooney suggested that the selectmen bring the mill issue back to the people and let them decide what to do with it and how to pay for it.

Board members and Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin suggested inviting all the people who personally wrote letters to the editor to local newspapers — for or against — along with the anyone else in Belmont to come to a facilitated meeting about the future of the mill.

Tentatively scheduled for May 6, the selectmen are searching for a possible venue, hoping the meeting room at the Corner Meeting House is too small.

"Put the (onus) on them," said Pike, who was rankled by the number of people who accused the Board of Selectmen of putting together a plan "without consulting anyone".

Selectmen held two separate public hearings, discussed the plans at a number of regular selectman's meeting, made use of a SB-2 Deliberative Session, and invited the general public to attend two public presentations given by the engineering company that designed the rehabilitation and plans for town offices. The Budget Committee also held one public hearing and discussed the mill in a different public meeting.

At the most, and with the exception of the SB-2 hearing, about 20 people attended. Local newspapers reported on nearly every meeting held by the board with the exception of the last public hearing because there were few voters in attendance.

With the exception of two newspaper reporters, the Town Clerk and her assistant, no one was at Belmont's selectman's meeting last night.

Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said the selectmen should support hiring a person for a nominal wage to come in and videotape the selectman's meeting for rebroadcast on Lakes Region Public Access television. She also suggested, and selectmen agreed, to create a Facebook page for discussion on the mill.

The town has four more years on its agreement with the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, Community Development Block Grant used to rehabilitate the mill in after it burned in 1992.

Restored in 1995 and 1996 the town relied heavily on the 25-year federal grant awarded in 1994 that came with the stipulation that the mill would be used for middle- to lower-income purposes or the town would have to pay about $50,000 a year to reimburse the federal government.

With the near failure of the fourth floor two years ago, the mill is no longer home to the Lakes Region Community College Culinary Arts program — one of their larger rent payers.

The day care center has out-grown its space there and will be relocating to a nearby business park. Belknap Family Health Care occupies the third floor and the Senior Center and the Parks and Recreation Department have office space there. All of the aforementioned uses are in keeping with the tenants of the loan, however, town offices would not be.

73 ODs treated at LRGH in 6 months

LACONIA — Nowhere has abuse of heroin and other opiates been felt more keenly than at the emergency department of Lakes Region General Hospital, where 73 patients were treated for overdoses during the last six months of 2014 and, since the turn of the year, the pace has not slowed.

"These are very resource intensive patients," said Kendra Peaslee, director of Emergency Services at LRGH. who stressed that treating those who have overdosed places heavy demands on the medical and security personnel of the hospital, often at the expense of other patients requiring care.

An overdose of an opiate, whether from illicit heroin or prescription medication, attacks the part of the brain that regulates respiration, causing breathing to become slow and shallow. As breathing slows, levels of carbon dioxide in the body are elevated, further slowing and ultimately stopping the breathing and heart rates.

Peaslee said that when patients reach the emergency room the immediate priority is to restore their breathing. Those transported by ambulance have been administered Narcan, or naloxone, a medication that reverses the effects of the opiate, by emergency medical technicians. Others may be brought to hospital by friends, in which case Peaslee said that medical staff will administer Narcan in the parking lot.

Peaslee explained that once treated with Narcan, patients go into immediate withdrawal, which may prompt them to become restless, and violent. Dr. Fred Jones, medical director of the emergency department, recalled patients whose lives were saved turning on physicians and nurses to charge "you ruined my high" or "you just wasted my money".

Consequently, Peaslee said that at least three and sometimes four nurses are required to attend patients during the first 30 minutes after their arrival and added, "we almost always have security on hand. You can imagine," she continued, "what happens when we have a couple of trauma cases and a girl drives up with her boyfriend in the back seat barely breathing."

Bill Losefsky, chief of security, said that he has two full-time officers on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at least one of whom is generally required to assist with overdose patients, especially those brought to the hospital by friends. He said that the clinical staff may order that a particularly difficult patient, who is deemed a danger to self or others, be placed on watch and confined to the hospital, requiring the presence of a security officer for "what could be hours, says or more than a week. I have half my staff watching one patient," he said.

Once a patient is breathing, clinicians take their medical history and monitor their vital signs. Peaslee explained that this process can be challenging with addicts undergoing the effects of immediate withdrawal, which may be accompanied by restlessness, nausea, vomiting, fainting and other side effects. "We're scrambling to get information," she said. "It's labor intensive and kind of a puzzle that takes more time and effort with these patients."

Peaslee said that patients usually remain in the emergency room, where their condition is monitored by a nurse, for two or three hours. Those she described as "straightforward" may be discharged home, some may be held overnight and others with complicating medical conditions may be kept longer. "The outcome varies on a case-by-case basis," Peaslee said.

At peak times, seven or eight nurses, one or two medical technicians and two physicians will be on duty in the emergency department, but Peaslee said that at 3 a.m. there may be only three or four nurses and one physician on hand. She said that patients present with overdoses at random times. "They always require a significant amount of our available resources, but they are incredibly taxing when our staff is lean," she said, adding that overdose patients often lengthen the waiting time required of other patients needing emergency care.

Before patients are discharged they are given advice about the nature of their addiction and what steps they can take to address it. "It happens every time," Peaslee said. "We always want to present the opportunity for recovery and steer them in the right direction," she said. She added that the clinical staff offers to connect patients with the appropriate social services and drug counselors and will follow-up with the patient.

Dr. Jones noted after patients' lives have been spared is an opportune moment to have a chat about the risks of substance abuse, encourage them to seek treatment and refer them to an appropriate facility. While the staff of the emergency room can spare lives for the moment, he noted, ultimate survival hinges on a successful regimen of treatment and recovery.