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LRGHealthcare relocating laundry to O'Shea Industrial Park

LACONIA — Officials at LRGHealthcare confirmed yesterday that their laundry facility will be relocating to the former Cormier Hosiery Mill located in the O'Shea Industrial Park.

Suzanne Stiles, the chief Human Relations officer and senior vice-president of Administration and Support Services, said the hospital expects the relocation to be a long-term arrangement.

"It's the perfect setup," Stiles said yesterday.

On September 22, LRGHealthcare lost its laundry facilities in a three-alarm blaze that gutted a commercial building on the corner of Fair and Court Streets. The hospital company was a tenant in the building and although firefighters were able to save two trucks, Stiles said most of the rest of the equipment was destroyed or damaged beyond repair.

She said LRGHeathcare is still working with their insurance companies to know the exact amount of their losses. Stiles confirmed yesterday that the company lost all of the linen in the building, some of their machines, the conveyor belts, and all of their supplies.

She also said that LRGHealthcare looked at many options including staying with sub-contractors before deciding on keeping the laundry in-house and going to the industrial park, a place she described a "perfect" for the laundry.

In the interim, LRGHeathcare has been sub-contracting their laundry services to Kleen Linen of Lebanon.

The laundry employes eight full-time workers, a number of part-time employees and processes about 1-million pounds of laundry annually said Stiles. She said all of the employees have been kept on the payroll and have been assisting in other departments. All laundry and linen used by Lakes Region General Hospital, Franklin Regional Hospital, and all affiliates is done by the operation.

Stiles said yesterday that now that the ink is dry on the contract with Odilon "Odie" Cormier, her company will be evaluating the building to see what work needs to be done to get the hospital facilities up and running.

She said LRGHealthcare has rented the back potion of the building at 144 Lexington Drive and it is the space that the former hosiery mill used for production. The front of the building is used by Smiths Tubular Systems (Titeflex).

Stiles said the space is ideal however she wanted to thank Mike McCarthy, who is the owner of the Court Street building for being a wonderful landlord. McCarthy said last week that he was still not sure if the portion of the building that housed the laundry will have to be razed. As of yesterday it was still standing.

Fire Chief Ken Erickson said the flames didn't reach the laundry portion of the building during the morning of the blaze but there was significant chemical, water and smoke damage done to the commercial laundry equipment.

Erickson said the fire is suspicious and continues to be one of several recent fires being investigated by city police and the N.H. Fire Marshal's Office.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 November 2013 01:58

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Alton Police say they know who robbed bank on Oct. 10 but no arrest made yet

ALTON — Police said yesterday they have developed a number of leads and have recovered enough evidence to make an arrest in the October 10 armed robbery of the Meredith Village Savings Bank on Wolfeboro Highway (Rte. 28).

Chief Ryan Heath said he is unable to release the names of the two people allegedly involved in the armed robbery at this time but issued a media statement to allay the fears of the general public.

Heath said he was assisted by numerous agencies and wishes to thank all of them for their assistance.

On October 10 at about 4:34 p.m. a lone male entered the MVSB branch and held one employee at gunpoint while he jumped over the counter and emptied the teller drawers.

Heath said he initially fled on foot but police had reason to think he was picked up by someone driving a silver four-door sedan.

The man was wearing a gray pullover sweatshirt and blue jeans. He was carrying a red duffel bag and wearing a mask.

He said he would make the arrest information public as soon as he is able.

Last Updated on Saturday, 02 November 2013 12:49

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Democrats still trying to tie Forrester to ethics investigation of former Senate prez

CONCORD — With the decision of the Legislative Ethics Committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the appointment of Senator Peter Bragdon as executive director of the Local Government Center(LGC), Democrats have renewed calls for Senator Jeanie Forrester to clarify her role in the affair.

Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party (NHDP), said this week that while Bragdon was seeking the position he discussed the prospect with Forrester, who agreed to act as a reference for him, then offered her a seat on a committee charged with reviewing the conduct of the LGC and recommending changes to the statute governing it, which she readily accepted.

Both Bragdon and Forrester have maintained that they discussed the committee assignment the week before Bragdon and Bald first spoke about the position at the LGC on July 11.

The LGC , which has since been reorganized, managed three risk pools — a health care trust, worker's compensation trust and property insurance trust — for member municipalities. It has been embroiled in litigation with state regulators and numerous municipalities about the disposition of more than $36 million in surplus funds it collected.

"I have not seen anything like this," said Buckley of what he called "the collusion between Bragdon and Forrester, his validator." He explained that Bragdon received Forrester's support for a job paying $180,000 a year while appointing her to the committee overseeing his employer. "She was actively engaged in helping him get the job when she knew she was being appointed to a committee overseeing the LGC," Buckley said. "Why would she accept the committee assignment?"

Buckley said that "it is rime for someone to file a complaint against Forrester with the Ethics Committee and I hope someone will. Senator Forrester should be asked the fundamental question," he continued, "'what did she know and when did she know it?'"

The complaint lodged with the Ethics Committee by Representative Richard Watrous (D-Concord) that led to the investigation includes the appointment of Forrester among the violations committed by Bragdon, but levels no charges against her.

According to documents the NHDP obtained from the LGC, Bragdon first expressed interest in the position on July 11 while speaking with George Bald, the interim executive director of the LGC. In an e-mail sent afterwards Bragdon told Bald "it was a pleasure talking with you earlier today . . . quite an unexpected turn the conversation took" and attached his resume. "I'm glad you're giving this some consideration," Bald replied.

On July 16 Bragdon told Forrester he was applying for the job. "Finally, I happened to be on the phone with Senator Forrester a few minutes ago," Bragdon wrote in an e-mail to Bald, "and given her background . . . I thought I'd mention the conversation you and I had. Her reaction could not have been more positive to the idea." By letter, dated three days later, July 19, Bragdon formally appointed Forrester to the committee.

Forrester has insisted that Bragdon asked her to serve on the committee before July 16, when he first told her of his interest in the position with the LGC, although she cannot recall the exact of their conversation. "I can tell you again," she repeated yesterday, "the day he asked me to serve on that committee I had no idea he was considering that job."

Responding to the complaint before the Ethics Committee, attorney Russell Hilliard presented Bragdon's explanation of Forrester's appointment. Bragdon, he wrote, kept a spreadsheet of appointments to study committees created by legislation enacted during the session. As bills came to him for signature, he added his appointees to study committees to the spreadsheet. Once he had signed all bills, the spreadsheet was given to his staff to complete the paperwork, including the formal letter of appointment.

According to the records of the Secretary of State, House Bill 283 establishing the committee on the LGC on July 2 and was signed and returned either the same or next day. "When Senator Bragdon signed the bill, on either July 2 or 3, he added the committee to his spreadsheet, as well as Senator Forrester's name as his appointee," Hilliard wrote, noting that "this was more than a week" before he learned of the opportunity at the LGC.

However, Harrell Kirstein, communications director of the NHDP, who collected the documents and prepared the timeline underlying the complaint, claims that Bragdon could not have appointed Forrester before July 10 as he claims. He refers to an e-mail Bragdon sent to Senator Donna Soucy (D-Manchester), who apparently expressed interest in the LGC committee, which he finds inconsistent with his other statements. On July 8, days after Bragdon says he named Forrester, he told Soucy "I am still waiting on a few more bills to pass by me on the way to the governor — I check each bill for study committees when I sign it . Once the last one passes through here in the next day or two I will have a complete list and start naming people."

"They will do what they will do," Forrester shrugged this week. "There are so many more things we should be focused on." She said that committee has completed its work and filed its report. "We were unanimous, three Democrats and two Republicans," she said. "And we recommended that no member of the Legislature should serve on the board of directors of the LGC or any other risk pool. I don't know what it is they think I've done," she remarked.

Last Updated on Saturday, 02 November 2013 12:46

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Jury selection for trial of band leader Eric Grant will begin on Monday

LACONIA — Jury selection for the aggravated felonious sexual assault trial of the lead singer and namesake of the Eric Grant Band is scheduled to begin Monday morning. The trial is scheduled to being on November 11.

Grant is being tried for an alleged 2006 New Years Eve digital penetration of a girl who 10-years-old at the time. He was indicted by a Belknap County grand jury in December of 2012 and has steadfastly proclaimed his innocence.

According to paperwork filed with the court, the alleged victim reported the incident to a therapist in California in 2012, who in turn reported it to police. Locally, the case was investigated by the Belknap County Sheriff's Department and allegedly happened in Gilford.

Grant, through his attorney Emily McLaughlin, had asked the court for permission to present a video-tape of the therapist's deposition or interview by attorneys while under oath as evidence on his innocence, arguing that the expense and timing difficulties involved in the out-of-state subpoena process are prohibitive.

Assistant Belknap County Prosecutor Carley Ahern objected to the video disposition, saying she would be unable to effectively cross examine any testimony offered by the therapist and Judge James O'Neill agreed, ruling that if the defense wants her to testify she must be in the court room because the defense hasn't shown that the deposition video-tape is anything but hearsay or that it meets the exceptions under the hearsay rule.

The therapist is not one of the people Ahern plans to call to the stand, although McLaughlin argued at a hearing earlier this week that her statements to California police triggered the entire investigation.

McLaughlin has said she will show the jury evidence that the girl's statement to the California investigating officer about that night differed significantly from what she told other people.

McLaughlin said Grant has contended all along that girl exaggerated a story about him allegedly giving her a "wedgie" in a room full of people because she was mad at her mother, who was allegedly in the room but supposedly didn't nothing to stop Grant.

"That's why she hated her mother," said McLaughlin, making her argument earlier in week to allow the deposition of the therapist to be entered as a defense exhibit and played for the jury.

O'Neill also ruled that the defense may not call a Gilford Police officer to testify that Grant — who is related to him by marriage — is of good character. He agreed with Ahern who said that in order for someone to testify about a defendant's "good character" the evidence must be relevant or the prosecution must have challenged Grant's ability to be truthful, which it has not.

The jury can expect to hear from the alleged victim, her mother, and other relatives who were at the 2006 New Year's Eve party.

McLaughlin also submitted questions she would like O'Neill to ask potential jurors during Monday's "voir dire" or jury selection. He had previously denied her request to ask the questions herself.

Included in her proposed questions for the prospective jurors include whether or not he or she has ever been the victim of a sexual assault or knows someone who has, if they have young children, and whether or not he or she believes a child who has told someone about an alleged sexual assault should automatically be believe.

O'Neill has previously said he would take lists of suggested juror questions from the prosecution and the defense and take them into consideration when he conducts "voir dire."

Last Updated on Saturday, 02 November 2013 12:33

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