LHS Key Club members again sleep outside to call attention to homelessness

LACONIA — As has been tradition for a number of years, the Key Club members sponsored their annual homeless awareness night on the lawn at the High School on Friday to raise money for and to get the community involved in helping those who live without permanent shelter.

To get a small taste of homelessness, students gather large cardboard boxes, tents and sleeping bags and spend the night outside. They build a fire and hear from area agencies about the issue.

"I can definitely do this for a night but no longer," said Ryan Cashman, a junior who is participating in his third sleep-out.

Key Club President Dominic Cannuli said he understands that their one-night adventure is nothing like being truly homeless, but likes the idea of calling attention to the fact that many are.

"We have bathrooms, we'll get to eat tonight, we'll have things to drink," he said, noting that many who are homeless will have none of those things.

"It's important because many people turn a blind eye but they should be aware of this," he said.

Both said that anything helps and that if everyone who could gave just a small amount of money to one of the local agencies who help feed and house the homeless, much of the problem could be addressed.

The group, through the Class of 1983 Homeless Outreach Program also asks that people donate warm clothing, care and comfort items and ready to eat foods to Christmas Island Restaurant until November 27 for distribution to those who need them. Financial contributions can be sent through PayPal to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Bill Gile of the local Kiwanis Club — the adult sponsor of the Key Club — said that all of the financial donations made to the students either last night or by people who want to make a donation at the school will be matched by money raised by Kiwanis.

He said that money will be matched by All-Brite Cleaning and Restoration of Gilford and then donated to the Salvation Army and the Carey House.

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LHS senior recovers from surgeries to close extra heart valve & repair torn knee ligament, signs to play lacrosse for Franklin Pierce College

LACONIA — When Kyle Chiasson signed his letter of intent to play lacrosse at Franklin Pierce College next year, he, his family and his close friends knew that his road to the university was one fraught with injury, pain, determination and heartache — literally.
The Laconia High School senior was born with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome — or, with an extra electrical pathway or valve between the top two heart chambers and the lower two heart chambers. The syndrome can cause the heart to beat too fast, meaning not enough oxygenated blood can get into his bloodstream.
He said his mother and sister have SVT — or supraventricular tachycardia, more commonly known as atrial fibrillation or "a-fib." He said they tested him for "a-fib" and found Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome instead.
Although he had never had an episode of rapid heartbeats, three years ago, when he was 15, Kyle went to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon and underwent an 11-hour catheter ablation or operation to remove or terminate the electrical impulse or value that could cause an episode.
"My mom was frightened but I didn't understand it or know what it all really meant," he said.
"It was unsuccessful but the doctor was able to find where the problem was," said Kyle. He added that he had already been under anesthesia for 11 hours so the decision was made not to continue.
Undeterred, Kyle followed his older brother into lacrosse, first playing with him and then joining the Sachems team, becoming a starting attack forward.
Kyle also loved playing football and was a starting wide receiver for the varsity team. Until he got hit hard late in his junior year and went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
He said he had finished running his pass pattern and started his turn up the field toward the goal when he got hit high by an opposing player.
"My body went one way. My leg went another," he said. "It was scary."
Dr. Alexander Hennig of Orthopedic Professional Association operated on him on Nov. 18, 2014, after an MRI showed he had partially torn his ACL.
Hennig said yesterday he was evaluated by Dr. John Grobman on the field and taken to the hospital for an X-ray. The MRI came two days later and showed the tear.
Hennig said Kyle "rehabilitated very well" and did everything that was asked of him. With the help of physical therapist Joshua Brooks of Granite State Physical Therapy, Kyle was running within three months.
Prohibited from all contact sports, he played non-contact lacrosse for the next three months and returned to the field competitively, playing in the last six games of his junior year.
Brooks said Kyle was eager to get back to playing sports at a highly competitive level — something he rarely sees young athletes accomplish. Both Brooks and Kyle said the work was difficult but Brooks said Kyle was determined to play at a highly competitive level and so he gave him the workouts he needed to do.
"He worked very hard and was diligent in performing," said Brooks, noting that lacrosse and football are both very tough physical sports to play.
Kyle said he did Brooks's exercises twice weekly for six months at the physical therapy office and twice weekly on his own. Not only did he return to play the last six games of lacrosse in his junior year, he went on to play for this year's football team. Over the summer, he played lacrosse for an elite team called the Tomahawks.
But over the winter of his junior year, Kyle had his first accelerated heartbeat episode. He sought out medical care and in February he went to Children's Hospital in Boston and after a second 3 1/2 hour catheterizing surgery, the doctor closed off the excess valve in his heart.
"Because of the first surgery, Kyle said the Boston doctor knew about where to look for the problem and fixed it quickly. Good to go, Kyle returned to working out so he could play with the Tomahawks over the summer.
Kyle said he waited to see if he was going to get recruited to play for college, but this past summer took it upon himself to make player tapes and send them to lacrosse Coach Rich Senatore at Franklin Pierce. He said the coach came to see him play and the two became friends and later recruited him.
Kyle said he plans on studying criminal justice and hopes to become a police officer. He said he's worked on a internship from New Hampshire Technical Institute with School Resource Officer Steve Orton and is hoping to work over the summer as a Marine Patrol intern.

Cutline: (Kyle and Hennig) Dr. Alexander Hennig looks over the knee of recently recruited Franklin Pierce College lacrosse player Kyle Chiasson of Laconia. Laconia Daily Sun Photo – Gail Ober


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City school enrollment total slips below 2,000

LACONIA — School District Superintendent Phil McCormack told School Board members earlier this week that he polled other area school districts and learned that while some of them had "mild" increases in enrollment this fall, some of them also had "mild" decreases — like Laconia.

As of October 1, statistics provided by McCormack showed Laconia had an overall population drop of 3.6 percent from 2014 to 2015 and Pemi-Baker Regional School District had an overall drop of 4 percent while other area schools showed slight increases of between one and two percent.

McCormack told School Board members the changes in enrollment reported are "not statistically significant."

Member Mike Persson said to him it looks like the enrollment data shows that Laconia is on a par with other area school districts.

The numbers showed that Inter-Lakes was down seven students or .6 percent from last year, that Moultonborough was down one student or .2 percent, that Winnisquam Regional was up 17 students or 1.1 percent, that Shaker Regional was up 22 students or 1.6-percent and Gilford was up 19 students or 1.6 percent.

McCormack said that although Franklin was included in his poll, its raw numbers should not be considered because the town of Hill started sending some of its students to Newfound Regional instead. He noted that since some seniors and juniors opted to stay in Franklin High School and graduate with their classes, it's nearly impossible to determine any enrollment trends there.

Data provided by McCormack showed 11 more students or 12.3 percent in Laconia were being home schooled with the bulk of the increase — nine students — being at the elementary level. In response to a question, the superintendent indicated the total number of home schooled students in the district was now at 100, but the number of families choosing that course was far less.

He did not provide any raw data on Laconia-resident students who are being educated at private schools.

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