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Camp Resilience: New Gilford-based program offers respite & counseling services for veterans in need

GILFORD — Some 17 veterans who receive services from the Veterans Administration's Boston Medical Center spent the last two days in the Lakes Region taking part in outdoor adventures while also honing their skills in resume writing and searching for jobs.
The veterans were taking part in Camp Resilience, a "wounded warrior" pilot program being hosted by the recently-formed Patriot Resilient Leader Institute, whose mission is to provide veterans and injured first responders the opportunity to come to the Lakes Region for a brief respite of recreation, personal counseling, group seminars and team building.
The veterans, who are staying at the Gunstock Inn, spent Wednesday taking Segway tours and enjoying aerial treetop adventures at Gunstock Mountain Resort and Thursday morning went fishing and took boat tours of Lake Winnipesaukee before enjoying a cookout at Gilford Town Beach.
Sandwiched in between these outdoor adventures were job search and resume writing classes at Lakes Region Community College .
''We're having a great time while doing some self-esteem building,'' said Edward Mitchell, a Marine Corps veteran from South Boston who served in Lebanon in the 1980s, shortly after terrorist attack on a Marine barracks claimed 241 lives. He said that the resume building skills classes were particularly helpful.
Ray Gonsalves, 64, of East Providence, R,I., currently lives in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston. He served in Vietnam from 1968 through 1971 and is taking part in a program for homeless veterans. ''I've had some problems so I came to the VA for medical care and I can't say anything but good about the VA. There are great people who run the program which is probably one of the best in the country,'' said Gonsalves.
He said that he had problems maneuvering the Segway but surprised himself by the way he was able to climb through the aerial treetop adventures course at Gunstock.
John James, a Navy veteran who served aboard the U.S.S. George Washington nuclear submarine from 1973-79, said he has used Segways before and had no trouble with them. He said that the boat tour which went around Bear Island was enjoyable but a bit chilly on the way back in when the boat was headed into the wind.
He said that the interview skills course was ''designed to improve our marketability'' and was particularly helpful. ''I've had a lot of jobs but they were always with people who knew me. I've never gone through the interview process before and because of today's job market it's important to have those skills.''
Chris Page of Brighton, Mass., a Navy veteran, said visiting the Lakes Region was sort of like a homecoming as his family has a summer place near Melvin Village. ''I like New Hampshire and come up here a lot. But I feel a little guilty about having all these things done for us for free,'' said Page.
Frank Dawkins of Springfield, Mass., who has spent 16 years in the Army and the reserves, said he was in awe of the area's natural beauty. ''There's no landscape like this. I didn't catch any fish but t was so quiet out there I didn't mind. There's no sirens like there are all the time in Boston.''
Brian Sullivan of the North Shore area was one of the lucky fishermen in the group, landing a salmon which he brought ashore with him and which was cooked on the grill for lunch.
Gilford selectman John O'Brien and Don Morrissey, both Vietnam veterans who were helicopter pilots, and are members of the Patriot Resilient Leader Institute , said that the visit by the veterans had gone well and were grateful for the support that they received from places like the Gunstock Inn, Gunstock Mountain Resort, Silver Sands and Shaw's supermarket.
Morrissey said that currently, the PRLI has no funding other than board donations. Anyone wishing to learn more about this project or make a donation of financial support, goods or services may do so by visiting the group's website at www.prli.us or by calling Kurt Webber, PRLI president, at 520-3989. Financial donations may also be sent directly to the PRLI Account, c/o Bank of New Hampshire, 62 Pleasant Street, Laconia, NH 03246.


John O'Brien, Gilford selectman and a Vietnam veteran, talks with John James, one of 17 veterans from the Boston area who are in the Lakes Region as guests of the Patriot Resilient Leader Institute. The veterans, all of whom receive services from the Veterans Administration's Boston Medical Center, enjoyed a cookout at Gilford Beach after a morning of boat tours and fishing on Lake Winnipesaukee. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Brian Sullivan, a U.S. Navy veteran from Boston, holds a landlocked salmon that he caught on Lake Winnipesaukee Thursday morning and was cooked on a grill for him by Gilford Fire Chief Steve Carrier at a cookout at Gilford Beach hosted by the Patriot Resilient Leader Institute. He is one of 17 veterans who receive services from the Veterans Administration's Boston Medical Center who are visiting the area. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Friday, 30 May 2014 12:13

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Scott Brown in city to salute Hope & Cynthia Makris

LACONIA — Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Scott Brown and his wife Gail awarded Cynthia and Hope Makris of the Naswa Resort the "Women for Brown Hero Award" yesterday as a way of recognizing them for the family's 80 years of being in business here.

Brown was in town yesterday as part of a day-long campaign tour through the state that ended with a night on the S/S Mount Washington for the annual Belknap County Republican Cruise.

He said he learned of the Makris family and their years of philanthropic work for military veterans through some of the people he works with who are involved in veterans' affairs.

Brown asked Cynthia Makris what specific challenges she faces as a business owner and she replied that if she had to provide health insurance for all 140 of her employees she would "be put out of business."

Makris, who is open from May through October, said she also has problems getting accurate information about the Affordable Health Care Act from her insurer because it keeps changing.

"It keeps changing for political purposes," replied Brown.

Makris also told Brown she had trouble finding local people who want to work and that many times when she does, they don't have the skills she needs. She said she also sees many cases of people who don't want to take jobs because they don't want to loose any of the state or federal benefits they already have.

Brown said he was very concerned about education and if elected wanted to work toward training and rewarding people who want to work for a living.

He said he wanted to meet the Makris's because he wants to help the small business people who are struggling with ever growing business cost but who continue to create jobs nonetheless.

Cynthia and Hope Makris are the second recipients of the Women for Brown Hero Award. The first was Janice Lahay of Windham, N.H.

CUTLINE (Scott and Gail Brown at Naswa) U.S. Senate Candidate Rep. Scott Brown awards the Women For Brown 'Hero' Award to Hope and Cynthia Makris. From left to right are Hope Makris, Gail Brown, Cynthia Makris and Scott Brown. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Friday, 30 May 2014 11:50

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Lipman says hospital tax deal would mean extra $4 to $6 million per year for LRGHealthcare

LACONIA — Henry Lipman, senior vice-president of LRGHealthcare, yesterday welcomed the agreement reached Thursday between the state and 25 of its 26 hospitals, by which the hospitals will withdraw litigation against the state while the state will resume funding to hospitals for uncompensated care and apply revenue from the Medicaid Enhancement Tax to Medicaid services.

Lipman said that without a settlement the 75 cents on the dollar Franklin Regional Hospital receives in remimbursement for the uncompensated care it provides was at risk. Meanwhile, when the Legislature sharply reduced reimbursements for uncompensated care in 2011, payments at Lakes Region General Hospitals shrank to only 12-percent of costs. Lipman said that reimbursements will rise in 2015 and approach 50-percent of costs the following year, estimating a return to the hospital of between $4-million and $6-million.

"This settlement is good for the state, for our hospitals, for our communities and for healthcare," Lipman said. But, he cautioned that the agreement reached yesterday still requires the approval of the Legislature, which will consider it on Wednesday, June 4.

Last Updated on Friday, 30 May 2014 11:39

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Summit Ave. resident says roadwork has created lakes & rivers on his property; city manager hasn't seen evidence

LACONIA — Summit Avenue, the road to Governors Island, was paved with the best intentions, but has led straight to Hades, according to Richard Homsi, who claims that his property at the junction with Wentworth Cove Road is regularly awash in snow melt and stormwater.

Speaking the City Council Monday night, Homsi, who has owned his home since 1998, noted that in 2003 the road was twice shimmed and the following year was paved. "That's when the trouble began," he said, explaining that the resurfacing changed the height and pitch of the road causing the water to flow and pool on his lot.

"I'm at the bottom of the hill," Homsi continued. "The left (north) side of the road runs like a river, making its own culvert." He said that the Department of Public Works installed a grassed swale and a paved swale as well as laid crushed stone. "They're doing what they can, but nothing has worked," he remarked. "When it rains there are ducks in the swale, lined up taking a bath and you can float a kayak in the swale." He said that he needed to wear high boots to fetch his mail from the mailbox.

Homsi said that the flow has washed away shrubbery and crushed stone, planted and laid to filter, slow and disperse the run-off into the lake. Since all the run-off flows to the left side of Summit Avenue, Homsi said that with the freezing and thawing in the winter months, the left side of street is cracked and undermined. "This needs to get addressed, to get fixed," he told the councilors. "There is too much asphalt on the road and it's got to be dug up and rebuilt," he said.

However, early the next morning, after a night of heavy rainfall, City Manager Scott Myers drove down Summit Avenue and, in an e-mail to the council, reported that "the only area of standing water was on Summit Avenue and I would not call it out of line with what I saw all along my route. The area by Homsi's mailbox," he continued, "was pretty much dry. No kayaks were floating on his lawn. The swale had no standing water in it." Myers attached photographs to his e-mail.

It was not the first time Myers visited the property "I have been out to his property several times," he noted, "and have made visits there after particularly heavy rain events. I have not seen the conditions that were described last night."

Likewise, he described Summit Avenue as "in decent condition."


Last Updated on Friday, 30 May 2014 11:25

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