Laconia schools open on Monday; procedures detailed for registration of new students

LACONIA — Superintendent Dr. Phil McCormack noted yesterday that the first day of school is Monday, August 31 and for those families who have yet to register their children there are procedures to follow.

Parents of elementary school children who have not registered should go to the SAU offices on Harvard Street and, depending on where the family lives, will be assigned one of the three city elementary schools. Kindergarteners must have a birth certificate so the district knows their exact birthday and to determine if they are eligible for kindergarten.

Once elementary students are assigned a school, parents should bring biographical and contact information, proof of residency like a lease document, tax bill, utility bill, court documents stating custody arrangements, if necessary, immunization/ health records and a sign "request of records" form that allows the administration to get records from previous schools.

For registration purposes, parents of middle schoolers, or grades 6 through 8, should report to the Laconia Middle School and parents of High School students should go to the high school.

If a student is new to the High School, Principal Jim McCollum asks that copies of transcripts should be provided so the administrators can properly schedule classes. Freshman will start of Monday to get a day alone in the school to acclimate and sophomores, juniors, and seniors start on Tuesday.

McCollum said that once a new student is registered at the high school, he or she will be contacted by the school counseling department to schedule a meeting to review academic records and create an academic schedule.

For more information at the high school contact Jamie Mckone, the registrar and assistant to the school counseling department at 524-3350 ext. 4006 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Free the Nipple' protestors say they will target Weirs Beach next

LACONIA — The co-organizer for the Free the Nipple N.H. campaign said yesterday that they are bringing their campaign to Laconia, likely Weirs Beach, before summer's end.

Heidi Lilley of Gilford said yesterday that she wasn't sure when the protest event would be held but said it would be this year.

Laconia is being targeted because it is the only city in New Hampshire where exposing the nipple portion of the female breast is not allowed. The city ordinance was passed in 1998 primarily to quell some of the rowdiness directed at females during Motorcycle Week.

"We want to firm things up a bit and have our lawyer write letters to notify both the City Council and the Laconia Police about our selected date, she said, adding that some "friendly" motorcycle clubs will be joining them.

Free the Nipple N.H. is a Facebook-centered campaign that is trying to equalize the rights between men and women. In previous interviews, Lilley said that the rights women seek are only to be able to go topless — like men — at beaches and pools. The movement began as an offshoot of a group supporting public breast-feeding and evolved into an equality movie of the same name that was released in 2014.

She said the people in the campaign have no desire to go into restaurants and shops — where shirtless men are also prohibited — but only to have the same rights as they do, primarily at the beach and pools.

Lilley also talked about last weekend's rally at Hampton Beach where the rain kept the numbers of participants lower that hoped. She said she was pleased with the turnout but it ended up being a spectacle because all of the participants were huddled under a shelter because of the rain.

"Because we were gathered in one place, we were a spectacle," Lilley said, adding that the group just wanted a nice day at the beach where they could lay topless in the sun while sunbathing.

Since 2010, Laconia police have about a handful of violations of the no naked female breasts ordinance each year and those cited also include people who encourage women to expose their breasts. The ordinance stipulates a violation-level offense and calls for $250 fine for the first offense up to a $1,000 fine for a third offense.

Three city councilors who spoke on the record two weeks ago said their impression was the ordinance was passed primarily for safety reasons and not for public morality purposes.

Lilley said yesterday that the groups' intentions in coming to Laconia is not to create a spectacle but to sunbath topless.

"We're not anticipating any problems and we're not planning on causing any," Lilley said.

Ayotte stops at LRGH for discussion of opiate abuse

LACONIA — U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte joined some two dozen medical practitioners, social service providers, law enforcement officers and emergency medical technicians at Lakes Region General Hospital yesterday to address the ongoing scourge of opiate abuse.

"I'm here to listen and I'm here to learn," said Ayotte, adding that she has sponsored and supported a number of bills dealing with different aspects of the substance abuse crisis as well as taken steps to strengthen initiatives to prevent and treat addiction and curb trafficking in narcotics.

Marge Kerns, vice-president of clinical services at LRGHealthcare, reported that so far this year the emergency rooms at Lakes Regional General Hospital and Franklin Regional Hospital have treated 71 patients for overdoes of heroin, fentanyl and other narcotics. "We will probably break 100 this year," she said, which would be double the number in 2014 and four times the number in 2013.

"We can't arrest our way out of this problem," Ayotte said. "It is a public health epidemic throughout the state."

One after another stressed that narcotic addiction is a disease that requires a regimen of treatment and program of recovery. And none challenged Dr. Fred Jones of the Emergency Department at Lakes Region Genera Hospital, who recalled responding to six overdoses on a single shift in May, when he remarked there is nowhere to send people for acute withdrawal for long-term treatment."

Dr. Paul Racicot, an emergency physician at LRGH who is experienced in treating substance abuse, said the capacity to offer medically assisted treatment, using drugs like suboxone, is especially limited. Few physicians provide it and they are restricted to the number of patients they can treat. He noted that medically assisted treatment is proving more and more successful and capacity to provide should be expanded.

Margaret Franckauser of the Central New Hampshire Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice, said that insurance carriers raise obstacles to treatment, primarily by requiring prior authorization for treatment when, in case of substance abuse, a long-term commitment by the patient is required.

Apart from treatment, several speakers emphasized the importance of prevention and early intervention. Franckhauser, together with Chris Santaniello of Lakes Region Community Services, noted that their personnel are in homes throughout the region and well placed to warn of the dangers of substance abuse as well as to detect indications of it. "We should take advantage of every possible touch point," Franckhauser said.

Henry Lipman, a senior vice-president at LRGHealthcare and Laconia city councilor, said that while law enforcement, emergency services and non-profit organizations, along with individual volunteers, are addressing the problem "it is time to leverage these efforts with more public funding."

City Councilor Bob Hamel (Ward 5) lamented that "a cloud has come over Laconia" and called for more opportunities for treatment. "A lot of this comes down to money," he said.